Other Old Ones With Plots In Mind.

Dawn walked in on Monday still looking a bit bruised.  Pepper stared at her and she flapped a hand.  "I'm fine."

"I'm sure you are."  She looked her over.  Standard clothes so not hiding anything.  "Are you sure you can work today?"

"Yup.  Ran out of bruise cover-up."

"It's sad you have some," she chided.

"It's not my fault the crackhead minister wanted me to be one of his minions."

"Good point.  Are yours on the job?"

"Yup."  She turned and found one.  Pepper giggled.  "I thought you were heading back out."

"I was but Fury sent someone less noticed."  He handed her the newspaper and leaned on her desk.

She looked and winced.  "I didn't mean to spill it that way."

"We know."  He grinned.  "Natasha only growled that you looked so horrible."  She read the article and sighed.  "We.  Do.  Not.  Mind," he assured her.  She relaxed and smiled.  He took a kiss.  "Someone's waiting for it to die down."

"Are we thinking someone in North Dakota is going to say something?" she asked quietly.

"Maybe, not sure."  He shrugged.  She patted his arm.  He smirked.  "So I'm told there's this Stark herding job around here?"

"Usually it's only for girls in pretty dresses," she teased back.  "I can help you change."

"No thanks."  He poked her, getting a swat and a smirk back.  "I'm actually officially protecting you today.  They think someone's going to try to get you again."

"Why?" she complained.

"The guys with the sensors are the multi-national group," Stark said as he walked past them.  "No flirting on company time, Summers."

She looked at him.  "Since when is that the rule?"  He smirked at her.  "Beyond that, I'm not on the clock yet.  I have ten minutes."

"Hey, if you want to use those ten minutes making out, go for it," he quipped.  "We don't mind."

She rolled her eyes.  "I'm not that sort of teenager."

"You aren't a teenager," Clint reminded her.

"Oh, yeah, I am twenty."  He smirked.  She smirked back.  "Did Natasha borrow that evil empress outfit?"

"Yes, she brought it with her."  Stark whimpered, walking off shaking his head.  "Serves you right," he called after him.  "And you owe me a dining table."


Dawn hugged him.  "If you want to Stark herd, I get to nag them later."  He winked.  "Go be naughty?"

"I can do that."  He strolled off.  She logged on and he found a nice place to watch over her from, without bothering any of the security guys.  He had wanted to know what Tony had stored around the building's hidey holes anyway.

Dawn went in to gather the first files of the day.  She updated the schedules and looked at them.  "I'll find an illusion to cover them for the meeting."  She handed Pepper the paper and walked off.

Tony smiled.  "It's nice that she's practical even if she is gooey love."

"She is.  Can we stop this new plan?" she asked quietly.

"Fury is livid.  He went to chew on the head of the FBI for his agents being dirty.  He chewed on the state police down there for not responding to the threats the minister made.  He handed her attorney for that lawsuit information on the guy so he could fry him.  The press is wanting to eat her alive though.  She's dating someone that they'd like to be a celebrity.  There's already calls to investigate when they got together.  One of our Board of Directors let slip that she had shot back about his allegations when he thought I was dating her that she had waited until she was eighteen.  Dawn, you need to be ready to make a statement."

"Already talked to the lawyer.  He's got a few pertinent facts in case it becomes necessary," she called in.  "And told FOX news to shut the hell up."  Stark laughed.  She leaned back up to get back to work.  She put up a note on her livejournal about the fuss being stupid, and how she was raised by her mother not to hit in the clubs or anything else.  That she had chose to wait until it was time by her standards.  And that she had been over the age of consent in all the US, not just parts of it.  She got back to work, making things tidy again.  Pepper had some insurance forms from the HR people, which she handed over.  She wasn't going to fill out pregnancy related forms.  Ever.  Well, probably not ever.

Tony took his own things back.  "Don't forget to nag your knights."

"I'll go talk to them in a few. Let me finish these and I'll do my usual coffee rounds."  She spotted Jonathan.  "I was coming down."

"I played fetch too hard and the roomba dog ran up here."

"Up three floors?" she teased, getting up to give him a hug.  "Are you okay?"

"I'm fine."  He grinned.  "Are you?"

"I'm fine.  Just a bit bruised.  I'll cover it up later."  He grinned shyly.  "So, how did the gaming date go?"

"It was a date?" he asked, looking confused.

"Maybe.  Did you want it to be a date?"

He shrugged and looked down, kind of sheepishly, then glanced at her.  "Maybe?"

"Take lunch with them today?" she offered.  He beamed and nodded, hurrying off.  She noticed he didn't have the roomba dog but that was fine.  He and Andrew were sweet.  She went back to her desk.

"It was so a date," Pepper agreed from her desk.

"It was good though."

"It was.  They're nice young women.  Andrew and Jonathan deserve the best."

"They do.  The girls are very sweet."  She finished up and went to get files from Pepper to be delivered.  She tapped one.  "Insurance from HR?"

She sighed.  "I'm not announcing it yet."

"They need it to add the doctor to your records."

"Crap."  She filled them out and let Dawn deliver them.  "No chatting."

"I'll tell them."  She went to deliver, hitting HR first.  She smiled at the assistant, handing her the other few forms and going into the office.  She handed over those forms.  "Pepper is in no way ready for that to be found out yet," she said quietly.  "She's waiting until someone asks."

"I can understand that."  She smiled and filed them.  "Thank you for getting her to do them."

"I reminded her they'd need to be on her records.  I know you had a leak last year," she said quietly.

"We found her, she's in the archives."

Dawn grinned.  "Cool."  She left, going to finish her delivering and her making coffee rounds.  Rodney stopped her in the hall to look at the bruises.  "Ran out of coverup."

"They make it?"

"For bruises, dark spots, moles."

"Pity you need it."

"Do you know how many times I've been kidnaped?" she quipped.

"Unfortunately I looked."  She hugged him.  He swatted her and she laughed, heading off to lab 7.  Andrew looked at her then hugged her.  Even though his girlfriend was in there.  Rodney smiled at the ladies.  "She got kidnaped, again."  He left, going to see what Stark was doing.  He was bored.

Dawn smiled at the young man.  "It's all right.  I so kicked butt before they drugged me and when I woke up I went back to kicking butt.  He was going to beat me with a hammer I kicked him around so much."  He whimpered.  "It's fine, 'Drew.  I promise it is."

"I should find a way to make sure people like that can't do it again."

"No evil," she reminded him.  "That's Callia's future job."  He laughed.

"Did you give her that outfit?" Jonathan quipped.

"No, Natasha has it."  They moaned and even the girls moaned.  She winked.  "Have a good lunch together, people.  Let me get back upstairs.  There's a meeting."  She strolled off, popping into the bathroom to use it before the meeting.  She came out looking calm and unconcerned.  The meeting was starting so she grabbed her things and sat in her usual spot.

One of the board members looked at her.  "They did a number on you."

She shrugged.  "I've had worse.  It's unfortunate but I have had worse during a kidnaping."  He slumped.  She shrugged.  "I fought a lot of them off."

"She did," Tony agreed.  "She got four of them before they drugged her the second time.  When she got up, she got the one there and his buddy that showed up."

"Who was FBI," Dawn quipped.  "I'd have covered the bruises but I'm out of pancake makeup."

He nodded.  "At least you have sense."

"Yup.  Still suing the idiot too."  He smiled.  She got up to make coffee and find chilled water for the meeting.  There was already a plate of muffins on the table.  They settled in to go over the current projections for the company.  Dawn's phone vibrated and she looked at it, then got up.  "Excuse me, security just announced there's an agent here."  She walked out, going down there to talk to him.  "Yes?" she asked.

"We need to talk to Miss Potts, ma'am," the agent said.

"She's in a meeting.  It'll be at least an hour.  Is it an emergency or a threat to her safety?"

"No, we had questions about an employee who may be helping a group of people who might not be terrorists exactly."

"I'm her assistant.  Can I help?  I know most everyone in the building."

"Perhaps.  A Warren Meers."

She shook her head.  "He's in a hospital in Massachusetts."


"That's a delicate situation," she said, taking him to an empty office by security.  "In truth, Warren went a bit psychotic and then his therapist prompted him to nearly suicide bomb the building.  SHIELD arranged his placement.  What were they worried about?"

"A drug he and his cohorts were making.  We only heard rumors."  He let her see it.

She nodded.  "Andrew and Jonathan had no idea what it was for."  She handed it back.  "They had worked on it together because Warren said it was for his metallic girlfriends."

"Like robots?"

"Like robots so good you can't tell."  The agent shuddered.  "Seriously.  I know both of the originals of the two current ones.  I could not tell.  I spent a year traveling with one and could not tell."


"Warren had said it was a pheromone complex for them.  They didn't realize it until after they had made a trial pill.  Then they came to get help.  I helped get them to Dr. McKay, because he was here and Mr. Stark was busy.  They tore his room apart to find anything else and it was turned over to SHIELD.  So how did you hear?"

"A tip was called in that the trio were making drugs?"

"No.  Andrew and Jonathan are nothing like Warren was.  They're good, sweet guys who are really shy and were following.  They've since found a good home here and are being mentored by Mr. Stark personally."  That got a nod and a note made.  "They have weekly reports like all the other scientists and they'd never do that.  They had ideas of being evil overlords with Warren when they were younger but they know that it doesn't get them the good notice."

"Okay, so they're not evil," he said.  "They're a bit confused?"

"Warren misled them.  They were best friends from childhood.  They grew up with my sister in Sunnydale."

"I see."  He nodded, looking that name up.  He winced.  "This geek trio the same one, miss?"


He looked at her.  "Which makes you Dawn Summers?"

"I am.  Why?"

"There's not many people from Sunnydale that'll talk about it.  It was noted that you were one of the few."  She smiled and nodded.  "Can we talk to them about it?"

"Once they handed it over, I don't think they've done anything else."

"That's fine.  I just need to interview them."  He watched her call.  "I really should do it alone."

She smiled.  "I'm not stupid and I'm a bit paranoid."  He nodded once.  "Especially since I ran into two dirty agents last week during a kidnaping."

"I wondered about the bruises."  The boys came in with Rodney.  "You are?"

"Doctor Rodney McKay," he said, shaking his hand.  "Dawn, meeting."

"I can help," she offered.

"No, I have it."  Dawn nodded and went back up there.  This was probably dirty things and he could easily make sure the agent didn't want to illegally snatch a genius.  "I did the analysis when they turned over that formula.  What did you need to know?"  He sipped his coffee.

"There was a tip called in that they were part of a group that had intentions for the US that may or may not be good."

"We grew out of that.  Evil overlords don't get good girls," Andrew said.  "Mr. Stark showed us that."

"That's why I'm single," Rodney quipped.  Andrew giggled and swatted him.  "No one's ever called me nice, Andrew.  Sit, boys."  They did and he sat between them and the agent to appear like he was in charge, which he was.  This puny minded minion had no idea what he was trying.  When the agent nicely suggested they should look at their designs, Rodney shook his head.  "They have credible, realistic oversight here by other geniuses, such as myself and the company's head genius, who understand where bad ideas come from."  He stared at him.

"Who has your oversight, Dr. McKay?" he asked snidely.

"General O'Neill."  The man flinched.  Rodney smirked and finished his coffee.  "I'm the head scientist on Atlantis and second-in-command at the SGC's science corps."

Dawn strolled in to refill coffee and hand the two geeks sodas.  She smiled at the agent.  "Your boss was wondering where you were.  We did a check, as is standard protocol when agents show up, and he was not aware you were here."  He flinched.  She smiled.  "Get away from my geeks."


She lit up and growled.  "Mine."  He fled.  She pulled back in the glow.  "If they think I'm the evil one they might not come again," she quipped at Rodney's dirty look.

"Perhaps but it might be others."

"Clint's laughing his ass off."  She smiled at the boys.  "Reports?"  They ran off to do them.  She smiled at Rodney, patting him on the head.  "If you're here and using our labs, you have minimum reports too, Doctor McKay.  I put good coffee in your machine."  She strolled off.

"Evil minded again today?" he called after her.


He laughed.  She was too good and he could appreciate her as an assistant.  Even Radek would get a kick out of her.  She had matured since she had been stranded on Atlantis for a few months.  He went back to his lab.  The minimum reporting style sheets were waiting on him.  He snorted but did them so Stark wouldn't send her to nag.  He didn't like nagging women.  Though she did make good coffee and organized the labs very well.


Fury was talking to the World Security Council members.  "I knew she was guarding the geeks," he told them.  "Dawn does guard them.  They were friends of her family's and they're very nice, gentle boys who flinch at the single scowl from anyone, much less someone like me."

"We could use their skills."

"We already use their skills.  If Stark's people make something we can use, we have enough spies there that let us know so we can talk our way into it."

"Our R&D department could be better," one said.

"You cut the funding," Fury shot back.  "Joyce, get me the budget."  She flashed it onto his screen.  "This month's?"

"That's next month's.  This month's is here."  She sent that over as well.

"Thank you."  He pointed.  "You cut it."

They stared.  "Someone did it for you I see," one said bitterly.

He smirked.  "Dawn did and now my new assistant does it monthly for me."

"You let her work with your people?" one asked.

"She was sent over to help from Stark.  She did paperwork and helped immensely during a few incidents, including those goo clones.  Even if the girl did wear teasing clothes sometimes instead of business suits, she's the second best assistant I've ever had.  Her mother is my current one and slightly better because she's less mouthy when an agent gets snippy."

One of them looked confused.  "Why is that better?"

"She's spanked a few and put a few others in the corner like the children they were acting like instead of shooting back and making them more pouty.  I appreciate physical correction methods more."  He could see Agent Hill trying not to laugh.  Joyce too.  "Anything else?"

"She's not human, Director Fury."

"She is now.  They made her a human.  She reads just as human as Thor does.  For that matter, she reads just as human as Captain Rogers does.  That super soldier formula did have to do a bit of DNA tinkering."

"What about the agents she's compromising?"

