Slight Angst! Some weird violence.
Weird Emergencies For the Old Ones.
Phil Coulson walked into Director Fury's office with a file. "You
needed to see me, sir?" He handed the file over since it was a
report on the training he had overseen at Xander's temple.
"Do you think that you're still emotionally detached enough to be a senior agent?"
"Yes, I do. Is there a doubt?"
"What if the problem is Dawn Summers?"
"Why would Dawn be a problem?"
"She's got powers no one understands."
"I helped her put plans in place in case she lost control. She was
already making them and putting them in as protocol so I helped define
the action plan, sir."
Fury stared at him. "I haven't seen that yet."
"You won't be," he admitted. "It's locked until an alert comes
up. All the energy sensors we have contain an alarm in case she
starts to dump power. Then there's three in-case plans depending
on the most common scenarios."
"I see. And what if they worry about Tara?"
"Again, sir, why would they worry about Tara? She doesn't use her
magic unless it's necessary. She's become important around here to
keep the base's people healthy and calm, plus focused on the job.
She's never shown that she'd have the addiction problem Rosenburg did."
"There's people who think that magic is very bad for us."
Dawn appeared wearing skinny, short shorts and a tight t-shirt with her
hair pulled back in a pony tail. She was clearly braless and was
wearing strappy wedge heels. "Tell me a lie," she ordered.
"What?" Fury demanded.
"Tell. Me. A. Lie." Phil started to open his
mouth but she held up a hand. "It's a test," she told him.
"I don't have to," Fury started. She slammed him into the ceiling then let him go. "How dare you....."
"Tell me a damn lie or I'm shooting you next time," she noted.
"Fine! You look like a librarian!" He melted into a puddle of gray goo.
Coulson looked then at her. "I heard Xander muttering about goo clones."
"Yes you did. He just found out earlier that they're infesting the
ship." She pointed at the staring assistant. "That's the
root cause because she's the only one that's out of place. It
started right after she got here."
He watched the assistant start to carefully move away from her
desk. "Interesting. Is that the only method of telling?"
"Shooting and killing. They don't bleed right either when you poke
them." He nodded, going to chase her down. Dawn got onto
the desk, finding the files she had been told to find by Xander.
And another one. She took them with her, handing them off to Phil
on her way past them. "Hold those. They're the problem
"Good to know. I'll check the Avengers."
"I'll check the Avengers. You go check the medical team.
We'll probably need them." He nodded, hurrying that way. She
jogged down to the lab. Banner's lab was closest so she walked
inside, freezing Banner when he started to say something. "Tell me
a lie," she told the assistant.
"Tell me a lie. It's a test, just do it. Any lie will do."
"Umm.... You look like a hippie?" She was fine. Dawn looked at the next one.
"You look like a pro?"
"No, I said a lie," Dawn said dryly. "I know I was at home on the
couch vegging and the shoes were the closest at hand. Just any
lie. I'm a girl, there's some standard ones."
"Sure. You look older and fatter in that." She
changed. Everyone was staring. Dawn looked at the next
one. They all told her lies and were fine. She unfroze
"You look like a well educated young paralegal," Doctor Banner said. No change. He slumped. "What is that?"
"Xander calls them goo clones. They're made by another country's
intelligence people to subtly replace minor players for intel gathering
and to mess up plans." She moved to work on the tension in his
neck because his skin was turning a bit green. "Relax, Doc.
I'm here to help. We're stopping this. We've found them in
Fury's office too," she said quietly. He nodded and she made sure
he stayed calm. "Go check the other labs, I'm heading to Stark and
then the other Avengers."
"Lock down the lab," he ordered, heading out.
Dawn nodded. "Don't let anyone in that you don't test." She
headed for the other R&D lab. She walked in and covered
Pepper's mouth when she started to complain to her about barging
in. "Hush," she told Tony. "Tell me a lie," she told the
assistant. "Any lie will do. It's a test."
"I saw that earlier," she said, looking around.
"Just any lie."
"Um... you look good as a blonde?" She was fine and sighed in
relief. Dawn frowned and looked at her. "What are you
"A tiny electrical pack attached to your skin. We'll deal with
that later. Next," she told them. That one went to goo
before she got more than a few words out. Which freaked Tony
out. She freed Pepper, who turned to goo before she got more than a
complaint out. She stared at him.
"You look like you graduated from Harvard in that outfit." He went
to goo. There was a tiny arc reactor sitting in the middle of
it. People started to freak out.
"Hush," she ordered, concentrating. She could find Tony, she had
marked him in case he got taken again. She brought him, chair and
all. He looked a bit freaked out too. "Good, tell me a
"I saw them doing that. I'm twenty-seven and madly in love with a
giant robot." No change. She freed him. He looked at
the arc reactor. "Old intelligence. It's the old one's
shape." He put it aside and looked at her.
"Banner's doing the lab. Phil has medical. I'm going to hit the other Avengers."
"I'll help Banner and then move toward the bridge." She
nodded. He glanced at the pile of Pepper's favorite outfit.
Then at her.
"I only had you marked, not Pepper. We'll figure out where you
were and then go rescue." He nodded. "Lock the lab," she
told the assistant.
"Hell yes!" She initiated emergency shut down procedures.
"I'm hitting Cap," Tony called back. "The others are in the gym."
"Sure." She jogged that way, nearly skidding when the elevator
opened and nothing was there. "Fine," she decided, teleporting in
there. She froze everyone, getting a glare from Natasha. She
undid the junior officers first. "Tell me a lie."
"Why?" he demanded.
"Just fucking do it, dude. It's a damn test. Now, tell me a fucking lie!"
"You look like a tart!" She punched him. "Hey! Fine,
you hit like a teenage boy." He went to goo. Everyone else
was staring and trying to look horrified. She released them and
the others all told them. She found another of those weird packs
on someone and noted it.
"You have one too," Natasha said, touching it.
Dawn looked then concentrated, pulling it out. It hurt like a
bitch. It had been connected to some nerves. She did the
healing spell and looked at her. "Tell me a lie."
"I'm twelve and a ballerina." Nothing. They both looked at Clint Barton.
"I'm madly in love with that ballerina?"
"No, an actual lie," Dawn taunted, smirking slightly.
"She's been the premiere dancer at Ballet Russe for the last twenty
years," he lied. Nothing. He sighed. "What is going
"Those are what Xander calls goo clones."
"I've heard something about them," Natasha agreed. She took the electrical pack. "We'll have Stark look it over."
"I had to find him. They still have Pepper." She
nodded. She looked at Clint. "Go clear the prisons. I
got you guys. Banner and Stark have R&D. I'm going for
the bridge. It's the next most critical. Phil's fine. I
got him first when Fury melted."
"Going," he agreed.
She flashed up to the bridge. "Agent Hill, tell me a lie please."
Agent Hill stared. "Why are you dressed like that?"
"Day off on the couch until the emergency started. Tell me a
lie?" She did. Nothing. They did the bridge one by
one. The few that tried to be missed got pushed into the
open. Dawn sighed in relief when only a few went down.
"Pepper Potts is still missing. I managed to find Stark but not
her." Hill nodded. "Did we miss any critical sections?"
"Not yet," she said, checking. "I'll send people to the mess and have them checked. Just a lie?"
"They might not bleed properly if stuck. If killed they'll goo up."
"So a lie." She stomped off to handle that.
"I cleared the Avengers."
"Good. Go figure out why this is going on."
"I'm pretty damn sure I know," she admitted. She got Phil and the
others that were cleared to a meeting room. She walked in
last. Tony gave her outfit a long stare. "I was on the couch
watching porn, thank you. The shoes were leftover from me blowing
off stress last night. It's been a shittastic day."
"Why?" he asked.
"Starting with a call from Buffy. We'll talk in a few." She
looked at Phil. "The files?" He handed them over. She
separated them out and put three on the table. "It relates back to
the new Initiative mess."
"Crap," Tony muttered, taking them to look over. "They were going
to use Stark Enterprises to create their little army of psycho future
soldiers and SHIELD to house and train them to take over after they took
us out." He passed those around. "And still the breeding
program." Dawn nodded. He looked at her. "Xander?"
"Found out that they were still trying for the breeding part.
Especially after Fury sent an order to get a pint of blood off him and
me both last night. That was before Buffy called and he's working
on the outside sources."
"This third file is a program," Banner said.
Dawn looked then smiled at him. "It's a genetics program."
They groaned. She looked at Phil then at Barton. "Do they
have any idea?"
"Not beyond the minor research," Phil said. "Brief them, we'll
handle finding Potts and the others." The three agents left.
Dawn sighed and sat down, looking at them. "Some back history that
Tony partially knows," she said. Banner nodded. "Way back
when, before even the Gods were born, there were demon societies that
ruled this plane. They were pretty damn powerful, treated humans
like zoo exhibits, and made pretty artifacts. When the humans
finally overthrew them, after making the slayer line to help, the
artifacts got split up and some got protected.
"One was a key so they could travel to other planes for things that they
needed that they couldn't get here. Plants that wouldn't grow
here, energy crystals, things like that. The humans decided it was
one of the most dangerous of all and appointed a group that eventually
turned into monks to protect it. The monks created some crazy
knights but that's not pertinent now. They called it the Key."
"Is this important?" Banner asked.
"Yes. Hugely so." She grinned at Tony then at him.
"The Key has been attacked a few times over the centuries since
then. The monks always hid it well. There's one main hell
goddess that wanted to us it, named Glorificus."
"Or Glory," Tony sighed.
"Exactly." Banner started to look like he got it. "When
Glory showed up the last time, the monks couldn't hold out against her
so they used the Key to create a human, a teenage girl, and hid the
power inside her. Then they sent her to be the sister of a slayer
to protect her. In the demonic world, slayers are one of the top
fighters against evil so it made sense. Even though Glory was
sucking sanity out of people through their temples by her fingertips."
"I still have film of that," Tony admitted. He looked at his
cohort. "Needless to say, when Glory started to hunt for the Key,
she traced it to the hellmouth."
"She had these little ugly minions that stole Gucci for her and attacked
things to find her Key. Then, Loki decided to show up to nag his
son after she had attacked the Sunnydale team looking for the Key.
Which meant said son called Agent Coulson to come get him and Agent
Coulson called Iron Man when Xander reported that he had seen her and
was off hunting her."
"It took Rosenburg and I an hour to kill her," Tony told him.
Dawn nodded. "That was right when Mom got found to have the brain
tumor so I was hiding while they were looking at it for treatment and I
had just met Pepper that night. She's the one that told me Glory
was down for good if I remember right."
"So this is to get your powers?" Bruce asked.
"No. They can't harness my powers. My powers without my
control are dangerous. That glowy cube has nothing on the
Key." She got up and went to a computer terminal to pull something
up, bringing it back. She handed him the printout. "That's
the tests Phil had done so they could set up an alarm for my power going
out of my control due to a kidnaping or attack."
He looked it over. "Different power source and levels, different
origin than the tesseract cube." He looked at her. "Why is
it important to know now?"
"Because of the way I was made, the Key never fully created me into a
real girl. It did a heck of a job doing most things but some of
the plumbing won't work. I have a uterus but no ovaries sort of
not fully done." He nodded once. "Those idiots," she said,
pointing at the files on the table. "Are really hot to see if they
can breed better slayers, which may or may not come faster in a family
that's already had one, and better future Avengers. Their own
team. That's why they were taking demigods last time."
"By what we've read of your DNA it's just enough off human normal to
make it a crossbreed," Tony said. Dawn nodded. "Oh!" he said
getting it, looking at Banner.
"The gamma radiation changed me enough that I don't fully read as human anymore," he said.
"Yup, but you're not the only one. John Sheppard has Iratus
DNA. That's the bug that made the wraith. He nearly turned
into a giant blue bug." Banner shuddered. "He got bit on a
mission." She shrugged a bit. "Xander has fish DNA now
thanks to mermaid taint and an undercover on the Sunnydale team back in
highschool plus some other taints. He reads about ten percent off
normal human. Thor reads slightly off normal. It's probably
enough if they wanted to tinker a bit with my DNA or his. Yours is
closer," she told Banner. "So this is a head's up that they want
something of yours to try to breed to me. They've been trying
really hard to get it from me to start this. They had seventy
three demi's at that site in Georgia. Only ten of them were
female." Banner shuddered. "And they didn't have any of mine
"So they replaced some people to get better access," Tony said.
"I think that's part of it. I'm not totally sure of the rest yet."
"We can start from there. Is there anything else that may be complicating this? Because you look like hell, Dawn."
"Got a call last night from Buffy. She thinks Mom's sick again. I think it's pretty coincidental."
"We were never sure how her tumor got started anyway," Tony agreed, considering it. "You think or you know?"
"I can't get near her. They've got a massive electrical storm out
there. Or else I would've pulled her here to have them do a new
"I can arrange that," he decided. "Any other good news?"
"The other two folders were on classified demis who came to notice recently that aren't real stable."
He winced. "I heard." He got up. "Let me get someone
to snatch your mother or at least some hair for testing. I want
some of yours too." Dawn tipped her head, letting him pluck
some. "The GCMS should be able to tell us most everything."
"You might want to pluck hairs from everyone else."
"I can do that later." He left. Banner patted Dawn on the
arm and followed. She cleaned up the folders and went to help
Phil. This was bad news all around. He had found where
Pepper was and a team was going to rescue her. She sat beside him,
monitoring the power flows.
At one point she nudged him and pointed. "Magic." He
reported that and Natasha's power absorbing amulet helped with that.
When they came back, Dawn followed him down there. "Did we test them?" she asked Natasha.
"I had not thought to but it wouldn't be out of the ordinary to put a
spy among the hostages." She looked at them. "Tell us all a
lie." They all passed but Fury. "Oh, dear."
Dawn sniffed and looked at her. Natasha gave her a strange
look. Dawn pulled her off to the side. "Why do you smell
like head and shoulders instead of your normal shampoo?" she asked
quietly. "You told me you never share personal supplies because
you might get poisoned by an enemy that way."
She pulled her hair around to sniff. "That is not my normal
shampoo....." She looked. "Can you find one of those boxes
Dawn scanned her and nodded, tapping it. "Here. Phil, that little box thing? She's got one too."
"Do we have anything on those?"
"I handed Dawn's to Stark," Barton said, looking at him.
"I have it being scanned. I have no idea what it's for yet. Dawn, how was it attached?"
"Three nerves. Hurt like a bitch to take off but a healing spell helped."
"We can look at that." He looked at Natasha. "We can remove
yours more kindly than she did." Black Widow nodded they would
be. They stomped off to talk.
Dawn looked around then went to snatch her mother. The storm was easing. "C'mon."
"Why?" she asked.
"Now." She pulled her up and took her to the infirmary.
"Guys, I know we're in the middle of an emergency and all but we think
her brain tumor came back without warning. It's really weird and
might be included in it. Can we do a scan thingy?"
"We certainly can," the head doctor agreed, pulling up the digital
chart. "We're out of the first wave of traffic." They pulled
some blood for testing, a few pieces of hair for other tests, then ran
her into the CT. He came back and nodded, holding up the
print-out. "I'm sorry," he said quietly.
"She got scanned last week and there was nothing."
"The blood work came back with that same anomalous result. The one
no one could figure out last time. We're breaking it down and
we've taken her to surgery to drain the fluid sack in the center."
Dawn nodded, sitting down, making herself stay calm. "Once we
have that, I'm going to refer her to the best specialist I know in New
York. He even takes her insurance."
Dawn smiled weakly. "They'll love that. Thank you, Doc."
"It's not a problem. I did get a request to get some blood from you from the director."
"Yeah, he's turned to goo now twice."
"Oh, never mind then."
"The whole new Initiative thing was about breeding." He
shuddered. "Exactly." She rubbed her face and waited.
The draining of the fluid sac didn't take that long. They could go
in through the old surgery scars. The results of the bloodwork
were more disturbing, especially combined with what was in that fluid.
Dawn walked into the team meeting a bit later. "Tony, I need one of your father's journals."
"Why? They're probably in a classified warehouse somewhere."
She put the bloodwork down. "I remember that strange
result. That's what we thought caused it."
"They found more in the fluid sack inside the brain tumor."
She put that one down. "I think I saw you fiddling with something
that looked like that the other day." She put down the last test
result. "That's the other half of what it is. Why would a
fertility drug be inside a brain tumor that someone caused my mother to
He was still staring at the other result. "That's the super
soldier formula Banner was working on." Bruce took it to look over
and winced. He looked at Dawn. "It was inside the tumor?"
"There was a fluid sack with that and clomid, a fertility drug, mixed in with it."
"But.... Your mother wouldn't be fertile after the chemo," Natasha
said, considering it. Her mind was still in a bad position to
Dawn looked at her. "Did we test your hair yet?"
"Did we test yours?" she countered.
"I have some running of Dawn's," Tony said, reaching over to yank some
of Natasha's to go run. "Give me ten, Dawn." He walked off.
Dawn sat down and looked at Steve. Then at Banner. "What effect would that have on my mom?"
"It shouldn't cause a tumor. We never saw any evidence of it."
"She got radiation as part of her treatment last time."
He shook his head. "Still shouldn't matter, Dawn." He
considered it. "If they had the genetic material and just needed
eggs to transplant it into, she could do that. She's a bit older
than the norm but still pre menopause?" Dawn nodded once.
