Jealous of the Old Ones.
Tony's head popped up when he heard the slight 'pop' noise, staring at
the other Xander. "I heard about you but I never thought we'd meet
Xander grinned. "Hi. I just saw another of you."
Dawn strolled in and gave him a hug. "I'm free in about five minutes if you're bored."
"I am, but I have no idea how Lavelle handles things."
Dawn smiled. "Well, no goblin banks here to change things over so
we'd have to do the demonic mafia's bank." Xander nodded and
headed out with her. "What did you want to do? Coney
Island? Your usual shopping?"
"We're in New York?" Dawn smiled and nodded. "Is Great Escape open?"
"Nearly Christmas here." She winked. "We can maybe hit LA
though." He beamed and nodded. "Let me call my lovers.
I'll file this while I do that, and then we'll head." She did
that, getting a question from Natasha, who admitted she didn't know what
she was talking about. So she explained it better. Then she
took him down to the locker rooms so she could change into jeans and a
t-shirt. She took him with her.
Clint showed up an hour later. "Stark, using your teleporting
satellite before someone kidnaps Dawn and that Xander," he called into
the lab then set it off.
Tony looked up then checked the news. No major incident had happened yet. Thankfully.
Phil looked up at the prayers then at Xander, since they were
sparring. They were both sweaty, half-naked, and had swords.
"Shower," he agreed. "I like hanging out with that me and it might
keep them from being taken." They flashed up to the house to
clean up, without any shower sex unfortunately, then found clothes and
went to Universal Studios, LA. They found the duo before Clint
could. Phil told Clint where they were and he found them before
the next roller coaster. Long haired Xander was happily beaming
and bouncing around like a big kid. Xander hugged him and
grinned. "Roller coasters kick ass."
"They do and I never get to go anywhere anymore. I'm still being picked on for bringing Wade and Anya to Disney."
"We can ride all the rides you want," Dawn promised with a smile.
"I know how bored you get." Xander hugged her and they went off
together, Clint following talking to him about weapons.
Xander and Phil followed. When Security figured out they hadn't
paid, Phil paid for their entry fees and it was nicer. Long haired
Xander was like a big kid. Dawn was too. Clint was happy
she was happy, even though roller coasters were a bit much for him at
times. He made them hit other rides between the coasters.
Dawn made sure they hit all the ones that Xander wanted to hit. So
that went over well. When the park closed, they all went back to
the trio's place, where long haired Xander helped Dawn cook
dinner. Natasha moaned when she got in at one. They were
sitting up playing cards and eating. She got her own seat and got
dealt in. It was good, quiet, calm. They all needed the
night off for fun.
Pepper looked up the next morning. Dawn's hair had grown nearly a
foot and was a bit wild and slightly curly looking. She had on a
pretty pair of nude heels, a dress that had one shoulder and sleeve, was
cinched at the waist, and flowed over her like the water it was colored
to look like. "Hair extensions and long party?" she guessed.
Dawn grinned. "Long haired Xander showed up yesterday to go have
some fun. He did the hair lengthening charm." She handed the
mail over and smiled. "The dress is because we have that luncheon
"Oh, yeah." She made sure she had something, which she didn't, so
Dawn went to pick something up for her while Pepper handled
paperwork. "Thank you," she said when Dawn handed her a dress
bag. "That's a nice thing." Dawn smirked and strolled off.
She walked past Bruce on her way to do her daily route through the labs. "Morning, Stepdad."
"Morning, Dawn. You look nice today."
"Thank you." She pinched him on the cheek, earning a smirk.
She went into the first lab and cleared her throat. "Make me pull a
damn sword, people!" They quit brawling. "Thank you!"
They stared at her. She stared back. "Fighting is only
permitted in the gym. You know that. What if you had knocked
over your little laser prototype there and hurt one of you?" They
groaned and detangled then got up to act like adults. "If you
need rolling around playing time, go to the gym. We do."
She smiled as she took reports, made coffee, then walked off. It
was apparently an argumentative day at Stark International. Even
the boss was arguing with Rodney in the tinkering lab. She walked
in and sighed, taking the coffee maker to carefully empty then
refill. She came out and smacked them both on the head.
"You're acting like toddlers. Watch me turn you into some."
She walked off again.
"Gee, Mom," Rodney complained. He stared at her. "It's December. Why are you wearing that?"
"Luncheon." She floated the refilled ancient percolator out and
put in coffee grounds then covered it and turned it on so it could make
the two gallons of coffee. "I'm probably going to be nagged that I
don't fade into the background like a good assistant but Natasha liked
it this morning." She smiled sweetly.
"Thanks to your kitten poker habit, you have enough money to be mildly
eccentric," Tony said dryly, looking her over. "No stockings?"
"I need some new clear ones. I forgot to pick them up.
Besides I don't really need them." She gave them the first cups
and handed over the stack of reports. "Anything else, boys?"
"Quit making mom jokes," Tony ordered, sipping his coffee.
She smiled. "Then quit acting like little boys." She pinched
him on the cheek. "Because if I was your mom, you'd be a genius
but not a playboy." She strolled off. She went down to
HR. "Hi, I think you guys screwed up my check."
The secretary there smiled back. "How did we do that?"
"Well, first of all, I'm not an hourly employee, even though you
discounted half of the hours I work." She showed her the printout
that had come with her direct deposit statement.
"You have to sign in on your computer, not with security."
"I'm still on salary, not hourly. And that's not going to work since half of us in the building don't log in all day."
"All science people...." she said with perky cheer.
Dawn smirked. "I'm Pepper's assistant, sweetie. I'm on
*salary* because I'm in Admin, not in the labs. Is your boss in?"
"I don't think she'd be handling this."
"Melinda, your assistant is stupid," she said as she headed for the head office.
"Sometimes, why?" she asked, opening the door. "What's wrong,
Dawn?" She held up the statement, getting a wince. "You're
"I am. You do realize that half the science corps don't have
computers in their labs because they do physical things and don't use
them real often? Most of them maybe have a laptop that they only
log on for wifi access."
"I had not." She let Dawn in so they could go over the flaws in
the newly implemented software, including that no one had officially
moved the science teams to hourly as the assistant thought. Dawn
called Stark and Pepper on her cellphone to get them together to talk
about it. Pepper had a slight mood swing but Tony got her calmed
down. They figured it out and the rest of Dawn's check would be
deposited tomorrow. "That's a lot for a bachelor's," she said.
"I have an MBA. I went for a condensed since I had a few credits
due to AP classes and work credits, plus passing the tests." She
smiled. "I had to take some out of Rio and transfer them in since
they weren't offered online up here but I did manage it. I'm also a
few credits short of another language degree in a few different ones."
