Fussing at Old Ones.

Tony walked up to Dawn, reading something on his tablet computer.  "Why are you paying property taxes in Guatemala and Brazil?" he asked.

"Something Xander taught me."

Tony stared at her.  "You chose places you've been for fallbacks?" he asked quietly.

"Not in my name, mom's name, Buffy's name, nothing like it."  He relaxed.  "I had it registered in the name of a supposed limited liability corporation that leads back to about three others and to an identity that got used once in Thailand."

He considered it.  "Not bad.  Did they teach you that?"

"No, CSI shows did."

He laughed.  "Okay, I guess that's good enough.  Are they safe?"

"The one on the lake I bought both lots and put in a groundskeeper.  I hated to mow over the frogs and Clint hated pruning vines.  That's why we moved onto something more like they were used to before SHIELD."

"I can understand that.  The other?"

"Nice condo.  I have plans on visiting as myself, saying I had rented it to myself for a few weeks.  The other identity goes to a security company."

"Did you check to make sure that was fine with them?" Tony asked.  "Because they might need to use it again."

"No, I didn't think to."  She sent that at Clint, who said they had heard she had, that identity was a throw-away, and that he was spanking for that house in Guatemala.  She sent back she had gotten both lots and the other one had a very nice vacation house now.  He groaned.  She blew a kiss and shut him out again.  "He said that was fine."

He shook his head.  "Take Pepper?  She could use a vacation."

"It's scheduled right before the Expo and she wants to go to Paris."

"Fine."  He walked off.  "Have fun."

"I plan on it."  She grinned and got back to work.  "How did you find out?" she demanded.

"JARVIS flagged your bank account way back when.  He thought it was odd you were paying property taxes."

"Can you undo that?"

"Later."  He went into the office.

Dawn shook her head, sending an email to JARVIS, who said he would undo it.  She finished up with her reports, bringing them in to Pepper.

"Is it nice?"

"Very nice, private lake, lots and lots of jungle.  Caretaker in his own cottage at the end of the road.  I check on it every little once in a while and he's done a nice job.  There's only been one attempted party by the corrupt locals and I kinda electrocuted them so they quit."  She smiled.  "They know it belongs to someone who runs a security company."

"That's good."  She smiled.  "I might go there instead of Paris.  We could use some quiet."

"Sure."  Dawn grinned and handed over the files, going back to her desk.  She found Natasha going through the top drawer.  "Advil's on the other side."  She found it and took two.  "Did it bother you?"

"No, it's a good place for a fallback.  Looking over it, it's well done."  Dawn preened.  "The other one?"

"That new building in Brazil we were wondering about?"

She considered it.  "That wasn't in a great area."

"Which made it cheaper but the olympics are going to be there in a few years.  We're six blocks from all the clubs and about a block from the gangs."

"That is nice," she decided.  "I'd like to look it over."

Dawn winked.  "If we get a whole weekend off together...."  Natasha smiled and strolled off.  "If you're his sheepdog, he's hitting on Pepper."  She went that way.  Dawn went to gather reports.  The geek duo were pouty so she got them calmed down and back in good idea mode.  The others were huffy but yay!  She made the coffee they lived on.  She sniffed in chemistry then looked at them.  "What did you put in the coffee grounds?" she demanded.

"Salt.  Some website said to add a pinch of salt," one of them said, rubbing his forehead.  "Why?"

"It smells like bleach."  She called the infirmary to come check them.  They had mistaken the box of borax for the salt box.  Great.  She came back to sort out reports and move on to handle other things.  She made it through a whole day without any problems.  Which of course, was hampered by her alarm on Phil saying he needed help going off at two in the morning.  Her groan woke up her lovers but she said Phil needed a few things.  She grabbed them and went down, helping for a few minutes.  Once it got too dangerous she came home to take a shower and crawl back into bed.


Clint walked into Coulson's office the next morning, closing and locking the door.  He looked around, taking down the new cameras they had been installing, tossing them into the filing cabinet then he grabbed Phil.  "We do not want Dawn fighting, correct?"

"She was helping and we did not ask," he said.  He got free.  "I didn't ask and neither did Xander."

"Uh-huh.  She came home smelling like cordite."

"She did help us by providing some cover."  He handed over a newspaper article from an international paper.  "I don't even know why she showed up."

"Because she has something on you that says you needed help," he said bluntly, staring at him.

"I'll have to ease that to make sure it doesn't worry her."  Someone knocked then politely picked the door and walked in, taking his keyboard to get onto another site.   "Right after I stop Cleveland issuing an arrest warrant for her."  He called down there, taking it to the video conference room.

Clint handed her the paper, getting a grimace.  "We've got to stop that."

"She should hand over help and then leave, but it looks like it was necessary."

"Maybe.  Still dangerous."

"It is."  They walked off with the newspaper clipping.  They really had to work on Dawn's sense of timing.


Phil smiled as he walked up to Dawn's desk.  "Cleveland has decided they don't want to arrest you after all."

"They did?" she demanded.

"They did.  We talked to them about what happened and they decided it was not only self defense but also reasonable."  He stared at her.  "No more helping," he said quietly.  "Drop things and go."


"Thank you."  He patted her on the head with a smirk.  "I'm told the twins are hanging out again?"

"Tara has them all in the penthouse."  He smiled and went up there.  She huffed but got back to work.

"Dawn?" Pepper called a minute later.

She leaned in.  "If that's Cleveland, Phil said he stopped them after I winged Willow."

"No, we'll be talking about that later."  She hopped up on her desk.  "What the hell is that!"

Dawn came in to look, frowning.  "It's either a really tiny dragon or something like a poisonous lizard."  She created a capturing jar and used it.  The thing spit poison so it was a good indication it was dangerous.  She carefully slid some paper underneath it and flipped it over, clamping a lid on it.  "Let me see who it belongs to."  She looked around.  "Get away from the vent, Pepper, just in case."  She nodded, letting Dawn help her off the desk so they could leave.  Dawn called security.  "It's Dawn, we just found a poisonous lizard in Pepper's office.  That's good to know.  How many?"  She winced.  "Thanks."  She hung up.  "I swear some people have *no* sense," she complained loudly.

Pepper looked at her.  "How many?"

"Lab 48!"  She walked off.  "Stark?" she called when she spotted him.  He looked up.  She handed over the bottle of spitting lizard.  "Lab 48 created three of them.  That one just tried to kill Pepper."

"Great," he said sarcastically, looking at it.  "The others?"

"No damn clue according to security."

"Let's all take a long lunch," he decided.  He took the lizard down there to yell at them.  They could find their mutant little creatures and kill them.  Turns out they had control chips and they knew where they were, so Phil's lunch with the kids got interrupted.  They also had another fifteen sample crossbred species running around the building.  Stark had the building cleared for the day, with pay because he was a generous boss.  The people from the Bronx Zoo were more than happy to come get the samples from their labs.  The other two assassin lizards got picked up from the airshaft and handed over too.  That made people happier.


Dawn walked into SHIELD HQ, waving files.  "For the director on some new idiot's ideas to take over a country."  They smiled and signed her in, letting her head up there.  She walked into the office after a smile and wave at her mother, handing over the files.  "New idiot plans."

Fury looked them over.  "That's a bad thing."  He barely moved before the dagger hit him.  "What the fuck, Summers."

Joyce leaned in.  "That's not Dawn.  She and I are IM'ing about the holidays."  The man threw something at her.  Dawn appeared and kicked the being into a wall then snatched the illusion projector.  Then the person went out the window.  "Dear, isn't that outfit a bit much?" she complained.

"I was at home on the couch."

"It's better than the last time you said that," Fury complained.  "What is that?"

Dawn looked at it.  "I'd say it was a simulated image projector."  She tossed it at the guards walking in.  "That wasn't me.  I was on the couch talking to my mother when he appeared."  She pointed at the window.  One of the guards looked and winced.  She smiled.  "That should probably go to someone in R&D beyond Hevertes considering her name is on the back."  They nodded.  She looked at Fury, then at her mom.  "Need help?"

"No, it's not as much work as you said it was."

"They're all behaving before I show back up."  She winked and disappeared with a cheery wave.

"Find out what the fuck that does," Fury ordered.

Joyce scowled.  "Did no one ever soap your mouth?"  One of the guards started to laugh as he walked off.  "Really, Director.  You sound like a common thug sometimes.  Not even the sailor I used to date before I married swore that much."  She got back to work, handing over the form.  "For the window repair."  He signed it and huffed off.  Joyce posted that through the inter-office mail to maintenance.  Agent Hill was giving her a funny look.  "The head of the FBI called him 'that vulgar, swearing, one-eyed, disabled joke of an agency director' on Fox News."

"He's called him worse to his face," Agent Hill admitted with a smile.  "What was that?"

"Dawn said a simulated image projector?"

"I know we were working on one."

Fury came stomping back.  "We have a leak in R&D," he announced.  "Someone find it and tell me so I can plug it."

"Would that go back to the leak in Stark's labs?" Joyce asked.  He looked at her.  "They had that one that Agent Romanoff was looking over."

"Ask her," he told Hill.  He scowled at Joyce, who pulled up that footage.  He snorted.  "Last time he called me a nigger," he said, going back into his office.

"No, for that I'd paddle him," she said dryly.  Fury snorted again.  "Maintenance has the requisition."

"Thank you."  He stared at the dagger, finding a mark on it.  He brought it out.  "Scan this in."

Joyce took it to scan in.  "I saw that at the Natural History museum the other day with Dawn and Buffy."  She handed it back and started an image search, coming up with one.  She smiled and brought up the picture she had taken.  "It wasn't the main one but that's the same mark," she said with a point.  "The brochure said something about it being a naming plate that was found at the ruins of a training school for warriors, some of the strongest of Ares' people.  Xander?" she called.  He appeared.  "Do you know this mark?"

"Yes.  That's the mark of Ares' chosen Lieutenants in the Assassins Corps."  He looked at Fury.  "Why?"  The dagger was held up hilt first.  Xander took it to look at, rubbing a finger over it.  "Not an original and they copied it.  It's been laser etched.  It's too clean. In the old days, the only craftsmen that made it was at that school."  He handed it back properly. "They hand-chipped it that and the dagger was hand-forged."

"So it's a modern version?" Fury asked.

"Or something like that.  Now, if we're talking about the Ares' Chosen group, the Electi Ares group I've heard was started in Europe, I'm not sure if they're using that mark.  I'm not real sure who they are beyond some guys who think they're pretty badass."

"Can you ask him?" Fury demanded.

"No.  We're not speaking right now.  You can ask someone to ask him for you.  Like Thor."  He shrugged.  "Beyond that, that little group that wants any metahumans on top?  I'm pretty sure they're multi-national and I'm not sure if they're part of that group or not."

"That's something to consider," Fury said.  "If it's the fate of the world...."

"Fury, you're important but not the fate of the world," Xander said bluntly.  "Steve maybe."  That got a growl.  "You've went from soldier to administrator because that's the only way your ideas worked."

Ares appeared.  "No, they're not related.  The new chosen group is people who want to be warriors.  I've already suggested your House-mate check on them."  Xander nodded his thanks.  "We aren't at war."

"Did you stick up for us?" Xander asked.  Ares growled.  "Really?  After all that went on that you saw, you thought that was a *good* idea?"

"Didn't seem to phase you any," Ares sneered.

"Yeah, kinda felt like there was someone there going 'just go for it already'," he said in a high falsetto.  He stared at him.  "I know damn well when I'm being manipulated."  He disappeared.

Ares looked at Coulson, who had walked up behind them.  "I didn't feel that," he admitted.  "I'll talk to him later.  That group of fighters is very good and they do have a few people I could recommend to a new group.  Thank you."  Ares smirked and disappeared.  He looked at the director.  "I have no clue," he said at the pointed look.  "I'll talk to him after the kids are down."  He walked off, coming back to hand over his report and then leave again.  He hadn't been this flustered in years. 

Did Xander really think it had been prompted?  He considered it, yes he probably did.  It was a bit coincidental.  He sighed.  Xander had really low self-esteem, he already knew that.  So maybe he had to have a Dawn talk with someone.  He locked his office and made sure nothing in there could catch him.  He found a sensor he hadn't noticed before and got up there to disable it by hand since it looked like an energy reading one.  He tossed it in the hall once he was done then locked the doors again so he could go talk to Xander.  He landed in front of him, just staring.  "It wasn't prompted."

"Of course it was," he muttered, sipping his soda.

He took the soda and put it down, staring at him.  "I have gotten to the point where I could feel things for you, of my own free will."  Xander gave him a confused look.  "Really."

"No," Xander said slowly.

"Yes, really.  You left that up to me and it's my decision, right?"  Xander nodded.  "Good."  He stared at him.  "Eat.  Something.  Don't make me turn into Dawn."

"But...."  Phil stared at him and he shifted.  "Um, I don't know what to say here."

"I do but I'm at work.  I'll be back after the kids are down."  He disappeared back to the building, since someone was in his office.  He came out of the empty elevator and headed back after getting some coffee.  He found Natasha in there.  He gave her a pointed look.

"That sensor is very delicate.  The director was not pleased."

"Yay."  He relocked the door but someone knocked.  He opened it and took the few letters and files.  "Thank you."  He closed and locked it again.  She got out of his seat.  He sat down.  "Did you hear that Dawn has a fallback?"  She held up two fingers.  "Great."  He smiled.  "That one house is very nice.  Private too."

"It is.  A bit big.  A bit extravagant.  It was definitely not what we're used to."

"Her either.  It met the other criteria and had the pond."  She sighed but shook her head.  "It's a nice job."

"I checked, it was."  She crossed her legs as the door opened and reclosed then was locked again.  Clint handed over the other file.  "Big news?"

"Fury's starting to get suspicious."

"He can do that all he wants," Phil said.  He looked at a few, tossing them out.  "I'm not paying for it, especially since I can make it cheaper from Radio Shack."  Clint laughed, sitting down.  "Why the meeting?"

"Training," she said.  He winced.  "They're not going to make it."

"The whole group goes to Xander's next month."  They nodded.  "We'll be cutting them down by at least two I believe."

"Probably five," Natasha said.  "I'd say more but a few have promise and desire, if not skills yet."

"I say we keep five and farm the rest out to projects," Clint said.  Dawn appeared and cuddled.  "Bad day?"

"No, not yet.  Callia just called me a bitch because I told her to quit bothering Jonathan so he could get stuff done.  He did too."  Natasha shook her head.  She looked at Phil, who shrugged.  "You confused him."

"I realize that.  I didn't see much of a choice."

"No, there's not.  How long were you thinking about all this taking?"

"Eighteen years," he said dryly.

She smirked.  "Sometimes it's really nice to have someone there to cling to."

"It is," he agreed, losing his grin.  "If it works out, it will."

"Good."  She smiled.  "Since I'm off for the rest of the day thanks to the poisonous lizards, what can I do to help?"

"Go get the twins from Callia?" he suggested.

"Tara has all three."

"Xander thinks that the agents are related and multi-national," he said.  "I doubt they'd put anything online."

"No, but there have been a few that have cautiously sent me letters."  He stared at her.  "I got a few thank you notes."

"Interesting," he said.  "You think?"

"Not sure.  I wrote back and basically said I did what I needed to do."  She went home to get the box and brought it back, settling in Natasha's lap this time.  She handed her something.  "It came in your name to the office."

She opened it and grimaced.  "They want to meet with me."

"Can I come to hurt them?" Dawn asked.

Natasha smiled.  "No.  We want them to think you innocent so they don't come after you."  She patted her so she moved.  "Your own chair?" she suggested.  "In case someone else comes in?"

"Two of the junior agents offered to Mom that they'd clear out and let me and Clint have the gym if he needed some special attention," she said dryly.

Clint laughed.  "They offered me the same thing and I said we're not supposed to do that in the building, and there's better places than the gym."  He smirked at her.  She kitty smirked back.

"Enough," Phil said.  "My office is not one."

"No, it's not," Dawn agreed.  "Your desk isn't near big enough."  He stared at her.  "Of course, the magical work room is a great one."  He shook his head.  "Could even be considered power raising."

"Not likely," Clint said.  She smirked at Phil, who was still shaking his head.  "Would any of those help?"

"A few might," he said.  "I'll hand them back later."  She nodded and disappeared.  He looked at them.  "The anniversary of the battle is soon," he said quietly.  They nodded they knew that.  "Don't keep us up?"

"There's soundproofing," Natasha noted.

"Not if windows are open."  He gave her a pointed look, getting a slight nod of acknowledgment that she had made Dawn get loud.  "Anything else I should look out for?"  She handed over the letter.  "You go with a wire," he warned.  She nodded once.  "And be damn careful.  Have someone watching your back if it's not me."

"You can."

He smiled.  "Thank you, Natasha.  We'll set it up for tomorrow?"  She nodded and they got to work planning that.  Clint could back them up.


Dawn looked up from her surfing for more helpful things at the office when she started to feel itchy.  Too much power itchy.  She looked at herself, finding herself a pretty shade of green.  "What the hell?" she muttered, checking herself over.  Yup, there was now a fourth key and it looked like a fifth one trying to start.  She concentrated and merged them with the original three.  She flashed herself to containment in Malibu, calling someone.  "Hey, Doc, it's Dawn.  I'm down in energy containment somewhere.  Someone decided to suck an extra Key or two to this realm.  Ask Andrew if it was him?  Yeah, I'm on full glow here and full of way too much energy.  Thanks."  She hung up and dropped into meditation.  This was not her doing.


Stark walked into the boys' suite, looking at them.  "Did either of you happen to decide that we needed more Keys here?"

Andrew slowly raised his hand.  "We heard about what that insane hell goddess did to the Dawn in another realm and thought it might save her there?" he said hesitantly, making it a question.  "Is it a bad thing?  It didn't hurt her, right?"

"Well, she's glowing," he said dryly.  "She's got way too much energy."  Andrew winced and whimpered.  "Next time, I want you to ask permission, I want to have a research paper on why.  That way I make sure you've thought about it.  And if you have more, no."

"There's maybe one more," he admitted.  "If we let it go back, it'll let that hell goddess win, Tony."

"Then put it into containment beside her, not in her."  He nodded, moving to readjust the machine.  "Is that mystical or tech?"

"Um.... yes?" Jonathan suggested.

"Once it's done, no more.  It gets shut off until I can look at it."  They nodded.  He walked off rubbing his head.  He liked the two geeks, and they were trying to be helpful.


Dawn was arguing with the ball when Tony got there.  "No, no one I know wants another kid.  Mom was too sick and it could kill her, and everyone would know you were caused.  She had cancer."  She and the ball of green were staring at each other and talking.  They could only hear her.  "If I knew someone that wanted another kid, I would but I don't.  I've got the other ball of glow that could use the same thing before I end up way too full of you guys. 

"Then I'd look fat and never fit into my best clothes."  The ball almost pouted.  She sighed.  "If you can get someone to agree, then I don't mind.  Hell, ask Pepper?"  The ball zoomed off.  Dawn forced the other one overloading her out.  "I don't know," she told it.  "Maybe we can find another one."  The ball flashed happily and started to hum.   "Was I fourteen in your world?" she asked.  It bobbed happily.  "Why don't you go tease Rodney?"

"Let's not," Tony warned.  "Just in case it brought some extra spatial radiation or something."

She looked over.  "Andrew?"

"He was trying to spare the yous there the pain of what that one you know faced Glory went through."

"I think that's sweet and nice of him.  I have no idea what to do with six."

"Six?" he demanded.  "Five!"


"You sure?"

"The original and my other two.  This one, the one that's going to Pepper, and the shy one."  She pointed at that one.  "That one may only be half power."

Athena appeared.  "Why did you summon them?" she demanded.

"I didn't," she said just as firmly.  "They got drawn here by someone trying to keep the me there from pain.  They're just drawn to mine."

Athena sneered.  "No one can figure that out."

"You'd be shocked," she said dryly.  "I'm surrounded by a lot of very smart people, Lady Athena."  She huffed off.  Dawn looked at the balls of glowiness.  "Do not let yourselves be taken.  No matter what."  They nodded.  "Did the me there survive without you?"  They nodded.  "Good!  Andrew would be really upset."

"So would you," Tony pointed out.

"Well, yeah, of course I would."  She petted them and they hummed at her.  Pepper brought back the other one, which was now pouting.  "I told you I didn't know anyone who wanted a mystical pregnancy."  It settled in to be petted.  "Guys, we've got to figure out how to protect you without overloading me to the point where I have to live in here."  The weaker one snuggled in.  "I like you too.  I'm not sending you back."  She sighed.  "Did it save her?"  The weaker ball of glow nodded.  "Then we'll see what we can do."  She saw a twinkling and put them behind her.  Ares appeared, staring at her.  "Andrew wanted to save the me there."

"Clearly.  You know it's dangerous to have more than one in a realm, right?"

"And yet I'm made of one and hold two other already," she said dryly.  "And that might just be why I'm in this charming containment cell at the moment."  Tony was breaking it.  "You can't have them."

"I don't want them.  I want them safe."

"The only safe place is inside me and I can't do that without becoming super powerful."

"That's not exactly safe."

"What do you consider safe?" she asked.


"I'll see if Andrew can send them back."  He growled.  Stark got between them.  "Oh, let him."  She stood up.  "You can't kill me."

"I'm fairly certain I can," he said with an evil smirk.