"Then they could be using it to harvest and hoping that the serum sinks
into them to make them stronger."
"Why is this relevant?" Barton asked. "Not that I don't think it is," he told Dawn.
"Dawn's mother's tumor was caused," Natasha said. "We were fairly
certain but had no definitive proof outside some very odd bloodwork
"We think by the initial Initiative program," Dawn said. "And
everyone's been very hot to get my blood for the last few days."
"We know your sister's line spawned a new slayer," Steve said quietly.
"Xander said she's far down the calling line though," Dawn agreed.
"Mine's not normal and only those who read off human could be used
unless they want to do a serious amount of tinkering with my DNA."
"Yes, but you're powerful and if they combined you with a more powerful
being, like a god or a demigod's seed, it would hold their bodies
stronger," he said.
She nodded. "They were wanting Xander. They only had ten women out of all the ones they had in Georgia."
Tony came back. "There's no fertility meds in yours, Dawn, but
that same serum was very lightly shown up. It looks like the
magical protections gathered it somehow."
"I can have myself scanned, see where it's hiding," she offered.
"We can do that later." He looked at Natasha, handing over
hers. She growled. Tony nodded. "So you're on their
"I will destroy them," she said in Russian.
Dawn looked down at her. "Sure, want help?"
"No, I won't need help."
"Okay. I get a few for my mom and all the hell this is going to
put the family through." She saw the confused look. "If my
mom dies of the brain tumor do you think Buffy's going to be as
careful?" she asked Steve since he looked so confused.
"Oh! I hadn't even thought of that, Dawn."
Dawn shrugged slightly. "She got straightened out after dying the
first time because Mom needed her to be stronger and get better.
Otherwise she would've continued down her destructive path."
"She died?" Steve asked.
"Drowned by the Master out in Sunnydale. Xander did CPR."
He nodded. "So are they using her?"
"I can't get to her. She's being hounded by demons today and I
can't take her from the battle. I haven't even told her that what
she called up ranting about last night was true. I can't do that
over a phone."
"You can go see her," Barton said.
"It's not safe," Stark noted. "At all. She's not allowed in
Cleveland without a guard." He looked at her. "You might
have to call."
"I cannot call someone and tell them that our mother has another brain
tumor, definitely caused, over the phone," she said quietly. "I
just can't, Tony. That's not the way to break that news and Buffy
will need some breaking down time before she goes to smash everything in
her path for a bit."
Xander appeared and sat down with a sigh. He hugged her.
"Cleveland's about screwed today. I've spent the last few hours
helping your sister."
"We need to talk," she said.
He looked at her. "I checked on Joyce and spotted that."
Dawn slumped, shaking her head. He hugged her. "We'll deal
with it. If something happens, I'll still be the best big brother
ever. Like we had planned before, Dawn. You're still my
family." She sniffled but nodded and got up, going to the
infirmary. "So," he said, looking at the heros. "Now what?"
"We need to find who was behind it," Stark said.
"We know the front players," Xander reminded him. "The puppet masters probably aren't in the US."
"Could it be HYDRA?" Steve asked. "They wanted the formula too."
Xander shook his head. "Making new super heros? Not
likely. They might want a few to publically fight their image as
'we've changed, look at our new style' sort of thing. It's not
tactical otherwise. Though there is that group out of England,
since yet again the Council has popped up a few people trying to
reform. There's also that group of Generals from all over that
want the heros spread all around the 'good guys' to start a less
dangerous nuclear arms race."
Xander glanced at Natasha. She had been one of those at one
time. Then back at Captain America. "England has some kooks
that could help. I wouldn't put it past HYDRA to have a hand in it
so they can up their own genetics programs. I know they've got
one. Gershwin Verganthes is part of it and I know her brother from
way back when."
Tony looked up that name. "Biologist. Son is a DNA splicer
for plant species." He rubbed his head. "So they do have
Xander took the tablet to get onto another site. "The Geeks from
Sunnydale." He handed it down. "About a third of the way
down the last I knew, which was a few days back." Tony looked it
over, finding it on the next page. He read it and his face went
stony. "I'm guessing they're behind the ones that got the demis
taken hostage and you guys taken for goo clones."
"Probably," he agreed, broadcasting it up so everyone could see
it. It was a happy article that one of the geeks was being
mentored by them in their special program.
Steve pointed. "He used to be HYDRA."
"He left, turned his back on the pure race and tried to make superior
humans," Tony said, pulling that up. "He was all for making the
Xander nodded. "I remember hearing about him. Does Gershwin work for him or them?"
Tony looked at that file. "Both."
"Darn it," Captain America complained.
"Definitely an oh shit situation," Barton agreed. "Why bother Dawn's mother though?"
"Joyce gave birth to one of the strongest slayers. The longest
lasting slayer." He slumped. "Buffy gave birth to a fairly
strong slayer that probably won't be called. Otherwise, Callia is a
super strong toddler even without the calling. Mom's upbeat and
perky DNA with the slayer essence included passed on very well when NID
knocked her up by Stark. Dawn's very powerful and not everyone
knows why. We kept the Key thing very hidden until we had to start
letting some people here know. And most do not know." They
"The only one I know that knows out of those that got taken is Fury," Coulson said.
"And he knows a lot more than that about other matters and other demis,"
Xander agreed. "He's their library." He looked at
Barton. "Dawn's not fertile and that's been noted in her files
here I do believe?"
"Noted by the docs but not in the files," Stark said. "Though the doc that did it was taken."
"So they'd use Joyce's eggs to put Dawn's DNA in," Banner said.
"The family lineage would mean less change of rejection. Then find
a good male side donor and spin in a petri dish." Xander
nodded. "Would her powers pass on?"
"Some powers would pass on. Any kid she has is most likely going
to have powers like Tara does, if not something like a mild genetic
mutation that leads to being a seer or something else like that.
It could be the first X-Man style mutant."
"Why a tumor?" Barton asked.
"We think the first time they dosed her it caused it," Stark said.
"Could've been the hellmouth's radiation countering against it, could
be that she had a predisposition and it made it happen. No one's
sure there. The fluid sack being there meant it was recently."
"She had a scan last week. No tumor," Xander said quietly.
"So in the last week," he said, considering it. "Can we find out who visited her?"
Coulson nodded. "I'm having someone compile that." He looked at Xander. "Are you all right?"
"No. I'm going to go blow shit up. Let me know if you guys
need help against any of these people. They took blood samples
from me but with the mermaid taint, the hellmouth radiation sucking up I
did by accident, and the godhood I'd have to be matched with someone
off-human at first." He left.
"Dawn's DNA can only be combined with someone off-human," Banner said quietly.
"They can't combine Xander and Dawn. Dawn's magic would work
against is godhood and his radiation taint, which they probably can't
remove." Tony put up that calculation. "So they'd have to
match him to someone who was strong enough to handle that much
power." He looked at their teammate. "And he does draw
She nodded. "It sounds likely but they don't have anything of mine yet."
"We're going to make sure of it," Banner said, smiling at her.
"Not that we don't need a next generation but I don't think any of us
are ready for that yet."
"Not yet," Tony agreed, leaning back. He looked at Coulson. "What's the party line this time?"
"Find it, be subtle, shut it down."
"Can I bring in Sheppard's people?" Stark asked. "Banner, have you ever met Doctor Rodney McKay?"
"I've had the displeasure of hearing him rant," he admitted.
Tony smiled. "He's been the head of science on Atlantis since that mission started. With Doctor Zelenka after him."
Banner moaned. "That's a heavy geek pairing that even I might bow down to. Can we involve them?"
"By the notes we got earlier off Fury's desk they're already involved," Coulson admitted. "They wanted McKay to breed."
Tony dialed John Sheppard's phone. "Sheppard, it's Stark. We
need McKay and his two best minds to help us. The new Initiative
breeding mess included goo clones, stolen agents, and their DNA being
wanted too." He listened. "I can have someone pick them
up. It might give Dawn a mental break." He hung up and
texted her. She appeared with them a minute later. "Doctor
McKay, Doctor Zelenka, Doctor Carter." He smiled. "Welcome
Coulson handed over the file. "This is need-to-know but we have a
director missing to the same people and agents being compromised."
They settled in to look it over. "I would destroy them to the quark level," Rodney sneered. "They would not last."
"Hey, I can build a weapon for that," Stark said with a smile. "Have you guys met Doctor Banner?" They all stared.
Rodney smirked and held out a hand. "We were at a conference but never talked. Doctor Rodney McKay."
"Doctor Bruce Banner." He shook his hand. "Coulson, I'm taking them to my lab."
"That's fine. We'll make sure no one tries to fawn all over
them." They nodded and left with Stark. He slumped, looking
at his agents. "Are you all right, Natasha?"
She shrugged. "I will be fine once I get to kill whoever tried this."
"Did you find out how?" She shook her head. "Find out, let
me know. I'm going to go back to looking for the director."
They got up and went to deal with things.
Dawn looked up from her drinking when someone sat at her table. "I
was hoping no one was going to track me tonight so I could get drunk
and forget about all the hell in my life."
"I wasn't tracking you," Barton admitted. "I like this bar. It has a good music set."
She smiled. "That's why I picked here instead of my usual
places. That and they know me too well there." She finished
her mixed drink. "Buy you a round?"
"Sure," he decided, going up to order with her. They came back and
settled in their corner seat to listen to the live band. He
sipped his beer. "You didn't seem like the drinking sort."
"I'm not. Sometimes though, you gotta have it. Buffy
screamed at me that it was my fault. Fury, when they found him,
yelled at me for daring to have Mom scanned since it was
relevant." She took a drink. "And I shot back at him.
He tried to sneer about the clothes but I pointed out I didn't hesitate
to change when an emergency happened and he should feel lucky since I
was on the couch watching porn when I got the notice it was bad
shit." She took another drink. "Pepper and Tony's chef
taught me how to mix wines and food. Pepper taught me about mai
tai's too because Tony drove her nuts one day."
"Those are pretty girlish drinks." He sipped his beer. "We need a dance floor."
She smiled. "I don't dance. I club tease but I don't dance dance." She finished her drink. "You dance?"
"I did learn," he admitted. "Had to for an assignment."
She looked at him. "How does that work? I get how it works for Natasha but you?"
"There are bad girls in the universe," he said dryly.
"I know, they all like Xander."
He smiled. "Some of those probably would've too." He
finished his beer and got the next round. She was clearly past
tipsy. "Keys?" he asked quietly.
"I'm smart enough to know what a cab is," she quipped back.
He smirked. "There's that nasty cabby killing people."
"Yeah and he'll probably be drawn to me too," she sighed. "So I'll
shoot his ass if I have to." He choked. "Yeah, I'm in a
mean mood today after having everyone and their brother complain to me
about something. Even Pepper complained that I didn't get Tony to
some sort of meeting during an emergency." She sipped her drink
and sighed since the band was taking a break. "Maybe I should've
went to the club."
"You'd probably get in more trouble," he said.
"They know me well enough at the ones I go to that they know not to let
me out with someone after the last attempt. Oops. Sorry,
must get chatty on rum." She downed most of the drink and shook
"It does do that to people, yes," he agreed. "I'll watch over you this time. Next time you're on your own."
She smirked. "You're too old for me too."
"Thankfully, yes I am." They clinked glasses and got back to the serious business of salving the wounds of the day.
Dawn walked into Tony's apartment the next morning. "Get your ass
up," she bellowed loudly. "Pepper about ate my liver because you
missed the meeting last night. She'll seriously kill me today if
you don't make this one."
He blinked at her. "Hangover?" he guessed.
"Fuck yes. Get up anyway. It's making me mean."
He pointed. "Advil. Second cabinet. Drink a lot of water."
"Duh. Already have."
"Aren't you underage?" he complained as he sat up.
"Yes and no liquor has ever touched these lips," she shot back with an evil smirk.
He looked her over. "You managed to get dressed."
"Yeah, about four hours ago. You have to do the same thing so
Pepper doesn't have to wear the suit when she kills us both for you
missing a meeting. Though she did say in a few years I'd have a
better and more subtle handle on how to get you to them."
"Yeah, right," he said, uncovering himself. She turned around. "I'm not naked."
"I realized that. It's considered polite not to stare at guys
who're hungover and in their underwear unless they're crawling out of
"Good point." He wandered into the bathroom. "Get me some water and advil?"
"Yup." She put them on a tray and floated them in to him so she
didn't have to invade his bathroom. She went to make a very subtle
breakfast too. She noticed the answering machine blinking and hit
it to take notes.
"Tony, are you all right? It's Steve and you sounded kind of bummed last night so call me if you want to talk."
"Are you sure you're all right, Tony?" Steve's voice said again.
"I know you're probably drunk or creating, or both, but call me so I can
make sure you got home all right?"
Dawn texted him so he wouldn't have to worry. Tony came out
buttoning up his shirt. "Captain Rogers said to call him, he was
worried you were making new jet packs while drunk again."
He texted him, eyes squinted. She handed him his sunglasses. "Thanks. Meeting?"
"Investors. Looking at the shiny new stuff?"
"Oh, them." He finished buttoning his shirt. "Jacket?"
"It's like eighty outside," she assured him. He grimaced but took
the fried egg sandwiches with cheese to eat. "So create personal,
carryable air conditioners sometime soon. Or else I'll give you
the stuff I found online that squicked even me while I was drunk."
"How did you get home?"
"Alone?" he asked. "I ask totally as a nosy big brother sort."
"No, Clint Barton ended up at the same bar I was in by accident.
He wanted the music and I was hiding from my usual places. He made
sure I got home and is probably still snoring on my couch." She
pointed. "Car's already coming."
"Interesting." He smirked.
"Too old for me."
"Yes he is. But he might be a good teacher."
"Yeah but I'd rather have a date than an instructor. I do not have a teacher fetish."
"Eww." She smirked. "Are you coming, Miss Nag?"
"Yup. And hoping that Pepper doesn't say anything."
"She will. She does to me. She'll try to stop yours
now." They got into the elevator. "Why were you out so badly
"Buffy yelled that it was my fault she was sick again. Fury
yelled, twice, and tried to say something about the clothes. Then
he yelled when I told him to be thankful I was wearing clothes since I
had been watching porn to get that bad mental image out of my
head. Then Pepper yelled. Then Buffy called to cry about Mom
and all that. Though she had to stake a few vamps during
it. Then Xander yelled at Buffy for blaming me and I got to hear
the side of that.
"Though he did yell at me for drinking but he said even he needed a
night like that now and then so I had to be careful." Tony
groaned, shaking his head. "I woke up to a message from Pepper
threatening my career as a Stark herder for Callia if you didn't make it
to this meeting. She was yelling about the outfit too. I
hung up on her accidentally when my phone lost the signal."
Tony grinned. "She'll get you for that too."
"Probably but I'm about to lock her and Buffy in a room to see which one can complain the other to death."
He nodded. "That's a good idea. College?"
"NYU. I liked Yale but it's too safe, too far away, and way too safe."
"Then it'll make you happy," he agreed. He patted her on the
arm. "C'mon, I'll teach you how to fake it today." She got
in after him and they both had some coffee on the way over. It
helped a little bit. Pepper was glaring. "She got me out of
"Good! It's good you're both dressed too! Even if you are wearing sunglasses inside." She stared at Dawn.
Dawn lowered them. "My day started off last night with Buffy
crying and ended up with Buffy crying, plus a lot of yelling in
between. Even I needed to get away from it before I started to
"Sorry," she said quietly. "It was really inappropriate clothes
though." Dawn found that site again and the story she had
accidentally been reading while looking for new reports on the
Avengers. Pepper took the tablet and stared. "Excuse me?"
"That's why I was watching porn." She walked Tony past them and into the board room, settling into her spot to take notes.
Pepper walked in and handed Dawn back the tablet. "We'll stop that."
Tony looked at them. "Show you later, boss," Dawn said with a grin.
He shrugged and they got down to the meeting of being impressive geeks who designed neat things that made them all money.
Dawn walked behind Tony into the meeting room they had taken over yet
again. "Pepper said I had to show you guys why I hit the porn
stash. She was not amused when I told her why I went for gay male
porn." She handed the tablet to Clint and walked off.
He looked at it then around. "What the hell?" he yelled.
She came back with bottles of water for them all. "It's one of the
most popular pairings. You're in two of the most popular
pairings." She smiled sweetly at him. "I went looking for
new articles to track on the team. Google led me there."
"All hail Google," Tony complained, taking the tablet. He stared then at her. "Excuse me?"
"Yeah." She patted Phil. "It's nice that you're in one of the top pairings too." She walked off again.
Coulson took it and winced. "I heard rumors of that stuff."
He looked up a certain area. "I can't believe they paired me with
you," he muttered, handing it back to Stark but scowling at
Barton. It showed who the other two common pairings were.
Banner looked confused. "You know about stories online,
right? Whole communities?"
"I metaphorically accidentally wandered into one in Star Trek looking up
the newest movie," he agreed. He paused. "The team?"
"The team," he agreed.
Tony showed him. "We're like fourth most common," he said quietly.
Banner looked and whimpered. "He's going to use Thor's hammer on someone."
