Bruce sat down at dinner.  "If we're doing the communal village raising of the kids, who gets them when we have to go do something?"

Coulson thought about it.  "No idea at the moment," he admitted.  "Let me think about that."

"We can watch ourselves," Xander said.

"No," the adults all said.

"If only so we don't have to deal with CPS," Tony quipped.  "If Pepper's closer she might.  She thinks they're adorable and she's going to take Toni shopping with her sometime soon."

Antonia shook her head.  "No!  No dresses!" she yelled.

Tony smirked at her.  "Keep it up.  Watch us buy you pink things with ponies and teddybears."  She pouted but calmed down.  "Thank you.  Try to have more manners than I did at your age, all right?"

"We're not really kids," Dean said.

"Yes, but most people will judge you on your physical age, not your mental one," Tony countered.  "Even if Rodney and I do get into arguments about plasma power flows now and then, they won't see that.  They'll see his tiny age and that's it."

"If they find you playing with weapons and things you'll be sank into a group home and probably split up," Clint said quietly.  "Really not fun.  Trust me."

Xander looked down at him.  Then at the others.  "We all know that, right?"  They nodded.  "Good."  He looked at Tony.  "Hire us a fictional nanny?"

"No.  I can hire you a real one."  He smiled.

"No thanks," everyone said.

"Who was the guy that was watching us earlier?" Dean asked.

"I don't know," Xander admitted.  "Powerful but that's all I got before he spotted me staring at him and left."

"Where?" Phil and Tony demanded. 

Xander pointed out back.  "Where have I been all day?" he asked dryly.

"Want to do another flowerbed?" Clint asked.

"No, I'm not the me that likes plants.  He's got a flying wardrobe to play with."

"Wardrobe?" Rodney demanded.  "Why?"

"It fits in better in the middle ages than a phone box," he shot back.

"I suppose that's true," he admitted.

"It's got a purple sparkly interior too.  He was just off a kidnaping when he created it and they were in reaction to that."

"I've never done purple sparkles due to a kidnaping," Dean said.  "Who kidnaped him?"

"Some asshole nazi wannabe overlording alien who thought he could rule with that Xander's help and Xander would stand up for him terrorizing his people.  Proved the alien idiot way wrong and led the revolt against him."

"So....." he said.

"We saw him when he showed up by accident thanks to a time vortex," Ianto admitted.  "He was a very nice Xander.  Very calm.  A bit of a wiseass.  Very smart.  Liked plants."

"He was a *biologist*?" Rodney demanded like that was as evil as satan.

"No, he's a linguist but he temped in there and in your lab while you taught him chemistry," Xander quipped back with a smirk.  "He was head linguist on Nila and had found the other city.  I might like to do that if we can manage it some year soon."

Rodney glared.  "The one that's dating Radek and Evan there?"  Evan choked and shook his head.

"Yup."  He grinned.  "I'm still going to see if I can get a few cuttings off Morticia."

"No tentacle plants," Stark ordered.  "They might eat us or the ferret that was in the bag."

"I knew I saw something like a large rat," Natasha said.

"He loves you," Xander said with a grin.  "He's under your bed the last time I found him."  She went to find the little creature.  She came down a few minutes later and put him on the table.  Xander made sucking noises and wiggled his fingers.  It came over to nip him and get petted.  "No biting me.  I'll probably be your primary pet owner."

Dean looked at him.  "I know we couldn't let you have a dog," he said dryly.

"There for a bit, he tried to adopt Ronon as a pet.  That's why he pulled him around by his hair," Evan quipped with a grin.  He petted the ferret.  "Hi.  What's your name?"

"Reginald," Ianto said.  Everyone shrugged so it was struck.

"Which means Reggie there needs a cage so he's not running all over the house tempting Natasha to shoot him," Tony said.  "And so he can crap in one easily cleaned up spot."

"We can order one," Xander said.

"Barton, frisk him for my credit card again please?"  He did and handed it over.  "That adds another week of being joint body slaves with Dean.  And if you bought candy or weapons they're mine."

"Only a bit of candy and it's all stuff that they like," Xander said with a point at the other kids.

"So no weapons this time?" Clint asked sarcastically.

"No, but I did buy a few magic books I've been wanting so Rodney can do some things, like an age charm if we need one."

Rodney looked down at him.  "A what now?"

"Age charm."

"As in adding years?" Rodney guessed.  Xander smirked and nodded.  "Hell yes.  I need to be older."

"Fat.  Chance."  Tony stared at him.  "You can learn to enjoy being a kid."

"I wasn't a kid the first time I was a child," he complained.  "All that playing and other frivolous crap was never my strong suit."  He waved a hand.  "Who wants to play all day?  There's rules of physics to break and make new ones."

"I'd rather you tried to be a kid sometimes," Tony said carefully.  "That way we have time to deal with things?"

"If his vision is right, you're going to be our age soon," Rodney said smugly.  "Then you can play all you want."

"Sometime in the next few years," Xander agreed.  "The aging potion takes almost six months to do anyway."  Rodney nodded at that.  "Including some yeti fur so we'd have to take a trip.  You know that has to be harvested fresh."

Natasha looked at him.  "I've never seen one of those."

"I have and they fucking bite," Xander quipped.  "I nearly lost a hand to one a few years back in that Harry timeline."

Ianto snickered.  "Owen told us."

"Owen was nice enough to stitch it for me," he agreed.  "It was even a young one that bit me."

"First, language," Tony said smugly.  "Because there's seven other flower beds.  My mother liked them.  Second, who said we'd let you run off to Tibet?"

"We can apparate," Xander said dryly.  "Be back in the morning, boss."

Clint swatted him.  "Not until you're old enough to use weapons."

Xander glared.  "Fine, I'll have a poker debt do it for me."  He looked at the ferret, which was trying to get Natasha to let it down her top.  "They're very curious things."

"Which I do not want in my bra."  She handed it to Coulson, who put it on the floor.  It ran off to explore cabinets instead.

"I guess that's got some nooks and crannies, even if they're not quite mountain ranges," Xander said dryly.  She swatted him hard.  "Ow!  Wench!"  She got him again with an evil look.

"No noting breasts unless you're young enough to need one or old enough to covet them," Tony said.  "Even hers, boys.  Remember, she can kill you and all of us then go have ice cream."

Clint nodded.  "Easily.  Quit hitting on women too, son."


"No," Clint ordered.

"Just for that I should make you go to Victoria's Secret with me," she told him.

Xander grinned.  "They'd think I was your kid."

"Which is an adequate cover story."

"I'd just look."

She shrugged.  "I'm sure the other women will paddle you since you want to be so punished by women.  Are you submissive to strong women?"

He smirked evilly.  "Not hardly.  There's one of me that's a dom in his world.  He does the therapy school of beating asses and he's a whip technician."  She shuddered.  "My ladies are all very happy with me and none of them want to *spank* me.  Make it a date when I'm old enough?"

She laughed.  "Not likely.  I'll be much too familiar with you by then."

He smirked.  "Not really.  I have hidden depths."

Clint got up and picked up Xander, taking him into his room to toss him into the shower and turn it on cold.  "Mine, Junior.  Thanks anyway.  Quit making her feel creepy due to your age."  He went back to the table.  He sat back down.  Bruce was blushing.  "Hey, the skills run in the family," he said dryly.

Natasha laughed.  "At least the flirting does."

"No, some of us are smoother and appreciate women for more reasons than their physical beauty," Evan said, kissing her on the neck just below her ear.  She hadn't been expecting that so she flinched a tiny bit.  "Physical beauty is fleeting and temporary, and often an act.  Real, true women are more than their physical attributes and abilities."  She stared at him, mouth slightly open.

"Yeah, it runs in the family," Tony said, shaking his head quickly.  "Evan, aren't you gay?"

"Not until John's around so I can be claimed and make him beg."  He smirked.  "Before then I had a few very happy women who never complained that I *only* took six hours to play around with oral sex."

"Six hours?" she demanded.

"It kept my back whole.  Anya wanted ten orgasms a night," Xander complained when he came back.  "Not that I dislike oral sex.  Maybe an hour or two of it though, not six.  Normal women don't need six, they only need an hour or two."

"Normal women would pass out after a half hour if you're good at it," Tony quipped.

"Like I said,  Anya wanted ten a night."  He shrugged and smirked at him.  "Amber Prenessa was very happy when I showed her on Atlantis."

Rodney choked.  "You're the reason she was humming?"

"It was her twenty-fifth birthday."  He grinned at his former mother.  "She wanted something special for it.  She only needed the infirmary once for the blood pressure spike then came back for more."  He shrugged with a smug look.  "Who am I to deny a beautiful woman what she wants for a special occasion?  She was happy for days."

"She had to call off for six days because she couldn't sit," Rodney said.  "What did you do to her?"

"About three hours of oral sex before the blood pressure spike, then about another hour and a half afterward, then a long, hard ride that she squealed through multiple times.  That was only maybe another hour or so then I decided to take care of my own needs."  He smirked.  "She could sit.  She just couldn't get calmed down for those days.  She said her clit was swollen and wouldn't go down."  Clint slapped a hand over his face and moaned.  "Sorry if that was TMI."

"I'd say it was bruised," Natasha said.

Bruce nodded.  "It probably was.  Possibly even a slightly distended or torn muscle group in her hip from what Rodney said."

"She was scary, humming and smiling scary," Rodney told him.  "For the next week after she returned to duty."

"She came back a few times," Xander said.  "Including the night before her last mission."

Rodney looked over.  "We knew."  Xander nodded.  Evan hugged him.  Xander grinned back and lapped him on the cheek.  "Thank you, his stepmother," Rodney said dryly.  "It saves me from emo moments."  He would not think about the pre-last mission rituals the city got into of going to Xander the night before.  It was morbid.

"I do not think I'd remember things fondly if I couldn't sit for six days," Natasha admitted.

Clint shook his head.  "Me either.  I can see you killing someone for making you that sore."

She nodded.  "Most likely I would.  That would be too much."

"He had a policy of 'tell me when'," Dean said dryly.  "I remember the one he tapped before we went back to Atlantis.  She spent the week between the two events begging him for a rematch and more oral sex."

Tony shook his head.  "Xander, grow up to write a sex manual, okay?"

"Sure, I can do that."  He smiled.  "I need to take yoga again.  I haven't been flexible in years."  Clint whimpered, shaking his head.

"We should all take yoga, it does strengthen other muscle groups too," Ianto said.

Rodney shook his head.  "I'm not into that tantric shit.  It's boring for me."

"That's because you're a pretty simple get in there and get it done guy," Xander quipped.

"Yes, it's always suited my needs.  Other than that is bordering on emotional and cuddling."  He grimaced.  "That is not the being I am."

"I never tried the tantric stuff.  I was good enough on my own," Antonia said.  "Angel had no complaints before I lost her."

Jeremy nodded.  "I looked at it when my marriage went 'ta hell but Stella thought it was freaky."

Dean shook his head.  "I'm old school American boy about things.  Easy, slutty girls so I don't have to bond to them and leave them hanging after a hunt.  Some motel somewhere."

"You didn't bond to anyone?" Jeremy asked.

"No.  I never made a promise to any girl.  I had a serious one then hunting had to come first again.  She didn't want to understand."  Jeremy swallowed.  "So no, easy girls were easier and took care of the need and itch when I had it.  Or the stress relief when I needed that.  Sammy and I visited every state but Hawaii in our thirty-something years.  Most of them at least seven times.  Hell, there for a bit there were a few places we could wake up in the Impala and name."

"So you traveled all the time," Antonia said.

Dean smiled and nodded.  "Find it, hunt it, move on before the normals reacted."

Xander shrugged.  "Slaying team was more patrols nightly, stake, retreat, bait, keep going even if the girls were bitches."

Tony swallowed.  "Those both sound sucky."

"You do what you gotta do when you're one of the few that know and realize," Dean said bluntly.

Xander nodded.  "Exactly.  You can't wait on one little chosen girl to do it for you or you end up a snack if you're lucky and a bad thing on the world at the worst.  I saw vamp me thanks to a wishverse and I was an evil bastard that makes Rodney on an evil kick look like a fluffy kitten."

"I don't have evil kicks," Rodney said, glaring at him.

"Remember when we ran out of coffee?" Xander quipped.

Evan moaned and nodded.  "Rodney, you nearly took over a planet to get their coffee-like crop that they didn't want to trade with us.  That's why we sacrificed your virginity to that priestess so it'd solve both causes of the evilness."

"I wasn't a virgin when we went to Atlantis the first time," he complained.  "Or the second."

"Poor Carson was only twelve when we went back and was doing med school classes," Xander said grimly.

Tony cleared his throat.  "How old were you two and Evan when you went back?"

"Just barely sixteen," Evan said.

"I was an adult in that life," Antonia said.  "I had a smartass little John as my hope's rebirth.  Another of us had Evan as his.  Shit was hitting the fan all over in that world.  Half of Atlantis got reborn so they could go back and save her then the rest of us from the wraith."

"I was fifteen in both lives," Xander quipped.  "I had gotten split into twins back in Sunnydale and that move resplit me.  Half of me was Rodney's twin and the other half went to Dean and Sam."

"So you were in battles at fifteen?" Bruce demanded.

Xander stared at him.  "The demons that accidentally made me and Sanda immortal and rotating picked me when I was nine.  He was nearly twenty I think.  I was already a pretty good way through my warrior training then, Bruce.  Before the human/demon wars, manhood came when you could defend yourself and your people.  Or fifteen, whichever came first.  Hell, I fought in a few of the gladiator battles there because they thought I was too strong willed and wanted to break me.  Didn't work," he said dryly.

"For that matter, I was hunting demons with my father at fifteen," Dean said.  "On my own at seventeen or with Sammy on my ass until he escaped to Stanford.  My first one I took out at eight to protect Sammy."

"How did he get into Stanford?" Natasha asked.  "That's ivy league and you said you traveled a lot."

"Six high schools in three years," he agreed with a grin.  "Sammy has major brains.  He was escaping to become a lawyer until the demon that took our mom took his girlfriend.  Which led to a few apocalypses and us getting Xander right before an angelic apocalypse."

"I called slayers.  Any apocalypse needs at least two slayers," Xander quipped.  "The girls were kicking the ass of all the angels and the demons when the higher ups showed up.  Willow had Mother Nature in her and she kindly offered to remind him why he created humanity with a brand new daughter."  Tony shuddered.  "Yeah, so that's kinda how I ended up their spawn with Cas."

"I haven't seen him more than the once," Dean admitted, taking a bite of his burger.

"I have," Xander quipped.  "He came over earlier to talk about you and make sure you were okay.  Also that you were male this time."

"Cas does like me better in my original body," Dean said smugly.

"Who is Cas?" Natasha asked.

"The archangel Castiel," Dean said with a grin.  "Warrior angel all the way.  Helped us stop the angelic apocalypse by going against his family.  Though, Sam had Gabriel on his ass for a while.  Who, interestingly enough, used to pretend to be Loki."  He looked at Clint when he shuddered.  "Not that one, dude."

"Good!"  He stuffed his mouth.  "We don't need that again."  Dean pointed at Xander.  "Are you hiding as a chaos god?"

Xander grinned.  "I don't know if I'm godly or not.  Haven't tried it yet.  I know how I set it, before D'Hoffryn got approval rights, I would've been born in Egypt and I wasn't."  He ate a bite.

"Why Egypt?" Natasha asked.

"It's one of the mystical pantheons that people still pray to when they do magic," Dean quipped.  "You get some fierce Norse followers, some that try to follow some of the older Celtic ways, the Greek ways, and the Egyptian ways being followed most commonly.  It'd probably give him a better power base."  Xander nodded with a smirk.  "If Carson had joined us, we probably would've put him into the Celtic pantheon."

"So, like the fairy witches that are determined that Hecate will help them," Clint said.  Xander nodded.  "Why weren't you?"

"No clue.  It could've been D'Hoffryn, not sure.  I know I briefly touched the temples in Caledin.  I remember seeing the old fountain through the gateway."  Rodney shivered.  He smiled.  "You didn't like the Old City?"

"It was completely dead, Xander."

"They passed on long ago.  Very few can get through the gateway."

"I remember.  I also remember being horrified that we had to put you on the altar to transfer the power back and I kept having nightmares of others doing that to you."

"A few have tried over the centuries," Xander admitted with a large shrug.  "It happens when you're a Xander.  Bad girls and boys want you and some of them want to make you bleed or beg."

Rodney shuddered.  "Never.  Again."

"Yes, Mom."

"I can second his never again," Bruce said.  "Please?"

"Yup."  He smiled.  "I always try."  Someone tapped his foot so he looked down.  "Hey, Dean Der.  What's up?

"Lavelle said the convention is now."

"I'm coming.  Be back in a few hours."  He grabbed the mini Dean's hand and disappeared.

Dean looked down then shook his head.  "Don't ask," he ordered.

Evan snickered.  "He explained those before.  They're cute."

"There's a hundred mini Xander's that drink, set up mystical protections, and take turns as the unit that's stress relief," Dean said dryly.  "I don't need that mental image since there's a mini me, a mini Sam, a mini Harry, and a mini Draco from that realm."

Tony shuddered.  "That's a very bad mental image."

Dean smirked evilly.  "There's a Xander that's President of the US."

"That's a worse one, thanks, Dean."  He stuffed his mouth.

"So they're having a meeting of various Xander's?" Bruce asked.  The kids all nodded.  "Interesting.  How many realms or realities are represented?"

"No clue," Dean said.  "There's over three hundred of them though."

Rodney nodded.  "Some are a bit more normal than others."  He looked at his father.  "Have you looked over those island plans?"

"I have and the tsunami dome is pretty interesting but I can make it better and faster."  He smiled.  "Plus we won't need a hotel for hookers for at least ten years."  The kids all smirked.

"Island plans?" Bruce asked.

"There's no group backup spot," Natasha told him.  "One of the other Xander's had an island that he somehow owned that he set up a thieve's paradise on.  Including women and men who were hired to be surrogate comfort devices, though they had the option of saying no."

"According to the book it was the four main adults, the twelve kids between the families, and one of the thieve's father.  Twenty hookers."  Bruce moaned.  "Yeah, exactly."

"So training areas for us instead of hookers," Clint joked.  "Separate houses.  Landing strip and all that."

"That one is about three square miles total.  There's one that's slightly bigger and easier to defend but it doesn't have as much shoreline," Tony said, pulling out his tablet to put the projection up.

"We'd be able to see people coming," Natasha said.  "On either one.  Are there more practical islands?"

"Yes," Tony said, pulling up his list of possibles.  "Including one that I have a great vacation house on already.  I escape to there whenever I'm hiding from Pepper."

"That's a lot smaller," Clint noticed.

Tony nodded.  "There's one that's not that's closer and it's not exactly protected and not exactly not protected or for sale."  He let them see it.

Rodney looked and shook his head.  "No."  He grabbed the tablet and found what he wanted, showing it off.  "There."

"I'd love to live in the Seychelles," Natasha said.  "It's not politically sound or possibly safe there."

"Well, there is one really nice place," Tony said.  "It will need a lot of work to spiff it up because he just put up a mansion."  They all stared at him.  He got into a specific map file.  "There's some man-made islands down between the Bahamas and Florida.  A few near Bimini, a few near the Keys.  Thanks to the economy four of them are up for sale at outrageous costs."  He showed them.  "This one he even put a slight mountain on it."

They all pointed at one that looked mostly deserted.  "Anything there?" Clint asked.

"Underground bunker.  That one's not for sale.  It's his hidey hole for the end of the world coming.  However there is a bigger one that is for sale."  He pulled that up.  They all stared.  "Off the coast of the Keys.  By quinjet it'll be minutes from Miami, New Orleans, or most cities in Texas within a half hour."  They all nodded at it.  "This one isn't for sale but it's the biggest one I know of."

"What about the one that's owned by that nature nut?" Rodney asked.  "He does genetic breeding of animals."

"Not here probably," Tony said, looking that up.  "That's National Wildlife refuge land, Rodney."


"Those are still smaller than the other island," Bruce said quietly.

"We'd have to do some terraforming," Rodney said.  "But what about the ones by the Cays?"