"Interesting." She smiled. "I'll handle the issues, Dawn."
"Thank you. Do you want me to type up a memo to let you know if others had wrong checks?"
"Please. It'll save me doing it."
"I can do that." She got up and walked out typing it on her
phone. It sent a text memo to everyone in the building or
associated with Stark labs. She walked into her usual office and
looked in at Pepper. "You good?"
"I'm fine. They tried to tell you that you were hourly?"
"Yeah, and discounted most of my hours. The assistant down there
said you had to log in on your own system, not at security."
"No, not likely. I can see the pass sensors on the doorways maybe
but even those get held open at times." Dawn nodded, settling in
to type up the official memo for those who didn't have a phone or didn't
look at their phones. Pepper shook her head, taking it to sign
off on and send off. When it was time, Pepper got up to get
dressed. Dawn checked and finger-combed her hair, then put on some
tasteful jewelry and a jacket that only enhanced the outfit. They
left together after closing and locking the office doorways and their
desks. They met Tony outside. "Are you going to the women in
business luncheon too?" Pepper teased with a smile.
"Not likely. I'm out for pizza." He kissed them on the cheek. "Pepper, she tried to mom us earlier."
"If you need it, you do," she teased. She and Dawn got into the
hired car that Dawn used. Tony waved as they drove off.
"Which store did you get that at?"
"The succuba run one." She grinned. "They liked to tease Clay but they've always been very nice to me."
"They can't really hit on you so I guess they would be," Pepper said. "Why do they work there?"
"It's the younger set that aren't out on assignment from the higher
ups. That way they can pay rent in LA. They're the
non-hunting for kills sort too, I made sure before I ever went in
there. Buffy got a few favorite outfits from them and took me
"That's sweet of your sister. How is she liking being pregnant again?"
"She's not. Hylal keeps nagging her to eat. Sean took so
much of her extra weight from her even Mom and Bruce are nagging her to
"She did look a bit thin the last time I saw her."
"She did," Dawn agreed with a grin for her. Her phone rang. "What's up?" she asked.
"Dawn, we've lost stuff," Jonathan said. "Did you clean on us?"
"Patty did, Johno. Look in your new filing cabinet under the desk."
He clearly opened something. "Why did she put it there?"
"To shore up that shaky corner you two hop up to sit on."
"Oh, I guess that'd do it." He found what he needed and sighed. "We need to reorganize totally."
"I'll help you with that tomorrow. We're going to a luncheon and we won't be back until four."
"Thanks, Dawn. We'll work up some ideas on what we want and need."
"Welcome. Don't panic, she was trying to help."
"I know. It was sweet of her." He hung up and groaned,
looking around their lab. He looked at the walls then at the
filing cabinet. He and Andrew had to figure out something.
It was too small and only had the one work area anyway. Though it
had more room than their garages had back in Sunnydale.
Dawn came back letting Pepper lean on her arm. "Relax," she
soothed. "It's still fake contractions." Pepper sighed and
nodded, giving her arm a squeeze. "Want to hit the infirmary?"
"No, my OB said they'd be getting stronger as time moved on. I'm nearly eight months."
"You sure? I can ask Dr. Pigalli."
"I'm okay." She got put on her office couch. "I can work."
"Of course you can, and put your feet up too." She handed over the
papers after she had sorted through them. "Anna presorted."
She smiled and took an envelope with her. She wasn't going to
worry Pepper. She walked into security. "Lumpy envelope,
people. Not scanned."
It got taken from her and scanned, then they called the local bomb squad
unit to come get it. "We'll track it," the head guard assured
"Thanks. It was on Pepper's desk." They nodded and let her go search up there with one of them.
Pepper looked up. "I noticed you kept one that looked a bit thick."
"And lumpy," Dawn quipped. Pepper stared at her. "They
scanned it. Now we're going to do the rest of the office.
Want helped down to the labs?"
"Let me check the couch first," the guard ordered. He got down to look and winced. "Dawn?"
She looked then took a picture and sent it to Tony. He came
rushing in. She got out of his way. "We're scanning since I
found a letter bomb, boss. I found it after she sat down."
Tony nodded. "Okay." He unrolled his toolkit and got into
it. "Someone got into the tinkering lab's plans. It's one of
ours but with shitty homemade explosives."
The guard called that in so the bomb disposal guys came up to get
it. Tony got it undone and handed it out. The bomb tech took
it and got down to look too. "That's not nice."
"We were tinkering and came up with this one but it's supposed to use
semtex," Tony admitted. "It's what we geeks do when we're drunk,"
he said at the odd look he was getting. "Myself, McKay, and Banner
are the only ones who're supposed to have access. Dawn, I need
Dawn called down for it and Andrew brought it up. "Here, Tony."
"Roomba, come suck this out." It zipped under the couch and he
pointed the flashlight on it. "Suck that." It sucked next to
it so he moved the nozzle/tentacle.
"That's cute," the bomb tech said with a smile.
"A few of our younger geeks made Roomba dog. It's a great
dog. My daughter loves him." He finished disarming it and
they removed it. "Okay." They came out from under the
couch. The Roomba did too. "Dawn, take Pepper and Callia to
my lab. It's got bomb shields."
"Callia's already there," Andrew said. "With Steve, Tony."
"Thank you." He smiled. "Go." The ladies went with him
and Roomba got to search the room. Tony looked at the guard, who
nodded they were pulling up surveillance footage. They found the
other ones on the desks and got them disarmed too. Tony watched
the tech and guard disappear down the elevator then swore in his third
known language, Klingon. He was a geek at heart after all.
Phil appeared, staring at him. "You speak Klingon?"
"Of course I do. I'm old enough to have watched it in first run, Coulson."
"That's interesting. Is there a reason why you summoned?"
"All against Pepper and Dawn."
"Huh." He went to security to ask. The bomb tech gave him an
odd look. "SHIELD does stare over Stark's shoulder," he said
blandly. "Just to make sure he doesn't accidentally blow up the
"Again?" one of the guards joked.
"Yes, again." He patted him on the shoulder. "The ladies and the baby?"
"Stark's lab, Agent Coulson."
"Thank you." They watched the tapes together and he nodded.
"She's not an agent that I can tell. She moves too plainly and too
clumsily to be an agent."
"She's the one in HR that Summers called dumb earlier for screwing up
everyone's paychecks," one of the other guards said quietly. "I
went in to have mine fixed." Phil smiled. "She's still
"Probably. We'll see what her problem is." He looked at the
NYPD. "I believe it's yours but I can help with interrogation."