"Yeah, he will. I might." Clint took it back to look at,
looking at Natasha. Who calmly took it and then ended the tab it
was open in. Stark looked at Coulson. "How do we handle that
before they start thinking up cutesy names and it hits the press?"
"No clue. I haven't wanted to ask the director anything in a few
hours." He took the tablet back and reopened the closed tab,
taking it up there. Fury could use a good rant to clear his
head. "Sir, Miss Summers found that online while looking for new
stories to track on the team. She's informed most of the team,
outside of Captain Rogers, and they wanted to know what you wanted to
"Why is this important?"
"Because a lot of people think I'm screwing Hawkeye, he's either doing
me or Romanoff, and Stark's doing Captain Rogers. And sometimes
Fury gaped, taking the tablet to look. "What the fuck!"
"That's her feeling, and why she said she headed for the gay male porn yesterday before the emergency."
"Hell, *I* might hit it for that!" He tossed it back.
"Assign someone to make sure it doesn't get out of hand. If it
gets into the mainstream, stop that shit somehow."
"Yes, sir." He walked off happier. Fury was now taking
something for his headache. He stopped at Agent Hill's desk.
"Maria, do you have a web-savvy agent who likes to read online
"Unfortunately three or four."
"Dawn found the Avengers fiction yesterday."
She winced. "How bad?" He reopened it and showed her.
She whimpered. "I'll assign one to monitor it and make sure it
doesn't get out of hand." She looked at the number of stories in
each pairing. "You lucky boy you," she said dryly.
"Not a bit of truth in it," he assured her.
"I know but still. The rumors are going to be hard."
"Look at the top one." She did and winced. "No one's told
him yet." He turned it off and walked off. Dawn was doing
his paperwork so he tossed it back at her on his way back to the
meeting. "Director Fury had me assign someone to monitor it in
case it goes mainstream."
"I should hire an intern to track down any others with me in it," Stark complained.
"There was an Iron Man category," Phil said dryly. Tony choked and spluttered, shaking his head.
"I'm going home," Tony decided. "Don't call unless it's an
emergency. I need something to take that out of my head
now." He stomped off.
"I can see why Dawn went for the gay male porn," Banner agreed, rubbing his own head.
"I think this was her way of making us join her in the hangover," Barton complained.
Natasha stared at him. "Why was she hung over?"
"Buffy," Phil said with Barton.
"Ah. She looked a bit stressed yesterday."
"It took her most of a fifth of rum and coke," Barton said. "I
made sure she got home in a cab and stayed on her couch in case she
needed to be taken to the ER for alcohol poisoning."
"No, the magic in her blood does tend to weaken the effects," Phil
said. "This is only her third time drinking but we tested it the
night she got given some at the club and didn't realize."
Agent Hill walked in. "Who found that?"
"Dawn," Barton said. "Before all that yesterday."
"Wonderful! Can I have her look for more?"
Coulson wrote down the address and handed it over. "It had Iron Man categories too. One for Gods and Heros as well."
"Thanks. Really." She stomped off to go back to her chosen geek.
Xander flashed in and looked at him. "I saw some of that.
Someone is really twisted since it had me and Thor a few times.
And once with Loki." Natasha shuddered. "Yeah,
exactly. Anyway," he sighed. "I got a request to do some
sort of paperwork?"
"I have no idea." He took the written notice and called them,
getting them to bring it up. Xander sat down to do it there.
"Welcome. Does this mean you guys pay me?"
"Damn." He looked up. "I can feel the brain itching thought. What?" he asked Barton.
"Prophecy hasn't happened yet and it was cranked to begin with since my
fated mate hated me enough to try to kill me if I wasn't actively sexing
her up. So the part about me was definitely wrong. I had
the updated version before the invasion and it's nicer. Still a
ways off yet though." He shrugged. "Thor's seen it."
"It said that Loki had a son Vali?"
"Ah, the official supposed heirs," he said dryly. Xander looked at
him. "Loki's taken a few wives and not had kids. He had me
and my half-sister out of wedlock so we're not official kids. If
Vali does come into being, because he's not in the updated version I
foresaw, then he'd have to come from the official spouse. Though,
Odin's decree does mean that Dad has to marry and breed soon so maybe
I'll get a little brother." He shrugged. "If so, we'll
figure it out."
"You have a half-sister?" Banner asked.
Xander grinned. "Dad screwed up her mom *so* hard. She's
technically a sister but she's more a brother. I even gave her
some of my untainted sperm so she and her wife could have kids.
Most of the warriors and the villagers love my sister and her
wife. She's a leather worker in the master class and her wife does
"Does your father like that?"
"No. He still doesn't understand her. Nor does
Grandma. Or Odin. They just kind of ignore most of the women
anyway, even when they're the better fighters. There's some of
the Valkyries that can kick my ass, Tyr's ass, and Ares' ass. But
they're girls so therefore not warriors."
"I've seen that happen before," Natasha said dryly. She smiled
slightly. "It's good that the modern age celebrates strong women."
"My sister loves it down here. She's in Gdansk?" Natasha
nodded she knew where that was. "They're shacking up there.
The locals carefully ignore my sister isn't actually a guy. The
last one who tried anything got her boot up his butt and out his
ear. Literally when her wife flexed some of her magic since she's a
nature witch too." He grinned. "No one else bothered them
"It sounds like she's very strong," Phil said.
Xander looked at him. "You remember that slight blond guy at the
leaving dinner who was complaining about his wife being cranky?"
Phil nodded. "That's her."
"She was very interesting to talk to and I couldn't tell."
"She's been a brother since she was eight."
"Huh." He took the completed forms, helping Xander fill out the rest that he had skipped.
Steve leaned in. "Why is everyone giving me funny looks?"
"Someone wrote some stories online about the team," Xander said, grinning at him. "Dawn found them."
"Oh, all right. Are they bad? Do they make us look bad?"
"Not the ones I've seen. They just like to pair teammates up a lot."
Steve blushed. "Really?" Xander nodded. "Why?"
"I don't know. It's just like that. Maybe they think it's
hot." Steve was now bright red. "Fury wanted it tracked so
of course rumors have started."
"Do they have me doing ...nasty things with Natasha?"
"No, the ones Dawn found had you doing those things with Stark," Xander
said. Steve let out a tiny noise. Xander grinned.
"They have Clint doing those things with Natasha or Phil." Another
tiny noise. "Which is why rumors are starting, yeah. Want
to meet a single goddess?"
"Sure," he said with a light squeak then cleared his throat. "I'd love to meet a single goddess, Xander."
Xander smiled. "Bia, call your cousin," he called. "She's taking Steve out to dinner tonight."
"I can," he started.
Xander held up a hand. "She wanted to invite you but couldn't quit
blushing enough to ask. She's nineteen, and a few
centuries. She's newly single because she broke up with her
boyfriend, who was a dickhead who wanted to use her powers to give him
greatness. She's one of Aphrodite's daughters."
She appeared, smiling shyly at him. "Hi." She gave a little wave and a hopeful look.
"Hello." He shook her hand with a smile. "Steve."
"Gardenia." She blushed and looked down then up. "Do you like sushi? Or Italian? They're my favorites."
"I love Italian." She beamed and took him with her.
Xander looked up. "Behave, be nice to him, be a good girl, or I'm paddling you, Gard."
"Yes, Xander," she called back.
Xander shook his head. "She's a very nice young woman. Very
shy. For all of being Aphrodite's she's the Goddess of
They all grinned about that one. It would definitely break the rumors.
Fury walked in an hour later. "Why is Captain America in Florence, Italy?" he demanded.
"One of Bia's cousins asked him out to dinner," Xander said as he
finished signing things. He disappeared before the ranting could
"She's apparently crushing on him," Barton said with a grin. "She was all shy, blushing, and squeaky voiced, sir."
Fury groaned. "I guess it's a good thing then. Make sure she doesn't dent him."
"No, she's the Goddess of Librarians, sir," Coulson said. "She had asked Xander to see if he'd ask Captain Rogers."
"Great!" he muttered as he walked off shaking his head. He passed
by Coulson's office, spotting Dawn doing his paperwork, and headed for
the bridge. In the elevator, Maria Hill sent him an IM with a
website link. He clicked on it and stared in horror. He
walked off the elevator and stared at her. "Excuse me?"
"Sir, that was aberrant enough that I thought you should know."
He groaned and glanced over it, blushing at some of it. "I don't think he'd like that."
"Nor do we. The writer is a seventeen-year-old girl by word analysis. No link to a real identity yet."
Fury winced. "Can we hack it?"
"Not without causing her to complain to others and there's *thousands*
in the community." Fury walked off rubbing his head. "Let me
know what I should have done, sir."
"Shoot me," he complained. He yelped when he got pinched. He
glared at Tara since she was up the hall. "Was that necessary?"
"Yes. You were thinking self harm thoughts."
"Did you see this mess?"
She glanced over his arm and shrugged. "Willow used to write it about that show with the really young doctor."
"Great," he said sarcastically. "Just what we need." He
slammed his office door and went to take a nap. Before the thought
of Captain Rogers dating Stark openly and gayly in the press stuck in
his head. No wonder Summers had reached for regular porn!
Tara grinned at Maria Hill. "I like the one with the dog Barton or
the one with the roombas better." She walked off happier.
Hill looked that one up and settled in to giggle. Fury had to come
out of his office when she cackled at the second one. He glared
but she pointed and he read that part, starting to snicker. "I can
see him doing that." He walked off, still needing a nap but in a
better mood. Maria Hill sent that to Coulson and Dawn so she could
pass it on.
Dawn walked into the lab, ducking under an explosion, and handed Tony the tablet. "From Agent Hill."
He read it. "Is it..."
"Crack so bad you'll laugh until you pee? Yes. And if we
have a roomba I'm never looking at it the same way again." She
walked off. It was Tony's spare tablet so he could keep it.
He settled in to read it, starting to snicker. "I'm not that bad,"
he complained quietly. The others in there got their own copy and
nodded he was that bad. She was right, he did have to bring it to
the bathroom with him so he could pee and laugh. He found Coulson
in there. "I need a roomba or twenty now."
"Not on the SHIELD account, Stark," he said patiently, then washed his
hands and left. He could hide in his office and cackle with
Dawn. Though she showed him a cute one with him as a cat and
another with Barton as a dog. "Change me back if so," he told her.
"I'll do my best."
Stark walked past the doorway. "Dawn, you're getting a bonus."
"Thank you!" she called. "It means I can get beach shorts for my
vacation before I start school." She grinned at her 'big brother'.
"Not too tight, too short, too showing," he ordered. "Unlike yesterday's."
"Oh, please. It's going over the bikini. I work very hard to get this hot, I'm flaunting it in Miami in two weeks."
He stared at her. "I'm sending an agent to tail you and take
pictures. If you're that undressed he'll have orders to put you in
"Yes, big brother."
"Thank you. And wear better shoes. Yesterday's were trashy
looking." She held up her foot. He stared. "Why did
you buy shoes at the stripper store?"
"They had my size, which is narrower than usual and hard to find?"
"Order them online?"
"Can't find them either. Even Pepper couldn't find them."
He sighed. "At least the rest of your outfit is demure.
Thank you for putting a jacket overtop of the flirty shirt that's a bit
She looked at him. "It's time to do laundry."
"I dropped it off this morning."
"Or else I'd have to wear those jeans that nearly gave you a stroke
tomorrow and that band t-shirt you got me." She grinned.
"And heels because sneakers just wouldn't cut it."
He stared at her. "Don't encourage the mentally semi-competent agents who are much too old for you, Dawn."
"I'll try not to."
"Thank you." He got back to reading. She was looking up cake
recipes. The paperwork had already been handed over so they were
free until someone brought him something.
Pepper caught Dawn getting groceries later that night, looking over her outfit. "You outgrew those last year," she noted.
"Laundry's not back yet."
"Buy something for work tomorrow?"
Dawn grinned and nodded. "It's in the car. I can't wear that
here though. Besides, I'm going to the movies later."
"Wear a few weapons, Dawn." She got her own red peppers and put them into a bag. "How was today?"
"I showed them those stories. They all had a headache but Tony got sent the roomba story."
"I heard." She shook her head. "Maybe tomorrow will be better."
"Maybe." They shared a grin. Pepper shopped with her and paused to look at the dress. "Too flashy?"
"A bit low cut."
"It was that or a maxi dress. The ones we usually go to were
closed. Walmart's looked nasty. It was that or something
with twinkly things. Or I found one with a gauze skirt that looked
cool but like Tara would wear."
"Put a jacket over it?"
"Definitely. Or that tiny bodice dagger." Dawn nodded that might be cute. "Shoes?"
"Phil complained I had to shop for them at the high heel place. It's why people keep calling me short too."
"Well, yeah but you can't find your size anywhere else. At least it's not thigh high leather ones."
"True. I have a pair of those. I look fine in them but not
for work." Pepper looked at her. "Buffy's birthday present
to me. To go with that green sheath dress."
Pepper shook her head. "I need to find the girl version of those
five gay men for her." She walked off. "Make sure you're
"I'll do my best."
"Thank you. Find something tasteful for the gala next month too."
"On order. Will be here in time to be fitted."
"Even better." Pepper got into her car. She slumped and
groaned, falling onto her side. Happy rolled down the window to
look back at her. "Buffy got her thigh high leather stripper
"To go with the green sheath dress her mother got her. I keep
seeing Dawn in one of Natasha's outfits with them on and knives stuck in
"I did not need that image of Dawn, Pepper," he complained, rolling back
up the window. He had to remind himself Dawn was young enough to
his daughter. Maybe he'd encourage her to give them to Natasha for
a date or something.
Dawn walked the boots down the hall, getting a few odd looks from the
other agents. "My sister gave them to me," she said. That
got a few understanding nods. She knocked on Natasha's door,
getting a strange look. "My sister sent them to me."
Natasha looked at them. "I've had a few assignments I could use them on. What would you wear them with?"
"Happy wrote and said your usual battle outfit. Buffy thought the dress Mom got me for my birthday."
"Only if you're going to start working in the first and the second the
skirt's too long for that." She let the girl inside. They
got to stare at the four inch heeled, dark gray leather, lace up thigh
high stripper boots together. "Perhaps those leather pants you
don't admit to owning for clubbing and a loose t-shirt?"
"Loose enough to show the butt and crotch but not highlight anything else? Like my black one?"
"That could work. I need to go through your closet anyway. Pepper has you dressed like her all too often."
"It's work clothes."
"Yes but there is an art to it beyond the power suit." They picked
up the boots and went back to Dawn's apartment. She had managed
to get part of the laundry back. Nothing of her work clothes but
the stuff that could be washed in a washer. Dawn had a lot of
young, hot teenage girl clothes, and matronly power suits for
work. They really had to round out her wardrobe. She made
Dawn try on her one for work in the morning and helped her pin it so it
wasn't too showing. It was a deep green, just above her knee, but
it dipped a bit. A nice broach fixed that and then a belt to
gather the waist since it was flowy. She even had shoes she could
wear. Dawn could pull her hair up in the morning. "We must
shop for you. You dress like your sister when you club and a
married woman with a jealous husband at work."
"Not true." She let Dawn change and took her somewhere she would
shop. They even found a clubbing outfit for those obscene boots.
Agent Coulson answered his cellphone. "Coulson." He
paused. "Is it that bad?" he asked with a wince. "I'll go
approve or deny it." He hung up and headed for the elevator.
Dawn was coming off in shoes that were higher than usual. The
outfit was a nice set of dress pants and a shirt that was soft,
fluttery, and had a bit of cleavage showing. "Dawn?" She
paused and looked at him. Her hair was pulled back in a bun.
The pants fit her well, just the right sort of tight to show but not
too showy or too tight. The shirt was lacy and had ruffles around
her chest. "Jacket?" he asked hopefully.
"Sorry. That part's not back from the wash yet. You don't like it? Natasha helped me pick it out."
"I think the top's a bit...inflammatory." How she could make
something that was probably innocent looking on anyone else look a bit
dirty he had no idea.
She blushed and shrugged a bit. "Sorry? The dress is a bit more flowy."
"No, just put on a jacket?"
"They're at the cleaners."
"Oh, dear." He had spotted Pepper and Natasha talking on the way up the hall. "Ladies."
Pepper looked at her. "I like that better than that green
dress. Another button?" Dawn let her see. "Safety
"That is," Natasha admitted. "I was hoping for the other one."
"Found a snag, have to fix it," Dawn said. "And I looked very girlish in it."
Pepper winced. "Here, take my jacket." Dawn put it on and it
didn't go and didn't fit. Dawn had broader shoulders than either
of them. Phil gave her his. "Thank you, Phil." Pepper
kissed him on the cheek. Dawn fit his jacket fairly
decently. It was a bit big and long.
Tony walked up the hall reading and paused, staring at her. "Go get my jacket from the lab, Dawn."
"The shirt actually fits," she said.
"Yes but the shirt is meant to draw attention to your breasts," Pepper said. "It's not very demure."
"She is single and eighteen," Natasha told her.
"Yes, but we don't want her to look like Tony hired her as eye candy," Pepper complained.
"I could put on that blue dress. I have it in the car so I can get it fitted later," she offered.
Natasha looked at her. "It has a higher neckline but almost no back." She checked. "The shoes would go."