Tony looked at them.  "Not as close to the mainland but about the same distance to Florida."  He stared at one, tapping it.  It enlarged.  It was huge, about six square miles.  It had one house.  It had lots of trees, pretty beaches, and a boat dock, with a tiny island off to the edge of one point that was probably connected at low tide.  He looked up the owner.  "It's for sale and it's cheaper than most are.  It's in design one thing and it's mine range instead of two or three things."

"If we needed to we could probably add onto it somehow," Clint said.  "Build the beaches out?"

"I'm not sure what sort of paperwork hell that would take," Tony quipped.

"Torchwood 2 had a research island in the middle of the central atlantic," Ianto said.  He took the tablet and pulled up something, putting in the general access code.  "We don't have Torchwood 2 or 3 here so I have no idea who runs it."

Tony looked.  "Probably the people who tell you how many hurricanes are coming.  It's a bit small, Ianto."  He pulled up a satellite image to point at the one up the ocean from it.  "That's nice.  That's hidden?"

Xander appeared but not their Xander.  He grinned.  "Don't like mine?" he guessed.

"We work with SHIELD."

"I know.  I'm the second biggest comic geek in the Xanders.  One runs a comic shop instead of hunting all the time."  He smirked and pulled up a site that Tony hadn't even knew existed.  It was in a demon language but his computer was trying to translate it.  Xander put in the key code and it worked.  "Those ten are all demon properties."  He looked at him.  "All hidden."

"Any closer to the US in case of emergencies?"

"Yes, three."  He showed him.  He pointed.  "He plays kitten poker."  Tony moaned 'wrong' and shook his head.  "It's the demon game."  He grinned.  "Would that work?"

"Yes, it does look like it would.  Would they take money?"

"Not exactly but the me here might be able to talk him into it.  He's a multi-realm demon anyway and with him being who he is he might want to run and hide."  He winked at Ianto, who blushed.  "Relax, chibi straight guy.  Jack's bentness will show up later on.  I'll ask Linguist Xander if he'll help set you guys up."  He disappeared.

Evan moaned.  "That was Lavelle."

"I noticed the extra power feeling," Natasha said.  "Why?"

"Tortured by hell, given against his will," Rodney said.  "Now he's a black knight."

She nodded once.  "Good to know.  Can we talk to this demon?"

"We'd need to find out more about the kitten poker circuit.  I can have the agent watching over Slayer Summers ask her opinion on the matter."  He walked off sending that email.  He got one back and smiled.  "That one wanted to meet our Xander."

"Why?" Clint asked.  "To hurt him?  To flirt with him?  To thank him?"

"He's not sure.  We can meet him in a few days at Stark Tower."

Tony nodded.  "That'll work for me."  They settled in to finish dinner.  When Xander got back he was in a goofy, happy, cheerful mood and no one was going to bust that for him.


Xander walked into the meeting room.  "Clem!  Dude, you rose really high in the circuit."

"I did."  He hugged him.  "If I was in your original realm, I'd be upset to see you this way but I understand now."  He smiled.  "Why did you want the island?"

"Safety fallback and training areas."

"I can see that going on."  He looked at Tony and Clint.  Then back at Xander.  "I want three things in return."

"What?" Xander asked, hopping up to sit on the table.

"I want you to free the Key here."

"Is she in Dawn?"

"No.  They've got it trapped and we'd like Dawn.  I miss Dawn."  Xander nodded.  "I need you to prove to me that you're the Xander I remember."  Xander leaned over to whisper in his ear, earning a head shake.  "Very general."  Xander added something and he blushed.  "So you are him."  Xander nodded.  "And I have to tell you that someone paid me majorly to come here and kill you."

"I'd just recycle, probably back farther with what's going on," he said smugly.  He pulled up magic and showed him.  Clem shifted uncomfortably.  "I know, they think I'll take back over and ruin all of demon kind.  I won't.  I didn't even when I got tired of the shit that was going on.  I'm not that happy to be in charge, Clem."

Clem grinned.  "Good."  He stood up.  "The first?"

"Where is she?" Tony asked.

Xander looked at him and nodded, concentrating and summoning the Key from Clem's side.  It glowed.  "Hey, Dawnster.  Go be a girl now."  It flashed out.  He looked at Clem.  "Why did they put her in you in that other realm?"

"To protect her.  Glory would never look for her on another realm inside a crossbreed demon."  He patted him on the head, handing Tony and Clint something.  "There you go."  He smirked at the kid.  "Behave?"

"Why?  That's no fun."  He smiled and handed him his wallet.  "Gotta keep in practice.  Dean said so."

"Good boy.  Watch out for the plots."

"Clem, sweetheart, I went from there to Atlantis to demon hunters."  Clem shook, his folds wiggling.  "I'm so used to plots.  Hell, my whole life as Harry was a plot."

"I understand that."  He patted him again then winked and left.

Xander got the stuff from his hair.  "Huh, but not really poisonous unless I'm part snake."  He wiped it on his pants.  Tony took him to the infirmary so they could take samples and help him wash it out.

"Why did he try to poison you anyway?" Clint asked.

"Because Spike's a higher up here.  He ascended or something."  He smirked.  "Spike knew exactly how dangerous I could be.  Even stuck in a mortal identity without magic or anything.  I was the *normal* one who was on the team and still kept up with the slayer and everyone."  Tony walked off shuddering.  "So yeah, I can be a dangerous bitch."

"Quit swearing."

Xander smirked.  "I have to find the copy of Lavelle's necklace here."  He let the pretty nurse help him wash off the snake venom poison and it was better.  "You do that better than Dean.  He doesn't scrub."  She patted him on the cheek with a grin.  "Can we go flirt with Pepper?"

"No, only a Stark can do that," Clint said dryly.  "You're not Rodney."   When he was cleaned up, Clint carried him up to the office.

"Awww," Pepper cooed, taking him to cuddle.  "I heard that you got twins, Agent Barton.  He's adorable."

Xander grinned shyly, putting his head on her shoulder.  "Thank you, Pepper."

"Ooooh."  She grinned and kissed him on the head.  "I have hershey kisses if you want a few, which one are you?"

"Xander."  He grinned.  "Chocolate?  It's next to the Goddess."  She giggled and got him one.

"He's grounded," Clint said.  "He tried to go pickpocket someone the other day."

Pepper giggled.  "I'm sure he was just petting them."

"No, I was going to grab their phone.  It was loud and annoying.  It sang Journey."

She cackled and squeezed him.  "You're a good boy with good taste, sweetie."  She gave him more candy.

Tony walked out.  "I'm bringing Rodney to the meeting in a few days."  He kissed Pepper on the cheek and took Xander, handing him off.  "You two hit the car."  They did.  Tony took some of the candy for himself, grinning.  "They're little hellions."

"Of course they are with the memory downloads but they're adorable."

"Rodney was arguing with me about various power possibilities, Pepper."

She cackled. "That proves he's your son.  Get that one a burger or something on the way home, Tony.  He's too tiny."

"He inhaled three plates of eggs at breakfast."  She was getting that stubborn look that made him do paperwork and talk to idiots on the board who couldn't even work a cellphone, much less a computer or anything more complicated.  "I can see if Barton's hungry."  He took a kiss and grinned.  "You can visit."  He strolled off.

She sighed in pleasure, making sure she had time for a long visit.  Natasha was nice but not very girly and their tomboy out there needed to know how to be girly but strong like she needed to be in the future.


Tony looked over the satellite scans of their new island, nodding at what he saw.  He had plans drawn up for houses and training areas.  It had an artificial mountain and lake area.  It had beaches.  It had a lot of trees.  "Barton, do you want a tree house?"

"Not funny," he quipped back.  "A regular one with a top deck would be fine."

He made his back in the trees, Natasha's too so she could disappear when she wanted to but close enough to beach in case she wanted to lounge there in a bikini of some sort.  His and Steve's were near the beach and the lake.  Bruce's was near the lake.   They'd put up a house for Thor, up on the hillside so he could overlook things and the clouds.  He made plans for training areas, including classrooms, and then let everyone see it.  They all nodded.  Clint pointed at his.  "Upper tower room to sit on top of."  He showed them how the tsunami shield worked and they all appreciated that.  It'd work for hurricanes too.  It was safely outside US control but close enough for when they needed to appear somewhere.  Rodney was making his own sketches, which Tony glanced at then smiled and helped him with them.  They could use a beaming satellite.


Nick Fury stomped into the Avenger's mansion, glaring at Stark when he came out of his workshop.  "Why are you building a site outside the US?"

"As a safe place for the kids to hide?" he guessed, sipping his coffee.  Fury calmed down.  "Not like I want to build a hell carrier for them to play on."  He gave him a look then walked off.  "Coulson, your boss is here," he yelled.

"The kids are still sleeping, Stark, let them," Phil complained as he walked past him.  "Is there a problem, sir?"

"He's building a compound outside the US."

"We're concerned because there have been attempts to get close to the children."

Fury nodded once.  "I can understand that.  Why not in the US?  Where we could look over your shoulder?"

"I believe that was the reason.  That and any political destabilization that may occur during the future."

"Fine.  What about Loki's two spawn?"

"Spenser and Greg are actually very quiet, very smart little boys who like to build with blocks.  Greg got some chemistry knowledge downloaded.  Spenser got some psychiatry and sociology put into his.  They're very good at making the others do what they want by way of taunting them into it.  They haven't shown any preference for taking control of the group.  Presently, Xander does some, Rodney does some, and Ianto does some of the rest."

Jeremy wandered out yawning and tugged on Phil's hand.  "We're out of bananas again."

"I'll pick some up for tomorrow's breakfast.  Drink some extra juice."  He nodded and wandered off again.  He smiled at the director.  "Jeremy eats fairly balanced when given a choice. Mostly to sustain energy.  Though he does prefer smarties in his coffee."

"You're letting the kids drink coffee?" he asked dryly.

"It was that or adderal, sir.  Coffee seems to help the best and Ianto makes fantastic drinks."

Fury shook his head.  "This is so messed up."  He stomped off.  "I want plans for it."

"I'll talk to Stark about that, sir.  Technically the island is held in trust for Xander as it was a kitten poker contact that gave it to them."  Fury growled but left.  Phil smirked at the boy staring at him from the ducts.  "Weren't you grounded?" he asked.  Xander disappeared.  "Shower, Xander.  It's more than time for one."


"Now please."  He walked back to the kitchen.  Dean was hiding.  Xander was pouty but he knew it'd prolong the torment if he didn't go do as ordered.  They had already gotten an extra few days for it.  Phil sat down and hugged his son.  "Thank you for the coffee, Ianto."

"Welcome."  He climbed into his own chair to eat, nibbling his toast while he read something online.

Rodney stumbled in and sat at his spot, gulping the coffee waiting on him.  Then the second cup that was waiting on him.  "Perhaps if you slept at night, you wouldn't need as much caffeine in the morning," Phil said patiently.  Rodney looked at him and called him six vile names in French and Russian.  Then refilled his coffee from the french press waiting on him. 

"Would you also like to be punished?" Phil asked pleasantly.  "I'll have to introduce that personality note into your files."  He stared at him.  "Do be aware that I speak both of those languages."  Rodney told him to fuck off in Czech.  Natasha walked in and replied in Czech, making Rodney growl.  She laughed and patted him on the head.  "If he was swearing, he's going to have this week to clean up the playroom all by himself as Xander's time is over with."

"Yes, it was much swearing," she said dryly.  "I didn't know you liked goats."

Phil smiled at Rodney.  "Do you want to help Xander and Dean as well?"  Rodney slumped down and finished more coffee.  "If you wish, we can find someone to talk to about the nightmares," he said quietly.  Rodney shook his head.  "Are you sure?"

"I'd never talk to anyone in such a soft science without derision for their life choices that led them to being a wall to cry on," he said bluntly.  "They clearly failed somewhere in their lives and feel that it's necessary to pass that trait on to others."

Stark walked in and stared at his son.  "I'm telling Pepper.  She's not trained but she's heard a lot."  Rodney glared.  He smiled.  "You got maybe three hours of sleep last night, son.  It's time to handle things."  He got the rest of Rodney's coffee and walked off with it.  "Thank you, Ianto."

"Welcome."  He ducked his head and went back to eating.  Rodney needed a wall to struggle against and he was not that sort of being.  He finished up and went to find their lessons for the day.  He heard Rodney's comment about being a teaboy traitor and decided he'd screw with Rodney's head today a bit.  He'd have fun with it.  He and Jeremy could even work together, with Toni.  Dean and Xander slinked into breakfast together but that was to be expected with your buddy.

Phil looked at them.  "Clearly, you missed spots on each other."

"I spotted them for him," Dean complained.

"That was not your instruction."

"Why do I have to be punished?" Dean demanded.  "Xander snuck off."

"Because you don't have understand what having someone to watch your back is either," Phil said, staring at him.

"I do, but Sammy's not here and he's the only one I trust outside of Cas."  He got up and stomped off.  Castiel spotted him outside and hid them so he could calm down.  "Thanks."

"You're most welcome.  Though I believe it was to get you to trust anyone within the group," he said quietly.

"Yeah, well, Sammy's not here, Xander's not really my nephew anymore, and I don't really know these people.  I was never a comic book geek, ya know?"

"I do."  He patted his back to calm him down.  "We will work it out."  He caught the arrow that came near him, staring over.  "Evan, I would not do that again."

Evan smirked.  "Tony told me to run you off.  He's much too young for you."

"Bite me," Dean called back.

"Not my mate," he quipped.

Dean glared.  "If your mate was here, you'd want time."

"Yeah but I'm getting candy and I'm not trying to hurt Cas, just distract him a bit."  Dean looked around and growled, lunging at the guy with the knife.

"Dean, that's really my job," Cas said.  "Even though that knife is a blessed artifact."  Dean kicked it free and Cas caught it, using it on the idiot.  He straightened out his jacket and looked at Dean then at the idiot.  "I believe you need to have that island set up sooner."  He took Dean back inside, handing Ianto the knife, getting a nod for it.  "He is no more and why was Evan distracting him?"

"Because the bad guys were going to try a mass attack," Xander said.  "I had to distract you, and the other adults, so we could end them because they're all lower demons."   He sipped his juice, looking at Dean.  "I hereby declare you not a shower buddy.  If they try to force it, stab someone."  He got up and walked out, calling his miniature battle axe to him.  Nerdy Xander had made it for him.  It was his size and it worked well.  The demons he had felt showing up....not scared enough yet.  Pity.  The arrow that hit one made him glance back but he shrugged and went back to killing the demons with a vicious smirk of pleasure.  The last one was shot by Steve.  "Awww," he complained.

"It is not a child's job," Steve said.

"Technically, since it's only me here that can deal with lower demons," he said dryly.  "Especially since that didn't kill him.  It takes wood."  He turned and beheaded him.  "Or that."  He stared at one he had only injured, taking off his shirt to wipe off the axe.  "So," he said, staring at her.  "Why did you decide to come here today beyond pissing me off?"

"Knight," she sneered.  "You won't win."

Xander flashed his true radiance and grinned.  "Me?  Little old original redemption child me?"  The being wailed.  He pulled back in his magical aura.  "Really?  Why would I, the Warrior Child, be able to win things?  It's not like I've been in wars.  No, wait, I have, every single fucking one of them."  He moved closer.  "Did you think I was the Peace Child?  Because Sanda had a temper, sweetie.  He liked to destroy cities.  It was just that he was a bit nicer than I was and I was more weapons oriented.  That's how we got our names."  He stared at her.  "Now, why did you come here today?"  He smiled.  "I'll know before I give you a final death."

"I won't talk!  I'll die by my own hand."

"You won't," Xander said.  "Because your kind only die by fire and since you're with egg, you're immortal until it's laid outside of a few special weapons."  He summoned the knife from Ianto.  "Like this one."  He smiled.  "If it can kill an angel, it can kill you."

She was staring at it then at him.  "You wouldn't."  Xander pointed at the mess behind him.  She was sweating.  "Let me lay this egg?"

"Did you think I was the Merciful Goddess?" Xander quipped.  "Why would I care if you lay that egg?"

She backed away from him.  "I'll talk if you let me lay this egg.  It's the last of mine and my mate's lineage.  The slayer took him out.  We were getting revenge on her."

"So you picked a full team of various demons to do that?" he snorted.  "Your kind live alone in caves, never associating with other demons, and you only get together to breed, usually through hastily put up nest walls.  So try the fuck again," he said dryly.  She screamed and lunged with her claws out.  Xander hit her with the axe as he moved.  "Not cute."  He put the axe down and tested the knife.  "Very sharp."  He lunged and she screamed.

"People want these ones to suffer!  Taking out their children will make them suffer so they can't save anyone and won't be blights of humanity!  There won't be future mutants!" she screamed.

Xander smirked.  "We're all redemption children, sweetheart.  It won't work on us.  We'll just come the fuck back."  He stabbed her and she went to goo.  Her egg was far enough along that it stayed intact.  He checked.  "Explosives too.  Cute how she swallowed it to make an egg."  He handed Steve the knife and took his axe back, then his shirt, walking off cleaning it.  "She was going to lay an explosive egg.  It might need containment depending on what she swallowed to force the new egg."  He went into his room and slammed the door then let out a string of swears.  That felt better.  He got a shower, then went to grab a phone he had picked up, walking off calling someone.  "I saw your minions.  You won't win."  Natasha took the phone from him to look at the number then walked off talking to him about his plans.  "I can threaten the douche bag," he complained.  "The idiot's a woose."

"Son," Clint said.  "Nice work."  Xander groaned and stomped off.  He stopped him by picking him up to stare at him.  "Let the adults help?"

"Since when are you trained to handle lesser demons?" he asked.

"I can still kill things."

"Wood, silver, and iron usually, with the occasional fire.  Or beheading for a lot of them.  Which you don't carry on arrow tips."  He got free and walked off.  "I'm going to find cocoa, see if I can meditate my way out of my body to talk to a few crackhead higher ups with ideas; I'll be back in time for dinner."

"Um... no," Steve said, catching him this time and carrying him off to talk to him.  Xander clearly needed to calm down.  "Teach me how to handle demons, kiddo.  I'd love to learn."

Xander looked at him.  "Hunting is something that fucks with your soul.  Do you really want to learn or are you just saying that?"

"I think I need to learn.  As for my soul, I was a soldier.  I still am a soldier.  It's about the same thing when humans are attacking."  He stared at him.  "We're all soldiers in one way or another around here.  Except maybe Rodney until he's forced to be one.  Maybe Bruce as well.  So tell me so I can brief others, and we'll work from there."

Phil walked into the room they were in.  "Thank you for handling Captain Finn's bad idea," he said, staring at him. "Next time, some warning?"  Xander snorted.  "Still doesn't get you out of punishment either."  He patted him on the head, getting bitten.  "You won't provoke me, Xander.  I've seen the start of hell and ridden over it while helping mitigate the disaster area it was creating," he said quietly.  "So please quit acting out and just let us help."  He stared at him.  "I'll get the books from the Council so we can all learn about demons.  Even though you know more, you can teach us something while we work on your language skills." 

He walked off.  Fury wouldn't let him have a strike team.  His father.... was pissed off.  His father was back in no emotion land.  "Dad," he said cheerfully.  "Yes, the demon invasion caused by Riley Finn is solved.  Xander did it for the most part.  He's very upset and swearing at Captain Rogers.  The director won't let us have a strike team because the people above him won't.  May I borrow a few items?"  He listened.  "Excellent.  I'll meet you there."  He hung up and grabbed his jacket and tie.  "Stark, I'll be back.  Ianto, please help Tony for a bit."  He left, going to find his father and his handy stash of weapons.

No one was messing with his son.

Not Nick Fury.

Not the Council over both SHIELD and MIB.

Definitely not some jumped up little captain in the Rangers.  Phil had been a marine so he was not going to let that one go on any longer.  The long standing rivalry was going to be solved today.  He smiled a tiny bit at his father's partner, putting on his sunglasses.  "Did he send you with weapons, stepmother?"

"Don't start, kid."

"I'm older than you."

"Yay.  Our weapons, our playground."

"I filled out half the forms to get them for you.  Don't start or I'll have them sent back as faulty."  He got into the car in the front seat, which pissed J off.  "Dad."