"The help would be appreciated, sir." They went up there
together. Phil typed out a text message when he got one.
Then he put his phone up.
The perky assistant smiled. "All the paychecks will be fixed by
tomorrow, gentlemen." They held up their badges and she started to
look around. "Did that nasty little girl do something wrong?"
"No, I don't believe it was her," Phil said dryly.
The woman glared at him. "Girls like her slept their way into their jobs."
"Actually, she's been doing the job since before she slept with anyone,
by about two years. Stark's not that patient. You'd have a
better chance at claiming she got it by nepotism since she's Callia's
aunt. Though she did have the job before then," the NYPD officer
said. "It's been in all the mags, miss. Now, let's go have a
The head of HR came out. "Officer, Agent Coulson, is there a problem?"
"Four bombs in Pepper and Dawn's offices," Phil said.
"You sure it's her?" They nodded. "Then you have fun with
her, boys. I'll help you get her locker and desk contents."
The officer smiled and called in for some backup to do that. She
tried to attack Phil, who punched her.
She fell down crying. "She's going to ruin all the great things
they do here! Stark will never make things to save everyone with
her looking over his shoulder!" she shouted. "He'll be ruined!"
Tony strolled in and stared at her. "Why would I be ruined? I
make Dawn weapons all the time. The Avengers too." He
smirked. She whimpered and he got away from her. "I don't
even know you, Miss."
"We slept together a few years ago. You said I was yours."
He looked at her. "I never lie to anyone I'm sleeping with that
way. Beyond that, I doubt it was a few years ago. I quit
being such a slut when my daughter was born." He walked off
shaking his head. "At least she won't need to be Warren's
"No, she's not that smart," Phil agreed. Officers showed up to get her and her things. He made sure she confessed.
Tony walked into his lab, looking at Pepper. "Did you make me take
off the question about if I had ever slept with the new hires?" he
"I did because it might mean a lawsuit. She was?"
"Claimed she was and I told her I was hers."
Dawn snorted. "No, you have taste. Even when you were a slut."
"Thanks." He looked her over. "You look nice."
She smiled. "Succuba store."
"Figures." She smirked. "What's with the hair?"
"That Xander did a hair lengthening charm."
"It looks nice but a bit wild." She smiled at him for that.
"Is the reporter slut going to note that you're too flashy again?"
"Yup. Probably. Yay."
"My feeling too," Pepper agreed. "We like you flashy and
flirty." She rubbed her stomach. "I don't like practice
Dawn called the infirmary. "Doc, we need a quick check of
Pepper. Her usual practice contractions make her hiss and tighten
up, this newest one made her rub instead. Yup, right down
there." She walked over and helped her up. "We'll check to
make sure they're still practice ones."
"I'm sure they are."
"Like Callia, the baby's like my sibling, and so I'm going to fuss and
be paranoid, Pepper," she said as she walked her out. "Suck it up,
"I know, you fuss. It's the young woman you are until you have a
few of your own." They went down to the infirmary. She
hissed and grabbed onto Dawn's arm, doing the breathing they had taught
her at lamaze, which Tony and Steve had both taken with her, and
Dawn. They came off on the infirmary level, Dawn freezing the car
until they could walk again. Then she unfroze it. They
walked toward the infirmary. "I don't want to go already."
"We can make sure," Dr. Pigalli said. Dawn helped her up onto the
exam table so she could feel around her stomach. "Any loss of
"That's expected," she promised with a smile. She felt the next
one. "I believe that is a minor real contraction. Let me
call your OB, Pepper." She went to look her up and talk to
her. They gave permission to start Pepper on an IV to stop the
early contractions and to keep her overnight. Her OB would show up
to check on her later. Dr. Pigalli had to send out for the meds
but one of the guards got it and came back almost immediately.
They started the IV once Pepper was down to comfortable clothes and in
bed. Dawn let the immediate family, including Pepper's mother,
know and stayed with her until Tony got down there to fuss. They
got Pepper moved to one of their private rooms and settled back in with
Tony hovering and Steve looking nervous. Dawn gave him a shove in
then closed the door behind him. She walked off to check with
security then went up to check on the labs before going home.
Dawn came in the next day dressed in one of the newer outfits, one of
the slimmer skirts and a nice tailored jacket with a pretty shirt
underneath. "Boss, I have that interview scheduled today."
"Pepper added a second one," he said from the main desk. "They stopped it in time."
"I figured they did and she texted me that she was on bedrest for the
rest of the month." She went through the mail and brought in what
he needed to deal with. She put down another pile. "Pepper
things so she can be bored in bed."
He smiled. "I'm sure she'll thank you for something to do
soon." He looked them over and handled a few but she
"No. They're misusing money." She got the report on
that. He nodded, going over it. He let her change the form
and recopy it. He looked at the other things. Dawn handled
something and he nodded, getting up to head to the labs. "By the
way, Andrew and Jonathan are remodeling their lab space."
"That's fine," Tony agreed, smirking at her. "Have fun with the poison pen."
Dawn smirked evilly. "I think I will." She gathered what
she'd need for later, putting it into the meeting room she had
chosen. It had nicely comfortable seats but was beside security in
case there was a problem. She included a printed sign in the
corner that stated all interviews were being taped. That's all
that she had to do by law. If the reporter ignored it that was her
stupid fault. She went up to do her lab rounds until security
called that they were there. She walked in with a cup of tea and
sat down. "Good morning."
"Morning." She stared at her. "Let's get started."
"Sure. Please turn on your tape recorder." The reporter
huffed but did that. "We'd like some accuracy and I'm sure you
can't take notes as fast as someone can talk. Even with
shorthand." She sipped her tea and got comfortable. "So,
what did you want to know?"
"What are you going to do when your frivolous suit is tossed out of court?"
Dawn smiled. "I don't believe that threatening to have me attacked
is frivolous. Nor do I think him being part of a kidnaping plot
that had me taken from up here to Georgia, while drugged, is
frivolous. Do you?"
The reporter snorted. "There's no reports of that."
Dawn nodded. "There are. The courts have the federal
reports. Both the FBI one and SHIELD's." She crossed her
legs at the knees. "The FBI got brought into it after the agents
helping me rescue myself found dirty agents."
"Dirty agents?" she sneered.
"Yes. They were arrested at the same time for being part of the
same cult that had kidnaped me. One agent was there to meet the
disreputable person's supposed new wife, meaning me, and when I
protested I had been kidnaped he denied that knowledge. Then his
supervisor was called in, and he decided to hide that report and his
agent's arrest by SHIELD. Which then included him. I'm told
the agents we work with up here were not amused in the least."