"I'm fairly certain you can't.   Or else I would've been in worse shape than you were during the battle."  He glared.  "Are we done with this pissing match yet?  I really have to pee and you're in the way."  Ares glared harder.  "Keep it up, watch me chibi you."  Ares looked confused.  Dawn smirked and started to chant, pulling on the extra energy they were feeding her.  Ares started to look younger and younger until he realized it and disappeared.  "Thank you for getting out of the way."  She waved and went to the bathroom, shaking her head.   She came out after doing what she needed to do, finding Isis playing with them.  "Andrew."

"I saw, child."  She smiled.  "Brave yet quite dumb."

She smirked.  "I'm not scared of the jackass.  If he kills me I'll probably ascend.  If he doesn't quit growling like a wolf pup, he can be his own dog of war," she called.  That got the growling she could hear stopped.  She smiled.  "Anyway, any idea how I can protect them from everyone?"

"They should not rest in you."

"If I knew anyone who was that desperate to get pregnant, I'd offer."

"That would help and make them a fairly weak witch."  Pepper gasped.  She smiled.  "It would.  Most of the energy would go to hold the physical form."  Dawn nodded that's how she was made.  "They could talk to yours to make sure they didn't have the same problems."  She stroked the weaker one.  "That one might not be strong enough."

"I might be able to make it a resting spot," Dawn admitted.  The goddess smiled at her.  "I can't let the other two fall into anyone else's hands though."

"No, you can't be responsible for that."  She looked at them, petting them.  "You two really do need parents."  She looked at Dawn.  "How is your mother?"

"We're waiting on a new scan later this week but we think she's fine."  She smiled.  "It's been a year."

"Wonderful news."  She squeezed the girl's hand, testing her.  "The lighter one could be safely held but you need to release energy more often."

"I'm trying to let some out daily."

"If you could do that, even just something as simple as a floating spell it would help."  She smiled.  "And learning another meditative form.  I'll teach you that later."  She stroked over them.  "You, help her."  The weaker one got absorbed into Dawn, who gasped and arched then made herself calm down.  "Now, absorb it," she instructed, showing her how.  That helped the other two and that one merged with hers.  "Even better than I had hoped."  She smiled and held up the other two.  "I have no idea."

"I want a child some year," Pepper said.  "They said I couldn't carry one."

"This would correct it," Isis assured her, scanning her.  "Easily."  She taught Dawn how to do that healing and let her do it.  Then one got put into Pepper, who gasped and held her stomach at the warmth.  She smiled, starting to sniffle.  She and Dawn hugged.  "Good.  That will be one strong little one."  She smiled at the other one.  "Dawn, may we?"

"Goddess Isis, I need to know what you plan with it.  I trust you not to destroy everyone but I'm a bit paranoid about that."

She smiled.  "I can agree being paranoid is the right thing to do.  Osiris wants to look it over."  Dawn stared at her.  She created a small necklace with the Key shrunk as a ball.  "Would that suit your paranoia?"

"It would more than suit it because I know you could protect it if someone comes."

"That's true, I can."  She winked.  "Calm down about it."

"Yes, ma'am.  I'll try."

"Good girl.  I can see why our favored helper adopted you."  She hugged her then left.  She put the necklace on and sealed it shut.  Her husband looked at her, then at the ball.  "A young sorcerer that knows the one here.  I promised I would guard it.  She is rightly paranoid."

"Excellent idea."  He touched it, smiling when it zapped him back.  "The human version is just as feisty."  He walked off happier.


Dawn looked at Pepper.  "I, um...."

Pepper gave her a squeeze.  "I was going to have one later this year somehow."  She smiled at her then at Tony.  "So I guess I'm taking some leave time in a few months."

"Sure," he agreed.  "Any idea who the father is?"

"Not a single one," she admitted.  "I wasn't really thinking about it."  Dawn shrugged.  "Let's go back home."  They got beamed back and Dawn headed home.  "Who's Dawn's father?"

"It came up without a match."  He sighed, looking at her stomach.  "Are you going to complain when we protect you?"


He smiled.  "That's fine.  I can take that."  He left her to think while he went to get a bit freaked out.


Dawn made it home and found one missing and the other sulking, hand stroking his bow.  "She couldn't bring you?"

"Not right now."  He looked at her.  "Containment?"

"Yeah, it was necessary."  She sent over why and Clint shuddered.  She showed him and only him how it was resolved.  "That way someone other than the three of us and a Goddess knows."

"That's a good resolution."  She came over to sit next to him.  "You good?"

"Bit tired.  I spent a while in meditation."  She snuggled in.  "Are you going to be okay?"

"I'll be fine."  He stroked over her arm.  "We're so sending her dirty thoughts later."

Dawn grinned.  "It means we might have to put off your birthday celebration."

Clint moaned.  "That's mean."  She smirked.  "If we have to push it back I'll accept two presents."  She gave him a squeeze.  "Are you okay?"

"I'm fine.  A bit full of energy that I need to bleed off.  I'll have it help me float something later."  He nodded.  She poked him.  "What's wrong beyond that she's on a mission?  You're pouting heavier than that."

"I'm not pouting."  Dawn floated a mirror over so he huffed.  She put it back.  "You know she and I tried this before?"  She nodded.  "It... it wasn't just the familiarity issue.  It was also that we worked together and she said she had to do something else out of the blue."

"Do you think she got worried that someone was after her?"

"No, I don't think so.  I think she just wanted to dump me."  He looked at her.  "I'm not sure...."

She kissed him.  "But you'd still have me if you wanted me," she said quietly.  "If you do..."  He squeezed her, laying them down to hold her.  "But we could help each other pout."

"I, yeah, that's what I was worried about."

Dawn smiled.  "I can't imagine anyone else being mine," she said.  "If I can't be greedy and have you both then I'll have to jealously hoard the one I can have until she realizes it and comes back to steal the most worthy thing.  Then we can set up some elaborate trap and tie her down to remind her that we made her happy."

He grinned.  "That's very geek of you."

"I try sometimes."  She snuggled in after a kiss.  "Seriously though, if she feels she has to bolt, I'm sure she has a reason.  It may suck ass, but I'm still here."

"I'll never forget that.  I can't with the way you hum while making coffee."  She poked him on the side.  He took a kiss.  "But that's....."

"I'm here.  I'm not moving.  Unless someone fires me and then I'll be a perky super assistant for someone else.  Or retire to Guatemala."  He huffed but cuddled her.  "If she does, I say we send her dirty thoughts each night until she has to show back up to complain."  He grinned.  "Then we can go with the geek plan?"

"We could go with the geek plan."

"You'd have to help me plan the trap."

"I would, you suck at them."  She laughed and cuddled him.  She was making him quit having future bad thoughts and focusing on the now.  "Would Coulson have to yell at you about the jealously hoarding thing?"

"Probably at least at first.  He yelled a few times when I was so worried about mom and was following him around the compound.  I thought at first that's why he introduced me to Pepper."

He gave her another squeeze.  "He knew you'd need an amazing woman role model."  She nodded, stroking his stomach with the hand not under them.  "Short Stuff, are you really wanting to incite me to pouncing?" he asked a minute later.

"I'm a bit bouncy but I can get up and make dinner if you want."

He looked down at her.  Then he kissed her.  "Eat and then I'll let you pounce."  She wiggled up and stripped down, going to make dinner that way.  He moaned, shifting onto his side to watch her.  She pulled out the large flat pan and the wok.  "Chinese, Middle Eastern, or Indian?"

"Indian."  She looked back.  "Unless you want something else?"

"No, that's good.  I could use some spiciness."  She grinned and got back to it.  He stared at her.  She had magically braided her hair without tying it off it so it was slowly unraveling against her back.  The food was quickly cooked and ready.  Which meant he had sit up.  She brought the bowls and flatbread out.  He moaned, digging in.  "The raisins are nicely done."  She smiled and dug into her own raisin and pork marsala dish.  The flat bread was the right sort of crispy, which was nice since she usually burned at least one piece. 

They ate and she got them milk.  It was welcome since it was a bit spicy.  Once it was done they settled in to relax and let the food settle.  They were both full.  Dawn had set everything into the dishwasher and started it.  Leftovers were in the fridge.  They were watching the news until Dawn huffed and turned it off because it was all the car crashes in the city section of the news.  She rolled over and landed on his lap, kissing him.  He ran hands up her hips to pull her closer.  "Do you really have to shave everything?"  She looked down and did a quiet spell to regrow a bit of the hair. 

"That's good.  No more dirty thoughts about your age."  He took another kiss and wound a hand into her hair, pulling her against his body.  Dawn spread her thighs to get lower and wrapped herself around him.  He shivered, letting her pull his shirt off.  "It's still there," he said when she got frustrated.  He knew she wanted skin.  He finally got down to the underarmour shirt and she huffed, pulling it off.  She saw the bruises. 

"Training."  She kissed one and it healed.  He moaned.  She shifted so she could reach the rest.  One really vivid one got kissed and licked over.  "Pain stick," he moaned.  She was making him better and it was so damn sexy.  He got up, letting her cling to his chest.  He undid his pants and pushed them down, kicking them off.   She smiled and wrapped herself around him again.  He laid them down on the couch, slowly and gently teasing her until she was moaning and so horny she was going to knock him over to take it.  Then he slowly slid inside.  She scratched his shoulders but he enjoyed doing this to her, driving her so insane that she could only make pretty noises at him.  Thankfully she enjoyed the same things and pouncing him when she wanted more.

He found himself on his back, staring up at her as she slowly rode him.  He smiled and inserted a better mental song for her to hum for the rhythm she needed.  "Faster," he panted.  She did speed up and it was still nice.  She linked their fingers, pushing his arms up.  They kissed and she was getting better rhythm all the time.  He arched up suddenly and she groaned into his lips.  "I like you on top but faster, Dawn.  Please?"  She smirked meanly and braced on his chest, undulating against him while she rode him. 

He growled.  "Dick tease."  He flipped them over, nearly falling off the couch, but she landed on her stomach and he slid back in slowly, showing he had a natural gift for making Dawn explode in squeaky, breathless noises.  She came and he grinned, keeping the pace, maybe easing up a bit on her to ride her through it.  She was reaching back so he leaned over her, whispering dirty things in her ear while she grabbed onto him.

She panted and wiggled back against him, getting a bit of leverage.  She used it to flip them up so they were sitting, then she pulled off and kissed him, leaning down to lick him clean.  He groaned. "Oh, god, Dawn."  She smirked and licked up him, staring at him.  "Yes, babe, if you want it, that's all yours."  She went down on him properly and it was so damn warm, so soft, so sweet of her.  He came and went limp, letting her clean him up.  She laid down on his chest, one hand teasing his nipple.  He swatted her hand.  "Recovery time, Dawn."  She laughed and kissed him.  He moaned.  "That's something I haven't done recently."

"Thankfully the few waxing scabs are gone."

"It is, yes."  He smirked.  She snuggled into his chest, smiling and teasing his side with her nails.  He swatted her hand.  "No scratching there."


"You used to be more vocal."

"I got told I get too loud."

"I liked it."

She smiled.  "'Tasha told me about the whole chemical incident in Germany that kept you two in a guard tower for eight hours with guards walking circuit below you."

"That was a bit...exciting but not for every day things."  He kissed her.  "You can be as loud as you want here.  If we're in a storage room at the Tower, then be discreet."  She winked.  "I doubt they'd like that."

"Yes they would.  Tony was wondering why I hadn't dick teased recently."

"Because you're saving it for that damnable red and purple dress?"  Dawn nodded.  "Have you noticed that you mostly dress in my colors, Natasha's colors, or green for the Key?"

"That had occurred to me a few times.  Which is when I bought that tan gauze dress."  He shuddered.  "So I went back."  She took a kiss.  "Every now and then I wear blue.  Andrew said the blue behind the chainmail lace dress was about your eye color."

"It is," he agreed happily.  He took another kiss.  "Did we have leftovers?"

"Enough for lunch."  She teased his chest.  "Or there is cake in there.  I picked up a tiny cake earlier, just big enough for the three of us to have modest slices, or two really good ones, from the bakery."  He grinned and they got cake, coming back to turn on something for the noise.  That worked well for post-sex food needs and the frosting made nice trails on her skin he could lick off.  This time, it was his turn to tease her evilly and make her do more than squeak, squeal, and pant.  It always starts off with a kiss but by the time he had licked off all the frosting from both of their pieces of cake, he was kissing a whole other body part and making her clutch the couch in desperation. 
He looked up and found her eyes squeezed shut.  "Out loud, Dawn."  She let it out and he smiled.  That was a good noise.  He went back to teasing her, making sure she was ready because he wanted her to lose herself tonight.  He had more energy now.  He slid into her on his way up to kiss her.  She gasped and arched up into him.  He rode her hard, very hard, making her wrap her legs around his waist and just hang on.  "Why do I do all the work?"

"You keep saying I have no rhythm," she panted, trying to find something to hold onto on the sweaty skin.  "Clint, please!" she begged.  "Please!"  She arched up as he hit her g-spot and she came.  She shivered and he slowed down.  She went limp, unwrapping herself.  "Oh, Goddess."  He nibbled on the skin below her ear and she moaned in pleasure.  "More?" she begged.

"Definitely more."  He went back to his pleasing exercise.  She was shivering.  He let her flip onto her stomach, licking up her back and nibbling on her neck.  "Wear something with a collar tomorrow," he ordered in her ear as he slid back in.  She spread out so nicely underneath him but gave just as good as he did.  She didn't even mind when he slipped and bit her on the shoulder.  She bucked back hard against him and that was the end of his stamina. 

He came hard, holding her in place.  She was growling.  He had left her hanging.  A few fingers twitches helped that and she went limp again.  He flipped them both over to the other end of the couch so they weren't in the wet spot and cuddled. He finished their cake with his fingers, letting her lick them off.  That was good and they could nap here for a bit until they got chilled.  Then they'd go to bed.


Phil looked down at the floor then at the kids.  "Some day you'll have that," he told them.  "Of course I'll threaten them properly so they know not to be whiny about anything strange you grow up liking."  He teased them, watching them crawl around and bat at each other and the bears he was holding.   He checked the clock then them.  "Bedtime?"  They crawled off.  He smiled because he had them trained to respond to one command.  It was so great.  Hopefully more commands would come easily.

They headed for the bathroom because they knew it was bath time as well.  He got them scrubbed down and took them in to diaper, dress, and put down.  A long story and they were asleep.  He carefully moved Melissa to her own bed.  John would wake up if moved.  He went out to the living room to relax and plan how to show Xander that he might be interested, no matter what his low self esteem thought.


Tony looked at Pepper's stomach, getting a grimace back.  "Just foreseeing it."  He leaned down to spread his hands over her still very flat stomach.  "We need to start lotioning so you don't have to worry about as many stretch marks."

"I think we can worry about those later."

"No, I'll want to tease them and that's mean."  He kissed her navel, looking up at her.  She smiled and played with his hair.  He stood up, taking a proper kiss.  "You were seriously going to use someone else?" he asked, staring at her.

"It'd get weird and hard, Tony."

He kissed her again.  "It hasn't with Buffy."

"She's not me."

"No, she's not."  He kissed her again.  "I'd let you set most of the rules."

"You usually do then break them."  He groaned.  "We'll see."  He nodded, pulling her into his lap to hold her and kiss her.  "Tony," she sighed.

"Was that a headache noise?  Because I know a great cure for it.  I learned how to give excellent neck massages."

"I know you do.  I've had a few."  She smiled.  "I could appreciate that, but no lower back.  You can't until after I've delivered."

"I totally get that."  He helped her out of her shirt and got some oil, coming back to do her shoulders and neck.  She was groaning and gripping her knees with her nails.  "Here, hold onto me so I can do your arms," he said quietly, shifting her hands for her.  It was great and she was nearly asleep by the time he was done.  "Whatever you need, Pepper," he reminded her.  She snored.  He smiled and helped her curl up on her side on the couch, covering her with a throw blanket.  He went to shower and think.  He had to think.  He really had to think.


The next day, Steve showed up and blinked at Pepper.  "Morning.  You look happy."

"I am," she said with a smile.  "Tony's in his lab looking up stuff that he already knows."

"Thanks, Pepper."  He walked that way.  He got let in by the AI and walked up behind Tony, seeing what he was looking up.  "Who's pregnant?"

Tony spun and smiled.  "Pepper."

"I didn't know you two were that serious again.  That's great," he said, hiding that he was a bit upset.  It meant a lot less time with Tony.

"No, nonononono," he lead him off to a closet to shove him in there, hissing in his ear what had happened.  There were no audio or video signals in the closet.  Not even JARVIS could see in there.  "No one knows outside us three, Dawn and Clint, and Andrew and Jonathan."

"Wow.  So... that's a future Dawn?"

"With less magic."  He grinned.  "She was thinking about going to the genius sperm bank and I nearly pouted at that idea of hers."  He let him out.  "So that's what we're thinking about and making future plans to get the baby a bodyguard."

Dawn cleared her throat.  "He or she may not be as bad.  Beyond that, I'm a bit jealous.  The baby will get to really grow up, not just have implanted memories.  They'll get to play and laugh and be a baby.  Something I never did."

"You'll get to see it from the other side though," Steve said.

"Maybe.  If they work.  No one said that the ones they constructed work, Steve."  Tony punched her on the arm, getting kicked back at.  "Jackass."  She smiled at him.  "We're all happy for Pepper.  She wasn't sure she could before."

"I'm very happy for her."  He grinned.  "This means you get to hold a baby shower."

"I do, yes."  She smirked.  "I'm still figuring out how to do that."  She kicked at Tony when he walked past her again.  "Andrew pouted but I got him calmed down and thanked him."

"That's good.  I'm storing that machine in case we need to reach across a realm and pluck something from there, like you being kidnaped across one."  She rolled her eyes.  "Don't you have work to do?"

"Only to come make sure you make it to the board meeting."  She smirked.  "In an hour."

"Crap," he muttered.

She smiled at Steve.  "It'll be fine.  He'll be scatterbrained again."

"I remember what he was like when Buffy got back from Pegasus."  He looked back at Tony then at her.  "Do they make regular baby toys?  I know he got Callia some sort of plasma tv thing and a few other things."

"Of course they do."  She took his phone and pulled up a site.  "That's what babies are allowed in the cribs."

"No bears?" he asked.

"Suffocation risk."

"Oh."  He nodded.  "So they're for later playing."  She nodded.  "That's great."  She found one and let him see it.  "That's sweet.  I like that idea."

"Or there's the ever popular diaper gift certificates.  You can buy whole months of diapers."  He laughed and nodded.

"She'll probably use a diaper service," Tony said.  "She said so with Callia."

"We'll see.  Cloth diapers can leave stains everywhere if you don't catch it in time and it overflows the plastic covers."  Tony gave her an odd look.  "They can."

"They can," he agreed.  "We tried with Callia.  She did not like the squishy feeling."  He shook his head.  "Maybe a cloth one inside a disposable one."

"You'd still throw away as many disposable, boss.  Board meeting."

"Yup, Miss Nag."  He waved a hand, making lists of things they needed.

Dawn walked over to cross a few off.  "You kept Callia's."

He paused.  "You think she'd let me give them to her?"

"Probably.  She picked them all out."

"Good point."  He made that note and fixed his prior ones.  She added in a few.  "Formula?  Do you think she'd want to breast feed?"  Steve whimpered.  "Sorry, but it is better for the baby."

"Some modern mothers get downright snippy and evil if you don't," Dawn told him.  "It's like Mommy gangs showing up to beat non-compliant moms for not breastfeeding and not using cloth diapers.  And then others gang up on moms for breastfeeding in the park and things."  Steve walked off shaking his head.  "You should see some of the mommy gangs in the park.  Phil nearly had to shoot one to get them off the twins and Tara."

"I think Agent Hill could do it better," Tony quipped.  She added in another mention of the board meeting and he grabbed things to go to it so she'd quit nagging.  "Thanks, Miss Nag."

"Welcome."  She smirked and waved, then tidied up and prepped the coffee maker for when he got back.  She walked out and locked the lab, heading upstairs.  She ran into Pepper in the elevator.  "I got him going."

"Thank you."

"He was making lists."

"I figured he was."

"I suggested you could probably take Callia's crib.  Since you had picked it out anyway."

Pepper smiled.  "It will look great in my spare room that used to be my study."  She got off on the right floor and Dawn went up to hit her desk and handle things while she was there.


Over in SHIELD HQ, an alarm was starting at the bottom levels.  Joyce heard it and moved to her designated safe spot.  Fury and the others were rushing off.  Joyce didn't know what the alarm was for but she noticed everyone switching to tranquilizer darts so she had a pretty decent idea.  She mentally arranged herself for this.  When the Hulk showed up, everyone fired on him.  He yelled.  "Stop it," she ordered.  She walked out and over to him.  He roared and she stared at him.  "They won't attack."

"Joyce, move," Agent Hill said.

"No.  He won't hurt me or I'll kick his butt later."  She looked at him, staring at him.  "What happened?"  He roared.  She moved closer, taking out the few darts that had stuck.  "That's not a good idea.  It just makes him more pissed off."  He made a fist.  "You do that and you're going to be damn sorry later, Mister."  He tipped his head, looking confused.  She stared at him.  He grabbed her and took off.  "Nor are you King Kong," she complained. 