"Go get it," Phil ordered. "We'll see." Dawn nodded, going
to get it from the car. "Did you have to take her there?" he asked
"Yes. She either looks like a club girl when she goes out or she looks like an old married woman with a jealous spouse."
Tony smiled. "She does dress too old for herself." Dawn came
off the elevator in it. The lack of pantyhose wasn't a
problem. The shoes seemed a bit tamer now. She turned and
they all stared at her clearly braless state. The back had a
cutout that covered from her shoulderblades down to the swell of her
butt. The front was fully covering to her scoop
neckline. The hem was just slightly above her knee. It
looked shiny like a muted silk blend material in a dark blue. She
turned back around. "Jacket in my closet. You fit my shirt
pretty well that time you got splashed in the lab so it should fit you
okay." Phil had it brought up. The geeks down there liked to
drool on Dawn. The agent handed it off and walked off after
Dawn looked at him. "Still too old for me."
"Thankfully. I have a daughter your age, Summers. I'm having
her sterilized this weekend so she can't give me grandchildren.
You just reminded me to do that."
Dawn shrugged into the jacket. It fit better than Phil's. "Sorry," she sighed at their stares.
"No, the jacket makes it look even more dirty," Pepper sighed. "What else did you get?"
"Nothing work appropriate without a vest, a jacket, or lower shoes I can't find?"
"I looked and I still can't find you any lower heels," Pepper
admitted. Phil stared at her. "She has tiny, narrow
feet! It's that or flip flops. We can barely find sneakers."
Phil took a calming breath. "You can work in that today. Tomorrow come in wearing something more...covering?"
"I'm fully covered," she pointed out.
"Yes but the covering is a bit...distracting," he said. "There's a
difference between that and covered up so no one looks at you."
Dawn rolled her eyes. "I could've come in wearing those jeans."
"Then I would've went with you to shop," he assured her. "I'll do
that after work today." He walked off sipping his coffee.
"Sure. I pulled two thousand out of my college fund."
Pepper arched an eyebrow up. "How is your college fund?"
"I've got over two hundred thou."
"Then that's fine. I didn't realize you were saving so much."
"I wasn't paying rent until my birthday, or utilities. So I put everything but food money in there."
"Good job." She kissed her on the cheek. "Go hide in Phil's office to do some paperwork."
"Fury wants her to do his," Stark said. He walked off not thinking about her outfit.
"He should see the boots your sister sent you," Natasha said.
Tony's squeeze cracked his tablet computer. "Did he see them?"
"He might've heard about them."
"I did and told him," Pepper said.
"I found her a wonderful outfit to go with it for clubbing." She walked off.
Pepper stared at her. "We'll adjust your look so you can wear what
you have and add in some younger pieces." Dawn squealed and
hugged her then headed up to the main office. Pepper went to have a
salad and mourn for her own youth. She wasn't anywhere near
eighteen any more.
Fury looked up at Dawn, mouth flopping open. "Laundry malfunction?"
"They won't be done until tomorrow. Natasha helped me pick out the dress and Tony demanded I wear his jacket."
He looked her over. "I can see why. The filing's messed up and Miss Havers hasn't been found yet."
"Sure." She made him a pot of coffee and got to work dealing with
his files. She checked with Agent Hill to get the stuff to be
passed on, handing it over, and going to deliver.
One of the female agents down there smiled. "I like that. It's much younger than what Pepper usually lets you wear."
Dawn grinned. "Agent Romanoff helped me pick it out."
"It's darling. What does the back look like?" Dawn looked
then slid out of the jacket to show her. "Ooh, no wonder you're in
the jacket. It needs tailored."
"All mine are at the cleaner's. It's one of Stark's."
She smiled. "That's nice of him." She looked at the
shoes. "You still can't find any? Did you try that place
"I did. They only had two pairs in my size and they were both lime
green and even higher heels with higher platforms in front. Agent
Coulson would complain a lot more about those than these." The
other assistant giggled. "He asked me yesterday if I had to shop
at the stripper store for shoes." She handed over the files during
the new giggling. "I'm doing Fury's paperwork today."
"Have fun with his growling."
Dawn winked. "It means that the agents don't flirt." The
assistant cackled so Dawn walked on to deliver more papers, finishing up
with Phil's office since it was on the route back. "Long day?"
she asked, seeing the headache look.
"Buffy had two agents turned."
She leaned down to hug him around his head. "Vampires are mean and nasty, Phil. They do that."
"I know." He looked at her. "I might not make it tonight."
"Then we'll go some other time."
"You could take Xander, or Bia."
"Bia doesn't really do work clothes."
"He'd have flashbacks to my sister's shopping. She made him her approval committee."
"Then he'd be used to it. Xander?" He popped in. He
looked at Dawn's outfit, making 'turn around' finger motions while he
sipped his water. She did once she adjusted the jacket. "She
needs someone to help her fill in her wardrobe so she looks her age but
not too cutesy and not too alluring. This morning's shirt was
almost cutely alluring in a bad way."
"It was comfortable," Dawn said.
"I'm sure it was. Wear a scarf or a broach next time."
"I will." She looked at Xander.
He finished his swallowing and nodded. "Take Cordy?"
"That's an idea." She called her on her way back to Fury's office.
"Romanoff helped her find that one," Phil said.
"She has good taste. Dawn looks good in it."
"Looking good isn't really in the job description for an assistant."
"Sometimes it is. You can't make her be not cute. I couldn't
even do that to Buffy. I'll try though." He disappeared to
look in her closet then talk to Cordy himself.
Dawn showed up the next morning in new shoes, which were already giving
her blisters, and a pants outfit that looked nicer and more
demure. It was nice dress pants, a shirt that was a button up, and
a nice scarf around her neck. One of the other secretaries took
the scarf off her. "You look like you're covering up an adam's
apple," she hissed, showing her how to wear it open around her neck
instead. Now it was worn like an untied tie and gathered at the
bottom with the broach. "You found lower heels?"
"They're killing my feet," Dawn admitted quietly.
"You can tell. You're bleeding." Dawn winced, going to the
infirmary for a bandaid. She smiled and sent a picture to Agent
Phil came down to the infirmary, staring at her. "The shoes are ugly, thank you."
"They pinch and hurt too. I need to break them in. I can
switch to the heels I stuffed in your filing cabinet so I quit
"That would be fine. I was wondering why I needed heels."
The nurse choked and walked off shaking her head. "Nicely demure
but not exactly office formal."
"It's seventy-eight in here and it's only eight in the morning. The A/C is clearly not working."
"True," he admitted. He walked her off. "It's not a bad
outfit. The scarf's a bit loud. You need a more subtle
"The shop girl tried to convince me that women could wear ties."
"No way in hell," he complained quietly. "This isn't a prep school
for all that some people act like kids." He looked at Agent Hill
when they stepped onto the bridge, getting a nod of appreciation.
"I'll get you those heels. You go file." He went to grab
them for her. They got handed to a passing agent. "For
Summers up in Fury's office. Hers are making her bleed."
"Whatever," the junior agent huffed. He went up to hand them to her. "From the big brother."
She smiled at him. "Thank you." She slipped off her old ones
and into the heels. It gave her another five inches of height and
definitely turned her outfit a bit more sassy. The agent was
staring. "What? Huge zit on my nose?" she guessed.
"You went from school teacher to club hostess."
She rolled her eyes. "I have less demure outfits for when I want
to look like I work in a club." He blushed and walked off.
"Thank you for the delivery." She bundled her shoes into her bag
and went back to work.
Fury looked her over. "No jacket?"
"A/C?" she countered. "It's steaming in here. I'm sweating just standing under an air vent."
"Barton's probably up there huffing at you."
She looked then shook her head. "Can't see him." She finished the filing.
"Scarf?" he asked. She took it off. He stared. "That's
not bad. Keep that." She tucked it into her pocket.
She looked like she was wearing half of a prep school uniform.
"Online. Pepper arranged it."
"Fine. Graduation? Will you need time off?"
"It's already crossed your desk and Pepper's."
"Good. Did I sign it?" She smiled and nodded. "Even better." He got back to the paperwork.
"Do you think this makes me look fat?" she asked.
"No, not at all," he lied, because he knew that trick question.
Dawn looked over at the sound of 'sploosh' of the goo clone
dissolving. "Agent Hill?" she called. She came in and winced
at the mess. "I asked if he thought I looked fat because he was
confused about paperwork."
"Crap," she muttered, calling an all alert. Maintenance hated the
goo clone epidemic they were having. Dawn finished cleaning up the
desk, handing her a few leave requests to sign. They got handed
to her to deliver and Dawn locked up the desk properly before going to
hand things over and subtly check people.
Phil walked past her. "Anything for me? I locked my office."
"No, leave requests."
"Fine. Thank you, Dawn. Can you make some coffee in the main
rooms?" She nodded, heading to HR. "How long has he been
gone?" he asked Agent Hill.
"I didn't see anything different but Dawn said he looked confused about his paperwork."
"That would do it. She is very observant about the normal office
things." He dispatched agents to look in the places they knew they
Dawn looked up from her spot tied to a chair later that afternoon.
"What do you people want?" she demanded. "I mean, you're not
agents, you're clearly not into the supernatural stuff that my sister
does, so why kidnap me?"
"There's a nice ransom on your head," the leader said with a
smile. "This way we can collect from there and your boss since
he's more wealthy than he needs to be."
"My boss is off today. No one can find him."
"Bull. There is a full agency of people who can find him."
She stared at him. "I'm a consultant's assistant, not a member of
SHIELD. Sorry. Who has the price on my head?"
"You are feisty, I like that. If they won't pay we'll make sure you can make us much money."
Dawn snorted, shaking her head. "Fat chance that'll happen."
"Aww, you are shy. That will do you well in our business."
"I'm not shy but I'm not going to let anyone use me either." They
slapped her. She glared and knocked that one on his ass
magically. "Really? I've had *so* much nicer kidnapings,
The leader laughed. "You will earn us much. The clients will adore you."
She stared at him. "I doubt that since I'd kill them for touching me. That's not exactly how I want it to go."
"A virgin!" he said happily, smiling at his people. "That will earn us even more the first few times!"
"We should check," one of the others said. "It's only fair."
"No, it will bring down her worth." They searched her bag for her phone. "No phone?" he demanded.
"I'm off duty and I left it in my desk," she lied. They patted her
down and found it. "Oops, guess I remembered it after all."
She knocked the rest on their asses. They got up and tried to act
threatening. "My sister dates bigger shitbags than you," she
said. "You're not that scary. I'll kill you all before
I let anyone touch me against my will and you'll be in line too."
They punched her this time but yay.
The leader of the thug gang looked through her number list. "You have a mother?"
"She's in cancer treatment today," Dawn said firmly. "If you upset her, I'll destroy you in ways that will make God puke."
They laughed. He decided on one number. "Here, a relative."
Dawn got the phone shoved at her when it rang. "Agent PB?
Yes, it's me. No, I stupidly left those shoes in your desk when I
changed. Can you please deliver them to me? Thank
you." The phone was taken away.
"I do not know what sort of code she used but she is ours until you pay
us three million," the leader of the gang said. "Then we will hand
her to you or the other one that wants her, whoever bids highest.
If not, then we'll make much money off her." He smirked at
her. "He's protesting they don't have a kidnaping fund."
"They don't. I told you I was an assistant to a consultant.
Do I look like Iron Man? And seriously, dude, quit bathing in the
nuclear river. Your skin's nearly glowing with the
unhealth." He spat at her. She growled and zapped him
again. He screamed. "I just got this shirt. I don't
need it stinky with your spit. Now, anything else? Or can I
go home now? I have to water my ferns and they're more interesting
than you are." He slapped her again and she hit him with another
magical zap. "You may be immune to normal magic but I'm not the
normal girl." She fried one by calling down lightening on
him. He screamed. She smirked evilly at him. "Let me
go and I'll let you live."
"I believe we have many places a woman like you can earn us much money,"
he said, hanging up. "They'll pay and not get you back."
Coulson snapped his fingers when he heard the first code word, writing
down what was going on and the number. Someone called it in to
trace it. He was growling when they hit her but he was acting very
calm and like he was worried. Finally they hung up. "Who?"
"Russian Mafia hangout," one of the agents reported. He handed over the address.
"Who has the other contract?"
"Council," that same agent reported. He printed it off and pointed. "There, sir."
"Thank you." He read it as he walked off. He could take a
few agents. He could take Barton because they hadn't needed a
sniper for rescuing Fury. Better to have backup. He heard
the beeping of his phone and winced. "Dawn, shut it down," he
Banner came out. "What's this alarm?"
"Dawn's fighting against the mobsters that kidnaped her for ransom and
just let some of her power out," he said as he headed for the
elevator. Barton was already pulling on his armored vest and
gloves on his way to the car. "She'll be fine."
"Why does the Russian mob want her?"
"The Council has a new price on her head. He offered me a nice
deal for three mil and then we could negotiate who was willing to pay
more for her." He got in to drive and headed off. It wasn't
that far away. He called in to silence the alert, she wasn't going
critical, just defending herself from mobsters. Agent Hill had it
shut off and wished him fun. They found the restaurant.
There was no good entrance. The front had a locked gate. The
sides had bars on the windows and doors. That left up high.
"My favorite," Barton said quietly, climbing up to the skylight.
He readied everything then jumped through it, shooting his bow at
them. He landed and looked at Dawn. "Sorry about the graze,
"It's fine. I'll get it cleaned up and make sure no blood stays
here." He got her free. She calmed herself down and sneered
at the bodies. "Told you I wasn't going to *work* for you."
She looked at the doors. "I can't climb ropes." He
laughed. She blew the door off and walked out, reining in her
temper. "Okay, I need a new shirt," she told Coulson.
She smiled at Clint. "Thank you for the heroic rescue before they
decided to sell me to their favorite brothel." She got into the
back of the SUV.
Coulson looked in there. "Did you leave anyone to question?"
"Pity." They got in. "Dawn, medical?"
"Not how this goes," he reminded her.
"I'm fine. Just stressed slightly. Can I go have ice cream now?"
"After medical." She snapped and summoned her purse, finding her
scarf from earlier to press over the wound. "That's fine for now,"
he agreed calmly. "Everyone's going to think your kidnaping was a
"No, it's the Council and I'm going to finish ending them." She
smiled sweetly, pulling out her phone to call someone. "Wes,
Dawn. Really fast thing since my battery's nearly gone. The
new Council has a price out on my head. No, the Russian Mob tried
to take it. Thanks. And let me know where they are?
Even better. Great. No, don't tell Xander. He'll freak
out and not leave me any, Wes.
"Wes, they wanted me to work in their brothel because I was nice and
good looking," she said dryly. "Even if someone had paid the
ransom." He spluttered. "So no, I'm going to talk to the
Council. Send me the address please." She hung up. She
leaned her head back, popping her neck. She considered it then
called Buffy. "It's me. Put down the mocha frappe I can hear
melting in the background. The Council reformed, there's a price
on my head. Wes is looking for others. No, dead
battery. I'm fine. Got rescued. Was kicking their
asses myself. Thanks." She hung up.
Clint looked back at her. "You need more practice lock picking."
"I know. I haven't learned more than door locks. I meant to
look those over so I could learn how to do it magically and physically
but can't remember to do it with work and school. Remind me this
"I can do that," he agreed. "Natasha can teach you."
She grinned. "Spike taught me how to do doors. Is it much different?"
"No, just smaller."
"Which my skills don't always like to use," she agreed. "But we'll
figure it out," she finished cheerfully. "Why are we going back
to the HQ building, Phil?"
"Medical," he reminded her patiently.
"I have a really good med kit."
"Fat chance," he assured her.
"Probably easier and less waiting," Clint agreed.
"Point." He took her there. There would be less rumors in
the morning. She only lived up the street so they could make sure
she made it home too.
"Am I making dinner for the heroic rescue?" The guys smiled at
her. "Cool. I have a pork loin I've been meaning to unfreeze
and use. Pepper has seriously upped my taste buds. I didn't
know pork came in more than chops and hamburger before I met
her." They pulled into the parking garage and saw a nurse
waiting. She got out of the back. "It's not that big of an
"We saw the SHIELD car and thought it might be Mr. Stark being
injured." She looked at Dawn's shoulder. "Few stitches."
"I know. I said I could. Agent Coulson said no."
"He's right. Even though you did learn from Xander." She walked them up there. "No news yet," she announced.
"Russian Mob wanted me to work for them," Dawn quipped, hopping up onto a table.
The doctor looked and nodded. "Not bad." He got what he needed and stitched it carefully. "No water...."
"I remember," she promised dryly.
"Good girl." He smiled at her. "Now go home and complain to your sister."
"They were thinking about calling my mom. I was going to
destroy them for it." He laughed and let her go home with the
Phil answered his phone. "Coulson. Yes, she's got it under
control. Turn it off and then back on." He waited while they
did that. "That's fine. It's probably blood particles left
there." Dawn winced. "Burn it. In the building?"
"Shoes," she reminded him.
"She was getting blisters earlier from her shoes. They're in my
desk. In the lab.... find them. It's probably someone
wondering why there's an alert. If not, let me know." He
hung up. "The alert we programmed automatically searches out any
blood traces from you."