"Why was SHIELD there?"
Dawn smirked. "SHIELD does pay attention to Mr. Stark now and
then. Especially when the building that SHIELD agents live in was
broken into to capture me."
"Why do you live there?"
"Because I function as the administrative assistant for a lot of them as
well. I'm not the only non-agent that lives there. One
agent moved in with his twins and their mother."
"No, they only got together for procreation." She smiled.
"They live in the building. Stark International leases it to
SHIELD for a subsidized rent."
"I see. So only the Avengers live there?"
"No. A few non Avenger agents live there as well."
"I see." She made a note on that. "So you think this minister is wrong?"
Dawn pulled out her phone and pulled up a video. "I have these
bookmarked because I brought this to the meeting with my
attorney." She played it and let her see it. "I think him
offering a few hundred thousand to capture me so he could 'remake me' as
he put it is a problem. Do you believe any other Christian
minister would go that far? Even Reverend Phelps, that great idiot
out in Kansas?"
"Did you just compare him to that man that pickets funerals?"
"Yes, I did. They're both idiot bigots in the same manner.
They both occasionally send me hate mail. Even the skinheads I
berate when I run into them wouldn't want to claim either of these idiot
"You berate skinheads?"
"Yes, I do. I hate bigotry in every sense of the word and half of
them have no clue what they're actually worshiping. I had to ask
one if he knew who Stalin was since it was on his shirt. Then I
told him who Stalin was, which meant he ripped off his shirt. He
was a genocidal asshole but not a skinhead."
The reporter blinked. "You have a degree, don't you?"
Dawn smiled. "I do. I came in with a lot of extra credit
from working, some AP classes in high school, and testing out of some of
the classes. I did it all online. Why?"
"Why would you get work credits?"
"Because I had been working for over two years. I also got credit for speaking three languages at the time."
The reporter huffed. "Normal people don't get that."
"Yes they do. The college I graduated from has a great person who
evaluates your work history to see if you have any reasonable work
history that can count and gives you tests to make sure you can pass the
classes. I was one of two of us working toward the compressed
The reporter glared. "It's said you get perks other normal people don't."
"No, not that I've seen."
She laughed. "You really should've done some homework, dear.
Everyone else knew that Pepper took over mentoring me when my mother
was on the oncology ward at UCLA. I'm sorry, is that too big of a
word for you? I can define it if you want."
"No, I know what it means," she sneered.
"Then you're doing better than one reporter in Florida. She had no
idea what that word meant or why oncology floors would be age
restricted." She smiled and sipped her tea. "What perks do
you think I get?"
"I work here. As I said, I'm not the only non-agent living there
and SHIELD doesn't subsidize my rent. I pay my own way."
"Mr. Stark paid for your schooling."
"No, I paid for my schooling and Tony decided that was something he
could cover because I was useful in the company and doing things like
finding accounting errors that would have cost us millions of
dollars. So he paid me back for it. I paid for all my own
college courses. Without needing anything like a Pell grant or a
loan. I was lucky that I managed to save enough for that."
She sipped her tea and put it aside. "Beyond that, I've paid my
own way since I was eighteen. My own rent, my utilities, and
before then my own food bills and clothing bills. Pepper and I had
an agreement since I lived above her garage until we moved here full
"No one believes that you got where you are any way beyond on your knees."
Dawn chuckled, shaking her head. "Sorry. I was taught it had
to mean something more than being tapped in the back of a club or doing
the boss. Do you really think Tony would've waited two years with
how much he got? Seriously? With the way he got more than a
whole battle cruiser in the Navy since he was my age?"
She glared. "You call him by his first name?"
"Yes, he said I could. I'm also the one that gets to go in to nag
him to get to meetings on time." She smiled. "It's a perk of
the job to nag."
"There's no way you were a virgin until you were eighteen."
"Ask anyone you want. They all knew. My clothing changed
when I realized my own sexual nature, back when I was seventeen. I
think most young women go through that transition. I had some
great people who helped me through that transformation but I still
didn't tap anyone until after I was eighteen. After my trip to
Miami." She crossed her legs in the other direction. "I
might still be one if it hadn't been for that sacrificing cult that
wanted me." She shrugged and sipped her tea, putting it aside
again. She heard Clint's 'don't involve me in that hissing match
please' comment and promised she wouldn't. "You can ask almost
anyone that was at that meeting. Ask Alexander, he was there and
he's the one who told me the cult wanted to sacrifice me for being a
"You waited?" she sneered.
"Yes, I did. My mother raised me to think that sex meant
something. That it wasn't meant for a backseat, a broom closet,
the backroom of a club, the bathroom of a club, or anywhere else."
"You go to vastly different clubs than I do. None of mine have backrooms to have sex in."
"They all have storage areas and I got plenty of invites back to them when I was sixteen. Which I ignored."
"Maybe it was where you go places with succuba working."
Dawn shrugged. "Succuba feed off sexual urges and feelings.
My sister introduced me to a store that they run. Them making
people look hot means that they can randomly feed off the streets
instead of having to kill someone they pick up in a club. So I let
them help me find some new flirty things. They have great
taste. They even got my sister into a dress that was tastefully
flirty. Her husband adores her in it."
"Buffy? My only sister?" she said dryly. "You really didn't do more than read a wiki page, did you?"
"I did enough homework to know that you're not considered a real person."
Dawn cackled, shaking her head. "Sorry, the monks that made me
made me a real person. I have DNA and all that. The body may
have been created by magic but then again so are most
pregnancies. Do you know how wrong things can go when a woman
starts to carry a child? There's over ten thousand things that can
make her miscarry in the first month, and not even realize she was
pregnant. That's pretty magical to most of us."
"It's said that the magic didn't make you whole."
"The magic missed a tiny thing, which I fixed when I was eighteen.
But yes, I'm fully a real girl. More so than Pinocchio was.
I wasn't wooden first." She stared at her. "Can't help you
with that delusion, Miss Skeeter." She smiled. "You and your
poison quill will have to find a different story."
"Does your mother know? And your *boyfriend*?"
"Yes. Actually, my mother knew before I did. Something in
the brain tumor meant that she could tell spells were going on.
She saw the magic around me at that time. It led to us looking and
finding out why there was a Hell Goddess who wanted to kill me."
She sipped her tea and put the cup down again. "As for anyone I'm
with, yeah, they know. I don't hide things like that. If I'm
with someone then I'd trust them enough with most of the secrets in my
life. Including that one since it's not exactly a secret thanks to
that monk. Who I'm told got killed by his order for that."