She found another dart and plucked it out.  He stormed into a room and she pointed.  "That way."  He ran that way.  At least he was slightly listening.  She got them into the incoming supply shipping bay and let him find somewhere to hide.  She settled in with him, patting his hand.  "Calm down, Bruce, and we'll talk."  She noticed he was listening.  "Do not come near here," she snapped.  "You're going to make him panic worse, people."  They backed off. 

"Set a guard on the doorway."  They did that.  She got up and he made a grab for her.  "Shhh."  She leaned on his shoulder, looking over his hair.  "You have a knot.  Does it hurt?"  She touched near it and he flinched.  She kissed his forehead.  "Is that what made you change?  Did you get hurt?"  She soothed him and he calmed down, slowly but he was starting to shrink.  She heard the radios and thought at Phil, who showed up to make sure everyone stayed away.  "Did he get hurt?"

"Yes.  There was an explosion in the lab above him, it crashed part of the ceiling on him.  He changed to protect himself and then apparently went looking to protect you."

"He does a very good job of it."  She was teasing his ear, making him frown and bat at her.  She smiled.  "I know you hate it when I play with your ear.  If you're less green you could make me stop."  He growled.  She kissed him on the nose.  He pulled her around to cuddle her.  "C'mon, Bruce.  You can come back.  The mean ceiling was defeated and I'm okay."  He shivered but finished calming down.  She cuddled him.  He gave her the most pitiful look.  She kissed him.  "You didn't do more than try to growl at me when they were firing on you, dear.  I knew damn well you wouldn't hurt me."

"I could have."

"No, you can't."

"I can.  I might; you have to not do that, Joyce."

She made him look at her.  "You won't."  He slumped.  "You came looking for me to protect me."  He blinked.  She nodded.  "You weren't going to hurt me.  Not this time.  Maybe if you're in a battle sort of rage, but not this time."  He shivered but she wrapped herself around him.  "Calm down," she soothed.  "Then I'm looking at that egg on your head."  He reached up and winced.  She kissed it and he slumped.  She helped him back to his calmer spot and just let him hold her for now.  She looked up at him finally.  "It's nearly lunch."

"They're going to flinch away from both of us."

"Maybe."  She patted him on the wrist then kissed him.  He groaned.  She smiled.  "We need food for that too," she said in his ear, making him huff a laugh but squeeze her.  Someone tossed in some clothes.  "Thank you."  She handed it to him, helping him up so he could put them on.  She pulled his head down to look at the knot.  "That's really big.  You aren't seeing double or have any ringing in your ears?"

"No, no concussion," he said.  She smiled.  He put on the shirt.  She took his hand and he flinched.  "Joyce, how...."

"I'm amazing.  Look at the daughters I raised.  They had to get it from somewhere."

"They are amazing and so are you."  He kissed her hand then her.  She smiled and led him out.  They found the director glaring.  "What happened?"

"Explosion," Phil said, calling up the security footage.  Bruce winced, rubbing his head.  "The infirmary is waiting on you to scan that lump and Joyce."

"I only have a minor bruise where he squeezed too hard as he jumped a jeep," she said.

Fury stared at her.  "That was fucking dangerous, Summers."

"So is having him attacked.  If he's going on primal instinct then his first instinct is to attack back, not run away."

"You're an expert?" he demanded.

"No but I know werewolves."  Fury flinched at that.  "So yes, slightly.  Beyond that, I could tell he was panicked, not in a rage.  It was fairly clear he was panicking with the way he was looking around.  Unless he's in a total battle rage sort of state, I doubt he'd ever hurt me.  Because he knows that there'd be hell to pay later."  Bruce nodded, smiling slightly.  "I'm sorry if I broke your protocol, but yay in this case to quote my elder daughter."

Phil nodded.  "We can ask an expert in animal and primal states," he suggested.  "Have Roque ask one of his people?"

Fury looked at him.  "How would they know?"

"Well, some of us are over animals and some of the African ones do join with their spirit guides to get into that primal state," Artemis said as she appeared.

"Goddess Artemis," Joyce said with a smile and a bow.  "Have you met Director Fury and Agent Phil Coulson yet?  Or my mate, Doctor Bruce Banner?"

"I have overseen them."  She smiled, touching Bruce's temple.  "His primal battle state is different than a fear based one or an attack based one where he changed because he's being attacked.  She's right, if he's in a primal, non-battle state then attacking him does make it worse."  She concentrated and made a few exceptions for him to realize when he was changed.  "If you're in that primal, non-battle state, then you'll find somewhere to protect yourself and stay there," she said.  She smiled.  "If it's a battle, all bets are off."

"Thank you, Goddess Artemis," he said quietly.  "I don't want to hurt anyone."

"You didn't.  She's right, you went looking to protect her and whoever Callia is."

"Tony Stark's daughter and her granddaughter," Phil said.

"Ah!  I saw her.  She's an adorable little genius that will never have Athena's attitude problem."  She smiled.  "Nicely done."  He grinned at that.  "For now," she told Bruce.  "That is a concussion."  He nodded, looking down.  "Go get healed, get something to eat, finish calming down."  They bowed and walked off together, Joyce holding his hand.  She smiled at Phil.  "Good job."

"Thank you, ma'am."  He grinned slightly.  "She seemed to know."

"She did a lot of studying when one of their group found out he was changed.  Now, Yellow Fur werewolves do operate differently.  There, it's much more pack oriented."

"I heard what Dawn said about them soothing someone in heat."

"They attack the same way.  With a fireling being confused if he doesn't know why.  There, get the leader calmed down while the others growl and threaten.  If you attack them then they'll attack back."  He nodded.  "In that case, I'm fairly certain Cougar is the alpha Yellow Fur while Clay leads the human pack.  I can't be totally sure.  In that one, send in a female who's strong enough to hold off  being pinned.  She can be scared to death, but don't let her attack.  Have her act a bit submissive because wolves are alpha animals, and have her calm them down that way.  They should not want to attack her once they find out she's not making a move on the pack."

"I'll put that into our protocols," Phil promised.  "Thank you, Goddess Artemis."

"You're very welcome, Phil.  It's not many of us that would need that knowledge."  She tweaked his cheek.  "The twins are adorably messy from eating chalk."  He winced.  "Tara's in the bathroom."  She disappeared.  Phil texted Tara, who came out to stop them.

Nick Fury slowly calmed himself down.  "Yellow Furs?"

"Colonel Clay's team?" Phil reminded him.  "Pegasus werewolves."

"Them, okay.  Input that so we know.  I'm going to yell at Summers for risking herself that way."

"In that case that was the right thing to do, sir."

"In others she could get killed.  I don't want that."

"I doubt he would."  Phil pulled up something.  "After the battle out there, when someone brilliant decided to calm him down with Callia, without telling Stark."  He showed him how the Hulk had nearly went spastic on the whole infirmary staff because Callia was there.  He protected her from them.  She was cooing and petting him.  "Joyce does the same thing.  I have to think that whatever empathy Dawn and Callia show comes from her."


He smiled.  "You noticed how you felt calmer when Dawn was around in a happy mood?  That everyone feels like they can talk to her?"  Fury nodded slowly.  "She shows a very modest empathic gift.  So does her niece."  He turned off the feed.  "Her mother shows a lot of the same traits but we've never verified it."

"Her great-aunt had the same thing," Steve said from behind them.  "Raven was very much someone all the guys in and out of uniform loved to talk to, and not because she was pretty.  She made them feel better.  Even me."

"So you think it's a family gift?" Fury asked.  "We've found evidence of them in magical circles."

"Probably," Steve agreed, smiling at him.  "I think that would've made her one hell of a Raven of her own.  And Dawn.  They chose to help other ways.  Being the support structure instead of the one on the front lines."

"That's always safer," Phil agreed.  He patted him on the arm.  "People avoiding them?"

"No but there's rumors that they're getting married within weeks."

"I believe it's right before Christmas," Phil said with a smile.  Steve laughed and they looked at the director.

"Fine," he agreed.  "I'll trust her judgement but the next time, her spot is firmly behind either you or Agent Hill," he told Coulson.  "No matter what.  Also, look at better tranquilizers."

"Alexander said that one might be too weak.  He used it on Clay one night when he couldn't change back because there were idiots in higher uniforms trying to destroy his team.  That was the weakest dose.  I'm sure the infirmary took blood and we'll be able to gauge a better strength from that."  He and Steve walked off talking about it.  "Pepper's what?" he demanded.  Steve hissed in his ear.  "I was vaguely aware of that."  Steve told him the rest. 

"Oh!  That's wonderful."  He smiled.  "I'll help her find a bodyguard for the future baby."  They got on the elevator and went up to the cafeteria.  There wasn't the usual two tables of clear space around where Bruce and Joyce were sitting.  He got his own lunch and sat with them.  "Rumors are stating that Ms. Potts may be having a change of status," Phil said as he joined them.

"She's pregnant we think," Steve said with a smile.

Joyce smiled.  "That's great news!  Even if Tony will hover and drive her nuts, even if it's not his."  She ate a bite of salad.  "We'll have to help Dawn plan the baby shower."  The men all smiled at her.  "Did she go to the genius sperm bank she was thinking of?"

"Not sure," Steve lied.

"I suppose it doesn't matter.  I'm happy for her any way it happened."  She dug in and Bruce nodded since his mouth was full.

One of the agents looked over.  "They make sperm banks just for geniuses?"

Phil nodded.  "There's a few specialty banks.  That one is expensive but they only take high IQ donors, mostly with PhD's or working toward it.  They're fairly inclusive of fields of study but a lot of geniuses donate there if they don't feel they want to raise a child."

"A genius often has attention issues," Joyce agreed.  "My best friend in my youth was a MENSA member since she was eight or so.  Could not focus on anything that didn't require a microscope.  That's what ended up killing her.  She was driving and talking on the phone with her research partner.  She drifted."  She ate a bite of salad.

"Doctor Hillary Wise?" Phil asked.  She smirked and nodded.  "She did look like she had some promising ideas.  SHIELD was looking at her for possible recruitment at one time."  She laughed and shook her head.  "That's what her file said.  When we did your background check, back when we found out about your daughter, that was linked."

"There's probably a few you've got in files."

"Including two that aren't all that nice."  She nodded at that.  "He still has your picture as his perfect mate."

"I figured he did," she sighed.  Bruce looked confused.  "My very first boyfriend in college, real boyfriend not childish thing, was a geek.  Like Andrew and them, only less sane.  He believed he was the Lord of All Evil.  He role played and all that.  Which was what drove me off really.  He rode a bicycle everywhere.  Had nothing to note," she said dryly.  "He kept saying some day he'd make a great discovery and I'd come back to him.  I turned him into campus security for trying to stalk me."

Phil nodded.  "He's in the genius home up in Massachusetts.  He was tinkering with plasma energy fields to call something higher so he could defeat it and prove he was the better evil one.  DARPA slammed him in there and took his research."

She nodded.  "That does not surprise me.  That's why my next one was a biker in the Navy and then I went for someone stable and supposedly middle management.  Look how Hank turned out."  She rolled her eyes.

Bruce patted her hand.  "He'll never bother you."

She smiled.  "He won't because Phil got me the most charming taser for my birthday."

"I enjoy mine," he quipped with a grin for her.  Bruce laughed and shook his head.

"In this city, women have to be able to protect themselves.  What's a mommy gang?  Dawn mentioned it," Steve said.

Joyce patted his hand and explained about them with Phil's help.  They weren't really gangs but they could act like it.


Dawn walked in from work that night and found someone on her couch.  "Who in the fuck are you?" she asked, leaving the door open.  "Because I don't know you."

He stood up.  "I came to talk to you about getting your help, Miss Summers."

"I'm sorry, I have a job I enjoy quite a lot.  The whole breaking and entering thing doesn't make me want to work for you either."

"I believe we have things that would interest you more."

"I sincerely doubt it considering my niece is at Stark."  He quirked up an eyebrow.  Clint was telling her that security was a few minutes out, both sets.  "Why do you think I'd be interested in your company instead?"

"I don't run a company, I run an organization."

"I ran into a few *organizations* in the past.  Not really a joiner.  Sorry," she said blandly.  "The Russian mob finally got the point, I think you should probably take it sooner."

Security guards and agents rushed in.  "You will regret this."

"Why?" she asked.  "Do you have someone hostage?  Do you think I can solve all the world's problems for you?  Give me one really good reason and I won't make these nice guys witness me killing you."

"Well, we will have one hostage if we want to.  The other reason?"  He held up a bottle.  "This is yours."

She looked then shook her head.  "No it's not."

"It is."

"It's not.  That's my sister's."  She smirked.  "I'm not Buffy."

"They made you of her.  It can still hurt you."

"No, it really can't.  I have my own DNA.  Hurting Buffy just pisses Alexander the fuck off, and her boyfriend."

Hylal appeared.  "I heard a threat to my wife," he growled, sword in hand.  The man blinked and stared, trying to back away from him.  "Why are you threatening my wife?"

"We want Dawn to work for us.  We were not planning on hurting her unless it was a last resort."

Hylal picked him up to stare at him.  "Puny idiot," he sneered.  "I will rend you for lamp oil."  The man was gasping because Hylal was cutting off his airway.  "You will not hurt my spouse or my sister-in-law.  Am I clear?"  He nodded.  He let him back down.  "Dawn, are you hurt?"

"No, I'm not hurt at all, Hylal.  These nice guys all answered very quickly.  Who sent you?"

"Lady Athena."  He blushed.  "She was talking to your sister about things."

Dawn called out something and handed it over.  "That cures all of Buffy's bad moods.  It works on most women and she can still be a virgin goddess with it."  He blushed so she sent it back with him.  She hugged one of the agents.  "Thank you, guys.  Tell me who he is when you beat it out of him."

"Yes, Miss Summers," one of the agents said.  "Let Stark Security scan your apartment for bugs."

"Can you do Agent Barton and Agent Romanoff's too please?" she asked.  They nodded and walked around with sensors.  "JARVIS?"

"Yes, Dawn."

"Why didn't you tell me there was someone in here?"

"There was?" he asked.

"JARVIS, they just arrested him," Dawn said, frowning.  She was texting Tony.  "Are you all right?"

"I suppose I am.  That is a bit strange.  Yes, I can see that on the footage.  Why did I not see him?"

"I don't know.  Is Stark busy?" Clint asked as he walked in.

"No, he's not.  He's helping me look."

"Do a processor sweep," Dawn reminded him.  "You kept saying that one of your sensors in the archives was down."

"I did?"  He checked.  "There is one.  That's pernicious.  Thank you, Dawn."

"Welcome.  Let me know if I need to help."

"Of course I shall."  He hung up.

Dawn looked at the security guys.  Then at Clint, who was growling.  "I'm okay."

"I know you are."  He took her phone to call Stark, walking around the apartment to check for anything that was moved.  The tv was.  They had to confiscate it, they couldn't get the module on the back off there.  It was soldered on.

"They're so buying me a new tv," Dawn decided.  One of the guards laughed.  Steve came jogging up the hall.  "We're okay.  They're scanning for bugs."

"Mr. Stark called and said to do the rest of the building," he told Captain Rogers.  "We'll head up then down."  Steve nodded, looking at Dawn.

"I'm okay.  I stalled well."  He sighed.  "Though, I'm not sure one wasn't a threat since he said he could have someone hostage soon when I asked."  She looked at Clint, who shook his head.  "You sure?"

"Yeah, I already sent a shout that way."  He came back.  "Are you feeling all right?  You're all flushed."  He tested her forehead.  "People, do we have any sign of something like a germ canister?"

"No, I'm not sick.  I was jogging to get out of the rain," Dawn said.

"It's not raining," Clint said.  She shook her head.  He squatted down to get closer to the module on the tv to look at.  "Cap, take her to the gym," he called.  "It's another subliminal system."

"Got it."  He walked her out.   Dawn kicked off her shoes up there and had undone her jacket.  "Dawn, are you all right?"

"Yeah, a bit cloudy minded."

"Do you need to spar?"

"Cap, I'm not going to hurt you."  She rubbed her forehead.  Xander appeared, frowning and testing her.  She winced.  Xander concentrated and fixed it.  She went limp.  "Okay," she said, looking at him.  "What?"

"They wanted you to go blow Natasha's cover," he said quietly.  "So they could get both of you.  He was thinking it worked because you were dressy today."

"I'm always dressy at work."  She frowned.  "I'd never do that."

"I know."

"Clint would stop me."

"He would," Xander agreed, smiling at her.  She hugged him.  "It seems like the funny wiring from the Key would help that," he said.

"It leaves me more open to them hitting me but it makes me less susceptible to following them.  Which means I have a mental junk pile of things that now and then try to complain loudly."  Clint walked in.  "We good?"

"Almost.  My apartment's clear.  Yours has a few things so you can spend tonight on the couch."  She poked him and he smirked.  "You okay?"

"Yeah, just a bit flashy right now."  He pushed open their link to help her deal with it.   Natasha helped from her spot in DC.  She was waiting on a contact at a bar.  They got it pushed back down and shoved into the locking case that had been put in.  She sighed in pleasure.  They locked it down again, making sure Natasha's was the tightest closed.  Xander looked and put an extra thread around it that they could end from their side.  "Thank you."

"Welcome."  He checked and looked then closed Clint's off.  Dawn was echoing through him into Natasha.  That helped and he showed Dawn an alternate meditation technique to handle that.  Then he left.

Dawn looked around then at Clint.  "So, anyway," she said lightly.  He poked her, shaking his head but he was smirking.  "Any idea who he was yet?"

"Not yet.  We're looking."  He led her up to get her something for the next few days then they went up to his apartment.  He went down to get the groceries but otherwise they could settle in his place for a few days.  He did have that very nice hammock swing on his porch.  Dawn would enjoy eating dinner out there.  Especially since she ordered from the caf at the Tower and then blipped over to pick it up then back.  That helped a lot.


Xander woke up when Phil appeared, gasping and holding his chest.  "Sorry, didn't mean to scare you," Phil said, handing over the file.  "Know him?"

Xander looked, shaking his head.  "No."  He handed it back.  "Is he involved in that whole wanting Dawn thing?"

"As well as the multinational spy ring that wants metahumans on top."  He sat down.  "Nightmare?"

"Strange dream."

"How bad?"

"Ever watch _Legend_?"

"Once, a very long time ago.  Why?"

"I was just dreaming the dance scene."

"Were you the demon or me?"

"I think I was.  I hope I was.  I'd look sucky in the dress."  Phil laughed.  Xander slumped down.  "So can we stop them?  Can I help stop them?"

"You might be able to.  If you hear, I need to know."

"Of course.  Anyone who hurts Dawn gets my foot up their ass."  He looked at the clock then at him.  "You're missing dinner?"

"I was still at the office.  I'm heading home now."  He smirked and left.  He handed Agent Hill the file on his way to wash his hands.

"Great, now we know their name," Maria agreed, texting Clint that they had the file.  Steve came up to get it, having to hug the begging kids before they pouted everyone to death.  "Make sure they get that."

"I will."  He walked off reading on the way down there.  He handed the file and made sure Dawn was still all right before going back to his own place.  Maybe he was ready to start dating?  He might like to learn how to date.  It looked like fun and he was a bit lonely.  Tony was making sure JARVIS was all right.  He called over there.  "Need anything?"

"I could use dinner," Tony admitted.  "Dawn didn't get to nag me to eat lunch and I'm realizing that now because my stomach is louder than my daughter.  Callia, please quit counting?" he called.  "Pretty please quit counting?"

"I'll be over in a few minutes.  What did you want me to pick up?"

"Something with meat.  Sandwiches are fine but I have to have meat."

"And matos," Callia called.

"And tomatoes for her," he sighed.

"I can do that."  He hung up and grabbed what he needed, hitting the nice Italian place on the way over.  They made some great calzones and it was like a sandwich, only more filling.  It was dinner, it had to last for a lot of hours.  They had some baked tomatoes with cheese and a tomato pasta salad that he got for Callia.  She'd probably like that.  He paid and took it to the Tower.  One of the security guys got the door for him so he grinned. "I'm doing Dawn's nagging job."

"They're in his private lab, Captain."

"Thanks."  He swiped his pass and headed up there.  Callia ran to the door to open it when she spotted him.  "Hi."  She was staring at the boxes.  "Here."  He sat hers on the smaller table in there with her chair.  It's where she wrote and things too.  He carefully moved things to her bins that Dawn had set up.  "These are warm tomatoes with cheese, baked together, and this is a tomato pasta salad."  She tried them and beamed, digging in once he had cut the tomatoes for her.  He walked over his and Tony's dinners.  Tony paid him back and took his, inhaling and smiling.  "I thought you needed something more filling than a sub."

"I did.  I so did.  I missed breakfast by sleeping in and Dawn was at a meeting for lunch."  He cut and inhaled a few bites, nodding.  "That's great."  Steve had started the coffee maker Dawn had prepped before leaving, letting Tony have his mind's grease too.  They settled in to eat while he went over JARVIS' systems.  He had found the virus, and when it was implanted.  The other things, he found out how.  They were based on a specific metal on a sensor that the virus had told JARVIS to ignore.  Anyone wearing it would get ignored.  It was how JARVIS had ignored Pepper for a few hours too, because she was wearing earrings made of it.  That was interesting and they'd have to track that back.

"Does this relate to the guy at Dawn's, or the people from Britain?" Steve asked, eating his last bite of dinner.