"Son."  He handed over a small briefcase.  "I believe those were your birthday present when you were ten."

"I've missed the neutrino weapons.  We never get anything this nice at work.  The egg?"

"Already got it in custody and we are dissecting it.  My boss is livid."

"Fury said he can't let me have a strike team."

"Interesting."  He drove them off.  "We'll go have a talk with Captain Finn.  How is the stranger Barton son?"

"Really mad.  He bit me."

"He's a kid.  He can get to be frustrated," J said from the backseat.

Phil turned his head to look at him.  "He created that mess by himself for the most part."  J shuddered.  "Xander is a millennia old being that has been in millions too many wars."  He turned his head back around.  "So, anyway," he told his father.  "Did the blender come in handy?  I heard you guys had a party recently."

"We did.  We had a mind controlling freak in there.  We had a fun party with him and he groaned until he begged to go home."

"Not Loki, right?"

"No, not Loki.  I'll kill Loki for you if I see him however.  I do not like that you died for a few minutes, son."

"I wish I hadn't either but things happen in the middle of a crisis."

"I remember that well.  I spent four weeks in stasis thanks to a crisis that got me sent as a peace offering. It took that long to kill the alien fungus off."

"So this one's my second stepmother?" Phil joked.

"Not cute, Junior.  Watch that attitude before I take your former presents back,"

"Yes, Dad."  They got sent to the base they needed once they got back to the MIB office.  Phil's former birthday present made a wonderful wreckage of it in a few blasts.  Captain Finn's group came out and they got them down.  Then found the little coward trying to call for help.  That would not look good on his permanent military record or on his tombstone.


After the short, weirdly silent battle was over with, Phil undid his tie slightly and loosened his top collar button.  "Dad, Stark said he still remembers even after you tried to erase it."

"You can't really fully flash a guy like Stark," he said.  "Either the world can die because he forgot to make something or you ruin his mind and you're out whatever his twisted genius can build for you."  He looked at his son, doing the same loosening.  "We need to make sure no one else finds this."

Phil opened his case and pulled out something he had loved, firing it on the mess.  Everything went up in a sudden fire but them.  "There were a lot of missions I would've killed to have one of those on, like I used to when I cleaned up other kids' messy rooms for them."  He snapped the case shut and walked over.  "Your grandson is absolutely evil when he wants to be.  He messed up Rodney's complete filing system, his work area, and his tools by cleaning and sorting on him."

K smirked at him.  "That is evil.  Every genius is a bit OCD about things."

"Hmm," Phil agreed, smiling back.  "Then he played innocent."  K chuckled.  "I was so proud.  It's like watching me and Stark the younger years."

His father patted him on the arm.  "Some day you'll break him so he's more normal, son.  Just don't break the genius."  They walked off.  J was looking around for anything incriminating.  "The only one left is Finn?"

"He is.  He saw, he's crying.  Pity."  They got into the car.  Phil already had the front seat.  They drove off, being taken back to the main office.  Phil got sent back to the mansion.  J finally got his seat back.  He looked at K.  "Your kid rocks."

K smiled.  "Yeah, he does a pretty decent job of it.  Even if he does have to wear designer suits."  He drove them off to handle the next huge thing going on.  It was New York, something was always going on.


Xander woke up, which wasn't right.  He hadn't been sleepy.  He sat up and looked around, finding his father making lunch.  "You drugged me?"

"Yup.  Before you started to slam your head into the wall."  He walked over ramen noddle soup and sandwiches, handing Xander his and sitting down at the table.  "Before you ask, this is one of my safehouses.  No one knows where we are, including Coulson."


"I had him hang with Stark for a few days.  It'll help his geek side."  He ate a bite of sandwich, watching his son.  Once he had eaten, he took him to the couch so they could talk like semi-adults.  "I could have helped."

"You don't know anything about lesser demons."

"You could have let Castiel help."

"He doesn't know anything about lesser demons.  He's an angel, they only handle the bad shit of their own level for the most part."  He shrugged.  "We taught him some but he was protecting Dean, which is his job.  He's Dean's guardian angel."

"Then teach some of us."

"It's not exactly life affirming," Xander said bitterly.

"Neither is hitting someone from a rooftop."  Xander looked at him.  "I'm a sniper, kid, not just a spy."

"I guess that's true.  I don't think you'll need it."

"Doesn't matter.  We all need to learn how to handle anything that might come up."

"It might not come up again."  Clint snorted and sipped some of his water.  Xander grimaced.  "I can't believe you drugged me."

"Of course I did.  That way you can't escape or try to get back to the mansion."

"I can apparate."

"I have the wand back at the mansion."

Xander patted himself down.  "I can do it without that."  He smiled.

"Natasha gave you something to block magic for the next twelve hours."  He stared at him.  "Then we'll go home."

Xander slumped.  "Fuck."

"Want another week of Dean being your shower buddy?"

"No!  Actually, that shit's stopped as of today because it's freaky for both of us."

"Yay.  Then next time let the adults handle things."  He stared at him and a clue clicked into place.  "The vision."

Xander looked at him.  "Don't know when."

"You have plans."

"Of course I have plans."  He snorted.  "Someone's got to have plans in place."

"Tony does."

"It's most likely going to be during a battle.  Probably on national tv."

Clint nodded.  "Could be," he agreed.  "Though we're pretty sure we can block it."

"You think you can block magic or nanobot technology?"

Clint grimaced.  "Possibly not.  Who haven't you seen yet?"

"Thor.  I'm not sure if that's because he's not there, or if he's out of my visual range.  I have the feeling he's not there or not really affected the same way.  I haven't seen Natasha since the first one."  Clint nodded.  "I had a potion genius Xander make me an aging potion because we'll need an adult."


"Are you really thinking Stark's going to be able to get us out of the country with most of us being kids?  Or that his company's going to be able to work itself out when he's like Rodney?  Especially if it was on national tv?"

"That's a point to consider.  Have you talked to him about that?"  He finished his water.

"I thought all of you guys got copies of the vision."

"We have.  I'm not sure if they've read and understood it yet.  That's why we needed a backup spot."  Xander nodded.  "So Coulson understood that."

"I'm sure he probably did.  He tends to take in whole battlefield connections at once."

"He does, yeah.  That's what a field handler does."  He considered it.  "What about me?"

"You and Evan can bond over bow practice.  You'll need someone who can handle things.  Do the adult stuff, handle issues, all that.  Of all the kids I'm the best trained to do that."

"You are but I don't want you to go to SHIELD."

"Who said I would?"  He smiled.  "There's no way in hell I want to go anywhere that wants to destroy two kids for being born."

"That move today.  They were going to capture Greg and Spenser," he realized.

Xander nodded.  "Not just them.  They'd love to have Dean and Toni too to see where their skills laid and to use them later on.  The rest of us they'd test, probably not keep most of us, and they'd put us somewhere we couldn't protest and couldn't come back to haunt them.  I'm pretty sure SHIELD, or their overseeing body, has some agents that don't mind capping kids."

"I know a few, and shot one," Clint said quietly.  "So you're seeing bigger picture issues that we aren't willing to look at yet."  Xander nodded.  "Then why not tell us?"

"Because for the most part, you're all happy to have kids.  Someone to train, to love on, to watch grow up.  Someone of yours that you can absolutely trust and talk to.  If I was outside all that mess and the age I had planned on being, I would've already gotten you guys to a safe spot one way or another.  A slight feint towards Dean, who can protect himself with a slight kidnaping of Rodney for sundaes or something."

Clint nodded.  "Which would've made us paranoid and made us put that plan into action sooner, which would've meant that we'd be more stable with our back to a defensible point."  Xander nodded.  "Fuck."

"You're still my dad in this life.  Ask me next one," he said dryly, getting swatted.  "Hey!"

"Suck it up," he said dryly.  He got up to get them more water, considering things.  "Have you talked to Natasha?"

"She avoids me and I did it on purpose."  Clint stared at him.  "You can't tell me she'll suddenly become the squishy mom type.  Which would drive most of us nuts to have hanging on us."  He leaned on his knees, chin on his fists.  "Redemption children were all warriors before we were chosen.  We inspired hope by leading battles, making the great speeches, being the guy who the warriors looked at and went 'I want to be him but less crazy'."

"I can understand that."

"Even the new ones can inspire that.  Even though Ianto did it more silently, healing Sam's immediate traumas.  He was the backbone and their team would've fallen apart.  Rodney did the same thing on Atlantis with a lot of bitching and complaining.  John led the teams and they all would die for him.  Evan too."

"I get that," he said.  "We all realize that you're all lone wolves for the most part.  You more than most."

"It's been a long time since I had someone I wanted to rely on and they kept thinking I was normal. Frankly, the second life after that one, where I was with Dean and Sam, a lot of us got sent to other redemption children that were burnt out.  Don got one, Tony got one.  It was more than a convenient spot to put others of us.  They needed one.  Though, I needed one and D'Hoffryn sent me Anya."  He let out a bitter snort.  "There's been plenty of times when we wondered why we saved humanity.  Me more than most with all that I've seen and done.  Slaying is staking people that you used to know."

"I've had to take out a few people I knew," Clint admitted.  "It sucks wide."

"It does, and in slaying it's most every night.  Sunnydale had under fifteen thousand people with both colleges full."  Clint winced.  "Vamps like to eat the teenager or college kids for the most part.  When you're one of them...  I've actually sat there and watched a fellow student get eaten because I had to concentrate on the bigger problem going on.  Hell, I staked my best friend," he sighed.  "To save Cordelia.  Really, I would've rather had Jesse, even vamped and dangerous."

Clint pulled him over.  "I can't ease that."

"Not asking you to and quit hugging?"

"Shut up."

Xander looked at him.  "You're not usually this touchy-feelly.  Did you take drugs?"

"No.  I have it hidden very well."  He pulled him closer.  "Natasha and I have a history that's really weird.  Including that I was sent to take her out and didn't.  I recruited instead."  Xander pulled back to look at him.  He nodded.  "I'd heard of her before, knew her a bit," he said, not fully covering that truth.  "I had to suck it up and go take her down, but when I found out what was going on, I didn't.  I got her help, got her steady, got her recruited.  It was probably the best mission of my life."  Xander slumped. 

"I know I can't trust her fully and yet I do.  I know that some day she can turn on all of us and I still love the bitch.  I hate her a whole lot too.  I know she'll kill me some day instead of kiss me because she wants to.  I'll still look forward to that day because being killed by her is probably the best way a guy can go.  Especially if she's in a mood and grants you a last request first."  He looked at him.  "If she's not shrunk like we will be, you trust her."  Xander nodded.  "How far up will you be?"

"Sixteen, seventeen, somewhere in there.  It'll give me time to retrain a few things, handle things for Stark if I need to, and all that."

Clint nodded.  "Okay.  I can see that."  He ruffled his hair.  "Are you calmer?"

"I tend to vent after battles."

"I tend to sit there and clean weapons.  It's easier and I can think."

"I tried that and got nagged by the bitches I used to know.  Especially about them not needing me to save them, again."

He looked at him.  "Sound like real bitches.  At least I know Stark won't do that if you two end up together in some future timeline."

Xander shrugged.  "Just because we're mates doesn't mean we'll get it together.  There's a set that have crossed back and forth multiple times.  Everything from father/daughter to grandparent/granddaughter.  To 'friend's daughter' and elderly neighbor.  They never got it together.  The First Evil took them out in that first realm though."

"That sounds depressing and like a good girl movie.  You should write that out so they can turn it into a tearjerker PMS film."

"I might do that when I'm older."  He looked at him.  "Can you quit hugging now?"



"Because, at this moment you're my son and family means everything to me."  He looked at him.  "Evan and I are a lot alike, but you and I are almost identical twins in some ways.  If I can help you smooth out some things so you get to where I am a bit more healthy and sound mentally, then I will."

"Is making me and Dean shower buddies really going to help that since it's upsetting the hell out of him?  I've never seen Dean blush until that."

"We'll see."  He shifted to put his feet up.  "Go over your plans with me."

"Shouldn't we search for listening devices?"

"The two I found only go back to Coulson.  If anyone else is listening we'll go kill them."

"Cool," Xander said with a grin.  "When I was on the hell carrier I found a lot of explosives and rewired their self destruct."  Clint blinked at him.  He smiled.  "It's mean to have a flying battle cruiser with a self destruct.  The other agents don't deserve that."

"I'm wondering if Fury knows."  He sent that text message to Coulson and put his phone back up.

Xander had looked over at it.  "I slept for six hours?"

"Yeah, I was starting to worry but I know you probably needed it."

"I haven't slept more than four without chemical dependency in *years*.  I learned that real fast."

"I remember those days," he admitted.  Xander looked at him.  Clint took off his sleeveless t-shirt, Xander slumping and nodding he understood what that showed.  "Mine died."

"Wish mine had some days," Xander muttered.

"Your journal had something about wish demons."

"Won't answer us most of the time."

"That's good to know."  They settled in to go over the plans.  The kid has some valid points and ones that they needed to handle so he didn't have to.  Being a real adult meant that you didn't have to forge paperwork.


Clint sat down at the meeting table that night.  He had put Xander down in bed since he had fallen asleep on the way back to the mansion.  Evan was in there with him so he'd stay asleep for a while.  He put down his notes on the table and gave them a nudge toward Coulson.  "He's not a bad planner."

"He's not," he agreed, taking them to look over.  He nodded.  "He had some valid points, including that your future deaging would probably take place during a crisis moment."  He moved on, handing those to Stark.  "That's not a bad action plan or a battle plan.  We can add to it and ease some of his duty."

"I haven't even thought about telling Pepper yet," Tony admitted.  He handed that sheet to Natasha and took the next one, grimacing.  "Can he do that?"

"Yeah," Clint said.  "He can."  He leaned back and got comfortable.  "He was going to have a fake one around Pepper so she'd know and not be totally worried."

"She'll figure that out so I'll tell her tomorrow after that meeting."  He handed the next sheet on and took the last one, nodding.  "Sixteen isn't legally an adult."

"He thinks Thor will be," Phil said.  "Or he hasn't seen him yet by anything that I've seen."

"He's not sure if Natasha will be or not either," Clint said, looking at her.  "He said you've only shown up in them once."

"So I may be the reasonable adult to get you all moved."  Clint nodded.  "We can deal with that.  If not, I might not deage as much.  Or Steve."

"He's not sure.  He saw him being about eight or so during the first one but since then he hasn't really spotted more than his side-view."  He shrugged.  "For right now, we've got things we've got to handle so he doesn't have to."

"The island's going to be ready in six months," Tony said.  "They've got a bunch of the buildings started and some will be done within four."  That got a nod from Phil.  "Fury's going to throw a fit.  It won't go well with his plans."

Clint smirked at him.  "When Xander was up there, he disabled and changed the self-destruct."

"We have one on the hell carrier?" Steve asked.  He took the sheets to look over, grimacing.  "Not bad plans," he agreed.  "A bit rough."

"He didn't want to do the finest details because that could change," Clint said.  He looked at Coulson.

"I noted that he had found one and told us," Phil said.  "Director Fury was very confused.  Can Xander tell us where it was?"  He pointed at the third sheet, which Steve sent back down to him.  He sent that as a text message and Fury said he'd look.  He sent it back and got comfortable.  "How would he have nudged us if his original plans weren't hindered?"

"Taking Rodney out for sundaes without us realizing until we noticed he was missing."

Tony nodded.  "That would've panicked most of us.  I would've moved us back to Stark towers or back to the house in Malibu immediately."

"Which are safer because half of everyone knows where we are," Steve agreed.  "That's not a bad idea anyway."  He looked around.

"Some of us have safehouses," Natasha noted.

"Is breaking up the kids the best idea?" Bruce countered.  "Jeremy and Antonia have been helping the genius contingent with things."

"We can all move to the tower," Stark said.  "Then to Malibu in a few weeks, then to the island."  They all nodded.  "Then again, this could happen in two years.  Xander's vision didn't have a time code from what I saw."  Coulson shook his head.  His phone beeped.  "Problems?" Tony asked.

"Xander rewired it.  Clint, did you get the new quit code?"

"No.  Xander's asleep."

Coulson wrote that back and said he'd get it in the morning unless it was running and critical to wake Xander up.  He covered Xander knowing how to do that by telling him he had talked to Rodney, who had told him how to do it.  When asked how they had talked, he admitted that Xander pickpocketed phones very well.  He had taken Natasha's to order weapons a few days after they had been brought home.  Fury groaned and hung up.  Coulson checked the cameras they had set up in everyone's rooms.  "Xander, what's the new quit code?" he called quietly.

"Rodney's birthday in his original life."

"Thank you."  He looked.  "I don't have that."  Stark shook his head he didn't.  "I'll get it in the morning."  He went back to the plans.  The others had read it and were making their own plans.

Bruce raised his hand.  "Am I affected?"  Everyone nodded.  "So I'll be a mini Hulk?  Kids don't really have emotional control."

Tony pulled up the plans for their fallback island.  "You'll have your own house, Bruce.  It's got a safe suite in it for if you need to change.  Totally reinforced in a way that should take you at least a week to get out of."  Bruce nodded in appreciation of that.  "Beyond that, I took it that we'd be like the kids, mini uses with our full faculties and abilities, adjusted for age."

"If so, I need a lighter bow," Clint said.  Stark nodded.  "I'm working on the design of one for the boys."

"If he's about adult, Xander could probably take yours over," Tony said, looking down at him.  "That's how the last version played out.  We were shrunk, Xander shows up, picks up your bow, and takes out the bad guy.  Slightly off-center because he's not you and it's built to your height and muscle mass.  We can adjust it then to his."

"That'll work then," Clint decided.  "We still have to make some plans."

"We do," Phil agreed.  They settled in to work on who needed paperwork for new guardians at that time, and who they'd be.  How to get the kids to the fall back spot without magic.  Hopefully Bruce, Tony, and Rodney could build the beaming satellite by then.


Tony walked into his old office, looking at Pepper, getting smiled at.  "We have to talk.  People, can I have a few with Pepper," he told the gaggle of assistants wanting things.  They left.  He shut and locked the door, then stuck the device he had built with Coulson's plans on the polished wood surface to block out any eavesdropping.  A listening device went off when he put another one on the desk.  Tony flushed that and came back out to stare at her.  "We've found out that Xander's not normal," he said quietly.

"Why?"  She leaned away from the desk.

"We've found that he has visions."

She smiled and laughed.  "Visions?  Like foresight...  You're not laughing."

He shook his head.  "We know why he has visions.  Let's just say that Xander's not one of the ones that they made."  He put the vision down on the desk.  She looked it over, giving him a horrified look.  He nodded.  "So we're working on the backup spot."

"But...  If you're six or so....  What's going to happen?"

"Well, first of all, you're going to be my legal guardian if something happens."  He pulled out an envelope and put it on the desk.  "For the safe.  When and if it happens."

"If?" she asked hopefully.

"In the millennia he's been around he's never been more wrong than off-schedule."  She shivered.  He nodded.  "Huge, long story there."  He waved a hand.  "Not the point."

She nodded.  "Okay.  Any idea when?"

"No.  We think within a few years.  We're hoping we have time to get the full fallback spot done and move the kids there anyway so we don't have to worry about them during that incident."

She considered things.  "They'll say I can't be a guardian if I don't live with you."

"You're joint guardians, with Alexander.  You have legal guardianship of everything I have.  He has physical."  He looked out the window then at her again.  "I'm also planning on having to show up at least once to prove that I'm still me, just a miniature version of me."  He grinned slightly.  "The kids all know."  He pulled a book he had put on the shelf out and put it onto the desk, showing her the myth.

She read and grimaced.  "Him?"


"Shoot," she said, leaning back again.  "So we're rightly uptight."

"We're going to be moving the kids back to the tower in a few weeks.  Then after a month or so to Malibu."

She nodded.  "That's a lot safer since we heard rumors that someone tried to get into the kids."

"They have.  We've stopped them all so far."

"Okay," she decided, sitting up and drafting out a list.  She checked the envelope and made another suggestion, handing it to him.  "Prepare those."

"Yes, Pepper."  He smiled.  "I knew you're the only one I can trust."