She leaned on the table, smirking slightly. "If you can find him
to ask him, go for it. I'm pretty sure he's going to duck you
though. He does most reporters."
"Does your *boss* know?"
"I met Pepper because SHIELD was protecting me from the hell goddess,"
she said dryly. "They knew before we met probably since our
meeting was done by SHIELD agents."
She cleared her throat. "About this preposterous claim that the minister offered a bounty on someone to rape you?"
Dawn got into another video to show her. "I think that's pretty
clear cut." She got into another one. "There's that one as
"How did you get those?"
"The church puts the sermons up each Monday. Beyond that, Nightline was asked to investigate."
"I thought this was exclusive," she sneered.
"I never saw anything that said anything about an exclusive interview,
and I didn't ask them. One of the members of the church
did." The reporter gasped. "She didn't want her daughter,
who might have a gift, to be thought of the same way. It's not
like I'm the only one in the world that has it."
"That blonde girl."
"I don't name anyone because I'd hate for them to get the same sort of
hate mail, threatening letters, and contracts out for them to be
kidnaped and raped that I have on me. The same as I don't name who
the other slayer is, even though I know her very well. I don't
want anyone to be as threatened as I am. I don't want anyone's
family to worry about a bomb in the mail like I got yesterday. It
was addressed to Pepper and inside had a note saying it would keep me
from warping others since they expected me to open it first." The
reporter shuddered. "Frankly, those sort of bigots really need to
take a good, long look at their book of faith. Because their God
would probably be a bit pissed off."
"Thou shalt not suffer a witch," the reporter sneered.
Dawn sneered back. "King James put that in there. It's not
in the original. You should read the original book sometime."
"I'm nominally Wicca. I have read the Bible, in the original
format. Because I read Latin." She smiled. "And
Ancient Greek as well as Hebrew in the modern and the ancient."
She stared at her. "There's plenty of things I can't and can agree
with. Frankly, I picked Wicca because it fits how I see the
world. I definitely live by the three fold rule."
"The three fold rule. Whatever you do, ill or good, comes back on
you three times." She stared at her. "Before you can say
anything mean, I've seen you use the concept of Karma in the past.
About the same only magnified." She smiled and finished her
tea. "Anything else? I have to figure out how to use the
hover board one of the geeks put in their labs to reach their filing
"They're geeks. Of course they mounted their filing cabinets on
the walls so they're out of the way and built a hover board to get up to
them. Geeks do things like that." She heard a meow and
looked out. "In here, phone." He ran in and meowed at
her. "Excuse me for a minute." She answered it. "Thank
you for calling Stark International, how may I help you?" She
listened to Tony telling her to quit baiting the bitch and asked if she
really thought that about him. She laughed. "Yes, boss, I do
think you got more than a whole battle cruiser since you were
twenty. I think you'd probably admit it too."
"You wouldn't go for him?" the reporter sneered.
"No, I like mine with less than a hundred lovers under their belts," she
said dryly. "The fewer the better, but enough for excellent
technique." Tony said something. "Yes, I think you did,
boss. Because I'm pretty sure there were a few years in there that
you did the phone book." She laughed. "Sure, be up there
soon to figure out how to do things in the boys' lab." She hung
"We're being listened to?"
Dawn pointed at the sign. "You didn't read it? Wow, I read
all signs that might be important in a room when I was fifteen.
Then again, I had people who wanted to kidnap and kill me at fifteen,"
she admitted. "So I was a bit paranoid. Still am." She
smiled. "Yes, all interviews done here in Stark's building are
taped by our security system. We do that in most of the
rooms. All the meetings are taped, all the hallways are taped in
case of something happening." She smiled. "It's also for
safety reasons. That way if someone's attacked again, we know who
The reporter got up and huffed off. "You're not as special as you think, Miss Summers."
"I never said I was special. The only ones I'm special to are my
family, friends, and the people I choose to involve in my private
life. You have a nice day."
"You actually wished me well?" she sneered.
"Three fold rule, sweetheart. I might be in the mood for an
argument and not willing to pay for it like Monty Python did, but I'd
never trip that rule by wishing someone ill. It'd undo my good
karma points." She smiled. "Beyond that, Tony always says
that sarcasm is better than anger at stupidity." The reporter
huffed off. Dawn turned off the tape recording and sent it to a
few people, including her lawyer. Who sent back a laugh and that
she was right about the sarcasm. She got up and went up to the
lab. "Okay," she said, looking at Tony.
"Nightline did do one. They sent someone into the church and all
that stuff. The reporter nearly lost his professionalism and
said something during the service."
"Did he up the price to have me raped or was it a new bounty if he could make my ovaries work?"
"That too." He let her see the film. She grimaced and
flipped it off, shrugging some. "That doesn't upset you?"
"It does, but I'm pretty damn sure the cults that used to want to kill
me had about the same plan for me. It's nice that they're
following in the footsteps of a pre-Christian cult's ways. I hope
they enjoy hell for being hypocrites." She shrugged again.
"Idiots are idiots because they don't want to learn."
"That's beyond ignorance that can be cured."
"No, that's hate like all other bigots. Which again, not really
within their religion of choice." She looked at him. "If I
let them get to me, I'd have to cry about all the other ones that have
wanted me. I haven't done that since Glory hurt the whole family,
"Good." He patted her on the arm. He looked her over. "That skirt is too tight."
"It's not too tight. It's gothically slim." She smiled and
walked off. "Going to lab 7 to see what they've done."
"A hover board?"
"Yeah, or at least a floating platform." He went with her.
The boys had moved all the filing cabinets onto the walls above their
heads. The shelves with parts were along one wall. They had
imported a few new tables and a few of the monitorless
workstations. "This is cute. How do I file?" Andrew
helped her onto the platform and she squeaked. "Andrew, handle bars,"
she ordered. "This thing has a severe wobble."
"Okay," he said, making it come back down. "The up and down keys
and left and right are the arrows from the DDR system we broke apart."
She tested it and nodded. "Still wobbles, dear." She got off
and let Tony try it. "Is it the heels?" she joked.
"No, it's where your stance is too narrow," Tony said. "But you're
right, it needs a safety rail, boys." He looked around,
nodding. "Nice designs." They smiled. He patted them
both on the back. "Does Roomba like it?"
"He's got a whole recharging doghouse now," Jonathan said with a point at it.
Tony looked. "That's an excellent job. Where is he?"
"With Callia and Pepper guarding them," Andrew said quickly, smiling at Dawn. "Can we ruin the snotty reporter bitch?"
"No, there's freedom of the press and thought, Andrew.
Unfortunately." She patted him and gave them both hugs.