"By the date, that was that Week of Stupidity as Dawn called it.  Now, if the UK agents were involved I have no idea."  He called a number and got voicemail.  "Seriously?"

"Natasha's off on a mission."

"Oh."  He called Coulson's phone to let him know.  Then he got to work fixing it and making sure it couldn't happen again.

"Daddy, I can't finish," Callia called.  Tony walked over to grab the leftovers and she smiled at Steve.  "He was still hungry," she said quietly.  He hugged her.  "Did you hear?  Auntie Pepper is having a baby!"

"I did."  He smiled.  "I'm very happy for her."

"I get baby brother or sister."

"That's up to Aunt Pepper," Tony reminded her.

"So?  Still mine," she shot back.  She smiled at Steve.  "Help me read something?"

"I can do that."  He settled in beside her little work area and helped her read a big girl book as she put it.  It was probably a boy's book since it was on dinosaurs, but she seemed to like it.  She liked all animals.  "Tony, did you hear about Bruce?"

"I did and it makes a lot of sense.  Making him panic and attack back is never a good thing," he said as he typed.

"My Uncle Bruce?" Callia demanded, scowling at Steve.  "Is he tick?"

"No, he's not sick.  He got banged on the head thanks to someone upstairs doing something and turned a bit green for a bit.  Your grandmother got him calmed down."

"JARVIS," she started.

"He's offline for the next few hours.  Use the phone," Tony ordered.  He shook his head but he was smiling.

"Phone?" she called and it came jogging over.  She smiled at her uncle.  "Andrew helped me do that."

"It's a very good phone to come when you call," he said.  It didn't even have a tentacle, he was so proud of Andrew.  Tony looked back, looking confused, then shook his head.  Steve dialed it for her.  "There you go."

"Granma, is Uncle Bruce okay?" she demanded.  "Because I come fuss if he isn't."  She listened, and twirled the cord around her finger.  She had seen her auntie doing it.   "He not green?  Because I calm him down and help you fuss.  I know, auntie taught me like you showed her."  Tony smiled at her for that.  "You sure?  Yes, Granma.  Nighties!"  She hung up and patted the phone.  "Good phone."  It purred and slunk off to the corner to turn around a few times and curl up.  "He okay now," she told Steve.

"I'm glad he is."  He hugged her.  "Is your phone a kitty?"  She smiled and nodded.  "Did you make it a kitty or did Andrew ask?  Because I'm pretty sure it's got a long neck like a giraffe."

"They not make noise though.  Phones make noise and so do kitties.  Since we have roomba puppy, we need kitty phone.  Too many doggies can make them mean.  The tv people said so."  She nodded.

"It can, yeah." 

She grinned and ran over to her father to pounce him.  He hugged her.  She wiggled free.  "Bedtime?" she asked.

He looked.  "You have a few hours."  He looked at her.  "If you're tired you can go now."  She shook her head quickly with a grin.  "JARVIS is sick so I have to do nurse stuff with him."

"You not a nurse.  Should call Dr. Pigalli."  She looked around for the phone again.

"I would if she could work on JARVIS, but since he's a computer I have to.  I'll tuck you in when it's time?"

"Okay."  She ran over and pounced her Uncle Steve full force.  "Play with me?  We have balls," she cooed.

"Sure, we can go play with the balls."  He stood up and put her on her feet.  "Show me where they are?"  She led him to the gym to show him the balls.  He showed her how to kick a soccer ball around.  It let her wear herself out and she was a bit too short for basketball.


Xander looked up when he woke up for the second time.  "The next one of you that sends the girly, romantic shit ideas and dreams and I'm coming up there!"  Suddenly, his mind felt free of all things like romantic picnics in a rowboat on the Thames.  It was a lot nicer in his head.  He flopped back down and made himself go back to sleep without the funny dreams.


Phil woke up and blinked at the ceiling.  "That's not really my style, people," he complained quietly.  "Do you mind?"  It quit.  "Thank you."  He turned onto his side and went back to sleep.  A picnic in a rowboat?  Really?  At least they hadn't been in the Victorian dresses.  He would look just as sucky in one of those as the one from Xander's dream.


Xander woke up the next morning in a fairly foul mood.  He stomped out to the training course, and everyone was gone.  They had left yesterday.  It let him wear himself out since he couldn't sleep peacefully.

Roque came to the edge of the field.  "What now?" he complained.  Xander sent him the various images from last night.  "Is 'Dite on a drunken kick?" he complained.  "You'd make a horrible English noble lady."

"Yes I would."  He waved.  "Since I can't sleep without that shit I get to wear myself out."

"Yeah, you have fun with that."  He and his teammates cleared out for the day.  They all stared at him, Jensen finishing his bowl of cereal.  "The love gods are trying again.  Girly shit that not even Dawn could coo at."  Clay shuddered.  "Though the archery scene and the dogs, he'd kill someone who hurt his dog," he called.  They quit sending that one.  "Okay then.  Let's go do something less worthwhile.  Shore leave?"

"Shore leave," Clay agreed.  They got lost in New York for a few hours.  They all had stuff they could do and O'Neill had given them the week off since their trainees were done with.


Phil walked out dressed for work the next morning.  "You look tired," Tara said.

"They prompted bad images all night."

"That bad?"

He poured himself some coffee and put in extra sugar this time.  "Picnic in a rowboat.  _Emma_."  He walked off after kissing both kids on the head.  He sent himself to the subway station.  He was not up to dealing with people on the sidewalk today.  He could create a small sub-space area around himself on the subway since he wasn't walking.  Today was going to be a very long day.

Tara waited until she was sure Phil was gone to giggle. "They think your daddy is sweet.  He is, but not like that."  The kids smiled at her.  "We should watch _Emma_ today instead of Bollywood."  It was in her movie collection so that was good and the kids liked the dresses.  "We have to figure out what to dress you two up for Halloween in a few weeks.  Not that I have any idea where you're going trick or treating," she realized.  She could look that up after making them costumes.  Some grease paint and a bit of imagination would work.


Dawn walked in the next morning, smiling at the guards.  "Morning."  They smiled once she had logged in.  "Anyone here yet?"

"Pepper is.  Stark's still in his lab."

"Okay."  She went up to drop her things, check the mail, check on Pepper, who was napping on her office couch.  Dawn covered her and checked.  The baby was fine.  She went to start her daily rounds of the labs.  "Boys, you've been here all night," she called into Lab 7.  "Eat before I nag."  She went on to get the others to eat.  She ended up in Stark's lab.  "So," she said, making him jump.  "Yeah, just after eight," she said dryly.  "Eat something?"

"I should, yes.  I inhaled dinner."

"That's what you get for not setting an alarm clock."  He snorted.  She cleaned up his lab and made him more coffee while he called down to the caf.  She went to get it for him and brought up his english muffins and nutella. 

"Thanks, need chocolate."  He dug in, looking around.

"Tara," she reminded him.  "The nanny drops her with Tara on Wednesdays."

"Oh, yeah.  It's Wednesday?"  She pulled up his calendar while he ate another bite.  "It is.  Is that a meeting?"

"Yes.  To see if you have a solution to his jet problem."

"Crap."  He looked around.  "Dawn?"  She found the folder for him to go over again.  "Thanks."

"Welcome.  There's two other wanna be consults in the mail."  She put them next to his plate.  He shrugged.  "One's Pentagon."

"They probably don't want to pay for it though."  He sighed, going over it.  "Did I think it was a wiring problem?"

"I think you said something about vanes?"

"That could be it too," he agreed, shoving the rest of that english muffin in his mouth.  She set an alarm for that meeting and left him to be the genius he was.  He smiled.  He'd have to remind her of the office halloween party.


Dawn walked into the apartment that night and kissed Natasha until she moaned.  "You're already done?"

"Not really.  Heading back out in a few days for another meeting."  She blinked.  "What was that for?"

"Missed you last night," she quipped with a grin.  She went into the bedroom.  "Are you up for our twice-weekly sparring tonight?"

"I am."  She watched Dawn walk.  "I can sense the naughtiness.  What's going on now?"

"Office Halloween party."

She winced.  "I remember the last one."  Dawn leaned out of the bedroom.  "The all day one or the one he throws?"

"The one he throws.  The all day one I'm probably wearing my sari."

"That would be pretty.  A bit flirty but not bad."  She followed.  "What were you planning on that night?"

"No clue."  She took another kiss once she was back in her bodywear gear.  She smoothed down the legs and arms then stretched.  Natasha helped her.  "You sure you're ready to spar?"

"Let me change."  She pulled something out to do that and they went down to the gym.  "Clint?"

"Late.  Trainee group is going to Xander's tomorrow."

"That will be nice.  Is he going?"

"To introduce them then back here."  She smiled.  "I guess I'll have to sleep alone that night."  Natasha growled.  She smirked.  "I believe it's your turn, dear."  Natasha attacked and Dawn defended.  It was good between them and when Clint came in he took off his sleeveless t-shirt and joined in.  "Awww.  You're all sweaty," she teased.

"No wearing anything too flirty to the halloween party.  One of the junior agents asked if they were allowed to wear costumes to work that day."  Natasha stopped to laugh.  "Fury's face was priceless," he agreed.  "They had to call the infirmary to come get him before he had a stroke.  The junior agent looked so bummed so Joyce arranged to have candy dishes and they could trick or treat in the building during lunches only.  Fury gave up and let her do it so everyone would let him nap off the migraine. 

"She did say that all costumes had to be battle ready in case something happened."  Dawn burst out cackling.  "Then she added a PS at the bottom of the memo reminding them to do a check for chaos sorcerers with plans.  Agent Hill found out why and nearly lost her mind but they found them and stopped them earlier."  Dawn leaned on his arm to laugh.  Natasha was still giggling too.  "Exactly."

"We have building-wide costumes," Dawn said.  "Then a party that night at Stark's penthouse."

"What'cha wearing?" he teased.

"Don't know yet."  She backed up and kicked at him, making him defend himself.  Natasha got back into it, though she was in a happier mood now.  "I was thinking my sari for the day."

"You do look good in it," he agreed.

Steve leaned in.  "Guys, Callia's here," he called.

They stopped the sparring before she got the wrong idea.  Last time she had kicked Natasha on the leg for beating up her aunt.  Once she had gotten hugs and went up to spend more time with the twins, they got back to it.


Tara looked at the kids' outfits then at Dawn, who had picked them out.  "Lion and a tiger?"

"Lions, and tigers, and bears," she said, handing over a cute tie to Phil.

"Oh, dear," he said.

"Not quite how it goes," Tara joked.  She shook her head.  "What am I going as?"

"Glinda if you want."  She blushed.  "Did you see that site online that proved she was the real sociopath in the movie?"

"I hadn't."  Dawn pulled it up and she stared.  "That actually makes some sense," she admitted, letting Phil read it.

"That's a lot like _Harry Potter_ having mental conditioning," Phil agreed, handing the phone back.  "Can't Callia go as the bear?"

"She's going as a skater chick, who is being chased by the Dalek and the spaghetti monster geek duo."

He nodded once.  "What are you going as?"

"My sari that day and then that night I have no damn idea."

Phil nodded.  "You could go as a bride.  Very covering so no one could hit on you."  She pulled up a wedding dress she had spotted in a window.  "Why is it a bikini top and a mermaid skirt?"

"Because prom gowns went that way too?" she guessed.  "It's a forty thousand dollar bikini top and skirt."  He shuddered, handing it back.  "Pepper and I cracked up on it."  She put her phone back.  "I still have no idea about that night.  Maybe something older and go as a zombie?"  She shrugged.  "I don't want to though because the rule of chaos magic I'd be turned into one and eat a genius.  It'd probably stick around to possess me after we were all back to normal."

"Not a good idea," he agreed.  He walked off shaking his head to get some water.  "Maria?" he called since she was checking a file on the couch.

"I'm good, Phil, thanks."  She closed down the file and came over.  "I can't believe your mother talked him into it."

"Clint said he had a migraine by then."

"He nearly had a stroke," Maria agreed.  "We were moving to start CPR."

Phil nodded.  "We were."

"The FBI has costumes," Dawn quipped with a smirk.  "So do a few of the more public offices at the CIA."

He snorted.  "Fury would've had a fit."  He sipped his water, looking at the coloring kids.  "Thank you for making that memo make more sense."  They smiled at him.  He grinned back.  "One of the funny dreams Xander got sent was that dress from _Legend_," he offered to Dawn.

"I'd make a great evil one," she quipped with a smirk.  "I might look at that."  She went downstairs to see if she could find one in her size.  She stared at the box on the coffee table.  "What's this?" she called.

"It came to SHIELD for you," Natasha called, coming out.  "I have no idea.  It was scanned but said to be harmless."

Dawn sat down to open it, staring at the jewelry.  "What the fuck?" she complained.  No note.  "Clint, did you buy me a lot of pretty diamonds and emeralds?" she called.

"Hell no."   He came out to stare.  "Wow.  That's pretty."  He looked around.  "No note?"

"No."  She looked at the shipping label.  "They shipped this via UPS?"  She took a picture and sent it to her mother.  Who said she got a note saying something about twinkly things.  She forwarded it.  Dawn read it.  "Oh, it's in thanks for saving everyone at the battle of Sunnydale."

"Someone has much too much money," Natasha said bluntly.  Dawn nodded quickly.  She picked up a piece to look at.  "Nothing coated on it."  She looked at it in the light.  "Nice quality but not exquisite.  Probably worth a bit."  She put it back.

"Phil suggested I should go as the great evil one in the fancy dress," Dawn said, staring at it.  Someone knocked.  "What?" she called.

Tony walked in and looked.  "Joyce told me."  He picked up a few pieces.  "Those are nice but that one was stolen."  He smirked.  "Great job, Dawn."

"Thanks."  She handed it over.  "I don't need fancy, twinkling things."

"Uh-huh.  Every woman likes jewels."  He strolled out with them to let Security report that and get someone to gather it.

Dawn leaned back.  "So, anyway."  They laughed.  She found the video of the dance scene and let them see it.  "Phil suggested that."

Clint stared.  "Won't do much for you but it looks hard to get into."

"I think that was his intention," she agreed with a grin.

"Go as an evil empress," Natasha said.  "Not that one."  She winked and got up.  "I'm sure you can look evil if you want to."  She went to the kitchen to start dinner.

"I can look evil."  She cackled.  "I even have the costume jewelry to do it with."  She kissed Clint, earning an evil smirk.  "I'll need some help that night."

"I can do that."  He went to help.  Dawn got up to help as well.  They made her set the table.  "She can cook."

"We're having Tabooli, she can cook some other night."  That got a nod and Dawn changed what went on the table.  It was a good night.


Tara brought the kids for the trick or treat at SHIELD with their father.  He had asked.  She giggled and let him walk the stroller around.  All the other parents were doing the  same.

Joyce smiled.  "Oh, my!  A lion, a tiger, and a teddybear."

"Not always," Phil quipped.  Joyce gave them baby safe candy.  He smiled and let them beg the others with the other kids.  Maria was a great aunt, she was handing out giant tootsie rolls.

One of the junior agents finally got it.  "Oh!  The _Wizard of Oz_!" he said with a grin for the senior agent.

Phil nodded.  "Dawn picked it."  They laughed and he took the kids with him.  They had a lot of fun and then went home with Mom.

One of the kids looked at Fury, who was scowling in his office while wearing all black and his trench coat.  "Mama!  Vader!" he shouted, pointing at the director.  "Vader, mama!"

"Not quite but sometimes," she said with a wince at the director, who actually cracked a smile.  "He wants to be a jedi, sir."

"We accept jedi agents," he assured the kid, who grinned at him.  "Go on."  The kid ran off laughing with the others.  He shrugged off the agent's 'sorry' mouthed at him.  Maria Hill was smiling.  "No helmet yet."

"No, sir, not yet.  Or the respirator."   He went back to his desk.  One energetic one crawled in after him and he brought her out to hand her back.  Twice as it happened, then he shut the door.  "Beth, come see Joyce.  She has candy."  She came over to see Joyce, who was wearing a book hat.  That got a giggle and the kids all disappeared since lunch was nearly over with.  The admin team all sighed.  It had worked and nothing had happened yet.


Over at Stark, Dawn was strolling around in her outfit.  A few scientists smiled.  She grinned back.  "Xander's mom's assistant showed me how to properly put one on.  Even if I do need a pin."  They smiled at her for that.

Pepper, who was a farmer's daughter with pigtails, smiled at her outfit.  "You look great in that."

"Thank you, kind ma'am."  She handed over files.  "Let me do the lab rounds."  Pepper smiled and nodded.  She walked down there.  Most of the scientists had ignored the dress up memo.  A few who didn't were geek creations.  She saw three Doctors, all different ones.  She saw one Tardis in a corner.  She hoped it was just a cardboard box but you never knew with some geeks.  She walked into lab 7.  "Remember, I'm not the bimbo you guys are chasing."  They laughed.  Callia went skating past and they pretended to chase her, making her cackle.  Dawn made sure her shoulder end was still in place then went to get the others.  She walked into the tinkering lab last.  They were all three in there again today.  She checked and made coffee.

Rodney turned and nearly fell off his chair.  "Talk about teasing," he said blandly.

She smirked.  "It's perfectly correct."

"Uh-huh."  He looked her over, shaking his head.  "Mari wears more."

"Mari's not allowed to get married or that curse hits her to turn her into the bimbo trophy wife."

"Good point."  Bruce smiled at her.  "You do look nice, Dawn."

"Thank you, Stepdaddy."  He laughed.  Tony was staring, cup halfway to his mouth.  "What?"  She checked, nothing had fallen or untucked.  She looked at him.  "Thousands of women wear this sort of thing every day, boss."

He nodded.  "Not that I'm used to.  Damn."  She laughed and strolled out.  He shook his head.  "Pepper never would've done that to me.  I'm a weak man and I know she's dating."

Rodney patted him on the back.  "She did look very good."

Bruce nodded.  "Joyce made some pretty girls, if only Buffy would put on some weight again."  He got back to work, texting Joyce.  He pulled up a picture from the security system to send her.  Joyce sent back a whistle, cracking him up.  He forwarded that to Dawn, who quipped back of course she was hot enough for women to hit on her, and her mom had too much on her mind that way to even think about women.  He was happier with that.


Dawn looked at Pepper.  "Want me to deliver it to SHIELD?"

"Please."  She handed over that file.  "Thank you.  You're coming tonight?"

"I am and I'm going to be evil."

Pepper looked her over.  "You're already evil," she assured her.  Dawn cackled.  "Oh, that sort of evil."  Dawn winked and strolled out, sending herself over magically.  She'd need a jacket outside today and it'd ruin the look.


Fury looked up as Dawn appeared, taking the folder.  "Did you have to wear that?"

"Yes, I did.  Tonight I'll be evil."  She smirked, walking out to hug her mother.  "They should spend a week in Mumbai where half the women still wear saris every day."  She strolled off.  "Later, Maria?"

"No, I'm not going to the Stark party.  Tara said we're watching Halloween movies with the kids."

"Okay."  She smiled and headed downstairs to check on Phil, who hadn't eaten lunch.  She walked in after tapping.  "You forgot lunch."

He looked at her abs, because they were at eye height, then up at her face.  "You enjoy doing that to men, don't you?"

"Of course I do."  She blew a kiss.  "Eat something.  You cannot live on coffee alone if McKay can't."  She gave him a pointed look.

"I'll eat before the party tonight.  Go change?"

"I'm on my way home now," she quipped.

Clint walked up behind her.  "How long do you have to be unwrapped?" he asked her ear.

She smiled.  "About an hour to get totally changed."  She blew a kiss.  "I'm heading home now to expand that by twenty minutes."  Natasha walked up and stared.  "Did I wind it wrong?  Everyone's staring."

"I believe it's the lipstick kiss bellybutton ring," she said.  "Is that real?"

Dawn smirked.  "No comment."  She disappeared.

She groaned, looking at Clint, who nodded.  "Just think, she's an evil empress tonight," he quipped.

"I saw her trying on her outfit.  Don't remind me."  She walked off to bang her head into a wall.  Clint followed, helping her remove that stress in the changing area.   It was much appreciated even if it was at work.


Dawn walked into Stark Tower that night alone.  Everyone else was already there.  The guards gaped.  She smiled.  Her skintight black leather pants were tucked into black leather five inch high heeled boots that came up to just over her ankle.  Her black leather jacket was unzipped to a decorous level and it was clear she was only wearing a bra under it.  The laser pistols strapped to her thighs looked very authentic.  The knives in her hair were authentic.  The jewelry was minimal and the smokey eyes were hot.  Her hair was mostly loose but the front had been pulled back to keep it off her face and show off her headband-style crown.  She logged in with her pass and headed up in the elevator.

The door guard swallowed his gum.  "Name?" he squeaked.

"The Great Evil One, Dawn Summers," she purred.  He checked and she was on there.  She strolled in.  She got her usual sparkling water and found Pepper.  "Is it my turn to take over yet?" she quipped in greeting.

Pepper looked and gaped.  "Are those real lasers?"

"Have we perfected some yet?" she quipped, drinking a sip.  "If so, I do want a set."

"Not yet," she said, looking her over.  "So that's the current evil empress look?"

"Of course.  All the fluffy, showy dresses are bad to fight in when the hero or heroine comes to overthrow you.  Who can fight in a puffy ball gown with a bare stomach?"  The women around Pepper cackled.  She smiled at the staring guy next to them.  "Hi.  Are you my loyal servant yet?"

