NC-17 m/f, m/f/f

Old Ones With Slime, Sex, and Mead.

Dawn walked in the next morning in a very flattering, flirty sleeveless black dress.  "You would not *believe* what happened," she said when she ran into Phil coming into Stark Towers.  "The neighbor upstairs has a son that's doing a science project.  Kid blew slime all *over* the house and through the floor to shoot it into my closets.  Almost everything I own is at the dry cleaners outside of a few formal dresses and the stuff that was under the bed.  That barely escaped because I had to toss out the sheets for having slime on them."

"I was wondering why you were wearing club clothes to work," he admitted.  He was trying hard not to look her over.

"I need to hit my locker so I can find my stockings."  She went that way.  She found them and pulled them on then stepped back into her shoes, standing up so she could hitch them to the garter belt.  They were opaque black tights.  Still very tight at the top so they didn't sag.  Now she was in pure black.  She paused to look at her hair, pulling it back then letting it go.  There was no making this outfit look any more professional by putting her hair up.  It was hot and sticky today though so she decided on a barrette clip holding up her twisted hair.  She sighed and redid her locker, heading up to Pepper's office.  "Slime."

Pepper looked her over.  "Slime?"

"Upstairs neighbor was a science fair mom."

Pepper winced.  "Both closets?"

"Missed the stuff in plastic bags, a few of the formal gowns in one, and got the bed.  I'm lucky it missed the special teasing stuff in the boxes."

Pepper looked then nodded.  "I thought I recognized the dress.  No regular hose?"

"Runs.  I thought it'd look better this way anyway."

"It doesn't look *bad*.  Not professional but not bad.  Though, no one can really plan for a closet full of slime."  She tipped her head to look her over again.  "I guess it'll do.  There's no meetings today.  No jacket in your locker?"

"I'm not sure how you're wearing one."

"I have the a/c on full blast behind me."  She smiled.  "Fine.  Go get Stark out of the lab.  Both of them.  The nanny can't get in."

"Sure."  She walked off, unconsciously strolling and slightly strutting.  She knocked on the window before inputting her code.  No luck.  "JARVIS, the nanny needs Callia," she said quietly.

"Of course, Dawn."  He let her in. 

She squatted to scoop up the sleeping, drooling baby, making sure she didn't get any on her.  The nanny hurried in and Dawn handed her over.  Dawn walked over to where Tony was tinkering, doing her usual job of interrupting him.  "What'cha doin'?" she asked quietly.

"Microcircuit repair," he said absently.  "Was that the nanny?"

"Yup.  Callia's a drool factory again today.  What sort of science fair project is slime?"

"Like ectoplasm?" he asked, looking at her.  His mouth fell open.

"Yeah, like that, and all over my closets."

"I alerted Security when it happened," JARVIS said.  "They said it was not toxic.  The lab results are on monitor three, sir."

Tony looked and winced.  "That will not come out of clothes."

"I'm letting the dry cleaner try," she admitted.  "Whatever's good and still fits I'll put back.  The rest that's good I'll donate."  He nodded.  "It got everything but the dress for next month's old worlde thing and a few other formal things."

"That would probably explain that outfit."

"It's a special teasing outfit for in the clubs.  It was saved by being under the bed in a box.  Plus stockings."  She grinned.  "You need help today?"

"Only mental help."  She poked him, earning a yelp.  "Hey!"

She smiled.  "Mind out of the gutter."

"And drag yours with it?" he teased back.

She laughed.  "Not hardly.  I had to sleep on the couch so my back's wrecked."  She called up his schedule.  "I see that you have nearly nothing but sparring with Cap today."

He looked then nodded.  "Then go help Pepper.  Maybe she'll have some nice, safe, quiet, non-seen jobs today."

"It could be worse.  If I wasn't wearing the stockings, I'd look like I was that salsa dancing girl on the commercial that ran through men by dancing them to death until she found one with the right aftershave."

"Why stockings?" he asked, looking defeated.

"Do you know what sort of problems pantyhose can cause in women?  I do not need that."  She strolled off.  "Sparring, two, Mr. Stark."

"Yeah.  Thanks."  He waited until she was gone to shift on his stool.  "After I do some sparring with myself," he muttered, getting back to the repair.  "JARVIS, turn on something noisy and distracting please?"  Heavy metal music came out of the speakers.  "Thank you."

"She does look darling," the AI said.

"Not what I need to think about.  Change the song?"  The one that came on, _Back in the Saddle Again_ by Aerosmith, earned the ceiling a glare.  "Not that one."  It changed to AC/DC, which was much safer.


Natasha ran into Barton in the gym.  "Fair warning, the slime in her closet has caused another day of staring," she said quietly.

He looked at her.  "Really?"  She nodded.  "Slime?"

"Neighbor's son's science experiment."

"Oooh."  He winced.  "So she's really going to have to shop, isn't she?"  Natasha nodded.  "Poor thing."  He put on some boxing gloves.  She did the same and they took over the bare ring to fight.  "Isn't she due here after lunch?"

"Yes, she is."  She let him make the first move.  "I suggested she bill the mother for the replacements.  The landlord was not amused either."


"Oil based."

He winced.  "That'll never come out."  She nodded and swung back when he tried to hit her again.  "So I guess you two will have fun."

"Probably for many days but she doesn't want to do that until after the battle," she said quietly.

"That figures," he agreed.  "Why buy stuff you can't use."  She nodded.  "Get the shoes?"

"Three pairs, all leather.  That may be all right, we'll have to see."  She moved in closer and the fight was really on.


Steve walked into Tony's office.  "I know most modern women wear pantyhose but why does Dawn wear stockings?"

Pepper smiled at him.  "Pantyhose tend to trap moisture in the wrong spot and can cause women problems, including some minor health problems."

"That makes sense I guess.  She looks really nice today."

"Closet full of slime."

"Eww."  He looked around then at her.  "Tony's not ready for sparring?"

"I have no idea.  I can't find him."  She paged Dawn, who leaned in.  "Find Tony again.  Steve's here for sparring."

"He's in his suite.  JARVIS said he needed an hour or so."

Pepper quirked up an eyebrow.  "JARVIS, is Tony doing something that's really important?"

"Not exactly, Miss Potts," the AI said.  "He just wished some privacy for it."

"Go get him, Dawn."

"Okay."  She headed there, smiling and waving at the guards.  "Steve wants him."  They nodded, watching her walk.  "All too old for me," she quipped.  They quit staring.  She knocked politely.  No answer.  She open-palmed pounded.  No answer.  "Stark, Steve sent me to get you even if you're in the shower," she called.  No answer.  She grimaced and put in the Admin Assistant override.  She stepped just inside the door, nowhere near able to see into the bedroom, holding the door slightly open.  "Stark, Pepper sent me to get you for Steve."  He yelped.  She winced.  "Sorry but JARVIS told her it wasn't important.  Um, sparring.  Steve's here."  She fled.

Tony laid back on the bed.  "Damn it," he muttered.  That dirty mental image had come back.  He did not need this!  He really didn't!

Dawn went back up to the office.  "He'll probably be done within ten minutes if he's like most guys," she quipped then left to blush in the bathroom.

Pepper cleared her throat.  "Give him about twenty."  Steve nodded, slightly blushing himself.  He went down to the gym to warm up.  "JARVIS, next time tell me delicately that he's dealing with his hormonal issues please."

"Sorry," the AI said.

"Thank you."  She banished the thought and got back to work.  She'd give Dawn ten minutes to blush then make her get back to work too.  Sometimes Dawn was still so innocent.  Mostly because she hadn't had to walk into Tony's room to find him with five girls and for some reason a seeing-eye-dog one morning like Pepper had.


Dawn walked into SHIELD's HQ and went up to her usual check-in desk.  The guy stared her over.  "Slime.  Lots and lots of slime."

"Men?" he asked.  "Women?  Creatures?"

"Science fair upstairs."


"Yeah.  About three grand worth of clothes I'll have to replace.  Thankfully this still fits."

He nodded, signing her in.  "Director's in his office."

"I'm going to help Coulson today.  He's got backlogged files."

"I'll let that be known so they can route the horny fuckers to another floor."

She looked at him.  "I can handle horny little boys.  Really.  They can be slapped, put down, and kicked in the shin."  The guard smiled.  "But thanks."  She walked off, getting onto the elevator with four agents, all male.  She smiled.  "Slime."

"Only you," one muttered, not looking at her.  He had glanced up, he was not going to get stuck staring.  Or caught staring.  Romanoff was in a bad mood and had already broken one agent.  The others kept glancing at her.  "Head office?" he asked, reaching for the buttons.

"Coulson's office.  Paperwork backlog."  That button got pushed.  "Thank you."  He flashed a grin and went back to the file in his hands.  They all got off before her.  She got off and walked up the hallway.

"Are you a mini-Black Widow?" one of the female agents asked snidely.

Dawn kindly smiled then kicked her on the jaw.  "Yes, I am.  She said I'm doing great in my training.  Thank you for asking."  She grinned.  "Any other questions?"  The agent shook her head.  "Then you have a nice day too."  She strolled off.  She ran into Natasha, who had been watching.

"You still arch your back when you do that."

"I'm short."

"True but you overcompensate."  She looked her over.  "That does look more professional with the stockings."  They walked off together.

"Pepper was mean.  She sent me to get Tony up for sparring and he was beating his internal and external warrior."

Natasha burst out laughing.  "I have not heard it put that way before."  She let her into Coulson's office.

Phil looked at her.  "Long lunch?" he asked.

"Yes."  She smiled.  "Having to find something to wear tomorrow.  Because it's either the cream clubbing outfit or my unitard I wear when I'm off helping thin out the vampire population some nights and I'd still have to find a skirt."

"You do what?" he asked coolly.

"Put on a snazzy looking high necked, long sleeve unitard with full legs, my black denim skirt, some combat boots that're a bit too big with two pairs of socks, and then I grab a crossbow and go on cemetery patrol.  Not like we have a slayer in town, Phil.  I'm always very careful.  I always get them from a distance so they can't get me.  The unitard has holy symbols embroidering the neckline and all four cuffs.  The zipper is in the back."  He was still glaring.  "You're not going on cemetery patrols.  Who do you think does it?"

"Not.  You."

"Fine.  I'm not arguing.  You needed me to do paperwork today?"

He was still glaring.  "We'll be talking later."

She blew a kiss.  "I only go every few months when we get one reported openly in the press."

"Yay," he said blandly.

She rolled her eyes and sat down, crossing her legs so he could get to work on his files of doom.  "Staff evals?"  He nodded.  "Okay, fill out the real parts and I'll fill in the rest from your notes."  He handed them over and got back to work.

Natasha slipped off to tell Barton she was in and that she had been going out that way.  Her crossbow work was still a bit off.  He went to find hers at home so they could test her with her own weapon.  It might make a difference.


Clint strolled into Phil's office, handing over a file.  "Picked it up from the goth tween intern up the hall."

"She's not a tween or a goth, she's naturally pale," Dawn said patiently.  "She hates being compared to a goth girl.  She actually likes those singing flowers and Teletubbies for the songs."

"Uh-huh."  He hauled her up, handing Phil her pen.  "We're going to test her on her own crossbow."  Phil nodded.  He walked her off.  "You do what?" he growled quietly as they walked off.

"I don't see you doing it," she said dryly.  "Do we want more vampire deaths to get notice?  And therefore have them showing up for the party?"


"Then someone's got to do it.  Faith is in LA usually.  Buffy has Cleveland.  That means others who have a clue have to sit on a headstone and shoot at vampires as they come up and go running off."

"Your aim is usually off."

"You guys hand me these light, little, weak feeling crossbows.  Hello, I trained on the ones Buffy uses.  The old wooden, steel spring ones."  He shuddered.  "Heavier is always better in my hands.  I get more accuracy from a heavier weapon."

"We'll see."  He pointed.  She walked into the range and signed in.  Her bag was waiting for her by Natasha.  She sighed but pulled it out to put it back together.  Then she put out a target and loaded the first arrow, sticking the quiver on her forearm like usual.  She took aim and fired.  It was pretty much center.  She made all but two in the center and they were very close.

Clint rolled the paper target back in to look over.  "Not bad.  Could be a tighter grouping.  Those two were a bit off in the same way when the air conditioner kicked on."  She gave him a pointed look.  "What?"

"Usually you only get one shot per vampire.  No having to worry about the other arrows in your way.  They're also usually moving to get out of the cemetery."

He smiled and waved a hand, taking her to the walk-through course.  She sighed but he patted her on the back.  "Yes, you have to be tested," he assured her.  "Because you showed you had a skill."

"Fine."  She summoned her bolts and put them back, loading the first one.  "He's mad that I had to hunt a few vampires coming up in a cemetery," she told the guy who ran the machine.  He flicked a few switches and it was a different course - zombies instead of vampires but she could handle that.  She walked through and got most of them.  One got away.  She only winged him.  "On a real one, the coating and the blessing on the bolt would still set it on fire."

"What if you lose them?" Phil asked from behind her.

She summoned and held them up.  "Marked like my daggers."

He smirked.  "Still in trouble, Dawn."

"Fine.  Whatever, to sound my age.  Can I go get a latte now?"

"No," Phil said, taking her to test her with the other types of crossbows.

"Too light," she reminded him.  "I learned on Buffy's heavy ass weapons.  Giles hated modern crossbows."

"We can weight one's grip," he said, letting Clint do that against her current one.  "Try these," he said, handing over fresh bolts.  "They're cleaner and tend to fly straighter with the way they're fletched."  She nodded, still huffing.  She did almost as good.  A bit off on a few of them.  Low this time instead of high.  She adjusted the tension and summoned them back, getting a few other things too since these weren't marked.  She put the other things aside, checked her tension with a fingertip, then let loose again.

"Nicer," Clint said.  "We have to break you of that heavy weapon bias."

"The tinier guns feel like toys in my hand," she said.

"I realize that.  They do in mine too."  He got the bolts back for her and let her check them then repack everything, and unstring the bow for him.  "Thank you.  Too many agents don't."

"Giles couldn't fix a crossbow if our lives depended on it.  Xander did it for us."  They smiled.  "Want to test me with a lady's battle axe too?"

"Yes," Natasha said.  "I think we should."  Dawn nodded, concentrating on calling hers from home.  It landed in her hand.  Natasha looked it over, nodding.  "Very nice sharpening job."

"Thank you."  She packed her bag and followed to the gym.  "Do you want me to cover the edge?"

"No.  I won't be," the older woman said.

"Live steel, people," Clint warned.  That got them a nearly clear room.  Dawn went to change out of the dress into some shorts and a t-shirt she had in her locker.  Barefoot.  Clint stared.  "Shoes?"

"None in there and I can't do it in heels yet."  She shrugged.  "It's not that big of a liability in here."

"It is not."  Natasha too off her jacket and grabbed a weapon, coming over to test her.  The guys got out of the way.

Dawn ducked one swing and came up to the side.  "PMS much?" she asked in Russian.

"Mind on the battle," she chided.

"That's not the Sunnydale way."  Natasha smirked and they went at it.  Dawn was holding her own.  She had a few cuts.  Natasha had a few too.

Nick Fury stomped in.  "What the fuck is going on here?"

Dawn threw one of her knives at him and rolled, coming up behind Natasha to strike.  The older woman blocked it as she turned and it was back on.

Fury had let the knife sink into the ceramic mug he was carrying instead of hitting him.  "Is she possessed?"

"We just found out she's had to do a few cemetery patrols, sir," Phil said.  "So we're testing her skills with various archaic weapons."

"Uh-huh."  He wiggled the dagger free and handed it off.  "Neither one is allowed to be injured."  He walked off mourning his favorite cup's injury.  He'd make Dawn fix it tomorrow.

Dawn yelped and went down, sliding on a bit of sweat on the matts.  She rolled, bounded up to her feet and launched herself at Natasha, getting her weapon from her.  Natasha calmly defeated the rush but now it was hand-to-hand.  Which wasn't Dawn's strong suit at all.  She was easily defeated a few minutes later.

Natasha was barely breathing hard, checked her watch.  "A half-hour.  That was excellent, Dawn."  She helped her up.  "You probably would have slipped sooner if you had on shoes."  She smiled and patted her on the cheek.  "Go shower and change back."  Dawn nodded, taking her weapon to take care of.  Natasha cleaned her own and put it up then looked at the guys, who were giving her odd looks.  "She's not a warrior," she reminded them.  They nodded.  "That was not bad."

"No, it wasn't," Clint agreed.  "She's a little hellcat."

"No, I think that was her during her furry phase," Dawn called from the changing area.  Natasha glared that way but Dawn sounded happy.

Phil shook his head.  He would not comment on Natasha's time as a spitting, hissing, biting, scratching, hiding cat.  "You've done a great job with her, Natasha.  She shows a lot of skills."  She smiled at that compliment.  "Now can you please find her clothes that don't make people want to hide in the bathroom?"

"She told me Pepper sent her to get Stark up for sparring and she found him with himself," she said in Russian so no one else in the room could overhear.

Phil smiled.  "I nearly did the same thing," he replied back.  "Please fix it?"

"I will try.  She needs to shop anyway."  She went in there.  She could use her own shower.  Dawn was finishing with her weapons cleaning and then grabbed her towel and bath stuff, going into the free stall.  "What are you wearing tomorrow?"

"Whatever I can find."

"We'll see."  Dawn nodded.  Dawn finished up and got out first, going to put her hair up again then put back on her dress.  "That has a stain," she said, walking up behind her.

"Must be where I had to hit the water cooler to avoid being smashed by people running up the hallway after the twinkie thief."  She took it off to look at it.  "I do," she sighed.  She put it into her bag.  "All I have is the unitard."  Natasha threw her the long scarf she kept in there as a coverup.  "Thank you."  She put it on and got comfortable then her shoes.  She didn't need the stockings.  The scarf got put on as a sarong skirt and it was better.  It was a bit shorter but better.

Natasha adjusted it and nodded.  "The best you can with what you have on hand."  They walked out together.

Phil stared.  "That isn't any better."

"When I had to hit the water cooler, something stained the back of the skirt," Dawn sighed.  Someone walked in then huffed off.  "Sorry!  Yell at Science Fair Lady."

"No other outfits in your locker?" Phil asked.  "Nothing at home you can summon?"

"All at the laundry outside of some formal gowns and the cream club dress."  Natasha shivered but shook her head.  "And one really trashy blue dress that makes me look like a ho."

"Can you put in on over that?" he suggested.

"No.  I can put it on over the stockings but it brushes the top of them."

"Never mind," he decided.  "Go shopping?"

"I still have two hours of work."

"Go shopping anyway?" he said hopefully.  "I'll clear it with Pepper."

"We have that thing tonight," she said quietly.

"I know.  You'll need something to wear.  You can't wear that."

"She has something for that but again, quite short.  Yet tasteful," Natasha said.  She walked off.  "She is fine."

Phil winced.  "You're not fine."

"I'm leaving at three-thirty to hit the bank," she offered.  He checked his watch and winced.  It was barely two.  "I can hide in your office."

"Yes you will be," he assured her.  He and Clint walked her out.  Fortunately they didn't run into any agents on the way.  Phil locked them in his office.  The only time Dawn was allowed out was a bathroom break and Barton followed her up the hall and back.  Because she was definitely grounded.

On the way back from the bathroom, Clint opened a supply closet door and got them inside it without anyone seeing.  "Bruises?" he asked quietly.

"I'm okay.  She pulls her blows a whole lot with me."  She smiled.  "Why are we in here?"  He moved closer.  "Hmm."  She kissed him since that's what he wanted.  Somehow that merged into her being flipped around against the shelves with her mouth over his wrist and him finding the three snaps that held the crotch closed.  It ended up with her broken back in and a quickie that was very good.  He was panting into her neck.  She was panting into his arm.  She finally came at his encouragement and it was nice.  He finished up and slowly pulled back. 

She turned around to kiss him.  "All you have to do is ask," she said quietly.  He grinned.  She straightened herself up and found a few folders in there.  That looked odd.  She spotted one on the floor and picked it up, spotting a few pictures.  "That's not right."  He made sure they were presentable then she walked out and up the hall.  "Phil, I found a few files in the supply cabinet looking for a pen.  They look like personnel files so I'm taking them to HR."

"There and back," he said.  "No talking to anyone."

"Yes, daddy," she quipped.  He glared.  She grinned.  "You sound like one."  She walked off.  A few agents stared at her.  "Your water cooler stained my dress, people.  It's this or nothing."  She walked into HR after a short trip down a flight of stairs.  "Hi, I was looking for a pen in the supply cabinet by Agent Coulson's office and found these," she said, handing them to the secretary.  "I also found a few pictures spilled around this one," she said with a point.  "I'm not sure if they're related or not but I thought it looked pretty strange and those look like your files."