"Nice work, guys, but remember girls aren't as heavy as you two and we
do wear heels sometimes." They nodded and got to work on the
handrail. "Need anything from the caf?"
"Not yet," Jonathan said with a grin. "We got breakfast."
"Get me some more coffee?"
"Yup." She went down there to get him something, finding the caf
empty. "Huh. That's strange." She got Tony some coffee
and moved to find a muffin for herself. That's when someone
attacked. Dawn threw the coffee in his face, making him yelp
behind his rental ninja costume mask. She pulled a knife and
attacked back, pinning him to the wall. She touched her
earpiece. "Security, this is Summers. Come get the faux
ninja please? He's stopping me from getting the boss
coffee." She hung up and took off his mask. "Who the fuck
are you?" she asked, staring at him.
"You will be taught proper womanly ways," he sneered.
Guards and Tony walked in. "No she won't. Pepper already
taught her that." He slugged the guy. "Now you can have the
idiot." Dawn walked off making sure she didn't get anything on
her. She handed him a cup of coffee and took her muffin and tea
back up to her desk. "Dawn?" he called, following. "How many
of these have there been?"
"He's the sixth," one guard called. "We stopped four at the door
trying to get in, Mr. Stark, and the other one tried in the car parking
lot. He got maced by the scientist he mistook for her." Tony
groaned and shook his head. It let Dawn escape into the
elevator. "Dawn needs to work from a virtual office somewhere
safe," he told his partner.
"She couldn't make coffee then."
"Good point." They hauled the guy to their interrogation room
while the PD got called. "That really is a cheesy rental ninja
costume," he decided.
Steve sat down across from Natasha and Clint at lunchtime back at HQ. "Is Dawn all right?"
"The wannabe rapist was caught," Clint said. "Before I could pound his head in."
"Or before I could," Natasha agreed. She sipped her shake.
For some reason she wanted a milkshake today. It must be bleedover
from Dawn. "She's fine otherwise. The second reporter was
much more succinct and had better questions. Including about the
created thing," she admitted. "Which did upset her."
"She had a bad dream last night that she ended up in jail for attacking
the judge and minister for declaring her not a human," Clint said.
"It took nearly an hour to calm her down."
"I guess she'd have to worry about that." He looked around then at them. "Is she okay otherwise?"
"She's fine. A bit pissed off at the people in Georgia but fine,"
Natasha said. She finished her shake and dug into her salad.
Even if she wanted fries.
Clint looked at her. "You're mirroring Dawn's food cravings?"
Steve blinked. "Why is she having a food craving? Is she...." He waved a hand.
They shook their heads quickly. "It's a girl PMS thing, Cap,"
Xander said as he appeared. He handed Natasha fries. "I
dropped some off on her too." He tossed Clint the candybar he'd
been wanting all day. "Between that and stress nibbles, Dawn's
going to need to work off a few extra calories tonight."
"I'm sure they can help her with that," Steve quipped, getting a grin
and a nod back from Clint. "Anything we should know?"
"The stupid first reporter is from that church in North Carolina that
agrees with the one in Georgia but he quit calling her to be forced into
slavery or bred to," Xander said.
"Good to know," Natasha said. She nibbled the fries and her salad. "Thank you, Xander."
Clint looked at him. "Dawn's still worried about something."
Xander nodded. "She's not right. They work fine."
Clint smiled. "I'll let her know."
"Thanks. Anything else today?"
"Coulson looks like a stuffed sausage," Dawn said as she appeared. "He needs to visit his tailor."
"We did some training time on Asgard." He grinned.
She kissed him on the cheek. "Good boy." He swatted
her. She swatted him back. "Fries." She took some of
"Eat all yours?" Clint teased.
"Tony took half." She nibbled, looking at them. "So now
what? The preliminary hearing is next week. It's probably
going to go to an appeal no matter which way it goes. The judge
has already rejected their motion to dismiss based on freedom of speech
versus making threats." She nibbled another fry. Natasha
sent over a soothing thought so Dawn smiled at her. "Thanks."
"Welcome." She gave her a few more fries then put the rest on her
salad. Dawn smiled. "Where were the cafeteria workers?"
"In the walk-in fridge. Idiot locked them in there. Dr.
Pigalli took a swing at him herself for that bit of extra work."
Xander snickered, shaking his head. Phil walked in. Dawn ran
a hand over his arm. "You need a tailor."
"I know. I need a lot of new suits." He sat down, taking off his jacket.
Clint stared. "A lot of sparring?"
"I asked to learn sword and axe work," he admitted quietly, looking around.
Xander smiled. "I took him to the same people that trained me and
he did an excellent job. They actually smiled, which they never
did at me."
"Aww," Dawn said with a smile. "I'm giving you a gift certificate for clothes for your birthday."
Phil smiled. "That will save me a lot since everything's too
small." She patted him on the hand. "You're not eating?"
"I had a muffin and some fries."
He stared at her. "The judge isn't going to dismiss it. He'll probably grant the restraining order too."
"He already did. Yesterday's sermon was about how he was going to
take me, breed me, then tie me up in a wooden shed once I'd given two
good kids so he could burn me to death." Natasha and Clint both
flinched. She nodded. "Tony saw it first." Xander was
growling so she patted him on the hand. "Down, boy. My job."
Clint stared at her. "No way in hell you're doing it on your own."
She sighed. "Thanks, but I think I can handle it."
"So?" he asked. "Dawn Summers-Barton-Romanoff does not get to go into scary shit alone," he said quietly, staring at her.
"You three have to figure out that last name thing," Xander quipped. Dawn swatted him. He looked at Phil.
"So do we," he agreed. "I'm keeping mine for professional reasons."
"We can hyphenate."
"I can change mine to yours."
"Your father would shit bricks," Dawn quipped. "We can use a new
sitting area on the roof so can you do that? That way we don't
have to buy bricks?"
Xander cackled, reaching across Phil to hug her. "I love you like
you're naturally my sister, Dawn." He let her go. "Are you
going to go hyphenated?"
"There's not many places I can use it but maybe." She looked at
them, getting smirks back. "We'll talk about that later."
They nodded they could do that. She settled in to nibble from
Phil's plate, getting swatted. "Sorry."
"Get real food," he ordered with a point.
She got up to get her own lunch, smiling at them. "I had a
disgusting reporter who said I'm not a real girl and who thought the
church in Georgia was nice and decent." They growled. "Yeah,
seriously. Phil said I had to stop stealing off his plate."
They got her a takeout box of food, making her grin. "Thanks,
ladies. Any fries?" Some got piled on. Dawn paid with a
wink for that lunch lady then sat down to eat until she had to get back
Steve made himself stay calm. "Is there anything I can do to help with that church thing?"