He swallowed a gulp of liquor.  "Not yet.  I only serve the single evil ones."

"Pity."  She walked over to the boys.  "Ah, my loyal spaghetti monster and Dalek."  They spun and stared.  She smirked at them.

"Wow.  If you go evil, I'm joining your crusade," Jonathan said.  "Just to get boots like that, only lower for guys of course."

She patted him on the arm.  "Of course you both can."  They grinned and moved to flank her.  It made a good picture.  Someone took one.  She smirked evilly at the reporter, who took another one then fled.  "Ah, another loyal one."  The guys laughed.  One of the intern geekettes in chem came over to stammer at Jonathan.  "He'd adore to dance with you," Dawn said with a smile.  "Be very gentle with my Dalek though."

"I will, Dawn."  She pulled him out.  They danced like it was high school but that was fine.  Andrew got pulled out by one of the other geekettes interning in shield design.  It was good for them.

Tony walked over, staring at her.  "I don't know if I should comment."

She smirked.  "Some day all this will be mine and I'll rule with a benevolent yet slightly crushing fist," she quipped.

"I really have got to get an heir to the suit before that happens.  Where did you find that?"

"I walked into a shop that specializes in leather play and said I needed to look the most evil I could because I was definitely going to be using the whip I also got tonight.  It was relatively inexpensive.  I've spent more on gowns."

"You have a whip?" he asked.  She pulled it out.  He shook his head so she put it back.  "Guns?"

"Bubble lasers."

"Even better."  He looked her over again.  "No more teasing for the next month."

"Fine."  She smirked.  "I was going to be sweet and innocent tomorrow."

"More or less innocent than the pink dress?"

"That's in Tara's closet and less."

"Uh-huh.  Please do."  He looked around.  "Where are your consort and princess?"

"Um, working.  They're heading out of the city to get a package from someone who's not able to give reports at the moment."  She finished her water.  "She saw me trying it on."

"Good!"  He walked off.  Phil Coulson showed up as a cowboy, or at least in the cowboy hat and jeans, plus a plain button-up shirt.  "Hey, Woody," he called with a smirk.

"Funny," he said blandly.  He spotted Dawn and swallowed.  "I really have to go through her closet again."

"Yeah, might help."  He got another drink and went to dance with someone.

Phil walked over to her.  "Are you one of my loyal subjects?" she quipped.

"No, I'm your big brother running your ranching enterprises, Empress, so I get to paddle you for walking around New York in that."  He looked at her.  "Safety issues?"  She adjusted her hair accessories.  "Uh-huh.  That's not enough."  He moved to stand beside her.  "I know they're on a mission," he said quietly.

"I know."  She got another glass of water and sipped it.  "Eww, thought that was sparkling water."

"It is," the waiter said.

"Then it's got tequila in it," she quipped, going to the bar.  "Can I have some sparkling water without the tequila?"  He poured her some.  "Thank you."  She strolled back to her watching spot.  The boys were talking with the two interns, who played the same online games they did.  It was a great thing to see.  Dawn looked at Phil.  "I felt Xander."

"I asked if he wanted to come to protect you."  Xander got let in.  He was in leather pants and his formal leather vest.  "I clearly need the updated protocol guide."

"I got it from Mari.  It's that heavy book set in my study."

"I'll get it later," he said.  "Xander."

He smiled.  "I needed out of the house anyway."  He looked Dawn over, handing her two things.  "Real lasers."  She smirked and took them to look over then put in place of the fake ones.  He stood on her other side.  "That's very good to see," he said quietly.

"It is," she agreed.

Tony walked back over.  "Thanks for coming, Xander."  He looked at her guns.  "If those are real, I'm so looking them over tomorrow."

"Fine."  Xander smiled.  "I needed out of the house.  They're going on a campaign of trying to entice us with funny mental images.  I got another Victorian dress movie reference."

"I'd still look sucky in the dress," Phil said blandly.

Tony looked at him.  "I don't want to know."

"Probably not."

Steve strolled over.  "I should save the universe from the evil," he quipped.

Dawn smirked.  "You can try but we all know you're a good boy, Cap."

"Most of the time.  Even I used to play pranks."  He took her out to dance with her.  He heard Bruce and Joyce choke and smiled at them.  "She's an evil empress."

"She certainly is," Bruce agreed, kissing Joyce.  "I'm so glad you can't wear that outfit," he said in her ear.  "I'd never survive it."

"I'd never survive it," she assured him, cracking him up.  "But we'd go happy."

"We would."  They went out to dance.  Joyce looked like a Roman noble woman.  Bruce was a gladiator.

Tony looked at Phil and Xander.  "You two can dance too."

"No, thank you anyway," Phil quipped.  His phone beeped so he looked at it.  "Uninvited guests."

"With guns or without?" Xander asked.  "I can go scare them off."

"Press people," he said, putting the phone back.

Xander went down there and manifested his axe.  "Hi.  How are you doing?"   The press people ran.  He put his axe back and grinned at the guards.  "Any more uninvited ones?"

"Not yet, sir," one quipped with a smile.

"Cool."  He flashed back up there.

The head guard looked at his very polite and slightly suicidal minion.  "That was Alexander."

"I know.  He's a really nice guy.  He took Dawn to lunch last week."  He grinned.

His bossed patted him on the shoulder.  "Some day you'll have sense, son."


Dawn strolled around the room, looking at things.  She spotted Steve outside and went to talk to him.  "Too crowded?"  It had been a few hours and Steve's limits for parties was usually about 2 hours.

"I feel strange."  He was gripping the railing.

"Steve, look at me," she said.  He did.  "That's not a good thing, dude.  You got drugged."  She took his arm.  "Lean on me."

"Dawn, I'm having things I shouldn't about you."

"I can knock you on your ass while you're in this state, Cap; let's go and I'll quietly get you to the infirmary."  He nodded and walked with her.  She got them out into the hall with the excuse that he needed to check on someone that had went down for being a bit tipsy.  They were stashing people in the infirmary for that.  She used her Stark Industries pass to get down there and walked him in.  "Doc?"  She looked over.  "Drugged."  She took him to a private room to look him over.  She went back up there, going right to Tony, who was dancing with some bimbo.  She cut in with a grin.  "He needs more evil in his life to give him more naughty ideas."  She huffed off.  She spun him off.  "Cap got drugged," she said quietly in his ear, getting a nod.  "He's in the infirmary with Doc."

"Any idea?"

"Looked like an anti-inhibitant.  He said he had urges he shouldn't about me.  I assured him I could knock him on his ass."  He nodded and let her go since the song had ended.  She went to get another drink and scan the bar.  She spotted him trying to lace her drink and walked him off, handing him to security.  "Pills and dusting the drinks," she said.

"We saw the nice escort," he agreed, taking him off to lock in a room.  One of the guards could bartend instead.  Or as it turned out, Clay could.  He and Roque were attending and he knew a good bit about drinking.  Dawn smiled and got a bottle of water to walk off with.  He informed the boss, who came up to gather things quietly from Clay.

Tony smirked at her.  "Smooth."

"Thank you, I do try to stay that way."  He laughed.  She looked around then found Pepper being mopey.  She walked over to her.  "I'd ask you to dance but you might have rumors started about you and they'd say I was recruiting."

Pepper smiled.  "If I had any wobbles toward women, you might be."  She sipped her water.  "What was that?" she asked quietly.


"Oh, charming."  She walked out and Tony dumped his conversation group to dance with her.  "Another hour," she said quietly.

"Go home if you're tired.  I'll fully understand needing a nap, Pepper."

"I might."  She smiled and let him dance her toward the door.  She laughed and left, going home.  She was so tired with all this.  She had no idea she'd be tired already.  Maybe she'd have Dawn look at the baby.

Dawn watched the group, turning down an offer to dance.  "Sore feet, sorry."  She smiled.  "Later?"  He smirked and walked off.  Phil finally got free and came to hide with her.  Xander was outside enjoying the lights of the city.  "Morning."

"Worn out of evil?" he quipped.

"Not hardly.  No one here I really want to tease."  She finished her water and tossed it out properly, because unlike a lot of the hos she knew what a trashcan was.  She looked at a couch and grimaced.  "Is that a tampon?" she muttered.

He nodded.  "We've all been avoiding it.  We figure she's so well used it fell out and she never realized."


"Very."  He looked outside when he saw movement from the corner of his eye.  "Can I borrow that?" he asked, letting her hand him a gun.  He had wanted to try a laser pistol.  Turns out it was quiet, efficient, and made a huge burn mark on the back of the man sneaking up on Xander with a knife.  "Huh."

Xander looked then at the body.  "Thanks, Phil."

"Welcome."  He flipped him over, nodding.  "Not SHIELD at least."  He took his picture and sent it to the duty officer.  She sent back an ID.  He corrected that he was now deceased on Stark's patio.  She said they'd send someone to quietly remove him.  Xander floated him out of the way and Phil handed back the gun.  "Cap?" he asked her.

"Bartender or someone."

"Thank you."

"Not a problem.  I'd never want anyone to deal with that and they must've gotten him hard with how he was reacting."  Tony strolled over.  "Hey, boss."

"People."  He looked out there then at Phil.  "I won't even mention the romantic moment?"

"Shooting an agent from the UK?  Thank you."

Tony walked off shaking his head.  "Dawn, want to dance?"

"Don't know, boss, can you handle the evil greatness?" she quipped, following him.  He was slightly tipsy but nowhere near drunk.  It was a good dance, he was smooth.  He was a tease and it was making her giggle.  She poked him on the arm and spun them around to dance with him instead, making him blush.  "Sometimes it just needs handled," she quipped, making him laugh and get away from her, shaking his head. 

She strolled off, dancing with a guy who had asked earlier.  He was stammering but she understood him after so long around all the scientists.  She gently turned down his nice offer with an 'I'm dating someone great' and left it there.  She did introduce him to his next dance partner, who was a bit aggressive but was looking to take someone home and was pretty.  That worked well and she got free to wander around.

Phil looked at his phone when it beeped, smiling as he answered back that they were still at the party and he'd escort her back so she was safe.  Clint sent a confused question mark back.  He sent back a 'no picture does it justice' and left it there.  He finally had enough and walked over to Dawn.  "Turn into a pumpkin," he told her.

"Sure, I can turn into a pumpkin and the sweet, gentle princess again."  A few people in hearing laughed.  "He's so like my big brother."  They smiled.  "Bye, boss."

"Bye, Dawn."  He smirked at Coulson when he left.  That meant no one would report to Pepper if he was naughty.  That made the night much more interesting.  Especially with Callia with Tara's twins at their place.


Phil opened the door for her and shoved her in then closed it and walked off to his own apartment.  There was a cold shower in his future.

Dawn strolled in, looking around.  "Are we upstairs?" she called.  A quiet 'yes' floated down from the slightly open porch doors.  She closed and locked them then went up there.  She strolled in and locked the door behind her, heading for the bedroom.  It was three, they should be in there. 

Clint stared then looked at Natasha.  "Should've warned me, Nat."

She shrugged.  "She makes quite an evil empress."

"She makes a good evil tease," he corrected.  He sighed, looking her over.  "Disarm for us?  I'm comfy."  Dawn smiled and disarmed the hair knives and then the gun belt.  The few throwing knives under one sleeve got put on the table on his side of the bed because they were his spare ones.  "Borrowing weapons without asking?"

She smiled.  "Slightly.  I didn't even have to use them."

"I'm shocked."  He watched her take off the boots then slowly unzip the top.  "Dawn, it's three," he said with a groan.  "We have to be at work at seven and you at eight."  She leaned down to kiss him and got undressed down to the bra and thong.  He moaned.  "Damn it, work," he muttered. 

She stripped out of them and crawled up the bed to kiss them.  "I have an easy day tomorrow.  So I'll be home when you get back."  He growled and pulled her closer to kiss again.  They got Natasha worked up too and it was good, but quick.  It helped them fall asleep for a few hours.


Pepper looked at Dawn as she came in wearing something innocent, gauzy, and with lace.  "Thank you for leaving the evil at home."

"I said I'd turn into the sweet, gentle princess today."  She handed over the mail.  "Only one picture of me."

"Good!  Before someone steals you!"  She looked at it, sighing.  "You danced with Tony?"

"Twice."  She looked her over, running a magical scan.  She added a bit of power and the Key settled in to be a baby.  "There."  She smiled.  The Key scanned her then made Pepper glow green.  She smiled.  "Better."  She strolled out.  "Heading to the infirmary to get a status report."

"Thank you."  She held her stomach.  "Are you okay now?" she asked quietly.  "Does that mean you're a girl?"  She got back to the papers.  Stark had been sober until nearly dawn, it was amazing.  She'd send Dawn to wake him up later.


Dawn walked into the infirmary.  "Hey, Doc."  She got handed a report.  "That bad?"

"Two others drugged."

"Is he okay?"

"I can't talk to him.  He won't let me."

She walked over to the private room and knocked.  "Please don't."

Dawn picked the lock.  "Not the doctor."  He groaned.  She closed the door and came over to hug him.  "It's disorienting.  That's why I told you never to let anyone hand you a drink you didn't see made or opened.  You got a shitload because it normally wouldn't have affected you."

"Any idea who?"

"The bartender.  I caught him at it later."  He nodded.  "No one noticed."

"I'm still embarrassed."   She patted his hand.  "Did I do anything stupid?"

"No, you were on the patio when I found you."  He sighed in pleasure.  "Phil's worried about you too."

"I should probably head over there."

"Or you could go wake Tony up with his hangover."  He blushed and shook his head.  She smiled.  "Cap?"  She sat beside him.  "Do I need to do a bit of question answering?" she offered.

"No, I'm okay on that."  He cleared his throat.  "Military guys talk a lot."  She smiled.  "I...."

She hugged him.  "The only way to work it out is to go talk to him."

"Maybe.  But with Pepper being pregnant."

"She was going to go to a sperm bank, Cap.  Tony drives her nuts."

"I can see that.  He does to me too."

"There's very few people who can stand up to a strong personality like his and not wilt.  For that matter, he's let you see things that only Pepper and I have."  He nodded, sitting up.  "Now, let's get you discharged.  You can bring breakfast and coffee up to him."  He shivered.  "He'll need the coffee, and probably some toast."  She called that in and got him discharged.  She took the folder up to Pepper while he got the breakfast tray from the caf and took it to Tony's suite.

Steve knocked a few times.  "Tony?"

"Sir, the door is unlocked and he's still asleep," JARVIS said.  "And alone, which is a change." 

Steve blushed but walked in and kicked the door shut.  "Tony, time to get up."

He blinked at him.  "You're not the teasing bitch."

"No, she looks like a princess of purity today," he said dryly, putting the tray on the dresser.  "I have coffee."

"You're a god among men," he groaned as he stood up.  Totally naked.  He saw the blush and looked down then at him.  "Never seen one?" he guessed.   "They say steroids shrink things but really, Steve."  He took the coffee to sip.  Steve was still blushing.  Tony got a clue and made him look at him.  "This is new?"

"Not totally?"

"Uh-huh.  Make that a statement?"

"You're as close to a best friend as I've had in years.  Decades."  Tony stared at him.  "You're really shrewd sometimes."

"Only when I've had enough coffee.  Otherwise I'm grumpy."  He sipped more.  "That's not near enough but close enough."  He took a kiss and went to the shower.  "Let me get the drool off."

"Sure," Steve said, looking stunned.  "Um...."  He stared after him.  He had a nice view and he wasn't sure what to do about it.  So he sat down to wait.  Tony smirked at him once but that was fine.  Tony was like that.


Dawn actually made it home last.  "Sorry, malfunctioning humans on the street."  They stared at her.  "I said I'd be an innocent, sweet thing today to make up for the evil last night."

"Yeah, I'm having thoughts that I haven't had since just after your trip to Miami, Dawn."  She giggled and stripped off, strolling over.  "I like that bra set," he said, rubbing a hand over her hip.  "Natasha, don't you like this set on her?"

She nodded.  "It looks nice and the stockings are a nice color on her legs."  She came over to cut the panties off then the bra.  "There, much nicer."  She smiled and went back to making dinner.

Clint looked her over.  "Yeah, that's better."  He stood up and picked her up to take her to the couch.  The table had dishes on it and he'd need dinner later.  The arm of the couch was a great height.  She draped prettily over it for him, spreading her feet just far enough apart to give him good access while she still got some support.  One hand on the back of the couch, the other bracing on the cushions, and she was in a great position.  Nicely framed by the stockings and garter belt.  He teased her back, earning a shiver.  That was nicer.  He teased a hand down her hip and around to touch her.  A bit damp and another shiver was earned.  This was going to be fun.  He knelt behind her, their positions let him do whatever he wanted, which Natasha would get to clean up.  Then they'd have dinner and debauch her some more.

If they kept up Tara, Maria, and the twins, then sorry but the twins had kept them up plenty of times.


Phil appeared at the temple with the twins, who were all but shrieking.  "Stop it," he warned.  They kept it up.

Xander took one and stared at him.  "Quit, really."  The baby continued to shriek so he scanned them.  "Ear ache."  He created a warming pad and put it against the ear.  He took the other twin to do the same thing for.  That helped and they did finally quit screaming.  "No mom?"

"They're busy."  He settled in.  "So are everyone else who babysits."  Xander laughed.  "I had no idea what that was."

"They're normal I guess."  He put his feet up.  "That bored in New York?"

"Needed to get away.  Everyone's having sex and it's driving me nuts because I kept getting hit with pictures."

Xander showed him how to block that out.  Phil did and sighed in pleasure.  "Just think, I get ones from Buffy and Hylal.  Hell, I got Buffy and Riley."

"That's disgusting," he agreed.  He stared at the kids.  They were asleep.  "Fine, you can bathe in the morning," he agreed.

"Kids never do what you want.  They're not as easy as dogs.  Hellion, no jumping on the kids," he warned.  Phil moved them off the dog's spot on the couch.  The dog barked and licked the kids' feet then hopped up to get comfortable and promptly farted.  Xander looked at him.  "Go.  Outside."  Hellion ran out to fart out there.

"Dog!  Damn it what did you eat this time!"  Clay shouted.  "Not even Roque's that bad!"

"Yes he is," Xander called.

"Sorry," Bia called.  "He stole my salad and it had bacon!"

"So it was lettuce?" Clay called back.  "I'll remember that shit."

"Hey, kids in the house," Xander yelled.  Bia's squeal followed her all the way to snatching them then back to her place.  "Ear aches," he called after her.

"I can handle it."

"Thank you," Phil called.  He slumped down.  "I love babysitters."

"You can let Tara have more time," Xander reminded him.

"I take the night duties and she has them all day," he reminded Xander.  "It's only fair."

"It is."  He got up to get a snack, bringing one for Phil, who was half asleep.  "I'd turn on a movie but half of them change into girly romantic comedies."

"That's disturbing," Phil said.  He nibbled on the chips, leaning his head back.  He got so relaxed he didn't even realize he was falling asleep.  Xander covered him and made an alarm clock set for six am appear then went to his suite to read.  He had to keep changing the copy of an old scroll back to the original but eventually the one who was doing it got the point to stop it when she felt like she got electrocuted instead of mildly zapped.  He settled in to read the smutty story.  It wasn't even about him, though still amusing.


Xander woke up when the bed dipped, flipping off it with a weapon appearing in his hand.  "Phil?" he asked.  "I didn't know you sleep walked."  Nothing.  Clearly still asleep, he was lightly snoring.  Xander zapped him lightly, making him flinch awake.  "You sleep walk?"

"No, I do not."  He looked around then scowled up.  "I don't get enough sleep thanks to the twins."  The one doing that fled because she knew what a tired parent could do with godly powers.  "Sorry."

"It's not your fault but I'm about ready to plan a goddess bonfire."

"I might like to attend but I'd have to leave Tara and the kids at home.  They might enjoy it too much and I'd have to worry about being next."  He went back to the couch, snuggling in again.  It was a very comfortable couch.  He reset the alarm for five-thirty and let himself drift off again.  He'd ignore that someone had turned on the DVD player to a dress movie.  Not like he watched them.

Xander came out to turn off the tv and went back to bed.  He strengthened the shields around the compound, blocking out all other gods.


In DC, Loki was enjoying this new bout of his son's fighting against most of the other gods.  He had a good bet in for when his son lost his temper.  He bet it'd happen in the next day.  Of course, he had glanced at the others' plans and with what they had planned, his son was going to blow his stack and possibly destroy a major metropolitan area.  He sipped his mead with an evil smirk.  He spotted the day's New York Times and looked at the picture on the front. 

"Aww, she was trying to be evil," he said with a grin.  "That's so adorable and I have to remember that outfit for a future wife."  He strolled off.  His current consort would look bad in it.  Which was a pity.  Maybe that necklace... though his son would probably use it on him again.   So perhaps not after all.  He could wait until his next wife.


Xander looked up, frowning.  "That's not good."  He grabbed a few weapons and teleported to the park in New York.  He saw three people trying to crowd Tara.  "Back the fuck down," he ordered.  One sneered at him until Xander sent a powerball and it sent him flying into a tree at high speed.  "Tara, emergency alarm?" he suggested since more were coming.  He moved to protect her and the twins.  "Try it again," he growled, letting his temper come out.  They did try and lost in a very messy manner.  The kids were crying against Tara, who was behind him. 