"Charming. Hope I'm not having DMS the next time then."
"DMS?" Clint asked.
"Yeah, during instead of pre or post."
"Oh!" He grimaced but nodded. "There's things to take care of that."
"They barely work on me."
"Figures. So," he said, shifting around more. "Can't do little things?"
"Think of it like water. The more of it you have, the harder it is
to fill something tiny like a thimble." He nodded. "With my
power level, I'm an oil drill instead of a dental drill
basically. Doing the tiny things takes a lot more concentration
and control. Since I can't do the control exercises to get to the
finite levels without letting out power, and thereby freaking people
out, I haven't gotten around to the tiny things yet."
"We'll teach you to do it by hand," he offered.
"If I could've reached it I can do doors by hand too."
"We'll make sure you learn it," Phil assured her. "It's a very handy life skill for you."
She kicked his seat. "It's not my fault they took me."
"No, it wasn't. This time."
Dawn's phone beeped. She looked at it. "Has to be Xander
since the battery's fully dead." She put it on speaker.
"Who had you?" Xander demanded calmly.
"The Russian Mafia. The Council has a price on me for
capture. They were going to get another three mil from
Stark. Then play bidding games to see who kept me. Until I
fought back and then they decided my virgin ass would be better served
in their working environment," she finished dryly. "Especially
since I electrocuted two of the six."
"Five," Clint said.
"He was dead and behind you," Dawn said.
"Okay. Do the sitrep later."
"While I'm making dinner," she agreed.
"Dawn," Xander growled.
"You leave me some of the damn Council."
"Maybe," he said dryly. "Did your virginity get noted casually?"
"No, I was protesting that they were going to use me, said it wasn't how
I had wanted it to go. They got all happy about that. Said
I'd be worth more."
"Fuck them," he growled. "They're so done for." He hung up.
She winced. "I wanted him to save me some."
"If he did, I would've gotten the rest," Phil said. She waited
until he parked to hug him around the neck. "You are like my
sister, Dawn." She kissed him on the cheek. "Chinese?"
"I adore Chinese." She looked at Clint.
"Chinese is great for me too." They got out and headed
upstairs. Dawn answered her phone to talk to her mother while Phil
ordered and she got them all drinks. Then she got nagged by
Pepper who said Xander wasn't going to have a chance to get them, she'd
be getting there first. Dawn calmed her down too. Once the
Chinese was there, Dawn went to pick out clothes for in the morning
Phil followed. "Do not wear that pink thing," he warned.
She held it up. "It's cute, soft, and cool."
"It's flesh colored. It's alluring, the ruffles are meant to draw your eye to your chest."
She looked at him. "It's not like they're huge."
"Yay." He found something else and pulled it out then put it back carefully. "Why do you have that?"
"For the boots Buffy bought me?" She pulled them out to smile at.
He whimpered. "Your sister needs better taste in clothes."
"Pepper vowed to find the female version of those five gay guys who make over straight guys."
"I'll help her look and pay airfare." She giggled and pulled out
something. "Jacket?" She found a cardigan. "Not
exactly professional." She huffed but pulled out something
else. It had a short sleeve top. "Better," he decided.
"Shoes under three inch heels?"
"No, the only ones that'll go are the nude ones and they're five."
She led him back out there. "He thinks most of the clothes
Natasha and Cordy helped me get are a bit girlish."
"They have lacy ruffles," he said.
"Lacy ruffles can be nice and demure," she said.
"They draw your eye to the wrong spot."
Clint shook his head. "I don't have any opinion whatsoever on lace
unless it's on a date's panties." He stuffed his mouth.
Dawn burst out cackling. "I have never bought any of those.
Matching sets but not the lace ones. Those are just asking for
trouble." He smirked. "Did you want oversight of my bikini
habit for Miami?" she asked Phil.
"What ever happened to one piece suits?" he asked. "They make them with skirts so you don't have to shave."
"I don't have to shave that much anyway," she quipped. He
blushed. She got up to find them. She came out. "Which
He stared. "Where's the rest?" Clint asked. "I've seen some skimpy things but those are floss."
"They're fashionable and I looked hot enough to make the salesgirl
flirting with her boyfriend flirt with me, and him." She grinned.
Phil stared at her. "Are you trying to send me to the hospital with a coronary?"
"Wear something a bit more structural?"
"I have one but in it I look stacked and Pepper said if she saw me
wearing it again she was going to burn it on me." She came out
with a picture. "Pepper put up a wall of shame to make sure I
never repeated the bad outfits."
Phil stared and put it into his pocket. "We don't want anyone else to see that, Dawn."
She punched him on the arm, sitting down to eat. "So, two weeks
and I'm in Miami for two weeks." He nodded, only moaning a
bit. "Extra duck sauce in the fridge." Clint got up to get
some. "I have that one in polka dots," she offered.
He looked at her. "No. Please don't. Even the floss is
better than that." Clint picked his pocket before he could stop
him and stared at the picture before handing it back. "No
parties. No drunken clubbing. No going on anyone's boat,"
Phil said, tucking the picture away again.
"Who helped you get the bikinis?" Clint asked, flopping back down.
"Cordy. She's one of Xander's ex's. She's on the LA team and an aspiring actress."
"I've read Miss Chase's file," Phil said. "She usually has more taste."
"They weren't sure if she was really her or something taking her over."
"Clearly something taking her over," Phil complained. "We'll let Pepper buy you one."
"Pepper liked the blue one."
"Topless," she countered.
"Many beaches in Europe are," Clint agreed. "Anything planned beyond some beach bunny time?"
"I got invited to a fashion show. I have no idea why." She
got up to get it. Phil tucked it into his pocket. "I can do a
check on them."
"I'll have paperwork tomorrow anyway. I can do that." She
shrugged and went back to eating. "If you have more shorts like
those khaki ones you wore at Xander's, don't wear them either."
"And remember to jog while you're down there," Clint teased.
"I guess," she sighed. "Being this cute does take a lot of
work." They nodded that was true. "I heard someone suggested
those boots, Natasha's uniform catsuit thingy, and a lot of knives to
tuck into the top." Phil choked. Dawn helpfully patted him
on the back.
"No, hell no," he wheezed. Clint helped by getting him some more water. "Thank you."
"Welcome." He looked at her. "I heard about the
boots." Dawn got one to show him. "I've seen strippers wear
"Tiny feet. That's the only people that make shoes I can wear."
Phil Coulson looked at her. "If I see those in the office I'm marrying you off, Xander won't have a chance."
She kissed him on the hair. "I'd never wear these to the
office. I can't run in them yet." She put it back and came
back to lounge, eat, and talk.
Dawn walked up to Natasha with her camera the next day. "I need an
objective opinion. Phil said I nearly killed him with a heart
attack last night when I asked his opinion on my bikinis. Cordy,
or whoever's in her body, said they looked hot. The salesgirl got
hot, and her boyfriend there too, but he thinks I need something more
like what speed racers wear."
Natasha took the camera to look at the pictures. "In the
mirror?" Dawn nodded. "Nice framing job and zoom
level." She flipped through them. She looked at Dawn.
"Any of those is likely to need a rescue team."
"I can't find something more massive that I don't look hideous and fat in."
"I have that trouble." She handed the camera back. "Perhaps
more fabric in the bottom and use those tops?" Her phone beeped a
text message. She read it. //Hell. No. Not those
bikinis.// She laughed and replied. "He is
"Doesn't shock me." Natasha looked at her outfit. "He picked it out."
"It looks like a dress you'd wear to an old fashioned picnic."
"I have that blue wrap dress that I had to pick up from the fitters but I
think he'd probably choke again and it can't be good for him."
"I remember that dress."
"I had the interior button put up higher and the hem lengthened a bit."
"Nice touches," she agreed. They walked off talking about where to
stay away from in Miami. Dawn mentioned that invitation and she
said she'd check on it if Phil didn't. She got another text
message saying it was a people sale. They wanted to sell her as
one of the people. He had already sent it to the FBI to
handle. Dawn shrugged and they talked about where to go to be
flirted with. Dawn could use some good flirting time.
Nick Fury finally got found and brought back to the office, letting him
relax in his seat. Dawn walked in with a bottle of water, two
packets of pain killers, and a dress he wanted to stare at. "Why
are you wearing that?"
"Because I'm leaving in ten minutes for a date." She smiled.
"Here you go. Sitreps, reports," she said, pointing at the
piles. "Sign and date. Ignore at will. Congressional
memos. One notifying you that they're going to ask you things you
can't answer. And one from the president who said he hates you and
is going to shut you down." She smiled. "Have a good
night. The coffee maker's ready to go, just have to flip the
switch." She left.
Fury took the painkillers and swallowed most of the bottle of water,
getting to the important things first. He was so glad elections
were coming up.
Natasha sat down next to Clint at the diner. "Why are you following her?"
"Favor," he said, sipping his soda. Dawn was chatty and happy with
the date. Who wasn't leering at her, which was nice.
Natasha smiled. "She has been on other dates. Why is this one such a worry?"
"His daddy's an arms dealer."
"Charming." She watched Dawn. She was happy looking but
every now and then she was checking the street. "She's being
"She avoided the drink he dropped something into," he agreed. "His father's in town."
"Any ties to the one that had her?"
"Think it's spread?"
"Yup. Apparently they had paused to brag about her between when
they hung up and we got there." He frowned. "Tell me that's
not someone holding up the restaurant."
"I cannot do that." She called 911 for them. Dawn was doing
as ordered, acting scared. When they passed she casually adjusted
something and the robber went down. People streamed out choking on
smoke for some reason. "She used the smoke capsule I gave her."
Clint looked at her. Then shook his head. He wasn't going to
ask. The guy was trying to talk Dawn into going somewhere with
him but she was shaking her head. He pulled a gun just about as
the NYPD got there. They got her free. She explained it as
grabby date syndrome by what they read from her lips, then she walked
off. They paid for dinner and followed her.
"I can tell you're there," she called a block later, where there were less people. She turned to look at them.
"I like that more now that it's fixed," Natasha said. "Arms dealer?"
"He was? He said his father was into art."
"No, arms," Clint said with a smile.
"Well I still handled it well," she defended.
"Fairly well," Natasha agreed. "Where were you going?"
"To Le Chic? I could use some loosening up."
"In that dress?" Clint asked. Dawn looked around then handed off
her purse and took off the dress, showing a modestly showy, very tight
sheath dress. "Is that a slip?"
"No, it's made to look like one." She folded up the dress to put
into her bag and hailed a cab. "Later, guys." She grinned
and slid in. "Le Chic." He nodded, taking her there.
Natasha looked at her partner, who sighed. "I did promise I would
trail her until she went home," he admitted. "Coulson would
usually give a junior agent the tracking practice but they're all
injured." Natasha nodded, changing her outfit a bit so they could
get in as well. The bouncer was still wearing his NYPD badge and
firearm. That was a nice, scary touch to keep the creeps
out. They got let in and found Dawn already on the floor.
Apparently she had used one of the lockers at the door to store her
purse. Which was safer so no one stole anything.
She was dancing with some girls in a pack on the floor. The guys
were slowly weeding the pack of single women down. Dawn shook her
head at one, who glared. She said something and he squeaked,
running off to the bathroom. The next one she moved to dance
with. He was cuter than the first and no cocaine residue on his
upper lip. They split up to take their preferred watching spots,
Clint up on the walkway, Natasha at a table near the floor.
Dawn was seriously giggling at whatever the guy was saying and shaking
her head. The guy was pouting. Dawn kissed him on the
cheek. He tried for a real one and she smiled but shook her head
and danced back to the pack. Another girl let him lead her to the
backroom. Clint watched, leaning on the railing. She was
good on the floor. She was right, she couldn't dance outside the
clubs. Someone would have to fix that for her some year. Not
him but someone younger, more her style.
Someone sidled up behind her and she looked then shrugged and danced
with him. She did swat his wandering hand a few times. Then
she turned and slugged him, knocking him down. Clint read her lips
as 'I'm not going to blow you, this isn't even a first date and I'm not
that easy'. He'd applaud but he was supposed to be covert.
She shook her head and said something when the bouncer came over.
The bouncer agreed, the guy needed to shoo himself off to one of the
sluts on the floor. He smiled and pinched Dawn on the cheek and
his lips said something about a sweater. Clint snickered.
Dawn quipped back she was overly warm, not cold. He left her there
anyway. The next guy didn't get handsy but he knew she wasn't
going to go with him so he moved on pretty quickly. Dawn was still
happy so it was good.
Clint was glancing at Natasha when he saw her stiffen. He looked
in the direction she was. That was bad. He texted
Dawn. She tapped her earpiece so he called. "Dawn,
doorway. Major problem, he's a HYDRA operative." He
listened. "No. Excuse me, he thinks he knows you?" She
said something, turning around to scan the area. "No, we'd need a
wire." She reminded him she could summon one. She did and
strolled off, taking Natasha to the bathroom to put it on her.
He put in his earbud and listened to her. She kept the line open
the whole time. His phone could tape too just in case. She
came back looking like she had splashed off some of the sweat and her
hair put back up to one side, the rest cascading down her left
shoulder. The operative smiled and walked over to dance with
her. They were chatting about his cars. Dawn turned to dance
back to front with him and he groaned.
She mentioned she was going on vacation soon, did he know anything about
Miami or Greece? He told her a lot about the area, including that
he had a business there. She smiled and asked him about
that. Standard cover of a pharmacy. Dawn pouted but he said
he might be down there in a few weeks for a meeting over new staff
contracts. He might take her to dinner? She said a demure
'maybe' and winked. He grinned and got low with her on the
She was describing the bikinis she had bought. He was panting, so
was the operative. Dawn winked and strolled off to get a
drink. He followed to buy it for her and then they went back out
there. He was definitely handsy but Dawn didn't let him get beyond
touching her waist and sides. Her hips once but as soon as they
strayed she moved them. He was pouty but he accepted it. So
maybe she had the touch and he was working his way into her
She did let him lead her to one of the tables off to the side, where she
even let him kiss her a few times. When his hand started to
wander she put an end to it and strolled off to go dance again.
The operative was groaning but he left her alone with a 'see you in
Miami' and a wink. He left after finding one of the easier girls
in the club to go home with him.
Clint was just about to hang up when he saw someone who should not be
there. He hung up his phone once Dawn had spotted him and walked
over to smile and lead him out to the floor. You couldn't get much
more overprotective than Steve Rogers trying to figure out club culture
in the modern world. Dawn was even teaching him to move.
Clint came down and Steve flinched, tensing up. "Easy, Cap.
Coulson had me following her." She looked up and the listening
device floated up so she could hand it over. "We ran into a HYDRA
operative," he said quietly at his odd look.
Dawn shrugged. "He's flirted before but I never let him get beyond
a kiss. By the way, his pharmacy thing is probably a cover for
drug running. Not totally sure. Can't find that last
link." They smiled and left her with Steve. She
shrugged. "I came to get down. He has someone bribed to call
when I come in."
He shook his head but he was smiling. "It figures. The bad ones like you like they do Xander."
"You bet." She led him out to the floor to dance with him.
He was getting better at it and this club wasn't as hard as some.
He did okay. He had a sense of rhythm. A few of the girls
came to pounce on him. "Ladies, he's shy," she noted. "He's a
military boy and he's shy. Do not use him like some toy."
They smiled and took him to teach him to dance better. He was shy,
the guy was blushing at them but it was all good. The shy ones
were always nicer and not handsy or groping. Even when encouraged
they didn't. Dawn got another drink and came back to take him back
One of the more aggressive girls was flirting. "Hands off.
He's my boss's friend." The girl pouted but let him go. She
grinned. "Rule one of clubbing. Never drink anything that's
been opened or that you didn't see made," she said. He nodded,
letting her get him a drink. "Want to sit down?" He nodded
and they sat to watch. She pointed out some of the moves and he
nodded, finding a nice looking young woman who knew them. She had
heard he was one of the shy ones so he easily changed to dance with
him. She already had bruises from the pinching so a nice boy was a
godsend to her.
Fury glared at her when she came in the next morning. "You took Captain America clubbing?" he demanded.
"No, he showed up where I was clubbing so I protected him from some of
the mercenary women it contained and taught him how to find a bass
beat." Fury gaped. "I was already there for over an hour."
"Fine. Why were you undercover?"
"I wasn't. He has someone bribed to let him know when I come
in. The two worried ones had me put on a wire this time."
Fury was still looking horrified. "That was about the sixth time
he's shown up there. I like that club because most of the staff is
NYPD second job people. They're real polite, very nice. I
hardly ever have to worry about a drink unless it's being bought for me,
and I did warn him about that." Fury was shaking his head.
"He wanted to know so he showed up."
"Whatever. Did you have to do that?"
"What? Go have some fun? Yes I did. Especially after my date was an idiot."
"Nice move with the smoke capsule to end the robbery," Coulson said as
he walked in. "And letting the NYPD handle him." She grinned
at him. "That second dress was a bit showy though." He
handed over the paper. She and Cap were on the cover dancing.
She shrugged, handing it back. "Less slutty than half the girls there. Has he seen that?"
"And blushed." He looked at Fury, handing over the reports.
"On the HYDRA agent she keeps running into, sir. Which is why I
had Barton follow her for me since I was here late. I found the
contact report buried under other sitreps."