She smiled and kissed him on the tip of his nose.  "I'll protect you and the company."

"Thanks, Pepper."  He left.  She got up to put those papers in the safe with Tony's will and medical power of attorney papers.  She sat down to think.  If he was right, things were going to be insane for the next ten years.  She'd be ancient when Tony was twenty.  It was enough to make her want to find a drink and cry into it.  "Maybe he can find some mythical deaging water to help me then," she said quietly.  A vial dropped onto her desk pad and she looked up at the retreating figure in the heating ducts, smiling some.  "He's clearly a Barton."  She put it into her purse.  She'd hide it later.


Tony stood up in front of his board of directors, smirking some at his son.  "This is why this meeting is a closed meeting, because we do not want this getting out.  Thanks to a lab doing some experimenting, I'm here to announce my heir's presence."  He nodded.  Rodney stood up and walked over beside him.  "They made me a genius son, even downloading some memories into his head so he'd fit in here better.  This is my son and heir, Rodney Stark."  He patted him on the head with a grin.

One board member raised his hand.  "A lab made him for you?  Like IVF?"

"No, like someone that was under SHIELD protocol decided to breed future agents," Rodney said, staring at him.  "They decided Dad needed an heir as well and here I am, magnificent as always."  He smirked.  "I look forward to figuring out why none of you could change your phone's screensavers in the future."  He sat down again.

Most of the board members looked at their phone's screensavers and groaned.

Tony smirked.  "He's my boy."  He looked back at Rodney.  "Why their screensavers?"

"If you can't handle something that simplistic and mundane, then how can you handle laser application research or anything else?  Only two had other options, and they were downloaded but not used.  The rest were on bubbles or some such."  He flapped a hand.  "Totally boring and mundane, yet we do non-mundane and fantastical things here."

"We do," Tony agreed.  He grinned at the glares at his son.  "I would've done the same thing, people.  He's my kid for a reason."

"Who else was he made from?" Pepper asked.

"A former lab assistant.  I've since contacted her and she freaked out but agreed I could have full custody and control of him."

"Good."  She smiled and made that note.  "Paperwork?"

"In the safe."

"Even better."  She smiled.  "I think he's adorable, even if he is a mouthy coffee addict already."  Rodney smirked evilly at her.  "Who can help me go shopping as a punishment from what I've heard."  Rodney shuddered but settled down.  She grinned at Tony.  "Phil had such good ideas."

"He did.  A few of the other kids ended up being shower buddies."  She cackled and nodded.  He grinned at the others.  "So there is an heir now.  He'll be four in a few weeks."

"That young?" one asked.

"Memory download," Rodney said dryly.  "I can already do calculus."

"We were working on further arc reactor power supply problems last night when I couldn't sleep," Tony agreed.  "If not, he'd be a nice, normal genius like I was probably.  Though I haven't gotten him interested in the car collection yet."

Rodney grimaced and shook his head.  "I don't find combustion engines anything other than impractical yet unfortunately necessary.  Perhaps we'll build something better."

Tony grinned.  "We can do that.  I started building cars at your age."  Rodney grinned.  He grinned at the board again.  "Any other questions?"

"Is he going in the suit?" one asked with a grimace.

Tony shrugged.  "No clue.  Haven't talked about it and we won't be until he's at least sixteen.  If not, the other kids there with him are some that went to SHIELD agents and a few others.  They're all being raised as a mob right now."

"That's because most of us wouldn't give up Ianto's coffee," Rodney said, sipping his water.  He looked at one.  "For future reference, I have allergies to some perfumes, so please, not around me."

"I'll take that into account," she said, blinking at him then at Tony, who nodded.  "Should I move?"

He walked over to sniff her.  "It's not that much in yours.  I think you're the only one he smelled wearing some.  Some of the incense ones and citrusy ones can bother him severely though.  Usually to the point of needing an epi pen."

"Then I'll make sure I don't wear that type here when I know he'll be here, Mr. Stark.  Thank you for the warning, Rodney."

He smiled.  "I hate having to spend time in the infirmary for it.  It sucks and I never get the good toys or books while I'm in there."

"No, you can't keep building the corruption module you were working on earlier for the laser system if you're in the infirmary.  It has to be in a cleaner environment."

"Do we know which genius they downloaded the memories of so we can see if they'll come work for us?" Pepper quipped.

"No.  It could've been a mixed sample.  No clue.  I know he's got a heavy physics background though."  That got a nod.  "We're doing okay, even if I did have to ground him for sneaking out one night by not letting him tinker for days."  He sipped his water.

"He's really mean," Rodney told Pepper, who smiled at him.  "He wouldn't let me have any tools, much less power tools, and Barton was going to make me *play* like a child."

She got up to hug him.  "I would too.  You need playtime, Rodney.  That way you grow up normal instead of too warped."  She kissed him on the head.  "We can talk after this."  She sat down again, smiling at them.

"Will this cause a mental instability later in his life?" one of the oldest board members asked.

Tony shook his head.  "Not as far as we can tell.  Right now he's a twenty-five year old trapped in a four-year-old body.  He hasn't hit on anyone though.  I was flirting by his age."  He smiled.

That got a nod.  "I remember, Stark."  Tony grinned at him for that.  "All right, so we have an heir now, but we probably shouldn't talk about him to anyone."  Rodney smirked at him.  "We'll see if you take control.  You might end up evil."

Rodney cackled.  "Only without coffee and candy."

"We didn't let him have candy yesterday so he reprogrammed everyone's phone to go off at different times all night long until someone finally gave him a candybar."  Tony got comfortable.  "Any other concerns about my heir?"

"As long as he grows up moral and strong," the oldest member said firmly.

"I have plans of it.  Pepper's going to be looking over my shoulder a lot," he said dryly, smirking at him.

"Good," Pepper agreed happily.


K looked down at his grandson.  He was making a surprise visit.  "How would you like to visit where I work today?  You and Rodney or Alexander?"

Ianto looked up at him, blinking a few times.  "Is that really allowed?"

"No, but I think it might prove a few security flaws."

"Are you sure you want him?  Xander's been edgy recently."

"I think it'll do him good to get out of the house."  He heard a quiet noise behind him so instead of getting a backful of kid, he got a frontful of Evan Barton.  He smirked at him.  "Nice sneaking job, kid."

"I can go."

"I think if Xander does, he'll expose a few energy machines we have that have been broken for years but the boss insists are still working.  Of course, if you wanted to come test our security defenses you could too."

Evan let out an evil cackle.  "Rodney's at a meeting.  We can help.  Xander, wanna help him test their security flaws?"

Xander leaned down from the area overtop of the computer array, blinking at him.  "Security flaws?  Like huge ones or really tight ones?"

"Really tight ones, and if you're doing something to the computer you might want to run before Stark finds out."

"Am I being brought as cover?" Ianto asked.

"No.  One of the new aliens just asked for you, grandson."  Ianto grinned.  They got changed, because Ianto insisted, and left together.  K decided it was a fair test for the boys.  MIB had some of the best protections on Earth.  The boys weren't nearly as slick as they thought they were.  And really, the magic sensors have been broken since an incident in the seventies that no one was going to talk about.  They had erased the memory of everyone who had been there.  He drove them back.  As soon as they got into the main part of the complex, Xander and Evan disappeared.  He looked.  "Magic?" he asked his grandson.

"Not hardly.  I can still spot Evan.  So can someone else."  Evan shot them a dirty look then disappeared from there.

K looked up.  "See, the magic sensors are broken," he told the staring agents.  "That just proved it.   The kid teleported and no sensor going off."  He walked off with Ianto, taking him to the intake processing center.

Ianto looked.  "How did one of the weevils get here?"

"No idea but the telepath on duty said that he saw you in his head, and your boss."

"Jack named that one Janet."  He smiled and waved.  The creature blinked at him.  "What are you doing on this plane?"  She wailed and started to rock her cage.  Xander popped in and stared at her, making her shriek, then he grinned and disappeared again.

The boss huffed down from his office.  "Who is this, K?"

He smirked.  "This is my grandson, Ianto."

His boss blinked at the kid.  "I see."  Ianto smiled and shook his hand.  "Where were you stationed before?"

"Torchwood 3 in my home realm."

"Oh, my."

Ianto chuckled.  "It's not all that insane.  Jack did keep us on our toes though."

"The other two?" he asked one of his top agents, who was about to be demoted.

"Bartons.  They're testing the security flaws.  If they can make it back to the surface and sneak off, they're getting a fifty buck gift certificate to a candy shop and I might even stop and let them use it.  Without full magic, boys," he called, looking slightly over his shoulder.

J stomped over.  "We caught Evan once.  He teleported off.  We have no idea where he is right now."

Ianto looked around, spotting both of them.  Xander was paused and evaluating by looking around things.  Evan was headed for his spot up higher.  Xander disappeared and managed to make it into a vault-looking area but Ianto kept looking around.  A few minutes later, a smoke bomb went off, and that set off alarms.  Everyone stared then at Ianto, who smiled.  "Xander is a master of weapons apparently," he said dryly.

"Most of the ones in there are too large for him to carry," J said, looking around.  He saw the smoking crater that had to be a diversion.  He walked over there.  "Hey, we had those tiny alien overlord things again," he said, stomping on it to make sure it was dead.  "People, we have these things again," he said, picking up the remains to hold up.  They groaned and got weapons to hunt them down.   "Boys, if you find any more of these, they're dangerous and deadly.  Let us handle them." 

He heard the cackle and realized that was probably a really bad thing.  He looked at K, who smiled and shrugged.  J dropped the remains and wiped his hands off, going to get his own weapons.  J spotted something silver flying through the air, turning to watch the pretty grenade throw.  He glanced over at Evan's mate, who had thrown it, and was now cackling, but he disappeared.  Evan threw one in another direction and got something else that had managed to sneak in under an illusion.  "All right, we've got to end that," he said.

K pointed.  "Go turn on the disillusionment machine."  One ran to do that for him.  He sighed.  "Evan, no fair getting outside help and weapons."

"I had 'em on me, just can't throw as well," Evan complained.  The machine got turned on and Evan blipped off.

"It's cheating to go all the way to the surface with magic," Ianto called.  He heard another cackle and that was Xander's so he looked around frantically then got his grandfather out of the way, and his step-grandmother he supposed according to his father.  Where they had been standing was now a crater and so were the two aliens trying to sneak up on them.  Ianto pulled his own gun and shot another one.  J got the others.

K looked at him.  "You came armed too?"

"Always.  I learned that very early on in Torchwood 3.  Things come for those of us who're competent and adorable.  That's why they hardly ever came for Gwen."

K snorted, shaking his head.  "That's so bad, grandson."  He took the gun to look over.  "I'll see if I can find your father's old weapons in storage."  He handed it back before walking his grandson off to look at that area.  Wherever Xander was, no one could find him or Evan.  A few agents coming in a few hours later handed Evan over.  "How close to the exit was he?"

"Within feet, K.  Who is he?"

"He's one of the kids that got made with my grandson."  He smiled at Evan.  "Nice."

"Thank you.  The doohickey over the door is stupid.  I needed a paperclip."

"Where's your brother?" the boss asked.

Evan shrugged.  "You ask like we're psychic twins.  Really, we're not.  I'm a nice boy who likes good boys and girls.  Xander only likes them dangerous and/or evil.  Or the occasional stripper from what I heard."  He looked at K.  "Did that reduce the candy certificate?"

K smiled.  "Not at all.  You guys stopped an imminent invasion of the planet.  That gets candy."  Ianto beamed at him too.  "If we can find your brother, before I take you home.  If not, I'll take you two and let his father find him."

"Phil will be upset," Ianto assured him.

K smiled.  "He's gotten a bit mouthy recently.  It'll do him good to vent."  He walked the boys off.  "Let me show you how we improved freeze-dried ice cream so it actually tastes good."

"Cool," Evan agreed with a grin for the agents.  "You were good playmates."

J looked then at the agents.  "Pat yourselves down.  They're all little pickpockets, even the one that's half mine."  They stared at him.  "Not those two."  He pulled up a picture.  "This one."  They nodded and checked, letting J get their watches, wallets, and cellphones back.  He came back once he had handed them back.  "Is it usual for grandparents to hype kids up on sugar then hand them back?"

"It's a grandfather's right to spoil a kid then hand him back," he said happily.

J shuddered.  "Don't do it to my kid, okay?"  He walked off shaking his head.  The kids had huge sundaes.  He was not riding back with them because he'd be stuck in the car while K looked for the other little hellion.  He started calling their contacts to see where Xander was so it wouldn't take as long.  He finally caught his trail on the security monitors.  The kid had walked right past three agents acting like a sniffling little kid looking for his mother.  He printed that down for the boss. 

He had no idea how Xander had gotten to that exit instead of the one they had come in by.  He checked, the security cameras for those didn't read him but they were at chest height for an adult.  Only one motion sensor had caught him and it caught rats so it was usually off.  He wrote a report and handed it over so he could go hide from those sugar-high kids.  "Xander was last spotted heading for Times Square," he called into the break room.

"Thanks," K called back.  "Hookers?" he guessed.

Ianto shrugged.  "I don't know much about New York."

"I lived upstate," Evan admitted.

K sighed and they went to find the kid.  He did take them to the candy store so they could pick out what they wanted. It was nearly ten hours later when someone told him where Xander was and he went to gather him from the demon poker hall.  He spotted him and walked over.  "Bedtime," he noted.

"Last hand," Xander promised.  K started to move him.  "If I lose then the earth gets invaded."  K let him handle it and the kid did win, which made the alien there pout and hand over his power crystals and other space ship parts.  Xander dumped everything into the bag he had pulled out of his pocket, smirking at him.  "Thank you."  He gathered up the money and strolled out counting it.  He looked at the bag, which had a rip, then at one demon, who groaned but nodded he'd send it later.  "Thanks to you too, dude.  It's nearly Rodney's birthday.  That's his present.  He still wants to get Atlantis back."  The whole bar groaned.  Xander winked at one lady, who shivered.  "Pretty One, is there anything I can do to help you?"

She whimpered.  "No.  Not until you're older.  Damn."  He patted her on the arm, making her moan and shift in her seat.  He stroked up to her ear then yanked hard on it, making her yelp and then moan.  Xander cackled and walked off.  She went to a puddle in her seat.  "I'll reform in a minute, once I have some afterglow time."  The dealer at that table nodded and chipped her out for a bit.  "I have no idea how he knew I was in heat."  They all groaned but it was nice of the Warrior Child.

K looked at him.  "The other kids got into the candy already."

Xander beamed.  "I had some ordered for me for winning a few hands.  There's a Rodney safe box and a not Rodney safe box."  He patted him on the hand.  "Thanks though."  He got into the backseat, hugging Evan and Ianto.  He handed Evan the money.

Ianto looked at it then at Xander.  "What else were you doing?"

"I was winning Rodney spaceship parts.  The demonic mafia guy nodded he'd send them back later."

Ianto hung his head, shaking it.  "That's so mean."

"His birthday's coming up."

"We can't compete with that," Evan said.

"So use the poker money to get him something he'll like from the science store," Xander said with a grin.  "Not like I understand that stuff."

"Good point."

"We can go out again in a few days, boys," J said.  "If the world doesn't end."  He had been picked up after hour 4 of looking for Xander so the kids weren't in the car alone.

"It won't.  He doesn't have anything to power his weapons now," Xander quipped.  A note popped in on his lap.  He read John's handwriting that he had all the ship parts and crystals, that the other Xander had changed all those so they landed on his bed.  "Even better," he said, handing it to Evan so he could read the cackling in glee.

Evan grinned.  "It's good that we made John cackle."

"He is the son of Strife," Xander quipped.

J shivered.  "That might be a bad thing."

Evan grinned.  "In about ten, twelve years I can screw all the evil outta him again."

K nodded.  "We'll put up with it until then I suppose."  He pulled into the driveway and got out, smiling at the upset parents.  "I had to test the security upgrades.  The boys were mostly very good."  He got Evan and Ianto out, handing them over.  Xander got out and strolled off toward the back of the house.  J handed Phil the bag with a smirk then got back into the car.  "I gave them a reward for making sure we had decent security, which we didn't, and they managed to stop a possible invasion again."  He got back into the car after patting both boys on the head.

"Where did my son go since I heard he was wandering?" Clint asked.

"Demon poker hall."

Clint shook his head.  Evan grinned and showed him the money.  "That way we can get Rodney something nice from the science store so he'll be happy tinkering."

"I would've taken you, Evan."  He looked at him.  He looked happy, felt like he was bouncy, and apparently had fun.  "Ready for bed?"

Evan cackled.  "Nope."  He got down and ran off.  "Tag, you're it," he said, patting Dean on the arm.

"Dude, share the candy," Dean complained, racing after him.

Phil groaned, holding onto his son.  "Oh, dear."  He walked back inside, taking Ianto to bed.  He looked in the bag and nearly whimpered in fear.  "How much did he spend?"

"Fifty-two dollars and twelve cents including tax," Ianto said happily.

Phil mentally added up what was in the bag.  "You ate twenty dollars worth of candy between you three?"

"No, just me and Evan.  We didn't find Xander until an hour ago.  His is coming and he thoughtfully got some just for Rodney."

Phil nodded, taking the candy with him.  He stared around the kitchen, picking a cabinet that wasn't easily climbed up to and there wasn't an airvent anywhere near there, or a window.  That would make it harder for the kids to get to.  At least until he saw the grappling hook hit the bag and pull it off quickly.  "I think you've had enough tonight, Evan."

"Heresy," he shouted, then ran off with a happier cackle.  The other kids followed.  Xander was sitting on a crate in one of the hidden rooms in the stone treehouse.  "All that's ours?" he asked in awe.

Xander looked at him.  "This one's mine.  The crate with blue writing is Rodney safe candy.  So let him have that.  The other one is you guys'."  They pouted.  He smirked.  "It has more than you think in it and I won this playing poker."  They huffed but dug into their crate.

"Hey, someone makes sugar quills here and sugar bullets," Dean quipped, taking a sugar quill to suck on.   The bullets were a bit strange but could be handy.  They divvied that up and hid it in their various hiding spots around the house.

Tony and Rodney came in, with Rodney yawning.  "What did we miss?"

"Coulson's father spoiling the kids with candy," Natasha said.  "Xander ordered you some that's safe for your nibbling times."  Rodney got down and went to check.

"Whose card did he steal this time?" Stark asked, checking his.

"He won it playing kitten poker," Phil said blandly.  "While my father was getting the other two children he took to help check his team's security system fifty dollars worth at the bulk candy store in Lower Manhattan."

"Is your father secretly evil?" Tony asked.  "Because I'd consider that evil."  He saw Dean run past.  "What's that?"

"Sugar quill!"

Tony plucked it out of his hand to look over and taste.  "That's not bad.  You still have to go to bed so put the candy up and hike it, boys.  Pepper's showing up tomorrow."  They groaned.  "If you don't eat it all tonight, you'll have some for tomorrow too."

"Dude, Xander won a huge box of candy.  We're not running out this week even if we are sugar high little hellions all week."  He took his sugar quill back and ran off.  "Toni, Pepper's showing up tomorrow."

"Okay," she called back.  "Save me smarties or something.  Oh My God!  Xander, is that ....  You got me a gummy heart?  Cool!"

"Eww," a few of the adults muttered.

Spenser strolled past sucking on a lollipop.  "Some of us were never sugar hounds but I'm sorry for Greg being a bit bouncy."  He switched sides he was sucking on.  "And the fact that Xander won about a case of candy for Rodney and one for us."

"How big is Xander's box?" Clint asked, heading out to the treehouse.

"I'm not sure how he got it in there."  He shrugged and looked at Tony.  "Can we get film from the upcoming symposium?"

"The one on mental health?  I'll see if I know someone who's going so they can get taped lectures."  Spenser smiled and walked off.  "You guys go pile up in the playroom or in your own rooms.  Pepper's going to be here about ten to meet you all and fuss over you properly.  She does it to me so she'll do it to you geniuses."  Spenser winced.  "Even if Xander does hide from it, yes."

"Okay."  He went to gather everyone.  "Playroom, people?  Or beds?"  They spit.  "She's going to fuss.  She's the fussing sort."  Rodney moaned, shaking his head.