Agents started to come up and Xander shot one of them too for pulling a gun on him.  "Try it again," he warned.  The last one got smacked with the broad side of his axe then his head removed.  "Anyone else want to try these children?" he demanded.  A scroll floated down.  He sneered at it.  "Really?"  He handed it to Tara over his shoulder.  She was shaking.  "Phil's nearly here and there's Maria," he said calmly.  She ran over to them.  He looked at the agent staring at him.  "There was a *plot*."  He disappeared to fix that plot.

Maria took the message and handed it to Phil, whose growl was now filling the immediate area.  "Go," she ordered.  "I have them." 

He stroked over both twins' heads then found a nice place to disappear from.  He got there to find Xander dismantling a few cousins.  "That's my job," he noted.

Xander looked at him.  "I'll back you up."  Phil moved forward to handle the reeducation.  He was not a nice being any longer.  Xander helped by keeping everyone else off them.  "Then next time, don't try to hurt his children," he told a crying goddess.  "You nearly killed them and Tara.  I would have destroyed this whole pantheon.  They're as close as I'm getting to children this century.  Am I clear?"  She ran out shrieking.  He looked at the senior gods, manifesting the note that Tara had.  He held it up.  "This was sent to me."

Krishna looked and nodded.  "If so then they deserve it."

"Did you stop them?" Xander asked.

"I did not know."

"When I appeared, did you ask?" Xander asked.  "Or even, since I heard there were bets, and this came from my father instead of one of yours, think about checking?"  He turned and hit one of the war gods, sending him through a wall.  "You should've learned last time not to touch the mortal family.  Pity."  He took Phil with him.  "There's a few more," he said at the angry look.  "Including my father for not telling me sooner."

"I'm not really allowed to take out the president's gay husband, Xander."

"I'm not an agent and there was betting so Hermes knew."  Phil smirked and went to talk to him.  Xander appeared at the white house, staring at his father.  "That's a new low, even for you."

Loki backed up.  "I warned you."

"After the fact.  They could've killed those children.  Why did you not learn not to fuck with the mortal families?  I considered you smarter than some pumped up little priest, Father."  His father was backing into the hall.  "Have I not declared my protection on those two children?"

"Alexander," the president said.

Xander stared at him.  "Sit.  There."  He sat back down.  Xander followed his father.  "There's nothing that's going to save you this time.  I have enough.  I've so had enough you'd better be lucky I'm not the next apocalypse battle the rest of them will have to fight."

"The rest?" Loki asked, looking nervous.

"You won't make it to that battle."  He lunged and his father teleported off.  Xander sneered.  "Hunting.  Good.  I haven't hunted recently."  He followed him.  His father was slippery but he was his son and had seen all his tricks up close and personal for generations.  Loki hadn't learned that many new ones and Xander had learned a few as well.  Anywhere he touched down, Xander was there within seconds.  Anywhere he tried to hide, he found him. 

He did catch him then sneered and let him go.  "I need a good hunt."  His father swallowed and ran home.  Xander appeared and blasted him through a building or three.  He followed, manifesting his axe.  "Good, now we're on equal footing."  His father called power and allies.  Xander destroyed them all.  "Did you think it went away?"  His father was looking scared.

"Hold," Odin declared.  Xander just gusted some wind at him to shove him off.  "This is my realm, grandson."

Xander looked at him.  "Even you learned not to fuck with the mortal families, Odin."  He looked at his father again.

"He's really mine to kill," Phil noted from behind him.

"Phil can't get up here, John, and I can find you in the dark of the void."  He stared at Loki and his new batch of allies.  "You ready yet?"  His father shouted an attack order.  Xander blasted most of them and moved to take on the rest with his axe.

John faded back to his form, gaping in horror.  "He's lost his temper completely.  Great."  He called up Phil.  "Welcome to Asgard."

Phil studied it then called a weapon and hit the rest that Xander was ignoring for now.  He walked forward.  "This is really my battle, Xander."

"Did you get the other ones?" he asked, ducking a blow by a huge paw and taking it off as he came up.  He made it to his father and took a calculated blow.  His father moved and that's where Xander's power was waiting to trap him.  Loki screamed in agony as his powers were ripped from him, forming a glowing column in the snow.  Xander sneered, creating a wall between them.  Then he created a cave around the two chambers. He sealed it with his power.  "When you can reach it and have learned not to screw with me and mine, then you can come out of your room."  He turned to look at Phil.  "Get the other ones?"

"Hermes told me."  He stared at him.  "They're my kids."

"They're my mortal family and that's sacred to *some* of us."  He stared at his former natal family then at the guy who technically protected him.  "Are they all right?"

"They're good."  He stared at him.  "Want to calm down?  Bleed some of the anger out to fix things?  Like that village?"

Xander concentrated and fixed it.  "I'm sorry he ran to hide behind you," he told the warriors.  "He decided to tell me after the fact that my claimed mortal family was due to be attacked.  Year-old twins."  The warriors shuddered.  "When he's learned a few things and makes it through to his powers by hand, then he can come out."

"We'll keep watch," one of the warriors said.  "We've guarded other things, Alexander."

"Thank you."  He nodded.  "Hylal's fine," he told his son.  "Or so he was last night."  He looked at Phil.  "Better?"

"Still more angry than I'd like to see but Fury's throwing a fit at Agent Hill."

Xander took him with him.  "Maria, are the twins all right?  And Tara?"

"They're fine, Xander.  She's calming down with Joyce.  Your father?"

"Trapped in a damnation of his own making.  Powerless until he can dig his way through a foot of pure stone by hand."  She smiled at that.  "Then maybe he can make his way out."  He saw the president.  "You're damn lucky I didn't bring the building down on his head."

"I am," he agreed.  "Are you calmer?"

"Would you be?" he countered.

"No," he said.  "Thank you."  Xander nodded.  "Can you maybe finish calming down?"

"Probably not for weeks.  Sorry."  He looked at Fury.  "It won't happen again.  Because no one will *ever* try to hurt those twins."  He walked off.  "Tara."  He hugged her.  "Are you okay?"  She nodded, sniffling and swallowing.  "I stopped him and the others."  She nodded, relaxing against his shoulder.  He smiled at the twins.  "Hey, guys."  They patted him.  He picked them up to hug. 

"You guys are as close as I'm coming to a mortal family and no one will ever touch you again," he told them.  "Or else I'll destroy the rest of the Gods over it."  They cooed and patted him.  He hugged them and their mom.  She finally quit shaking when Phil came out to help him.  Joyce took them to get cleaned up then to Phil's office.  Xander looked in there.  "Just think, this was a shove in the marriage thing."  Fury growled.  "Yeah.  They're in tiny, itty bitty pieces though."  He disappeared.  "John, go home," he warned.

"I was trying to save the village."  Xander stared at him.  "I called him."

"I don't care.  I'd like some time alone."

"You'll have to rebuild."

"I'll probably have to do it anyway."  John stepped back, nodding.  "You can go spread the news that I've had enough now.  That I'm going to start destroying *anyone* who helped with this earlier mess.  And I'm going to enjoy it like the last time I was in a battle among gods."  John nodded and flashed off.  Xander's growl filled the temple and made the trainee agents look scared.  He calmed himself, calling his weapons to clean.  His axe was dull again.  Giants did so dull the edges.

Phil looked at his boss, shaking his head.  "I had no idea until her alarm went off and I have the kids on a tagging alarm."

"What did he do?" the president asked.  Phil told them in graphic detail, just like he would any report.  Including that he had finished ripping that one to his component parts.  Though he hadn't fully separated a few organs.  His arm was tired by then so he left the liver and gallbladder one large piece and both intestines together with the pancreas.  Fury was looking sick.  He looked at him.  "What did you expect me to do, sir?  Clap?"

"No, I expected you to act like an agent and not a mad parent."

"I did until the primary attack was fixed and then I went to be a parent.  Technically I was farther away and got there after Agent Hill and the others did.  I made sure the target of the attack was safe and shaking in a loved one's arms then I got invited to show my displeasure on them for this."

"I'd have done the same," the president said.  "Did they give you powers or something?"

"Enough to help me talk to the other demigods to see if any might train to be Avengers."

"That's good.  We could use a secondary team."  He stared at him.  "Are you calmer?"

"No, sir.  I'm in here when my children are down in my office."

"Go," Fury ordered.  "Calm down, write out a report in less graphic detail, and calm down."  Phil nodded and left.  He looked at the president.  "I have no idea," he said at the speculative look.

"If he is, he's subtle most of the time.  I would've broken out in a godhood to destroy them too."  He shrugged.  "So would you, Fury."

"Probably," he growled.  "Do we think Alexander's still a danger to the US?"

The president looked at him.  "If he looks at those two kids as his own or as close as he's coming, he'll kill everyone over them.  He's only a danger if people make him."  He saw the twinkling.  "I'm not a history buff, ma'am, so I'd have to ask which one you are?"

"I'm Hecate.  Where is my handmaiden?"

"Which one?" Fury asked.

"Willow.  Which other one is there?"

"She was found to be casting harmful magic and removed," Fury said.  "Before she killed a slayer."  Hecate growled.  Roque and John appeared, taking her off.  She shrieked and fought but they were strong enough together.  "Get back here in a minute," he called after them.  Roque and John both reappeared.  "Is that jackass calmer?"

"Nope," John said.  "He just kicked me out of the temple for working to calm him down so he didn't destroy a village he used to protect.  If there's any other gods involved in this, they're probably going to be history soon."  Fury blinked and nodded.  "As for calming him down?  I'd suggest Phil could but with the way they were screwing with things, Xander would never believe it was his own free will.  So, it'll probably be days and your trainee agents are really slow.  He's probably going to have them doing a lot of laps and the obstacle course so he doesn't accidentally hurt anyone."

"I was working on some of the hand-to-hand.  I've seen better trained greenies," Roque said.  "You need better recruiters."  He looked at the president.  "At least you can say he's no longer tainting you to gain power."  He looked at Fury again.  "We've got weeks of work to help Xander.  We're going to be really lucky if he doesn't hike off for a short war somewhere and then come back to finish his teaching duties once they're a bit tougher."

Agent Hill walked in.  "The trainers thought that we'd lose at least ten of the group."

Roque nodded.  "You might keep six or seven."

"Barton thought five."

"There's a few that want it really hard."  That got a nod.  "The rest, they can be bodyguards and things."  He looked at Fury again.  "Just... let's hope that there's no battles that humanity needs for a bit.  No wraith, nothing like that.  Let him have the time to calm down and settle down to a simmer."

"I was looking for his skin to change," John said quietly.  "Doctor Banner, the twins and Tara are fine.  They're in Agent Coulson's office."

"Thank God.  Who would do that?"

"A very stupid former godling who thought it would push them together," John said.  "That Xander was ripping apart by hand until Agent Coulson reminded him it was his job.  The being is now in his component organs."  Bruce shuddered.  "And then Xander went to take care of Loki while Agent Coulson got the others involved.  They're all calming down."

"Good."  He took a calming breath.  "We're sure they're all right?"

"Xander felt it when the attack started," Roque assured him.  "They're good, just shaky."  He nodded, going to help them calm down.  Roque looked at Fury.  "Anything else you have to know?"

"Are the other gods and demigods going to react?" the president asked.

"No," John said.  "Most of them weren't involved.  There's only a few that were and the ones that were originally involved backed off when Xander almost lost his temper before.  Now that he's fully lost it?  There's not going to be even a meeting anytime soon outside a mourning ceremony for the ones involved, sir.  Not in any pantheon.   The only one who's stupid enough to attack Xander is Ares and he'd do it to try to wear out his temper.  He's more than smart enough to realize that won't happen this time and they'll be missing another God."  Ares appeared, giving him a pointed look.  "You're that wise."

"I'm still kicking your ass later, junior."

"Let me heal.  I was trying to hold Xander back so they didn't destroy the whole village."

"I saw.  I didn't want to see but someone broadcast," he said, giving John a pointed look.  "I'm sure you were hoping for backup?"

"Not really.  It was unconscious.  Sorry.  At least it wasn't the earlier one."

"No, it wasn't."  He grimaced.  "It was quite a mess."  John and Roque both shrugged.  "I know, not all his doing.  Are they fine?  Gaia asked me to check before she destroyed the earth."

"They're fine, Lord Ares," Phil said from the doorway.  "They're in my office if she wanted to look in on them somehow."  Ares nodded.  "I know she can scry or whatever easier than anyone else."

"She can," he agreed.  "Are you going to keep fighting that decision?"

"Yes.  Because apparently it's dangerous to know him sometimes."  Ares flinched.  "Even though it wasn't his doing, if someone was this stupid, then I don't want my twins in jeopardy."

"They'd never do it again," John promised.  "They won't, Phil."

"I know.  Still, they tried it this time.  Someone had enough stupid in them to actually think this would draw us together?"

"To make you work together and they'd get you together that way," Roque said. "I looked at his plans.  They won't.  We're all protecting your kids."

"Thank you."  He stared at Ares.  "I'd never be part of anything that would hurt my children.  As you wouldn't have let yours be hurt."

"No, I would've taken out the whole pantheon.  Then again, I'm a God of War," he said smugly.

"Some of them are just good at it," Phil said.

Ares laughed.  "He is.  The brat's very good at it."  He looked at him.  "The edict is being lifted."  Phil nodded.  "If it happens, that's between you two.  If there wasn't a proscription against it, we'd go back and undo the edict itself so that none of this would've happened."

"If I could wish it were so I would," Phil said.  "Tara's still crying.  I hate to see her that upset and I'm not finding much calm myself at the moment."

Ares nodded.  "Let me look."  He disappeared.

A few minutes later a wash of power went over the world.  The edict never happened.  The attack never happened.  The gods still knew, they had it as a memory.  The mortals, no one would remember.

Phil looked up from his office doing paperwork.  "Thank you, Lord Ares," he said quietly.  "You saved my family and my sanity."  He went back to his mundane job.  He hated paperwork but it was calming in many ways.  Dawn popped in to hug him.  "You remember?"

"I do and Tara does.  She's a handmaiden, not fully mortal."  He nodded, swallowing.  She showed him how things stood now.  He nodded.  He was still in the other apartment.  Not much had changed outside of Xander not declaring his exile from the pantheons and the edict hadn't happened.  Therefore no new god-destroying war.

Loki appeared, staring at him.  "I did not mean for it to go that far."

Phil looked at him.  "Even you would've protected your children."

"I would.  I've made that mistake," he said dryly.  He sighed.  "It is fixed.  I helped make sure once I was freed.  It can never happen again.  So if you two manage to untangle things, then we'll all celebrate."  He looked at Dawn.  "How did you do that?"

"Do what?"

"Get the extra power?"

"Andrew."  She smiled.  He groaned and disappeared.  She hugged him again.  "I think you and Xander would be great."

"Maybe.  Right now, I need to focus on the mundane things."

"I get that."  She kissed him on the head.  "Since I'm free tonight, want me to make dinner?"

"No, that's good."  She nodded and left, going back to work.  He stretched and popped his neck.  Maria brought him some advil and a bottle of water.  "Thanks."

She stared at him.  "Tara told me."

He swallowed the pills, nodding slightly.  "It's fixed."

"That's good.  Now what, Phil?"

"Now...  I don't know," he admitted.  "I'm going to be there for dinner and bedtime tonight."

"That's good."  She smiled.  "It'll be okay.  We'll handle it."  He nodded.  "And you two are a good couple."  She disappeared.

He sighed and finished his water.  He wasn't sure he could take that sort of risk.  Even if it was going to make him happy.  He rubbed his forehead.  Maybe he didn't want to remember it.  That was too easy of an answer but he was still mad.  Xander sent a single note saying he was still mad too.  Phil smiled weakly.  At least Xander wasn't so mad that he was whiting out his senses of the other gods.  Though Thor was about to lose his temper.  He went to talk to him.  He found him in the gym taking Steve's usual cure of beating a heavy bag.  He waved it out of the way, watching Thor have to catch himself.  "Hey."  Thor stared at him.  "We stopped it then," he said quietly.  "It will not happen again."

"No, it will not or I will help my nephew rend people.  You only had to ask."

Phil smiled and patted him on the arm.  "I know.  That was a personal vendetta."

"I understand though I have no children."  He made himself relax.  "Are they fine?"

"They are.  Tara and Dawn remember," he said quietly.  "Tara told Agent Hill."

"That's fine."  He made himself relax again.  "Those who are strong scholars may remember it as a dream."

"I'll keep that in mind.  Can you calm down?  You're creating a haze around yourself."

Thor nodded.  "I will."  He ran a hand over his hair.  "I cannot believe they would stoop that low."

"Me either.  Then again, some humans would."

"That's why I cannot believe it.  They're supposed to be above all that pettiness, especially their group."  He slumped.  "It makes me want to finish rending people into parts."

Phil smiled.  "Me too."  Thor nodded and walked out with him.  "Tara has the twins at the house if you wanted to go play."

"I know not what children play."

"Those two, anything amuses them."  Thor smiled and had an agent take him over there.  Phil went back to his office, finding Xander leaning in there.  "Got driven out by the trainees?"  He sat down and saw the note had changed.  "Okay, who are you?"  The man shifted into someone he didn't recognize.  "Who are you?  I haven't met you yet."

He smirked.  "On special assignment from Hades."

"I see.  Why are you here?"

"To make sure Alexander doesn't have that sort of problem again."

"I wasn't the problem.  The one that had my family attacked were."

"Ah, but you were.  You fought very hard."

Xander appeared, grabbing him by the neck.  "Shut up," he growled in his ear.  "I already talked to Hades, he wasn't behind your release, Jett."  Jett shivered.  "Let's go talk.  Shall we?"  He took him with him.  The sparring ring nicely emptied when he threw him into it.  "So who let you out?"

"Hades sent me."

"That's such a pile of crap," he said.  He moved closer.  "Wanna try again?"  Jett stood up and looked him over.  "Still not getting it."  Jett lunged with a knife out.  Xander let out a pleased growl and got the rest of his battle urges out.  Jett had a knife so it was only fair he did.  The former assassin looked stunned but the fight wasn't even close to being even.

John appeared.  "Hold it.  We need to know who sent him, Xander."

Xander threw Jett at him.  "Here, have fun with Roque."  He smirked.

"I can do that."  He walked him off.  He took the knife and tossed it back.

Xander picked it up to look at, testing the back.  "That's a modern one, John.  Not the original."  He and his half-brother shared a look then Xander took it to Phil.  "This was Jett's and it's a new one.  So was he.  The original Jett was so tough I had problems beating him.  This one I tossed around like a rag doll."

"How can you tell?"  Xander showed him the end of his dagger.  "Did you...."

"Win it?  Yeah."  He smiled.  "I did take the opportunity to train now and then."  Phil nodded, taking pictures of both.  He noted it and the incident report.  "John has him."  Phil dug out the circlet and handed it over.  "That's a good idea."  He took him with him so they could officially question him.  It was very helpful and Natasha got new information to look into.


Dawn reappeared at work, looking around.  She was in Tony's lab and he was under a car.  She walked over there.  "Are you okay?"

"No.  Are you?"

"Not really at the moment."  He pushed his way out to stare at her.  "You know, don't you?"

"Yeah.  I thought it was a strange dream until I saw you take off to check on the twins and Coulson."

"They did a time switch so the idiots didn't get to be in charge."

"Figures," he muttered.  "If I do, McKay probably does."

"Bruce probably does too."  She handed him a wrench and he pointed at a screwdriver.  "What did you screw up this time?"

"A few things."  He took the screwdriver and went back under the car.  "Does Tara?"

"Yup.  I'm not sure if Steve will or not."

"Do yours?"

"They're busy.  I'm not opening that and I'm hoping it's sealed."  Stark pulled out his phone to text someone, getting a yes they had realized the time switch and why, and no, she wasn't leaking.  He held up the answer.  "That's good."  She sat down.  "What do I do with this knowledge?"

"Pray like hell it never happens again," Tony said bluntly.

"If it does, they'll have plenty of help."  Steve walked in looking pissed.  "Time flip situation or otherwise?"

"A what now?"

"Never mind.  If you don't know you don't need to."  She sighed and looked at her boss, who was staring at her.  "I'm not going to explain it.  I'll lose my temper and go cure it."

"You'd have help."  She smiled.  "Go calm down."

"I am calming down.   Nagging your genius self is a good way to calm down."  She stood up.  "I'll let you two have alone time though."  She patted Steve's arm on the way past.

Steve smiled.  "I take it the reason I had a horrible nightmare about Coulson's twins being attack got fixed?"  Steve nodded.  "You okay?"

"Going to help them destroy people."

"Good, you'd have help."  Steve smiled and Tony smirked back.  "Want help with the car?"

"Sure.  I'm checking tightness."  Steve got down to help him.


Rodney was ranting at John until John made it so no one could hear.  "It's fixed."

"What?  How can you *fix* something like that!" he shouted.

"Anything that gets nineteen gods dead and another few disabled tends to get fixed if it's not a war." 

Rodney paused.  "Nineteen?"

"Over a few families.  It was their version of stupidity VD."  He sat down with a sigh.  "It's still fixed.  Very few realize it.  Both parents do.  Every single God and offspring do."  He stared at Rodney.  "You should only remember it as a dream."

"I doubt I'll forget it."