"Thank you, Miss Summers.  No black dress?"

"Water cooler.  They were chasing a twinkie thief and I had to get out of the way.  Huge stain like I sat in water."

The older woman smiled.  "I've had that happen before.  At least you had something to put on."

"Barely," Dawn agreed, cracking her up.  "Agent Coulson said I'm grounded so let me go back to his office."  She walked off happier.  Twenty minutes later she got called up to Fury's office.  "Yeah, boss?" she asked as she walked in.

He stared.  "No clothes?"

"Stains from your water cooler.  This is about all I have left.  I'm leaving at three-thirty to find something for tomorrow actually.  Problems?"

"Why were you in the supply closet?" he asked with a smirk.

She smirked back.  "Why?  Did you plant a camera in there too?"  He spluttered.  "Let's just say I was looking for a pen.  Okay?  Because you wanted me to make sure."  He was still choking.  "Found two of the files on a shelf, the one I stuffed the fallen pictures into on the floor to the left under the copy paper."

He looked at her, trying to sip from his mug.  She fixed it.  "Thank you."  He stared at her.  "You're dangerous."

"Not really.  I still can't beat Natasha going all out."

"Not that way, Summers."

She smiled.  "And just think what I'll be like at thirty."  He shuddered.  "Need any other information?"

"Who was in there with you so we know who else to get a statement from?  And write it out."  He handed over some paper and a pen.  She leaned over.  "Sit!"  She glared but did that.  "Barton or who?"

"Clint.  He was helping me arrange my hair."

"I'm sure he was.  Would your mother like you lying like that?"

She stared at him.  "My mother likes euphanisms when talking about certain subjects, Director Fury.  She considers it polite."

"Uh-huh.  I don't really do polite, Summers."

She looked at the door then at him.  "Is that because you really want to perv in my sex life right now?"  He glared.  She stared back.  "That's not your need to know to quote some smarter people with higher classification ratings."  She smiled.  She handed it over.  "There you go, sir."  She got up and walked off.  She ran into Clint as he was coming off the elevator.  "I gave him the need to know rating of he doesn't," she said quietly.

He grinned.  "I'm not embarrassed."

"Neither am I but he doesn't need to know details."

"True."  He walked in there.  "Sir?"


"She found 'em, sir."

"Did you look at them?"

"No.  Nor did she beyond glancing at the top one's top page.  Why?"

"One of them had pictures of underage kids being held hostage."

Clint growled.  "If she had realized she would've tracked them down herself."

"Good!"  He handed over the statement.  "Correct it for facts.  She's still too damn polite and evasive."

"Sir, I agree, you don't need details." 

"She's underage," Fury said.

"She's eighteen.  Legal in every single country now.  You're the one who suggested it."  He looked it over, shrugging a bit.  "Makes sense to me."  He handed it back and walked off.

Dawn walked past Natasha on her way to the office.  "Give me a rating on what I need to wear tonight?  About what dress level?"

"As alluring as the jade green one," she said.

"I can do that."  She smiled.  "One of those Chinese inspired dresses like that one?"

"No.  Make it more a simple sheath sort.  They're easier to move in."

"I can do that too."  She walked into Phil's office.  "Let me scram for the day so I can hit the bank."  He checked the clock.  "Fury just wanted details of my sex life again," she said quietly.  "I'm going shopping."  She left.  It was easy enough to get a cab to the bank.  Then to the shopping area she liked.  She walked into the first store.  "Science Fair experiment slimed my *whole* closet," she told the salesgirl she liked.  Who winced.  "Everything but a formal gown I haven't worn and two I have.  Also, I'm growing."  That got another wince.  "I pulled out ten grand."

"Let's start with the basics.  Are bras still fitting?  And panties?"

"Nope.  This was all I had after a dress got stained earlier."

"We can work with it."  She got her a skirt to go over it for now and then they went to look at the other things.  Pepper shopped there so they knew her rules for Dawn's clothes.  Dawn dropped them at home and went to the spot that Natasha usually took her and repeated it.  They knew Natasha's rules for her clothes.  Then Dawn went to the store she had found, where that pink dress had come from.  They had just the outfit for tonight.


"Why are we meeting in the park?" Coulson asked.

"Dawn said so," Natasha said.  She watched her walking toward them.  Very high heels without front platforms to ease the arch.  A dark blue very Mod dress.  Sleeveless, mandarin collar but the upper chest was cut-out to a decorous plunge.  Chain belt.  Skirt was a mini skirt.  Stockings in a more matte black to go with the heels.  "Very nice choice, Dawn."

She smiled.  "Thank you.  I went the same place I got the pink dress."  She spun.  The back was not there.  From the collar to the crack of her butt, which was barely peeking out at the top.  The chain rode low in the back to hint at the tease of the flesh there.  She took Phil's arm and walked him off.  "Shopped as ordered, Sir."

"Good.  Am I going to have to protest?"

"Maybe."  She smiled.  She found where they needed to be.  "Hi.  Let me in please."

"Miss Summers," he said.  "I heard you had called.  Is that your date?"

She smiled.  "No, he's like my big brother.  That is my date," she said with a point and a kitty smirk.  "This is his date."  She pointed at Natasha.  "Is there a problem?  I checked to see if I could bring them in."

"No, no problem, ma'am."  He let her in.  "Welcome to the Grotto."

She patted him on the cheek.  "You're always so polite."  She grinned.  "Thank you."  They walked in.  "Herval."

"Miss Summers."  He bowed.  "Your date," he said, looking at Clint.  "He is very well known."

She smiled.  "He's a real gentleman as well.  At least around me.  Even Xander likes him."

Herval smiled.  "That's wonderful.  As you know, this is the Grotto.  There are various seating and conversation areas."  He pointed behind him.  "Anything with the blue mark is to a bathroom or other necessary area.  The red is the doorway to another section."

"I know through the hedge maze there's supposed to be a real altar and a fun altar," she said.  "I was going to look at the fun one."

He smiled.  "There is and a working area if you need to flex some skills."

"No, I've had a few flexes today."  She smiled at Phil.  "We'll probably start here and move toward the bar."

"Of course. For that, go through the library chamber and the walkways of the Study to the Clubhouse, Miss Summers."

"Thank you."  She took their passes and handed them over.  "Have a good night, Herval."

"You as well, Miss Summers."  He relaxed once she was gone.  She was nearly glowing with energy tonight.

Dawn smiled and pointed at a map on the wall.  "Someone was a big Marauder's fan."  She touched it and it showed where they were.  "This is the entry to the library."  She pointed up the hall.  "This is the hedge maze."  They nodded making mental notes.

"This seems very tame," Phil said.

She smiled.  "It is.  This is the nicer side.  The Clubhouse is not."  She led them into the library and walked over to the librarian, whispering in his ear.  He nodded and got her a few books.  "Lending?"

"Up to two weeks, do no do any harm."  She shrank them and handed them to Clint.  "That is fine."  He got her another one and that one got shrank and handed to Phil.  "Have a good read."

"I'm going to read while they're at the bar."  She winked and strolled off with them.

"The cream door brings you back here, Miss Summers.  The old one broke and had to be replaced but has not been marked yet."

"Thank you for telling me," she called, smiling back at him.

"Spell books?" Clint asked quietly.

"On the battle.  One on the history of the Sunnydale hellmouth."  He grinned.  They went through the door and she waved.  "Back that way is the rooms.  This way is the bar and the overhead seats."  She got them into that map.  It didn't want to cooperate so she pricked her finger.  The map nearly moaned but it did focus.  They studied it.  Natasha and Phil walked back that way to see what they offered.  She and Clint went to the bar.  She smiled.  "Rum and coke?"  He paid for it when her card declined.  "I have got to see what that is about."  He smiled and got his own drink.  By then Natasha and Phil were back.  Dawn pointed.  "There's the seating down here or there's voyeur seating up there.  There's one on each side."

Clint looked up.  "This side has people.  Let's sit on that side."  He traced it.  "There's the walkway."

"Lead on, because I can't even spot it," she admitted.  She smiled at Phil.  "Do they have living furniture?  I've wondered how someone did that."

"They did have some," he said, helping her up the few steps, then Natasha.  The ramp was a gentle incline that was made to look like part of the structure.  They settled into the two-couch seating area with a padded-edged table between them.  Dawn sat down and crossed her legs, sipping her drink.  Phil got up to look around. You could see into the 'torture' room and a few other supposedly private rooms. 

He noticed the monitor and fiddled with it.  That got them into the other rooms.  Including an enema room.  Some poor guy was taking a hose that was probably five inches across and squealing the whole time it was filling him.  He shivered and turned it off before he couldn't hide the shudder.  He sat back down again.  "Magical doorways?" he asked.

She smiled and nodded.  "Yes they were.  The first time I came in through the Grotto and no one warned me what was in here."  She saluted him with her glass and drank a sip.  "Nice rum."  She put it on the table.  The edges were padded in black leather and the center was a mirror.  Above them was a chandelier that had a bunch of leather straps hanging off the bottom.  If you pulled it down it looked like it turned into a sex swing.  That would probably be a pretty show for everyone down below.  "Hi, Herval."

He finished coming up the ramp.  "Miss Summers."

"Someone say something about my charming escorts?"

"No.  The manager bade me bring up membership information for the two Avengers with you and the agent who is your big brother."  He handed it to Natasha with a smile.  "He believes we could offer you much in the way of stress relief, especially if certain rumors are true."  He glanced at Dawn.

"Depends on the rumors," she said with a grin.

"That there is a slight price on your virginity?"

"Not anymore."  She picked up and sipped her drink.  "Though someone has tried very hard to put it back."  She smiled.

He shivered.  "I see.  Are you...interested in the other services?  We do have a very nice altar for avowing to any God you choose by your virginity's sacrifice."

"If it happens again, I might do that.  I hear Alexander's a really great and fussy guy."  He swallowed his moan.   "Xander said I had to be twenty-one before I officially joined his house so he wouldn't be tempted to arrange a union for me."  She finished her drink and put the empty glass down.  "I'm not sure though.  Aphrodite and Cupid both have many things I can and probably will learn some day but things I don't care for in their dedicated service."  He whimpered.  She grinned and winked.  "So I'm *considering*."  He nodded and got servers up to take the empties and give them a free round.  "Thank you, Herval."

"Welcome, Miss Summers.  Oh, those books?  There may be others."

She considered it then summoned and two others came floating after them.  "Thank you for that information.  I'd hate to get that messy."  He whined but followed the serving boys in skimpy leather shorty shorts that had zippers over the ass cheeks.  She shrank them.  The guys put them into Natasha's bag.

Phil looked over the membership information.  "Fairly steep even for such an exclusive club."  Natasha leaned over his arm and shrugged.  "I wonder if that's a group rate."  Because he had just heard a familiar voice.

Dawn looked down there then at him.  "Huh."

He nodded.  "Quite."

"You sound like Giles when you do that," she said dryly.

He smirked.  "Take that back.  I'm not a stuffy English museum specialist turned librarian and shopboy."  He went back to reading.  "Barton, yours can include target practice on people who are being punished in the hedge maze."

"Have to think about that.  There's a few junior agents I could like to play that with."  He sipped his new drink.  Clean, no drugs.  Natasha sipped hers.  Dawn swirled hers around before drinking it.  "Good rum?"

"Excellent, expensive rum."  She let him taste and he nodded.   She put the glass back down delicately.  "Ooh, that poor man," she said with a wince and a hiss, pointing.  They looked and all winced.  They didn't know mechanical bulls came with penis attachments and mounting programs.  "That gives a whole new definition of 'ride 'em cowboy'."

"Dawn," Phil warned.

"I'm in a good, flirty mood," she said with a teasing smile.  "And I have tomorrow off."

"For your orientation lecture," Natasha reminded her.

"Which only lasts until two so I can finish my shopping."

"I should declare approving rights," she said.

"If you want to come over tonight, you're more than welcome to.  All three of you are.  You know I'm not hiding anything."  They smiled.  "By the way, the Science Fair Lady is being evicted for the damage it caused.  I decided not to make her pay for mine too since she's got to move.  The landlord was up fixing the ceiling all day and pulled down the camera he found up in my light?"  They all shook their heads.  "Okay.  When he told me I used the bug sweeper and found a few new ones."

"I'll look them over tonight," Phil said with a smile.  She grinned back.  "We can gather at your house after this."

"That's fine.  You can talk me out of changing the living room.  I miss the huge sectional at the old place."

"It was comfortable to sleep on," Phil agreed.

"You did?" Clint asked, sipping his drink.  He looked down and spotted Tony Stark spot him.  He smirked and saluted him with the glass then looked at Coulson again.

"There were more than a few times that we had to carry her home because she was so exhausted running around doing everything," Natasha admitted.  "Being Stark sitters meant that we got to watch her training under Pepper and then helped her learn some more subtle arts.  While going to high school, taking her first sparring lessons, and running back and forth to the hospital."

"After nine months of that, Pepper decided I could do all my classes through the school's distance learning program while I was at the office, all the off-site lessons got moved back to the office with Happy and whoever Tony was training with, and I still had to run back and forth to Mom's room or apartment to help her.  There were plenty of nights I fell asleep in the car on the way back.  Phil usually got to try to wake me up, fail at doing it, and had to carry me upstairs."

"She gets very limp and clings to you when you do that," Phil said.  Natasha nodded she remembered.  Dawn smiled at them.  "Somehow, now and then she turned into a cat and gained that extra hidden weight they can grow when they don't want to be picked up.  A few nights, I was guarding Thor and he carried her up the stairs because nothing would wake her up."  Dawn grimaced but nodded.  "He asked a few times if she was due to be Xander's spouse."  Dawn snickered.  "Three hours after we got her home, she'd wake up, make dinner, go do her homework, and then try to get to sleep for another two hours before work."

"Then Pepper went on vacation to Fiji and brought me.  I think I slept the whole week."

"You nearly did," Natasha said.  "I remember waking you up for meals and you missed two days in a row of eating.  You barely made one meal a day, Dawn."

"I was exhausted."

"Yes, you were.  Which was when Stark stepped in and told her she could help him instead most of the time because it was the easier job and she could run off to be with Joyce when she needed her."

"Then the whole trip to Pegasus happened," Dawn said dryly.  "I did all of John's paperwork; Tara, Mom, and I mothered all the soldiers who needed it, and a few who ran from us.  We watched Xander heal from the migraine from hell.  Played with the puppy of war."  Clint shook his head.  Hellion, Xander's war puppy, had not left him alone at the temple.  "When I came back Teyla had taught me meditations that could mimic sleep and help me calm down at the same time.  Mom was out of the hospital so she didn't need me as much.  I took over some of the Stark sitting, especially after Callia was born."  They all nodded.  "It gradually slowed down so I quit passing out in the car on the way home.   Though there were a few nights I woke up in the garage."

Phil nodded.  "When you're really out, no one can wake you."  He handed the folder to Clint, sipping his own drink.  "They have very expensive tastes."  Dawn smiled.  "I know that look.  What?"

"Remember the guy who desperately wanted to be Tony?"

"The balding one with the unintentional forehead mustache?" he guessed.  She nodded.  "Is he in town?  I remember he hit on you even when you said you were sixteen."

"Yup, he is.  He offered me his penthouse apartment if I could find a way to let him meet with Tony."

"He'll kill you," Natasha said.  Dawn wrote down the address and she moaned.  "That may be worth the spanking.  He didn't want any other favors?"

"Not from me.  I'm too old for him and his child-like bride from India is very sweet and quiet."

Tony strolled up on them.  "Interesting seeing you four here."

"Even more interesting seeing you here," Dawn teased with a grin.  "I saw that balding guy who desperately wanted to be you."

"What'd he want this time?" he asked, taking a drink of his scotch.

"Willing to give me a penthouse apartment if I set up a meeting with you."  Tony laughed.  "He's got a new bride too."

"Is she over fourteen?"

"I think sixteen but it's really hard to tell.  She's Indian.  She's sweet, she doesn't speak.  She covers her hair with the tail of her sari."  Tony shuddered.  "Saris are cool outfits."

"Still not acceptable at work."

"I know but the next time we go over there I have one.  It wasn't damaged."  She grinned.

"Where's the penthouse?"  She showed him the address.  Natasha had written a note on the back.  "That's a very nice area.  I'll fix the rest tomorrow.  What do we think he wants, Dawn?"

"I think he may want to ask you to provide protection for his wife while he goes to jail in Canada by what I researched afterward but I'm not totally sure.  He could be asking you to impregnate his wife for him."  She sipped her drink.

Tony grimaced.  "We can probably find a way to protect her.  Is she even educated?"

"Yes and she's a distant cousin of Mari's."  Tony smirked evilly.  "Not the chemist, her little sister."

"Interesting.  Sure, set up the meeting but Pepper will yell if you accept the penthouse.  It's probably a lease anyway."

"Saw Shelby too," she said before he could move.


"Blonde acrobatic lady with the feet she could link behind her head from what you were telling Rhodey when I wasn't supposed to be listening?  Slutty and asked if you wanted to pull me into the bed between you because you were helping me with math homework?"

"Oh, her.  Why is she in town?"


"Rehab?  I know it's fashionable."

"No.  She looks a lot like a skeleton, boss."

"Cancer," he said more quietly.  "Or AIDS."

"Not sure, couldn't find it anywhere, but I'm guessing cancer because there was one large lump on her side by her pancreas.  It's not a bag on that side."

"No, it's not a colostomy.  Did she say hi?"

"Yeah, wanted to know how you were doing.  Looked really desperate to have someone to talk to.  Was coming out of the hospital Mom was in."  He nodded.  "She said she wanted to send you a letter so I wrote down the office address for her and the small code to get it delivered to me or Pepper."

"Thanks, kid."

"Welcome.  It looked like she really just wanted to have a friend.  She had that 'not that long left' look and smell."

"It's good to know.  Your mom?"

"Is moved."  She smiled.

"Good."  He looked over.  "Oh, wow, that's graphic."

She looked around him.  "The guy with the bull again?"  Phil reached over and swatted her.  "He was."

"No, he's a lot nicer than someone in the back area."  He turned back around.  "So, this...."  He waved a hand.  Natasha nodded.  "I did not know that.  Huh."  He walked off.

"Why mention her?" Natasha asked.

"The long, low scar on her stomach," Dawn said.  "Looked like Buffy's c-section scar."  Natasha winced.  "I think she might be asking for a referral," she said quietly.  "And I'd hate to see any kid end up in the system with the crapshoot the way it can be.  Three of the HR staff and one of the guards are all presently sitting on adoption lists."

"So that could help them both," she said.  "Very caring of you."  Dawn smiled.  "If it's not something that simple?"

"Then maybe she'll get a chance to cry, let it all out, and not die with regrets.  She's one of the few that got up before him and left.  Didn't even take a donut."

Natasha nodded.  "Some women are like that."  Dawn nodded she knew, finishing her drink.  She looked around.  "We should go.  Maybe Fury will pay for our memberships."  She smirked.  "Then we will see about your clothes for tomorrow."

"Okay.  By the way, there's half a bed right now.  The mattress got junked due to the slime and the new one won't be in until tomorrow. I can sleep on top of the box spring."  They smiled and left together, taking the membership folder with them.  Dawn winked at someone who stared at her.  They got outside and the guy followed.  She turned and held up a ball of glowiness in her hand.  "Why are you following me?  Did you think I was interested enough even though I've never met you?"  He backed up slowly. 

"I'd answer, dude.  Really."  He fled back inside.  She canceled the ball of power and shrugged.  "Guess he's not interested after all."  She took Phil's arm again because they were in a mugging neighborhood.  She wasn't on his gun arm and he smiled at that move.  "Hey, if they're going to attack, they're going to head right for me because I'm cute, young, and look easy.  I don't really want to fight my way out of the Russian mob tonight."

"We really must end them soon," Natasha said.

"Please do.  One sent me a nice letter explaining how his business could profit from me, and I would learn to like it eventually, if I would just quit fighting them."

"Excuse me?" Clint asked.

"Yeah.  It was on the table."  He nodded he'd be reading it later.  They got a cab and went back to her place, which smelled like febreeze.  They opened the windows to air it out, finding new slime in the closet.  Dawn sighed.  "At least the clothes weren't in there."

"No they're not," Natasha agreed.  They were all safely off to the side.  Nothing had been put up yet.  She looked over the clothes then at the younger woman.  "You're dressing like Pepper again."  She pointed at the bags.  "Ah, my stores of choice."  They found a slightly tasteful outfit for the morning and shoes, plus new stockings.  They could hear Clint and Phil growling about something.  She walked out, Dawn following, finding them reading the letter.  She took it to read, eyebrow going up.  "They are getting more literate.  This one actually quoted deSade."