"I don't think them screwing is compromising anything," he said bluntly.  "Why would it?  I don't care where anyone sticks it as long as it's not illegal or affecting their work.  She was over the age of eighteen.  It was her choice thanks to an emergency that you helped start.  I'm actually proud that they're worthy of her.  Anything else?  Because I really don't care what you think about any agent's relationship."

"I think you should," one warned.

Fury snorted.  "Sure, let me disband them and let you handle the upcoming demon revolt in the spring."  He hung up on them.  He looked at his senior agent, who shook her head.  "Any new news on that?"

"Not yet, sir.  I haven't seen any reports on it."

"I have two," Joyce said.  "One from the library and a field report from someone on Buffy's team."  She handed them over.

He read them over, nodding.  "Can we end them?"

"Probably not.  They're starting it from another realm instead of this one.  Rupert thinks that they'll try a different method of invasion but he's not certain how."

"Good to know.  Anything on that damn elf portal Xander said he moved?"  She snorted but got the research on it for him.  He read it over, grimacing.  "That sucks."  He kept going.  "So, we've had a few invasions.  Why would they come back?"  Joyce turned to a section and pointed.  "One of their princesses decided to stay?"

"Yes, and her family is here."

"Where?" he asked her.

"Illinois by what we're told.  Agent Coulson was supposed to go talk to her this week."

"That's good.  I need to know when he gets back." 

Agent Hill messaged him.  "He's going tomorrow.  Today he couldn't.  One of the kids had an eardrum burst and he's at the ER, sir."

"Ow," Joyce muttered.  "I knew they were sore."

"They were on antibiotics for it," Agent Hill said.  "Still happened.  Melissa's cured up fast enough."

Fury shook his head.  "Tara?"

"At the doctor's herself," she admitted.  "Yearly exam."

Fury grimaced.  "I don't need to know."  He folded the file up again.  "Anything else I have to hear?"

Joyce got something.  "This got sent to me last night by text message.  Bruce was confused when I showed him.  I thought they meant him."  She got into her phone's text message log and showed him.  "I couldn't figure out how to print it or identify it since it's no known number."

"I can do that," Maria said, taking it to look at.  She started someone running a trace on it and handed it back.  "If they would overthrow the WSC and make a better agency it might help," she admitted.  "But it'd cause more problems and we'd seen more political."

"Which we do not need," Fury agreed.  "Track that, see if it's that group that's been bothering Stark."

She nodded, leaving.

Joyce got another and showed him.  "I'm sure she'll find it later."  Fury grimaced.  "Frankly...."

"That's a bad question to ask anyone and I know you probably have days you could kill me," he said dryly.  "Thank you for the warning."

"That was night before last's message."

"Were there others?"

"Not that I'm aware of but my phone was in the shop without the sim chip."

"Good to know.  Tell her that."  She nodded, going to tell Maria about that.  He leaned back.  Joyce was a lot better at it than Dawn, and not as many people wanted to kidnap her.  Then again, no one really wanted to face off to her boyfriend if they did.  Bruce Banner could be a bit...possessive when he wanted to be.


Dawn walked out that night to find someone waiting on her.  "Good morning," she told Happy, who was waiting beside the car.  "Tony going out clubbing?"

"Making sure you get home, Dawn."

"Um...."  She pointed back at Clint.  "Dinner."

He smiled at the agent then at her.  "Stark's orders."

"Okay," she said, looking at Clint.

"I still need to stop at the pharmacy."

"We can do that," Happy assured him.

Dawn looked at him.  "Who threatened what now?"

"The agent from earlier was from the same group," Clint said.

"Ah.  Tell me these things?" she suggested with a smile.

"Gladly."  He helped her into the car and then got in.  They went to the pharmacy, picked up dinner on the way through traffic, and then went home.  They found Xander in Dawn's apartment.  "Big thing?" he asked.  "We can make dinner spread."

"No.  Offering."  He looked at her then at him.  "I can turn it into a triplex so you guys only have to go up and down stairs."

"That might be nice," he admitted.  "I'm not sure Natasha would like that."

"She's never downstairs," Dawn said.  "Is she somewhere safe to text?"  He shrugged and did that.  She sent one back that as long as she had a door with a lock she was fine.  Xander smiled and created a set of stairs against the outer wall.  Doors at the top and bottom.  He looked toward the bathroom and widened the tub about six inches.  "That might be bad," she said.  "We're already half on his lap if we're all in there."

Xander went to look, putting illusionary ones in there then spread it another six inches.  He grinned. "That should help.  Not as nice as your one at the temple."  He tweaked her ear.  "Did you send me a sappy love song mix?"


"Did Pepper?"

"Not that I'm aware of.  Bia could've.  She loves iTunes."

"Huh."  He went to look and talk to his former pushy consort.

She smiled.  "It's wide enough now for us to snuggle up against your side without both being on your lap."

He kissed her.  "It was fine before.  Even when I couldn't feel my feet."  He took a second kiss.  "Hungry?"

"Yes.  I had to rush lunch."  He grinned.  She laid out dinner and got them drinks, settling in to relax.  "I think I'm putting up a secondary set of supports for the bed.  I noticed some of the paint cracking."

"I checked, it's just the paint and probably a humidity problem," he said.

"Still, I'd feel safer."

"The bed's going to look like an altar."  He smiled.

She grinned back.  "It might but then again, I do make a great sacrifice.  Look how many want me for it."  He poked her hard.  She kissed him.  "Joke."

"I know.  Bad one but still."  She kissed him again.  They finished up and he stretched.  "We need to spar."

"We can spar."  He smiled.  "Want to use your broken living room?"

"No.  I threw most of that out."  She hugged him, settling into his lap.  He squeezed her.  "That scared us a bit."

"Scared me too.  Most of them aren't that insistent."

He sighed.  "I hate that they want you."

"They want you for different reasons, Clint."

"I know."  He kissed her.  "Sparring."  She slid off his lap and went to change.  He went up to change too.  He liked that she had a bunch of unitards in the bike short and longer length to spar in.  He met her in the gym, finishing his stretching.  They found Cap and Callia in there.  "Callia, we have to spar, sweetie."

"What's sparring?"

"Play fighting to make sure that you can fight really good," Dawn said.  "When you're older, we'll teach you."

"Is he going to beat up on you?" she demanded.  "The tv people say that's wrong."

"I'm going to beat up on him just as much," Dawn said.  "It's not like the tv people talk about.  This is like learning a sport.  You saw _Karate Kid_, I let you watch it."  Callia smiled and nodded.  "It's training like he did."

"Oh.  So you're training to beat up on later bad guys?"  They nodded.  "Then that's okay and I won't kick or stabby him."  Steve looked at her.  "Auntie Pepper say she had to stabby mugger."

"She did," Dawn agreed.  "Ask your father about that."

"Yes, Auntie."  She waved a hand.  "I want to see."

"Just stay with Uncle Steve," she ordered.  She looked at Clint.  "C'mon, flirty."

"Me, flirty?" he teased with a smirk.  "What do you call some of your clothes?"


"Semantics," he shot back and attacked.  Dawn was a bit slow but she was still bruised.  She did good, and he was worn out too.  She ended up flipping him and landing on top.  "Ha!  Right where I want you."  She kissed him and got off.

Callia was sucking on her bottom lip, looking at her auntie.  "Do bad guys kiss you when they try to beat you up?"

"No, but he earned one and a really good back rub."

"I could like that," he agreed, smirking at her.  "Later, squirt."

"Nighties, Unclie Clint, Auntie Dawn."  She waved and looked at her favorite uncle.  "She's very strong."

"She is."

"Am I going to be that strong?"

"If you want to be."

"I might if bad guys will want me."

"Not that many bad guys will want you."  He couldn't like and say none, because someone had tried to take her once to ransom Tony for her.  They had wanted tech.  "We'll always try to protect you."

She nodded.  "I think I should learn that."

"We'll let you start taking lessons.  Your dad will like that."  She smiled shyly and put her head down.  "Want to go home?"

"Is he done with the slutty ho?"

"Slutty ho?" he asked.

"The new secretary?  She's a slutty ho like Auntie Dawn showed me."

"I don't think he's doing that."  If he was, Tony was getting his butt kicked and they were over with.  Maybe he wasn't meeting Tony's needs?   She cuddled him so he took her home.  Tony was alone, freshly showered, and had a drink in his hands.  "No secretary?"

"She left before dinner."  He stared at him, looking confused.  "Why are you...  No!  I'm not like that, Steve!"

"I...  I know that there's.... needs there."

"And I have two hands, a huge bank account so I can buy surrogates that are plastic or more fun materials, and porn."

Steve blushed.  "Sorry.  I know you wouldn't."

"You listened to the tabloids," Tony shot back.

"You two fight and I'm spanking," Callia said.  They stared at her.  "Kissy and make up.  Now!  Before I tell the aunties!  Auntie Pepper say she might have to lock you two in closet."

Steve took a quick, chaste kiss.  Tony pulled him back for a better one.  "I'm not a whore," he said bluntly but quietly.

"I was worried I wasn't enough."

Tony snorted. "I don't get near as much as they think I do, Steve."  He took his daughter.  "You, bath time."

She looked at him.  "I want to learn how to fight like Auntie Dawn.  Even if bad boys don't come for me."

He stared down at her, nodding.  "You can learn self-defense starting next month."  She smiled and ran off.  He looked at Steve.

"They came in to spar and explained it as training to beat up on future bad guys."

Tony nodded.  "It is.  I hate that she has to know that."

"There was that incident."

"Don't remind me.  Please don't remind me."  He sighed.  "I had six of those by her age," he said quietly.  He finished his drink and got another.  "Need help?"

"No, Daddy.  Do cuddly things."

"Thanks."  He sat down and pulled Steve down.  "If we're not, she'll pout at us."

"I hate being pouted at.  Or nagged."

"Dawn's nagging isn't as bad as Pepper's used to be.  Dawn's more subtle most of the time."  He finished his drink and put the glass down when his daughter came out in her pajamas.  "Why do you keep waking up?"

"Sleep too much and I get tired."

"That's something I've noticed about Dawn and Buffy both," Steve said.  "Neither one sleeps more than six hours a night."

"Huh."  He cuddled her and read to her.  She fell asleep halfway through so he put her into bed.   He couldn't close her door or she'd panic when she got up.  So they waited on her to get up and wander then head back to sleep.  It was the pre-sentinel routine of checking her surroundings.  Which sucked for a baby to do, even if she was a future slayer.


Xander looked up from his information files when Phil showed up looking exhausted.  "He better?"

"Much.  They drained his ear, the ER doctor finally realized that he had been taking his antibiotics, along with his sister.  That we did take him to see the doctor and it hadn't been enough this time, and that he was an idiot."  He sat down with a huff.  "So the social worker got called off and she's the one that told the doctor that."  Xander shook his head.  "He's got a little tube in there for drainage and more antibiotics.  Tara's soothing him tonight."

"That's good.  She's good at it."  Phil nodded.  "Just needed some quiet?"

"No, I needed to be around another adult.  I'd go hang out with Dawn but Barton's moping a tiny bit about Romanoff being on assignment."

"Trying to distance yourself from them never works," Xander said quietly.  Phil looked at him.  "It won't."

"I know.  I could lose them at any time thanks to the job."

"It sucks but some of us live to old age."

"Some of us will," he agreed.  He shifted.  Xander handed him his cup of cocoa.  "Do you have a pot of it on?"  He nodded and pointed.  "Why?"

"Thinking.  Hating the job a bit."  He put the files up.

"Anything on ours?"

"Not really.  I've seen a few tendrils.  I sent it at Maria so they can't expect you to come interrogate me."  Phil gave him a confused look.  Xander showed him the question earlier from the junior agents he was training. 

Phil snorted at the question asking if he had questioned Xander in any particular ways before they decided they were together.  "I'm not the one they send on those missions."  He drank some of the cocoa, seeing the blush.  "You have?"

"Yeah, a few times.  Occasionally I was already dating them and something showed that it was a prompted one."  Phil sighed but nodded he knew how that happened.  "Any good news on the demon revolt?"

"Not yet."  He finished his cocoa and cleaned the mug, putting it into the kitchen.  He relaxed.  Xander turned on a goofy, 80's movie about a video game and star fighters.  It was corny but good.  He could appreciate recruitment by video game.  He might suggest that to Fury so they could find decent agents.  Something on that game system that read body movements so it was based on how good you did physically.  Some year they'd have to replace Clint and Natasha, then probably Stark.  That was a worrisome one at the moment but Stark was worried about it.  He nearly flinched when he felt the fingers on his shoulders but a minute later he was moaning.

"Quit thinking about work," Xander ordered.  "There's more important things to think about."

"Like what?"

"Babyproofing the house because they're about to walk?"

"Done."  He smiled slightly.  "Tara did it for both apartments and Dawn's."

"They'll need gates for the stairs I created."

"That's nice of you."  He tipped his head forward.  "It's so much calmer here."

"Fewer people."

"Really?"  Xander nodded.  "I didn't even think that it might matter."

"It does to Dawn too.  Cleveland drives Buffy nuts because of the extra people she has to protect.  I'm sure you'd see them being calmer if they were somewhere with less people."

"That's the only good thing about the hell carrier.  It's a lot calmer."

"Yes, but then you'd have to commute to see the kids."

"We would.  The director was not amused when he realized that."  He smiled.  Xander moved down to the knot in his shoulders.  "Paperwork all day."

"The best of us have that problem."

"I do miss being in the field more often."

"You can go on short missions without the kids stressing too much."

"I'm thinking about it.  We have routines and it'll upset them."

"And if it's an emergency, you'll have to do it anyway."

"I will," he agreed.  "I should try a few shorter ones.  They know there's been times I didn't make it for bedtime."

"Call if you can."

"I might not be able to.  I can leave me reading things to them though."  Xander nodded.  He groaned as he released that one knot from bending over his desk to do the million and six forms he did every week.  "Thank you."

"Welcome."  He smiled.  "They'll understand.  Even if they don't now they will some day."

"I hope so."

"They'll see all their aunts, their stepmom, all the uncles, doing the same thing."

Phil nodded.  "They will.  Which sucks a lot."