"Me either.  I've only seen Xander that mad a few times and each time I had to get more and more drunk so I don't have nightmares."  Rodney frowned.  "That was Xander losing his temper.  Under the right circumstances, he can go berserk and totally lose it.  The higher ups keep forgetting this.  Some of them think I'm the tougher one."

"Are the other things that got solved him losing his temper?"

"No.  It's always been in a godly war.  When things like that are considered part of the war."  Rodney shuddered.  "We don't but some people aren't as civilized."

"I can see that."  He considered it.  "Will they do anything to him?"

"No.  Even before they had no right to.  They did something inexcusable and Xander fixed it."  Rodney nodded slightly.  "They might have tried to protest but everyone would've agreed, especially if the twins had gotten hurt.  And if they had, there would've been a revolt.  None of us younger ones would've stood for that.  There would be no support from any of us and we're all stronger now.  Most of us don't require daily prayers for strength."

"That's good to know.  Beyond that?"

"Beyond that, the edict that started all this was never cast.  There was no pushing, no shoving, no making Xander stubborn.  None of it.  So things are back to like they were before it but you got dick teased at Stark's halloween party by Dawn.  She offered you her lefthand spot and all the Kona coffee you want if you joined her evil empire as the top science geek."

"That's a better offer than I get to work here," he shot back, going back to pacing.  "She needed to get that outfit in white."

John shivered.  "No, that would look a bit more naughty than evil."  Rodney smirked.  "She told one of the scientists that he could whack off to her, just to not be so loud that others got embarrassed.  Stark had to pull up the conversation to see how they got on that topic.  Apparently he had been nagging her about looking like a harlot so she said that meant he was staring *way* too hard.  He even complained about the tasteful things because she has a shape."

"Everyone has a shape, hers is just wonderful," Rodney said dryly.  "How did he like the sari?"

"He didn't.  Tony reminded him a fifth of the world's population wore one every day and he could send him to the office in India if he wanted to learn that.  When the guy started to complain about women with short hair who showed their knees, Tony suggested he take his Taliban viewpoint back to Alabama and then home to the Middle East.  He said he wasn't, he was *godly* so Tony called in Xander, who told him he wasn't.  He might have figured it out."

Rodney snorted.  "I love the holy rollers.  Is she still suing him?"

"Yes.  The judge agreed, he was making terroristic threats and trying to malign her character.  Even above freedom of speech."  He relaxed.

"Now what?"

"Now, we may see some love gods trying sneaky things.  I know a few people are going to be apologizing.  Xander will stick to his 'no alliances' viewpoint if not."

Rodney nodded.  "I guess."  He looked around.  "I never thought I'd see the day when Atlantis was quiet and boring."

John laughed. "Not for long.  We have a presidential inspection next week."

"With or without his consort?"


"Good."  He went to tell the others.

John stretched.  He sent a thought at Xander, getting a glaring one back.  He chuckled and went to hug him.  "Watch out for the sneaky ones."

"I already knew you were a pain in my ass," he muttered.

John gave him a squeeze.  "Remember, I always have your back."  Xander looked at him.  "Always."  Xander nodded.  "Now, relax.  It won't happen.  They'll try more of the pushing you two together stuff instead."  He tested.  "Why haven't you slept or ate in days?"  Xander showed him.  "Eww, dress movies."  He took him with him, sticking him in a chair.  "Diama?"  She appeared, squealing and patting the city.  "Good girl.  Uncle Xander has not eaten because the mean, pink one is making it so he can't sleep."

"I not nap," she told him.

"I'm not asking you to.  I'm asking you to fuss over him and help him with the evil pink one."

She grinned.  "I can do that."   She cackled and left to help.  The pink one was no fun anyway, she never played with machines, only makeup.  Yuck!  Diama talked to her handmaiden, who was an engineer and her nanny.  She had ideas so they called the other handmaidens that weren't going to hurt the Xander.  Handmaidens from all the pantheons rushed in to take care of him, and Phil.  Who was also tired and sore and needed to eat.


Fury looked at the women that had appeared and started to fuss over his senior agent.  "What the hell?" he demanded.

"Ladies, an explanation?" he asked one he slightly knew.

She smiled.  "Diama said that you needed to be fussed over because the evil pink one was sending you bad mental thoughts and making it so you couldn't eat."  She smoothed down his hair.  "We're bored anyway and the evil pink one is meddling where people don't want her to."  She smiled.  "Besides, we like you.  You're not handsy, gropey, don't expect us to put out, and you're polite.  We like that."  They made him walk off to fuss over him.

Fury looked at his other senior agent, who nodded.  "He is very polite, sir."

"What is that about?"

"I believe there's still a slight plot to hitch him and the God Alexander together, sir."

"Great," he muttered.  He got up and stomped off.  She had told him what the time flip had been about in case it became pertinent.  He had to assume the evil pink one was a love goddess.

"Well, there was that other Ares, who was a god of love, and wore white leather," Cupid said as he appeared.  "But he's not here."  He stared at him.  "You should not know."

"He's my agent and I need to know to protect him better."

"It'll never happen again.  Everyone forgot it was John who was the nice one.  Xander's been mostly calm or hiding it out of their sight for a while.  Now, they don't want to screw with him."  He smiled at the woman who came in.  "Mom's laying off."

"Then she wouldn't be sending dress movie scenes with them instead of the actors and he'd be able to eat."  She huffed off once she had her shawl.

Cupid shook his head.  "That was almost evil of Diama."

"The baby?" Fury asked, looking confused.

"Yes, that one."  He smirked.  "Her nanny suggested it."  He disappeared to talk to Phil.  "How about this?  We set you up on a real date, see how it goes?"

"How about we not.  Xander and I are perfectly capable of talking like adults."

"That's going to take forever."

"Probably eighteen years," he agreed dryly.

Cupid winced.  "He'd make a good stepdaddy."

"I'm not even near that point and I'm still not convinced that I could like guys that way, Lord Cupid."  Cupid slumped.  "I'm sorry but I'm not."

"I can show you some, see if you react."

"I've seen plenty of porn."

"Not exactly the same thing."  He touched his hand, showing it with him in the scene.  Phil grimaced.  "Huh," he said, switching one.  That got a better response than blandness.  Nothing hot though.  He showed him and Xander on the beach, together, with the waves.

Phil looked at him.  "Nor are we women."  Cupid laughed and changed it.  That was nicer and almost interesting but nothing that made him that happy.  "Sorry."

"Maybe it'll take time."  He sighed.  "Dawn and hers?"

"Staying where they are.  They're satisfied and happy that way."

"Fine."  He left.  "Mom, you're screwed.  Diama asked the handmaidens to fuss.  They've got both of them."  She pouted.  "And Xander's still mad."  She shuddered.  He went to hide in a nice, safe spot.  He wrote Xander an apology scroll and sent it.  The handmaidens would let him have it eventually.  He missed playing games with Xander.  Xander was the only one that got how much greatness wings really were.  He'd get pouty if he and Xander couldn't make up.  No kissing, because Xander would kill him in bed, but making up was nice.


One of the handmaidens appeared to Dawn in the meeting she was in.  "Pardon the interruption," she said in Chinese.  "Do you know something that your adopted big brother will eat?"

"Which one?" she replied in the same language.

"Either.  They have not been eating due to the stresses being put on them."

"Xander loves chocolate and ice cream.  Phil will eat ice cream and he has a soft spot for strawberries."

She smiled.  "Thank you.  They have not eaten and they need fussed over.  Goddess Diama asked us to."  She bowed and left.

"Thank you for doing it for me," Dawn called.  She smiled at the staring people.  "Diama is one of the very young, as in younger than Callia, Goddesses in the greek pantheon.  She's over engineers.  She asked a few of the handmaidens around the different pantheons to go spoil Xander and another one for a bit because they haven't eaten."  That got a few smiles.  "She's a very loving little girl who shows up sometimes to pet Tony's mustang."

Tony looked down at her.  "I wondered whose fingerprints those were since Callia likes the ferarri."  He leaned back.  "Take more language classes."


"Thank you.  It's a great credit to us."

One of the board members looked at Dawn.  "How did you get that degree so fast?"

"The things I couldn't get online through them I got through a college in Brazil so I was basically doing double time.  Three credit hours doesn't really translate to three hours of homework a week outside of math classes.  I spent one day a week being bored and doing homework."  He groaned.  "So I'm actually about thirty hours from a few possible language degrees through that school.  I've been finishing those off a few at a time."  She smiled.  "I really do find accounting calming though."

"I tried to get her into engineering but she likes orderly things," Tony quipped.  Dawn smiled and nodded.  "When you do get them, we're going to watch you walk that one with your mother."

"She'd adore Brazil."  She grinned.

"She probably would."  They got back to the business at hand.  He'd worry about how much fussing Coulson was getting to tease him about it later.


Phil finally got free of the women, who pouted a bit that he didn't want to cuddle.  He pointed at the twins, who loved to cuddle.  They cooed over the babies and helped spoil them that night.  Tara was looking confused but she knew who they were.  She'd be serving with some of them some year.  Maria Hill was smiling because only Tara or Dawn could fuss like that.  Phil made sure the twins went down and he did his usual thing.  The ladies promised to make sure he had dinner the next day and went home. He went to hide with Xander, who was seriously groaning.  "Sorry," he said.

"Stay," one said with a smile.  "He only needs a massage.  Did yours not do that?"

"I was at work.  That's not really professional."  The handmaidens who had taken care of him appeared and before he could blink he was naked, under a towel, on top of a massage table, and was nearly ready to turn into a puddle of goo.  "They're even better than yours, Xander."

"They are," he agreed, sounding like he had already had great sex that day.  "I need handmaidens but they'd have to be sword wielding bitches at times."  The girls giggled.  "I definitely need someone who can cook since Bia can't and I'm tired of what I can make."

"I think it's strange that Barton cooks for the trio most often," Phil said.  "But they say he's good."

"Maybe I'll make Valkyries and put up a warrior's hall."  He yawned.  The girls got him to drink his milkshake and it was nice of them.  They kept going until he could sleep.  They even protected him when the bad mental pictures started, sending dirty thoughts at the goddess doing it.  She flinched and quit.

Phil smiled.  "Thank you.  Whoever does that has horrible taste in girl movies.  Tara has a better collection."  They smiled and took care of him too.  He fell asleep there and it was good.  He woke up in the morning realizing it was probably past noon and he was naked in a bed with someone.  He looked over.  Xander snorted in his sleep and slightly purred.  Phil poked him, making Xander hum and roll over to grab him.  "I'm not a body pillow."

"Shh," Xander hissed.  "Sleep."  He snuggled in and nuzzled his chin against Phil's shoulder.

Phil relaxed, staring at him.  He considered poking him again but Xander was draped over him and might knee him or something.  He stroked over his hair, getting more purrs. "Hyenas don't purr."

"Kitty.  Dru said so," he mumbled.

"You make a great one, Xander."  Xander beamed and hugged him tighter.  "You really should wake up though."


"Okay."  He found his phone next to him on the nightstand, texting Maria, who told him the handmaidens had filed for a leave day for him with the night duty officer.  He sent back a thank you.  He thought about it and put boxers on both of them.  Xander pouted.  "I don't want you to be upset when you wake up."

"Naked good," Xander said, taking them back off.  Phil put some on himself but Xander fixed it with a growl.

"Sure."  He petted him, making him a happy god again.  He had no idea how to get away from Xander without hurting him or making him flinch.  He tried to shift but got pulled back closer.  He was so close they almost needed lube.  He wiggled onto his side instead.  Xander pouted but found a new comfy spot and used him as a teddy bear.  "Want breakfast?" he whispered.  "I'll go make breakfast."  Xander made kissy faces.  Phil kissed him on the forehead like he would the kids.  Xander settled in to snore.  Phil got up and got dressed, heading to the kitchen.  He found Jensen making eggs.  "Coffee?"

"Brewing."  He smiled.  "They told us they put you in bed together because Xander had no guest rooms."

"They did.  Xander's snoring."  He got the first cup of coffee, sipping it as he moved to help make breakfast.  "Did anyone else see?"

"Only Cougar, who walked off shaking his head."  He looked at him.  "Did you two have fun?"

"I fell asleep while the ladies were working all the stress out of my back."

"Shoot, we were hoping."  He handed over a plate with eggs.  Phil smiled, added his toast, and took it to the table.  "Xander, food?" he called.

"Bad furry!" got shouted.  "Go sit in corner!"

"Xander, I'm a dragon, not a furry," he called patiently.  He shook his head.

"Bad flying furry then!"

"Food?" Phil called.


"Last night he joked about making his own version of Valkyries and a drinking hall for the special warriors.  And having someone cook."

"He could use a good cook," Jensen agreed.  "That's about the limits on my skills if there's no spit to cook with."

"You burn it anyway," Clay said as he walked in.  He looked at Phil.  "You did good," he said dryly.  "He's still sleeping."

"The very nice young ladies did good."  He ate a bite of egg.  "I was knocked out by a back massage," he said after he had chewed and swallowed.

"Crap," he muttered.  Phil shrugged.  "Fine.  Think you can do it today so we can win the inter-temple bet?"

"Probably not."  He ate another bite.

"Damn.  Well, it's only a few rounds because some people are pansies about drinking."  He walked off.

"That's because some of us turn evil when we're that drunk," John called after him.  "Xander, breakfast," he called into his bedroom.

"Fuck off!  Not the mommy!"

John changed his clothes before Jensen could take the picture.  "Hellion, get daddy up."  The dog ran in and jumped on his master, lapping him until he groaned and got shoved off, but the daddy was nice enough to hug him afterward.  "Breakfast."

"Still not the mother."

"You change my uniform into a sari again and I'm telling O'Neill."

"What's he going to do?  Date you?"  John walked off shaking his head.  Xander looked at his dog.  "John needs laid."  The dog barked and lapped him.  "Yeah, I agree.  Let's shower."  Hellion ran that way because he loved the shower.  Xander got up with a moan and went to do that.  Then he came out to find a familiar woman in his kitchen.  "Talsa, what are you doing here?"

"Fixing your hall so it's a proper one.  You have no rooms."

"They have their own temples."

"You have no dining hall."  Xander pointed.  "That's not a proper dining hall."

"The trainees live down the hill."

"We know!  We have need of putting a few somewhere anyway until our Hall's rebuilt."  She smiled.  "Thankfully you have a drinking hall."

"Is that wine or mead?" Clay called.

"If they're upright with taps on the side it's mead," Xander called.  "If it's on its side with a tap on the end it's wine or ale."

"Good to know."  He walked in with a tiny cask.  "This one looks like mead."

"That one is one of the table-top neverending ones," Xander said.  "It's refilled from the neverending barrels."

"Okay."  He got a bit to taste.  "That's not bad.  Bit sweet.  Bit strong."

Xander took it to sip and handed it back.  "That's fairly young.  The oldest stuff you nearly have to thin before you warm and spice it."

"Hmm."  He walked out with the cask.  "We're stealing this one."

"Sure.  There's ale ones though."  Clay went to find one of those and brought it home too.  He looked at the older woman who had just changed his kitchen.  "We like the modern appliances, Talsa."

"As do I.  They're still there."  She opened the fridge to show him it was the same one, only it had been expanded some.  The stove was still there and new.  The fireplace in the kitchen was new and had a huge spit.  He moved it out back for her.  She smiled when he put up a covering around it.  "I know you can't properly hunt like you do at home."   She put up the smoking house and the salting houses, plus the storage house.

Xander put modern electricity and cooling technologies to the storage buildings.  The dining hall down the hill got changed and it was nicer for the guys.  The kitchen down there got expanded as well.  The bunkhouse got changed in looks.  The other buildings too.  The two spoiled goats of war and carriage drawing got fed and babied for a bit.  Bia got to help too.

Xander sat down to have oatmeal with fruit and honey, and coffee.  Phil taught Talsa how to make it and the agents in training were happy with it.  The expanded areas got nicer when others created a bit of a sub realm stretching to give them meadows and fields again.  Plus a few deer.  Xander let them do it because he hated being nagged.  Phil stared at him.  "They nag," he said.

"I've seen many women that do when they don't get what they want.  Including Tara.  She nagged the twins a few times about them not letting her sleep."

"Many parents do I guess," Xander said.  "Don't you dare put on another level."

"Fine."  Talsa looked.  "Which goddess does that small temple belong to?"


"Awwww.  That's a tiny house."

"She doesn't have kids.  It's got everything she wants.  Leave it alone please."  They nodded and worked around it.  The outside got changed.  Everything looked more like stone villas instead of more greek-inspired buildings.  When they were done, Talsa got a headcount of the agents and started lunch for them.  With enough leftover for dinner's casseroles and stews.  The agents were feeling very babied and it was good for them.  Until Roque got them onto the obstacle course and made them run off lunch again.  Xander and Phil went down there to hide.

John popped back in and smiled.  "They did a nice job."

"They did a very nice job," Xander agreed.  They looked over as a new temple appeared.  "That had better not have smashed any gardens or Dawn's house," he yelled.

"Hush, it didn't," Alana complained.  "I have true aim, nephew, and it's beside the drinking hall.  I expanded the area myself."  She came down there.  "Ladies, join them."  They got in line to do the obstacle course.

"Did you leave the horses at home?" Xander asked.

"Aye.  People panic when they see us flying around."  She watched.  Her warrior women were good but not in the same way.  "I know you ride into battle, ladies, but still!  You're to be fierce warrior women!"  They nodded and got back to work harder.

Xander sipped his coffee.  "We can make you your own place," he offered.  "So you can have the stables and training areas."

"The men too weak to fight them?" she snorted.

"No, but how many do you want to lose to not being virgins any longer."

"Odin took that off."  She smirked.  "Or else he would've lost the lot of them."  Xander choked and spluttered.  "As I found out, an amusing music festival happened."

"Oh, great.  But hey, I didn't get blamed for that."

"No, not in the least," Phil agreed.  "Heins!" he snapped.  He quit nagging one of the agents.  "That's my job, not yours, and your times are slipping."  He groaned but sped up again.  "Styers, so are yours.  Even your brother did better and he was pathetic."  The trainee agents all quit goofing off.  "Remember, you have six weeks to impress the hand-to-hand coaches, Alexander, and myself.  If not, we can farm you back to another agency that has lesser standards."  They nodded, doing better.

Alana smiled at him.  "I like that you're mean here and not in other places.  Though, your twins are loud."

"Yes they are," he agreed.  "When did you see my twins?"

"I checked on Tara for Talsa.  She misses her still."  She walked down there.  "Ladies, let's go."  She went over it with them.  The trainee agents were whimpering.  "Yes, I'm a goddess, I still have to go into battle.  You should at least be as good as a minor godling."  Xander made her quit nagging and hit the course herself.  "At least this is suitably hard."

Xander smirked at the agents.  "She's only eighteen."  They slumped and went back over it again.

Dawn appeared, looking around then at him.  "Someone was in my tub."

"They might be cleaning it on you."

She nodded, hiking up there to make sure of that.  The woman rearranging her things got sent out.  "Mine!  Don't touch!"  They nodded and left it alone.

"What be those things in the drawer?" one woman demanded.

"What?  The sex toys or the condoms?"

"You have no need...." she started.

"I'm over the age of consent, my boyfriend and girlfriend put them there with my consent, and you're not my mother," Dawn said, staring at her.  She backed down.  "For that matter, my mother enjoys me in my relationship and sex toys are fun.  Thank you anyway.  Stay out of my shit."

Talsa came out to stare at her.  "What be condoms?"

Dawn got one and brought it back.  "Birth control."

She looked and scowled.  "To go over a man's dick?"

"Yes.  It blocks the sperm and anything they might have like a disease."

"Oh.  Huh.  We need those in the villages."

"The villages might need the kids."

"Yes but there's some diseased wenches up there."

"Then usually, the men gave it to them," Dawn quipped. "Toss that one out.  Once they're opened they have to be used."  That got a nod and it was tossed, then they cleaned their hands and got back to work.  Dawn went back to her own job.  Pepper gave her a strange look.  "One of the women that came down to nag Xander at the temple decided to rearrange things on me and complain that I have a toy or two.  Then I got to explain condoms."

"Good.  It's very good that you have some."

"Actually, I think they're expired.  I need to get some more."  She made a mental note to stop on the way home.  Not that she'd have anyone to use them with for a few days but still.  Best to be prepared to baby her lovers when they got there.  "They've changed the hall around too."

"Good to know as well."  She smiled.  "It's five."

"I know.  There's no reason for me to hurry home tonight."  She shrugged and finished up the last few things.  She even went up to play with her niece for a bit.  "When it's your turn, you'll be just as tough as Alana without the nagging."

"Please don't teach her to nag," Tony said as he came in.  "No one at home tonight?"


"Fine."  He smiled since they were building a funny looking tower.  His daughter looked pouty.  "Why are you upset?"

"No one play me today."

"Andrew and Jonathan have today off," Dawn reminded her.  "They need time off."  Callia pouted but nodded.  "And I played during lunch."

"I know."  She hugged her around the tower, which made it fall.  She huffed.  "Not nice," she told the blocks.

"Sometimes things don't work like they should.  That means you have to look at what you've got," Dawn said, clearing off the ones that had fallen.  "And fix the problem so you can build it better.  That's why you build prototypes."


"Prototypes are the things that you build to test on.  To make sure things work.  When they don't, then you change stuff on it and start again."  She showed her how to build a better tower.  That one was more stable and Callia smiled about it.