"Not my scene," Dawn quipped with a hand wave.

"Get comfortable," Clint ordered.

"Have to move the bed.  There's new slime in the closet."  She called the landlord's number to let him know, getting him up there to see.  They watched him fuss, swear, and glare at the ceiling.  "Can I move back upstairs maybe?" she asked.

"We'll see, Summers.  They said it was a risk."

"Not for a few months."  She shrugged.  Something rank blew their way and she gagged.  "What is that!"

"Dead body," Phil, Clint, and Natasha said in unison, going to find it.  One had been dropped in the hallway.  The landlord was having a seizure of ranting.  Natasha calmly packed Dawn's new clothes up and took her to a hotel for the night.  They'd figure out the rest in the morning.


Tony looked at Dawn the next morning.  "How about this.  I'll buy you an apartment so you're safe.  It won't have many windows and you have to invite me to all the good parties."

She smiled.  "Maybe for graduation, boss."

He smirked.  "Are you moving?"

"Yes.  It turns out that slime is toxic.  They used it to poison the husband, who that was."  He shuddered.  "It's not toxic to clothes or to Dawn's but to normal people it is."

"Where are you moving?"

She shrugged.  "Looking today.  I'm running a search while I'm delivering things."

"Huh."  He accepted the letter.  "From her."  He opened it, frowning.  "How would I know?"

Dawn looked.  "I thought it might have been a c-section scar.  We have four people in the building on waiting lists."  She smiled and plucked it from his fingers.  "Should I go talk to them?"

"Please."  He watched her go, smiling.  She was the best investment Pepper had ever made in their lives.  Even if his daughter was following her wearing a very pretty dress like the auntie did.


Natasha found the books from the night before.  "Alexander," she called, startling people.  He appeared, looking at her.  She dumped the books into his hands.  "From the club last night's library."

He looked over the tiny books, smiling.  "Those might just help."  He kissed her hard and fast then left.  One came back with a note saying that was probably for Dawn. He appeared in his temple, sending the books down the table to the researchers.  He made them grow.  "Dawn found them at the pagan themed sex club last night."

Roque looked at one.  "That's on that battle."  He pulled it over to start skimming.  "Jensen!" he bellowed.  "New sources!"  He came jogging in with Doctor Jackson.  "When did you get here?"

"Jack brought me."  He smiled.  "Hi, Xander."

"Hi, Daniel.  Dawn went to a Hellfire Club wannabe last night and their library had those."  He nodded, settling down to research.  It was his favorite thing to do beyond finding modern examples of ancient cultures.  Xander took his own and settled in to read while Jensen got beers first before picking his own source.

A few hours later there was a shout of joy.  "Yes, thank you, Goddess, there was a weapon!"


Dawn strolled in last for the meeting the next day.  "What's up?"

Nick Fury looked at her.  "Thank you for buying real clothes."

"Now all I have to do is find a better apartment."  He grimaced.  "I think I've found one.  I'm going to look at it.  It's a loft space.  It's cheap for some reason.  So we'll see."  He nodded.

"How much is school going to cost you?" Tony asked.

"About fifty a year," she said.  "Tuition is hell."  He winced.  "Yeah.  So I saved enough at least."  He shuddered.  "I used their little calculator program and it said 43 thou and a bit as of two years ago living with my parents off campus so I figure that's about fifty now with rate hikes."

He nodded.  "Probably."  He patted her on the hand.  "We can talk about a student loan."

"No we can't.  Not unless I run out of college fund."

"If you go more than eighteen hours, the price goes up," Tony told her.

"It's already forty-six hundred a class and six-something for a lab class," she said.  Bruce Banner shuddered.  "NYU 'spensive," she agreed.

"So was MIT," Tony agreed.  "Scholarships?"

She looked at him.  "I'm not eligible for the Stark Scholarship fund and you're not breaking the rules for me."

"Fine.  Just trying to help."

"I know.  It'll be okay.  That's why I'm still going to be working part time."  He smiled and nodded.

"Seriously?" Fury asked.  "It's that expensive?"

Coulson nodded.  "Yale was about same price."  Dawn nodded.  "In state rates?"

"Yes.  I have a local address, have had for more than six months."  He smiled.  "Or else I'd use yours."

"I'd let you.  It'd save you about ten thousand a year."

"I have, as of borrowing for clothes replacement, just about two hundred and five thousand in my school fund."  Tony sighed in relief.  "Mostly because every time I'd pay tuition it would mysteriously reappear."  She hugged her boss.  "Thank you."  She sat up again.  "And Pepper didn't make me pay rent until I was eighteen."

"Did your mom get to renew her life insurance?" Tony asked.

"Nope.  She's really lucky the state won't let the health insurance company cut her off.  Or else I'd be going to a community college."

He looked at her.  "Have you talked to a guidance counselor about any other colleges in the area?"

"No.  Why would I?"

"Because they might be less expensive."

"But not as prestigious."

"Why would I care?" Tony asked.

"Because some day you may hate me and fire me?  Then I'd need another job?" she guessed.

He snorted.  "I doubt that.  You put up with me, Dawn.  You put up with your niece.  You pretty well have all the job security you could ever want with the family even without Callia."  She was staring at him in that shrewd way.  "Really.  There's a lot of pretty good schools here.  Some that are smaller and more prestigious."

"I've already been accepted."

"So?  If you have to you can start in January.  Take some time off.  You'll probably want it sometime soon.  I'm about to go through my terrible threes with my daughter.  Who knows what sort of brat I'll turn into."  He grinned.  "Talk to a guidance counselor that's local."

"I thought they only worked in the schools."

"Call one good one and see if she'll take the time to talk to you anyway.  Then we'll see.  There's a few places that have joint programs so you don't have to double major.  That means less credit hours per semester and more time for you to date."

"I know what that means."

"Good!"  He grinned.  He called Pepper.  "It's me.  Dawn's agreeing to talk to a local guidance counselor to see if she can find somewhere less draining than NYU.  Fifty grand living off campus, Pepper."

"I have it," she said.

"Yay," he shot back.  "Part time with us won't pay rent for the whole year."

"I should be able to make it and just end up poor on the other side.  I'm still putting back some of my check now."

"So can you find her one that'll talk to her?  Great, Pepper, thanks."  He hung up.  "She said she should've thought of that before."  He smiled.  "Some of them are even under twenty-five a year."


"Yeah.  You paid less for high school."  He grinned.

She nodded.  "I did."

"Are we done with the touchy-feely crap now?" Fury asked.

"Not really," Tony said, pulling her closer to hug.  "She's like my heir and my older daughter."

She elbow nudged him.  "Then you probably really wanted brain bleach recently?" she joked.

"Well, yeah, I did anyway."  He let her go.  "Now we're done with the touchy-feely crap."  He smiled.

Dawn's phone beeped with an appointment.  "I get out early today too I guess."

"Yes you may," Tony agreed.  "Don't let Callia see you, she wants to put on a pretty dress and stalk you around the office again."


Fury shook his head, walking off muttering.

"Okay, the HYDRA person from Miami?" Dawn asked.  "Is he still a worry?  Because I got a charming email from him."  She pulled it up on her phone and handed it to Phil.

"That is nice of him to say that he's not mad for having him arrested.  And that he'd love to see you and the pretty redheaded woman together."  He passed it on.  "We'll check, Dawn."

"The others that want her?" Tony asked.

Clint handed him the letter from the Russians with a grin.  "She got that yesterday."

He read it and paused.  "What the fuck?" he demanded.

"That was my feeling, yeah," Dawn agreed.  "Which is why I mentioned it."

"Have we gotten others we haven't mentioned?" Tony asked patiently.

"You know very well you routed all my mail through the security team as of last year when I got that mash letter."

"I did, yeah.  They didn't catch this?"

"They did catch that.  Then they handed it to me and suggested I wear the really high heels so it'd hurt like hell when I stuck them up someone's butt."

He grinned.  "I'll let you borrow a jet boot for that."  That got handed on.  Bruce was glaring at the paper.  "Easy, big guy.  We'll protect Dawn."

"Dawn will shoot them," Dawn reminded him.

"Dawn needs more range time if she's going to use anything outside of a piece of hand cannon artillery," Clint teased.

"Not my fault I focus better when the gun's large and heavy in my hand."

"Please no double entendre's," Tony complained.

"Did you know she was doing an occasional cemetery patrol?" Phil asked him.

"Well, kind of.  Happy found out and followed her."  Dawn nodded.  "Whenever it gets too bad, Happy lets one of the other guards follow her.  Usually one of the ones that drool on her shoes so they really don't want her after all."

"Yeah, scary me is scary enough to scare off guys," Dawn quipped, shaking her head.  Her phone beeped.  "Oops.  I'm going to be late.  Laters."  She got up and fled before they kept talking about her like she was two.

Tony looked at him.  "You just found out?"

"Yes," Coulson ground out.

"Huh.  And yet I yelled at her twice last year over it.  The whole outfit thing looked a bit cheesy to me and Pepper has a routine freak-out whenever it's mentioned.  All those 'oh my god' moments of hers?  That's Dawn having to hunt because it's too noticeable."

"Good to know.  That means one about every three months."

"I still want to know why she can only use the heavy, older styles," Tony said.  "I tried to offer her something more compact."

"She doesn't aim as well.  She learned on Buffy's weapons," Natasha said.  "Probably by sneaking them.  We tested her with the lady's axe yesterday.  She managed a half an hour."

"That's better than I thought she'd be," Tony said, nodding a bit.  "Huh."  He made notes to Pepper, who sent back a 'I'm drinking now' message with a 'shut up' at the end.  "If she ever gets around to having kids or adopting kids, we'll start teaching them with the more subtle weapons and I'll teach Callia the same way."  They all smiled.  "She's got to know in case she is called."  They nodded.  "Natasha, if you're still around and kicking when she's older, can you teach her self defense?"

"I can," she agreed, smiling at him.  "Callia is the nicest Stark to date."

Tony cackled and shook his head.  "She walked up to one of the guards yesterday and asked him about elephants.  He didn't understand until she pointed at where his pants were undone and said he had a trunk so he must be one too."  She moaned and thumped her head on the chair.  "Pepper and the nanny both heard and Pepper nearly fainted.  Happy was coming up the hall with Rhodey after sparring and they both nearly died from choking.  Dawn walked up and picked her up, walking off talking to her about how humans couldn't change into elephants.  Then she pulled up pictures to show her the difference."

Natasha looked at him.  "I stand corrected.  Your daughter is exactly like you only female."

"Yes, she is, but she likes shiny things like her mother.  She put on a little blue jumper dress that had a longish skirt and a pretty button up top and followed Dawn around helping her be an assistant yesterday.  Dawn taught her how to use the big girl potty and how to do her hair.  She was even scribbling notes when Dawn was.  Just lines of squiggles but notes she said."

"Your daughter is very bright and a bit warped," Bruce said.  "We clearly need to help unwarp her."

"Go right ahead.  I expect my daughter to go to MIT and wear the suit one day unless I somehow get a son."  They all smirked at him for that.  "Beyond that, this new apartment?"

"Loft in a converted garage area," Phil said.  "That's all it said in the ad.  About halfway between here and the tower."

"Huh.  I wonder if that'll have enough room for closets.  She needs a good closet."

"Yes she does," Clint agreed.  "Thirty-two bags of clothes yesterday."

"That doesn't surprise me since Pepper showed her how real women shop."

"Only four thousand worth," Phil said.  "She took out more."

"Still doesn't surprise me since Dawn could always find a sale."

"One new formal gown ordered and it's ....not sweet by any means."

Tony stared at her.  "When's the next event?"  He went through his phone's schedule.  "I don't see one."

"September," Coulson said, checking his.

Tony focused.  "I don't have that one."  He texted Pepper, who told him when it was and synched her system to the main one.  That updated his book and it was good.  "Oh, there.  Oh, shit.  That's a ... no, that one she has to discreet.  It's a scientific thing."

Bruce looked at him.  "The same night is something at the Met.  She may be going to that one.  I was torn between the two."

"That's true.  Pepper might be going to that one."  He sent that to her and she agreed they were.  Dawn had to be decorous at least.  "No, that's a decorous event."  He texted Dawn who sent back what it was for.  "They still have homecoming dances?"  Everyone nodded.  "Huh.  Or the military ball.  That's sweet of her."  He put his phone up.  "Any new news?"

"She found books that had accounts of the old battles.  Alexander said to give him until Sunday," Phil said.  "I texted him."

"Okay so we meet on Sunday then," Tony said.  Everyone nodded.  "Have fun, people."  He went back to the office to talk to Pepper.  "Military ball?" he asked her.

"She's keeping it open.  She thought Steve might like to go."  She smiled.  "Rhodey also asked her to go with him if he couldn't find a date.  At least he'd be safe with her because there's some mercenary women at those things."

"They all want PhD babies.  You'll see the same ones at the scientific awards gala coming up."  He sighed.  "Loft?"

"She's going to look at it today.  It might be too industrial for her.  If not, I know of someone who needs a house sitter and she might do that instead."

"Maybe but do they have closets?"

"Probably not enough, he's a guy."  She smiled.  "Aren't you supposed to be doing something, like taking your daughter to the zoo this afternoon?"  He hopped up and went to find her.  It wasn't actually on the schedule but Tony had been talking about it and it was a pretty day for it.


Dawn let herself into her hotel suite that night, smiling at the people waiting on her.  "Two choices on each choice.  Brauch or Berkeley?"

"Both are nice enough," he said.  "Here in Manhattan."  He looked over the pamphlets.  "Did you tour them?"

"No."  She sat down.  "Both under ten grand a semester."  He smiled.  "Both have the programs I want."

"So you'll go look."  He put them down.  "Apartments?"

"Scummy, needs cleaned and fixed up one that is large and in a semi-decent neighborhood but the last person there got killed or a converted garage loft.  Very industrial, I'd have to buy rolling racks for the clothes, but I basically have a three car long garage with the kitchen at the end of it and a bedroom upstairs with a bathroom."

He considered it.  He looked at the other two.  "Pictures?" Natasha asked.  Dawn pulled out her phone to show them the video.  "Is either a price advantage?"

"The loft is rent to own.  The other one is a lease but the building is probably up for sale cheap.  The DEA were the ones to kill the former resident."  Phil scowled, looking the address up.  "On foreclosure?"

"No.  Run by the same sort of group as you met in that club.  It might the same group, just another arm."  He scowled.  "How big is it?"

"It's Penthouse big and comes with a dedicated underground garage space."

"That is a blessing in this city," Clint said.  He took it to look over.  "Me, personally I like the loft.  I think it's a bit industrial for you though."  She nodded it was.  "The other...."

"The building is a hole," she said.  "Eight apartments, two neighbors, the rest are awaiting drug trials so they can't really evict them yet.  So no one will mind a weapon's cabinet in there."  She leaned back.  "I talked to the landlord.  For what I pay now, which is still rent controlled, I can have that apartment, which has two bedrooms and three closets."  She smiled. "I'm on the top floor, elevator.  I can fit a sectional, the kitchen's a greasy mess, and the bathroom needs power scrubbed."

"Or the other place where you can hang odd lights, create a closet somehow, have a bathroom that you like, have room for the car inside, still room for all of that and less cleaning," Phil said.

"Smaller kitchen at the loft."

"Same price?"

"Loft is two hundred more a month."

He considered it then sighed.  "Damn."

She nodded.  "As for the colleges, both downtown, both relatively inexpensive, both stretching along very few buildings up a street.  Berkeley has the better programs.  Brauch is better rated.  I'd still have to double major there.  Tiny bit cheaper too."

"Berkeley," Phil said.

"You sure?"

"Yes."  She smiled.  "Yours?"

"Even as far as I can tell from here and a drive past the buildings in a cab."

"The apartment?"

"About six blocks from here for the loft and about ten or twelve, depending on if you're counting streets or going straight for the other."

"That's not a very safe neighborhood," he said.

"This is New York City.  There's no safe, cheap neighborhoods."

"True."  He looked at the film again.  "Cleaning crew.  Painters."

"Landlord said he'd knock some of the price off if I wanted to rent to own it and the one next door.  That would cost me about a grand more a month total and give me another bathroom and bedroom for a study."

"A penthouse in a slum is still a slum," he said.  "I don't like the loft though.  It doesn't seem homey."

She took her phone to get into another file.  "This is the only other one I found and it's much more expensive.  Like fifteen hundred a month."  Clint sucked in a breath.  "Yeah but safer, security on the doorway with a buzzer, which is something at least, two stairs then an elevator.  Three apartments per floor lower down, two up top.  One of the last ones on the top floor with three is open."

He looked over that layout.  "It's tiny."

"It is."

"The top ones?"


He shuddered.  "There's no way."  She nodded.  "Anything else they have?"

"One in a swinger's building."

"No, Dawn."

She smiled.  "My current landlord is just finishing the renos on one that's about eight from here that way," she said with a point.  "Which will increase my commute.  "Rent controlled, he's willing to switch me because of the damage, but it's not as nice as where I am.  Or my first one is open again.  There's one higher up in that building too.  Top floor.  Two bedrooms, tiny closets in each."  She leaned back.  "I did get a text message from a vampire in town that Spike talked to, because I called to complain to Buffy and got Spike.  He said he's willing to sublet his brownstone."  Phil winced.  "Yeah, way out of the way."  She found the listings.  "This one I called on and have to see tomorrow before work."  She let him see the ad.

"That's a very nice neighborhood.  Bit far away from both buildings by a few blocks but against usual rush hour traffic patterns for your commute or to school.  It's on a tiny park if I remember right."  Dawn smiled and nodded.  "What does it look like?"

"It's.... you know those stone houses that remind you of mini castles with the side turrets?"  He nodded.  "It's one of those broken into three apartments from what she said.  That would be the turret side.  One on the other side then one upstairs."

"How long has it been renovated?"

"No clue."

"We can look," he decided, handing it back.  She smiled.  "Or you can talk to Grimsheld because he's moving to the west coast and his tiny cabin of a house is up."

"I've seen pictures.  I'm not that rustic."

"It could use some painting."

"It's a log cabin house in Queens."

"It is," he agreed.  She found a picture and let him see it, earning a moan.  "That looks nice."

"That is twice my college fund," she said.  He patted her on the wrist.  "Just think of how many shoes and books I can put in there."  He laughed.  Natasha got up to get the take out and they settled in to eat, go over what they needed to do the next time they went to the club and what Fury had said about the memberships.  Dawn let them out and went to take a long soak in the tub.  The hotel's tubs were pitiful but they'd have to do.


Dawn walked up to Tony the next day.  "We've all but decided on Berkeley."

He looked them over, nodding.  "A lot of what you'd get here so you may get some more credit hours.  Brauch is rated higher."  He looked up.

"Berkeley has more intertwined programs."  She pointed at those notes.

He read them over, nodding.  "Then that's a good choice.  And at just about nine thousand a semester a lot better."  She smiled.  "Then that's a great choice."  She grinned.  "Housing, since I know you're in a hotel?"

"Looked at the last one today.  It was nice but Phil said they split it wrong.  Things like the only fuse box is in another apartment."  He winced.  "Looks nicer but he was worried."  That got a nod.  "I looked at the loft, which was a garage with a bedroom and kitchen.  I looked at a penthouse slum.  Phil forbid me to move there."

"Maria Weintraub, know her?"

She considered it.  "Chem assistant in lab 3?"  He nodded with a smile.  "She has two kids, right?"

"She does.  She's moving back to Malibu to work in that lab."  He handed over the notes on her place.  "Spacious.  She can actually host parties.  Two bedrooms.  One bathroom.  Decent enough kitchen.  Good entertaining space.  Open rafter ceiling in the living room."  She blushed but grinned.  "Rent controlled by the lease as long as it's upped before it runs out.  Under a grand a month.  Fifteen minute commute."

She leaned over to hug him.  "Thank you."  She went to find the chem assistant and talk to her about any problems.  It had a basement area too.  It was a duplex so she'd have half a house basically.  That sounded nice and they went to look at it on lunch.  Dawn signed right after going through.  The only thing she could see wrong was a tiny tub but she could ask to replace that at her cost.  They talked to the landlord, who agreed she could sublet and as long as she had a decent contractor out she could replace it at her cost.  Dawn squealed and hugged him too, making him blush and pat her awkwardly.  They went back to the building and Dawn filed change of address paperwork.  She could afford the hotel for another three weeks.  That was about what she paid in rent.


Dawn looked up from scowling at her computer's erroneous and problematic files, smiling at the man staring at her.  "I'm sorry.  I didn't mean to keep you waiting.  If you had cleared your throat I would've put away the files that changed themselves into crap."  She stood up, slipping the tablet into her purse.  "Dawn Summers."

"I'm the present chair of the marketing program, Miss Summers.  I'm doing intake interviews for all the business programs."  He showed her into his office.  "You're already working somewhere?"