"Why?" Antonia asked.

"She'll teach you how to be a tomboy and get around your dad," Tony said as he walked in.  "If you guys want to gather in here that's fine.  Just try to sleep some of it off so you can be overly sugared heathens in the morning."  They smirked.  Spenser, Antonia, Evan, Jeremy, and Greg were in there.  They had no idea where the others were.  Ianto walked past there and piled in with them.  He was still a bit sugar high with Evan.  The ice cream was wearing off and the last doses of sugar were going to make them crash soon.

Rodney came in from moving all his candy to his room so no one could infect it with things he couldn't have.  He locked his door and had a fine time eating sugar quills and blood pops.  His father came in to get the one in his mouth when he fell asleep sucking it, analyzing it and grimacing at it.  "At least it's not real blood," he muttered.  "Yuck."

Coulson squeezed his eyes shut then let them open.  He sighed and went to find the others with Natasha and Clint.  There was no telling where Dean and Xander were.  They found Dean in a tree.  Clint was climbing up to get him down since he was asleep in the tree and it was going to rain tonight.  Or else they might've left him.

Castiel appeared, looking up there.  "I should spank Xander for the second time," he decided.

Xander cackled.  "You'd lose your hand, Cas."

Dean flinched and looked around.  "Hey, Cas."

"Let's get you down, Dean," Clint said quietly.  "It's going to rain so you can't sleep in the tree tonight."  Dean nodded, letting himself be helped down and handed off to his warrior guardian angel, who had a lot of patience apparently.

Castiel looked at Clint for that thought.  "Yes, I do.  Though not eternal patience as I found out."  He looked at Dean, who grinned cutely at him.  "Come, I'll tell you how things are going and how your brother just nearly destroyed Cardiff."  He carried him off to bed to tuck him in before he got into more trouble.  His 'Dean getting into trouble' feeling from being his guardian angel was still twinging at him so he'd stay until he fell asleep.

Clint looked around from the tree.  Xander tended to go for hiding spots that weren't conventionally accessible.  Mostly higher up ones right now.  Apparently not this time.  He climbed down and they went to look at the candy.  The empty crate got a wince from Phil and Natasha.  Clint looked at the bigger disturbed dust spot, comparing it.  "Xander's is twice theirs, people."

Natasha looked and groaned.  "Oh, dear."

"Oh, yes," a male voice said.  A new Xander, an adult one with long hair, appeared with a new bag.  He smiled.  "The bag ripped and dumped things on my bed, where I had it reprogrammed to go.  I'm pretty sure he was going to win them for Rodney's birthday?"  He handed over the box and bag with a grin.  "Also, some of my old working equipment for Xander."

Xander popped in on his back, hugging him around the neck.  "Thanks, me."

"Welcome, little me."  They shared an evil smirk.  "I'm bored and lonely so I'm going to go visit like I'm Lavelle."  He winked.  "There's another of me that I wanted to look in the library of."

"Booknerd us?"

"No, Godly us."  He kissed him on the head and handed him the box and the bag.  "Don't rip it."

"Didn't mean to this time.  The poker hall guy did it."

"He's an idiot."  He patted him on the head.  "Poof before they grab you."  He nearly managed it but Clint grabbed him.  Xander grinned.  "Every kid needs a major sugar rush."

"I've only had two pieces," Xander said with a grin.

"One was a six-foot roll of nerd rope," he said, pointing at the wrapper.  "The other was a honey candy?"  Xander nodded with a grin.  "Spread it out so you can have some tomorrow when Pepper shows up."

"I'm not a tomboy."

"No, you're a real boy," Clint agreed, holding onto him.  Phil took the box and bag.  "Anything we should know about something in the box?  Because we're confiscating all the weapons unless they're needed."

"No, he has his axe that we helped him make."  He smirked.  "Laters, people."  He disappeared.

Clint looked at Xander.  "He seems like a very nice you."  He walked Xander off to his room.  Xander fussed and wiggled so they ended up locked in the playroom.  He could help Xander wear himself into a nap.

Phil let Stark look over the box and bag's contents.  It had a nice cage setup for the ferret that was running around in the play area.  It had a playpen, a water bottle, some kitten chow, and a litter box.  The cage could hold all that and then some.  It even had some toys.  Natasha got that set up because the ferret seemed to adore her and she did not want it on her. 

The magic books went into Xander's room.  The candy too, the other kids would steal it in the morning.  For some reason Xander had some bigger clothes so they packed that away.  He had a few DVD's too.  Stark took those to watch.  A few new pictures they'd buy frames for.  And something in the bottom of the bag that was wrapped heavily in a cloak.  Phil peeked and blushed, recovering it.  "I don't think he needs the sex toys yet."

Tony put on one of the DVD's.  He blinked as he watched that other Xander he had seen on the security cameras start to teach how to do a specific dance, moving ahead to see what it looked like.  He sat down hard, staring at it.  "I might."

Phil looked, blinking hard.  "What is that?"

"Dance moves."  He swallowed then turned it off.  "I can't watch that with Natasha in the house.  I can maybe watch regular porn but not that."  He walked off to take a cold shower.

Natasha came in to gather the DVD's for herself.   Perhaps she'd learn new tricks.  She was an excellent dancer.

Phil shook his head, going to his own room to hide from everyone for a while.  Sometimes he wondered if this wasn't some sort of fever dream.  It was just a bit weirder than he was used to.


Ianto was the first up, as usual, and went to check things over.  The playroom was nearly destroyed.  Clint was in one corner, curled up with his back to it and a weapon in his hand.  Ianto blinked at that.  Not even Jack was that uptight most of the time.  He looked over, Xander was in a similar position but he had a gun and a wand, one in each hand.  He moved silently closer to Xander.  Then he had to run from the snake that came slithering over to bite him.  It had been hiding under Xander's arm in the shadows.  He yelped and climbed up the banister and leapt over to the chandelier in the entryway.

Stark came down rubbing his eyes.  He stared at the snake.  "That's an asp."

"It was guarding Xander while he slept," Ianto said.

Stark looked at him.  "Don't like snakes?"

"Fuck no!  Do I look insane!"

"Mouth, Mini-Coulson, before you end up someone's shower buddy," he said dryly.  "Natasha, do you have a gun on you?" he yelled.  The snake hissed and moved.  He backed up a few steps.  She came out of her room looking half asleep.  He pointed.  "It was guarding Xander."  She shot it with a growl.  It flashed into a puff of smoke.  "Where is he, Ianto?"


"Okay, you stay there until Barton can get you down.  I have no idea if we have a ladder anywhere."  He went to get something to help kill the snakes.

Natasha stomped down to the playroom, finding there were now three snakes.  She closed the door before they could get out.  She cleared her throat loudly and dodged the crossbow bolt from Clint's weapon.  "Xander!" she bellowed.  He snapped awake and looked around, panting.  "Can you please unsummon the snakes?  They're a bit disturbing to some people."

He nodded, yawning and flicking his wand at them.  "Sorry, old habits die hard."  He got up and stretched.  There were a few more behind him.  "I didn't summon you."

"Then please put them back in the zoo," she said firmly.  "You've already made Ianto sit on the chandelier and most people do not react favorably to snakes."

"Then I wouldn't move," Clint warned.  She stiffened and nodded.  He got up to capture the nice one that was crawling toward Natasha.  Xander said something and it left her and Clint alone, coming back to curl up around the tray of mice he made.  Natasha sighed.  "Go make sure there's none in the house once you've sent those back to whatever zoo you got them from?" 

Xander nodded, sending them to the local zoo.  It was probably from there.  He walked around the house calling for his scaley friends.  Rodney walked out and handed him a dead one.   Coulson flinched in his room and then they heard a gunshot.  Xander went in to gather those ones.  "They decided you were warm.  Usually they like Dean."  He went to check on Dean's room.  Castiel had them caged for him.  "Sorry."

"I've seen you do it in your sleep before," Castiel said dryly.  He helped Xander get the snakes out of the house.  It wasn't quite as much of a feat as St. Patrick, but then again he was an angel, not a saint.

Pepper got there, watching them herd the last few snakes.  "Why did we have a snake infestation?"

"I kinda summoned in my sleep," Xander admitted.  "No, don't bite the pretty ankle.  She'll step on you," he told that snake, making her shudder for the hissing.  They banished the last of them and then he went to his room to hide.

Pepper stopped him to give him a hug.  "I think you're a neat kid, Xander.  No matter how strange you are.  You can't compare to a focused, nerdy Stark."  He grinned and still went to hide.  She looked at the adult.  "I don't know you.  Pepper Potts, Tony's CEO and former assistant."

He smiled and shook her hand.  "Castiel.  Dean's guardian angel."  Dean walked out rubbing his eyes and mumbling swear words.  "Language before you end up being a shower toy again."

Dean snorted.  "Not going to happen."  He blinked at Pepper, who smiled.  "Huh.  Pretty chicks are always welcome."  He grinned.  Castiel swatted him.  "She is!"

"Go have coffee, Dean."

"I haven't made any yet," Ianto said.  "Frankly, until we're sure there's no more snakes in the house I'm not coming down."

Dean found his wand and checked then shrugged.  "Only the one on Xander's dresser."  Ianto stared at him.  "It's a statue."

"Bullshit, the thing hissed at me the other day," he complained genteelly.

Castiel summoned it and killed the snake.  "There.  I've driven them all out, Ianto."

"Thank you, St. Patrick," Rodney complained.

Castiel stared at him.  "I can help Owen figure out how to turn you into a girl your next life."

"Should you, you'll suffer," Rodney quipped back.  "Morning, Pepper.  Any idea where the ladder is?"  She pointed at a closet none of them got into.  He got it out and set it up with her help so Ianto could climb down.  "Coffee?" he asked nicely.

"I can do more than make coffee," Ianto huffed.

"Of course you can," Dean agreed with a grin.  "You make excellent cookies and you arrange things so it can be found.  Hell, you even managed to send the laundry out for us, dude.  I'm so damn impressed."

"Still not the wife or the mother," he said firmly.

"No, that's why you shot a few of the aliens that were trying to invade yesterday," Evan agreed, giving him a hug.  "I know you're not the mommy figure and neither is Toni.  Xander is."  Ianto cackled and nodded because Xander did take care of them.  He grinned at Pepper.  "Hi."

"Hi.  Which one are you?"

"Evan."  He smiled.  "Come back to the kitchen?  The adults should be making food soon so we don't have to eat each other.  That might be bad when we take out Rodney for being so soft since he doesn't exercise."

Rodney glared at him.  "Watch me have the machines eat you," he offered.

Pepper smiled.  "How about I make some coffee with Ianto?"  He smiled and nodded, taking her to do that.  "I can even start food, Evan."

"Cool!  Uncle Phil's father took a few of out last night so we had candy for dinner."

She sighed.  "Grandparents can be very spoiling."  She let Ianto handle the first part of the coffee, making her amused at how he did it.  It did turn out fantastic so she took notes while she made scrambled eggs and toast for the boys that were in there.  Tony stumbled in.  "You're up early," she teased with a smile.

He grinned.  "I wanted to be awake to watch you and Ianto woke me."  He sat down, taking his coffee.  He hugged Ianto.  "Thank you, mini chef man."

Ianto smiled but swatted him.  "I'm nowhere near a chef."

"If you want to learn, we'll make sure you go to a good culinary school."  Ianto blushed, ducking his head.  "Or whatever else you want to do with your life.  That's up to you guys."  He sipped and moaned.  "Great as always, Ianto."  He accepted a plate and passed it to Evan, then took his.  "Thank you as well, Pepper."  He grinned.  She smiled and hugged the boys, patting him on the head.  "Let Xander hide for a bit."

"I can do that."  The others came in with the kids.  She counted.  "There's a lot of you."

Phil nodded.  "There are, but they're generally well behaved," he said.

She pinched him on the cheek.  "They're still four, Phil.  Your father fed a few candy for dinner?"

"For testing their security flaws at his agency."  He helped her fix breakfast, it was his chore in the house.  The kids settled in to eat, inhale their coffee, then Pepper took them to talk about things like if their clothes fit or if they needed to shop.  She even talked Toni into going shopping by showing her how tomboys could dress up sometimes and still be very manly.  All without a single dress.  That pleased her and they went out together after lunch, with Ianto because he had good taste and needed some new underwear.

At dinner that night, Xander had reappeared.  Natasha looked down at Stark.  "Those instructional DVD's are quite difficult."

"The Xander that brought them said he learned them off-realm to his universe.  They lead back to a self-defense style."  He grinned.  "He said only GHS members can really do the dance stuff."

"I did marginally well but I can see how some of the moves are good for self defense."

"Anything we can work out the kids with?" Clint asked.

"Um, no!" Tony said impatiently.  "No!  Just ... no."

She smiled.  "GHS are kinda concubines," Xander told him.

Clint blinked.  "I wanna see," he told her.

"You can borrow the DVD's," she offered with a nasty smirk.

"I can do that later."  He looked around.  Tony and Pepper were talking with Phil about the island.  He looked at her again.  "That good?" he asked in Russian.

"Yes."  She ate a bite of vegetable.

"Huh.  Definitely later."

"I saw him do them," Xander quipped with a grin.  "There's over eighty hours of dances total."  Natasha shivered.  He smirked at her.  "I can get the rest of the set for you."  He dug in, avoiding his vegetables.

Phil looked down.  "You eat the squash or you can't have dessert.  I've also locked up your crate of candy when I found it shrank in your dresser while putting up your laundry, Xander."

"Damn, Mom, you're mean," he complained.

Phil smirked at him.  "Want to go weed?"

"No thanks."  He ate the squash quickly then went back to the chicken.

"Thank you."  He smiled at Pepper.  "He snuck out.  We had to make him a shower buddy."

She giggled.  "That's so bad, Phil."

Dean nodded.  "Yes it was.  I've never been more embarrassed in my life."

Pepper reached over to smooth down his hair with a smile.  "It'll be okay, Dean."  He grinned at her.  "Flirt later.  Eat dinner."  He sighed but dug into his own squash.  "Good boy."  She smiled at the others, making them eat.  Toni inhaled everything and part of her brother's plate when he let her.  She got her more food, earning a happy smile.  "There you go, Toni.  You eat however much you need.  You're mid-growth spurt."  She nodded, digging in again.  She looked at Tony.  "Small flaw with your fallback plan.  How are you going to get necessary things like clothes for them?"

"We can run around naked," Greg said with a smile.

"Only until you're teenagers," she shot back with an evil grin.  He shivered.  "Then at least one of you is going to need a bra."

Greg cackled.  "Not me."

Xander looked at him, pulling his wand.  "No," Natasha said, taking it from him.  "No doing gender changing spells, Xander.  That's mean."

"Yes, ma'am."

"Thank you."

"Since I'm a good boy can I flirt?" he quipped.

She looked at him.  "Not with me."

"I can go find someone slightly evil and pretty."

"You're not leaving the house, kid," Tony ordered.  "Not after playing kitten poker yesterday to get Rodney's birthday presents."

Rodney's head popped up.  "You did?"  Xander smiled and nodded.  "Wonderful!  Don't bother wrapping them.  I'll pick them up at the end of my party."  He stuffed his mouth and got back to eating.  He didn't have any squash because it had lemon juice in it.  He had broccoli with cheese sauce instead.  That was a nice thing he hadn't had to worry about at Hogwarts; Magical Scotland and England couldn't get citrus fruits.

Pepper smiled at Xander.  "What did you win him?"

"Space ship parts."

Rodney let out a low, visceral moan that sounded wrong coming from a nearly-four-year-old body.  "Thank you."

"Welcome.  If I had time for another hand I might've won the whole ship."

Phil looked down at him.  "We'll scavenge it anyway since it's probably unmoveable."  He dug into his own dinner, shaking his head.  Pepper was smiling at them.  "Yes, it's like that."  Bruce came in from his lab, looking happy if a bit flustered.  "Not go well?" he asked.

"No, it went very well."  He sat down.  "Food, thank you whoever cooked."

"You're welcome," Pepper said with a grin.

He smiled back.  "You're excellent in many fields, Pepper, and if you ever want to help another scientist, I might have an opening."

She laughed and swatted him.  "I'll consider it."

"I'd have to immediately counter that with a kidnaping and a raise," Tony said smugly.  "Plus more shoes."

She patted him on the hand.  "Remember what I did the last time you kidnaped me?"  He ducked his head and stuffed his mouth.  The kids all giggled.  Phil was smirking at her.  "I can be mean.  That's why I wear the high heels."

"Because they make your feet hurt," Dean quipped.

"Amen, sister," Evan quipped back.

She looked at them.  "You two have?"

"No comment," they said.

She looked at Tony.  "They're all like you said Xander was.  Aren't they?"  He nodded, stuffing his mouth again.  "That makes more sense than memory downloads."

"I'm just super fantastic at things," Xander quipped.  Dean punched him on the arm.  "Hey!"

"Shut up, Xander.  You're not fantastic, you're warped.  Besides, I'm bigger."

"Like you can really compare at our ages," he complained.

"I saw you when you were my nephew," he said dryly, giving him a look.  "Walked in on you in the shower way too many times."

"Whatever.  Mine beg to come back.  Yours sigh when you leave town."  He got some more chicken.  Clint added more squash too.   "Hey!"

"Vegetables are mandatory so you grow up big enough to find some woman that's evil yet slightly pretty, son," he said with an evil smirk.

"Who said it'd be a woman?" Evan quipped.  "Xander's not really discriminatory about his collection of evil sluts."

Xander looked down at him.  "They weren't sluts."

"Sure they weren't," Dean said dryly.

Toni was cackling.  "Glad I didn't have that.  The CSI might've cackled and put me away."

Pepper stared then at Phil, who explained things.  She sighed and nodded.  "Toni, honey, is this your first life as a girl?"

"Since the fourteen hundreds," she said dryly.  "I hated corsets.  Eww."  She shuddered.

"Amen," Dean and Evan said together, sending up a prayer that they weren't girls in Magical England anymore.  Victorian clothes sucked.

Ianto giggled.  "It's not your fault that the magical community there was still stuck in the Victorian age.  At least you could wear modern clothes at times."

Dean looked at him.  "Sometimes.  I still had to wear a corset all too often."

Evan nodded.  "Which suck ass.  Really they do."  He shook his head.  "Tony, we need to develop more comfortable women's underwear that still keeps them perky without underwires.  Women would spend tons if it kept them perky and was comfortable."

Dean nodded quickly.  "Yes, I would have."

Rodney snorted.  "Thankfully I was a muggle born.  I could wear spandex, elastic, and go braless now and then because I had a small chest."

"We all noticed when you did," Evan assured him.

"You were all girls in your last lives?" Pepper asked.  They nodded.  "Poor things."

"Magical England is still stuck in the victorian times," Evan complained.  "There's huge amounts of clothes.  A shift, then a corset and bloomers, then an overshift, then petticoats, then the dress."  He shuddered.  "Tied to your throat and wrists, covering your feet."

Dean nodded.  "There's no way people can get under those."

"They had their ways," Tony quipped.  "Not everyone wore the bloomers."

Evan snorted.  "We had teachers that checked!"

"Hell, I had a parent that checked," Dean admitted.  "My father kept saying he didn't want me to need to be married off and leave him alone again.  Cas kept laughing his butt off about that."

Xander shrugged.  "I've been a girl in the past, guys, back when the Victorian clothes were considered skimpy."  They all shuddered.  "Feel really lucky there were alternatives to corsets because I had a nice rack and had kids in some of them."  They all whimpered.  "So feel lucky, pray really hard, and I second the motion for us to make really comfy women's clothes.  With my luck I'll need some next life."

Clint choked.  "That's a bad thought.  I can't imagine me having a daughter."

Xander looked at him.  "I'd be a bigger tomboy than Toni is."

Toni nodded.  "I'd run from dresses too.  I don't think I've spawned in any of mine."

Xander snorted.  "Not like it can't happen."

"Good point."  They settled in to go over a few of their favorite or more memorable lives in the past.  By midnight, Pepper was so sorry for the kids.  She gave them all hugs, read them a bedtime story and got them tucked in, then went to Tony's lab to drink with him.