Xander patted him on the back.  "It does but it's reality.  Then some day they'll be teenagers."

Phil looked at him.  "Don't give me that bad mental image.  I keep seeing my daughter with a tongue, lip, and nose piercing and my son with blue hair."

Xander smiled.  "Not blue.  He'd look bad with blue thanks to his eye color.  Purple maybe."  Phil swatted him and he grinned.  Phil shook his head, smiling slightly.  "They'll be normal kids, just like all the other ones.  Even if they do realize about you."

"I'm hoping they don't find out until they're adults.  They'll expect me to fix everything."

"I think that's a job most kids expect parents to do."

"I did," he admitted.  "But I won't be able to."

"Even if you were omnipotent, you couldn't.  A lot of that is raising."

"There's a fine line there though."

"Trust me, if I catch you treating your kids like Odin and my father treated me I'll kick your ass over it and Tara would've taken the kids long before then.  She's fighting that same demon."

Phil nodded.  "She is.  She keeps trying to overcompensate so Melissa's strong enough to not need a man."

"She will be.  She'll see her doing it, see her aunts doing it, and she'll learn from that.  She won't ever be the mousy thing that Tara was when we first met her.  She stuttered and couldn't talk to anyone without talking to her feet.  Willow was jealously hoarding her so we wouldn't know."

"She has come a long way."  He relaxed and checked on the kids.  They were asleep.  Dawn was asleep on her boyfriend's chest but he was watching the news and brooding.  Phil gave him a nudge toward sleep too.  He let them go and looked at Xander again.  "Barton's got some worries too."

"Of course he does.  There's history to consider."  He shrugged.  "They'll figure it out.  Most adults do."

"Good point.  Dawn would try to keep him."

"Dawn's downright possessive since she nearly lost Joyce and Buffy.  You've seen her do it to you, to Pepper, to Stark.  Now to those two.  Even if one escapes now and then.  I think if she does, Dawn might hunt her down and present her to Clint."

"Maybe," he agreed with a slight smile.  "If not, those two will work it out together."  Xander nodded.  "That'd be fine with me.  They make each other happy."

"They do.  Or else I would've killed him by now."  Phil smirked at him.  "I would.  Dawn is going to be happy if I can make sure of it."  He put his feet up.  Something popped into his lap.  He looked at the file, grimacing.  He sent it to Roque since he was loudly complaining he was bored earlier.  Roque stomped in to get the rest of his files and took them with him.  "Sure, if you want," Xander said with a shrug.  "I'll get the ones you don't want later."

"We're all bored.  O'Neill has us on hiatus, the whole program."

Xander snorted.  "Make the younger ones help SHIELD?"

"We need to sort the SGC into a different program, so they can do their job," Phil said.  "SHIELD needs the same thing."

"Unless Stark takes it over," Xander said dryly.

"No, that won't work.  We'd need to be under a private heading that was universally respected."

Xander nodded.  "Unless the UN does it...."

"That's not going to happen," Phil agreed.  "They're diplomatic and symbolic."

"And they house demon hunting squads," Xander quipped.

"No one likes those."

"If they knew who they were, they'd like to even less.  Though it is nice that Riley's team took out a drug lord that was summoning demons."  Phil smiled a bit, making some more coffee float out for him.  Talsa brought out dinner and mead.  "It's not that sort of talk," Xander said.

"So?  You still need proper nourishment and I doubt he ate all day with the way he's slumped in on himself."  She went back there.

Phil handed over the mead and dug into his dinner.  "I did miss lunch."

"I'm not so sure I didn't."  Xander ate and sipped his mead.  It was nice being fussed over.  He heard Alana going off on the Valkyries again and sighed, calling something from his storage area.  The trunk landed in front of him and he picked it up.  Phil looked confused.  "Anya's shit she never moved."  He carried it out and thrust it on her, making her catch it.  "Use it to lighten your mood as you sound like a certain brother's goats," he said bluntly, staring at her.  A few of the Valkyries snickered. 

"They can do the same.  I'd suggest a mass event actually."  Alana made squeaky noises and blushed bright red. "It helps all womanly bad moods, even those that need the miracle potion of Midol.  Even if you're on your cycle, it can help cramps."  He stared at her.  "Cure it before I ask the trainees to help some of you cure it."  She walked off bright red, head down.  He looked at the Valkyries.  "Not like it'd be the first all-female warrior orgy in our history."  Most of them blushed and walked off too.  They could follow their mistress.

"Who gave you those?" one of the senior women asked.  "Most men don't need them."

"Men who sleep with other men can use them," he told her, making her blush.  "But they were my last girlfriend's and she never removed them.  Perhaps they'll pick her up for a bit so she can show them how to use them," he called after the Valkyries.  One waved.  He smiled at her.  "That's also why you don't touch Dawn's."

"The girl needs more cloth," she said bluntly.  Xander pulled a fashion mag from Dawn's house.  He held up the cover and she gasped.  "They wear what?"

"And less.  Leave Dawn's things alone.  If you altered anything, undo it.  Tonight.  She's very picky about her clothes."  She groaned but went to do that.  Strife appeared to undo everything properly then left before the chaos it would cause overloaded him.  He sent a thought at Dawn to come get her clothes, just in case.  He'd have to take some time to train the older women that served in the halls.  He went back to his dinner, flopping down.  "They were going to fix Dawn's clothes on her."  Phil winced.  "Yeah, that was going to be a loud fit complete with explosions."

"She'd probably buy something trashy and use it to fluster them.  Especially since I heard Natasha took the empress of evil outfit with her on assignment."  He stuffed his mouth.

"That's gotta be hot.  She's curvier than Dawn is."  Phil nodded.  "Huh.  I sense a cold shower in my near future."  Phil nearly choked but he was laughing.  "Did Tara see her in that outfit?"

"She sobbed that Dawn was all grown up but she was crying at flower commercials again too."

"Ah, PMS.  I used to hide from that, even with powers out in the open.  I hate being cried on."

"I don't much like it either," Phil said.  He looked up.  "Did you hear that sigh of displeasure?"

"It's the future Gozer.  She's sipping wine and scrying.  She's hoping for porn but doesn't realize that even if I did that, it wouldn't mean we were together."  She cut out.  "Thank you."  He looked at Phil, who was smirking a bit.

"You actually have meaningless sex?"

"Have in the past.  Might have to soon.  Been a while and I'm tense again."  He sighed and shifted.  "Anya gave me inhuman stamina so I have no idea how it'd go.  I might have to summon a succuba."

Phil gave him a dirty look.  "Eww."

"They can suck out hellmouth taint really well though.  If I wear one out, she'll just sigh and fall asleep instead of die on me."

"Has one actually died?" he asked.  "I believe that's an urban myth."

Xander nodded.  "Twice."  Phil dropped the piece of meat he had been eating from.  "Both human.  Had been dating a bit.  I decided to be easy and let them have me on the third date or so.  But yeah.  Paramedics not real happy when they heard why she had a heart attack and the other one I think had a stroke.  I guess she had a blood clot she didn't know about or something."

Phil stared at him.  "That is way too much stamina."

"Yeah but I need it for battles."

"You can quit working out though."

"I still need it for battles."

"Then you need to find a better way to wear it out."

"Hey, find me a harem," he said dryly.  "I'll gladly have a harem."

"You'd have to move the training compound to the middle east."  He picked up the meat to stuff his mouth.

"I can have one of the servers hit on him so he doesn't run around naked or something equally wrong," Talsa called from the kitchen.

"Eww, and it's my house.  If I want to be naked, so be it."  He looked down the hill.  "I should teach them how to fight naked anyway."

Phil shook his head.  "I do not want to see that lesson."

"Some of them are pretty nasty looking," Xander agreed.

"Not what I meant."

Xander shrugged.  "We all used to learn to fight naked."

"Yes, but the days of real greco-roman wrestling are gone," he said dryly.  "Now we're taught not to sleep naked."

"That sucks though.  Having to put on clothes after sex."  He frowned and let it clear up.  "Or at all in the summer."

Phil shook his head and stuffed his mouth again.  That's when he realized Xander was teasing him.  He stared at him.  Xander grinned.  "Cute."

"Thank you, yes I am."

"Sometimes," he agreed.  He let himself smile just a bit.  He did like Xander.  He was a nice guy.  He got a sudden thought.  "Did we save those kids?"

"Yes.  When they time flipped I went back to make sure.  Brought more weapons and ammo this time."

"That's good.  Are you watching any more of those?"

"Yes.  One in New York.  One in Las Vegas but the PD there may solve it."

"You don't think the others will?"

"No, they're too tangled up in things like the Russian mob.  I think the NYPD would love to but they know they can't start that sort of war."

Phil ate a bite.  "Want some help?"

"I might ask.  I'm long-distance paying attention right now.  So far I've nearly broken and went to kill a few of them but the kids mysteriously got free."  He considered it.  "I think that was Dawn."

"Possibly.  I know she was looking up something."

"So we'll have to see.  If I do have to handle it, I'll make sure you know so you can keep the agents out of it."

"Thank you.  Though we could back you up."

"SHIELD doesn't want involved in that war either.  It's not a world threat."

"Some of us would."  Xander nodded he knew that.  "Is that all that's on your upcoming agenda?"

"Roque took most of them."  He brought back the folders he had specially set aside so Phil could look at them.  "He's someone SHIELD might want to deal with.  That's the fuckhead that got Clay's team.  The person who took over for him was a minion."

"Really?" Jensen asked from the kitchen.  "Which one?"

"One of the lesser lieutenants."

"Guys, Max's minion took over," he yelled.  Clay came in to get that file and stomped off.  "Thanks, Xander.  We were bored."  He smiled and took his coffee back to Roque's temple.

"That leaves the other one," Xander admitted, showing him that one.  Phil sent it to the director's desk and smiled.  "Hey," he said.

"Build up a store of warriors you can call on.  I'm sure there's others that are bored."

"Probably.  I know a few that are retired who I can call on."

"That's good.  Remember to let us know if you need us."

"Of course."  They both looked up at the fuss.  Phil went to get his daughter and bring her back.  "Hey, 'Lis."  She was still cranky.  He tested her forehead and put some of the mead on her gums.  That calmed her down.  "Teething sucks," he agreed.  "I've had to regrow some after having them knocked out."  Phil snorted but calmed her down.  When she was asleep he put her back to bed and checked on John before going back to Xander's.  Xander smiled.  "She's making you breakfast too."

"This makes a good breakfast."  He relaxed and they got calm again.  It was nice that his powers weren't being too cranky out here.

"Want me to plan your temple?"

"I'm not sure I'm ready for that yet."

Xander looked out back and created a space and a nice little temple.  "All yours, there beside Dawn's so you can still nag her about the bikinis."

"Pepper's trying to get us to go with her on vacation."

"Pepper's vacation is going to blow," Xander said.  "That's when the revolt is."

"Then perhaps she and Dawn should go."  They shared a look.  He sent word around to Stark and Steve then relaxed again.  It was good to relax.


Stark looked at Dawn the next day.  "Your vacation is going to be forced," he told her.

"What did I do this time?" she sighed, looking up from her typing.

"Nothing.  We're seeing a battle around then."

"Okay, so why am I being forced on vacation?  Not like you can't and won't call if you need a second line."

"It's demons."

"Oh, that one.  Yeah it's the week before the expo, tentatively planned for Saturday the last I heard from Spike.  He wanted me to go back to LA."

"Fiji's nice," he assured her.

"So's Guatemala.  We're going there."

"Fine.  Wherever.  Do not let her watch," he said quietly.  "She won't need the stress.  We hopefully won't need a second line."  She snorted.  "We'll have your sister and Faith."

"Good.  I can try."

"Even better."  He stared at her.  "Also, whatever you've been doing with the Russian mob, stop it.  Coulson noticed."

"No, Xander noticed I freed a few kids that he was going to work with."


"Xander's been paying attention to them over their people smuggling things.  He caught them hoarding kids a few times.  He was going to step in to stop them but I more subtly freed them so he could work on the bigger problems.  We all know I hate those suckers."

"I would too if they had courted me the way they did you."  He stared at her.  "They're going to wonder if I'm doing that."

"I'm your wonder assistant."

"Yes, but you're Alfred, not Batman."

"You'd look sucky in the rubber nipple suit, boss."  He swatted her.  "Hey!"

"No more."

"Yes, sir.  I'll do it magically instead."

"Even that way.  You're not a goddess."

"No but I can be subtle and help.  No one knew except Xander."

"Still.  No more."


"Thank you.  And no doing it physically either.  If they have kids, that's why we have an immigration department, the NYPD, and agents all over this city."

"Who can't and won't touch them because it'll be worse than the battles in the seventies against the regular mob.  I tried that first."  He winced.  "So can I do my subtle best work?"

"No.  You can't involve the company."

"I'm not using company resources."

"Yes but everyone knows you work for us.  That's the downside of being Pepper's super assistant.  The same as if I did it, it'd be linked to both identities.  Hell, tell Coulson and let him assign a few agents."

"It's not a threat to the world if they start stockpiling kids," she said bitterly.

"Most agents won't care."

"Fury will."

"He might," he agreed.  "Let them start to handle it.  Agents have whole networks of agents who think like them and can do the duty when they're flustered and stymied."

"Who, again, won't do it.  I went to ICE, to the FBI, and to the NYPD about them.  Not a damn thing got done.  Not even some surveillance.  The same as when they came after me, the FBI refused to step in."  He opened his mouth.  "Pepper asked."

"Fine," he said.  "Tell Coulson anyway.  Give him what you have.  There's plenty of agents who don't give a damn what their higher ups say.  I'm sure at least someone knows someone."  He stared at her.  "I mean it."  She nodded, digging out a few files and a dvd to hand to him.  "Thank you."  He walked off, calling Phil to meet him at the lab.  He looked it over.  She had done good and some of it had clearly come from their time off wandering to stay out of US hands.  He wondered who had done the questioning but he was pretty sure if he asked, neither agent knew much about it.  Dawn was like that.  She had learned that from Buffy and Xander.  Phil walked in with coffee and one of the twins.  "Ear still bothering him?"