"I've been interning with Tony Stark for a few years.  I'm actually Ms. Potts' administrative assistant and sometimes Tony wrangler."

He stared.  "You're barely out of high school by your transcripts."

She smiled.  "Pepper became my mentor when my mother went into the hospital with a brain tumor."

"Oh, I see."  He nodded, looking over her file.  "Classified program?"

"Every now and then I sub as an unpaid intern at SHIELD to help the bosses.  Occasionally I file, occasionally I deliver or make coffee, and occasionally I do work on the budget because Director Fury doesn't understand Excel very well."

He stared at her.  "Really?"

"He's very action orientated."

"I saw that during the Congressional hearings."  She smiled.  "I think I saw you there?"

"For about four hours.  I was place holding while Mr. Stark was off doing something more important."

"Huh."  He went back over it.  "No letters of reference from your teachers?"

"No because we got into a disagreement right before graduation.  They had a mandatory sex ed class, which I don't care about.  Until the teacher tried to tell me that masturbation causes cancer."  He winced.  "We had a talk about bullshit that day.  Twice."  She smiled.  "That was six weeks before graduation so no, not from my teachers.  I do have some that wrote them to NYU.  Mr. Stark wanted me to not drain my college fund so dry and look at schools with the same reputation but less costly tuition."

"No financial aid?"

"No, sir.  Pepper helped me set up a college fund.  I didn't pay her rent until I was eighteen so I have a good fund set up to more than meet my needs at the more expensive school."

"Wonderful."  He smiled.  "Since you worked for it you'll probably appreciate it more as well."

"I'm definitely not the party girl.  I may club now and then but I really don't drink.  I don't do drugs.  I'm a good girl with a naughty habit of teasing in the clubs."  He smiled.  "I'm looking forward to starting, getting it done, and getting free to go back to work full time.  I'll be working part-time while I'm here."

"That's a sound plan but a hard life."

Dawn shook her head.  "My first year being mentored I was doing high school, basically doing full time at the office so I was there whenever Pepper was, then running back and forth to help my mother."  He smiled.  "She's taking a second round of treatment across town."

"That's fine.  Online or in person?"

"Ideally a combination so I don't have to miss classes for things like business trips."  Something caught her eye and she stared.  "What is he doing?"  He looked and groaned.  "Never mind.  I'll ask him later."  He stared at her.  She smiled.  "I have delivered coffee to a meeting as well, yes, sir."

"Interesting.  Did you bring any sort of display of your past work?"

"Pepper put it together for me because I wasn't sure what to bring.  I've also brought in mocked up budgets she had me doing as training and a few other things."  She handed over the packet from her purse. 

He looked it over, nodding at the things included.  He looked up.  "It looks like you have a good handle on what you need to know."

"Yes, but I need the degree so people quit looking at me like I'm an idiot savant."

He laughed, nodding that was true.  "Did you look at us before, Miss Summers?"

"No, to be honest I looked at the ivy league and those near it.  I was looking at the prestige of the degree in case I needed to change jobs later on.  That's why I settled on NYU instead of Yale, MIT, or Stanford."

"You got accepted there?"  She nodded, smiling slightly.  "That's wonderful."

"I wanted NYU because of the area and the name recognition.  Then Mr. Stark heard how expensive it was, what my actual college fund had, and decided to talk me into looking at ratings in other sources than the one I had looked in.  He also had me talk to a local guidance counselor.  I hadn't realized that you were actually a school until then.  I didn't really look at any school under ten thousand people."

"Bigger schools have their appeal," he agreed.

"And their safety," she said with a slight smile.  "That has become an issue in the past due to where I work."

He nodded.  "That makes a lot of sense.  NYU allows private bodyguards if you need one."  She nodded.  "We don't usually."

"I'm hoping that's all done with.  By using an online and an in-house class schedule I can be here maybe two to three times a week for actual classes.  That would cut down on my exposure outside safe areas."  He nodded, leaning back.  "That would also allow me to finish sooner by going all year round."

"That's not a bad plan.  What did you want to major in?"

"Accounting and business management, finance as a minor."

"That's adventurous."  She handed over her high school transcripts again.  "Hmm, AP maths and Accounting one and two."

"That business class was supposed to be AP but it's not marked.  I'm not sure how your school would see it since it's out by LA."

He looked at her.  "We may not have much to offer you."

"You have plenty to offer me.  Not every company runs like Stark Industries."

"No, they don't," he agreed, smiling at her.  "What about where we are smaller?"

"That doesn't really bother me now that I've had the time to scout the school's area, the escape routes if I need them, and seen that you do offer some online courses."

He nodded.  "We may not be the best fit for you."

She smiled.  "It's a true tailor that makes a fit the best from anything you can put on."

"True," he agreed.  "How long do you think this will take?"

"I was hoping for about three years going year-round."

He considered it and her work credit.  "I want you to test out of some classes if you do gain admission.  NYU is hard but we are strict."  She nodded she knew that.  "Do you think you will pass?"

"I do."  She handed over the letter.  "I can transfer, I found that out when talked to the Dean yesterday."  She smiled.  "I talked to the Dean of the business school at NYU and he agreed that they didn't have much to teach me either.  He did have me take the tests to pass out of classes.  Basically their final exams.  I spent all of last Saturday doing them."  She handed over those results.

He hummed.  Those were good.  "We don't offer a few of those courses."

"No but you offer better PE alternatives," she offered with a sweet smile.

He smiled back.  "That is true."  He looked at the course loads for those.  "That leaves you with six core hours of accounting and two electives."  He turned the page.  "And about ten in mine."

She beamed.  "Eighteen classes I can knock out in two years at the most."

"There it looks like you'd have less."

"A lot more electives needed.  I can test out of some of the language requirements.  I'd still have to take all the history, the lit, the science, those things.  It would take me about two years of eighteen hour semesters.  To be honest, a lighter load is a great thing.  Four classes for full time, right?"  He nodded.  "So that's eight there, three during the summer, and then I'm done in another semester, adding in an additional padding one for classes not being offered each term."

He smiled.  "That's a very good plan.  You still have to be admitted."

"The Dean doesn't think there'll be a problem."

"Good.  Once you do, come back to me."  She nodded, shaking his hand and gathering things to go talk to Tony.  He went to talk to the Dean.  "She's pushy."

The Dean smiled.  "She's eighteen."

"I noticed.  She's very mature.  Her mother?"

"Still in treatment here in the city."  He put down his pen.  "NYU wasn't sure they didn't want to track her and then put her into an accelerated to an MBA."

"She's sure what she wants and I think Stark had a point about getting her away from NYU.  She'd drive them insane."

He smiled.  "I had a talk with Mr. Stark this morning.   He praised her to the skies even though she does nag him now and then.  He suggested an interdisciplinary business degree."

"That would let us tailor it for her."  He nodded.  "Is he going to be put onto the alumni rolls?"

"No, she will be, but she's the sort that would support her school and might take in later interns."  That got a smile.  They approved her and sent out the letter.


Dawn walked into Tony's office.  "Please tell me you didn't tank it for me?" she begged quietly.

"Why would I do that?" he asked, glaring at her.

"Because I want to do it because they want *me* not because they want *you*.  Like with Stanford, they were very happy I was your assistant because they could ask you to chair symposiums and talk to business classes."

"Stanford wanted you even before they knew you worked for me, Dawn.  Calm down."

"It's not the same thing and they knew.  The school's transcripts have on it that I'm sponsored into the institution by Pepper."

"I didn't know that."

She sighed.  "Did you like it when you went to school as Howard Stark's son?"  He flinched.  "You wanted to be Tony, have it be about you and your work, and all that.  That's what I want too.  I don't want to be listed as Tony Stark's assistant."

"In business worlds that's almost golden," he said dryly.  "But I do get that point.  Can you calm down a little bit because Callia just saw you glowing and ran off."

"Callia!" Dawn called.  She came running back.  "What's wrong?"

"You glowy.  Daddy scary daddy?"

"No, I'm not glowing because your daddy has to go be the scary daddy."  She picked her up to cuddle her.  "I'm worried and sometimes when I'm worried I glow too."


"Hugs are great healers."  She smiled and hugged the baby.  "I'm sorry I scared you."

"S'okay."  She cuddled in, petting her aunt's hair.  "Scary Daddy?"

"No, I don't have to go become Iron Man for a while, Callia."  She grinned and got a cuddle from him too.  "I would never let anyone use me that way."

She stared at him.  "Did they ask you if you'd like to be put on the alumni rolls?"

"Yes and I told them it was your education."

She smiled.  "Thanks, Tony."

"Welcome.  I do get that, I really do get that.  I did have a bit of that for a while."  She nodded, sitting down.  "Though most people would really jump at it."

"Yeah but I'm not most people."

"Good point and I like that about you.  Your independence and the thing you always had about making your own way is good.  You're stubbornness about it sometimes isn't.  I seem to remember a fit about you not thinking that you were doing anything to help and we were humoring you."

"It felt like you were.  All I did was tag along and feel like a third party at a date.  At least I waited until we were in the office.  That had been building for days."

"You know, they remembered you from the Thailand trip."  She winced.  "Barely but they did remember you and the Dean said you had grown into a pretty young woman."  Dawn blushed but grinned.  "I told them you can be but you were competent, which is much better."  He looked at his daughter.  "Isn't she?"  She nodded.  "Now, quit stressing, you'll get wrinkles."  He smirked.  "You got in on your own merit, Dawn."

"Thanks.  Sometimes it just seems like I am coasting on some coattails."

"No, I would've shaken you off if you were.  I can't stand clingy women or assistants."  She laughed.  "Here, take her.  I think she needs changed."  He got up to change his t-shirt.  She walked out with the baby talking to her about colleges.  He shook his head.  Pepper walked in and closed the door.  "She was worried that they accepted her because of me."

"She's had that feeling before.  Did you calm her down?"

"Yup.  And I pointed out that her stubbornness about making her own way was a pretty nice thing.  She compared it to me trying to fight my father's shadow."  He pulled on another t-shirt.

"In some ways she does.  She's known to be my assistant in some circles, her sister's little sister in others.  It's hard to come out of those."

He smiled.  "I remember."  He walked over to kiss her on the cheek.  "Callia's calling Iron Man the scary daddy again."

"He doesn't have an expression, never smiles and tickles her, and he is scary, especially to watch going out into battle," Pepper said, staring at him.  He nodded he knew that, sitting down.  "Are you all right?"

"I'm good."  He smiled at his daughter when she walked back in.  "Did you escape already?"  She beamed and nodded.  "Where's your aunt?"

"Boom boom ahhhhh!" she said, mimicking a scream.  Then she grinned.  "Bad guy bye-bye, Daddy."

Tony touched his earpiece.  "What happened to Dawn?" he asked.  He listened.  "So she defended herself and....  Ewww, yeah, she's going to be fussy for a bit.  Thanks.  If you see someone who can change diapers please send them here."  He hung up.  "Some demon just tried to attack her through the walkway window.  She reacted instinctively to shield Callia and threw the demon off.  Then stared there in shock as it fell."

Pepper winced.  "That's not good.  C'mon, Callia, let's go change you."  The baby beamed and went with her.

Tony called up security footage to look at what had happened.  He watched, frowning.  He called up the hall.  "Pepper, they were saying 'give me the baby, witch'."  Xander appeared in the hallway and walked off.  "Xander?"  He came back so Tony waved him in to look at the footage.

"Huh."  He nodded, going to cuddle the baby.  Then calm Dawn down.  "They wanted her," he said.

Dawn started to mutter in Latin under her breath.  "Is it time for that yet?"

"I hope not.  Ask Tony where he wants you two."  She called in and took the baby, packing her a diaper bag and a carry bag.  Xander smiled and got them to SHIELD HQ.  "There you go," he said, disappearing again.

Dawn smiled at the staring people.  "Agent Hill, a demon just tried to take Callia Stark from me."

"Dirt," she said.  "Already?"

"No clue."

"Go see Agent Coulson, Dawn.  Callia, you look very pretty today."

Callia smiled.  "Fank you.  Pretty you too."

"Thank you dear.  You can help her take notes and stuff."  Callia squealed and hugged her auntie.  Agent Hill smiled, watching them head down the hallway.

"Why do we have a baby here?" Fury called from his office.  The phone rang.  "What?"  He listened.  "Yeah, she's fine and here with her aunt.  Ten hours or less, Stark.  She has a job to do tonight."  He hung up.  Why him?  Really!


Dawn smiled.  It was her first official night in her new apartment.  "Look, and furniture too!"

Phil looked around.  "Did you drain your savings?"

"Two paychecks worth but otherwise no."  She smiled.  "New bed.  Had the tub replaced.  The mattress on the other bed replaced.  New dresser to replace the one that was falling apart after you fell into it."  She smiled.  "Better table."

"That is very nice."  He looked around, then came back down from the bedrooms.  "I was at her open house."

"She moved back to the Malibu lab."  She grinned.

He hugged her.  "Good job."  Dawn beamed.  They tried out the microfiber covered sectional couch.  They were waiting on the other two.  They got there together and looked around.  "She's subletting."

"This is really nice," Barton agreed, looking up.  "Nice perches too."  Dawn poked him and grinned at Natasha, who was coming down from the upstairs.  Clint sat on the couch and moaned as it cradled him.  "I'm stealing this."

"It won't fit in your quarters," Natasha teased, smiling at Dawn.  "Nice choice."

"Thank you.  And I have a college again."  They smiled at her.  "We ready?  I only need to slip into something less comfortable."  They nodded.  She headed up and came down in an outfit that made Natasha turn her around and march her back up there to change it.  "What's wrong with it?"

"Much too open.  You're too good of a good girl to wear that.  I'm too much of a good girl to wear that."

"Fury told someone earlier I had to have a battle outfit."

Natasha looked at her.  "I'll talk to him."

"If I need it for the battle."

"You won't.  There's better that won't distract with your magic."  She looked in the nice walk-in closet, finding something.  She handed it out.

"Bit big."

It got put back and Dawn pulled out the cream dress.  Natasha nodded it might be good.  Dawn slipped into it and the stockings that went with it.  It looked like a ribbon dress, and it was, but every other ribbon was a mesh instead of the silk the rest were.  In the right light, the cream silk was almost see through, especially if one had a tan.  Then the white stockings hitched to the white garter belt.  The white heels that were not what Dawn wanted.  She got another pair out and slid into them.  "Up or down?"

"Up," she said, helping her gather the hair into a messy twist that had pieces floating out.  The dress was slit up her thigh nearly to the panty line on both side seams.  It only reached her knee.  The scoop neckline showed a good line of cleavage. The fluttery sleeves were more illusionary as they weren't more than threads of thin silk ribbons.  Another one got wound into Dawn's hair and the look was complete with a very light application of makeup.  Total time: ten minutes.  Dawn stood up and checked herself.  No spots, no stains, nothing to mar the tease.  Natasha walked down the stairs first, meaning the guys were staring when Dawn came down the stairs.

"Dawn," Phil said calmly and quietly.  "Do you really want to go out in that?  I don't mind taking out a few people now and then to keep them from kidnaping you but must I tonight?"

She leaned down to kiss him on the cheek, wiping off the lipstick with a smile.  "I'm armed.  I can shoot my own."  He sighed.  She twirled. 

Clint stared.  "I suppose that's the cream teasing dress?"

"Yes, it is," Dawn said.

"Lipstick on your teeth."  She went up to brush them and came down blotting the new lipstick.  "Okay," he decided.  "If there's any kidnaping, Dawn is handling it."  Natasha smirked at him.  "With you."  They called a cab and Dawn locked the door, handing out the new keys.  They put them on their various keyrings until the cab got there, then they got in.  Phil got to sit in the front.  The cabbie took them to the Clubhouse side.  Dawn walked up with Natasha on her arm this time and the guys trying hard not to stare.  Dark and light and damn hot.  Dawn knocked and the door opened.

"Miss Summers."  He looked her over.  "Oh, my."  She smiled.  "Very nice look, ma'am."  He let them inside.  Phil handed over the filled out membership applications and the checks.  The manager came out to talk to them while Dawn went trolling for something in the bar.  Ten minutes later they were confirmed members and they found Dawn sitting at a poker table, legs crossed and out to the side, with someone kissing her shoes.

"I thought your only shoe fetish was buying new ones," Phil said, staring at the man on the floor.

"I must be worthy to clean her shoes if I can move up to her ankles or higher," the man on the floor said.

Dawn looked at him.  "You'd better be prepared to woo me too," she said.  "I'm very particular."  He moaned and kissed the top of her foot then got up and went to get off into one of the antique spittoons.  She smiled.  "We done?"

"We are."  Dawn bought a round of drinks and they took it up to their vantage point.  They watched the rooms, sipping their drinks and making mental notes.

Phil looked at her.  "Has anyone else expected you to put out?" he asked quietly.

Dawn shook her head. "They know I'm an ice princess and while I like being the center of attention, not that way.  They figure Buffy's the kink queen of the family.  Personally I think it was Mom."  She sipped her drink.

Clint looked at her.  "Your mom?"

Dawn smiled.  "Back in their senior year, Ethan Rayne, chaos sorcerer and Janus' high priest, was working with the mayor for some reason.  He made the band's candybar sales be of mentally deaging candy bars."  They nodded.  "Which Giles and Mom both ate.  We ended up seeing Ripper Giles, who was a punk bastard who used to do black magic with Ethan, and Mom, who told Buffy to loosen up more than once that night.  And then later on they got it on on top of the police car's hood." 

She sipped her drink.  "Buffy went around going 'eww' for the next few months.  When she finally asked Mom, Mom described him as a stevedore."  Phil choked.  "It took Buffy three years to figure that out and Riley had to tell her what she meant.  So Giles, who was pack of smokes rolled up in his shirt sleeve, wanna be James Dean cool as part of a black magic coven and my mother, who used to be a hippie.  There's a reason Elizabeth got turned into Buffy." 

"I never would've expected the supremely stuffy Mr. Giles to have had any wildness in his past," Phil said.  Natasha nodded to back that up.

Dawn smiled.  "He wanted to be a fighter pilot or a grocer.  His father decided he was going to be a Watcher."

"That I understand more.  The coven was his rebellion?"

"Until they brought back a really high demon one too many times and it killed one of the members.  Then he went running off."  She leaned back.  They all stared at her.  "Eyghon, the Sleeper.  He'd possess coven members who were in a trance."  Clint shuddered.  "Later on Ethan showed up because the demon was loose and hunting the coven.  Ethan also did that halloween costume thing."  She smirked.  "I'm wondering if Xander had a moment of forethought when he got the soldier's costume so he got the base codes."

Clint choked this time.  "Codes?"

"Yeah, he used them a few months later to get the thing that cured the Judge.  Said it was his best date in high school.  He and Cordy, Willow and Oz because he had a van."  She grinned.

"I saw that incident noted.  I wondered how he had gotten it," Phil said, shaking his head.

"By telling the guard he was going to show Cordy the bigger missile from what he said," she said dryly.  He nodded, taking a larger drink.  "Yeah, it was like that at times.  Xander's possession by the hyena matriarch.  He ruled the pack and they were horrible from what Buffy said.  She also said that Xander tried to rape her to get her to join the pack but she knocked his ass out."  Clint was staring at her. 

She nodded.  "The whole pack ate the new piglet that was the school's mascot.  The pack minus Xander, who was off hunting down Buffy, ate the principal at the time.  We have no idea how many members they tried to recruit the hard way to be the pack bitch but...."  She finished her drink.  "Giles didn't believe there was anything wrong with him.  That he was being a teenage boy.  I personally think it got Buffy back for the dick tease and put down thing she did to Xander a few months earlier."

Natasha shuddered.  "Why a matriarch?"

"Hyenas are matriarchal," Dawn said with a grin.  "Xander was the pack leader.  She's still up there.  The soldier is too.  Now and then if you get him drunk at the right sort of time she'll come out and huff at everyone she likes, and tries to bite Roque from what he said happened last time.  The soldier comes out when she's back, looking a bit freaked out usually, and apologizes."

Clint shook his head.  "I can't even imagine keeping it."

Dawn nodded.  "He considers them like shoulder angels."  She smiled.  "And yet my sister said he was normal."  Clint shivered.  She nodded.  "Definitely.  That's how we rolled though.  You know those couples that can be having a knock down, drag it out fight until someone tries to break it up and then they both turn on whoever?"  He nodded.  "That's the Sunnydale team."

"Is that why Xander learned to stalk?" Natasha asked.

"He had done hunting before, including for food.  He had helped Roque in a few things down his way.  Vampire hunting he said he had done a few times as a necessary thing but the nightly patrols he wasn't used to that way.  So he did learn new tricks."