Dawn looked at him. "Don't hold me back when I beat their asses?"
He nodded. "I'd never do that anyway, Dawn. You might turn me into a mouse or something."
She smiled. "Callia would love a second mouse."
"She has one. It's named Cheddar. She freed it from a lab
last night because it was too skinny and told the scientist in there off
for not taking good care of her pets." She giggled and dug in.
"If it turns into a team thing instead of a personal vendetta, we'll
call," Clint assured him, smiling some. "Not that we need help."
"I'd suggest one of those ice arrows but I'm pretty sure they're the sort that wear long sleeves in the summer."
"You read Ancient Hebrew?" Phil asked.
"Yes, I do." She smiled. "I don't read it perfectly and I
need a few words translated here and there, but I do read it fairly
well. Ancient Greek too."
He nodded. "Can you speak them?"
"Yes. The event thingy said only modern languages so no Latin or anything ancient."
"Pity." He dug in again.
Fury walked in, staring at Dawn. "Slumming?" he taunted.
"Ours got taken hostage by a wannabe ninja guy from that church." She ate a bite.
Nick Fury paused and stared at her. "Excuse me?"
She nodded. "He popped out when I was getting Tony coffee.
His special blend was enough for the guy to shriek at. I'd hate to
see what he'd scream at Rodney's favorite blend."
Phil looked at Xander. "She diverts attention the same way you do."
"I taught her well in the ways of the Force," Xander quipped back.
Dawn smirked at him. "I fell off the path, Master. I'm told
I'm actually a dick teasing Sith most of the time. Sorry."
"Only sometimes. I'm pretty sure even Jedis get urges to cuddle up
to more than the Force or there wouldn't be baby Jedi." Clint
moaned, shaking his head. "Sorry, Barton."
"Please quit ruining a good childhood memory for me?"
"Sure. I can change movie references." He looked at
her. "Fozzy you are not, but fuzzy you can be. Maybe
She laughed. "I like Animal, he's sweet underneath the wild
exterior but I still do not understand that new shrimp one.
Thankfully I'll never be the diva that Miss Piggy is."
"Me either," Phil said. "And ditto on the childhood memory, people? Please?"
Nick Fury walked off shaking his head to talk to Agent Hill.
Before his head exploded. The image of Dawn in Slave Leia gear
would not leave his head. He got off the elevator and Joyce stared
at him. "Dawn and Xander?" He nodded. She picked up a
binder and smacked him hard enough on the head to make him yelp.
She smiled. "Welcome."
"Thanks. Now I don't see her in that costume."
"Star Wars, Star Trek, or Muppets?" Joyce asked.
"Star Wars," he muttered, rubbing his head. "Someone called her a dick teasing Sith."
"It's her flaw," Joyce sighed, sitting down again. "I'm sure others like it though."
Maria nodded, rubbing her head. "Joyce, can you hit me too?"
"The outfit on the Jabba ship?" one of the admin techs quipped. He
got hit by Joyce's slingshot and she did smack Maria on the head too.
"Thank you," Maria said. Dawn walked off the elevator and handed
her two books then left. She looked. "Who's Alexian Harris?"
"Xander in another realm. He's a fantasy writer. Are they
both his? He's supposed to have a great DCIS series and a half elf
series where he teases dwarves into giving him a blow job."
"Only one. The other's on angels?" She frowned. "Why is she reading that?"
"It's said to be a good read," Joyce admitted. "It's on the best seller list, Maria."
"Huh." She took it to lunch with her. Dawn was gone with her
lunch. Maria walked over to the shared table. "Did she go
to a goth shop for that skirt?"
"They really knew her there," Clint said dryly. "They have action figures out for the movies."
She winced. "Is mine good?"
"Yours looks just like the actress."
"That's nice." She got something with chocolate for lunch and went
back to her desk to cure her headache. She and Tara could read
Phil looked at them. "How did the reporter this morning know that she went to a shop with succuba?"
"I haven't heard her talk about it in public," Natasha said, looking at
Clint, who shook his head. They asked and she said she had told
Pepper. "She told Pepper in the car."
"She's changing car services then," Clint decided, putting his fork
down. Natasha stole the last of his steak salad then got up to
walk off. He shook his head. "Sure. I'm getting
fat." He got up to follow once his dishes were properly stored.
Phil and Xander shared a look, Phil shrugging. "They'll handle
it." Xander nodded. He finished up and went up to his
office. Xander followed. He smiled. "Needed
"You have ten minutes left."
"Yes, but I have a ton of work." Xander pouted. "You can be my assistant like Dawn used to."
A few hours later, Nick Fury looked at some of the forms that had come
from Coulson. "Whose handwriting is that?" he muttered.
Joyce came in and looked then smiled. "Xander's. He was
filling in for Dawn's old spot of helping him." She went back to
"They're probably talking about the trainees."
"Probably," he said, hoping it was that and nothing in the forms had
biological deposits on it. Coulson wouldn't but Alexander seemed
to want to claim him in public and who knew what warrior sorts
considered appropriate claiming manners while in a building full of
agents. He wasn't going to ask Thor to find out.
Dawn walked into the penthouse suite, smiling at Pepper. "Moved bedrest to the couch?"
"Steve carried me out here," she said with a smile. She took the mail. "All checked?"
"All scanned. I didn't open them since a few are marked private. I can if you want."
"I'm not that helpless. I heard that interview."
"I was as nice as I could be."
"I know. You were." She opened a few of the private ones,
blinking at them. "Tony?" she yelled. He came out of the
bedroom. She handed them over. "They've switched to hating
"The church or another dysfunctional group of morons that gather
together for self-validation?" Dawn asked, taking one to look at.
"The church people. How pleasant." She handed it back.
She took the rest to open and glance at, handing the other threats and
hate mail to Tony. "You don't need the stress." She kissed
Pepper on the forehead. "Need anything?"
"An arena booked so we can beat them to death on pay per view?" she offered, looking at Tony.
"Don't tempt me." He read them over. "Dawn, need your
lawyer's number." She found it in her phone and handed it
over. He hit send and walked off. "This is Tony
Stark... No, new hate mail against the company as well for hiring
her. Please." He got transferred. "How would you like
them sent?" He closed his office door to read a few. Pepper
didn't need to hear those. She had gotten some of the more mild
Dawn shrugged. "Not my doing, boss lady."
"I know. Go home, be fabulous tomorrow. It's all a real woman can do when things get trying."
"They asked about the succuba shop."
She considered it. "Cabs aren't safe. Have Happy drive you home?"