"Yes.  He's calmed down for me so far today but Tara can't get him calm for anything."

"Burst ear drums do hurt."  He handed it over.  "On what Dawn's been doing."

"Xander told me last night."  He looked it over, letting Tony take the baby, who wanted to play with his mustache.  "She did good questioning them."  He ran the dvd and nodded.  "That's very good.  I have no idea who I can get to handle that.  I asked Director Fury about it and he said it's not our job."

"Agents network.  Are there any demigod agents?"

"Yes, there are."  He thought and found the one John had told him about.  "But he's out by the camp."  He took it and the baby with him, changing into a suit.  "Agent Larabee?  May I have a minute of your team's time?"

"Who're you?" he asked.

"Agent Coulson, SHIELD."

"Why does someone like SHIELD need us?"  He wouldn't remark on the non-standard accessory he had drooling on his shoulder.

"Thanks to an adjunct member, we've run into information on the Russian mafia organizations, mostly out of New York, but they don't seem interested in dealing with it."  Larabee's face tightened.  He smiled and held up the folder.  "I'm hoping one of you knows someone who has more balls."

"We do," he said.  "We've fought them a few times for gun running."

"This one has been focusing on people smuggling for various reasons, including children."  He laid out what he had.  The baby was cooing at one of the agents, who was smiling and wiggling his fingers at him. "John, let the agent see the nice folders," he said, looking at his son.  "Then you can flirt."  The baby smiled and hid his face, one hand over his ear.

"Ear ache?" Larabee asked quietly.

"Burst ear drum last night.  I'm off today."  That got a nod.  He looked over as the missing member came in.  "Agent Standish."

"Agent Coulson, I've been hearing rumors of you recently from some mutual acquaintances."

"Which is why I brought this to your team."

He smiled.  "It is quite a good thing.  The young one I've also heard rumors about is very slick but not totally subtle."

"She's twenty."

"That's a fine age to learn that skill."  He went over it.  "The children?"

"She released them and helped them escape to a shelter.  Who took appropriate action."

"Even better," Larabee said.  He looked up.  "Some of us are aware of his extended family."

Phil smiled.  "I am a member of that now.  I'm sharing some of Alexander's duties, over the protectors."

Larabee smiled.  "He's a smartass kid too."

"Who predates writing."

"Still a kid."  They finished the files.  "We can take this and build on it."

"Thank you."  He shook their hands.  "Come on, John.  Let's take your aunt to lunch."  The baby pouted.  "You like your Aunt Dawn."  The baby grinned and babbled at him.  "Thank you, gentlemen."  He left.

Larabee looked at Ezra.  "He's a bit more uptight than I imagined."

"He works with the Avengers initiative."

"Never mind, he's used to fruitcakes."  They gathered to look up anything that she had missed.  They could start pulling the group apart at the seams.  It was their job after all.


Dawn walked in and sighed, shutting the door to lean on it.  Clint looked up from cleaning his backup bow.  "Are you going to nag and bitch at me too?"

"No, we knew you were questioning some Russians about their mob ties.  Natasha growled a few times."

She stood up and walked over.  "Thank you."  She sat down beside him.  "I got ordered that during the upcoming demon thing that I'm to be with Pepper.  We'll be by the lake."

"That'll work.  Means you'll be safer."  He looked at her.  "You good with that?"

"If you guys need a second line, you'll call."

"I would," he agreed.  "But we shouldn't need it."

She hugged his arm.  "You'd better be okay."

"I'm pretty sure I'm not going to be in the middle."

"Some demons can teleport too," she pointed out.

He sighed.  "I forgot that."

"You need to talk to Spike anyway."

"I will."  He pulled her closer.  "Want to clean weapons tonight?"

"I could like that."  They gathered all the weapons, leaving anything Natasha had left downstairs alone.  Those were hers and she wouldn't want them touching them.  It still took most of the night and sandwiches over cleaning cloths.  She looked at him.  "I asked Xander about any other comic insights that other one might have," she said quietly.

"What did he say?"

"At least thirty years of them and someone at SHIELD would have to pay for it in a way that Xander could use."

He considered it.  "They might."

"They might have to talk to long-haired, hormoned Xander to get it changed over."

"That might help too.  I'd like to meet that one.  He sounds interesting."

"He is.  We talked a lot, all three versions of him."  He looked at her.  She nodded.  "And immortal, like that movie with the swords."

"Huh.  Definitely interesting."  He kissed her.  "Anything else you learned from them?"

"They were teaching some of the other Xander's how to use a real forge.  I learned but it's not a comprehensive course.  One of the long-haired Xanders learned too."

"That's cool.  Could be a handy thing."  She nodded, snuggling in.  "Next time you go, see if I can come?"

"I can ask."  She smiled and pointed at a shelf.  "One Xander is a fantasy writer."  He moaned.  "That one series happened there."  He started to move but she floated over the first book in the series for him.  He grinned and settled in to read it.  She was comfortable.  He was happy, it was a good night.  Now if only a certain someone wasn't in Yugoslavia somewhere.

"She'll be back whenever she is."

"I know."  She kissed him again.  "The wenches from Valhalla tried to lengthen my clothes."  He grimaced.  "I have to get a few new dresses.  They even tried to undo the lavender version of that cream ruched one."

"Hmm."  He took another kiss.  "Is it fixed?"

"Mostly."  He smiled.  "I left my other teasing one out there and they were horrified.  They didn't like my dress from work today either.  Apparently knees are taboo to them."

"It's probably practical with how cold Asgard is supposed to be."

"Maybe, still sucks.  How do you tease?"

He smiled.  "I'm sure you'd find a way."

"Of course I would."  She winked and they settled back in.  She fell asleep there, clutching him like her teddybear.  He was reading and petting her arm so it was good for them.


Steve watched Tony pace around his lab.  "I really have to find Dawn new jobs," Tony decided.  "She's trying to slip back into helping battles again."  He looked at his ...friend.  "Did you hear she's been monitoring the Russian mob?"

"The ones that wanted her?"  Tony nodded.  "Was it protecting herself?"

"Probably started that way but then she was freeing some of the kids they had hostage and things."  He waved a hand.  "Without letting us know so we could cover for her.  Because, oh no, she had to hide that she was more than *normal* for years from her sister."

"Dawn has sense.  I'm sure she made sure she was protected."

"She was.  I didn't realize it until I went looking because she got a new letter asking her to come work for them."  They shared a look and he went back to pacing.  "So I went looking and I find that Dawn's done a pretty good job of gathering basic intelligence on them.  Without using Stark Enterprises supplies, so that's a nice thing.  Still leads back to us since she's known to work for us."  He huffed.  "Then she pouts."

"She's trying to help the best way she knows how.  She knows she's not meant to be in a battle.  This is what support staff do."

"No, my support staff support me," Tony told him.  "Then the team.  Which she used to do before someone got a bright idea and turned her into an agent against her will."  He paced in the other direction.  "I hate it for her.  I don't like watching her make that struggle, I don't like watching her try to hide the reflexes.  I hate it all for her.  She's a good, sweet girl who got turned into something a bit too tart for most people."

"Then it's good she's got the two who can handle the tartness," Steve said.

"That's another thing.  Does Barton look at her like a mini Natasha?"

"No.  I asked him that and he said he sees her, not the training.  The same way you think she should marry a genius to back him up, she's got the right sensitivities to help him with his duties, or Natasha when she doesn't look like she's going to bolt."

"She's not.  Dawn's got her wrapped around her fingers.  Which I like.  It means that they'll protect each other when the next feint towards her comes.  Because I know there will be one."

"There won't be one.  If they have to, they'll protect each other again and we'll pull those two for battles and other important things."

"We know where their home bases will be," Tony decided.

"If she doesn't sell them and make another one."

"Do you think she did?"

"I think she was reading the newspaper in Chinese today and looking at the classifieds."


"Who knows.  It's Dawn.  She could've been laughing at any pick up ads."

"She could, yeah."  He frowned.  "She hasn't been flirty."

"You told her she couldn't."

"Even then, Dawn's still flirty.  I think she's worried about Natasha coming back.  He might be too because he's been tense."

Phil walked in, smirking slightly.  "Slight difference there."  He put down something.  "It was hidden *very* well."

Stark looked then at him.  "Is that a marriage certificate?"

"Yes.  Three of them.  One with each of the possible groupings."  Steve blushed.  Tony stared at him.  "I'm fairly certain they were slightly drunk."

"JARVIS, call Dawn," he said.

"What?" Dawn asked from the speaker.

"As a question that came up, what were you doing in Spain, young lady?"

"Um, Spain?" she asked. "Not a clue.  When was I there?"

"Six months into your tour."

"No.  We were still in North Dakota then, boss.  Sorry."  She hung up.

"Which means she probably slipped back in time," Phil decided.  He gathered them up.

"Or she's lying," Tony said.

Phil shook his head.  "Not that I could tell."   Tony smirked plucked the certificates.  "Fine, you ask and let the family know."  He disappeared.

"I believe that's approval to look up security footage," he said, going to his computer to do that.

Steve smiled, watching him hack somewhere overseas.  If so, he was happy for the trio.  If not, he was happy for the trio if they were.


Dawn hung up her phone, looking at Clint.  "Spain?"

"There was that weekend that you were heavily flashing and the only way we kept you there was to let you drink yourself nearly to death," he said.  "That was later than six months though."  He looked confused.  "Maybe we went back?"

"Maybe," she said.  "I don't know.  I know I can time slip.  It takes shitloads of power though."  He nodded.  "Huh.  I wonder what we did in Spain?"

"Me too."  They shared a look and got up to go bother Stark.  She called a cab and he brought the book.  It would distract Stark and drive him nuts finding it.  They made it over there and up to the lab.  He walked in and put the book on the table beside Tony.  "What did we do in Spain?  And when?"  He spotted the edge of a formal certificate looking thing, taking it to look at.  He whistled.  "We time slipped."  He showed Dawn the certificate between her and Natasha.

"There's two others," Steve said.

Tony smirked and handed them over.

"Shit," Clint said, staring at them.  "That's not six months into our trip, Stark."  He held them up for Dawn to see.

"So you married me in one country, her in one country, then we hit a country that allows gay weddings to marry each other?" she asked.  "Is that legal?"

"No," Tony said.  "Probably not."  He spotted the book.  "Who's Alexian Harris?  Any relation to Xander?"

"Another him," Dawn said.

He took the book to look at the back cover, growling.  "They did what?" he demanded.

She smiled.  "Yeah, they did what."  She took them to look over, feeling the seal.  "It's an officially stamped one."

"Printing's wrong," Clint said, looking at his through the light.  They shared a look and sent a thought at Natasha, who admitted she had gotten morose and done it.  It was official because the other countries didn't recognize the other's.  He sighed.  "So," he said, staring at her.

She sent a thought at Natasha, who admitted she did like it.  They blew kisses and hugs then shut off the link again, Clint taking something to make sure his quit leaking over when it did.  Dawn hugged him.  He squeezed her.  "I guess I should find you a pretty ring?" she guessed.

He smirked.  "Simple ring.  Not too twinkly.  Won't interfere with my gloves or firing."

"Of course not."  She kissed his throat.  "Maybe a nipple ring?" she asked with an impish grin.

"No way in hell."  Steve was cackling.  "Or any other one."  She whispered in his ear and he moaned.  "If you want, I won't deny you that but it's not my thing, Dawn."

"Okay.  I have a clip on to see if I wanted to try it."  He leered.  "So.... what do you want to do about this?"

"Hide it from everyone but the team and family grouping?"

"Coulson found them," Tony told him.  "And if you're talking about dick piercings, I'm told there's more fun ones."

"One of the Xander's at the convention had a Buried Treasure one.  He nearly waxed poetic about it."

Tony had to look that up and hissed.  "Ow."

"He said it's a *lot* of fun.  He's a dom."

Tony looked at her.  "I can't imagine Xander as a dominant.  Scary but not that way."

"He does therapy with agents and officers."

"That I might see," he admitted.  He shook his head quickly.  "How?"

"'Tasha," Clint admitted.  He kissed Dawn again.  "Does this mean I need to buy you something sparkly?"

"We can talk about that later?"

"We can talk about that later," he agreed, taking his book back from Stark and taking the certificates with them.  "This means we have to tell your mother."

"She can tell Mom."  She grinned.  "So I can duck and hide.  We might have to bring Callia to hide behind."

"She might, yeah."

"No using my daughter as a shield," Tony called after them.  "Though I don't want to tell Joyce," he admitted.

Steve shook his head.  "She'll sob and want an official one."

"Maybe," he agreed.  "Dawn deserves the princess moment."

"She probably doesn't want one.  She's given in to hiding things so they were all safer, Tony."

"Still, she probably yearns for the pretty dress and diamonds.  Horse drawn carriage."  He shook his head quickly.  "That means the next formal dinner thing she has to attend with Xander, they should go."

"Maybe.  If they're admitting it."

"Good point."  He got back to work.  Pepper was going to sob for days about that when she found out.


Dawn and Natasha worked it out that night.  They could have rings that went on a different finger until it was known.  Clint could hide one until then. Or not wear one, whichever one he wanted.  Natasha had a nice idea of where to look.  Dawn and she purchased each other's then they got with Clint to buy the ones from him.  Since Natasha was where they were buying them, it was up to her.  He groaned and they paid for his together.  Very simple, very tasteful, two small stones with some colored places around it from some enamel work.  Dawn popped them over to hide for the night.  This they needed to be together for.  They put on each other's rings and kissed then fell down into one of their energetic, breath stealing, panty killing nights of pleasure.


Pepper looked at Dawn's hand the next morning.  "First ring I've seen you wear."

Dawn smiled.  "Natasha found it and I like it a lot."  It was three stones, a diamond surrounded by an onyx and an emerald.  It wasn't huge, it wasn't too flashy, but it was pretty.

Pepper looked at her.  "Is that a statement perhaps?"  Dawn smiled and kissed her on the cheek, hissing in her ear.  Pepper teared up.  "She did?"  Dawn smiled.  "That's ..."  Dawn handed her a tissue.  "Thank you.  I think I'd be crying even if I wasn't pregnant.  That's so sweet."