Clint walked into his room and closed his door, locking it.  He shuddered so hard he had to smooth out his clothes.  He might've had two daughters.  He would've been so screwed up.  They would've been so screwed up.

Natasha smiled.  It was fun watching the boys freak out the adult males.  She smiled at Ianto.  "Some day you can do that."

"No thank you.  I like my manly parts.  Jack can do that."  He went to his room and hid before someone changed him.  Xander probably could and so could Rodney.  He'd make a horrid girl.  So would Jack but better Jack than him.


Tony looked at his son the next morning, still slightly hungover.  "Why are you sucking on a blood pop?  Eww!"

"I ran anemic my last life and that helped," he said.  "Since to the Scottish school elves a balanced diet was more root vegetables than meat I ended up learning to like the things."

"You're not anemic now."  He took it and tossed it out.  "Yuck."  He walked off shaking his head.

Rodney shrugged and went to find something else in his candy box.  He had to run Dean out of it.  "Mine!  I can't have most of yours due to the citric acid and things."

"Fine.  Sorry, Rodney."  He handed back the piece of maple syrup candy.  "Stark confiscated it."

Rodney nodded.  "They're in the weapons vault."  Dean smirked and got Xander so they could break into there.  He got something else to go with his maple syrup candy then hid the box again.  He went back to his lessons.  He supposed he could take the tests ahead again.  That way he got out of the ridiculous primary education mandatories sooner.


Clint gathered both of his boys from the weapons vault, and Dean, taking them for some target practice.  They sighed but it was good for them.  Kept them out of the candy too.

"Hey, IMF kids," Stark called from the back door.  "If you get in the weapons vault again it's set to electrocute anyone under four feet tall."  He went back to fixing that up.

Xander shrugged.  "I cut that system earlier."

Clint smiled, shaking his head.  His son was such a jackass at times, it was almost like looking in a mirror.  They set up targets and even Toni came out to do them.  The other kids needed some target shooting time too.  Even if Spenser did huff and Greg had to be taught about guns.  It might save their lives some year.


Six months later, Xander snuck out to meet with the other hims that had shown up.  He hugged Lavelle and booknerd Xander.  "Thanks, guys."

"It's not a huge problem," booknerd Xander said with a grin.  "That other Xander had a lot of fun teaching his potions tutoring cases how to make the aging potion that's supposedly mythical.  His father is throwing fits that he got it to work."  Xander Dumass smirked.  "I let my Draco have notes."

Xander nodded.  "They can probably come in handy in case you get hit again."

"I'd better not."  He patted him on the head, handing over a backpack.  "The other stuff you said you might need."

"Thank you.  It'll be soon.  I can feel something getting ready to happen."

Lavelle felt around and nodded.  "Within weeks."  He looked at his mini self.  "You need help beyond that?"

"I'm back to marksman status."  He smirked.  "I've been retraining myself with a wooden sword since they locked up the rest of them."  That got a nod.  "I'll handle it.  We do what we gotta do."  He punched him on the arm, then smirked.  "Lockpick set?"

"Oh, yeah, forgot."  He handed over his.  "Some extra ones in case and a code key set too."  Xander beamed and nodded, tucking it into the bag.  "Be safe.  Who knows where you'd end up next time."

"Without D'Hoffryn here we'll be within the lineage."  He shrugged.  "Maybe next life I'll figure out the whole mate bullshit."  Both Xanders smirked at him.  "I know but still weird.  At least I'm not bonded to anyone."  They nodded and left after handing him a candy bar that came from Lavelle's company.  He snuck back home, putting the backpack into his closet.  He went to talk to Tony.  "It's soon."

"We can move you kids this week.  Half of the buildings are done."  He looked at him.  "Good meeting?"

"Very good meeting."  He nibbled on the candybar, not minding when half was taken.  "We need to get the weapons from the mansion."

"I forgot about the vault.  I'll have it sent out tomorrow.  Go to bed."

"I'm going."  He went to lay down and make some extra plans in case things went really wrong.

Tony nibbled on the candy bar piece he had stolen, then analyzed it.  That was better than most he'd had.  A whole one appeared with an extra Xander, making him flinch but stare at him.  "You're not the normal Xander."

"No, I'm Dumass.  Those come from one of Lavelle's legit companies."  He grinned and handed over a book.  "Found it in my massive library that I've found on digs.  Our people are horrified at the very thought."  He winked and left.

Tony got into the book, analyzing this new candy bar then eating the rest.  It was a great thing.  Different flavored.  It had the source of the chocolate but not the recipe.  He needed this.  He'd make a ton off this chocolate.  The book had some of the recipes that Lavelle had and an accounting of what he had stored where.  That helped a lot.  Though he wondered who would be inheriting all of that Xander's stuff.  He had a lot of stuff.

He reached over to start an email to Pepper so she could handle the move for them, including the vault at the mansion.  They had a lot of stuff in there that needed to be moved.


Xander watched the battle on tv, the bottle next to his hand.  Yup, the bad guy threw something on them that made them start to shrink.  He gulped the potion, grimacing, then screaming as everything hurt for a few minutes.  He breathed through it, straightening up when it was done.  He was taller.  He was older.  He went to get some of his clothes and some sunglasses.  He sent himself to the battle with his wand, slipping backward by about twenty minutes, grabbing his father's bow on the way past him.

"What will humanity do now, without their heros?" the bad guy sneered.

"They'll call the next generation of us," Xander said, taking aim and hitting him just slightly off center.  It still killed him.  "Then we'll handle it for the 'rents and others."  He found Stark's suit and let him out.  "Hey, chibi Tony."  He tapped the suit.  "JARVIS, it's me.  Move them all.  Now.   Emergency protocol Alpha is in effect."

"I understand, Alexander."  He made everyone, including the suits, disappear.  He left an earbud in Tony's place for Xander to use.

Xander looked at the remaining bad guys.  "Try me on for size."  A twinkling package landed and he looked.  "Lavelle's sword."  He looked up.  "You sure, dude?"  No answer so he prayed to it then pulled it.  He attacked and the demons pretending to be soldiers died.  Then the other bad guys got hit.  He bowed to the last one and smirked.  "Morning."

"You," he sneered.

"Me all me, baby."  He shot him before the other guy got his weapon up.  "Mine now."  He grabbed the sheathe and the bow and quiver JARVIS had left for him.  "JARVIS, I'm done."

"Yes, sir."  He disappeared.


In SHIELD's headquarter, Maria Hill was nearly frantic.  Her boss was stony and cold.  "That was Xander Barton, sir."

"Can't be," he said with a snort at the end.

"Sir, I know that kid.  That was Xander Barton, somehow.  They had plans set up to move the kids in case of emergency.  That's why Stark set up the island and that was Alexander Barton."

Fury looked at her.  "Find him.  I want to talk to him, see what's going on."

"I'll try, sir.  They're probably in their new fallback spot."  She checked, no satellite images available of any part of the island.  The hurricane shield was up.  She called Pepper, who was sniffling.  "Director Fury wants to talk to Xander Barton," she said.

Pepper shook her head.  "The kids are all out of touch for the next week.  Not even I can get through, Agent Hill."

"Was that him?"

She grimaced but nodded, sucking on her bottom lip for a second.  "He had a vision."

"I remember that.  Thank you.  As soon as you hear, we need to see him."

Pepper nodded.  "If I can.  I know Agent Coulson is somewhere."

"We'll see then.  Thank you, Miss Potts."  She hung up and turned to find her boss staring at her.  "They might need medical checks."

"Three of them are our agents, Agent Hill.  We can do that."

"Sir, would you trust us?" she asked.  "If you were suddenly five or six?"  He shuddered but shook his head.  "I'll go to them when they're ready to talk. Until then, it'd take a full assault team and they'd probably end up hurting one of the children."

"Fine," he agreed, stomping off.  "As soon as we can."

"Yes, sir."  She sent for a team to take with her, including one of their more favored doctors.  They moved to the nearest major area closest to the new island to wait.


Xander appeared, handing Natasha the bow and quiver then the guns.  He stretched up and back.  He shook his head when she held a hand out for the sword.  "No, it's Lavelle's personal weapon."  She nodded and walked off.  He stared.  "How are you fourteen?"

"I'm older than I looked," she said dryly.

Clint stared at him.  "Did you get him?"

"I got all of 'em," he said.

"We can hide," Tony said.

Xander looked at him.  "I'm here for more than you guys."  Tony slumped.  "They're your redemption kids.  I'm the world's usually.  That's why I'm me."  He patted him on the head.  "I'm also going to be keeping people off your asses for years."  He walked them back up to the houses.  "We good?  Need medical?" he asked Evan.

"No, we're all good.  All set up.  A few of the houses need some minor work.  We kids are going to be in the underground areas for awhile until they're done."

"Okay," Xander agreed.  "I'm pretty sure Fury's going to be calling soon."

"He'll send Agent Hill," Phil said, staring at him, his usual age.  "Are you all right?"

"I'm fine.  Please!  That was a tiny battle compared to some."

"I meant about getting Lavelle's sword."  He stared at him.

"That I'm not sure about.  I'm not sure why I got it."  That got a nod.  "Let me go clean it, guys.  I'll be down in a bit."  He went up to his room, going to stretch the sore muscles so they'd quit aching.  The fight had been a good battle but he was still stiff.  He settled in to clean the sword.  He knew it came to him or one of them that'd need it the most when and if Lavelle died.  Had he?  He got in touch with a higher being he knew.  "Hallie?"  She appeared.  He held up the sword.  "What happened?"

"He was a hundred-and-seventy-eight with all the deaging potions.  He sent it back in time."

Xander nodded.  "So he'll be gone from this convention?"

"I don't know.  I know you can't tell him."

"The other weapons?"

"Some of them might be coming here.  Some went to that long-haired Xander in Miami.  Some ....  I think some went to a Dawn.  I'm not sure why."

"Okay.  Is that Dawn dating an Avenger?"  She looked and nodded.  "Cool.  Let me know?"

"Gladly, little Knight."  He smirked evilly at her.  She smirked evilly back.  "They'd better still get to be kids."

"As they want."

"Good."  She disappeared.

Xander went back to his stretching.  Suddenly aging sucked sometimes.  Going from four to sixteen sucked harder than most things.

Phil knocked then walked in.  "There's a hot tub."

"I'll do it in a few."


"Sent it back to me from when he died."

"That's good to know."  He carefully patted him on the arm.  "Lunch?"

Xander grinned.  "I'm the same Xander I was, Phil.  Just old enough to carry through on my flirting now."  He put the sword on his bed and went down to eat something.  "Anything?" he asked the two Starks.

"Fury called to talk to you.  We blocked it," Rodney said.  "He sent a team to Bahama to come see us when we put the shield down."

Tony chewed and swallowed.  "It looks like Agent Hill and a few others, including a doctor."

"He's not getting samples," Phil said.  He looked over the mini heros and the mini future heros.  The mini heros were slightly older.  He looked at Natasha, who shrugged.  "We'll probably see someone try to take over on Stark."

"We can handle it," she assured him.  "Pepper knows."

"She does and I can show up to back her up," Xander agreed.

Clint stared at him.  "You are not to be hired or taken in by SHIELD."

"I won't be.  I have a full time job with you guys and your retraining, plus my retraining."  They all nodded.  He relaxed, popping his neck.

"I'd offer a killer backrub but I don't have the strength in my hands," Tony said dryly.  "Sorry."

"It's cool, Tony.  I just need to let the muscles settle in."  He stretched then wiggled some.  "That stupid muscle near my stomach keeps catching but I'll figure that out."  He went back to his lunch of sandwiches and milk.  Phil looked at him.  "Hot tub?"

"Out back.  Through the garden," he said with a point.  Xander grinned and nodded, heading out to it.  "We'll figure it out," he assured them.  "Finish up so we can finish the medical scans."  They nodded, going back to the infirmary to do that.


Xander looked up from soaking, hearing Pepper saying prayers to be saved.  "I don't usually get prayers, but cool."  He got up and wrapped a towel around himself, sending himself to her office.  He looked at them.  "Shut.  Up."  They stared.  "Pepper, you prayed for help?"

She looked at him.  "Clothes?"

"Soaking the soreness.  Sorry.  I will next time."

"We demand to know where Tony Stark is," one said.

Xander shrugged.  "Right now he's being scanned to figure out exactly what happened, if it can be reversed, and then we'll figure things out.  He's got his full mental capacity.  He was swearing in chemical notation earlier.  I didn't know 'shit' had so many chemical compounds, even compared to 'fuck you'."  They backed down.  "When we know what's happened, we'll start letting those who need to know what happened.  Until then, we have days of medical checks to make sure nothing's happened that was too drastic beyond him losing thirty years.  Okay?"

"Who're you?" one of them demanded.

He grinned.  "Alexander.  Pepper and I share custody of him if something happens."

"You're the one that stepped in," Pepper said.  He smiled and nodded.  "Frankly, we had to make in case plans because of the things that could happen during battles.  The same as if he was in a coma, I'm his medical power of attorney.  We have everything in the safe."

"We thought he might deage?" one demanded.

Xander nodded.  "We heard that bad guy was working on something.  He had been testing it on animals but a few got free.  I'm pretty sure that's why they stopped him from taking that chemical mixture that would've created an even stronger formula."

"Why weren't you there at the start?" the mouthy one demanded.

"Because that wasn't my job.  My job was to wait at home until something happened that meant I had to step in."  He stared him down.  "I've seen more than my fair share of battles, sir.  They didn't need my help until then."

"You're part of SHIELD?" he sneered.

"No.  I'm forbidden from doing more than helping during things by patriarchal order.  The family patriarch said I'm not to join SHIELD or any other group."  He stared him down.  "Any other questions?"

"The board is going to call for him to noted as missing," he said, stomping off.

"Sure, I can bring both Starks back for it."  The man gasped.  Xander smirked evilly.  "Not a problem for me.  Really."  He waved a hand.  "Now, do you mind?  Pepper's busy.  She's got a real job to do."  They all left.  He looked at her.  "Let me know when.  I have Dad's phone," he said quietly, getting a nod and a small smile.  "He just had lunch and they're in the medical bay, Pepper.  Relax."  He went back to the tub.  He let the towel fall and stepped back in it, not caring that Natasha was staring.  He looked at her.  "You okay?"

"I'm unsettled and disquieted."

He smiled.  "When I take the Starks back for that board meeting you can come to get in some shopping time."

"Thank you.  Are you all right?"

"I'm good.  Thanks."  He grinned.  "Need half of the pool?"  She blushed and shook her head, walking off.  He spread out and got comfortable.  The next week was going to be hell and he'd have to do some training time too.


That night, Phil Coulson sat on his bed, staring out the window.  In the room across the hall, his son was sleeping peacefully like nothing earth shattering had happened today.  For Phil, his world was tilted and not able to rearrange itself yet.  He had some mental rearranging to do too. 

He was effectively the only adult in the house.  Natasha and Steve were older but not adult.  Alexander was maybe sixteen so not an adult yet, for all that he was millennia old and acting like it right now.  His son had taken all that in stride and shrugged it off like it had happened around him before.  Apparently his last life was a bit weird, even for SHIELD and Avengers.  Maybe even compared to his father's job.  Though his father had been happy that he wasn't a child again when he had emailed him.

So where did he stand?  Did he stand behind his allegiance to SHIELD?  To the Avengers in the other houses and the training area?  To answer that he might have to decide between his son and his job and he didn't want to make that call.  His father had once and had made the wrong one in most everyone's opinion, though his father seemed to be okay with that now.  Was this what he had went through before they gave him 'the last suit you'll ever wear'?  Probably.

He leaned back against his mountain of pillows.  All the spare ones that no one else wanted had somehow ended up on his bed.  They'd be nice to cradle his sore spots later on he guessed so that was thoughtful of Natasha and Clint.  He considered things.  Was he a SHIELD agent or the handler for the Avengers?  Because they were really different jobs.  It had been something he'd been struggling with for a few months now but this had made it a critical decision.

If he was part of SHIELD, one of the most loyal of Nick Fury's agents, then he'd be reporting in.  He'd give him the information he'd need to make plans about things.  He'd be preparing Xander for field duties, which felt wrong to him.  Especially with his father's stated wishes that his boys not go to SHIELD as soldiers.  If he was the handler for the Avengers he might still end up running Xander in the field.  If so, some things would have to change. 

He had to quit thinking of Xander as that cute four-year-old who snuck off to the armory to pet weapons.  Now he was more than old enough to follow through on his teasing of Natasha, even though she wasn't any longer.  He was powerful young man who had many too many opinions and ideas to be a simple sniper like his father.

Phil shifted, moving a few pillows to prop up his knees, they were sore again today.  So where did that leave him?  He heard his son start into a nightmare but within seconds he woke himself out of it.  Phil relaxed again.  If he went back to SHIELD as an agent, things would have to change between him and his son.  Which wasn't acceptable to him.  He wasn't going to follow his father's footsteps into that special suit or a life of regrets because he had missed so much of his son's growing up.  He had vowed that when he was ten and had found out he was alive by accident.

So what was he going to do?  He heard a nightmare start again and got up, going over to comfort his son.  His strange, weird little boy who made great coffee and had accepted that field work was dangerous, that it could mean he'd be left an orphan, without a single blink because he had done the same job.

Sometimes being loyal sucked but when it did, maybe it was time to change who he was loyal to?  His priority list was now cranked and on its side but at the top, his son was now above all else.  Then the safety of the world his son lived in.  Then SHIELD.  So he guessed it wasn't a hard decision.  Just a lot of hard work to get Xander Barton into his father's mold and making sure he didn't break it too hard before Clint reclaimed it.


Steve Rogers got sent back to Pepper first, as a forward guard and to make sure no one tried to take either of the Starks.  He had deaged to about fourteen, but he looked a bit older since the super soldier serum had stayed with him.  Which he thanked every God he'd ever heard of for that boon every night.  He grinned as he appeared.  "Hi, Pepper."

"Steve."  She smiled back.  "Is everything all right?"

"Xander deployed me here to help guard you and anyone of the group that might show up.  They know that you're getting pressured and I can be a bit more visible because no one wants to steal me."  She gave him a hug.  "Are you all right?"

"Call Director Fury.  He's having toddler fits."

He nodded, sitting down at the desk to call in and make a report about how they were all fine and things were going well.  Fury didn't like it but he could see why Clint was worried about what SHIELD might do to them while they were young.  Pepper relaxed because this meant people would quit trying to pressure her for things she didn't have any idea about.


Tony looked up from where he and Rodney were sitting, staring at the board members who walked in.  "You're all so fucking dumb," he said, making a few flinch.  "I'm still the same Tony Stark I was a few days ago, now I'm just a bit shorter."  A few slumped.  "We even have a judicial order, people."  He let Pepper hand over the one she had gotten with his help.  The judge had been appalled but the fact that he still had all his memories and skills meant that he wasn't really a child.

Pepper had it put into the minutes of the meeting and looked at them.  "The judge made sure he was still Tony, as I did."

"How would you know?" one of the few females in the room demanded.

"I've known Tony since I was twenty-three, Mildred.  I know him better than anyone but JARVIS."  She slumped down.  She looked around.  "I made sure he was still the same playboy billionaire genius he's always been."

"You forgot philanthropist," Rodney quipped.

"Yes I did."  She smiled at them then at the group.  "They're still the same Starks they were before.  It means at least another twenty years of Tony being around creating robots to help him do things in the labs."  One was still glaring.  "There's not going to be any taking over of anything.  The judge agreed that Tony signed over his legal power of attorney to me before the incident happened and he reiterated that he had done so in case this situation happened, or something similarly bleak. 

"The judge agreed it was a sound plan, a legal plan, and that it was going to stand up in a court of law."  She laid out the papers.  "As for physical custody, Tony and a few others bought an island that they were going to use to raise the kids on.  They're all there.  Tony and the other former adults are all retraining and frankly I don't need to see that.  There is an adult present in the form of an agent that watched over the Avengers.  He's still doing that.  He's with Alexander today to talk to the people at SHIELD who are getting pushy."