Phil gulped some of his drink.  "Remind me to bomb the town if they try to reopen it."

"Xander's explosives might still be there," Dawn admitted.  "He said after the explosion Willow caused that he had the town mined to destroy it if he had to."  Phil stared at her.  She smiled and nodded.  "Told the FEMA person that.  That way the college could buy the rest for a kick-ass campus."

He nodded slowly.  "You were all insane.  I'm glad we rescued you before yours spread too far."  She grinned back.

Natasha cleared her throat.  "Fury wanted her to have battle armor."

"Um, no," Clint said.  "She shouldn't need it.  She's going to be behind the lines firing magic, not at the front lines as far as I can see the battle happening."  Dawn shrugged.  "Would it bother your magic?"

"No idea.  I haven't even started to think about it.  I was figuring the unitard since I've got it so blessed."  They nodded.  She frowned and reached down to reattach the garter strap that had just come undone.

"Dawn," Clint said, sounding a bit strangled.  "Can't you wear pantyhose?"

"Eww, no.  They can cause yeast infections and other problems.  Eww."  She frowned.  "I don't see how any woman can wear pantyhose.  They strangle you.  It's like a corset for your butt and crotch."

"It can be," Natasha agreed.  "I'm glad we could work you into wearing those."  Dawn smiled.

"So you only wear stockings?" Clint asked.  Dawn smiled and nodded.  "Does anyone else know this?"

"I think Steve caught me the other day and realized they weren't real pantyhose.  Pepper said he had asked."

Clint nodded, getting up.  "My turn to buy a round?"  They smiled and let him do that.

"Dawn," Phil chided quietly.

"He asked."

"Be nicer to people's minds."

"Yes, big brother."  He smirked.  She smirked back.  Natasha shivered.  "After this, since I'm off tomorrow until one thanks to the trip that we're flying overnight for, I'm going clubbing."

"No way in hell," Phil said with a smile.  He finished his drink.

"Are you going to handcuff me to the bed?" she asked.

"I'll see if it can be arranged if you really think you want to try bondage."  She blushed and shook her head.

Clint walked back up during Phil's suggestion.  "Why are we trying bondage?"

"She wanted to go clubbing later," Phil said.  "She asked if I was going to handcuff her to the bed."  He took his new drink.  Natasha got hers, and Dawn got hers then Clint sat down.

"Why are you off tomorrow?" Clint asked her.

"We're flying overnight tomorrow to Amsterdam to look over the new project for a few days."

"Stark is staying," Phil said.  Dawn grinned.  "Pepper said you got hyper on the flight?"

"I had read three books on the beach.  I was tired of reading and the captain wouldn't let me use a video game.  Pepper couldn't even pull out her laptop.  I couldn't sleep."

"That happens sometimes," Natasha admitted.  "You might want to carry something that will encourage sleep."  Dawn opened her mouth.  "Your mind is filthy tonight."

"I've been in a good mood all day."  She grinned.  "It's new interest day."  They smiled tolerantly.  They looked toward the rooms when someone started to shout.  "Ow," Dawn said.  They all nodded and looked away.  "What's our call on that?  Because I want to stop them."

"If it's consensual we can't," Phil said quietly.  "If it's not, we can save him.  If they're doing it right there's a safe word involved and he can use it."  She nodded, glancing over there.  "No, don't watch.  You'll get upset."  She sighed and sipped her new drink.  She glanced over there again and wanted so much to undo the guy's chains.  "Dawn," he said quietly.

"I can undo the chains."

"You're not the only magic user in here," he reminded her.  "Someone will know."

"It could be a test," she said.

"It could be."  He looked and winced.  "Do it."  Dawn snapped and the guy's chains were snapped.  The guy got up and beat the shit out of the people whipping him to death.  Then he stomped off.  Dawn finished her drink.  Phil gave her an understanding look.  "Sometimes, in some cases, you have to stand by.  It's part of the mission."

"They all know I'm a white witch," she said quietly.  "I'll be damned."  He nodded, smiling at her.   She calmed herself.  The manager came up, staring at her.  "I'm sorry but I'm a bit empathic."  He shuddered.  She nodded.  "If it was consensual I'm sure they'll take it somewhere more private as I don't think the horrified feeling people in there wanted to watch him die."  She took Clint's drink to drink, looking at it then at him.  "Bourbon?"  He nodded.  "Huh, never had that."  She took a sip and handed it back. "Thank you."  She looked at the manager.  "If you want, I'll leave."

"No, it was not intentional and he was not consenting.  Nor was he a punishment case."  She tipped her head.  "Thank you for interceding."

"Thank you for not getting huffy at my white lighter tendencies."  He smiled and left them alone.  She relaxed against the couch's back.  "Ow."

"Why?" Clint asked.

"Moved wrong."  She sat up.  "They need a dance floor."  Natasha laughed.  "They do.  It would be a lot more stress relieving than beating someone."

"Sometimes a spanking is therapeutic," Natasha said.  "It helps clear out the guilt and the mind so it can function better."

"I've never even thought about that stuff," Dawn said.  "I learned from Willow like Tara did.  If I'm feeling that much guilt, I bake cookies."

"Willow started that?" Clint asked.  Dawn smiled and nodded.  "I didn't know that."

"Yeah, she was great at guilt baking.  Oops, sorry, did a my will be done spell that nearly got you killed, here have a few dozen butterscotch cookies," she said, mimicking a Willow babble.

"She did?" Natasha asked.

"Oz had just left for Tibet.  She was slightly turning into a lush over the breakup.  So she went home and did a my will be done spell.  Giles ended up blind.  Buffy nearly married Spike; they were planning a charming wedding outside at dusk under a leafy tree."  Natasha whimpered, taking another drink.  "Xander got turned into a bigger demon magnet.  Willow got offered a job in vengeance for it.  Anya even got mad at her.  Willow could've taken her spot."

Natasha finished her drink.  "Your life before we met was insane."

"Only every few weeks.  The rest was patrol, homework, Buffy bitching about her sex life, patrol, homework, putting Xander down."  She sipped her drink.  She looked then at the bartender.  "Thank you."  He smiled and waved.  "How much?"

"Ten."  She got into her bag and sent down enough for their round.  He smiled at her for it.

"Nice delivery service," Phil said, sipping his drink.  "Go easy, Dawn, even if it doesn't affect you right."  She nodded.

"Show me," Clint said.

Dawn looked at him.  "Huh?"

"Like during that talk."

"Tara chewed me a new one for that.  She said it can create links between minds."

"I don't think either of us is that weak."  Dawn leaned closer to him and ran her fingertips across his forehead, thinking of the Sunnydale times.  He shivered and leaned back, gulping his drink.  "Not to be mean, but Buffy was a bitch."

"She's grown up a lot since then."  He nodded.  "Even Mom called her that a few times."

Clint took her drink to sip.  "That is really good rum."  He handed it back.  "Only fair."  She smiled.  "Willow really was shy."

"Yeah.  She's the sort that has to be the best at whatever she does.  It creates her sense of self identity.  In that case, her identity got twisted by the magic since it made her *special* with my sister.  We're not sure what crawled up them during the kissing thing and why they blamed him."

"Some girls are like that.  It's never their fault," he said quietly.  "It's all 'I didn't mean to' and 'you have to forgive me'."  Dawn nodded she knew girls like that.  "That with the shitty parents."

"They actually blamed Xander during her trial," Phil told him.  "After his testimony, he and Cordelia were in a diner having pie.  They followed him and when they spotted him took a good moment to go yell at him that it was his fault their daughter was so screwed up.  Xander got into their faces about how often they traveled and how big of failures they are.  They still don't talk about her failures and write more books like she's still their good girl and in their lives instead of in a cell."

"They tried to burn her at a stake, Phil.  When the Hansel and Gretel demon showed up to make everyone spastic about witches, my mom and her parents led the charge.  It nearly got Buffy and Willow burned at the stake.  Fortunately someone managed to change Amy back since she changed down to a mouse to get free."

"Like in the children's story?" Natasha asked.  Dawn nodded.  "Why?"

"Because it was the hellmouth."  She shrugged.  She finished her drink.  "The worst was the non-demonic problems.  Like the kid who let the fear creatures out because the coach had caved his head in and he was in a coma.  Everyone relived their worst fears.  Xander used to have a clown phobia."  Natasha shuddered.  "Sunnydale wasn't pretty by any means. 

"Life is prettier now because it's not as dangerous.  Before, pretty was pretty bland because you didn't have time to appreciate it.  Most of the girls in the school who made it through graduation had a kid by my age.  The middle age in Sunnydale was seventeen with how high the death rate was, even with Buffy working," she finished quietly.  "I nearly got eaten because a sleepover got one invited in.  They thought they were boys there to panty raid."

"I'm sure your sister loved that," Phil said quietly.

"No, she didn't and I didn't get to go even on group dates after that.  Buffy told Mom I wasn't allowed to date or anything and kept trying to make it so even when Mom would let me.  She was the slayer and her word was law according to her.  She didn't want me to have self defense training because it might mean I'd get an idea and go help."

"Your sister was trying to protect you," Natasha said.

"Then she probably should've taught me how to protect myself better."

"True," she agreed.  "I'm sure she regrets it now."  Dawn shook his head.  "No?"

"No.  She's moaning that I'm around you fighting sorts and might get hurt.  That it was probably why someone had tried to capture me again.  She's got a huge blindspot sometimes when it comes to the group.  Especially me."

"Show me as well," she ordered.  Dawn shrugged and did it, making her wince at some of it.  "Oh, dear."

"Which one?" Dawn asked dryly.


She rolled her eyes.  "I like Spike.  Spike always treated me like a kid sister, even when it came out that I wasn't exactly like Buffy.  He and Xander both did."

"Xander was the one who realized you weren't normal and that's why he got Fury to take your mother to the doctor, beyond the symptoms she had been experiencing," Phil told her.

"That figures.  Xander did try to take care of me a lot.  He even snuck in some self defense lessons before Buffy caught on and made him stop."

"Xander took very good care of you," Clint agreed.  "I like the guy for that much alone even if he wasn't a scary God sort with an awesome pond for skinny dipping in."  Dawn smiled at him.  "Guys, isn't that...."  He pointed.

"That would be Mark so he is out on bail," Dawn said quietly so he couldn't hear.  "Huh."

Phil stood up.  "Let me go talk to him."

"I'll go with you just in case this one needs a swift broken neck," Natasha decided.  "Clint, stay."  He barked with a grin.  "Good doggy."

"I did that to Phil and he promised me a leash set," she said.  He laughed, hugging her.  "Thanks."

"Welcome.  You were getting a bit mopey."

"I do that about the old days sometimes.  I'm pretty sure it's normal."


She looked at him.  "Did you know that the agents who moved me that first time forgot the pole?"  He snickered.  "On purpose?"

"They could've thought it belonged there.  You get it back?"

"Yup, asked the landlord.  He was confused too until I told him it was for PE."  She grabbed his drink to sip.  "That's stronger and has that burnt taste."

He finished it.  "It does.  The older the smoother and the stronger."  She smiled.  "How are you feeling?"

"Itchy.  This couch is rubbing through the mesh on an itchy spot."  She sat up and reached back to scratch it but he got it for her, making her sigh in pleasure.  "Thank you."

"Welcome."  He pulled her closer.  "No relapses?" he asked in her ear.

"Not that I'm aware of.  I haven't checked."  He nibbled on her ear, making her shiver.  "If you're doing it to make the guy jealous, let me know how loud you need me to be," she moaned.

"That's a side benefit."  He considered how best to do this in a way that wouldn't let him get messy.  He decided to pull her into his lap, back to his chest.  She reached back and he stroked over her breasts then down to her thigh.  "Very smooth."  She nodded, smiling and taking a kiss.  "How exhibitionist are you?

"I like having attention but I don't like a crowd."

"That'll work."  He ran his hand up her thigh, finding the thong panties.  "Bikini bottoms?" he guessed in her ear.

"No, regular panties.  They make them the same way."

"That's great to know."  He shifted them out of his way so he could touch her.  She wiggled a bit and put a hand back to help him.  "That's nice."

"Get me off before they get back and I'll gladly suck on you," she whispered.  He groaned, that was a great offer.  It was an easier clit orgasm this time.  She turned to bite his throat instead of gasping and panting.  He smirked when she got calmed down.  "Damn you're good."

"Yes I am."  She looked around then slid down to her knees to undo his pants and help him.  He leaned back, getting comfortable.  "Later on I'm going to check your rafters for perching spots."

She smiled up at him.  "That's fine.  I have to get to bed before three."  She slid her mouth down and he groaned, pushing her head down carefully.  She was getting better at this.  She had to go up on her knees instead of sitting down.  That was fine with him.  He came with a muted groan, letting her pull back to lick him clean and tuck him back in there.  She even remembered which side he hung on, that was great of her.  He was clearly in a happy spot.  She slid up next to him and kissed him.  He took a deeper one and it made her moan quietly.  That was good.  "Later?"

"Definitely so I can make sure that dress finds its way out of your closet."

"It goes in a special box with different shoes."

"Uh-huh."  He teased the top of her stocking and she grinned.  He heard Phil coming up the ramp so moved his hand casually.  Phil handed out a new round of drinks, including a bottle of sparkling water for Dawn.

"Thanks," she said, taking a careful first drink.  Natasha glided up nearly soundlessly and sat back down.  "You remind him I'm an ice princess?"

"Yes, we did," Natasha said, smiling at them.  "You do need a dance club so you can work off some energy."

"If I have to, I'll go back to my PE of choice," she quipped.  "Now that I have the pole back."  Phil choked.  "Did you tell them not to move it?"  He shook his head.

"Wasting the good liquor, sir," Clint teased with a grin.

Natasha helped by using her finger to catch a drip and lick it off.  "It is the nice stuff."  Dawn grinned at her.  "You did finally get it back?"  She nodded.  "Where is it?"

"Behind the closet door.  I need to put it up again."  That got a nod.  "I still need better upper arm strength because I still can't do any of the spins or things that require it."

Phil stared at her.  "No."

Dawn smiled.  "It could mean that I'd finally be able to climb a rope."

"I'll teach you how to do it," he assured her.

"Even the gym guy couldn't get me able to do it."

"I'd rather have you on ropes than a pole, Dawn."

"Fine.  It's still great cardio."

"Yes but that's because it ruins other's to help yours," Phil said dryly.

She shrugged. "I don't usually do it for an audience."  He rolled his eyes.  "I don't."

"You should try tonight," Natasha said.  "You're out of practice."

"Maybe the dress will rip," Phil said.  "Are you going to outgrow that one?"

"Not sure yet."  She smiled.  "One of the ribbons is in a fairly indelicate spot at the moment.  I had to tape it."  Phil shook his head and downed his new drink.  Dawn smiled at Natasha.  "Thank you for teaching me what double side tape is for."

"It's a good thing for any woman to keep around for many uses.  I've used it to hitch someone to a bed but they were quite hairy."  Clint shook his head, sipping his drink.  "Yes, I'm sure you remember."

"Yes I do," he agreed.  "And him trying to move so he yanked out a good portion of his back hair."

"Eww," Dawn said.  "I don't mind a bit of fur but not Chewie furry."

Natasha nodded.  "A bit of chest hair is interesting.  Too much gets in the way of nipple torture."

"I'm cutting you off now," Phil told her, taking her drink.  "Before I have to hear that story."  Natasha laughed.  "People, let's call it a night?"  They nodded and left together, Dawn on Clint's arm down the ramp.  Going down it was a bit slicker than going up with the way the tread bars laid.  They got outside and were walking up the street when Dawn's luck held.  There was a reporter with a camera.  "Move," Phil ordered.

"But she's news," one said.

Dawn looked at him.  "Shut the fuck up."  They flinched.  "Go away.  Now please."  One fled.  The other tried to take pictures and found his camera confiscated.  "Thank you," she told Natasha.  "I'll give it to Pepper and she can decide if you've been a good enough boy to get it back," she said sarcastically.  They walked around him.

"I know he's famous too," he yelled.

"Jealous?" she called back.  "Real men can be leaning posts."

"Who is he?"

Dawn looked back.  "Shut up and go sleep it off.  Really.  Don't make me make it a command."  He fled looking scared.

"You have?" Natasha asked.

"Twice now.  Once with Callia and they were trying really hard to get close to her so I induced a compulsion to go jump in the lake that was near the park we were in."  Phil shivered.  "Yeah, them.  The other was at a club and they were crowding me and someone else so hard we nearly got hurt and one kept grabbing me to try to get that into a shot so I pretty well lost it and made them back off and let us out of the club.  The bouncer nicely got us a cab and had a few of them arrested for assault."

"I saw that picture," Natasha said.

Dawn nodded.  "I sued the bastards for making it up."  Phil smiled.  "They apologized so I dropped it.  Tony sued the ones trying to grab the baby."

"He was right to," Clint said.  "Those guys are dangerous."

"They are," Dawn agreed.  "Especially to my sanity."  She turned and put her hands on her hips, staring at the reporter that had fled first.  "You wanted what?"

"Who is he?  Is he your boyfriend?"  Dawn quirked up an eyebrow and strolled closer.  He backed off.  "Please don't make me jump in the river," he begged.  "It's a new camera."

Dawn snatched it.  "You can get it back from Pepper."

"I can claim assault."

"And I can claim stalking."

"Freedom of the press."

She sneered.  "You're not the press.  Even TMZ is better at pretending to be the press than you are, dude.  Now, go jump in the river," she commanded with a point.

"Dawn, it's east of here," Phil called.  "He'd have to walk for hours in that direction."  She corrected her pointing.  He whimpered but trudged that way until he and the other reporter met up and did have to jump in there.

Dawn strolled back, handing over that camera as well.  "I'm not a public figure so I don't put up with it."  She smiled sweetly at Phil.

"I'll hand them to Pepper tomorrow."  They got a cab and dropped her and Clint at her house.  That way she had a guard tonight.  The other two went back to SHIELD to do incident reports.


Dawn smiled as she closed the door behind them and locked it.  "There, safer again."

He stared down at her.  "That dress is indecent."

"Just a tiny bit."

"Not even a tiny bit.  It's fully indecent.  Even Coulson had dirty thoughts about you again, Dawn."  She strolled over.  "Spare my mind?"  She took it off and he groaned, staring down at the flesh colored bra and panties plus garter belt and white stockings.  The heels made it look even more indecent.  "How tipsy are you?"

"Not at all.  Alcohol has almost no effect on me unless I'm guzzling it."  He nodded lifting her up and slamming her back into a wall to kiss her.  She moaned, pulling back to breathe.  "Bed?"

"New couch needs broken in."  She panted and nodded, wrapping herself around his waist.  It was all the invitation he needed.  He carried her over and tossed her onto the couch.  He carefully took off the shoes and tossed them onto the floor.  She wiggled some but he smirked and looked at her now.  The panties were a tiny thong string.  He could work around that one.  He leaned down to lick around it.  She was wiggling again.  "Should've worn something more massive then," he said between licks.

"I hate not being able to tease," she panted.  "Clint!"

"I'm getting there," he promised, kneeling on the couch so he could get into it.  Finally the panties had to go.  He had to unhook the stockings to do it then they got tossed on top of the shoes.  He rehitched the stockings, making her shiver as he ran his hand up her right thigh. "That'll do."  He leaned down to get back to it.  She was extra wiggly tonight and it was good.  He could wear her out and then have her.  It was a great thing.  She had learned something from Natasha that he had to break.  When he thighs clamped around his head, he had to pry them apart and hold them apart so he could tease her more.  "That was evil."

"Come on," she begged.  He slid two fingers into her and she squealed, arching up.

"Getting there, impatient."  He kept going and it was great.  She was so needy it was almost flowing off her.  When she finally came he stood up to lick off his fingers one by one.  She was staring, mouth slightly open.  He took off his shirt, putting it onto a chair.  Then his shoes came off.  She was tipping her head, stroking her stomach, one hand working its way down to her clit.  He smirked, undoing his belt.  The pants dropped and he stepped out of them, putting them on the chair.  The briefs and the socks followed. 

He moved closer, kissing her again.  "That's a pretty look for you."  He took another kiss and got back to helping her get happy again.  He was so hard he ached.  That blow job had been nice but she had been a horrible tease.  He let her feet go over his shoulders and went back to teasing her with his tongue and fingers.  He put them down onto his biceps when she started to twitch them closed.  He didn't need smothered.  He was waiting, listening.  When that hitch started in her breath he slid up until he could enter her.  Her eyes went wide.  "I guess it did come back again," he said, pushing through it.  She winced.  "We'll handle it."

"I need to find a way to cancel that out," she panted, grabbing his arms.  "That way it doesn't hurt."