"It was.  Very few know."

"That's fine.  I'll keep that one until it comes out."  She hugged her.  "What about the one that guy said he did."

"The agent that took over the case asked the local city people who were over the marriage licenses.  He tried but since I would've had to be there and able to swear I wanted this of my own free will and we weren't related, they wouldn't issue it.  He's still going on about it.  I'm about to mail him a poisonous snake."

"Is her ring the same?"

"Switched stones."

"Aww.  So he's the diamond?"  Dawn smiled and nodded.  "That's so sweet."  Dawn handed her another tissue and got swatted for it.  "Go show that off to Tony.  What's he wearing?"

"Very simple and it has two stones, well set within the band, and it's got some enameling."

"That sounds pretty."  Dawn showed her a picture.  "Aww.  And good for his firing probably."  She smiled and nodded.  "Good.  Go show Tony and take something for the funny way you're walking."

"There's a reason for that," she quipped, taking files to go on her daily rounds.  Andrew and Jonathan realized and gaped, babbling at her.  She had to remind them no one else could know.  They promised not to tell and hugged her.  She got free and winked, filling out the form to have their personal soda machine refilled.  She went up to the tinkering lab.  They were all three in there again.  "Morning, Stepdaddy, jackass, and boss man."  Rodney snorted, shaking his head.  She changed out their coffee for fresh and warm and handed over the requisition.

Tony looked at her hand then at her.  "Nice choice," he said quietly.  "Pepper see that?"

"And sniffled."

"Good."  He signed it.  "We only refill theirs every three months, the rest is on them."

"Yup."  She tucked it into the folder she was carrying.  "Need anything and did *someone* eat breakfast?"

"Yes, someone got breakfast forced on him," Bruce joked.  "Joyce made sure he ate, Dawn."  He looked at her.  "Pretty dress."

"Thank you.  I had to rescue it from all the women who used to work up in Valhalla who are taking over on Xander.  They wanted it to have more cloth."

"Thor wanted that too," Tony joked.

"Yeah but he didn't try to remake my clothes on me.  I might have to shop."  Tony shivered.  She winked.  "That outfit was out there, yeah."  She strolled off.  "Let me know and I'll nag about lunch."

"Sure."  Tony shook his head with a smile.

"That was a pretty promise ring," Rodney noted.

"Ring?  What ring?" Bruce demanded.  He got up to follow her.  "Does your mother know about your new accessory?"

"We talked about me possibly getting a piercing," she joked. 

He gave her a pointed look.  They got onto the elevator and she let him see her hand.  "Huh.  Whoever has pretty taste."

"Natasha found them."

"Beautiful."  He kissed her on the temple.  "He'd better take good care of you.  I know she will."

"He takes great care of me."

"Good.  When?"

"Um....  That's a longer issue."  He stared at her.  She shrugged.  "It is."  She touched his hand and let him know so no one watching the cameras could overhear.  He moaned.  She nodded.  "So, yeah.  Longer."

"Very.  Your mother?"

"I'm bringing Callia and hiding behind her."

"Might not save you."  He kissed her on the temple before she could get off.  "You're a great stepdaughter."  She smiled and winked then went back to her desk.  He rode back down, thinking about things.  He and Joyce really needed to elope soon.  He texted her, asking when her next free weekend was.  She told him and he suggested a trip.  She sent back a question mark and that they were about to have a meeting so she had to turn her phone off. 

When she turned it back on forty-five minutes later she found the simple 'want to elope' message.  Joyce wrote him back and said he should show up for lunch so she could pounce him and they could do it downtown.  He smiled and suggested a honeymoon.  She said Friday and that was fine with him.  They had a plan going and they could tell Buffy after the fact so she had to pout.


Faith was with Buffy, making plans for the upcoming spring and the problem that was coming up soon with the demon revolt.  She was watching the senior slayer pace and worry.  "What's wrong?" she asked, eating a piece of beef jerky.  "You weren't this worked up over anything that I remember."

"I'm waiting five minutes."  She looked up the stairs.  Hylal was still asleep.  She hoped.  Her watch beeped and she went up there.  Halfway up she had to wince.

"Buffy, what is this little stick and why is it saying positive?" he called.

"Um...."  Faith was staring at her.  "Remember how we had this talk about birth control?" she called, going up the stairs.

At the first bellow of pleasure, Faith flinched.  Buffy squealed.  "He's going to running around with her on him all day," she decided.  "Let me go find something to slay," she called.  "Congrats!"  She fled because yup, he was coming down the stairs with her sleepily impaled on him again.  She ran into one of the agents and walked him off.  "They're having happy sex."

"I don't need to see that," he agreed, following her.  "Quick trip for coffee?"

"All day at the library.  It's happy sex."

"Ah.  Is it their anniversary?"

"No, she just peed on a stick."

"Then they're happy it's negative?"  Faith looked at him.  "Oh, dear."

"Oh, yeah."  They split up and she went to hide in the library.

He called.  "Agent Coulson, Tyler Matts.  I have an updated status report for you from Cleveland.  We are presently all hiding while Hylal and she are having what Faith called happy sex.  No, sir, sex happens regularly enough that it's not of note by itself, it's more of note because Faith said she was pregnant.  Yes, sir, that's what she said.  I can sneak back and check but I would rather not see Hylal naked today, sir."  Thankfully Agent Coulson agreed with him.  "Thank you, sir, and I'll let you know when they're ready to change their status so you can send backup to take care of the celebration curse."  He hung up and went to get a coffee.  He had survived making that report!  He was so happy he might even let the succuba at Starbucks flirt with him.


Phil hung up and banged his head on the desk a few times.  "Okay," he said, sitting up and regaining control.  "It's going to be that sort of week."  He sent out an Avengers wide text message to let them know that.  That way they could make their own plans about baby presents, backing her up when they celebrated the future marriage, which would of course be attacked, and someone could tell Joyce and Dawn.  He did do the nice change of status paperwork for Buffy.  He wasn't doing it yet for Dawn, Clint, and Natasha.  He walked it up and handed it to Joyce, then walked off quickly.

"My daughter is what?" she demanded.  "Philip Coulson, get back here."  He trudged back, he knew that tone of voice.  "She's what?"

"One of the agents down there called in to note her change of status.  He said he would officially check but he didn't want to see the, as he said Faith called it, happy sex."

"I'm not sure I want to see it either," Joyce admitted.  She sighed.  "There's going to be a wedding.  Can I borrow a shotgun or something?"

"Of course.  I'll even teach you how to use it."  She smiled.  He smirked and walked off.

She huffed and signed off on it, sending it into the head office.  She heard the shudder and looked in there.  "At least this one's a stand-up guy.  He's not a vampire, a demon, a bad overlord sort, or Riley Finn."

"Thankfully," he said.  "Will you need time off?"

"That depends on how much of a princess my elder daughter will demand to be.  Dawn could probably get married on a beach but not Buffy."

He nodded.  "If they do I might have to take one off the team."

"I'll make sure they know that."  She went back to her desk, calling down there.  No answer.  "Must still be knocked out from the sex," she muttered.  "I'm sure she's still mounted on him."  Agent Hill looked at her.  "Hylal had this bad habit of planting her on him and walking around with her clinging to him.  Including to answer the door a few times.  I'm guessing those missionaries were not happy."  Maria Hill blinked then walked off shaking her head.  "Now all we need are Xander and Phil," she complained.

"Hey, we try," a female voice whispered.

"Quit trying, it'll help," she muttered.  The voice huffed but disappeared.


Tony walked up the hallway, looking at his phone.  "Dawn, you're getting more family."

"I heard that Mom was thinking hard about trapping him after knocking him down again."

"Not that way."  He showed her the message and she cackled.  "So expect a call."

"I'll call.  She's probably still planted on him like some trophy."  She called, magicing the phone so he'd answer it.  "Hylal, when are you two making it official in the human way?"  She listened, making notes.  "That's a good time, yes.  Yeah, she'll want to be a princess.  Yes, that sort of dress.  Why were you watching bridal shows?  Oh, to find out how.  There's simpler ways.  We can find you a book.  Flowers, ceremony with the dress and an officiant of some sort, then the dinner, Hylal." 

She made another point.  "Half of the serving women from Valhalla are at Xander's, Hylal.  You can ask them.  They'd probably like to cook a feast for that.  Sure.  Let me know.  No, let her sleep for a few more minutes.  Then ask her to blow you, Hylal, I'm sure she knows how."  She hung up.  "More than I needed to know," she said, rubbing her nose.  "It'll be during the invasion."

Tony groaned.  "Damn it."

"Maybe they'll move it to Cleveland instead."

"Maybe," he agreed.  He looked at her ring.  "Are you already missing a stone?"

She looked and shook her head.  She protected it.  "No, not yet."  She let him see it.

"That is pretty work.  Nice protection too."  He went in to tell Pepper.  "We have to tell Callia she's getting siblings."

She popped up from behind the desk.  "Babies?" she demanded.  "We have babies?"

"Your mom's having one with Hylal," Dawn called.  "So in just under a year you'll have a baby brother or sister."

Callia let out a squeal that pretty well got heard all over the building then did a happy dance her uncle had taught her.  "Babies!" she chanted over and over.

Tony made sure it was being taped and made a copy to send to Buffy's email.  "You might have to help her with the wedding, which means a dress."

"I can wear a pretty one," she assured him.  "Auntie help me find one."

"I'm sure she will."

Bruce walked in and stared.  "I see you told her?"

"Yup.  She's talking about the pretty dress now."

"She'll need one for Friday too," he said quietly.  Tony stared at him, grinning some.  "Nothing but the simplest thing.  We don't need fancy things."

Dawn walked in and hugged him.  "Good.  I'll take you somewhere pretty for lunch if you don't have something in mind."

"I've been looking but I haven't found anything."

"I know the place."  He nodded, giving her a squeeze then leaving her alone.

"I should start saving for my future daughter's wedding," Pepper decided.  "That way she can have something extensive if she wants."

"Daughter?" Tony asked.  "Are you certain?"

"It scanned Dawn."

"Then it might be."  He tipped his head.  "I was kind of hoping for a son."  Dawn fled and shut the doors so they could talk in private.

"She might not be yours."

"I know."  He considered it.  "Still, I'd help."

"I know you will."  She smiled.  "I'm expecting it actually.  I'll need foot rubs and back rubs."

"You'll get 'em."  He grinned.  "Callia wants to take self defense."

"Dawn found her one?"  Tony nodded.  "Good.  What about school?"

"Private tutors for right now.  She's ahead in some things and behind in others."  Pepper nodded that was smart.  "She can socialize in other things.  Schools are too insecure. It's not like they really check the list of who's picking kids up if they're in a car waiting."  She smiled at him.  "They don't!  Dawn nearly got taken twice from hers and they're supposedly secure."

"She won't get taken again, Tony."

"She might."

"She might, yes.  She won't and if she does, you and Dawn will go stomp on them."

"We will, yeah."  He calmed himself down.  "She wants to learn Bollywood dancing and gymnastics."

"Both good for her balance and grace."  She smiled.  "And interesting for her."

"I can see her doing them."  He sighed.  "That means dance recitals and meets."

"It'll be fine.  We can schedule those too."  She was smiling slightly.

"She's growing up."

"Yes she is.  They always do."

"Don't remind me she'll be a teenager some day."

"I won't.  I'm looking forward to the first girl times, like the first girl talk and the first crush, the first bras."  He walked off shuddering.  She smiled.  She had known it would work.  She patted her stomach and got back to the dreaded paperwork.  Before it drove her nuts and took her future genius with her.


Clint was in the gym when the first agent noticed he had something on his hand.  Dawn had obscured it for him when he had asked.  Now, he wasn't so sure.  "Bandage?" the agent asked.  Clint shook his head, taking aim and firing on the target.  Maybe he should wear his shooting gloves?  "You sure you're all right?" the agent asked.

"I'm fine."  He fired again.

"Then why is your hand blurry that way?"



"She did it."  He fired again.  It was calming and he had to decide if he was coming out about the whole ring thing.  He had decided to wear his properly.  Dawn and Natasha had talked about it but Natasha couldn't be seen as having that sort of link right now and it would make Dawn more vulnerable.  The agent was staring at his hand.  He gave him a dirty look.

"Is that a ring?"

"No comment."  He huffed off.  Clint got back to his target practice.  He'd need it for Buffy's wedding when it got attacked.  He looked at his hand and had her break the obscuring.  Then he got back to it.  That felt better.


Dawn looked at her hand and played with the ring, unhiding it.  She put a better protection on it and moved it.  That felt nicer.  She smiled and got back to work.  If someone said something she could just shrug it off.


Fury watched his avengers during the meeting.  Something was off.  "Why are we not getting anything done?" he demanded finally.

"Because we're trying to figure out how much ammo to bring to Buffy's wedding," Stark quipped.

"A lot," Joyce called.  "Her last birthday party I threw her had zombies."

"She's getting married?" Fury demanded.

"Isn't that what you do when you knock up the girl?" Clint said with a smirk.

Fury looked at him.  "If you should, I'll have to remove one of you from the team."

"Can't happen."

"Removing you?" he asked dryly.

"Knocking someone up.  They make drugs for that, sir."  Fury gaped.

"The shots are nice, even if Dawn does turn into a teenage girl on crack that day," Tony complained.  "Three months of hormones at once."  Bruce shuddered.  "Then they slowly wear out again."

Clint nodded.  "Those nights we just let her have the tub."  He felt the poke and thought at her.  He smiled and shut it off.  "She was talking about going just on the pill again."

"If that's what she wants, Stark Enterprise's health care covers it," Tony said dryly.  "Including when she slips up once."

"It might not happen," Clint said.  "She's not sure it can."

"If so, we'll be there and find a way to make sure a portal or something doesn't open."  Tony looked at Fury again.

"Is that a wedding ring?" Fury demanded, catching sight of it.