Tony got up and walked over to sit on the table beside Pepper.  Rodney did the same on her other side.  "It's not like I can't fire all the board."  He grinned.  "Pepper doesn't need this sort of hell."

"Nor does she deserve it for the hell she deals with daily," Rodney agreed.

"Are you two the same sort of problem?" one of them asked.

"No, they implanted Rodney's memories," Tony told her.  "If so, he'd be my bestest friend outside Pepper and JARVIS anyway."  He stared her down.  "I still remember how you got your seat."  She blushed and ducked her head.  "Ask me questions, people.  Prove to yourself that I'm still me."

"That won't matter.  You're still not an adult and I don't believe that Alexander being is either," the sneering one said.

Tony shrugged.  "That's your issue.  We already have a legal course of action that's been approved."  He smirked.  "Beyond that, the assets of the company are still all mine.  Not yours.  We're a privately held company, no longer traded for stock."  They all gasped.  "We did that four months ago in case you hadn't noticed.  That way we didn't have to wager our bottom lines on public opinion of what I did before, and will again some year." 

He looked around the group.  "It was all legally done.  The contracts were all legally signed.  The SEC and other groups got majorly happy that we included them before we did anything to make sure it was all legal and legit.  Sorry, people, but we really don't need a board.  So keep pissing Pepper off."  He kissed Pepper on the cheek.  "You're worth more than this whole company."

She smiled.  "No flirting for at least twenty years, Stark."  He cackled and they both grinned.  She looked at the board again, pointing at the papers.  "They're in there too.  They took effect on the first of this month."

Tony looked at the group, looking a bit smug.  "Even if you got me ruled a child again, my legal power of attorney is still Pepper.  My heir is still Rodney.  And my guardian is still Alexander."  They moaned.  "So I'm sorry about your plans to take over," he told the sneering one.  "It won't happen.  I'll dissolve the board first."  He smiled.  "Have a good day, people.  This meeting is adjourned."

"Shouldn't you have asked us about pulling us off the public trading floors?" another one asked.

"No," Tony said.  "Because it's my company.  I asked that question and they said the old board was only advisory as it was set up.  Not in leadership.  The CEO didn't answer to you, we just listen to you bitch, and nothing you do is really binding.  We made sure after Obadiah caused so many problems.  Which was put to a vote through the board."  They slumped.  "Any other questions?"  No one said anything.  "Then Pepper promised us ice cream.  Have a good day, people."

"She can't hold it forever." 

Pepper held up one of the papers, making him gasp and give her a horrified look.  She smiled.  "Yes I can as I'm the legal heir before Rodney."  She put the certificate down again.  They all left.  She looked at them, then at Rodney.  "Want ice cream?"

"I'm four, of course I want ice cream.  Are you daft?"

She smirked.  "Watch me spank you."  He shuddered so she took them down to get ice cream once the papers were put back in the safe.


Xander suddenly appeared across from Maria Hill in the park, staring at her.  "So, now that I'm older....."

"Still not sleeping with you, kid.  How did you do that?"

"Magic."  He grinned.

"We're in a technology world."  Phil sat down beside her and handed her a few sheets of paper.  She read them.  "Fury wants you brought in, kid."

"Nope.  Sorry.  The patriarch of the family said I'm not to be taken by SHIELD, not to work for SHIELD, and I can still save the world now and then."  He stared at her over his sunglasses.  "Any other requests?"

"He won't take that.  He'll want to check the others over.  Two were SHIELD agents."

Xander nodded.  "They were, kinda, but on detached duty.  We scanned them every which way from every single source we could."

Phil handed over a USB key.  "That's the results but not the scans themselves," he said quietly.  "Stark is not going to let SHIELD take him into custody.  No matter what."

"What about our agents?"

Phil shook his head.  "I'm still there, Maria."

"I realize that, Phil, but he's living up to his name."

"Xander, and I if necessary, will handle anything we can.  Including missions that we would've sent Barton or Romanoff on before."

"He's a kid!" she complained.

"We got his father at the same age."  She slumped.  "Beyond that, he's volunteering."  She huffed.  "Plus, there's a reason why Xander was always so different.  That's on the key too.  Just for your eyes.  Fury will throw fits about magic getting into his science."  He stood up.  "I've got my phone.  He's got Barton's phone."

She looked at him.  "What if there's another huge battle?  Or Thor's parents come looking for him?"

"Then we'll handle it," Xander said simply.  "I have a friend on Asgard."  She stared at him, looking confused.  He grinned.  "I wasn't the average kid, Maria Hill.  You missed out on a hell of a good thing."  He stood up and walked off.  "Heading home now.  Don't try to come onto the island.  The security system is set to kill anyone not one of us."  He looked back at her.  "It'd be unfortunate but necessary to protect them."  He and Phil went to grocery shop.  They had run out of Pop Tarts for Thor.

Maria got up to go back to her hotel room, running the USB key there.  She found the file with her name on it and read it, her stomach sinking.  "Oh, shit."  She called the director and sent over all the information.  "From Agent Coulson and Xander Barton, sir."

"When are you bringing them in?"

"Never."  He glared.  "Xander Barton refused.  Agent Coulson said he'd act as his handler in the field and they would be handling missions if we asked them politely."

"He's just a kid."

"He pointed out his father was the same age when we took him in, sir."  She pulled up that one file so he could read it, getting glared at again.  "They seemed to think it was important.  He said he'd keep handling things."

"Go to that island..."

"Sir, they said the security system would kill anyone not authorized to be there."

"Shut it down!" he ordered.

"How, sir?  If Stark can build an arc reactor that can power a skyscraper for a year, how long do you think that will run an island with six houses, a bunker, and a training center?"

"I will be talking with Stark within four days.  In person," he ordered.  "You will arrange it."

"I can tell them you want to talk to him, sir, and encourage it.  If the kid's like his father, I doubt he's going to take an order he doesn't like."  She stared at him.  "They did include the conclusions of the scans without the scans themselves.  It compared them to their SHIELD files and it looks the same, only miniature versions."

"I don't care!  I'll be talking to him or I'm going to help the people that are probably going to be taking over his company."

"I doubt you could, sir.  Especially since the board meeting's notes we hacked said that they have all legal options sewed shut.  Including a marriage license between him and Potts.  Again, I'll let them know."  She texted Coulson's phone, getting back a time, a date, and a city.  "He said he'll meet you in New Orleans in three days, sir."  She looked at the camera again.  "Agent Coulson will be with him."

"Uh-huh."  He hung up and went to throw a fit.  Something was seriously wrong in his world.

Maria turned to look at the person she had barely seen appear.  "Why won't you go to SHIELD?"

"Think maybe Dad saw something that made him doubt how good it'd be for me?" he quipped with an evil smirk.  "He won't get Stark, the suit, or SI.  If he tries, that makes him an enemy.  We'll still do some of your dirty work, because it's important, but I'm no one's slave, no one's army, and no one's tool."  He stared at her.  "Been there before," he said dryly.

"How old are you?"

"Millennia and this isn't my first realm."  He smiled.  "I've been on this circuit for longer than we've had civilizations."  She shivered.  "Because sometimes people need hope.  Sometimes they need more than others but they need it right now especially.  Therefore I'm their hope."

"You can't hope to stop something like that alien invasion by yourself."

"Who said I'd be alone?"  He grinned.  "I do have friends and contacts, Agent Hill.  Including one of us that went on to a life on Asgard if I need to ask him for it."

She shivered.  "He wants you in."

"He wants me to have a handle to leverage against the others.  I'm not his doorknob either."  He stared at her.  "Sorry, but denied."  He disappeared when the camera came back on.

"Was that him?" Fury demanded.

"He popped in, sir."

"He's teleporting now?"

"Sir, you've had reports that he's managed impossible things before," she reminded him.  "This was part of that."

"I don't believe in that shit."

She shrugged.  "He disappeared due to a stick in his hand, sir.  He appeared there due to a stick in his hand."  Fury glared.  "He made sure to note that you're not getting the suit, the Starks, or him, sir.   I doubt the meeting will change that."

"Find a way to get our assets back, Agent Hill," he ground out.

"Sir, I'll try, but I'm not a goddess."  She hung up, rubbing her forehead.  Sometimes her boss expected the unattainable to happen miraculously at his whim.  Usually she could handle those, but not this one.


Fury sat down at the appointed place and time, looking around.

Xander appeared and strolled over, sitting across from him.  He put the camera and phone on the table, pointing it at him.  "Rodney's placeholding until Tony's finished with lunch."

"I expected him in person."

"Yes, and we expected a kidnaping attempt," Xander said simply, pointing at a person up the street.  "I know he's not yours."  He stared at Fury.  "I'm sorry your wishes are being denied, but my duty is to more than one single person.  The same as their duty is to more than one single person.  Even the agents.  That's kinda the definition of hero."  He stared at him.  "If you want me to solve problems the way you used to send my father out, then so be it.  If you don't, then I'll find my own to solve that'll have a higher priority."

"We can help the agents retrain."

Xander shrugged.  "We have an excellent training facility that they can use.  I have."

"Your aim was off," Fury sneered.

"That was his bow, set up for his height, his muscle mass, all that.  I'm a bit taller, my muscles are a bit shorter as of this point, and I didn't get a chance to practice with his bow before I aged."

"How did you do that?"

"Magic."  He smiled.  "It's a great thing."  He leaned over and lit the candle on the table with a blow of air.  Fury shuddered.  Xander grinned.  "I'm amazing, what can I say."  He pointed.  "Stark's probably waiting."

Fury looked.  "We want the suit.  We can put someone in it for now."

"You've got a spare arc reactor laying around?" Tony joked.  "Really?"  He looked at Rodney.  "Did you build them one?"

"No.  Not my field of expertise," he said blandly.  "Xander, please pick up some chocolate."

"Your box is under your bed, Rodney."

"Thank you."  He went to find some then came back to share some.

"You have three of our agents," he told Stark.

"You put two of them on indefinite leave due to notoriety, Fury.  Don't bullshit me.  Beyond that, the one that's still an adult agent is going to be going out to do agent things with Xander so the world doesn't end this week.  As for the threat against my people and my company," he said, staring at him.  "I'll point out something.  There's not a hope in hell you have of taking over my company.  I'll disband it first."  He smiled.  "It's back to being privately owned, not publically shared.  The only one that has anything to say about anything is Pepper and myself, and Rodney when we ask for his advice.  Pepper's got a good soul.  She doesn't believe that people like you will try to screw us over to get the tech.  I know she's wrong.  Rodney knows she's wrong."

"I'm going to destroy them if you're not wrong," Xander offered.  He stared at him.  "If I have to so the world moves on safely and soundly, so be it."  He shrugged.  "That's the job as I know it."

"There's no way that prophecy BS is real," he sneered.

Xander patted him on the wrist, flashing him with images.  "Really?"  Fury shook his head quickly.  "Yeah, that was all me."  He grinned.  "Little old redemption in a body me."  He stared him down.  "I've fought off worse dictators than you.  You may be worried about who'll get their hands on it, but I can almost guarantee you if someone does I'm going to destroy them for Rodney and Tony.  We had ideas in place thanks to the vision.  If you didn't read it and make good enough plans, that was your shit." 

He leaned his elbows on the table.  "Now, if you want to nicely give me things to do while we're all waiting for them to get older, then I'll do that."  Something hard touched the back of his neck.  "Dude, I've had so much worse than whatever that is."  It went off and he barely flinched.  He looked back to take it and shrugged, tossing it in the bushes.  A stray dog ran from it.  "Like I said, had worse."  He grinned.  "Long before they found me."  The agent backed up slowly, looking scared.  He looked at Fury again and Anthony behind him.  "You look good as a blond."

Anthony smirked.  "Thanks, Xander."  Fury flinched and looked at him.  "Mine Uncle, Thor's father, sends me to see what happened?"  Xander handed him a letter.  "Thank thee, Alexander."  He disappeared thanks to John.

"Like I said, not alone," Xander said, staring at him.  "This is how it lays.  Play the hand dealt to you, fold and give in, or quit the game.  Because I've been doing this a lot longer than you have."

"I can have the hand redealt for stacking the deck."  He stood up.  "I want my agents back."

"I think you'll find we're not agents, haven't been for months," Natasha said from behind him, putting down her tray and taking off the apron that made her look like a waitress.  She stared at him.  "We will handle our own training and our own abilities.  You didn't care before this happened and tried to push some of the wrong things on us, even though we knew it would hurt SHIELD and our missions.  Did you think I could go on missions after signing autographs?"  She smiled.  "I may not like being surrounded by young children but we will manage."  She picked up the phone and turned it off.  "Agent Coulson will work with us in the field when we need to handle things."  She walked off with Xander.  "What was that?"

"Some sort of zappy stick."  He got it and handed it over.  She turned it off.  "It that bad?"

"Mildly bad.  Nothing too strenuous."

"Like I said, I've had worse."  He escorted her to Pepper, who was helping them with the necessary shopping things.  Including a bra for Natasha.  She was hitting her bouncy years.

Fury looked at his top agent.  "Go find his father," he ordered quietly.  She nodded and left.  This was not going to go on.  He would not have a rebellion of this nature in his people.


Tony smiled at the woman who appeared on the screen.  He had slightly fond memories of his night with the mouthy, sarcastic, pushy reporter.  "Pepper said I had to do one interview."

"You're...  Stark?" she demanded.

He grinned.  "Yup.  I'm sure you saw."

"I did.  Everyone did.  Are you all right?  We know you're in hiding."

"From people that want to own us like little kitty cats to train into a circus act," he said blandly.

"Let me tape this."  She hit a few keys and looked at him.  "Are you safe?"

"I'm very safe.  We're all very safe.  I had set up a backup plan for the kids.  We're all together."

"The kids?"

"You didn't hear that we found a lab, which was under the same people that is over SHIELD, making us kids?"

"No, I had not.  I heard you had an heir."  Tony pointed at him.  "Oh, huh."

Rodney smirked.  "They even nicely downloaded memories so we could bond with our parents once they found us.  I find it incredibly nice to be able to talk to him on my level."

The reporter blinked, staring at the man she had once slept with.  Before he became Iron Man.  "I don't know what to say."

Tony smirked a bit.  "That's really bad in your line of work, Miss Everhart."

"Your company?"

"Pepper has it.  We have legal means drawn up.  We went through a judge when this happened to get it all approved and settled."

"That's good.  Is there a continued threat from people trying to get your company?"

"Yes.  There is.  Including some seriously pissed off agency directors who think they're Kings.  And I hate to tell them this but if they are I'm an emperor."  He grinned.  "I ruined people for it before.  I can do it now."

"Are you sure?"

He grinned.  "Did you think I *called* you?" he quipped.

"No, I noticed it was hacked.  I had the camera turned off."  She stared at him.  "Now what?"

"Now?  Now I have twelve years to get my butt back into Iron Man shape.  Until then, a few of us are older."

"The one who picked up Hawkeye's bow?"

"That turns out to be a relation of his.  We've talked and he's one of our physical guardians."

"That's good to know.  Is he going to be doing the hero stuff?"

"Yes.  When needed he'll be handling some things that need it.  Please keep his picture down?"

"I can do that."  She stared at him.  "Then what?"

"Well, we're tinkering, of course.  I'm always building new things, improving the suit."  He smirked.  "We'll have to see where it leads for the next decade.  Though, the judge did prove that I had my full capabilities that I had as an adult.  Including making me retake the GRE test since he had a book with a practice test there.  Passed with flying colors of course."  He smirked at Rodney then at her again.  "Until then, we're going to be training, building, and sometimes playing.  I didn't get enough playing time before."

"I figure you didn't.  Your collections?"

"Pepper has my legal guardianship."

"That's good to know.  I won't pass that part around."  She made a note.  "Do you think we'll see more villains like him?"

"If so, the one that picked up the bow will handle it for the next decade.  Whenever humanity needs him to."  He grinned and hung up.

"A bit melodramatic don't you think?" Rodney asked blandly from where he was building something.

"Yes but that's what being me means," Tony said smugly, going back to his own tinkering station.

"I'll change that legacy when it's my turn."

"Go for it."

Greg leaned in.  "They're back."  They went to see what the two 'adult kids' had gotten them.  They all needed clothes and things.


Xander appeared to J, looking at him.  "Are you perhaps missing someone?"

"Yes, why?  And if you say my son I want to know why."

"We're all safe and I was thinking someone older.  Someone who drives....."

"Excuse me?" he demanded, pulling out his phone to call his partner.  Who did not answer.  He looked at the former kid.  "Where is he?"

"We think... with his son's boss.  Not totally sure yet."

"I'll be fixing that."

"Need help?"

"Nope."  He walked off.  "Jeremy good?"

"He's fine.  He's been climbing a rock wall all day."  Xander faded into the shadows and went to find someone to chew a new one.   How dare anyone touch Phil's father!  He walked into the demon bar and into the back, slamming open the door.  "I'm fucking pissed off and you're all going to deal with it."  The demons in there flinched.  K flinched too.  "Weren't captured?"

"I was captured.  This is the android me."

"Ah, good."  He pointed.  "Who?"

"Fury," one chirped.  "He's really mad.  He really wants you."

"He's about to get me too."  They all stared at him.  He smirked and let his aura out.  "What did you think I was?"  They all moaned in horror.  He smiled.  "Exactly."  He left, going to pick up his speciality weapons that were being made for him by an excellent smith.  He hugged him.  "Thank you, Anthony."

"You're most welcome, Alexander."  He stared at him.  "Let us help?"

"Sure!  Not tonight but sure!"  He grinned.  "My handler's father just got taken."

Anthony laughed.  "Oh, those stupid mortals."  He smirked.  "Let me help John."

"See you soon.  Let me know if something happens before then and I don't catch it."  He faded out, going to the tower.  He checked his guns, then one last thing, flashing it at the woman walking toward him.  "Dumb ass."  He disappeared, going to find K.  He found him, looking patient and waiting tied to a chair.  He threw something into the cell that made everyone groan and leave, then hopped down to get him free.

"You know I was a trap, right?" K asked.

"Yeah and I know how I rewired the self destruct the last time I was here."  He grinned.  "Grab on."  He grabbed one thing that fell off.  "Need a bag of holding right about now."  K took the extra weapons to hold while Xander ported them off.  "There."  He smiled at J.  "His metal self is at the demon poker hall."  He took back the weapons and used the gun to shoot someone.  "Dumbass."  He put them on properly, hiding his last one on his back.  "Laters, people.  Phil's in town."  He set off a tracking dot and put it on K's shoulder with a pat and a grin.  "Bye."  He left.

"Kid still hasn't calmed down.  Clearly Ianto needs to make more coffee," K said.

"Why did they take you?" J demanded.

"To get him.  I don't think they like what they got."

"Me either," Phil admitted, coming out of the shadows.  "Nor do I think they'll like what's coming."  He looked at his father.  "Are you all right?"

"Didn't even try to torture me.  I was almost upset about that."  They shared a look.  "My grandson?"

Phil smirked a tiny bit.  "He's good.  He made dinner."  K grinned back.  They shared a look and turned to blast the agents trying to sneak up on them.  They were using lesser weapons, something non-lethal unless you had a heart condition.  Phil looked at his father.  "Call."


"Do you think I can have the other birthday presents?"

"If I can find them in the vault, yeah.  Going to give them to the kid?"

"No.  I think I want them for myself."  His father nodded, smiling at him until he faded and walked off.  Phil had some serious thinking to do.  He also went to visit Pepper since Tony and Rodney had made her a birthday card.  She'd be happy with them for remembering.


Xander, now six months into his life as an agent, listened to the snippy voice.  "Do you want me to do this or not?" he hissed.  "Then quit yapping!"  The voice shut up and he took the shot.  It was pretty.  It was necessary.  The guy had John hostage so it was doubly necessary.  The bad guy went down, his people went nuts.  Xander picked off a few more.  John got the rest, and Xander decamped to meet up with his handler.  He looked at him.  "What?" he demanded once they were in the car.  There was an icy silence even though Phil didn't look anything but bland.

"You were being cutesy up there."

"You were yapping and yapping and yapping and yapping.  We both know I have concentration problems without caffeine and the coffee pills just don't cut it.  I've been up there since last night."

"I was trying to give you instructions."