"The tiny bit of hurt always means a lot of pleasure later," he reminded her, riding her slowly.  She had been a tease so he was going to tease back.  It was definitely a slow, relaxing ride.  She was so sweaty and shaking by the time he was ready it only took a twitch to her clit by his thumb and she went over.  He followed, leaning down to kiss her.  "I like this couch.  Plenty of room," he teased with a smile.  She pulled him down to kiss her again.  "Bed?"

"Definitely time for bed."  She let him get off then got up, leading the way upstairs.  She had two alarm clocks and set one.  He set the other.  "Usually I'd use both but I get to sleep in tomorrow," she teased.

"Get up with me so I don't sneak out?" he offered.

"I can probably do that."  She took off the bra, watching him watch her.  Then the garter belt.  The stockings got rolled down and tossed toward the basket.  She unmade the bed and held up the other side.  He slid in and she cuddled.  It was good.  "No perching tonight?"

"Tomorrow.  I'll test them tomorrow."  She nodded and snuggled in better.  That's all she needed.  He smiled, petting her so he could go to sleep too.


Tony Stark looked at his phone because an alarm had just popped up.  "I have that set way too high," he said, canceling the security footage and the alert.   The security team wouldn't have gotten that one.  He slid down in his bed.  Dawn and Clint Barton had looked very hot together.  Which was another thought he didn't need or want.


Dawn walked onto the plane the next afternoon.  "Are we going to be back by the 18th?" she asked as she sat down.

"Probably.  Why?  I thought the olde world thing was later, like the 28th."

"I told Cap if he wanted to go to the USO ball I'd go with him.  That way he didn't have to be nervous around people he didn't know."

"Why would he go there?" Pepper asked.  "He doesn't really like that stuff."

"Fury wanted him to go."

"Oh."  She nodded.  "I think we will be.  If not, I'll make sure you are.  Do you have something that won't embarrass him?  Because I saw the pictures from last night before I handed back the cameras to the editors.  Who were fuming if I didn't mention it."

"They shouldn't be stalking me and I do have something decorous, in army green, with a side effect of sassy but he won't mind."  She smiled.  "The cutouts got covered in matching lace that's not really see through."

"Sounds pretty," she said.  "Shoes?"


"Okay.  If he wants."

"Fury all but begged."  She texted him about it.  He sent back that he still wasn't sure why he needed to go but Director Fury was certain he had to and he thanked her for sparing him looking for a date.  She sent back a tease that he'd owe her a milkshake for it and he sent back a laugh.  She sent one to Tony that they were on the plane and turned off her phone because the stewardess on the private flight was scowling at her.  "Making sure everyone's aware we're gone."

"No electronic devices may be in use during take offs or landings," she said with perky cheer and an icy smile.

"None on me," Dawn said.

"Really?  We heard you had one on your back, Miss."

"No, I yanked that off."  She smirked.  "Thank you for caring."  The stewardess attacked them with a shriek.  Dawn defended Pepper and threw her off the plane at Happy.  "She attacked us."

"That's fine, Dawn," he agreed.  Things like that happened around Dawn so he was usually prepared for them.  He pointed her to go back inside then bent to check the problem over, calling for backup and the PD.  TSA showed up instead.  Great.  "She attacked one of the people on the plane," he reported.

Dawn came down with the captain in cuffs.  "Here, have another one."  She smiled sweetly.

"Why did they attack?" the agent asked.  "And who are you, Miss?"

"Dawn Summers.  I have no idea why they attacked but they mentioned a control device that someone had stuck on me a few months back during an emergency situation that I yanked off back then."  She showed her back and the tiny scar.  "It was there."  She put down her shirt.  "It attached to three nerves."  The agent winced.  "Yeah, hurt like a bitch.  Then Miss Perky there told me I had to turn off all electronic devices and mentioned that one.  When I said I had taken it off, she shrieked and attacked."

"Okay," he said.  "Who put it on you?"

"That's something we're still trying to figure out," she admitted.


"Hell no."  The agent scowled.  "I can scan myself," she said, showing off a bit.  The stewardess shrieked and covered her head.  She smiled at the agent.  "My boss is up there and we have to leave for a business meeting.  Happy, can you call the company and tell them the captain tried to sedate Pepper?"

"Sure I can do that," he agreed, calling that in.  His earpiece rang with a shout.  "Mr. Stark is not happy."

"I'm not happy," she said dryly.  "He can wait in line since he's not on site."  Happy smothered a smile.  She smiled at the agent again.  "Do you need anything else?"

"This is a Stark Industries jet?"

"No, I believe this is a rental.  The Stark Industries jet is back in Malibu getting an engine overhaul at this time."

"That's reasonable then."  Some stuffed shirt manager type came out huffing.  Dawn got the needle to hand him.  The agent took it.  "We'll see what was in it, ma'am."  Iron Man landed and he winced.  "This is bad," he muttered.

"I saved Pepper, the stewardess noted the blinky box thingy that I took off my back, that we still can't tell what it was for beyond not explosive, and the captain tried to sedate her."

Iron Man stared at her.  "Can you not stay out of trouble?"

"I did not start the trouble, I just ended it."

"I like that.  It works for me too."  He stared at the people on the ground.  "Who are you with?"  They started to babble about HYDRA.

Dawn snorted.  "Try the lie again," she offered.  "Before I cast a truth spell."  The stewardess shrieked and tried to hide her head again.  Dawn lit up her hand.  "Ten seconds.  It'll only hurt you if you tell a lie.  Lasts for a whole day."  The woman uncovered her head and babbled about the company who had hired them.

Stark snorted.  "They're posers and I don't even consider them a competitor, much less a threat.  I'll have that fixed later."  He looked at Dawn.  "Pepper?"

"Pepper?" she called.  She came to the doorway yawning.  "Are you all right?"  She pointed at Tony, walking back up the stairs.

"I'm fine.  Thank you for the intervention," she said with a smile at the agents, who all relaxed.  "Who are they?"

"With Helphion," Stark said.

She snorted.  "Aren't they the ones that tried to sell cold fusion lasers and couldn't even produce plans?"  He nodded.  "Posers."  She went back inside.  "We need a new pilot."

"I have not learned to drive a plane yet, just a car and a tank," Dawn quipped.

Stark made a call.  "Rhodey's coming, ladies."

"Cool, we can pick on him and I can make him teach me to drive a plane," Dawn called back.

"You fly a plane.  You drive land-bound vehicles," the agent in charge said patiently.  He looked at Iron Man.  "She's your....."

"She's Pepper's assistant.  She's been trained to protect Pepper."  Clint walked past him.  "Why are you going to Amsterdam?" he asked sarcastically.

"Fury said so?"

"If this is about that voicemail, I did not encourage him," Dawn called.

"Voicemail?" Tony called.

"Not like you don't have my code," Dawn called back.

"Fury blew a gasket," Clint said.  "Are we waiting?"


"Sure."  He looked at Dawn.  "How did they know you?"

"Looking them up I keep running into a school in England.  A boarding school down by Stonehenge."

"The Council," Pepper sighed, looking displeased.

"Yep," Dawn agreed.  She smiled.  "Why is it a worry right now?"

"He saw that you had scheduled a disappearing act on the 18th even though you're going to be over there."

"Yeah, Fury's making Cap go to the USO ball."  Clint winced.  "I said I'd escort him to keep him away from all the leeches."  Pepper swatted her.  "They can be, especially about him."

Clint smiled.  "I wondered about that green dress.  Not your usual style."

"I look nice in it but not attention getting."

"That's good to know," Pepper said.  "Picture?"  Dawn turned on her phone and found it to show her.  Pepper saw the new text message icon pop up and hit the button.  "Steve said he's panicking about his uniform."

"It's in his closet," Dawn said.  She took her phone back to answer.  It was either in his closet or in Phil's closet.  She had requisitioned one for him.  Including his medals and awards that he hadn't gotten before he had been frozen.  The rest were in a display box on his desk.  He sent back a thank you.  She said it wasn't a problem.  To calm down.  To have Natasha teach him how to slow dance or she could that night.  He agreed and wished them a good trip.  She sent back a thanks and put her phone up after turning it off again.  Rhodey walked up the steps and to the cockpit.  "Thanks."

"Welcome.  What's with the uptight suit brigade?" he asked.

"TSA answered the call for backup to arrest those two," Dawn said, leaning over that way.

"Short Stuff, get me some coffee please?" Clint called.

"Sure."  She got up to make some, handing him the spill-proof cup.  She handed one to Rhodey too, earning a grin.  "I am a super assistant sort."  She went back to her seat and buckled in, looking over at the man who happened to be sitting there staring at her.  "What's your issue this time?" she demanded.

"The 18th?"

"I'm escorting Steve.  Did you want him eaten by those sharks pretending to be slutty matrons?"  Fury looked upset at that.  "Yeah!  And hey, why would I go to HYDRA?  Or anyone else for that matter?  How stupid are you?  Tell me a lie while you're at it."  He opened his mouth.  She lit up a hand.  "Really.  Tell me a lie right now."

"He's metallic," Tony yelled.

"Wonderful."  She magnetized him and sent him off the plane.  He stuck to the TSA cruiser.  She looked at Pepper.

"Temper," she reminded her with a smile.  "Did you make the photogs take a dip?"

"Yup.  One begged me not to so he wouldn't damage his new camera."

"The editor mentioned it was theirs."  She shook her head.  "That dress was nearly obscene, Dawn."

Dawn grinned.  "We were at that club," she said quietly.

"I heard.  Why?"  Dawn looked in the cockpit then back at her boss.  "You are not an agent," she said firmly.

"We only needed her to get in," Clint called.  "We have that now."

"Thank God.  Dawn doesn't need that sort of horrible press.  It could throw off negotiations."

"Will the battle help it any?" Dawn asked.

"No."  She smoothed down her hair.  "We'll do what we can."  She nodded, leaning into the touch.  "Maybe we'll be back so you don't have to use the satellite."  Dawn grinned.  The engines started and the plane slowly moved.  "Anything else we should need to know?"

"I got accepted to Berkeley."

"The one by San Francisco?" she demanded.

"No.  The one in downtown Manhattan."  Pepper beamed at her.  "They said I can count some work credits.  I have the AP classes.  So I should have two years if I go this summer."

"Wonderful news."  She stroked over her hair again.

Dawn looked at her.  "Mom?" she joked, trying to keep it light.

"She told me, Dawn."  She hugged her.  "You're still my favorite little sister."  Dawn snuggled into the hug.  "We need a faster jet."

Dawn nodded.  "We're not allowed to build faster jets for commercial purposes."

"That does suck."  They relaxed into the seat.  Dawn got up to make lunch when Pepper started to look for a snack.  The two pilots got some and then they settled in to talk about what they needed to look over.  It would be fine.


Dawn walked into SHIELD HQ and the guards all glared.  She stared back.  "Not like I liked the metallic him."  They sighed and let her sign in.  She found Steve pacing.  "Relax."

He paused and looked at her.  "That is not your usual style," he said.

She smiled.  "A woman with good sense knows when the be the picture and when to be the frame."  She straightened out his tie.  "Fury off his pouty kick because I destroyed his robot self?"

"Slightly."  He took her arm and they walked out together.  "Thank you."

She patted his hand with a smile.  "They're sharks.  You're not a SEAL to deal with sharks.  Army guys are only on the land."  He laughed and nodded.  She got them to the car.  The driver tipped his hat at them and closed the door.  She looked at him.  "Weapons?"

"Two.  You?"

"I've got a few things concealed," she said, touching her hair dagger.  She grinned.  "And magically concealed too."

"Good.  Who was that attacking you and Pepper?  It was on that entertainment station."

"Spike's newest childe.  He got jealous that Spike loved me more."  She shook her head.  "Buffy cleared his bad mood up."

"With a vampire?" he asked quietly, glancing toward the driver.

"It's a long story with my sister."  He nodded.  They got to the ball and the doorman helped him out then her.  She made sure she was fine in a passing mirror.  No smudges, no rips, no stains.  Hair was good.  She smiled and handed Steve the invitation from her bag.  He handed it over.  They were allowed into the security area.  Dawn showed her permit to carry concealed and her Stark Industries ID card.  That got a nod and she was on the permitted to carry list thanks to Tony.  Cap's were handed back with a nod and a salute.  He saluted back and they went inside. 

The herald announced him.  "Captain Steve Rogers and Miss Dawn Summers."  They walked down the stairs together.  Steve tensed so she squeezed his arm.

"General," Steve said, shaking his hand, trying to make it seem normal.  "I'm not sure if I should salute or not, sir."

"I feel the same way, Captain."  He nodded at Dawn, who nodded back.  "Pretty arm candy."

"She's Pepper Potts' assistant.  She volunteered since I don't know too many people yet."  He kept her with them when they walked off.  Dawn snagged them both some sparkling water, which he appreciated.  The general stared at her.

She smiled.  "I would never leave a Captain in the Army with all the water-based creatures in here who nibble, General.  If he had wanted to deal with manta rays and sharks, he would've went in the Navy."

He laughed.  "That's a good one, young lady."  She smiled.  "Not old enough to drink?"

"Not yet.  Doesn't mean I'm not good at protecting those who need it from drooling fan hordes."  She stared at one woman coming toward them.  "Steve, let's look at that picture.  I've seen the original in the Library of Congress."  He nodded, nodding politely at the woman who was trying too hard to look younger than Dawn and let her lead him off.  They could avoid the other ones on their small circuit of the room. 

A reporter stopped them and he had to make a short statement but the reporter thanked him and he wasn't sure how to answer.  Dawn squeezed his arm and he smiled.  He felt an idea hit and it was probably good enough.  "Back then I wasn't alone.  I had a great team with me, ma'am.  They deserve as much if not more credit.  They did it as normal guys, without any enhancement.  That earns my respect for all time.  The same as the ones who do it now do."  She sniffled and walked off.

Dawn smiled.  "Have you looked up anyone's family?"

"A few.  They're not here."  She gave his arm another squeeze.  "Thanks, Dawn."

"Welcome.  Pepper had to teach me and I can easily help with this stuff."  Music started up and she looked around.  "Do you want to start now or later?"

"I had Agent Hill teach me some."

"Don't try anything fancy, just like what they're doing."  He watched and the next song took her out.  It let them duck another reporter.  They exited the other side of the floor, clapping when the song ended.  They found a spot to sit out of the way and relax for a few minutes. 

"How does Tony do this?"

"Tony lets himself be glomped on and pretends really hard until something interests him," she said quietly.  "Then again, Tony can lie like Loki."  Steve snickered, nodding.  "Reporter."  She patted down his collar.  "Sticking up."

The reporter smiled.  "Am I interrupting?"

"No, just taking a breather," Dawn said.  "If you're not used to crowds of people twinkling in the light with way too much perfume at times it can be a bit strenuous.  Especially with super senses."

"I hadn't thought of that."  She smiled.  "His new girlfriend?"

"No, I'm Dawn, Pepper Potts' assistant."  Her face fell.  She smiled.  "Steve doesn't know all these people so I'm here to give him a bit of a shield."

"Only I'd never throw you at a bad guy," Steve teased.

She laughed.  "I might throw myself at one but it's to beat him to death."  He nodded.  She smiled at the reporter.  "Questions?"

"Did you assault two papparazzi a few days back?"

"No, I did not hit them.  I really wanted to.  I did take their cameras from them so Pepper could talk to their editors about their creepy stalker problem they were having.  Then they went to cool off with a dip in the river from what I heard."

"That might still be counted, dear."

"Then they probably shouldn't have popped out of the bushes at me.  Especially considering I was taken not four months ago by some nice mafia sorts."  The reporter stared in horrified awe.  "Ransom.  Russian mob."

"Oh, dear.  Was that why you were in Florida?"

"No that was a 'whoo-hoo, I'm graduating' vacation."  She smiled.

"I took one after mine."

"I only had a biology final.  The rest was already submitted so I decided to go be a great hotty and tease on the beach."

"I saw some of those pictures.  You could use some toning."

"I think women who have six-pack abs look wrong somehow.  You're supposed to have a bit of padding there to help with things like later child bearing.  Which I want to do some year far in the future."

"Huh.  Captain."  He smiled.  "How are you enjoying the ball?"

"It's very different than the last USO event I went to.  Though I think the last USO event I went to I was on stage."  She giggled and walked off.  He looked at her.  "You are a very good shield."  She smiled.  They got up and moved on since they had been found.  Dawn's purse was tucked under her arm.  No one was going to break in here, there was no reason to.  It would be a nice, calm, insane night full of people who didn't know him but loved him *so* much.  At the end, when he couldn't stand it anymore, he took Dawn for the promised milkshake on the way back to SHIELD headquarters.  It was a ten block walk but it was a pretty night and he needed to destress.  No one was going to bother them either.  The one who considered mugging them saw Dawn's thigh holster flash into being and they decided they were not targets.

Dawn presented him to Fury, and as it happened Tony.  "Here you go.  One undented Captain.  He made a few nice statements.  We danced a few times to get away from the leeches."  She let him have the chair by pushing him into it.  She slurped her milkshake.  "I only got asked once about the bikinis and the camera guys the other night."  She smiled at Tony.

"I didn't know you owned something that framing," he said.

"I usually don't.  I only got it for him and then it's going to the charity that gives teenage girls prom gowns."  She smiled and straightened out his hair.  She patted Cap on the cheek.  "Rest."

"Yes, mom," he teased with a grin.

"Not this year, thankfully."  She looked at Fury.  "Are you over your faulty programing?"

"Yes," he sighed.

"Thank you!  Heading home.  I'll go back to Pepper tomorrow if she needs me."  She disappeared from there.

"I need that beaming satellite," Fury complained.

"That was all her," Steve said.  "She flashes differently when she sends herself off."  He looked at Tony.  "She kept them from latching onto me for more than a few seconds."

"That's what she was supposed to do."

"It was really nice of her."

Tony smiled.  "Dawn's a really nice girl for all that she's a hellcat some days."

Steve grinned.  "I should write her a thank you note."

"If you want.  I'm sure she already knows."

"It's not polite."  He stood up.  "I'll send back the uniform?"

"It's yours, Captain.  Put it in the closet in case you need it again for something.  Like award ceremonies."

"I don't need awards, sir."  He left, going to his rooms to change.  He did write Dawn a thank you note and put it into the inter-office mail.  Then he laid down and examined the night from as many angles as he could.  The people were acting strange.  They all wanted to touch and talk to him.  He wasn't used to that.  A few times he had wanted his actual shield but she had stepped in and politely gotten him to do something with her.  The one time she wasn't polite the woman was trying to haul him off.  He had liked that.  He couldn't hit a woman if she needed it but Dawn could.  She had nearly proved it, general's wife or not.


Dawn appeared in Amsterdam in the middle of a problem the next morning.  She was expecting to pick up coffee and wake up Pepper, not stumble into an incident.  She saw the attacking metal thing.  She saw Clint pinned down by the metal thing firing on him.  She saw Pepper unconscious and floated Pepper out of harm's way.  No Rhodey yet.   She pulled weapons out of hiding.  "Clint," she called, tossing him her crossbow and bolts with explosive tips plus her spare guns.  He grinned and fired on them.  She got a few too, squatting down to take cover near Pepper and protect her.

"Anything you can do about the robot?" he called.

"How exposed do you want me to get?"

"As little as humanly possible."

"Then maybe."  She looked.  She saw civilians.  "Fuck.  No can do."  She tucked Pepper into a niche and got up, throw a fireball at it.  It knocked it back and away form the civilians, into a park.  He jogged off to get it.  She turned and found Pepper missing.  She cast a tracking charm and took off, sticking in her earbud so she could call.  "It is not my fault Pepper was taken."  She hung up.  That alerted Stark Security so it could be ready to help her later on or sooner if possible.  She spotted the people putting her into a car and shot at them.  They took off.  Dawn summoned Pepper, cushioning her landing with her body.  She'd be bruised but Pepper was all right.  She checked.  Good vitals.  Good breathing.  Knocked cold by the egg on her forehead.  She felt someone coming and shifted, putting Pepper down so she could to face them.  "Hi, Roque."

"I'm not Roque.  He's weak."

Dawn smashed him back into a building, making him shriek and the metal him die.

"That fucking sucks," Clay said, coming up behind her.

"You'd better bleed," she warned. 

He showed the cut on his hand.  He nodded and moved on to help Clint.  "Pooch, guard them," Clay ordered.  "Cougar, find the controller.  Jensen, help him.  However that happens."  They ran off.

Pooch checked her over.  "Just out cold."

"I saw."  She pointed.  "That's the same sort of car that tried to take her but no bullet holes."  He looked and nodded, searching around.  He found it and pointed.  She nodded.  They got Pepper moved out of the way.  They could hear a jet for some reason.  It was probably not a good thing.  She looked up.  "Clay!" she yelled and pointed.  He looked up and growled.  Dawn knocked the rocket out of it's trajectory, making it hit a statue.  It gave everyone time to get away from the robot.  Jensen got the controller and turned it off as the second rocket hit it.  Dawn looked at Pooch.  "This is insane and it's not my fault."