She pinched him on the arm. "I handle him very well. He
never gets beyond three kisses and then tries to grope so I walk
off. Was I right about his pharmacy?"
"You were. I found that last link you left me. It was more
subtle and not something you could find anyway." She smiled.
"The last I knew she wasn't an agent," Fury said.
Dawn looked at him. "No, I'm an assistant." She grinned. "Who the guy likes."
"Fuck, there's no arguing with you is there?"
"Not usually. No." She got them both some coffee and made a
new pot, handing the last cup to Tony since she had heard him up the
hall. "Steve, are you okay with the picture thing?"
"I'm fine. I wasn't doing anything." She grinned at him. "Thank you for teaching me."
"Not a problem. I go there to get down because of all the NYPD
staff." He smiled and walked off. She looked at Tony.
"It was a cute outfit," he assured her. "Were you wearing that under the dress?"
"Yeah, I didn't plan on the date being more than dinner. It's a
first date and if it had went well we could've went for a stroll and
dessert from the ice cream place up the street. If not, I was
going to go clubbing."
"Good. I like that. Very proper," Tony said.
She smirked. "Some day I'll teach my niece to club."
"Please do. I don't do it nearly as well. Just make sure
she's wearing her iron underwear I'll design her." He sipped his
coffee. "Hmm, bottom of the pot." She handed over the sugar
and creamer. "Thank you."
"You're designing your daughter a chastity belt?" Fury asked.
"There's no way I'm going to be a grandfather before she's thirty-five,"
he said bluntly. Dawn giggled, heading out to deliver
paperwork. "HYDRA?" he asked Coulson.
"He picked her, not the other way around." He handed over the
dossier. Fury made a comment under his breath. "Please
"I liked you without a sense of humor, Coulson," Fury warned.
"I know, sir. I'm considering it stress relief after Dawn needing better taste in bikinis she has planned."
"I heard that."
"They thought it was cute," he said dryly. "I think she needs to wear those unitard racing outfits." He walked off.
"He's a good big brother," Tony Stark decided. "Pepper liked a few
of those skimpier ones instead of the push up ones." Fury
glared. He smirked. "His brother works in one of the Stark
"I want his file."
"I'll tell Pepper." He walked off doing that from the Avengers
meeting table. Thor stomped in. "Morning, Thor."
"Where is my nephew's claimed daughter?"
"Delivering files," Tony said, looking at her. "Cap ran into her at the club so she taught him how to dance."
"She was nearly unclothed!" he complained. "It's bad enough she shows her knees here!"
"Women do that," Steve said. "Even back in the forties women showed some knee, Thor."
"It is not proper!"
Dawn walked back and gave him a hug. "Modern women show a tiny bit
of thigh, Thor. They can also flash some cleavage and still not
be considered too risque. Relax. Please? Before you
"If he's upset at your outfit then it's your own fault," he reminded her.
She patted him on the cheek with a smile. "Xander helped me pick
out that dress." Thor deflated into a chair. "Modern women
wear less than they did back in the middle ages. You can help me
when I have to dress up for an event that requires middle ages
dresses. I have no idea how to put on a corset." She walked
off. "Want me to get you some water?"
"Please. I fear I need it to settle my stomach," Thor complained. He looked at Tony. "Women dress like that?"
"Often." He pulled up a women's fashion magazine for him to browse through on his tablet.
Thor frowned. "I've seen women more clothed in bed." He looked up. "Jane would never wear such."
"Jane doesn't wear much that's slinky," Tony agreed. "But modern
women wear less than they used to. It gets shorter and shorter
most years. Though we did have a long dress period in the
seventies after all those really tiny mini skirts in the sixties."
"Aye, I've seen pictures from my niece-in-law. I wanted to staple proper clothes on them."
Dawn came back with a picture from Tara. "Considering the
Valkyries wear that, and you had a hand in what they're wearing, don't
even consider it. My skirt last night was longer than
theirs." Thor blushed and ducked his head. "And my top
covered more of my breasts. Beyond that, why the leather fetish
"I was young and stupid. I've learned better," he said.
She patted him on the hand. "I'm sure you have but modern women
wear less clothes. They can dress like a Valkyrie at a club and
still be virgins. I've done it a few times." She walked off.
Tony looked at the picture. "Tara looked nice in their official gear." He showed Steve.
"She did. A bit more showy than I'm used to seeing her in but she did look nice."
Thor frowned. "She dresses as a proper woman does," he complained. He took the picture back.
One of the lesser agents took it. "I'm going to the mess so I'll drop it by her office, Thor."
"Thank thee." He went back to the magazine. "Why is there no fabric to her shirt?"
"Because guys like seeing them in that," Tony said bluntly.
Thor gave him a dirty look. "I would rather imagine than know if their nether hair matched."
"You can dye that?" Steve asked quietly, glancing around.
Tony nodded. "Yes, you can. Or shave it all off."
Steve blushed. Tony smiled. "Some guys prefer it. Some
don't. I don't really have an opinion on it." He
shrugged. Dawn came back. "Why are you limping?"
"That nerve thing from where I removed the blinky box," she said with a
wave. She leaned into Fury's office. "Banner said that
R&D needs to be shut down. He hit the emergency switch because
someone accidentally made the worst stink bomb ever. Even worse
than a baby diaper bad." She walked back over, refilling
cups. "I didn't think that anything smelled worse than Callia in
her second week." Tony snickered. Thor was still
scowling. She pulled out her wallet to pull out her Buffy
pictures. "That's my sister and she's worn most of those on
Thor stared at them. "The shirt has no back?" he asked, frowning at it.
"Two straps around her arms."
He looked at her. "How does she not bounce?"
"The vampires enjoyed it a lot," she said with a grin.
He shuddered. "Your sister needs help." He looked at the
other ones. He handed one back. "I think that is not your
She looked. "No, that's me. I was trying on a new
bikini. I didn't like that one as much. It made me look
chunky." She tucked it back in there. Tony took it to look
at and nearly squeaked, handing it back. "I did, didn't I?"
"No, not from what I saw." He sipped his coffee, adding more sugar
and cream. "The other ones Pepper thought were cute?"
"My camera's at home. I took pictures to get Natasha's opinion."
Tony texted Romanoff. She sent back the pictures she had
downloaded. He flipped through them. "Dawn, remember when
she used to send you clothes for work and I got that really bad thought
about you and clubbing?" She walked off giggling. "I'm
having it again."
"You're much too old and too smart for me. I'd never want to compete with your muses," she quipped.
Steve leaned over to see. "You can wear that on a beach and not get arrested?"
Thor leaned over to see. "You can wear that without someone snatching you to do evil things to your body?"
"Yes, you can. Especially in Miami," Tony admitted. He and
Natasha talked about it, and she agreed that Dawn looked better in those
than ones that were more covering. "Now I know why Pepper's been
in the gym again," he decided, putting his phone up. Thor snatched
it to look at the pictures. Tony got back into them when he
scowled at it. Thor was still scowling but he was clearly saving
up to rant at Xander about it.
Xander appeared, leaning on his uncles' shoulder. "That's about
what you wear in LA too," he admitted. Thor growled, glaring at
him. "Young women, especially young unmarried women, can wear
that. The married ones wear more clothes. Sometimes."
He handed back the phone. It had to be Tony's, it was a mega smart
phone. "Dawn said something about an arms dealer?"
"Her date last night for dinner's father," Tony said. He handed over the file.
Xander shrugged as he read. "Ares favors him because he's helping a
few of the wars he said needed to happen." He handed it
back. "I'm staying out of that unless she needs help."
"She needs more cloth," Thor told him.
Xander looked at him. "Remember how married women of Asgard can
wear less?" Thor nodded slowly. "In humans that's reversed."
"Why? It's not modest."
"Dawn does a good bit that's modest." Xander got into a different
mag on the tablet. "That's what the modern women swear by when
they go clothes shopping."
Thor frowned but looked through it. "The skirt shows thigh!" He looked up.
"Yes, it does. Dawn doesn't."
"True," Thor admitted. He kept looking. "Why can they not wear more cloth?"
"Why should they?" Xander asked. "That's how young women earn the
liking of men, Uncle. So they can date and some day marry."
"You can arrange one for her."
"I can but I'm not. Dawn is only eighteen and she needs to
experience some life before she gets hitched. She needs to date
and find what she likes."
"Asgardian women do not date."
"No, and most of them are miserable with their spouses. I wouldn't
wish that on anyone but especially not her. She's got enough hell
in her life."
"I suppose that is a point," he complained. He handed back the tablet. "At least her knees are usually covered."
Xander hugged him. "You'll get used to it and maybe Jane'll wear
something nice to the scientific gala next month. Dawn has to
dress up because she's going as part of Tony's entourage."
"She is," Tony agreed. "I'll have Pepper check her dress."
"It's black, asymmetrical, floor length, tight but not too tight,
mid-thigh slit. She can do an updo, do her makeup, and needs to
find jewelry and shoes."
"That sounds fine," Tony decided, making a note to Pepper about the
jewelry thing. "Anything from her family she'd like to wear?"
"She's having Joyce's former wedding ring and mother's ring put onto a
chain," Xander said. "Joyce was worried about them disappearing."
"That's tasteful and sentimental," Tony decided. "Not a bad
choice. The reporters will coo or call her too sentimental."
He shrugged. "Earrings?"
"She could use some."
"That's fine. The girls can figure that out. Romanoff, am I
bringing you to the scientific gala?" he called, spotting her.
"Thanks. Means I don't have to bring the bigger limo." He looked at Xander. "Her prom? Is she going?"
"No one's asked her. Pepper wants her to go, claims it's a rite of passage, but she doesn't want to go stag."
"Okay," he decided. "I'll see if she wants time off for that." He made a note into his phone. "Graduation?"
Xander looked and pointed. "That Saturday I think."
"Good." He marked that as well. Pepper would correct it on him. "Is Joyce coming?"
"No clue," Xander admitted. "They've got her up on a germ free floor right now."
"If not, we'll take pictures and film," Tony decided. "That's something a parent should want to see."
Xander shrugged. "Wouldn't know. We sent Joyce away for
grad. Willow's parents were in BFE somewhere. Mine were
....somewhere." He walked off. "Probably better anyway with
Tony stared at his back then at Thor, who shrugged. "We do not
have schools like you do down here. We have apprenticeships and
learning from our elders. Truthfully, learning of letters and
numbers is not as important to most Aesir as learning to fight is."
"Great," Tony said quietly. "Well at least he did make it through
school once." Steve slumped. "Didn't go to yours?"
"No, I did. It wasn't too bad." He shrugged. "A lot of
speeches about becoming adults. Xander's had a battle?"
"With a human turning into a pure demon," Tony said, finding that file to show him.
Steve grimaced. "Eww, he turned into a snake."
"Yes he did," Thor agreed. "The only way to kill those is to
behead them. The last one I heard of was killed as a volcano went
off." They watched as the school exploded. "Compact and
useful. Nicely planned. The slayer's watcher?"
"Your nephew the night before," Tony said.
Thor stared at him. "He was but a lad. I'm not sure he had all of his memories at that point."
"He still did it the night before."
"Huh. Very well planned. He has learned much from Heimdall
and Tyr, plus his time with Ares." Fury walked out. "Do we
know if more of these are happening?"
"Three years in Chicago if he gets it done. Five years for two in Europe," Fury said.
"We'll have to be prepared with a way to behead them. Or borrow my nephew's axe to chop it."
Steve shook his head. "Don't we have weapons that can do that?"
"If I'm at the right angle I could," Tony agreed. "My suit has a
laser. The problem would be getting to it before it got any
"They can only happen during an eclipse," Thor said.
"So we can track that," Fury decided. "That'll help a lot."
He handed over files. "Dawn has been courted by this one
recently. Hawkeye caught him coming onto her last night."
"She said there had been one when she took off the wire," Steve said. He read it over. "Anything we can use?"
"His brother works in my company," Tony said. "Pepper should be
sending over his file soon." Dawn walked past and handed over
copies. "Thank you."
"Welcome. And his sister as well." She winked at Thor.
"You've met her. She works at that stable you favor to go
watch." She strolled off.
"I can cancel your vacation," Fury called after her.
"Then I'll wear the bikini around here to sunbathe," she quipped with a wave over her shoulder.
"Damn it," he muttered. "I can't scare that girl for anything."
"I think her sister is probably scarier," Steve admitted. He
looked over the files. "Do we think it's coincidence, like how
Xander draws them, or do we think they planned it?"
"No clue," Fury admitted. He paged the others to come join
them. Dawn had made copies for them too because they brought them
in. "Any idea if it's coincidence or not?"
"Not," Barton said, putting down a few forms. "He didn't show up
in New York until after the battle. After people knew about
us. His sister only started to work at the stable after Thor
started to watch the riding lessons there." He sat down.
Natasha looked them over. "His sibling in Stark's lab has been
there longer but we think he's there as an industrial spy, but he has no
access to anything decent."
"So they searched out Dawn as a way in?" Tony guessed.
"No," Barton said. "They want Dawn thanks to the Council passing
on that she's scarily powerful and potentially useful. HYDRA has
always wanted magic to work."
"Dawn's one hell of an artifact," Tony agreed. "So they do want
her." They both nodded. "Any idea if there's further plans?"
"So far it looks like they're treating her like a silly girl," Natasha
said. "Trying to lure her in with a boyfriend of bad choice.
Dawn being an ice princess helps thwart that."
"Where is she going to school so I can make some surveillance plans?" Fury asked.
"NYU. She's accepted there so she can continue to work for Stark
part time," Natasha said with a smile. "Her second choice was Yale
but she considers it too confining and safe."
"That's even better," Fury decided. "Dawn!" She came back
with a coffee for herself and sat down between Natasha and Clint in the
free seat. "They want you."
"Figures since HYDRA tried to take out the monks." She sipped her
coffee, leaning back. "The monks managed to cast enough of a
concealment so they never found them. Mussolini almost did.
He had people raiding the village to get the monks for his allies but
they never found the monastery."
"How long have you known that?" Tony asked.
"You never asked and I'm already a bit paranoid thanks to Sunnydale stuff."
"Good point. We never asked. Any other groups that want you?" Tony asked.
"Beyond the Council setting a price on my head to capture me? The
Russians who still think I'd make a great employee in their
brothels?" Tony rolled his eyes. "That was all because of
the Council. Which Buffy complained about until I pointed out it
was her fault. Then she shut up again and quit complaining about
things I didn't start." She took another sip. "The crazy
knights from that order are still be around and may try to take me
out. That's all I can think of. The last time someone really
wanted the Key as a power source was back in the BC times. One of
the Persian kings wanted to capture it and mount it on his staff to
show his power. One of the Egyptian groups conquered them before
they could make a try."
"Crazy knights," Clint said. "Armor, look like the old Templar
pictures? Old style bow and arrows?" She nodded. "Saw
one in town."
"Me too. We had a talk and I let him go after pointing out Glory
was destroyed and couldn't come back for over a thousand years. He
thinks I'm still dangerous but I pointed out I had control over the
Key, not it controlling me, and I was working against all the demonic
menaces that happen in this world. He said he'd tell the head of
the order but I'm not holding out great hope. Xander thinks he'll
have to go stomp them."
"That's our job," Stark reminded her.
She smiled. "They're still living in the middle ages. Iron Man might scare the crap out of them."
"Even better," Fury said. "Any chance they'd team up with HYDRA?"
"No. They're there to take me out so that no one can use me. Even
if one or two wanted to so they'd get closer to me, they'd turn on them
as soon as they had me." She looked at Natasha. "I need
"That shop by the shoe store."
"I can look there." Tony stared at her. He knew that tone of
voice from her trying to hide things in the past. She smiled and
put the dart on the table. "Into my kitchen window this morning."
He looked it over. "Poisoned?"
"Not now. I had the lab run it and clean it so it could be bagged
up." She handed Clint an arrow. "In my car's trunk this
He looked it over. "Not for multi-string tension bows. This is for single string long bows."
"They use horse long bows from what I've seen," Dawn said.
"That gives me an advantage against them," he decided, putting it on the
table. He took the dart, looking it over. "Again,
simplistic but effective. Very old school." Dawn
nodded. "That's fine. We can find them and see if we can get
them to give up or deport them."
"Remember watching _The Mummy 2_ and the curator at the museum?"
He nodded. "They're here too. That's how they got into the
US. He shipped them as artifacts."
"Why didn't you tell us?" Natasha asked.
"You never asked to be told about them and I was handling it okay. I just need curtains."
"If they break in?" Fury said dryly.
"Then I hit my emergency switch and blip out of there."
"Good point," he admitted. "Is it ours?"
"No, it's a Stark Labs one," Tony said. "I'm updating that."
"I live three blocks from the lab. The only way there's a higher response time is if I'm in the building."
"Good point. Still, it could be touchier."
"Then I'd set it off by accident in my purse. I have it inside a pepper spray holder so I can't hit it by accident."
He nodded. "Fine. You're going to brief security."
"I did when I saw the first one. And the one here." She smiled. "I'm a practical girl, boss."
"You are and I like that about you even if you do nag." He smiled. She grinned back.
"Security should've told me by now," Fury said, making that note.