"No, sir, it's a promise ring.  As in the ladies promised me that they'd call for backup the next time they needed it instead of trying to tough it out."  He stared at him.  Not totally a lie, that was part of the wedding vows they had worked out to each other.

Fury stared at him.  "Are they wearing one?"

"Dawn is," Clint agreed.  "Natasha's is on her first finger.  She remembers to call for backup when she needs it, most of the time.  We've worn them on and off since we were in South America," he lied.

Fury blinked.  "I've never seen them."

"Dawn tends to obscure hers with a protection due to all the things that she could run into in the labs," Tony said.  He could back up that lie.

"I see.  So not married?"

"No, sir.  Not that we ever attended."  Which blew and he'd have to correct that sometime soon.  "Don't worry, sir, if we decide to get married, we'll hit you up for a present."  He grinned.

"You'd get kicked," he assured him.  "Not a present you want."

"If Natasha gets pregnant, then she's probably the one that'd have to take a leave of absence," Bruce said.  "None of us would let her in a battle if we knew she was pregnant."  He looked at his future step-son-in-law.  Maybe he'd forget that thought and just let it hang.  "Would you?"

"Hell no."

"Ditto," Tony said.

Steve nodded.  "I'm glad that the stuff to control that is much more failproof than it used to be," he said.

"Us too.  I'd hate to lose Dawn for six months," Tony said.

"Six months?" Clint asked.

"She'd probably take a few off beforehand and then a few after, right?"

"Yeah, maybe.  Then again she'd probably work from home for the most part."

"She could.  Pepper's planning on it when she needs to go on maternity leave.  If she goes on maternity leave."

Fury blinked at him.  "Is she thinking about it?"

"Seriously thinking about it.  Talking about a genius sperm bank and all that."

"I see.  If so, she's not allowed over here until after she's popped."

"I'll tell her you said that.  What about the pregnant agents?"

"They have the same rules.  We can still be attacked here.  We'll move them to a more sedate field mission that's near a good medical center."

"Dr. Pigalli quoted _Gone With the Wind_ when Tara went into labor," Coulson said.

Tony laughed.  "It's not her field of expertise by any means but Tara said she was comforting."

"And no commandos," Clint quipped.

"Were you up here for that?" Fury asked.

"Dawn was."  Fury huffed.  "Sorry, sir."

"No, I like that you were discreet."  He looked at his team.  "What do we know about the upcoming revolt?"

"I've called Spike, he doesn't have any new information.  They have a tentative date that's not yet confirmed," Clint said, tossing down his notes.

Fury looked them over.  "That's a good thing to know.  Right before the big tech expo."

"Right during Pepper and Dawn's vacation," Stark agreed.  "And Buffy's wedding."  Joyce moaned.  "Can you talk to her?"

"I will be later, when Hylal quits wearing her out."

"Why is he wearing her out?" Fury asked.

"What do you do when your girlfriend announces she's pregnant?" Joyce quipped.  "You have sex to celebrate."

"Some of us got a bit drunk," Tony said.  Everyone stared at him.  He smirked.

"Isn't that almost your normal state of being?" Clint quipped, earning a glare from Tony but it wasn't a heated one so the joke had went well.

"Pepper is," Fury said.

"She's keeping it very quiet.  She's barely a few weeks."

"Fine.  If she's here, she's escorted," he said firmly.

"Yup, by Dawn."  That got an eye roll.  "Callia heard about her new sibling, Joyce.  Did you get the video?"

"I did and she was adorable.  What's with her hands?"

"Dawn introduced her to Bollywood.  She wants to take the dance lessons."

"They're good for a girl.  Buffy took ballet for almost a year then switched to ice skating."

"She's doing that and gymnastics with self-defense."  She smiled at him.  "Just in case."

"Good."  She got up to hand over a form.  "From HR."

Fury looked and groaned.  "What did they do to the copier they just got?"

"They said it caught on fire.  The maintenance contract didn't cover it.  They're all tired of the electrical issues."

"We're getting a new building soon," he said.  "I don't care how."

"I just built one and rebuilt it," Tony said.  "I may donate but it'd better have my name on it."

Fury walked off.  "Let me know more when we know the types of problems coming, people.  Get me a definite date, change your daughter's wedding, Summers."  He walked into his office and slammed the door.

"It's nice he can't do that on the hell carrier," Steve quipped.  Clint laughed.  The guys shared a look and broke up to see if they could find anything.

Coulson was making notes.  Then he'd go ask Xander to ask someone he knew.  Xander seemed to know a lot of people who knew some very strange sorts.


Clint came in that night to find Dawn in a flirty cream dress.  "You dressed up after you came home?"  She kissed him and he groaned, pulling her against him.  "That's a pretty dress to cut off you, Dawn."

"I'm seeing if I'm wearing it to Mom's wedding lunch.  They're going to do it Friday."

He grinned.  "You look more like a bride."

She kissed him again.  "That is totally up to you."  He pulled her tighter again.  "I heard."

"It doesn't seem fair."

"If we can do it and not get caught.  I don't want him to boot you."

He kissed her.  "He won't.  He can't find a replacement for us."  He stared at her.  "You sure?"  She nodded, getting free to get some shoes.  She grabbed a purse and put in weapons then made sure of her hair.  He smirked and let her take them away.  They could find an out of the way spot to renew things.  They'd snatch Natasha later to do her parts.  She wasn't busy tonight.


Phil saw the news story the next morning and grimaced.  "Not subtle," he decided.  "Sneaking off for a native dinner should be a bit more subtle."  He had found more listening devices and a few new cameras that morning.  He really was going to have to make sure he could use that new poisoning knowledge he had soon.  He had to not get caught at it, that was the thing.  Then again, he knew some that weren't in that training.  He might use one of those.  He looked in his bottom desk drawer and smiled, closing it again.  Someone had tested it.  Good.  He cast a curse on the person who had mined his office.  Within hours there were stories of a few agents tripping off an elevated running track.  Phil smiled slightly.  That might stop some of them.  The rest....  He heard food poisoning and possibly drugging rumors.

At lunch, Maria Hill walked in and shut the door.  He pointed at the cameras.  "I think we have a vigilante."

He smiled slightly.  "Really?  Why?"

"Because they didn't get food poisoned or drugged, Agent Coulson.  They seem to have eaten something that directly contained e. coli and the agents aren't the sort to rim anyone."

He laughed.  "That's interesting.  Were they taste-testing samples perhaps?"

"Probably not."  She stared at him.  "We need more good agents."

"I'm sure if they were doing that they weren't."

"Probably not," she agreed.  She looked at the bugs he summoned and handed over then the files.  "Gee, thanks."

He smiled.  "I'm a diligent worker so I can go to lunch."  He stood up and left it with her.  She could handle the staff issues.

She walked off with a huff.  It was her lunch too.  Joyce took them and the bugs to log in.  "Thank you."  She went to the caf to get something so she could make it through the day.  With Coulson's subtle sense of humor, she wasn't sure that they weren't going to die from eating crap.


Xander stretched that night and sighed.  He heard the call for the next banquet and he should attend.  "Already?" he complained.  "We just had one."

"Yes, you should go," his mother called.  He glared at the ceiling and she faded out.  She'd get to nag Dawn.

Xander leaned his head back and sent out a message to everyone in his house.  This was so going to suck.  He knew they'd try something.


Aphrodite met with Freya and Xander's mother.  She showed them the story that she had found.  It was a cute graphic story instead of a full story.  Though she couldn't see the new god and that cutie that Dawn was dating at all.  Others seemed to be able to, but she couldn't.  He was *so* like her Xander buddy.  "So, I went ahead and followed the idea."  She showed them the documents they needed.  All officially filed with a date of at least a month earlier.

Xander's mother sniffled.  "Thank you!  You made me so happy.  Anything on John?"

"No, he'll kill me."

Freya looked at Aphrodite.  "We might miss you anyway.  Xander does have the hotter temper."

"It'll be fine.  I've been zapping them on and off to make them more receptive to their inner feelings, without prompting a single thing."  She beamed.  "My grandfather *was* a chaos god after all."  The goddesses hugged and broke up.

Cupid, who was listening, winced.  He'd hate to miss his mother.  But maybe Hades would let him visit now and then.  He sent Bliss.  Xander wouldn't smite Bliss.  Or Phil.


Bliss appeared, smiling sweetly, wings fluttering behind him.  He grinned at Phil, who he really liked.  "Watchies?"

"Is that a movie?  Because I shouldn't watch it while I'm at work," he said quietly.

Thor looked over.  "Bliss, is that something he needs to see right now?"  Bliss beamed and nodded, his hair flopping around.  "I'd say it is probably work related then."  He had a feeling he wanted to hide.  Cupid never let Bliss off Olympus unless it was a problem.

Phil watched, grimacing.  "Aphrodite found fanfiction."  Stark coughed and choked.  "Apparently she's of the opinion that the pairing of me and Barton isn't suitable."  He looked at Bliss.  "Is there any part of the message that's not on here?"

Bliss made kissy noises and pointed at his butt.  "Daddy say you need to do others."  He disappeared with the mirror.

Thor shuddered.  "Oh, dear."

"And that meant," Steve said.

"Aphrodite meddled," Thor said.  "Cupid never lets Bliss off Olympus."  Steve winced.

"It was her, Freya, and Xander's mother talking about how Aphrodite has been helping us find our inner feelings without any prompting toward a certain one," he said dryly.  "She had a few scrolls too."

"Did one have a cord attached?" Thor asked.


"That's a binding cord," he said quietly.  "Congratulations."  He patted him on the arm.

Phil got up.  "Excuse me.  I believe I need to have a moment alone."  He walked off.  A few minutes later, all the protectors of humanity looked up wondering why they had just shivered in dread.

Including Xander, who considered it.  "Phil?" he called.  No answer.  "Did anyone get something from Coulson?" he yelled.

"I have Bliss," Jensen called.  "And yeah, you're screwed.  He said to kiss someone's ass."  He flew in with the baby in mini dragon form.  Bliss loved him.  They chatted and he understood the baby.  If Bliss was older, he might be his best friend next to Cougar.

Xander smiled.  "Thanks, Bliss."  He took the mirror and looked at it.   He looked up.  "You're a dead bitch when I get hold of you!" he shouted.  "Seriously, just die now before I get a chance.  I like your husband so I'll make sure he has a great second wife!"

Strife appeared.  "You're so screwed."

"I got the kiss your ass goodbye part," Xander said, handing over the mirror.  "Stand-ins?"



"Worse.  Gaia."

Xander looked at him.  "Excuse me?"

"She wants Phil to be happy."  He shrugged.  "No clue, just glad it's not me!"  He took Bliss and escaped.

Xander growled and seethed.  Jensen flew off before he accidentally got struck.  There was nothing they could do about it.  No one could countermand Gaia and she was just as stubborn as he was.  Not even the Elders Council could countermand her.

Yup, he was screwed.  But hey, it wasn't being done by latex this time.


Dawn got an a strange email from her livejournal account and checked it.  The link wasn't to a virus.  It wasn't to a porn site, exactly.  "Why did you say I needed to see this?" she muttered.  The film on the site started and she tipped her head.  "What the fuck?" she complained quietly, glancing around before looking back again.  "EWW!"

"Dawn?" Pepper called.

Dawn canceled it.  "Someone sent me a terrible thing on my livejournal account."  She sent a message to their IT department because she knew someone had caught that.  Then she looked at schedules.  "You don't need the boss tonight, right?"

"No, not really.  Is it that bad?"

"Yes.  And I've already alerted IT that I'm going to be a reprimand but it has a reason."

"It's porn?" she guessed.  Dawn let her see the first few minutes of the video and she shuddered.  "Oh, dear."  Then it flashed to the first graphic of the novelty items.  "Oh, no."

"Oh, yeah.  Apparently."  She turned it back off again when the expected reprimand from IT happened. She popped up an IM box to talk to him and Pepper said she was finding a bad thing to show Stark, so he removed it.

"Good luck," Pepper said.

"I'm putting it up and running like fuck," she muttered, cracking Pepper up. "Because, after that first graphic one, is a demonstration."

"Eww."  She walked off rubbing her eyes.


"I'll put on new."

"Yeah, I think I could use a shower too.  A decontam one."  She put things aside.  This was not going to be a fun meeting.  She'd book it in a lab, Tony's private lab, and made sure the coffee maker would be filled and there was water for her guy.


Dawn walked in once they were there.  She looked at them, taking the keyboard to pull up the site and bypass the lock IT had put on it.  "I got sent this earlier by someone on my livejournal."

"Okay, why is it this important that you had to call in Xander, Phil, and Barton?" Stark asked.

"It's an hour and a half long and I'm running like hell once I start this, boss.  Let's just say, someone was creative, I'm not sure which version of the robots they got into, and this is notifying that you might want to find someone to kick around."  She started the video, handed over sodas and coffees, then left.

Stark stared, sipping his coffee.  "Sensitive Surrogates?" he complained.  "Robots?"  The spiel went on a few minutes about how they were the most organic and natural, that no one could tell.   Then it said it did all the most well liked celebrities and he spluttered and choked.  Mostly because the video had flashed across some models, catching sight of Barton's, and then it moved into a demonstration where Clint was opening Xander to slide into him.  They sounded like live pornos too.  Clint then had Xander tease the robo-Tony's dick. Tony was starting to find a god to pray to.

Coulson paused it and looked at Clint.  "Her mental defects are now yours to fix."

"That's .. . that's got to be off the Fury-bot," Tony said.  "They're not as realistic looking as Warren's were."  Xander gave him a strange look.  "Why would they want to make surrogates of us?  I mean I know why but why!"

Clint swallowed some soda to hold down the nausea.  "Now I know why she ran."

Tony nodded, reaching over to restart it.  "We need to find out how bad it really is," he told them.  "The more details we have, the faster we can stop it."  They all groaned but they could fast forward though the scene of Tony and Fury going at it.  And ignore the winces at the 'realistic ejaculation' announcement, even with real sperm if you wanted to find some. 