"No, it's probably not."  He smiled slightly.  "You good?"

"I just got here."

"I saw.  You did good next to him."  They heard another jet and looked up.  "That's a bad thing.  They'd have to know they wouldn't need backup since the robot's down."

Dawn concentrated.  "Fuck this shit."  She pulled up power and created a shield over them.  Cougar and Jensen came running at the noise.  Clay and Clint were closer.  They all made it and she expanded it.  The building around them went up.  She winced but held it.  "I'm so going to have a migraine later," she warned.  Another one hit near them.  She finally got tired of it and hit the plane.  It hit the robot.  The pilot had ejected.  She concentrated, calming the nausea.  "Okay, had enough," she said.  She tapped her earpiece.  "Happy, I need the Stark beamout service.  Us, Clint, Losers minus Roque."

"I have them all keyed in.  There's something interfering."

"It's my shield.  I'm dropping it in three, two, one."  She let it go with a sigh of relief.  A second later they disappeared.  She fell on her ass.  "Pepper's out cold," she ordered.  "Get her to the infirmary now!"  Jensen helped her up.  "Thanks."  She limped off.  "Find out who that fucking robot belonged to.  And the jets."  She stomped up to the office.  Stark was pacing and pulling on weapons.  "She's fine."

"Excuse me?" he asked.  "I was building new holsters."

"We were attacked.  I got there after it started."  She turned on the tv and walked off.  She took the time to rub her head in the elevator.  Natasha got on a floor down.  "I'm good.  She's out cold," she reported.  "I snatched her back from the people trying to drive her off."

"You did good.  You need to lie down though."

"When it's safe.  Who shot at us?"

"The same people who sent the robot.  The planes were not that country's.  They don't have that jet yet."  She walked Dawn into the infirmary.  "She has a migraine from magic exhaustion."  The doctor nodded, moving to check her over.  "Status?"

"Bruises, scratches, aches in a few places," Clint reported.  "Thanks for the spare guns and the crossbow, Dawn."

"Welcome."  She swatted at the doctor.  "I'm fine.  Like I was at the Holiday Inn that time."

He scowled.  "You weren't fine then.  You ended up with a severe migraine for two days."

"Yay," she said, making herself sit back up.  "I've got shit I gotta do."  She walked off.  "Let me know when Pepper wakes up."  She took the controller to look over on her way to the lab.  That's where Tony would be; it was his stress haven.  She tossed it at him and headed for a bottle of water and his advil stash.  "She'll be fine, Tony," she said quietly, noticing he was stiff and almost ready to go to full rage mode.  She laid a hand on his arm and he shook it off.  She hugged him and he relaxed.  "She's fine.  As soon as I saw her I moved her.  We're all fine."  He nodded, letting her calm him down.  "We have to figure out who."

He took the remote back to take apart.  "What's that mark?" he asked.

She looked.  "Isn't that the people above Fury?"

"Maybe."  He scowled, scanning it into the computer.  "Watch this run." 

She nodded.  He stomped off for the infirmary.  She added some parameters to the search.  It came up pretty fast.  Not exactly the board for SHIELD but a secret society that had been them before they became SHIELD.  She printed it out and started a search on anything they had.  She called the occult library in SHIELD's HQ to get them started too.  By the time Tony came back she had a slight report started.  "Ten more."  He nodded, getting them both some water.  "I hate the virtual keyboard."  He snorted.  She picked up a regular one and went back to it.  "I wonder if they sent the metallic Fury and the one that's in the office."

"Probably."  He took what she had, walking off.  "Good job.  Go take a nap?  Kind of clear you're starting another headache from the magic use."

"No one but you six know where I live.  I'll head home."  He nodded.  She went down there, finding Happy waiting.  "Home?" she asked quietly.

"Definitely."  He took her there and walked her up to the door. 

She smiled and walked inside.  She noticed Clint in the rafters.  "Let me nap?"

"Access problems?"  She nodded, going up there.  "Why?"

"Countering the potion.  I only got a trickle before but it was a wider trickle.  Now it starts and stops.  I need meditation work."  She fell down on her bed and kicked off her shoes.  That was the end of her willpower and the headache was killing her eyes.  She closed them and drifted off.

Clint considered it, looking at the books on magic she had around the house.  He used a suction cup arrow on a string to bring a few to him so he could look them over.  The arrow got put back and he was calm enough for now.


Stark walked up to Fury and stuck a magnet on his forehead.  It stuck.  "Clearly not a human."  Fury started to open his mouth so he zapped him with something more high powered than a taser and had Bruce help him carry it off.  They needed into his programming.  Whoever had attacked Pepper had just signed their death certificates.  Bruce didn't realize that but then again he didn't need the help.

Agent Hill blinked and nodded.  "How long has *that* been going on?" she muttered.  She checked, a magnet didn't stick to her.  She could still tell a lie and not dissolve.  So she was still herself and that was good.  She could stand being herself.


Tony looked up as Steve walked in.  "Want help?"

"You're not really up to date on computer code, Steve."

"Not with that.  With whoever shot at Pepper."

Tony smirked.  "I don't need it but thanks."  He nodded but waited.  "I'm okay.  I'm calm."

"Bull.  You'd be green right now if you could do it.  How is she?"

"Knocked cold.  Egg on her head.  Dizzy from the concussion.  Bruises from Dawn having to summon her back from them."

"Dawn?  I saw the replay."

"Headache, in bed by now I hope."  He grimaced.  "If not she's pushing herself again and Joyce is going to yell."

"She yells because she cares."

Tony looked at him.  "She does care but she doesn't want two heroic daughters.  She can't take losing the other one too," he said quietly.  "Dawn's her lifeline right now."

"I get that."  He leaned on the bench. The robot reached for him so he broke the hand off.  He put it on the table, getting a smile from Tony for it.

Tara walked in and looked at the robot then at Tony.  "Can I help?"

"You don't know coding either."

She smiled.  "They can't get through magic."

"You can't do that, Tara.  If I need it, I'll build a shield. I can't let you get hurt."  He stared at her.  "Coulson would do worse than taze me if I did."  She gave him a dirty look.  He patted her on the cheek with a smile. "Save it for the big things.  I won't need the help to stomp them."

"Okay."  She hugged him then Steve.  "Be safe when you go."  She walked off to try to call Dawn again.  No answer.  She paused by one of the tv's with the replay, listening to it ring.  "That's why she's not answering."  She summoned the phone before a reporter or one of the soldiers could grab it.  She walked off, handing it to Phil.  "It got left there."

"Thank you.  Her?"

"Probably sleeping according to Tony."

"Good."  He walked off calling Barton's phone.  "If she has worse than a regular headache there is a small bottle in her medicine cabinet that has two pills.  She is to take them both at the same time with something to coat her stomach or she'll vomit it back up.  Soup usually works."  He listened to the quiet question.  "Do you see a brown book with a green stripe on each end?  It's in there."  He hung up and checked on the others.  They really had to find the real Nick Fury.  Then maybe he could poison whoever had done it.  He went to ask Tara because no one had thought to.  "Can you find the real one?"

She nodded, taking something from a labeled bottle.  She dropped it on something and then got a crystal and a map.  She got him a location almost immediately.  No deviation in the swing, no movement once it stopped.  He called that in and walked off to put on his tactical vest.  He'd had enough of this.  He gathered two teams of agents to bring with him.  Tara would update him if he got moved.  This was going to be short and messy.  He probably should've changed his shoes.  Dawn would be upset if he got them too messed up since she had gotten them for him.


Clint nudged Dawn.  "Want the meds?"  She shook her head without opening her eyes.  "You probably should if you feel that bad."  She shook her head again.  "I warmed up some soup."  He felt something tickle in his head.  "If that's you then yes I am the soup fairy," he said dryly.  "C'mon."  She shook her head and started to look queasy.  "It'll help."  He felt that same tickle. "Can't talk?"  He stared at her.  "Jaw locked?"  She nodded.  He put the mug of soup and the bottle of pills on the sidetable and checked. 

"You clenched it too hard."  He felt another tickle.  "Don't become telepathic all the time," he teased.  She snorted and covered her head.  "C'mon."  He uncovered her, working on the lumps of muscles that were her cheeks and upper neck.  She whimpered and moaned.  Finally she could open her mouth and promptly nearly puked on him.  "Migraines can do that to you."  He handed her the soup and the pills.  She swallowed them and he heard a quiet 'thank you'.  "Welcome, Short Stuff." 

He let her cover back up and drift back off.  He went back to learning why Dawn hadn't done the exercises she needed to be doing.  Mostly because it would make sure everyone knew where she was.  Didn't fantasy books have shields that they could practice under?  He felt that tickle and grimaced.  "Really?"  She sent back a grimace but nodded. 

"Can we set that up at SHIELD?"  She nodded.  "How long before you can get it done?"  She sent over another message so he texted Tara, who said that Director Fury wouldn't give them permission.  But that Dawn may be able to do something about that at the club or at Xander's.  Though it might wreck the shield over the temple.  So they needed to find a good place for Dawn to fix the things that having sex had started.

That was a hell of a toss up:  your life being sacrificed or your powers going wrong.


Coulson looked around the mess that had been made.  They had found six more Fury bots and another goo clone creating them.  They hadn't found the director.  He stared, looking around.   Something was off.  "Everyone stop."  They all stopped.  "Agent Romanoff, please walk carefully around everyone.  There's something wrong spatially."  She nodded, pulling the amulet off to swing in her hand.  She found it halfway toward the back.  A new wall appeared.  She tracked around it, finding whole new sections and a new level, with a ranting Fury gagged and tied to a support pole.  She ran up to get him free.  They checked the rest of the hidden areas, disabling all the other goo clones and robots.  And one human that looked very scared.  "Sir," he said, nodding when Fury came down.  "Tell me a lie."

"Must I?"

"Yes, sir.  We want to make sure you're you this time."

"I was told.  I'm a natural blond."  Nothing.  No magnetic resonance.  No little electronic pack on the hip.  "We done?" he demanded.

"I hope so," Phil said, walking off behind him.  "Right now we're a step below situation red, have been for weeks."

"Good.  The robots were feeding information back so the world wouldn't end.  Summers?"

"Dawn's got a migraine from earlier."  Fury stopped to look at him, which meant Coulson had to stop before running into him.  "In the car, sir.  It's all over CNN."  That got a nod and they stomped off again.  He got into the same SUV to brief him.  They had brought an extra one so they had room for him to sit.  The incident was in replay and people were complaining that people were being attacked on their soil.

"The what ball?" Fury demanded at that part.

"The magnetic you said he had to go to the USO ball, sir," Coulson said quietly and calmly.  "Dawn escorted him so he wasn't endangered by the gropey and stupid ones."

"Good!"  He snatched the reports to read over.  By the time they got back he was disgusted by his metallic and goo versions.  They had nearly destroyed SHIELD with petty fighting.  He walked past the labs.  "He's in the jail, shot in the shoulder, Stark.  He screamed very prettily."  He found Tara waiting and stared.  "Yes, I'm me."  She held up the requisition.  "Why?"

"Practice for Dawn," she said.  "She can't access things as easily now."

"Granted."  He signed off and she walked off to manage things.  He went into his office, looking around.  "I can tell Summers hasn't been here," he said dryly, starting the coffee maker.  It was still set up from the week before.  He had drank worse.  He sat down to finish going over the reports.  "Tell her I'm sorry, Coulson."

"I will when she wakes up, sir."  Fury looked at him.  "Use migraine."

"Fine.  Who's babysitting and how did we stop the sacrifice?"


"Barton?" he demanded.  "You trusted her to him?"

"He's acted in her best interest so far," he said firmly.

"Fine."  He looked at one note then at him.  "Why did the metallic me think you were going to poison him."

"Because I was."  He smiled.

"Thanks for the warning," he said dryly.   "Where is everyone?"

"Stark's probably headed back to the infirmary there to be with Ms. Potts.  Romanoff was here with us.  Barton is on Dawn.  Thor and Rogers I'm not totally certain at this time."

"Find them, make sure they're safe."  He nodded and walked off.  Fury relaxed for the first time in a few months.  This was not how he wanted to face their worst apocalypse yet.


John got tired of the fake Loki's plans bothering his people.  He was trying to bother Atlantis herself.  He went up to Valhalla and to the jails, pulling him out to the place where all the honorable battles were held.

"You can not beat me," Loki sneered.

John smirked.  "You'd be shocked."  Loki started to call up powers.  John let his go as he grabbed Loki by the throat and squeezed, funneling the power through is hand.  Loki screamed as he went to atoms.  "Guilty and dispersed as is just," he announced.  He turned and found Tyr standing there looking scared.  He shrugged.  "He was upsetting my city."  He disappeared.

Roque came out to look at him.  "You managed it."

"I did."

"Teach Xander."

"I will be."  Roque nodded.  John walked off to calm himself down.  They had to make more concrete plans.  What they now knew was helpful but not enough.


Dawn got driven to SHIELD and walked in, glaring at the security guard, who smiled.  She walked up to the elevator, using her pass to get on.  She rode up to the bridge and waved at Agent Hill.  She walked into the office, then hauled off and hit Fury, sending him out of his chair.  She glared.

"I apologized and that was not me, Summers."  He felt a tickle of thought and grimaced.  "I didn't mean anything by it.  Can't you talk?"  She shook her head.  "Infirmary.  We can't have you sick right now."  She glared.  "We'll spar when you're better."  She put something on the desk and he backed off.  "Need chocolate too?"  Agent Hill was in the doorway.

"Miss Summers, it's really not nice to threaten him when we've finally gotten him back," Agent Hill said.  She was calling Coulson, who was probably the only one that Dawn would listen to.

Phil walked around her, taking the dagger.  "That's pretty work.  A new one?"  She looked at him.  He tipped her face up and she pulled away.  "He said you had clenched your jaw shut so you wouldn't puke on anyone."  He led her away.  "I'll punch him for you later."

She shook her head and snapped her fingers.

"Dawn, would you please change Director Fury back to a man," Agent Hill said, chasing after them.  She felt that tickle of thought and winced.  "I know it would teach him why women didn't just hit in the club but still.  He can't really be a girl right now.  He has to testify before congress in two days."  Dawn shrugged.  She let herself be led to the infirmary.  Coulson shot her a look that said he'd try but no promises.  Coulson texted everyone in the little family group.  Tara said she wasn't strong enough to change him back.  Stark laughed and hacked the security footage.  Natasha didn't send one back, she was probably sneaking up there to take pictures for Stark and her own personal enjoyment.  Barton.... who knew.  He handed her to the doctor.  "Her migraine made her clench her jaw shut.  It's not opening."

The doctor checked and she tried to bite him.  "I'd say she still needed the migraine medicine."  He got her the two pills and someone got her some soup from the mess.   She pointed at her jaw.  He tried to reduce it and she gagged.  "I have no idea how to undo that without ice."  He handed her an ice pack.  "Ten on each side for now."  He walked off.  He came back with a needle.  "Let's do some bloodwork as well."  She shook her head.  "It's time for some standard ones," he said.  She shook her head again.  "It is.  Including a pregnancy test."  She snorted.

"I doubt she needs one since she has no ovaries until she magically puts them in," Coulson said, arms folded over his chest.  The doctor glared at him.  "No on the bloodwork.  Come on, Dawn."

"She's staying until I can make sure she takes those," the doctor said.  Dawn hit him and he went down.

He looked at her.  "If you can get your jaw open there's chocolate pudding," he offered.  She shrugged and put the ice pack on.  He helped her up and down to his room, helping her get her jaw unswollen.  She managed the pills, some soup, and a few bites of pudding.  That was an improvement.

Now all they had to do was get everyone healthy, hear any new information, and hopefully let Dawn practice her control.


Xander got done with the new information meeting and got led to where Dawn was still suffering.  He got her jaw unlocked and watched her try not to puke.  "Let me take her home with me for a few," he said quietly, getting a nod from Coulson.  He took her back to Asgard.  Then to the Dwarf kingdom.  "My friend," he said, clasping hands with him.  "This is my near and adopted sister Dawn.  I adopted her into my house."

"I heard you had ascended," he said with a smile.  He looked at Dawn.  "That jaw problem is bad, young one."  He got a healer to come help her.  She sat down to watch while they talked, especially the ones pounding out new chains for armor.  "I remember making weapons for her on her majority.  She doesn't carry them?"

"She's been so sick in bed she hasn't been able to eat.  She's usually got at least one on her."  She pulled it off and waved it.  The Dwarf took it to look over and praised her care.  She grinned at him.  "I was wondering if we could use one of the lower caverns.  She needs to meditate somewhere that her aura is masked."

"She is like Hecate in that lower people's Gods?"  Dawn nodded.  He looked at her.  "Can ye prove it, lass?"  She flared her aura for a second.  "Odin be damned!" he said in awe.  She smiled.  "Aye, we have one."  He led her down there.  Xander settled in to go over the same exercises she needed.  He needed them too so he could reach the expanded magical core he had.


Xander brought Dawn up to Valhalla.  "Pretty," she said.

He nodded.  "They try sometimes.  Some years it's covered in snow and no one shovels."  He let her in, taking her to the kitchen.  "Let me talk to Heimdall and Tyr and I'll be right back."  She nodded, settling beside the fire.

Alana smiled as she walked in, mug in hand.  "You must be Dawn."

"Alana.  I think we've met once."  She shook her hand.  "Xander has me with him.  No one's gathered me yet," she said with a grin.

"Some year mayhap."  She sat down and put her mug on the table.  "It's wearing on you already?"

Dawn looked at her.  "The end result is wearing on me again.  If I go, there's no reason for my mother to get better.  She's special to a lot of people.  There's no reason for my sister to keep fighting if Mom succumbs."

Alana handed over her mug.  "Drink.  Calm your nerves.  It's never easy to suddenly be a warrior when before you were a princess watching the battles."

"Before I was too young.  Though my sister complains a lot that I did train to help protect myself."  She took a sip.  "So that's mead."

Alana smiled.  "Aye, fermented honey.  Very good for you.  Soothes all sorts of ills for a bit, but you have a head that prays to Thor the next day."

Dawn grinned.  "I've had a hangover."  She took another sip and handed it back.  "Thank thee."

"Welcome, Dawn."  She got up to get something to nibble on, letting Dawn pick at it as well.  "Talsa, fix a basket.  Alexander looks like he has not eaten recently.  Nor his adopted child and her friends.  They're all busy preparing for battles."

The old, gray haired woman looked over.  "Aye, Alana."  She did that, getting one of the special mead jars to fill from the never-ending casks.  They made new each year but the oldest casks were smooth and soft by now.  That would be best for warriors who were touchy before a large battle as they had heard was coming.  "Should I pack aught for the great grumpy first son to the throne?"

Dawn giggled.  "Thor has been grumping about not having proper mead.  One of the guards introduced him to tequila and beer.  He calls one weak and the other evil."

"I know of tequila," Alana admitted.  "Tequila and mead do not mix."  She sipped and nibbled a bite of vegetables.  "Make sure they have a proper meal.  They have plans to go over tonight and Tara with them probably."

"I miss that girl," the older woman said.  "Always nice, even to the whiny warrior babes that complain when the girls put on proper clothes instead of their battle outfits."  She looked over Dawn's outfit.  "You must have been sick."  She nodded.  "Sore mouth?  You look like you haven't eaten in days."

"Migraine.  A really terrible headache because I accessed my powers and I wasn't ready.  My jaw was clamped shut for days so I couldn't throw up."  She ate a bite of vegetable.  "What's that?"

"'Tis a root vegetable I know you don't grow down there."

"Huh.  Tastes like jicima but spicier.  It's good whatever it is.  Thank thee for sharing a plate with me, Alana."

"We women warriors have to stick together.  No male ones understand our reasons or our worries."  She smiled.  "And really, most of them need smacked a few times to learn sense."

Dawn shook her head.  "I work with some who have sense most of the time."  She settled in to tell her about Steve and the other Avengers.

Xander walked in.  "Steve's actually on the pick up list if he goes," he told her.  She smiled at him.  "The others I'm not sure.  Only the Valkyries at the battle will be able to tell."

Alana looked at him.  "Will we be needed?"

"Guarding here in case he gets free.  If we can contain him, send Valkyries, we'll need the cleaning up."  She nodded.  Talsa gave him a basket with a jug tied to the handles.  "I have no need of this much food, Talsa."

"'Tis for the young warrior wench there.  She needs a good feeding before the battle."  She smiled at Dawn.  "That is never-ending so get Thor a proper mug as well.  That way our first son quits whining.  He is ever a baby about some things."