"Daddy build 'types?"

"I do.  That's what we build in the lab so I can test and make official ones."  He smiled, coming over to help her build her own tower.  "Some day, this tower will be yours and I'll be kicked back watching you build even greater things."  Callia beamed and hugged him, then they stared on a second tower.  He showed her how to anchor a bridge between them and it was good.  Dawn put caps on them for them.  When they were done, Callia demanded he take a picture so they did and put it on her wall.  Then she stomped them with an evil cackle so they could build something else.  "I love your evil mind," Tony said, kissing his daughter on the head.

"Auntie's evil, I'm good girl who will crush the bad boys."  She smiled.  He laughed and nodded she could be.  "And help animals."

"I like that you like animals."

"Animals are cool," Dawn agreed.  "What do you think about getting her a K'nex set for her birthday?"

"I think she's a bit young," Tony said.  "She's getting tinkering time when she wants it.  Stick with legos?"  His daughter didn't have the need to prove herself to a distant father the way he had so he was letting her learn at her own pace and show what she wanted to do when she got older.

"I can do that."  She smiled at her niece.  "What do you want for your birthday next month?"


She smiled.  "I'll see if we can find you a pony ride but I'm not buying you a pony until you're old enough to pay for the food and stall space for it."

She looked at her father.  "Park ponies?"

"We can go look at the ponies in the park."

"You have a meeting at nine," Dawn said.

"We can do it for breakfast," Tony said.  His daughter got up to cheer and dance.  "That's adorable."  He hugged her.  "Would you maybe like to look at dance classes?"

"Like on movies?"

"I have no idea if there's Bollywood dance classes for kids," Dawn said.  "I'll look."  Her niece grinned.  "Someone needs to brush her teeth."  She ran off to do that.

"I forget too," Tony admitted.  He sorted the blocks out so they could be used again.  "Bored?"

"No one at home tonight."

"That figures."  He smiled when Steve walked in with dinner.  "Hey."

"Hey.  Hi, Dawn."

She smiled.  "I'm only playing, I'll give you two some space."  Callia ran back out so she hugged her.  "You have a good night with Daddy and Uncle Steve."  She pouted.  "I'll see you tomorrow.  You can help me be an assistant."

"Okay!"  She bounced over to Steve.  "Matoes?"

"I did get you some, yes."  Dawn gave him a hug on her way out.  "Help me set the table?"  She nodded, carrying things for him.  "Thank you."

"Welcome," she chirped.  "Daddy, clean up."

"I am."  He got up and went to clean up then helped her set dishes down.  "Forks on the left, dear."

"Oops."  She looked at her hands then reset them.  Steve gave Tony a confused look.

He waved a hand.  "It's one of those things she knows but has to consider for a second."

"I guess that's normal."

"It is."  He sat down and she settled in her booster seat.  Steve got his usual one.  They dug in and it was nicer.  "She wanted a pony but her aunt said not until she could afford to keep one."

"That's a sound policy, especially since she hasn't even had riding lessons."

"That's in a few years if she wants them.  They said eight was a good age for that."  Steve smiled and nodded.  "I was thinking dance classes or maybe gymnastics."

"They can both help calm her down when she's bouncy and gymnastics would give her an edge on training when she's older."

"I'm not sure if she'll want to," Tony admitted.

Steve smiled.  "It's entirely possible she won't.  You'll pick an heir to the suit and maybe her son will want it back."

"Maybe.  I'm worried that I'm shoving her toward it sometimes."  He watched her eat.  "Mouth closed."  She closed her mouth while chewing.  "Take smaller bites.  The food's not running away."  He gave her a look.  "Do it like Pepper showed you."  She smiled and ate smaller bites, which made them happy.

"I think, speaking as a former kid, she won't remember the subtle things.  She'll remember things like you taught her how to drive and you spent time in the park with her.  The subtle pushes toward the duty you and I have are pretty much flying over her head.  You're not disappointed, right?"

"No!  Not at all.  She's a great kid.  She's my great kid, which shocks the hell out of me sometimes."  He stuffed his mouth.

"Then that's what she'll remember.  The time you spent teaching her and playing with her.  When she's a teenager you might seem more pushy but not right now."

"That's good.  I don't want her to be forced.  Maybe Pepper's kid of it's a son."

"You know, girls can fight," Steve said dryly.  "It took Natasha kicking my butt a few times for me to remember that."

Tony grinned.  "She does it to me too."  They finished dinner and she got her usual hour of reading then ran in to bathe and go to bed.  Tony tucked her in and she snuggled around her stuffed zebra and penguin.  He walked back out, taking Steve from doing dishes.  "We have machines that do that."

"They take a lot of water."

"Dishwashers are more efficient than doing it by hand."

"Really?  Okay then I'll use that."  He went back to finish, because he hated leaving dishes overnight, then came back to relax and watch tv.  "Dawn alone tonight?"

"Next few nights."

"That sucks."

"She'll be fine.  It's kind of the girlfriend's job when you date someone like us."

"Dawn does make a good hero's girlfriend."

"She does, yeah."  They watched the news, just sitting there quietly.  Callia got up and snuck out, laying on the couch behind their heads and snuggling in with her stuffed penguin.  The zebra was too noticeable so she left it in there.  He looked back at the tiny snore then smiled at Steve.  They put her back to bed.  She'd do it again in a few hours.


Dawn got home after having dinner out, finding someone in her apartment.  "JARVIS, are you still having problems?" she called.

"Apparently I am.  I did not notice them at all.  Dawn, they are armed."

"So am I," she assured him.  "I don't know who the fuck you are, but get out of my apartment."

"You're mine," he said smugly.  "The higher ones have spoken."

"I doubt it.  All the higher ones I know like me in my present relationship."  He lunged and she ducked, doing a credible impersonation of kicking his butt.  Someone stuck her with a needle from behind and she yelped but pulled it out.  "Bad idea, people."  She attacked that one and threw him off the balcony, which was open for some reason. It was nice he didn't scream but the other one was smirking.  "Drugs don't work right on me.  I doubt your party of pitiful is going to win." 

She heard more people running.  "Great," she complained.  She hit her security switch on the wall and knew the alarm made Tara flinch but she really hoped Maria was in tonight.  There were six guys coming up the hallway and she had one more to deal with beyond the one that was trying to claim her.  She could feel him sneaking up on her.  She turned and stabbed him.  "JARVIS, they have those sensor blockers," she called.

"I'm alerting others," he said.  "Help is coming."

"Thank you!"  Maria rushed in to help her with the guys coming up the hall and the other one she was dealing with.  "Maria, they have the sensor blockers."

"I can tell.  "Stop it, I'm a goddamn agent."

"Women don't do such jobs," the man that wanted Dawn sneered.  "So I know that's an unholy lie."  He shot at her, getting her in the shoulder.  That was about the same time Tony showed up, thankfully with weapons on his suit.  Steve hopped off to help too.  "Ah, the iron monstrosity.  God will hate you for usurping his job."  He shot at him.

Dawn was blocking one hit when a second needle hit her.  This one in a more delicate spot than her shoulder.  She blacked out.  Not even she could fight drugs.

Stark was too busy to see her be taken and Steve was protecting Agent Hill.  Tony got told and tried to find them but there wasn't much luck.  Tony looked around.  "Fuck, this is going to be bad."  He sent out an alert.  Maybe Coulson could find her?  No, he said she was blocked thanks to the drugs.  He'd get a response team ready.


Dawn woke up tied to a chair, which wasn't all that unusual.  It had happened a few times in her life.  She glanced around then at the man in front of her.  "Who the fuck are you?"

"You will learn respect," he warned.  "Or I will teach you."

"You haven't earned it."

"I'm a man, that makes me worthy."

"No it doesn't."  She kicked at him.  He slapped her.  "That was your only free one because when I get free you're going to wish for death."  She magicked the ropes gone and got up.  "Now, who the fuck are you?"  He tried to punch her so she hit him back into a doorway.  "I'm waiting on an answer.  Because I'm not supposed to be here.  I live in New York and this swamp of yours clearly isn't."

He sneered.  "You're my wife.  The Reverend had to be bribed but he did marry us."

She snorted.  "Not likely.  I don't donate to any 'minister' and any ceremony would've meant I was awake."

"He told me I could wear this foulness out of you.  It appears I have a job to do," he said, taking another swing.  Dawn blocked it and kicked him back.  He bellowed and picked up a hammer.  "You will learn, wife!"

"I'm not your wife.  My boyfriend and girlfriend would *never* try something like this."  He came at her again and she got a glancing blow when she blocked his hit but she sent him off with magic that nearly collapsed the back end of his trailer.  Someone pounded and she walked to the door.  Cheap polyester dark blue suit.  Cheap sunglasses.  Short hair.  "FBI?" she guessed.  He nodded slowly.  "Good, then you can save my ass since I'm not supposed to be here.  I was in New York until *someone* drugged me and kidnaped me," she said at his continued confused look.

"Not that I'm aware of, miss."

"Then why are you here?"

"To meet his new wife."

"I'm not his god-damned wife," she growled.

"Such blasphemy," her 'husband' complained.  Dawn hit him again then the agent, stomping out of the trailer.  He moaned and got up.  "I have quite a lot to teach her," he sneered, getting up holding his side.  His agent friend nodded.  He went to find her and drag her back by her too-short hair if he had to.  A helicopter zoomed in on a low angle and he ran for a weapon but an arrow pinned him to the door.  The agent got pinned to the side of the trailer with an arrow through his arm.  "She's mine!  The reverend married us!" he shouted.  "You're foul and cannot touch her!  God wants her to be mine!  To be made into a proper woman!"

Dawn came out of the trees and looked at him.  "I'm a better woman than you'll ever find," she sneered.  "Just ask my boyfriend."  She winced.  "Sorry," she told him.  "I did not mean to out that."

Clint smiled.  "I'm not mad."  She relaxed.  "Are you all right?"

"Fuzzy headed.  Bit sore.  Apparently he wasn't gentle when they kidnaped me."

"No, they weren't."  He sat her on the edge of the chopper and looked her over while Phil handled things.  "Any other injuries?"

"Stomach's a bit sore."  She looked at him.  "No clue otherwise."

"Okay, we can handle that."  He stroked over her hair then walked that way, bow in hand.  "Agent Coulson, she'll need a med check."

"I saw the split lip."  He looked at him.  "Handcuffs."  He accepted pairs from lesser agents.  "Search the property for anyone else he might have hostage."  He called in the locals.  The sheriff showed up.  "Agent Coulson, SHIELD," he said, shaking his hand.  "We're here rescuing one of our people."

"Sir, there's kids tied up in the back," an agent shouted.  "They could use an ambulance."

Phil nodded.  "Any others?"

"Not in here, sir."

"They're his kids.  He's training them," the sheriff said.

Phil looked at him.  "I doubt that's a good, reasonable method.  I'd never use it on my twins."  The sheriff flinched.  "Sarrs."  He handcuffed the sheriff.  Phil called in the local FBI bureau, who said their boss would be right there.  He was already alerted that there had been agents choppering into his jurisdiction.  He walked over to where Dawn was sitting holding her head.  "Dawn?"  She looked up at him.  "How thorough do we need to be?" he asked quietly.

"I just woke up," she admitted.  "I can't tell.  And frankly, my head's starting to pound."

"Okay.  We'll keep it in mind.  Pepper went on a swearing rant that even made McKay horrified."  She smiled slightly.  The agents came back.  "Anything?"

"No, sir, and the next property to the east has a barbed wire fence with a no trespassing sign.  We don't have a warrant.  Binoculars didn't show anything out of the ordinary beyond a few pot plants."

"That's fine."  The others shook their heads.  "Any signs of others he'd kidnaped?"

"One burial plot but the simple carved plank said it was a dog," that agent reported.

Clint stomped over.  "This person deserves hell," he said.  Dawn nodded, still holding her head.  "Hey."  She looked up at him.  "He must've hit you before you woke up."  She leaned against his side.  Another chopper landed on the road and a guy in a bad suit climbed out.  "FBI, Coulson."

Phil walked over, smiling slightly.  "Agent Coulson, SHIELD.  We're here rescuing one of our adjunct members that was kidnaped."  The FBI agent winced.  "The sheriff is presently being held as well because he stated that tying up children was a good way to train them.  They need an ambulance."

"I'll have one sent for," he said, telling his assistant that.  He nodded and called.  "Which adjunct member?"

"Miss Summers.  She's adjunct personnel that works for Tony Stark."

"Oh, I see.  I've heard about her."  Dawn looked over with a glare.  "She's feisty."

"That's why they were trying to beat her," Phil said blandly.  "Thankfully she's well trained.  Even when drugged."

"She's drugged?"

"Yes.  Sarrs, get me a kit to pull blood."

"We only have one tube, sir."

"That's fine.  We can split it or send them the report."  He moved over.  "Dawn?"  She held out her arm, looking away.  He smiled and popped the needle in and then the tube on the end of the needle.  He drew it out and pulled the needle, letting Clint bandage it while he disposed of the needle in the sharp's bag and labeled the vial.  He put his pen back up once the vial was closed in the kit.  The ambulance showed up and the agent that was with the children talked to them, getting nods.  They admitted they might have to take them to a relative's house. 

Phil called in their southern office and had him get someone CPS-related that he trusted.  She'd meet them at the hospital.  They heard a scream and looked at someone running toward them with a shotgun.  He looked like a younger version of the man Dawn had beaten.  Until he got shot in the chest.  Phil looked at the shooter.  "Widow."

"Coulson."  She walked over, and the agents got out of her way.  "Dawn?" she asked quietly.

"My head is throbbing," she said quietly.  "I'm going to be so sick soon."

"I understand why."  She sat down and Dawn leaned on her, but pulled Clint over to hold her anyway.  The agents looked away when Natasha glanced at them.  "It's all right."  She and Clint shared a look.  "If they didn't realize, they're not very good agents," she quipped.

"Oops," Dawn muttered.  "Blame it on the drugs?"

"There's nothing to blame," Clint assured her, stroking over her hair.  She got up and went to get sick.  Natasha followed, she had the stronger stomach.

"Coulson, blood," Natasha announced.  "We need to get her in for her med check soon.  Dawn, anything like broken ribs?"

"I can't tell.  Everything is throbbing in time with my pulse and my head."

"Okay.  I'm going to ghost my hands over your chest, tell me if it hurts?"

"I can't tell," Dawn said.  "Everything's a pain haze."

"That's fine.  We'll let the doctors tell us and you will stay in the infirmary if you must, young lady."  She nodded, letting herself be helped back to the chopper.  "Are we done?"

"Yes," Phil said.  He looked at the higher agent.  "You can carbon copy your reports to us?  We'll do the same with the bloodwork?"

"That'd be fine," he assured him, shaking his hand.

"Slight problem, sir," one agent said.  "Two too few seats now."

Phil looked at him.  "Agent Romanoff, take the middle seat next to Agent Barton; she can squeeze between you."  That got a nod and they squeezed in for him as well.  They took off once the chopper's doors were closed.

"We need quinjet engines on the choppers," Clint quipped, stroking over Dawn's hair.  She was trying to rest.  They shifted and Dawn ended up on top of his lap for a bit.  He was more sturdy than Natasha was.  Natasha didn't want to look clingy either.  The junior agents were carefully not staring at them.


Dawn blinked awake at the doctor poking her.  "Am I going to be okay?"

"Just fine.  You've got some pretty bruises, nothing broken."

Dawn sat up with a wince.  "Then I can sleep it off at home?"

"Not likely."

Dawn looked at her.  "Is there anything you can give me that I can't get napping at home?"

"Well, no," she admitted.

"Then I want my tub and to sulk that I got kidnaped again, Doc."

"I can understand that.  I might warn you, it looks like you're having a cycle."

Dawn frowned.  "I wasn't due for another week.  Has it been that long?"

"He may have hit you in the stomach.  There's a good bruise."

"Great.  Is it a problem?"

"If it doesn't stop or you start to have blood clots in your urine or excrement, yes."  Dawn nodded at that precaution.  "Good.  Guys, she can go sleep it off.  She's right, there's nothing extra we can do for her that a good bath and a cuddle won't help."  Clint quit leaning against a wall, nodding.  "Do we have a safe place?"

"Hers.  She was at mine.  We'd use Nat's but she doesn't have a bed."

"I thought that meant she didn't want us down there to mess up her closets," Dawn quipped weakly.  "My head's still pounding.  Advil?"

"Yes, you can."

Dawn nodded, sliding off the bed.  She paused and looked at the doc.  "The other one?" she asked quietly.

"Absolutely no signs and there would have been.  I couldn't even do the full exam without hurting you."  Dawn nodded.   "But no signs of trauma."  She slumped and nodded.  "Here, Agent Romanoff got you something to put on."  She helped Dawn into the bathroom so she could clean up and come out in the jeans shorts and soft t-shirt.  "Right home, bath," she ordered the two hovering agents.  "Soft foods or soup tonight.  Let her nap the rest off."  He nodded, helping her to the elevator, Natasha beside them.  She looked at Phil.  "That drug in her blood is the same one that got used at Stark's Halloween party," she said quietly.

"Wonderful.  Did you carbon copy a report to the FBI?"

"To our liaison, who didn't know there was an investigation going."

"Interesting."  He scowled.  "Make a full report for him?"

"I did and he asked politely for yours too."  He nodded he'd send one and walked off, arms crossed over his chest, foul expression on his face that meant someone was going to wish they were dead.  The doctor at SHIELD's infirmary was happy it wasn't her doing.  And that she didn't have to listen to Dawn try to get free of her care while dealing with two angsty, hovering agents.


Dawn woke up and winced, holding her stomach.  "Work," she said when they prevented her from getting up.

"You're off today on medical leave," JARVIS told her.  "Mr. Stark said he did not want to see you until Monday because the bruises would look like Miss Potts beat you."

Dawn smiled.  "Thanks, JARVIS.  Did you find out about those sensors?"

"I did and he said he'd make a report to you Sunday night so the others could hear."

"That is acceptable," Natasha agreed.  "Anything else we need to hear?"

"We have diverted Callia's pout."

"I said I'd play with her that next day," Dawn sighed.

"Her father explained that you had to leave town for a few days unexpectedly and would be back to play with her on Sunday."

"I can do that.  Thank you, JARVIS."

"You are quite welcome."  He hung up.

Dawn relaxed back into her soft, comfortable bed.  "So," she said.  "I tried really hard."

"Not even you can defeat how much drugs they gave you," Clint said in her ear.  She kissed him then Natasha, who squeezed her.  "Want to go soak?"

"I feel nasty and like I should.  Sorry if I bled on the sheets.  I'll change them later."

"Not like it doesn't happen to everyone with injuries," Natasha said dryly.  She helped her up and into the bathroom.  Dawn hadn't bled through but it was nearly there.  A nice, warm bath and she was settled in with some herbal crystals that were for aches and pains.  Smelled like menthol to them but Dawn appreciated it and it did feel nice against the skin. She and Clint shared a look.  "Me first."

"I'll get some things then come in to join you."  Natasha nodded, stripping to climb in with Dawn.  She did pull her hair up, she didn't want to know what the herbs would do to it.  Dawn snuggled in against her side and let herself fall asleep again.  Clint changed the bed, because it was sweaty, and got them something to eat.  He needed to work off some energy.  He went up to check his, and to get the groceries, finding a slight mess.  Whoever had broken his tv, and poured paint on his bed.  They had broken the coffee table and it looked like Stark had broken his table by the fist imprint on it.  All easily replaced. 

He finished up and came down to get them something to snack on.  That plus some sodas and he went in to join his girls.  They were both dozing.  He smiled and let out some of the water to rewarm it.  He even added more of the bath crystals.  He slid in and let them have his lap and chest.  Dawn was still snoring on Natasha's shoulder but that was fine.  For now.  Natasha smiled, reaching down to turn off the hot water.  They all relaxed.  It had been a long few days and they did not like it.

People really needed to quit picking on Dawn before she fled the US again.


Xander showed up that night to look at Phil.  "Is she all right?"

"She's fine.  She's resting, healing a few bruises."  He smiled.  "You don't have to go destroy Georgia."

"I should go destroy their church for that."

"We stopped his attempted donation from her credit card," he said.  "That's why we were on our way down there to find her when she woke up."  Xander smiled.  "It's all right."

"She can move to the temple."

"Stark was thinking about moving her upstairs to the penthouse.  That way they didn't have to keep switching apartments."

"I can go stretch theirs so it's like a tri-level," Xander offered.  "That way each one still has their own area to retreat to."

"They might like that."  Xander looked at him.  "I'm fine."

"You're still worried," he corrected.

"I am.  It seems like it's starting another run on Dawn and I don't want to lose her to the rest of the world."

"I doubt she would.  She'd probably put on the choker and become someone else."

"That might be strange," he decided.  "Pepper would have to make up excuses."  Xander smirked.  He finished his coffee.  "Ask them tomorrow.  Let her nap tonight."

"I'd never interrupt the sacred calming down rituals.  They're important."  Xander made him cocoa and handed the mug over.  "From Joyce's recipe, and I pulled it from home, not created."  Phil smiled and Xander left.

Phil relaxed, checking on his protectees in the building.  They were mostly calmer.  Dawn was getting a bit heated so he blocked off her feed like Xander had shown him.  He did not want to know.


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