Dawn sent a text message to them. "Thank you, Dawn." He
looked at her then at Stark. "Her apartment secure enough for her
time at NYU?"
"I'm not moving. I'm in a rent controlled place," she said.
"With a real bedroom and a real bathroom with a real tub. I'm not
moving. I'll fucking commute for hours before I move." Fury
burst out laughing. Coulson brought in the file from
security. "They told you?"
"Of course. Anything that bothers you or Tara they tell me
first." He looked at the two things on the table then at
her. "They showed up?"
"This morning's presents. I about changed half of them into mice but I was running late."
"Great." He looked at Fury. "We've been working on tracking the group."
"Natural history museum."
"I saw." He patted her on the shoulder. "Anything else?"
"HYDRA wants her," Steve said quietly.
"That figures," Coulson admitted. "Especially with their focus on
the supernatural back during the war." Steve smiled. Coulson
let out a tiny one back. "They can't have her."
"They've been moving closer to trying to seduce her," Tony said, handing over that file.
He read it, nodding slightly. Clint handed over what he had. "You need to switch clubs."
"I do go to the other one but that's got the slimy pimp trying to take
over. I don't want caught in the middle." Xander appeared,
handing her a note, then left holding his head. "Looks like a
vision." She read it and sighed. "Someone wants to sacrifice
me for just a regular blood rite because I'm a virgin witch." She
handed it to Phil. He rolled his eyes and handed it on. "If
we catch me there and they're about to bring me out, talk me into
becoming ineligible, no matter who's there, okay?"
"You could do that now," Natasha said.
"I'd rather wait if possible. I'd like to be actually dating
instead of just picking up in the club. Or hiring someone since
Xander suggested that. I was raised to be a good girl who only
gave it up for the boyfriend."
"Which we all appreciate but if you have a hint that it's coming, fix it," Fury said.
"Sure. Actually I might already not be totally eligible."
Tony gave her an odd look. "No hymen to prove I'm virginal."
"I don't need to know that."
"You wanted to know that."
"Want and need, two different things," Tony assured her.
"At least I'm not lusting after someone like Angel. Look how my sister's first time turned out."
"I'd make a joke about it being really bad but he did lose his soul
because he was happy it was so bad," Tony quipped. Dawn
nodded. Thor looked at them like he was confused. "Her
sister Buffy?" Thor nodded. "Her first boyfriend was the
cursed vampire Angelus. Angel when he had his soul. They
slept together, it released the curse, and his soul left."
Thor shook his head. "My nephew should find a warrior who would please you for life," he complained.
"Still have to go to college because my mother wants me to," Dawn
quipped. "And no babies coming unless I do a lot of magic."
Thor considered it. "If you liked girls, Alexander's half-sister
is apparently breaking up with her wife. Or so the rumors state."
"Nope, sorry. I'm probably a stick drivin' woman, Thor. Never really wondered how girls squeal."
"Must you?" Fury demanded.
"Is there a more delicate way to answer that?" she countered.
"Just say I never wondered?" Steve suggested, his head ducked to hide the blush.
"I'm sorry, Steve," she apologized. "I didn't mean to embarrass you."
"Thank you." He looked at her. "Your hair is down."
"I pulled it down before came back in."
"I thought it was up."
"No, it was pushed back." She pushed it back and he nodded.
"There's some hairspray to keep it in place when I had it up. I'll
put it back up in a minute." She looked at Thor. "No
marrying me off. If I find a husband it'll be because I tracked
him, trapped him, and stuffed him."
"Fine," he complained. "Arranged ones are much easier."
"Not really. If I didn't like him he'd probably die." Thor
nodded that was true. "I haven't met a one of you yet that was
"Aye, that can happen," he admitted. "Fine. It is your choice."
"It's a damn soap opera at times," Fury complained.
Dawn smiled. "As sands through the hourglass so are the days of ours lives." Natasha poked her hard. "Hey!"
"Be more serious."
"Fine." She looked at Fury. "What do you want me to do about them?"
"HYDRA? Trap them, let us bring them in," Fury ordered.
"He's going to visit me in Miami."
"That's fine. We can work that out. We'll put the others
under surveillance." Tony nodded he was having someone do that
already. "You do?"
"Yup. Happy arranged it behind all of our backs because he thought
that one of them was hitting on Dawn. Not one of this family but
one other one." He pulled up his personnel file, handing it over.
"Germ doc," Steve said.
"Shit, he'll want Xander," Dawn said quietly, glancing around.
Fury and everyone stared at her. "Um, Thanksgiving?
Initiative year thanksgiving? Native Americans?"
Thor frowned. "I had not heard of anything."
"I have," Tony said, shaking his head. "You're right, he would. Can we test that?"
"I'm not Xander."
"Good point. Xander?" He reappeared, looking like hell. "Another vision?"
"Mom showed up to nag while I was trying to nap it off. She's off
crying again. What's wrong?" Tony showed him that
profile. "I saw him trying to lurk around Dawn and warned him if
he touched her I was going to stomp them all. Then I introduced
myself properly." He grinned and pulled up a news story, handing
the phone back.
"We want to test it," Fury said.
"Your lab has bigger leaks than the Titanic and so does Stark's."
"We can have it run independently," Coulson said.
"Sure, if you want." He disappeared.
"There's a demigod healer as a doctor on Atlantis," Coulson said.
"He'd do it and not blab," Fury agreed. "Arrange it." He
nodded, walking off to call out there. "Roughly how many, Dawn?"
"Anya thought the one he was showing symptoms of might've been either
smallpox or an advanced, ancient form of syphilis but as soon as the
spirits left so did the diseases. That lasted about a day after he
fell into the burial chamber."
"So probably antibodies," Steve said.
"Probably," she agreed. "We thought so but we weren't secure
enough to test it and we weren't going to let the Initiative know.
It was bad enough Riley witnessed it. They might've tried to take
Xander if they wanted to know."
"Good point," Steve agreed. "I totally agree on not telling anyone. That's probably dangerous."
"Depends on what he got given," Clint said. "There's a high trade in some things."
"Strains that old the modern treatments might not work on," Tony
said. "I'm not totally sure but I think treatments are tailored to
"We can test that too," Fury assured him. "Any other surprises, Dawn?"
She smiled. "Buffy's hair showed clomid too." Stark
shuddered. "I had it tested and immediately had her take a pill
pack and a pee test. She's not pregnant. She's talking to a
doctor today to make sure it can't happen. She's going to
"Good!" Stark agreed. "I love Callia but still."
"It probably wouldn't be yours. They know what your daughter with
Buffy can do," Natasha said. "They would use a different
one. Xander's?" she asked Dawn.
"No, Xander's got that not totally human thing going."
"We'll keep an eye on her," Fury decided, making that note. "Any advancement on that? Dawn, how is your mother?"
"On the germ free floor right now. They removed the bigger mass
and found a secondary one starting. Whoever hit her with the shot
this time hit way too much into her. And I'm going to kill them
for hurting my mother."
Fury nodded. "We can applaud."
"Thanks." She shifted to cross her feet. "Excuse me, I think
I need to hit the bathroom." She got up, glancing at the chair as
she walked off.
"She'll be back later," Tony said at Thor's confused look. "Girl things."
"Oh!" He nodded quickly. "My own sister just suddenly spouts
like a faucet as well. I will never understand girl things."
"Most men don't," Tony assured him. He looked at Fury. "So.... Where do we start?"
"I'm sending agents to deal with the family," he decided. "Get me that intel file as soon as you can."
"I already sent over a request for it."
"Good. The rest of you, make a plan for when he shows up in Miami." He looked at Natasha. "Rate the girl."
"No. She does not want to be an agent. She has good reasons
for not wanting to be an agent." Fury walked off rolling his
eyes. Tony looked at her. "She does."
"I know. Will that alarm catch this?"
"Perhaps. I'll send her home for the day." She went to tell
Dawn that. She found her nearly doubled over in the
bathroom. "Are you that ill?"
"Cramps," she muttered.
"Go home. Soak or whatever to guard it." She nodded,
disappearing from there. Natasha checked, there was no spare blood
in the bathroom to set off the alarms.
Dawn limped up to Pepper that night, handing over a medical excuse. She limped off.
"Want driven?" she asked.
"I've got a cab waiting. Thanks." She got into the elevator
and went back down. Someone got into it with her. She stared
at him. "Great, just what I need." The driver turned
around. Another knight. "Guys, I'm in good control.
Glorificus is dead. Nothing and no one can use me."
"And yet you leak magic even now," the knight beside her said firmly.
She looked at him. "I'm sure you've seen women having their
periods before." He blushed but nodded. "That's what I'm
doing right now. I take medicine to ease it as much as I
can. I clean up so no one can get it. The only group that
might want me that way is HYDRA and one kooky cult because I'm magical,
not because of the Key."
"Still, we think you are dangerous," he said. She disappeared before he could stab her.
"We have ones waiting there," the driver said, driving off. This new fangled machine was quite interesting.
Dawn reappeared inside the tower, leaning against Pepper. "I hate knights."
"Shit," she said, pressing her alarm switch. There was a huge spot
of blood on Dawn's side. Guards came running. "Get her
medical. It looks like she was stabbed."
Dawn looked at the guard. "The knights. They were in the
cab. They're in my closet. I think they're trying on my
shoes." He nodded, calling someone to head over there to deal with
them. She let Pepper sit her down. "Guys, kinda dizzy," she
told the building's nurse. "Had to get something done to stop the
clotting earlier and now I've got a tiny pinprick on my side."
"We can handle it," she assured her, helping her lie down so they could roll her off.
Tony came jogging up the hall. "What happened?"
"Crackhead knights. I think they're trying on my heels."
"We sent someone," Pepper assured him. She followed. "You
had better be all right. I'm not telling your mother."
"Don't tell Buffy either. She'll try to blame it on me too."
She took Pepper's hand when she tried to shift. "Ow."
"Relax. We'll get you cleaned up," Pepper soothed. Dawn
nodded, letting her eyes drift shut. Pepper went into the exam
room with her. "The medical excuse said she had to get scraped due
to all the clots," she said, finding it and handing it over.
"We can keep a watch on that." They handled Dawn's side injury
fairly easily and let her rest. They had a nice, comfortable
infirmary for lab accidents and Stark injuries.
Pepper pulled a chair over with her foot and sat down, letting Dawn cling to her for now.
Fury answered his phone. "What?" He listened. "Why did
the alarm go off at Stark Tower? Let me know when you do
know!" He hung up. On a hunch he called Coulson's
cellphone. "Why is the alarm going off at Stark Tower?" He
listened. "Excuse me? And we didn't notice this....
Uh-huh. So they're blending in. Are you going there or
where?" He nodded. "Fine. Let me know. I want
kept in the loop." He hung up and called Natasha. "Help
Coulson." He hung up and got back to the paperwork. He'd
miss Dawn if she died. She was the only one who really stood up
and told him he was a jackass. She made good coffee too.
Dawn blinked awake, trying to focus on the person above her. "Am I in the infirmary?"
"Yeah," Barton said. "You are."
"Yay," she said sarcastically. She pushed back her hair and looked
around. "I'm at the Stark infirmary. Good. Doctor
Grabby Hands isn't here." He laughed. She made herself sit
up, swatting at him. "I'm fine."
"You're not fine. You got stabbed."
"They were waiting in my apartment when I got away. How much damage did they do?"
"None. Your security system released sleeping gas," he said.
"Coulson was very proud that system worked as Stark said it
would." She grinned. "You're under observation until
"Wonderful. I'll work some healing so I don't have a huge scar."
"Later. They said no magic tonight."
She snorted. "Whatever." He grinned. "Any other good news?"
"Not yet. We're trying to find the rest of the knights."
"I can take my vacation early if it'll help."
"No, you can't. No one's letting you go early because then Fury growls more."
Tony walked in looking up from his reading. "You're right, they
were trying on your shoes and one was looking at your dresses like they
"Yay," she said. "How many more?"
"At least a good dozen. We're working on it with the NYPD."
He stared at her. "You sure you don't want to move?"
"I'm not living underground somewhere. I'd go nuts without
sunlight. I'm also not spending my whole paycheck on rent.
I'd miss the occasional bout of grocery shopping."
"There's one on the next block."
"It's a seniors only place. I looked there."
"I'm usually safe there."
"Not really. We found three brand news listening devices.
Planted since the last security sweep two days ago." She
growled. "All in your bathroom for some reason."
"Maybe they like hearing me sing in the tub." She looked at her side. "Why no magic?"
"You're weak from the blood loss?" he guessed.
She waved a hand. "Not hardly. Just mildly dizzy." She
concentrated and the wound healed, leaving a tiny, pale scar. She
frowned. "I'll have to cover that up."
"It'll fade in a few weeks and there's scar bleaching kits," Tony said, looking at it. "Can you do that on others?"
"Not as effectively. I never learned that from Tara. She
said it's really hard and you can draw the injuries into yourself
"Good to know." He touched it. "The scar's barely visible."
"With a tan?"
"Still probably barely visible." She nodded. "You're awfully concerned about that."
Dawn yawned and blinked at him. "If I'm not, I'm not really eighteen, am I?"
"Good point. And guys hate scars." She nodded. "It's
something most girls your age have to worry about. You hardly have
"That's my sixth and the others I've managed to get to fade. I'll
work on that one later." She looked at Clint. "Thank you for
watching me sleep."
"Welcome, Short Stuff." He smirked. "Not everyone minds scars."
"I've got to freak out some guy some year about the key stuff. The
scars would make them run. Guys can only handle so much weird
"True," he agreed. "Some of them are very scared of it. Rest."
"I'm going to." She yawned. "Some days I'd like to be a more
normal eighteen-year-old. It seems easier and less paranoid than
demons and magic." She drifted off.
Tony sighed, looking at the agent. "I agree. Sometimes she's got to be a normal eighteen-year-old girl."
"I know. I was never one but I remember wanting to be normal at that stage too." He stood up. "Staying?"
"Pepper's coming. I'm horrible at bedside stuff." They waited until Pepper came in with dinner and then left.
Barton went to talk to Natasha and Coulson. "Dawn said it'd be nice to be a normal eighteen-year-old girl sometimes."
"She does try very hard," Phil agreed. "If she didn't have to
worry about the magic and demon stuff it'd be easier. She could
flirt without worrying who they were with."
"I wanted that option at one time," Natasha agreed. "I even got it for a while and then it comes back."
Clint nodded. "Can we take some of the stress off her?"
"If we could get the things that want to threaten her, yes," Phil
said. "We need those knights gone for good." They
nodded. "We need that family with HYDRA gone and we need to know
if the rest know about her. That cult bothers me but I'm sure we
can stop them in time. Xander's vision didn't have a location or a
time code." He looked around her apartment. "We need to get
her somewhere safer. She was sure it was safe enough even when
Xander told her it was too open."
"We both live on base," Clint told him.
"Mine's about empty half the time," Phil admitted. "My closet
would never hold her clothes. It's tiny." Natasha smiled at
that admission. "I'll put out feelers. I know she picked
this one because of the tub. It's deep enough for a good soak."
That got a nod. They could all comb their contacts. He knew
what she paid for her bills.
Dawn sat up the next morning, looking around. "Can I escape?" she called.
"Ten more minutes," the nurse called.
"Okay." She looked over as the curtain around her room opened and
Phil walked in. She grinned. "Morning. I'm not jogging
"I agree, you're not." He handed her a t-shirt and jeans. "Natasha picked them out."
"Cool." She wiggled into the pants under her hospital gown then
shifted to put on the shirt once she had taken the gown off. Phil
nicely looked away. She slid it down with a sigh of pleasure.
"What's that mark on your back?" he asked. He touched above it.
She looked in the mirror across from her, shifting to see it.
"Branch lash. I was in the park and some lady lost her dog. I
was trying to help her. That should've healed though. That
was last week."
He looked. "It looks like a skin scraping," he said quietly.
The nurse walked in and shot him then stabbed Dawn before she could
move. The needle's contents knocked her out almost
instantly. The nurse took Dawn with her.
Coulson managed to hit his emergency switch before passing out.
She had been mean and hit him on the thigh. Just off the femoral
so he wouldn't bleed to death.
The head guard rushed in. "Dawn's missing! So's the shift
nurse." They shut the building down to stop her. By then the
nurse was pushing the wheelchair Dawn was in through the parking
garage. Cars and SUV's sped in and blocked off all the
exits. Agents piled in to save the young damsel in distress.
Who was snoring. The nurse shot herself instead of giving
up. One of the agents checked and started CPR. She had a bad
shot but not fatal if treated. One of the guards got the doctor
down to operate. They could save her so they could talk to her.
Dawn kept snoring. Even when an agent tried to wake her. He
sighed and got her into the SUV, locking her in there. It was
obvious she was drugged.
An hour later, once the scene was cleaned up, the guard supervisor
looked around, counting agents. "Where's Blevins?" Everyone
looked around. "Someone count cars." One of the senior
agents did that, coming back shaking his head. "He said he locked
Summers in an SUV."
"She's not there. There's a gap in the line, sir." He pointed at it.
"Fuck!" he said. "Someone track that SUV!"
Stark walked off the elevator, handing over a slip. "They're
stalled on the turnpike thanks to a massive wreck I had caused."