"But he hugs really nice.  We were swimming in Xander's pond at his temple and Thor just up and hugged me, even though we were both naked."  They giggled.  "Didn't try anything though."

Alana smiled.  "Thou are lucky then.  He's had his free hand with a few of the women around here, even when he does get smacked for trying."  She smiled.  Dawn grinned back.  "Have an easy dinner and night free of thought then come back to it, Dawn.  It will all work out."  She nodded and hugged her then the older woman.  She looked at Alexander.  "Be her mother the same one?"  He nodded, smiling slightly.  "Then it'd be for the best if neither of you died or else we'll recruit her to come smack you both around for eternity."  She stared at him.

He smiled.  "There's every chance if I die I can't be gathered."  She slumped.  "He is that strong.  Thank you for easing her worries and making her eat," he said quietly.  He followed Dawn, taking her back to SHIELD.  Everyone else was there.  He paused to pour his uncle a large glass of mead.  "The women in the kitchen said to quit whining and to remember that mead plus tequila gives a hangover that has one begging for beheading."  He stared at his uncle.

"You were at home?"

"I talked to the dwarves about a battle outfit for Dawn.  They make the best chainmail."  Thor smiled and nodded.  "Which won't interrupt her magic."

"Aye, that is wise.  Thank thee, nephew."

"Welcome, Uncle."  He led her down to where he could feel Barton and Natasha.  He knocked and heard the groan.

"We can wait but Xander got us dinner," she called.  Clint opened the door with a grin.  "Dinner from the kitchen up in Valhalla."

"Roast boar, roasted veggies, bread, cheese," he said, handing it over.  "Mead to wash it down."  He stared at him.  "Share.  Alana said so and to give Tara some too."

Clint looked back and got a nod so he grinned at the god.  "We can invite them down for dinner.  Thank you."

"Welcome.  She has chainmail coming," he told Natasha.  "The dwarves are making it special.  It will not react to her magic at all."  That got a smile from the older woman.  "Eat, you're all too damn skinny and I'll have to tell Joyce.  She does demand I tell her."  He walked off.

Clint let her in and called Coulson and Tara down for dinner.  Dawn summoned some plates, forks, and glasses from the mess hall.  They floated in with Tara and Coulson.  "Xander had to hike home for a bit but he got us dinner."

Tara took the basket and sniffed.  "Boar."  She laid things out on the table in there, letting them all get it.

"Very well roasted," Clint said, moaning at the tender, juicy meat.

"Spit cooking," Tara said with a smile.  "They have a huge fireplace and dogs to turn the spit."  She handed Phil his.  She looked at the jug.  "Never-ending?"  Dawn nodded.  Tara sniffed once it was uncorked.  "The old stuff.  It's very smooth but extremely strong."  She gave herself very little and watered it down.  She settled in to fix the herb mixture.

"What's that?" Phil asked.

"Up there, mead is served warmed with herbs."  She summoned a few she didn't have and made the herb slurry, warming the mead and pouring some in each.

Dawn moaned.  "That is how Alana's tasted.  That's damn good."

The others smiled and tasted it, nodding they liked it that way.  They settled in to eat and forget.  Mead was excellent at making you forget why you were worried.  It also made a lot of people hungry so they actually demolished most of dinner.  Tara saved some back for Thor and put it in the basket.  They settled in to drink and relax for a while longer.  Even Tara had a second half-glass of mead.

Dawn snapped her fingers.  "While I was meditating, Loki showed up to me and handed me this book. Xander said it's a choose your own adventure and answers book for witches."  She pulled it out of her pocket and handed it over.

"He lies," Tara said.

"Xander said he checked it."

"Choose your own adventure?" Natasha asked.

"You make decisions and the story changes," Phil said.  "Give it a test," he said.  "Something that you know the answer to." 

She got handed his pen and wrote in it.  It gave her a good answer and she did what it wanted.  Then she asked her question about how she could protect those she loved during the battle.  The answer she got back stunned her.  She wrote another question and it said normally it would but if she got pregnant it would protect them and her magic would not fade.  Tara wrote thank you and closed it before more than Dawn got a look.

Dawn shrugged.  "When I asked it said I needed to open the hole wider during the battle and to probably quit spewing during it."

"You do," Phil agreed.  "You also go into 'fuck this shit' mode a lot.  You complain so you get out of your own head during the fights you've been in.  Like that one in LA that you weren't supposed to be at."

"I was at the coffee shop with another student studying," she reminded him.  "It was not my fault that two high demons decided to appear there to start their takeover bid of LA."

He smiled at her.  "I think I spent that whole engagement telling you to quit swearing."  He took a sip of his mead.  "The official report said something like 'Dawn Summers swore 'fuck' 197 time and was chastised by Agent Coulson 161 times'.   I was impressed the agent did such a precise count and moved him up to handle more paperwork-centered tasks on the hell carrier."  She giggled.

"Even Pepper yelled at her to quit swearing and she was not on the communication system," Natasha said.

"I say it a lot less now and half of that was either I tripped while moving because as soon as I flashed up magic to do the spell Wes couldn't thanks to being knocked out I became the primary target or the screaming 'fuck you' match with Angel."  She sipped her own.  She looked at the book then at Tara.  "I saw."  Tara winced.  "So go for it."

"I...  It's not the right time."

"When is there a right time?  Every spring there's an apocalypse.  Each fall has something slightly smaller."  Tara nodded.  "Only so many safe months of the year, Tara."

"I wouldn't know..."

Dawn shifted over and blessed her.  "If even Hera would bless it to protect you, then do it," she said quietly, staring at her buddy.  "You might not get a chance again, Tara.  Remember, we have a real battle coming up."  Tara sniffled and nodded, hugging her.  She prayed to Hera, who answered by making sure she'd be safe.

Phil was watching them.  "Dawn, why don't you go ask Natasha embarrassing questions," he said quietly.  Tara stared at him.  He shrugged and smiled slightly.  "If you want, I'd be honored," he assured her.  She moved over to hug him.

Dawn smiled and got up to walk over to the bed, pouring them the last of the prepared mead.  "That's a scary thing but a good one."  She sat on the foot of the bed.  "Sorry if we interrupted."

Natasha shrugged.  "It happens.  We needed to eat anyway."

"I can totally give you guys privacy," she offered.

Phil looked over.  "Don't you dare teleport while drunk, Dawn.  You might end up in Burbank again."  She rolled her eyes and sighed.  Tara giggled.  He pulled her closer, wrapping his hand in her hair.  He tried a gentle kiss.  He knew she had no experience with guys and very little with women of good quality.  He could be very gentle with her.

Dawn shook her head.  "Do something once and he never lets you forget it."  She got up.  Clint pulled her back down.  "It's kinda clear there's five people for a four-person activity," she said.

Natasha stared at her then at Clint.  "An explanation?" she asked quietly.

He finished his drink and put the glass down.  "Did you know that they're calling her the Mini Black Widow?" he asked her with a smile.

"I did and she kicked the last one in the jaw," she agreed.  "That same day with the black dress.  I was proud."  Dawn grinned.  "Ah," she said, getting it.  She smirked at him.  He grinned back.  "I have no idea if she has ideas or questions in that direction?"

"Huh?" Dawn asked.

Natasha pulled her over to kiss her, making Dawn moan.  "Perhaps you can learn other things as well."  It was nice and Dawn was nicely calm and pliant but not more than highly tipsy.  It would go well.

Phil shook his head, looking at Tara.  She was a pretty girl.  She was very warm in his lap.  He ran a hand up her back, making sure she wasn't going to flinch at anything.  This first time he'd let her have the privacy of their clothes.  He pulled her into his lap in a better position and got them both free, slowly sliding in.  He winced when he felt the barrier but pushed through as gently as he could.  He slowly helped her feel better, getting her back into it. 

She shivered but he kissed her, keeping her mind on the goal.  She finally came so he got to.  He knew that the female orgasm was important to conception.  She went limp against his chest, panting.  He stroked over her hair and arms, letting her calm down.  He finally got her out of her shirt and skirt but not her half-slip.  She was blushing hard.  He'd respect that.  He got down to his boxers and it was nicer.  She was exploring and taking the time to figure things out.  When she kissed him, he flipped them over so she was on her back and it was his turn to help her calm down and make her happy.

When they were done she laid there panting, feeling the changes already starting.  "Thank you."

He kissed her jaw then gently kissed her.  "If you want, I'll help where I can."  She smiled and cuddled him.  In the morning he'd see about doing something so she could have a second one some year if she wanted.

On the bed, Dawn and Natasha weren't exactly wrestling but it seemed like it.  Clint helped by stripping off the shirts getting in their way.  He nipped Dawn on the sensitive spot on her side, earning a gasp.  Natasha looked at him.  He grinned back.  "She's got a few lower feeling areas."

"Good to know.  I'll have to explore that."  She flipped Dawn onto her back and did indeed have fun exploring.  She found a second spot that made Dawn moan.  She found that Dawn was a shrieker but Clint protected them and Dawn did a muting charm.  That was very nice of her.  Dawn made grabby hands and pulled her up, moving to do the same thing.  "A bit more pressure," she suggested, holding her in place.  Dawn bit her and she moaned.  "That was good."  Dawn grinned and licked the nipple then moved to the other one.  Her hands were busy stripping Natasha's shorts off and then it was all good fun.  Natasha moaned.  "Rhythm, Dawn.  Please?"

Clint moved down to whisper in Dawn's ear then took over showing her.  "Do what I do."  Dawn did as well as she could and it was good.  Natasha was happy with it.  Clint was happy with it.  Natasha flipped around so they could get each other and Clint was out of luck again but he was helping Dawn please her.  It was appreciated.  Dawn was not very experienced in this art yet.  Dawn definitely liked different things, including more gentle attention than she did.  She found the slight case of lack of feeling was alleviated with a vibrator.  Dawn yelled and nearly fell off the bed.  Clint held her steady.  He winked at her.  "I don't think she has one of those yet."

"Do," Dawn panted.  "Can't find the right angle."

"That comes with experience."  She slowly made her way back up.  "Clint?"

"Did she regrow it again?" he asked quietly.  Natasha nodded.  "We need to find a way to end that."  He took a kiss from her, a deep, taking the taste from her mouth kiss.  Dawn was touching herself since they were kissing over her.  She took the vibrator and flipped it on, using it on Natasha's chest since it was closest at hand, making her shiver.  Slowly working it down her body until it found a spot that made her tense and hiss in pleasure.  Dawn leaned up to tease it and moved the vibrator lower.  Clint got Dawn for now.  She was distracted so it was easier to rebreak the renewal again.  She flinched.  "Shh.  Just me."

"I need to find out to cancel that potion."

"You will," he promised.

"We will," Natasha agreed.  She hadn't thought of it but Dawn had been broken in many times recently.  That did not make any woman happy.  It made her date of the evening work harder as well.  She shifted and Dawn moved the vibrator.  Natasha took over and kissed her, then used it on Clint's balls, making him shout and lunge.  She laughed.  "I do like seeing you like that," she said in his ear.  "Is he not handsome like that, Dawn?"

"He's very handsome like that."  She kissed them both then wiggled free.  "I think it's your turn."  She kissed Natasha again, helping Clint pin her down.  Clint was working his way into her so she kindly leant her tongue to the endeavor.  Natasha was wiggling and pushing back.  Clint kissed her to take her mind off helping, letting Natasha get off after a few more strokes.  Of course, he got shoved onto his back and she got put over his face. 

Natasha was having fun with her riding time.  Dawn seemed to like oral sex, it would be nice.  She watched what he did.  Dawn wasn't exactly delicate but he was nicer to her body than he was to Natasha's.  Dawn was a wiggly shrieker and that was fine.  They had learned to be more discreet because they had to find places out of view.  Dawn hadn't had to learn that lesson yet.  Dawn was trying to ride so Natasha got her off and switched places with her, leaning to kiss her.  She saw the wince of pain.  "Already?"  Dawn panted and nodded. 

"That is not fair to anyone."  She helped ease Clint into the right spot and soothed Dawn.  Tara was chanting something quietly but it didn't stop the potion from working.  They'd have to handle it before it ruined Dawn's future enjoyment of anything.  Dawn finally came and went limp.  Clint groaned, trying to hold it in.  Natasha smiled.  "Go ahead.  I'm nearly done."  He pulled her hips closer to get back to her, knowing what she liked from old practice.   She came easily and he finally let himself go.  They arranged themselves.  "Does she want the middle?" Natasha asked quietly.

"She likes to cuddle and be held."

"Then I'll take your back."  They arranged themselves and it was better.  Though she would have to look at the potion to see if there was a way to counter it.


Thor walked in the next morning holding his head.  He sat down at the table, wincing at the sound his seat made when he sat.  Tara walked out with the basket, handing him his plate.  He blinked at her.  "Thank thee," he said quietly.  "Greasy boar and vegetables cold the next morning is a fine reward for having a rushing spring river for a brain."  She patted him, doing a minor healing spell.  He relaxed.  "You are truly meant to be a goddess, Tara."  He paused.  "How did that happen?"

She smiled at him.  "No mentioning it yet," she said quietly.  "It's protected."

"I can tell the power."  He ate a bite of meat.  "You will do better than my own did."  She patted him and left the basket there.  She had even left him a tiny glass of cold mead thinned with water.  It was welcome to help the pain in his head.  He should have listened to the advice that tequila and mead did not mix.  His nephew was wise at times.

Tony walked in.  "Breakfast?" he asked.

Thor nodded.  "Alexander went home for something and brought a proper dinner back for some.  This is a drinker's reward, both evil and sweet."  He finished up.  He almost felt human and he could approach godly later, when his head hurt less.

Tony sat down at the table.  "Any idea where he kidnaped Dawn to for a day?"

"Probably with him.  He said something about getting her fitted for battle clothes with the dwarves."

"That'll help."

"She can wear armor like Widow," Fury said, coming out to join them.

"She said it might interfere with her magic," Tony said.  "All the synthetic material surrounding her."

"Oh."  He grimaced.  "Where are they?"

"I have only seen Tara," Thor said.  "She kindly ministered to my folly of not following good advice."  He burped and grimaced.  "Sorry."

"What did you drink?" Fury asked, looking tolerant.  "So I can ban the others from doing it."

"I have had to substitute something strong enough to replace the mead I was missing.  Tequila is strange and bad for me but it made due.  Last night I got proper mead and my nephew warned me.  I did not listen."

"Tequila and mead, probably not a good idea," Tony agreed.  "Chased it with beer?"

"Chased?" Thor asked.

"The drink after the liquor to help wash it down?"

"No, that is for minor meals."  He yawned.  "Now I'm full and sated for a bit.  Are we meeting?"

"In two hours," Fury said.  "You have a bunk, Thor."

"Aye and I'm for it."  He wandered that way.  He would not wonder why he felt Dawn's magic shielding a room.  It was not any of his business, it was his nephew's business.


Dawn was in the shower, wincing as she moved.  Natasha slid in behind her.  "Sore?"

"Very, in multiple ways."  She got smirked at.  "Not from that."

"We were thinking, because it is quite unfair to you.  Can you burn the potion from yourself?" she asked quietly.

"I tried but I can try again."  Natasha patted her.  "Let me get out of your way."  She got out and dried off, putting on her clothes from yesterday and 'porting home.  She had to find something to wear that wouldn't rub her the wrong way.  Unfortunately she still had to wear underwear.  It was going to be a long day.  She found the most comfortable pair she owned, which was not sexy in the least.  She found a pants outfit. 

She put her hair up and then sat down to do her makeup because she looked like hell.   She texted Pepper that she was almost ready and would be right there.  She got back to go to SHIELD to help Phil because nothing needed to be done at the office.  She sent back an ok and 'ported back, signing in properly.  She got onto the elevator.  One of the guy stared at her.  "What?"

"Are you all right?"

"Fine."  She smiled weakly.  "Longish night."  They stared.  She growled.  They backed down because they had heard she had turned Fury into a girl for a week.  She had proved her point too.  If he had broken himself in he could've turned back within hours.  But he didn't.  She walked up to Phil's office, knocking before walking in.  He put the pamphlet he was looking at away.  "Like I care what you're doing with sperm donation," she said quietly.  "Tara might like a second one some year."

"I'd put your name on there as well in case you needed a sample."  She smiled.  "Hangover?"

"Not really."  She sat down to go over what he needed to do.  He made her look at him.  She closed the door and locked it.  "How long does the potion last?  I'm so sore, Phil.  It's not fair to him and I'm really sore each time.  It's like it gets worse.  I nearly flinched from being touched again."

"I can't find anything on the potion," he admitted.  "Quit undoing it if it hurts that much."

"That makes me vulnerable."

"Not really.  Not now.  They'll have to summon him, not sacrifice someone."  He patted her wrist.  "Otherwise?"

"Otherwise, if we could counter the potion, I'd like to offer myself for stress relief.  Just not until we can counter it."  He nodded.  Someone knocked.  "We figured you were out there," she called, unlocking it magically.

Clint walked in and stared at her.  "It bothers you?"

"Clint, each time it hurts more and more," she said quietly.  "The rest is great but it's not fair to you or whoever to have to start over and frankly, if I have to have that broken again anytime soon I might never have sex again."

"Can't burn it out of you?"

"I tried before.  I'll try again."  She smiled weakly.  "It's great otherwise, and if you need it, hey I'm there.  Just...not for a few weeks."

He grinned.  "That's fine, Dawn.  I'm glad I could help."

She hugged him.  "You're a great buddy and really good at it."  He smirked.  She pinched him on the chest.  "Go practice.  We'll probably have another attack before the main one."  He nodded, leaving them to talk.  She waited until she was sure no one was out there.  "Did I screw that up?" she asked quietly.

"No.  The friendship is still there, Dawn."  She relaxed and nodded, getting to work.  "You do look like hell."  She laid a hand on his and let him feel what she was, making him wince.  "Yes, no more of that."  She relaxed and they got back to work.  They got a few hours before Natasha came in.  "She's too sore to spar."

"She needs the practice and soreness can be worked out."  Dawn touched her and she winced.  "That should not hurt that much."

"Each time hurts a bit more than the last and then it lingers," Dawn said.  "I was going to do meditation practice instead."  She looked up at her.  "Tomorrow?  After I get a long, hot bath?"

"Tomorrow."  She left, going to talk to Clint.  She had no idea what was putting the young woman into that sort of pain.  She didn't have that sort of pain.  Dawn didn't usually have that low of a pain tolerance.  "She can barely walk so we'll spar tomorrow."

"Why can't she walk?"

"Pain."  He stared at her.  "I do not know."  He nodded, sighing at the end.  "I know she worries that she messed things up as she'd put it."

"Nope.  We're still friends."  He grinned.  "Same as you and I are."

"Good.  We will spar tomorrow then."  She got her own weapons to practice with.  "Why is Tara glowing?"

"I have the feeling she had a life's goal met last night, on purpose," he said quietly.

"Hmm.  She will do fine and there is never a good time to make that choice."  He nodded.  "Dawn will shield it if Tara can't I suppose."

"Tara's not going to be at the battle.  She'll be with the coven keeping the other hellmouths closed."  Natasha nodded at that reason.  "Then we'll have to see.  We have a month and a half."

"Yes we do."


Xander appeared in Loki's bedroom, smiling at his dad.  "Hi, dad.  You were supposed to get me three books?"

"Son, I am busy," he said.

"I can see that.  Hi, ma'am."  He smiled at her.  Then at his father.  "We do need those books."

"I left them on your table."

"No you didn't."

"I did."

"You didn't.  Bia would've found them.  Or John."  Loki shuddered.

The woman underneath the chaos god poked him.  "I didn't know you had children."

"I have two children.  This son, Alexander, and a daughter/son by another mother.  She was a bit messed up."

"Yeah," Xander snorted.  "Not her fault."  He stared at him.  "Hi, Alexander Harris."

Her eyes went wide.  "The new guy that helps the Avengers now and then?"  He smirked and nodded.  "Well."  She looked at Loki.  "You have much potential."

"Dad, before you get back into her, journals," Xander prompted.  "Before I have to pop in at a campaign stop?  We only have a month and a half."  Loki magically searched and found them in his office, bringing them so he can hand them over.  "Thanks!  See you later, Dad, and Miss, hopefully not that much of you since my consort might mind."  He disappeared.  He had totally embarrassed his father.

He looked at her.  "He's a dreadful child."

She laughed.  "He has promise from what I've heard.  It does give you more political capitol as well."

"Yes, well, his promise does come from me.  We are named Silvertongue for a reason."

She purred.  "I remember."  He went down to prove it to her.  His husband needed her support and Loki had wanted to feel a woman again instead of a man.  It was all for the greater good of his plans.


to next story

back to index