Xander looked at him.  "On what?" he demanded.

Phil calmly parked and looked at him.  "You could have had a secondary target."

"Which I took down quietly and expertly before you told me to."

"The blonde woman?"

"Oh, her, she wasn't a threat."

"She was."

"She wasn't.  That's Rodney in his next life.  I could tell in her aura."  Phil groaned and shook his head.  "Sorry!  Next time, tell me 'blonde lady' and leave it there with an instruction.  Please?"

Phil nodded.  "We're still figuring out how to work with each other," he agreed.  "You're not your father and I'm used to working with him so sometimes I get frustrated."

"Hell, we both need laid, Phil.  Get honest about it.  We're both frustrated, know something's coming, and have no idea how to prepare for it."

"I don't tend to go out for easy lays, Xander."

Xander snorted.  "I do.  Can we go to Berlin's red light district?"

"No."  He drove them off, taking them to the airport so they could disappear.  Or seem to fly off when in fact they were going to be beamed from the bathroom.  Right before SHIELD agents got there.  One of them saw the twinkling in the air and decided someone had sprayed body glitter.  They reappeared and Natasha took the weapons to look over, like usual.  Phil went to make a succinct report.  Xander went to pick on Rodney over his next life being a girl.  Then he went to medical because Phil glared at him for not heading there directly.

"I'm okay outside a little sunburn."

"You're not fine.  You're dehydrated.  Don't argue with me."

"Fine, Mom."  He went down to the medical bay, where Tony ran the scanner over him.  "One of us really has to learn medical sciences for real," he quipped.

"It's still a soft science, no matter how much Hermione's hormones warped me into considering it," Rodney complained as he walked in.  "We have got to find something to help your concentration."

"I nearly screwed your next life since you were a skinny blonde chick."

Rodney swatted him.  "Eww."  He huffed off again.

"So, Dr. Stark, how am I?"

"Horny and frustrated like the rest of us."  He let him go.  "Go drink a lot of water.  Stay out of the hot tub for a day."  Xander nodded, going to do that and do his report while he took a shower.  Tony went to talk to the other kids.  John was back.  "He's right, one of us needs to go into medicine for real this time."  Bruce scowled at him.  "Not that you're not great and all....  But this life, one of us has to."

"Not it," Jeremy said.  "Insides are gross."

"Ditto," Toni said from her corner.

"I suppose I could but I never really liked seeing bodies on scenes," Spenser admitted.

Greg shrugged.  "I can do that.  I've seen plenty of gross bodies as a CSI."  They all grinned at him.  "Sure, Bruce and I will do that this life."  Bruce sighed but nodded.  They had all gotten used to the idea that they'd have to get their degrees again.  Rodney had decided his fun each new life was to get one additional degree from the last life. By the time he got to Xander's age, he should know everything in the universe.

Xander strolled in with a bottle of water.  "What did I miss, John?"

"Not sure yet.  There's definitely a move somewhere in Europe to do something against Fury and Stark."

"The people overtop of them?" Phil asked as he joined them with drinks for everyone else.

Natasha followed.  "Xander, you broke the handgrip again."

"Sorry.  I guess I squeeze too hard."

"If we could make a crossbow that shot as far as the longbow, I'd do it for you," Tony admitted.  "I can't put a longbow on its side and expect it to fire that way though."  Xander nodded he knew that.  "Still working on it though."

"I know.  Thanks, Tony."  He settled in with the others.  "Any good news?"

"We managed to avoid Odin showing up to check on his son and grandkids," John offered.  "We talked and I told him what had happened, and about those of us who watched over them."

"I saw his ravens," Thor admitted.  "They did not sound pleased at my current size."

"You are the biggest seven-year-old ever," Tony joked, getting jabbed by Thor for it.  "Can we get more of that aging potion?  Even a tiny bit, Xander?"

"I've asked, it won't work on anyone non-magical.  Which means it won't help you any.  It'll help me, Dean, Rodney, Evan, and John.  Sorry."

"No, it's all right," he admitted.  "Can we figure out why it works?"

"Magic," Rodney huffed.  "I can't find a way to do it with anything else."

Xander looked at Phil.  "We still need to go to Caledin so I can get into my book collection for him."

"I know.  I'm trying to figure out when.  The current run of problems has been too deep and they're not fully trying."

"You know what, I'm going to play some dirty pool," John decided and disappeared.

"I hate it when his mind goes in that direction," Rodney complained.

"Me too," Evan agreed.   The sensor net around the island beeped and they looked.  That same faux fishing boat that were agents trying to watch over them.  "Can we sink them?"

Xander nodded, getting up and heading to the armory.  He grabbed his bow, cracked handgrip and all, and a special arrow out of his father's quiver after loading a specific head on it.  He walked out to the point nearest to the boat and took aim.  He added a touch of magic to make sure it went that far, making sure they spotted the small flare.  Then he fired.  It hit the boat just above the waterline and burned.  Acid wasn't dissolved fully by saltwater.  It'd burn for a while.  The agents fled the boat and he smiled and waved before going back inside.


John appeared at Fury's desk, feet up on it, hands behind his head, grin in place.  "So," he said.  "You're going to fuck up the world to get people back that you couldn't use anymore anyway."

"Who the hell are you?"

"John, son of Strife, God of Mischief."  He grinned.  "Great friend to Alexander.  He was actually my kid in another life and another time."  He stared him down.  "Don't you think there's enough hell in the world without yours?"

"I think there's something that stinks about all this."

"Well, yeah," John said dryly.  "Because we stepped in to save your asses."  He created a mirror and held it up.  "That would've been you this time if we hadn't."  It showed a graveyard with a lot of familiar names.  "See, the people above you, they don't care about you.  The fact that you disobeyed orders.....  Well, at least Alexander rewired their self-destruct mechanism."  Fury took a deep breath.  "Because you got noticed when you shouldn't because you let them save the earth."  John stared at him.  He made the mirror vanish.  He brought it back and pointed.  "They buried them with you when humanity revolted at being saved because the whole lot of them are ungrateful pricks for the most part." 

Fury looked at those graves and nodded once.  "Loki lied all the time."

"I know Loki but not that well."  He grinned.  "Then again, I'm a mischief godling.  I take your point, but I don't lie.  Didn't when I was a colonel on Atlantis."  Fury swallowed.  He had heard the tapes of the kids talking about that in various languages.  "Xander was my kid once because even I lost hope," he said quietly.  "Then he helped save us all.  It seems to be a bad, nerve wracking habit of his."  He tipped his head to the side.  "Did you ever disable the self-destruct?"

"We did."

"Are you sure?"

Fury glared at the kid for daring to question him.  Then again, something in his eyes showed he wasn't being a smartass so he'd play along.  This time.  "Why did you think I didn't?"

John got up and shifted the desk with a snap then opened the panels underneath with his bootknife.  He pointed.  "Because that felt shitloads like plastic explosive and whaddaya know, it is."  He looked at him.  "You broke the treaty with the WSC to save everyone, and then you broke it with your people to try to get back with the first group," John said quietly.  "You can't have it both ways.  Especially not with more shit coming up."  He disappeared.

"Agent Hill, get me the bomb techs.  The young guy who said he was the son of Strife just found plastic explosives under my desk," he called calmly.  Apparently he still had issues he had to work out.  He could not play off the kids to get the World Security Council off his back and let him do his job.  The kids would not play and would end up getting killed.  Someone had stopped an attempted bombing of the island once.

So now he had to step up, stop all the shit going on, and remake his dynasty so it worked.  Without heros, without Coulson, without anything going for him.

Except apparently a tiny archer and a godling of mischief now and then.


Rodney finished his private math project, staring at it then around his little hidden alcove in the woods that had no cameras, no audio or video pickups, nothing that would let anyone see what he was worrying about.  He was right, they had to make a decision and warp Xander's plans because he wouldn't be able to do it by himself forever.  There was going to be another major attack sometime soon.  He looked and found his cellphone, hitting the one for Owen.  No answer.  He looked up.  "Owen?" he called, sliding some magic into the calling.  He appeared, looking startled, with shampoo in his hair and naked.  "Great."  He stared at him.  "I need the recipe for the aging potion that Xander used.  I need it very soon."  He pointed at the math.  "Or else we'll lose humanity."

Owen looked at the math, understanding enough that it wasn't exactly a happy outcome with that negative at the end.  He looked at him.  "I'll look to see if we have it."

"Thank you.  Some of us can use it."

"Of course.  Can I go?"  Rodney nodded so he sent himself back to his shower so he could finish and find that potion for Rodney.  He had good reasons to have interrupted his shower, maybe the best of any interruptions he'd had.  The demons chanting for Alexander to come home got annoying after a while.  He walked out to look at them once he had on pants.  "He's working," he told them.  They pouted.  "Saving all our asses and lives.  Go do some of his job for him, people.  He's taking down terrorists."

The demons shuffled off, a few grimacing.  They understood why.  It was dumb but they did understand what sort of hope that would bring.

Owen went to the library, getting into the potions collection.  On one shelf sat a scroll, tied with a plaid ribbon, on a tray.  He read it first, just in case.  Nope, that was an armageddon potion.   He didn't want to know what that was for.  He found it in the scroll case and sent it to Rodney.  Rodney had to catch it before it hit his soup but that was fine.  He could do that.  He also sent him a potions lab and some ingredients he knew he didn't have.  All but one important one.  Yeti fur was really hard to get and it had to be plucked fresh.  Rodney could arrange that somehow.  Or John.


Xander had decided on what his version of hell would be.  He had been darted with a drug last night.  He had escaped from the attack to kill them, which was nice.  The police had found enough weapons and explosives on them to say that he was defending himself from a kidnaping plot from what he heard on a tv as he walked past it.  His version of hell also included some hallucinations.  Which didn't match the architecture. 

He snuck into some semi-ancient ruins to rest for a bit.  He knew he was being followed.  He had no idea by who.  Though he knew they were bad.  His bad shit sensor was bleeping at high speed at him.  So something was going to happen.  While he couldn't protect himself or others.  Great!

Yup, this was his hell because he was now seeing people walking the ancient streets that had not lived for thousands of years and might not have existed in this timeline at all.  He tapped his earpiece, which he had remembered to grab.  "What ruins am I in?" he asked quietly.

Phil's voice came across the line.  "It was the local liege lord's castle.  Basically their seat of power and government during the Middle Ages.  Got turned into a monastery, then got destroyed during the first world war.  Are you all right?  I'm heading for your position."

"Nope."  He hung up and calmed himself.  He basically knew where he was.  He had visited here once on his way through to somewhere else.  He banished the vision and blinked.  There were still people.  Modern people.  People without cameras.  People with weapons.  "Shit," he muttered and moved himself before they shot him.  Barely.  When he landed he held the new graze, wincing some. 

Yup, the fuzzy-headed feeling was pushed back for the most part.  His vision was wobbly.  This sucked ass.  He was definitely in a hell dimension this time.  He called his charmed weapons to him.  He didn't want a bow, he liked his guns.  The bow kept throwing off his aim.  He made sure it was silenced then moved back toward them.  One was watching but he got him.  The others turned to shoot him again.  He got some as he moved, drawing them away.  "Okay, could use backup," he announced into his earpiece.


"John!" he hissed then shot the person coming to see if he had made it out alive.  They didn't.  He moved again, finding a better spot, one that was less noticeable.  Something was seriously going on in the doorway that led to the stables, which probably also led to the root cellar or grain storage area.  No John.  No Anthony.  No help.  Great!  He picked his shots carefully, taking down the outliers while the main group huddled around the stables.  He needed to get closer.  He needed to see what it was.  He was still dizzy though and could not climb safely right now.

But then again, his safety didn't really matter. 

His silence might matter.  He was on loose bricks.  So he got a few more when they tried to pick him off for daring to move.  He spotted Phil and got the one coming for him, then moved into a closer position.  Clint had said he could trust Phil when the shit hit the fan.  That Phil stayed calm, collected, stable even in the worst things.  Xander got most of them and moved to look at the device.  That was bad.  That was a nuclear something.  He killed most everyone in there but the geeks.  Geeks might be hostages.   One of them fired back so he killed him too.  He looked at one and pointed, saying something in German.  No luck.  Polish, which Natasha and Clint had taught him some of.  No luck.  The man kept shaking his head.

"Try Danish," Clint said in his earpiece.

"Do I know Danish?" he quipped back.  Clint said something and he repeated it.  The guy babbled at him.  "Okay," he said, listening.

Clint cleared his throat.  "You're sitting on a nuclear bomb, plutonium type with a double core and three different trigger mechanisms.  You'll have to kill all three."

"Did I go over this type?"

"No, they stole it from Howard Stark's shit."

"Good to know."  He shot the person running toward him.  "How do I disarm this?" he asked the scientist, which was translated by Clint.  He repeated that.  The scientist said something.  "Clint?"

"He said he didn't know.  He was working on the core and they just implanted it a few hours ago but it wasn't running."

"Fuck."  Apparently the scientist understood that because he flinched and nodded.  "Get the mega geeks onto it?"  He planted a camera on it and the room then went to make sure no one got near it.  The camera had a signal jammer for everything but its signal.  Xander ran out of bullets with a new surge starting.  He switched to his handgun.  That lasted through most of them. 

As usual, the most dangerous let the cannon fodder go first so he was left with a few very slinky assassin looking types.  He pulled another weapon and used it, then he pulled his bow.  His official bow that drove him nuts.  He fired it and that one went down but he got a shot in the arm.  Through his arm and into his ribs.  He got them too, wincing and holding his side.  "Fuckity fuck fuck," he muttered.

"You good?" Clint demanded.

"Bit sore.  Got my arm."  He ditched the bow and went old school crossbow.  That helped and they all got dead, including the one that was holding Coulson hostage.  Even the one with the kid in the way.  He said a prayer and walked over to heal her.  Coulson moved him before he got shot and Xander killed that one with a killing curse.  He healed the kid and had Coulson evacuate her and get the townspeople out of the way.

"My job...."

"Your job is the same as my job.  To protect the damn people," Xander said hotly.  "I can handle this until someone figures out how to disarm it.  Just take the kid to city hall and get them out of the way.  I was at Chernobyl a few days before it went up.  I don't want to see it again.  I can move myself faster than I can both of us."  He nodded and left.  Xander went back to the bomb.  "Okay, anything?" he asked.  He found the first aid box and broke it open with a fist, taking out some gauze pads and tape to do his arm and chest.  He could live like this for now.

"Not yet," Clint said.  "How injured are you?"

"Left arm.  Ribs.  Few grazes," he slightly lied.  The scientist said something and he shook his head.  "We have to disarm the bomb."  The scientist nodded and said something else for Clint to translate.  The person who could was the one who had tried to shoot him.  A real believer instead of a hostage.  They had taken him hostage because the believer didn't know how to construct the cores.  Frankly, when Coulson came back with SHIELD he was a bit happy.  "Hostage, only guy who knew how," he said with a point.  "He shot at me first."

"We have it," Fury said.  "Get him to medical."

"I'll get it at home."

"There's no doctors there," Fury noted.

Xander stared at him.  "Fuck off," he mouthed, covering his earpiece.

"Xander, let the doctors remove the bullet," Phil said.  "Then we can go home."

"They might put in a tracking thing or something!"

"They won't and I'm going to be beside you the whole time.  If we have to, I'll have Stark break us out."

Xander was leaning on the wall holding his ribs.  "Promise?"

"I do."

"Okay."  He let them have it.  "Grab the bow?"  Phil nodded and took the weapons with him.  They couldn't really afford to lose weapons.  Xander summoned his crossbow and handed it over with a wince.  "The only one I have."

"I know.  Come along.  The townspeople are moved.  The kid is fine."  Xander nodded, stepping over a body.  Phil helped him to the helicopter and got them both inside, nodding at the agents.  "Lucky shot."

"Drugged earlier or they wouldn't have gotten it," Xander said bitterly.

"Same people and I spent most of today trying to find you."


"It's all right.  We'll work on that when we get home."  Xander nodded, resting his head back against the wall.  "Want something for some pain?"

"No.  No drugs."

"Okay."  The agents gave him a look and he shook his head.  "He reacts strangely to most of them."  They nodded, taking off to take them back to the hell carrier.  Xander was nearly passed out by then.  Phil took his earpiece but Xander was too weak to protest.  They got him offloaded directly onto a gurney.  "Few grazes, drugged last night with something that made him hallucinate earlier, lucky shot through his left arm and into his side.  He went nearly a half hour before bandaging."

The nurse nodded, taking that down.  "Twenty-one?"


She grimaced.  "I hate when they recruit kids."

Phil looked at her.  "He's not.  I am."  She nodded at that.

"Can't I go to a regular hospital?" Xander asked quietly.

"No," Phil said.  "No good ones closer than Germany."  Xander sighed but nodded.  That was a ways away from Latvia.  They got him into the infirmary, cut off his shirt, and took him to surgery.  Phil stuck by him the whole way, wincing at the bullet they pulled out.  It hadn't been too deep, the arm part of the trajectory had slowed it down, but it had probably done a bit of damage. 

"No drugs.  He reacts funny," he ordered.  They nodded and quit trying to sedate him.  "Due to an earlier infection, you're going to want to mix his blood with the new," he told the nurse with it.  "Someone infected him with a tiny bit of fish DNA at one time."  They grimaced but set that up and it was better.  Phil could relax and have his own grazes treated while they got Xander sewn back up.  Then he'd sit beside Xander's bed until they woke up enough to leave, hopefully before Fury got back.


Director Fury looked at the pissed off villain/world leader.  "Why were your people in my country without my knowledge?" the asshole demanded.

"Because one of your people was responsible for one of mine being taken hostage.  All I wanted was that person and it turned into drama."  He stared at the man in the silver mask.  "Frankly, if the idiot's cohorts hadn't tried to drug the kid, he wouldn't have stumbled into their bomb."

"I would like to reward him for that.  He saved a child's life."

"I'll tell 'im but he doesn't answer to me or listen to me."

"One of your people was with him."

"He's family to that whole kiddified heros debacle.  He refuses to be SHIELD."

"I see."  He considered it.  "Is he all right?"

"Got wounded.  Being fixed up.  That bomb?"

"We've taken it apart, sir," Agent Hill said from behind him.  "All the destructive components were taken and put safely in a vault box, each part separately, and the rest is being shipped back so we can examine it and make plans so we know how to handle one in the future."

"Good.  Go home."

"Yes, sir."  She nodded and left.

Fury looked at the pissy guy again.  "Let me go back to my people and see who these idiots were."

"They were not HYDRA.  The one we have gotten to speak didn't know anything about them.  Frankly, it was that child's father and he is not going to like his suffering any."

Fury smirked.  "I'm not against that when it's necessary.  Let us know so we can stop them?"

"If I cannot.  They should not have dared to use my country or my people."

Fury nodded, walking off.  It was the best he could hope for in this situation.  By the time he got back, Barton was out of surgery, Coulson was hovering.  He walked to the doorway and stared.  "Nice to have you back, even if it is for the night."

"He'll want to go as soon as he wakes up, sir."

"I get that.  I want a report on why you two were there."  Phil printed it from his PDA and let him gather it.  He read it over, nodding.  "Fuck," he said.  "No, not HYDRA in the least."

"No, sir.  I have no idea how that group we ended in my first year of SHIELD got resurrected but I'm hoping we got them all?"

"I hope so too."  He walked off.  "Bomb was taken care of.  He can sneak out if he wants."

Xander nodded.  "I want."  He summoned his wand.  "Good Force to grab my saber."  He and Phil disappeared.  With their weapons from R&D.  Xander landed on his feet, barely.

"Infirmary," Phil ordered, walking him that way.

"I can go to bed."

"Shut up, Xander," Clint ordered.  "I know I'm a bad patient but go to bed."


"Thank you."  He took the weapons to check over.  "We've got to work on the bow so it's got a crossbow grip."  He took them to clean and put up once they were reloaded.  Then he could go sit by his bedside and swear at the higher powers of the universe if they existed.

The others were doing about the same thing wherever they wanted to sit and watch the feed from the infirmary.  Coulson got a bandage change from Clint and a pat on the shoulder too.  They both thought Xander's style sucked but it got the job done which was important right now.


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