The 'available as virgin, wanton, or perpetual virgin' got a shudder from Clint.  He remembered that problem.  Then they went over the female ones.  "I've seen some warped shit," he complained.  They were waxing poetic about the natural feel of the skin and interior surfaces, how it was built just like a living human with extended anal sections.  Then they started to talk about how they could make them submissive, with a picture of Xander being whipped by Tony, or dominant, with a picture of Barton doing it to Tony.  Clint squeezed his eyes shut.  "Tell me if it gets worse."

Tony was wincing.  "It's already bad enough."

"I'm so glad I missed lunch," Coulson said quietly.

Xander nodded.  "Me too.  Stark, got antacids?"  He found the roll and tossed over.  "Thanks."  He took two and handed them to Phil.  Who took one and handed them on to Clint.

"If I try that, I'll end up puking."  He tossed them back to Tony, who took the rest of the roll.  He glanced up at the scene of them going over the various things they could train them for beyond sex, but the note that they were not scientifically or weapons trained was a nice one.  "So we're just for the pretty things, not for the dirty things beyond sex?  I need to tell Fury that so I don't have any out-of-town assignments for a bit," Clint muttered.

"Apparently," Tony muttered.  "I wonder if my surrogate drinks too," he complained.

"I'm going to be," Coulson said.  "I'm wondering how they got our images and personality traits.  Though they made Xander a bit swishy."

Stark looked at him.  "That's a really good question."

"Better one," Clint said.  "If the robo-Fury was a plot, and we're still not sure who, how did these people get them?"  Coulson looked at him.  "Are we sure it's not off Warren's?"

"No.  The ones Meer did were better," Tony said.  "More reactive.  Robo-Fury had processing faults due to low memory."  He fast forwarded through another testing demo.  There was contact information at the end.  He paused it.  "Six mil?  Not cheap."

"That's a good thing.  Less chance of running into yourself at a party, Stark," Xander said, rubbing his forehead.  "Why include me?"

"You have fantastic stamina," Stark shot back with a dirty look.  He saw the new email icon and got into the message from his IT department, shooting one back that he was allowed, Dawn had shown him that they were using his image without his authority, and he owned the company.  They apologized and made sure she didn't have a reprimand for it either.  "Shit," he decided.  He looked at the others.  "Do you want me to email them?"

"Do it and trace it," Coulson said.  "If Natasha was here she could back you up but we're all basic level with computers.  So's Dawn."

"I'm glad Pepper didn't find it.  She'd have ordered one to show me, on my credit card."  He created a separate email and shot off a notice to the person he was going to be using the identity of.  "One of our geeks."  He got back a 'why' and Tony told him someone was making Stark sexbots so he needed to see who.  He was conveniently in the building.  He promised to make sure he wasn't legally involved or anything.  Then he sent one to them.  "I'm asking for a Dawn one."

Clint nodded.  "Everyone wants a Dawn of their own," he said dryly.  Xander looked over at him.  "What?"

"I heard."

He grinned.  "It's okay."

"Good.  It'd better be."

"I know, shovel talk."

Xander smirked.  "Who says I'd stoop to something as mundane as a shovel?"

"I know."

"Good."  He looked up.  "Phil, where's Natasha?"

He checked.  "Landing in a few minutes."  He sent her a message to get to the tower as soon as she got this if she hadn't talked to Clint first.  He sighed and watched Stark.  "How detailed are they making it?"

"Very.  They're willing to put in different settings.  They think she was a virgin until she started to dress better at seventeen."  He put in the response that she had found sensuality at that time, he knew her pretty well from around the office.  That was fine though, a sensual Dawn was a good thing to him, but he wanted her pure.  He did ask how the perpetual virgin thing worked.  He sent it and printed out the first few emails.  "The tracking says that they're in Shanghai."

"Great," Clint muttered.  Natasha walked in a half-hour later while they were working on details.  "You won't believe it."

"That bad?"  She looked at the frozen video.  "I saw one of those."  Tony stared at her.  "I took film so we could see if you knew."  She handed him the disc and sat down to start working on the background of the company.  "They have a few hackers on staff."

"That's fine," Tony said.  "I told the geek I'm using.  If they ask, I'm sending my partner in another lab the emails to send to them.  That way IT doesn't trace it to me.  They apparently caught Dawn earlier when someone sent it to her.  I'm *so* suing these idiots," he decided.

"Include me.  I never sold my rights to my pretty face," Clint quipped.  He looked at Natasha.  "They don't have yours."

"I'm hard to pin down," she said.

He grinned.  "Sometimes."  She glared at him.  "Not all mannerisms are that hard."

Coulson nodded.  "Why include me at all?"

"They know you're the handler for all of us?" Tony guessed.  "Why include Xander?"

"Because they want me to destroy them," Xander quipped.  "It's nice that they proved their death wishes this way."  Tony snickered.  "If we're suing, include me.  I'm going to get drunk on mead."  He disappeared.  "John, someone made a sex robot of you and Clay," he yelled.  "And they're really good ones."

"Excuse me?" Roque demanded from his temple, coming to the door.  "They did *what*?"

"Stark's dealing with it."

"Uh-huh.  Are you high?  Poisoned?"

"No.  Unfortunately not.   They think I'm some simpering little sub too."  He found his favorite mug and poured some mead in it, some of the good, old stuff.  Then gulped and refilled to go back to his temple.

Clay got sent to Stark's lab, looking at the frozen picture.  "How realistic?"

"Remember hearing about the Fury-bot?" Clint asked.



"So this is how evil's funding itself now?"  Everyone stared at him.  "They can't do regular porn like the East Germans used to do?"

Natasha laughed.  "I remember that group."

"Yeah, yuck it up," Clint complained.  "I had to infiltrate them."  Stark stared at him.  "No.  Comment."

"I won't even look.  The security system caught more than enough."  He turned back around to get back to his setting up details.  "Only twenty percent down?" he snorted.  "How pathetic.  You should ask for at least half."  He let Natasha route it for him and that was nice.  Things were started and he could take delivery in six-to-eight weeks.

Clay stared at them.  "How bad was mine?"

"Cigarette smoking, badass t-shirt wearing," Clint said, taking the remote to run it back to there.

Clay winced.  "I'm not telling Cougar."

"Isn't that why you have Jensen?" Coulson quipped with a slightly evil smirk.

"Yes, it is."  He spotted himself and shuddered.  "Eww."  He went back to the temple, writing down the web address for Jensen.  Then he went to cure his headache.  "Roque, you know that no dick thing I have thanks to trauma from Xander being demented?  I might relax it for a night.  Because I do *not* want to see my sex robot self ever the fuck again."

"I can fix that," Roque promised, taking him to cure both of their unwanted mental ideas.

Jensen looked.  "I already knew about this.  The geeks have been talking about it for weeks," he said, sending that to Stark.  Including who was behind it.  He got back a 'thank you, saved me a few steps' and smiled, sending back a welcome and the name of someone who had gotten one.  The jackass had hacked someone at the CIA to get the money for it anyway.


Stark showed that email to Natasha, who nodded, searching those out.  He looked at the other two.  "I say we all go get drunk and let Pepper have them.  She'll cry after beating them for not making one of her."

"Over too soon," Clint said.

Natasha nodded.  "Dawn would have to help her and we do try to keep her out of battles," she said dryly.

"Good!" Stark said firmly.  He stood up.  "Now what?"

"Now, we start an official investigation to deal with them," Coulson said.  "I'm sure the director is going to be most pleased to do that tiny form especially if I show him his version."  Natasha shuddered.  "He might do the investigation it for us."  He took the notes and the file Natasha had taped for them back to the office, doing the paperwork to start an investigation.  He carried it up there.  Joyce was thankfully gone for the day.  Fury was looking tired.  "Sir, new investigation."

"Terrorists?  Gun dealers?  The Russian Mob thing I heard you got involved in?"  He took the folder and stared at him.  "Why do I care about this?"

"Well, two reasons.  They have you as one of the available models and they're based on the robot you we had infiltrating here."

"Excuse me?"

Phil got into the internet on his boss's computer, pulling up that site and fast forwarding to the right spot.  He let him have the mouse once he had paused it.  Fury clicked and watched the demo tape of his robot self screwing Dawn's robot self.  Fury shuddered and canceled it out.  "Between the two, and a bit of help from Jensen, we know basically who they are."

"How did we find out?"

"Someone sent it to Dawn's livejournal email account, sir.  Though Jensen said geeks have known about it for a while.  He gave us the name of someone who hacked to afford their version of a popular actress.  Stark was starting on it earlier while we helped."

Fury looked at the emails, shuddering.  "That's disgusting."

"Yes, sir."

"Send Agent Hill in?"

"Yes, sir.  Agent Hill?" he called.  She came in looking like she was ready to go home.

"Agent Hill, I need two agents tomorrow to start an investigation that's going to make them ill."

"Child sexual trafficking, sir, or worse?"  Phil handed her the file.  She stared.  "I'm fairly disturbed but not as much as the people traffickers.  I can pick two.  Who already knows?"

"We were with Stark when Dawn showed us," Phil said.

"Good."  She took the file with her to go over.  Some people were getting melodramatic in their ancient years.  This wasn't nearly as bad as some things they'd investigated.

"Have a good night, sir," Phil said, leaving for home.  Maria and Tara had the babies tonight.  They were going to Joyce's for dinner.  So he went home to cook dinner and relax in front of some bland, boring tv.  At least his stint of watching _Super Nanny_ had helped with the twins.  And some of Dawn's problems too.


Xander woke up, staring at the ceiling.  "That's not going to make me not kill you," he called.  He laid there and sighed, not liking this one bit.  He was still going to get Aphrodite.  Though he could admit she had a point that they'd fit nicely together.  He still didn't want the help.

Phil appeared, looking confused, still in pajamas.  "Did you just get the speed dating dreams?"

"I did."  Phil sighed.  "And it was."  He got stared at.  He nodded.  "If you check, you were out of time a bit.  The scenes were created but yeah."

Phil checked himself.  "That hiccup looking thing is going out of time?"

"Time and space.  We were basically in a sub-realm that was very short-term."

"So we actually just went on about ten dates in the course of an evening."

Xander nodded once.  "Yeah, apparently."  They stared at each other.  "I'm leaving it up to you but I'm going to beat her ass."

"I can get behind that plan."  He sat on the foot of the bed.  "I don't know what's going on anymore."

"Aphrodite can do that to a guy faster than any other woman on the earth," Xander quipped.  He shifted to sit up.  "You've still got your own temple if you want it.  Or you can use Bia's old suite.  She's got her own temple."

Phil shrugged. "I can't fill that closet either.  Beyond that, I need to be back in New York for the kids."

"I know.  I have no idea how to work this out.  If it had happened naturally we would've had time to make these decisions."

"Can we open a doorway?  Like a magical doorway thing?"

"They can be made.  I can't do it.  You'd have to ask Hephie.  She'd probably talk him into it so her plan moved forward."

"What's the difference between a consort and a mate?  I've noticed the different terms."

"A mate is a real, true mate.  You wanted them, you won them, you wooed them.  A consort is a political marriage.  That may include some minor screwing for heirs or something but it's not a love match by any means.  When I set Cranky and his mate Clay up, they became consorts.  Their pack and his mother catching them screwing got them to be acknowledged as mates.  Really, everyone knew they were going to be mates because they actually liked each other.  Even if Bia and I had been doing it every single night, we never would've been more than presumed mates because there wasn't any feeling there."

"So, mates are like a real, normal marriage.  Consorts are political or friendship ones for convenience."  Xander nodded.  "Which are we?"

"I have no idea," Xander admitted.  "Again, we'll figure that out and you'll tell me."

"Why is it my job to figure that out?"

Xander looked at him.  "Because if I pushed any, it would look really wrong and mates to an Aesir are a lifebond."  He stared at him.  "Not what Clay and Roque have.  They have a marriage.  To one of my people, a true *mate* is a lifebond."

"As in you die I die," Phil said.  Xander nodded.  "Okay, so where are you hoping this ends up?"

"I don't know," Xander admitted.  "I'm still sorting out my own shit about all this.  This is not how I wanted to be married, not the forced part at the very least.  I've been down this road a bit before and hated it then.  That's why I moved around Odin's orders."

Phil considered it.  "I'm not too thrilled with the whole 'forced' thing either."

"I'm trapping her somewhere without beauty products, soap, anything that she considers necessary."

Phil smiled.  "I can see that being a horrible thing."  He looked outside then at him.  "Have you had someone that was that close?"

Xander paused then nodded.  "Once."

"Was it in Rome?"

"Yes.  Or else I wouldn't have had a mortal family."

Phil nodded.  "Okay.  I can understand that.  I've never really considered a divorcee or a widower," he admitted, looking at Xander.

Xander shrugged.  "It was a long time ago."

"Sometimes things don't heal."

"I have a wound like that but it's a tiny thing on my side.  I keep it covered.  It was done in the sixteen hundreds."  Phil frowned.  "Don't ask.  Really."  Phil nodded.  "Beyond that, you have constraints and obligations that I don't.  Which is why it's up to you for now."

"I can see that.  Though the kids love you."

"I can't really stand kids full-time, Phil.  They drive me nuts."

"They do me too."  He smiled slightly.  "They're getting older."

"Even Callia.  The constant questions and the always being on you and being *there*."

"That's part of you still being wild," he said.  "That unsettled part of you."

"Maybe.  I don't know.  I know I haven't been able to stand it since then.  I'm not sure I could put up with teenagers all the time."

"I get that," he agreed.  "And we do have time.  What about future kids?"

Xander shrugged.  "I don't know.  Right now is all I can say anything about.  I haven't had any visions or anything."

"That's probably a good thing with how your visions come about attacks."

Xander nodded.  "That is, yeah.  And I'm being honest."

"I get that and I appreciate that.  That's something we'll work on.  Though I don't have the kids full time."  Xander grinned.  "We'll figure it out."

Xander nodded.  "We can do that."

"What about those date things?"

"No clue," Xander said.  "It's not a bad idea.  We should probably go on some real ones."

"We should," Phil agreed.  "It'd make sense.  I'm still stuck on the 'she did the paperwork'."