They sped off to find her. "I wonder which one this one was," he
complained. He went up to the infirmary. "Any idea who yet?"
Coulson was awake and glaring. "They took a skin scraping."
"So the douchebags," he decided. "Wonderful. They took her
from the SUV an agent stuffed her in. They're tied up with a
"Good. She can come camp on my couch tonight," Coulson said.
Stark snorted. "Pepper said she's staying here tonight. I'm
not arguing with Pepper since she's playing with a steak knife. If
you want to argue with Pepper, you go right ahead." A few of the
guards laughed but shut up when he looked at them. "You can camp
on the couch." He walked off to tell Pepper that. Before she
had the promised stroke over all this drama. "They took a skin
"I called Fury. No one can find Doctor Banner."
"I thought he was downstairs," he said. She relaxed. He
smiled. "Let us handle it. You go make her a nest."
She nodded, going to do that. It had been Obadiah's old
suite but he was dead after turning on them so Dawn could borrow it for
Dawn blinked. There had just been a bright light that had woken
her up. "What the fuck," she muttered. "I'm having vampire
hamsters crawl up someone's ass." She got up and walked over to
the door. Locked of course. She kicked and someone raced
toward her. She could hear the running. She timed her last
kick until they were outside. Then the door came off the hinges
and she stomped out. She grabbed whoever's gun and moved toward an
exit, firing at the people shooting.
"Dawn?" Steve called. "It's us."
"She's the only person I know who got kidnaped from a kidnaping from
another kidnaping attempt," Tony Stark complained. He darted
her. It was safer since she was clearly only semi lucid.
"She's got good instincts though. Very handy."
"Very," Natasha said, looking proud. She had trained them into the
girl and Dawn had just done her proud. Even if they had all
nearly been shot by her.
"Some decade in the future I want kids that're just as scary as she is without the magic," Barton joked.
"She's single," Tony reminded him.
"I'm too old for her."
"Probably, yes," Coulson said over their headset. "Bring Dawn
here, people. Pepper has a nice suite set up to nap it off in."
"Going," Stark said. He walked over to pick her up, flying her
off. The suit could cushion any air turbulence for her so she
shouldn't wake up and fight him. He hastily tried to adjust her
shirt because it was riding up. "I don't need to see that."
He landed a few minutes later and handed her to Pepper. "I tried
to fix it."
"It happens." She walked her off, talking quietly to her.
Dawn was mumbling back. "No, Buffy won't blame you for it.
It was the Initiative weenies, I promise." Dawn pouted. "I
know. It's hard being you. Your sister blames you for
everything." She got her into the suite and tucked her in.
"There, you nap, Dawn." Dawn nodded, making grabby hands.
"I'll let Phil come sleep on the couch." Pepper squeaked when she
was pulled down. A guard looked in. He grinned. She
scowled so he backed out. "It's all right. We'll make sure
no one touches you ever again." Dawn mumbled and pouted.
"Except a boy, yes. They can touch you if you want." She got
happier and fell deeper into sleep. It let Pepper get free.
She straightened herself out in the bathroom them came out to find Phil
Coulson being walked in. "She's in bed," she said quietly.
"Thank you. I'll nap here."
"We'll have guards on the hallway," she promised. She left them to
heal and be grumpy at each other. She'd send down dinner from the
Thai place that they liked.
Phil looked in there. "Dawn, I'm here on the couch," he
called. She sighed in pleasure and wiggled. "No jammies,
Dawn." She threw off the t-shirt anyway and he fled before he got
to see more than he needed to. He heard the jeans hit the floor
and it was all right. He got a good nap before someone knocked and
a guard walked in a bag. "Thai?" With the spices he could
smell it had to be.
"From Ms. Potts."
"Thank you." He took it and the guard left. He sniffed and
put it beside him. They could eat when they woke up. Dawn
getting up would wake him. So did Barton when he walked in to
check on them at midnight. He nearly got shot for it too.
"What?" he complained.
"Guards said they can't find Dawn on the cameras," he said
quietly. He snuck over to look in the bedroom, frowning. He
moved in, finding the bathroom light on and her asleep in the tub.
He left before he got more of an eyeful. "She's in the tub."
"That's fine. I can wake her in a bit to eat." Barton
nodded, leaving them alone. Coulson put up his sidearm and got
comfortable, pulling some food over to inhale. "Dawn?" he called
quietly. He heard a splash but she turned on more water. It
shut off automatically since she was snoring again. The beauty of a
smart house he guessed. He left Dawn's food in the bedroom and
glanced in on her before going back to his couch. "We really have
to end that program," he muttered between bites. He was starving
for some reason.
Dawn wandered out in the morning nibbling her food, wrapped in a fluffy
white towel. She grunted at Phil and whoever the big blurry figure
was in her way. She poked him with the plastic fork, making him
move. She got coffee and went back to her room.
Thor shook his head. "At least the towel covers more than some of her dresses."
"Dawn, Pepper had someone grab your clothes," Phil called. "Please
get dressed?" A t-shirt got tossed at him. "Thank
you." He got up carefully to go shower. He had an emergency
bag packed. He came out to find her staring at her closet in
confusion. "Pepper had them gotten." She grunted and
nodded. "We're at Stark Tower. Put on something to lounge
She found some lounging jammies and put them on, coming out in that
outfit. It was pink frogs on the dark green satin material, capri
pants and a strappy tank top. She grunted at him. He smiled
and got her more coffee. "Too many drugs yesterday." She
blinked at him. "The nurse was part of the new Initiative."
She nodded, sniffing the coffee before inhaling it. "Then someone
took you from her, we think he's from the same group?" he asked the
guard leaning in.
"Yes, sir. He was. The ones that took her from him during
that wreck were linked back to the Russian Mafia." Dawn
growled. "Good morning, Miss Summers." She blinked at
him. "You're safe. We have guards on the hall. You're
at work but Pepper said to stay in here and when you're more awake you
can do your history paper early." She grunted and nodded.
"Rest for now, Miss Summers." He closed the door.
Phil got a dirty look from Dawn. "I didn't do it."
"Why are you injured? You never dress down that much unless you're sick or injured."
"The nurse that knocked you out." She frowned, reaching for her
back. "We found the sample and destroyed it." She hugged him
and leaned on his arm, falling asleep again. He smiled.
"I'll explain it again when you wake back up."
Thor shook his head. "She is very strong. Nearly shot all of
us getting away from them. What is a Russian Mafia?"
"Ask Natasha," Phil said quietly. "She's taken down some of them
before." Thor smiled and nodded, leaving them to relax and heal
together. He knew he liked her like a sister with the way she was
drooling. He cleaned it up and wiped off his hand. She
blinked a few times, shifted, then curled up in a little ball beside
him. "Rest, kiddo. I'm here and awake. They're not
coming back." She moaned but patted him and fell asleep
again. He snagged the rest of her food and ate it for her.
Didn't want it to go to waste after all.
Buffy looked at Wes as he walked into the house she had rented in Cleveland. "What's up?"
"New news on the mafia problem's with Dawn."
"Why?" she moaned, holding her head.
"The Council put out a price on her head," he reminded her. She
glared at him. "To capture her so they could separate the key from
her, Buffy. They were going to kill her. The mafia took the
contract to get her and were going to use her in their ...well let's
just say in some very unsavory ways."
"I heard someone say they ran brothels," Buffy said quietly.
"They do and since Dawn is pure as it were." He trailed off.
"She's fine. They rescued her. The new Council has been
stopped by the government in the UK." Buffy smiled at that
news. "The mafia connection they made is getting many people
upset. Dawn is fine. They sedated her fairly heavily."
"Good! Why are they picking on her?"
"She wasn't the standard victim."
"She's had plenty of experience," she complained.
"Yes, which often leads back to the connection with the supernatural
community," he said dryly. "Though one did lead to the Initiative
people trying to restart and breed future heros."
Buffy grimaced. "Is my daughter safe?"
"Quite. Her new nanny is a former Marine."
"Good. I guess but probably good?" He nodded. She smiled. "What else is new news?"
"I managed a few words with Dawn on the way here. She's still a
bit out of it from the drugging. She mentioned she's going on
vacation to Miami."
Buffy sighed. "She gets a vacation?"
"Yes, of course she does. She's also going to NYU starting this
fall. On her own paycheck." Buffy smiled and nodded.
"Now, how is your mother?"
"She's doing okay but she's worried about Dawn being around all those fighting sorts."
"If she hadn't I dare say she wouldn't have made it out of a few of those things that got her."
"I guess that's a point. She said one of the agents is like a huge
big brother. Even bigger at it than Xander is. He tries to
have her put on pants and knee-length skirts, and no heels. He's
very against heels."
"I saw a delightful picture of Dawn out at a club in quite a tasteful
dress," he said, finding the paper online to show her. She
gaped. "That I believe is Captain Steve Rogers, better known as
"Wow. That's a seven hundred dollar dress."
"She does earn quite a salary," he reminded her.
"I guess she does. I should've done that instead of attempt to
suck up college." He patted her on the arm. "She's really
"She's fine. Your daughter is in to coo over her today."
"Good!" She sat down and looked at him. "Why are the magic users gathering?"
"There's a cult that's going to try to a sacrifice to bring a higher
demon. The demon will most likely need those artifacts to keep him
solid for his first few days."
"Can we stop them?"
"Yes. Especially since they heard your sister is a witch of some
sort, and virginal for their needs, so they could harm you by taking her
as the sacrifice."
"Oh, wonderful!" she sneered. "Let's go end them."
"They're human. We're getting help from agents," he said
simply. "They'll be in with Giles." She relaxed and nodded,
grinning at him. "For now, go eat something. You're much too
thin, and then take a rest." She nodded, heading to the kitchen
to get something to eat and nap with. He settled in to look over
what she already had here. The Council had truly screwed the whole
kennel of pooches this time. Especially after giving Dawn to that
Dawn blinked awake, smiling at her niece, who was snuggled into her
side. She shifted and cuddled better, then grimaced and got her up
to change her. "Just an accident," she soothed at the
fussing. "You're okay." Callia grinned and they went back to
their nap, only on the other side of the bed this time. Callia
was fully awake so Dawn told her a story about superheroes and girls who
Phil was still on the couch smiling at the silly story. Callia was
an adorable child. Of all the Starks and most of the personnel,
he thought he might like Callia the best. Even if she did call him
Fi-Fi most of the time for some reason.
Dawn came out the next morning with Callia changed and looking ready for
work. Phil stared at her from where he was resting. She
checked his forehead and got one of the nurses down to change the
bandage. He had refused to let her and they had taped it down too
hard for him to pull off without a knife or scissors, which Dawn wasn't
allowed to give him. The nurse came in. "Let me take her to
Daddy." She strolled out. Callia was babbling and waving at
people, who mostly smiled and waved back.
Doctor Banner stopped them. "I have not met you yet."
"Doctor Banner, this is Callia Stark, heir to the throne as it
were." Dawn grinned and poked her. "This is Doctor
Bruce. Can you tell him hi, Callia?"
"Hi!" she said with a smile and a wave. "Pretty."
"Yes you are." She giggled and hugged him then her auntie.
Dawn winked and moved on. He smiled, you had to smile.
Callia was a perky, adorable child. He went back to his lab to ask
about her. He had heard the NID made Stark a daughter. Her
being Buffy's daughter too explained a lot about Dawn babysitting while
Dawn walked into the main office. "Hi, She, hi, Sti," Callia called, smiling and waving.
"Hi, Callia," the two lower assistants called, smiling and waving back. "Dawn, good to have you up and around."
"I was only out on the sedative they used." She shrugged.
"It happens. Especially to me." They smiled at her.
"They arguing yet?"
"Yes." Dawn walked the baby in there.
"Dawn, when is your graduation?"
"Xander thought it was the next weekend," Stark complained.
"I haven't sent out invitations yet. I was going to do it today
after I picked them up." She handed the baby to Daddy, who let her
sit in his lap and help him update his datebook. She looked at
Pepper. "I was good, I didn't help Phil get past the nurses."
"Good girl." She smiled. "You're off today."
"I was off yesterday. I can fill in for today."
"You were on injury leave," Pepper said.
Dawn looked at her. "Since when does injury leave count during
problems?" She shrugged and moved to straighten out Tony's desk,
reaching over to synch his system for him. It synched his,
Pepper's, and hers with the two out in the main hallway's
schedules. Dawn fixed the one problem mention for everyone and
resynched it. That fixed it and they all smiled at her.
"Okay, what am I doing today beyond filing, going to hover in accounting
because they've got to finish that budget projection so it can be
looked over, and then have lunch with my niece since she's local?"
"That's about a full day for you," Pepper agreed. "If you have spare time, take Natasha to the range."
Dawn smiled. "Okay, I can do that." Callia pouted at
her. "I have to work. I'll see you in a while?" The
baby pouted and sniffled pitifully. "Sure, we'll go deliver papers
together." She got the backpack carrier the nanny used for
jogging in the park and put it on, letting Pepper put the baby into
it. "C'mon, niece. That way you know how it'll work when I'm
your super assistant sort." Callia laughed but she enjoyed Dawn's
hair being down so she could play with it.
Pepper smiled at Tony. "She's a very good aunt."
"She is a very good aunt, especially with the nanny off today. I was going to see if Callia liked the lab."
"We can do that later. After you've destroyed some more
things." She left. "Ladies, Callia insisted on going with
her aunt," she told the two lesser assistants. "She'll come back
later to help her father in the lab." They nodded. "The
nanny's off today."
"If he yelps for help with her, we'll call Dawn," one of them agreed.
"Thank you." She went to her own office. Dawn was already
straightening things out, filing what needed to go, and was then off to
accounting and deliver files to HR and two other offices.
The secretary in accounting looked. "Isn't that Stark's daughter?" she asked.
"Callia's my niece too. She wanted me today." She shrugged
and grinned, patting the baby. Who was knotting her hair but
cooing happily while doing it. "Nanny's day off."
"Wonderful. At least babies are good birth control."
"Can't have any anyway," Dawn admitted, getting a pitied look. "I
can always adopt or something when I'm settled in a long-term
thing." She smiled. "Budget? Any hope?"
"Not likely for today."
"Pepper wanted it today."
"I'll let her know."
"Thanks. I'll check back in an hour to see if she has an updated
timetable. We're going to check on medical to make sure they're
all better." She strolled off.
The secretary went to talk to her boss. "Dawn has Callia."
"I heard Stark knocked up Buffy by needle insertion," she
admitted. "Or someone did it for them." She looked up.
"Dawn's had Callia a few times. She swears up and down she'll be
Callia's version of Pepper, without the UST." The secretary
giggled. "Why was she here?"
"Pepper's nagging about the budget."
"I'll get on the team doing it." She walked out to talk to
them. The secretary got to gossip. She didn't know that Dawn
was that connected. No wonder she got the high powered internship
before graduating. She heard back that it was because Dawn's
mother was ill so that was doubly a shame but at least the girl had
Pepper to look up to. Pepper wasn't off saving the world or
anything creepy like that.
Dawn walked lunch into the suite and looked at Phil, who was
snoring. She smiled at the baby, who wiggled so she let her
down. Callia was climbing up Phil when he woke up. "Lunch?"
"Please." He sat up, giving her the hug she wanted. "You're a
better way to wake up than most I've had." The baby beamed and
decided to eat from his lap. Dawn gave her a pointed look and
pointed at the plate. "I think she wants you to eat at the table."
Callia shook her head. "No!" She smiled and patted Phil on the chest, putting her head down. "Fi-Fi tick."
"Yes he is," Dawn agreed. "Which is why he needs to eat, not help
you eat. You can eat with me." She ended up on the floor
with Callia, eating at the coffee table. Phil was behind them so
that soothed her. Though she kept looking outside and
scowling. Dawn looked that way. "Huh." She closed the
curtains and shoved the couch out of the way, tapping her
earpiece. "Security, Summers. Callia spotted a sniper across
the street from the suite we're in. Curtains are closed and
people moved." She hung up and they got back to eating.
One of the guards came in to look. The rest were heading over to
stop him. "Callia spotted him, Dawn?" the guard asked.
Phil nodded. "She kept looking that way."
"Huh." He went to tell the head guard that. The head guard could mention it to Stark.
Tony came in a few minutes later, picking up his daughter. "How did you spot a sniper?"
"Either the twinkly from his gun and scope got to her, which proves it
was Buffy's doing, or she's got danger sense," Dawn said, smiling at
him. "Which is probably also from Buffy."
"Probably. I wonder if that's a pre-slayer gift."
"No. No gifts in pre-slayers until the essence enters them from what Giles said."
"Interesting. We'll have to see if you just like shiny things." Dawn handed him her plate. "Thank you."
"Fi-Fi!" Callia demanded, pointing at him.
Tony smiled. "He can hang out with you later. Come help me
in the lab so Dawn can nag accounting for Pepper." He walked out
with her, talking about things. Testing to see if shiny things got
her attention was easy enough. He had plenty of shiny things.
Dawn smiled and handed over the picnic basket. "I got you seconds
since you were acting like you haven't eaten in days." She got up
and cleaned up in the bathroom, changed her shirt to get rid of the
drool marks, and then went back to work.
Phil smiled. Clearly Callia got her fussing skills from her aunt, not her mother.
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