"I found the story she talked about."  He called his phone over to show him.

"I'm not that sneaky," he said.  "I'd never do the paperwork six months in advance and wait that long."  Xander gave him a pointed look.  "I don't know about the sex stuff either."

"Again, we'll figure it out."  Phil nodded, handing the phone back.  "Why don't you go hover over the kids?  That way you have time to finish waking up before work?"

Phil looked at the clock and winced.  "I'm going to be late."  He got up and sent himself home, taking a quick shower and getting dressed.  He did stop in to kiss each kid on the head before going in.  Thankfully there was a parking garage up the street from HQ that had very few cameras and a lot of dark corners.  He could appear there and then walk up the street to get there in time.  He walked in and saw the looks.  "What?" he asked.

"That robot thing."

"We found out last night that they're made by the same ones that did the one of the director."  One held up a magnet and he smirked.  "Half of them weren't magnetic and I'm not robotic."  He headed up to his office.  Of course, he had tons of folders to get to.  They seemed to breed when he wasn't watching.  Maybe it was a curse?   Then again, three were reports on Dawn's dress of the day and how she was clearly working for the wrong side again.  He took them up to Joyce and Agent Hill.  "Someone has the wrong idea of what the bad guys do."

Joyce looked and cackled.  "That's not even that bad."

"No, it's not.  Compared to a few outfits it's downright cutesy."  He went back to his desk.

Agent Hill read them over and called those agents up to talk to them about either losing the sense of humor or growing up.  Even those geeks Dawn hovered over didn't have that bad of ideas about women.  Not even Warren had.


Tony looked at Dawn's dress of the day.  "That's not even that cutesy," he said.  "Or teasing."

She gave him a funny look.  "No, we have that reporter in today.  Why would it matter?"

"Your wife said that three agents complained that you were too flirty and clearly recruiting for evil again."

She smirked.  "Not hardly and don't call her that," she said, swatting him on the arm.  "Fury's going to throw a fit if he thinks it's more than a casual thing."

"Fine."  He looked around.  "We're alone."

"Do you think he doesn't have bugs here?" she asked.  "Since you do there?"

He considered it.  "Why would he?"  She gave him a pointed look then at the armor then back at him.  "Oh."  He nodded.   "JARVIS, do we have any listening or camera capable bugs in this lab?"

"Seventeen that I count.  All but one have been disabled.  The other one is staring at your armor I believe."   Tony huffed and got up to find them all.  JARVIS helped by shining little spotlights on them.  "You do look nice today, Dawn."

"Thank you, JARVIS.  Is Pepper up?"

"No, her car still has a flat tire."

"She want us to pick her up?" Tony asked.

"She might appreciate that.  She's getting a bit flustered.  Cabs aren't stopping and her driver is not happy."

"Send Happy?" Tony asked.

"He's not in yet, sir."

"I can go," he decided.  He hit the switch to bring his car down to the garage on the lift, getting in and driving off.  He sped up beside her and paused.  "Need a ride?" he quipped.

"Yes."  She grabbed her coffee and briefcase, getting into the passenger's seat.  Her driver relaxed.  They sped off.  "He doesn't handle stress very well."

"It happens to the best of us."  He grinned.  "Need breakfast too?  You look like you rushed.  Your hair's a mess."

"The clip broke."  She pushed it back.  "We have a meeting in thirty minutes, Tony."

"I know.  I just had Dawn fussing over things.  Found listening devices in my lab."  She winced.  "After I jokingly called Natasha her wife."

"Fury said he'd kick them off the team if something got serious," Pepper said quietly.

"There's no way SHIELD could find someone to replace them.  There's no one of their level.  Even if Fury strapped on guns he's not going to be as good as Natasha is.  Or Barton."

"You still don't like him with her?"

"I like him just fine.  He's shown he's a stand-up guy.  Even if I do usually look at Dawn like she's my stepdaughter.  Because there's been too many days she couldn't be mine.  I was never flirty."

Pepper laughed.  "You do a pretty good job of it."  He smirked at her then sped through a yellow light.  "Meeting?"

"We're taking the scenic way."

"I still have to be there."

"I know."  He spun around a corner and sped off, thankfully against the rush of traffic heading downtown.  "It's been a while since I went for a long drive."

"So go for a drive.  What's keeping you from going?"

"The baby?"

"You might have to plan it a bit but if you tell her, she'll be fine with it.  She knows that parents need a night off.  She might think there's a party but she understands."

"I might then.  Is my schedule clear?"

"Not a clue," she admitted.  "I leave that up to Dawn."  She called her.  "It's me.  We're speeding back that way at normal Tony speed.  What's his schedule look like?"

"Clear outside sparring with Cap at four and that Pentagon consult tomorrow morning but his wallet's here."

"I can get it when I drop her off," Tony promised.  "Then I'm going on a drive.  Cancel with Steve and tell him?"

"I can do that and push your Pentagon meeting back to three, which means you have back-to-back ones with that new propulsion idea meeting."

"Ow," he said.

"Can't help it.  They're either here that morning or then.  They'd have to switch around a new weapons designer."

"Do it," he decided.  "And make sure I make it."

"Of course," she said dryly.  "Even if I have to pull your butt from the car."

"Give me some warning so I can park," he said dryly.  "Nearly there."

"Okay.  I'll bring it down to security."  She hung up.

Tony pulled up in front of the building a few minutes later and caught the wallet Dawn tossed to him.  "Debit card, gas card, Stark credit card.  Cash.  I'm gone for the day.  Soothe the savage little beast."

"I already did.  She said to take pictures of flowers for her."

"I can do that."  Pepper got out and grabbed her things, smiling and waving as he took off.  It was nice to be out of the lab and enjoying some fresh air.  No responsibilities, nothing like it for a few hours.  Of course, he got ideas.  Thankfully he kept a tape recorder for those moments.

Dawn and Pepper shared a look.  "They're already here, they got told your tire broke, and you're on your way."  She smiled as they walked inside.  "They were here when I got in."

"That's almost an hour early.  Did we misschedule?"

"No.  They said they were impatient so I got them breakfasts when I got in."  They went up there.  Dawn had the folders she'd need for the meeting so they went right in.  "Here we go," Dawn announced.  "One newly saved CEO."

"Sorry.  My driver didn't have a spare tire.  Tony had to drive around to get me since no cabs would stop."  She sat down.  "I see we're here over the new possible jet designs?"  They nodded, grimacing some.  Dawn refilled coffees and waters then left.


Dawn walked in that night to unhappy people.  "It's another week of Stupidity, right?"

Clint nodded.  "Probably."

She stared at them.  "Can I go skin Fury?"

"He asked if we were together for real," Clint said.

Dawn kissed him.  "If he kicked you off the team, I get to kick him out his office window."  He laughed and hugged her.  "I will."

Natasha stroked over Dawn's arm.  "It's fine.  He's disgruntled but not that badly."

"What did we tell him?"

"The truth.  That there were certificates filed but we were not present," Clint said, taking a kiss.  "And that we're figuring things out."

Dawn smiled.  "Does that mean it's my turn to make dinner?"

"Sure," he agreed.  "But we ordered Thai."  She grinned and got up to go change.  "Technically, our anniversary's tomorrow," he called.

She came out in the lounging set he had laid out for her.  She took a kiss.  "Do we have plans?"

"Not many yet," Natasha said.  She took her own kiss and handed Dawn her takeout box.  They settled in to eat on the couch.  Dawn was between them by design.  That way they could both play with her tonight.  It was the best part of having a real Dawn of your own.


Clint looked at Natasha the next morning, over their cereal at the caf.  Dawn had to head in early.  They had trainees to abuse and had skipped breakfast at home.  "Was that your way of not doing the paperwork?" he asked.  He had wanted to ask, but it might upset Dawn - who was off doing billions of things at once at work so not paying attention if something slipped through the bond.


"Uh-huh.  So that's your way of saying 'back off'?" he guessed, smiling slightly.

"Definitely.  It appears to have not worked though."

"Oh, I'm sure it will.  This is Dawn we're talking about.  She'll kick them around a bit and then huff off to do her nails again."

"She can do that, yes."  She frowned.  "So can her sister."

"I think they get that from Joyce.  After she stabbed that Council guy, she had coffee, did her nails in here, and was cheerful."  He finished up.

She smiled.  "She is a strong woman."

"Yes she is."

Joyce hugged him around the shoulders.  "I just imagined he was my ex-husband."  He laughed and she walked off to get a snack, and one for her cranky boss, who could probably use something sweet.  "Trainees are pouty today, kids."

"We know," Clint assured her.  "We're going to kick them around later."

"I say we borrow the dog again," she offered.  "Hellion ran the last group ragged until they were more suitable."

"Xander might like that."  The dog appeared next to them.  "Hey, Hellion."  A few of the agents in the caf with them got up and ran out.  He smirked at the dog.  "Good boy."  He petted him.  "We have trainees.  Wanna fight the trainees?"  The dog growled happily, his tail going as fast as it could.  They finished up and headed down to the gym with the dog.  This group was cocky.  Most of them ignored the dog.  Until Natasha gave the order and the dog lunged over to harass them.  Then, they ran.   A lot.

Phil walked in.  "Better stamina levels in this group.  Hellion, harry."  He chose another group to pin in a corner.  Phil got one agent's gun from him.  "You shoot the dog and Alexander is going to show up to kill you."  Three new puppies showed up with a baying bark and helped the bigger war puppy.

"Aww, Hellion's training too," Clint joked.  He whistled and the dogs came over.  He petted them and gave them orders quietly, then pointed.  "Go."  They ran off to their assigned groups, two of the puppies chasing the agents, Hellion working on herding his group into a tight corner, and the other one was nipping at the running one's knees to make them go faster.

Fury walked in, looked, then walked out shaking his head.  He did not want to know.

Thor walked in, looking at the dogs.  "I should see if my goats would like to play too."

Natasha looked at him but Phil said it.  "We were wondering if we should call them war goats like he's a war dog."

"I did train them some but not that much."  The dogs were clearly having fun.

Sheppard appeared and whistled.  "Kids."  The puppies ran over to pounce him.  "Good war puppies.  Very good war puppies.  Ares would be so proud."  He petted them, making them sit.  "Good dogs."  He smiled and petted Hellion.  "Good boy, Hellion."  He barked.  "Very good dog of war.  Sit."  Hellion sat and made begging noises.  Clint petted him for it.  "Thanks.  Let me take the puppies home."  Hellion growled.  John stared.  "Ares wants them back for training."  Hellion barked and moved between them.  "Are they yours to train?" he joked, smiling.  Hellion bounced up to lap him, making him yelp and move back.  "Fine, you can argue with Ares then."  He petted him.  "Good boy."  He disappeared to tell Ares that.

Ares appeared with a sigh.  "Hellion, I have to finish their training, like I did yours."  Hellion guarded the puppies.  "I know they're yours, mutt.  You can have them back in a few weeks."  Hellion growled.  He quirked an eyebrow up.  "Do you want to be a rug?"

"Please don't threaten his dog," Phil warned.  "He'll show up and yell.  The junior agents will cringe and we'll never get them straightened out."

Ares looked at him.  "No he won't."  He had to yelp and move before something hit him.  "Did you steal another damn weapon?"

Xander appeared.  "I usually do.  It's cheaper than buying my own," he said dryly, twirling the staff in his hands with a grin.  "Beyond that, it drives certain jackass generals who were trying to make my life a living hell absolutely fucking nuts to wonder where their ordinance is going to."  Clint burst out laughing.  "He wanted to be Initiative that much, he can pay for it now."  He smiled at Ares, who shuddered. 

"Any other questions, oh great War God of ass wiggles?" Xander asked.  Ares growled and disappeared.  He looked at his dog.  "You feed them, you walk them, you clean up after them, and I do not mean eating the crap this time."  His dog barked and came over to get petted.  "You're a good boy most of the time, Hellion.  Here, have a beggin' strip."  He fed them each one and disappeared.

Phil looked over as the trainee agents all groaned in unison and tried to flee the dogs.  "Don't feed the dogs bacon," he told them.  "They fart."  He walked off with the senior agents.  The dogs were having fun with their new playmates.  Who was he to deny them fun?

"That's so mean," Natasha said quietly.  The dogs went running past and headed up in the elevator with the senior war dog.  Apparently they had found Joyce.

A call came over the intercom.  "Come get these war dogs now.  Before I make them rugs."  Then the sound of a yell.  "Damn it!"

Phil hurried up there, gathering the dogs.  "It's not nice to bite the director, even if he is growling like a head bitch of the pack," he warned, walking them off.  Before Fury bit him like one of the puppies had bitten Fury. Joyce was trying to hide her giggling.  Not succeeding but trying.  So was Agent Hill.  He got the four dogs into the elevator and held his breath all the way down to his office so Xander could come get them.

Joyce called for a medical escort.  The medics were confused but when they saw the bite they understood.  "Alligator?" one asked.  "You hear about them being in the sewers."

"War puppy," Joyce said.

"Oh," they sighed.  They had apparently heard.  He got helped down there for a few stitches, a shot, and some bandages.  The whole admin team waited until he was gone to finally laugh.

Fury came back looking a bit sulky but trying to make it look mean.  "Someone shoot out a damn window to air out this place?  Damn dogs stink."

"I'll start the requisition for new windows," Joyce said happily.  One of the junior agents did as ordered to create a breeze and it was nicer.  "I wonder what they fed the dogs."

"Xander said bacon makes them gassy," Agent Hill said with a small grin.

"A lot of dog treats are bacon flavored."  She handed over the form when the director limped back out to get some folders then back to his office.  Joyce was nice enough to get him some of the good coffee and some ice cream.  "It helps when I'm pouty," she offered at his odd look.  She went back to her desk.

Fury poured a tiny airplane sized bottle of liquor into his coffee and over the ice cream, making a frozen alcoholic coffee drink to soothe his nerves.  Then he wrote a memo saying that war dog puppies were not allowed in the building until they were fully trained and no one was allowed to give them bacon.  Unless it was going to help them win a battle, then they were allowed all they wanted so the enemy was knocked down.

The End.

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