"How about I just blip home?"
"Good plan," she said with a smile. She checked the clock then at her. "You're done for the day anyway."
Dawn smirked, heading home to make dinner. Clint was already doing
it so she washed her hands to start on the dishes she had left last
night. "We good?" Clint asked.
"Yup, just fine."
"Huh," he said, texting Stark, who said he was handling it and they were
going to be very sorry. He put his phone up. "Where's your
"In Tony's hand." She took his to text Buffy then handed it back
with a kiss. "I'm sorry I gave you bad mental images at work."
He smirked evilly. "Fury got one of you in the slave girl
outfit." She nudged him and shook her head, getting back to the
dishes. "Go change."
"I can do that after I do these." He sighed but nodded, staring at
her. She took off the jacket and he leered. The shirt was a
bit ....showy on her. "That's why I wore the jacket." He
took a kiss and she smiled. "Sparring later?"
"Tomorrow? Tonight I want to break my bad mental image streak and that takes nudity."
She leered. "I can do that. Natasha too?"
"She's around here somewhere."
"Cool." She finished up and rinsed out the sink then went to
change into something flirty she had gotten at that speciality
store. It was a silver lace long shirt that had half-sleeves and
came to just below her butt. It was totally see-through and was a
bit tight. A bit itchy too but she'd put up with it. Natasha
came up from her apartment, staring at Dawn. She smiled.
"He said he wanted to remove some bad mental images."
"That certainly will replace them," Natasha agreed, moving over to kiss her.
Clint paused in his stirring to watch them. "Yeah, that'll work
those bad mental images out." He came over to get his own kiss
then went back to dinner. "Nat, let her wear it through dinner."
"I can do that." It wasn't like it was an impediment to anything
she wanted to do anyway. Someone knocked so she reached back to
open the door. "Yes, Tara?"
Tara blushed when she saw Dawn. "Alexian Harris?"
"Xander in that realm."
"Oh." She nodded and left, still blushing. She had that
outfit in deep purple. Maria liked to growl at it. Maybe
she'd get some growling time in later since Phil and Xander were
home. She smiled at the kids. "Want to see Daddy
later?" They cheered and ran for the door, Melissa managing to
open it before they could stop her. They knew where Daddy
lived. They got off on the right floor and ran to the door,
pounding on it.
Phil opened it, already shirtless. "Hi, kids." They ran in
and pounced him for cuddles. "Sure, we'll have cuddles."
Maria brought down dinner then left them alone. "I think you're
sleeping down here tonight."
Xander smiled at him. "We can have a good dinner." Phil
grinned back. The kids were more than happy to help them cook,
remake the beds, and then do their nighttime rituals with
them. It meant Xander and Phil couldn't get loud but that
happened when you were a parent.
Dawn showed up the next morning looking professional, calm, and
sated. Pepper smiled at her. "You should be in bed or on the
"I'm on the couch in here," she promised. Dawn nodded, letting the
Roomba dog in to sniff around for them. Jonathan patted Pepper's
stomach then left them alone. "Thank you, Jonathan. That's
very sweet of you."
"We heard you and Dawn got death threats from psychotic people. Just making sure," he quipped.
Dawn grinned at him. "They're from that church."
He shuddered. "We should send one of those fire and brimstone
ministers down on them for it." He went back to his lab.
"They're all clear," he told Andrew, who smiled. "The threats came
from that church."
"No pulling out battle gear, tech to hurt them, or anything else to
retaliate, boys," Phil's voice called. "I will not be happy if you
"Yes, sir," they sighed. They went on their social media pages
instead to ruin that church the easy way. They had major geeks on
their pages. Major geeks wouldn't want the pretty one that helped
take care of them threatened either. Especially since Dawn had
spoiled some of them during the Expo. They appreciated Dawn and
were campaigning for spoiling assistant sorts in their companies.
Tony got an email from a rival/old friend and blinked at it,
cackling. "Dawn?" he called, letting JARVIS summon her. She
walked in a few minutes later. "People are pushing to get one of
you for themselves."
"Can they order one?" she quipped. He swatted her. "They're still in business."
"Hell no they can't order one. There should only be one of you
unless you're identical twins." She smirked at him. He
showed her the email, making her happy. She sent over suggestions
of how she handled it and then let him talk to his buddy. It was a
good ego boost. She knew others casually wanted her, they had
offered her nice packages to come work for them. But this went
beyond being a good admin. She went up to tell Pepper, who grinned
and sniffled. Dawn hugged her and they got back to work.
Tony walked in a few minutes later. "He'll tell one of his younger
admin so they can work on it." He nudged her again. "That's
something to be proud of."
"I am. I'm super proud." She smiled. "Thanks for sharing, boss."
"Welcome." He went into the office to show Pepper the updated
email from his buddy. She knew him, they had worked together on a
project years ago. Pepper got back to sniffling so he got to
cuddle, which was nice. Even if the baby did kick him for it.
Callia got sneaky and had Happy bring her to SHIELD HQ instead of being
sent over this time. How had she talked him into it? She had
taken her daddy's phone and sent a text message from it. She
wanted to talk to her stepmommy Steve. She got there and got out,
heading in the front door. The security team tried to stop
her. "My daddy's in here," she said.
"None of the kids of agents are your age, miss," one of the guards said.
She looked him then grinned. "I'm Callia Stark." He backed
up and nodded. "Daddy said to come meet him here in the
gyms. That way we could watch Uncle Steve spar."
The guard called up to Joyce, who said that Steve was sparring and she
hadn't personally seen Tony but Steve would watch out for her while she
called. So they let her up there and pushed the right button for
"Thank you." She rode up and found the gym easily enough. It
was full of loud, grunting people. She snuck in and over to where
her uncles were, sneaking behind Natasha.
"You are not that good yet. We will work on it with you," Natasha said quietly, looking down at her.
"I wanted to see Uncle Steve and talk to him."
"Your father is going to throw fits."
"He sent for me. He sent a text message." She grinned.
Natasha cleared her throat. "You lie worse than Dawn used
to. He's over there." She pointed. She watched the kid
sneak past the majority of the agents. Only six spotted
her. There were over twenty agents in the gym sparring and working
out. That was a bad, low number. She sent a thought at
Clint about doing some surveillance work. He said most of them
clearly failed it since he had spotted her and he was mid-spar with
Steve. She sighed and wrote a memo to Fury. He could assign
some basic work.
Clint ducked a hit by Steve then shoved him back at Callia, who
pounced. He jumped but stared at her, earning a grin. "What
are you doing here? We could've hurt you."
"I waited until Uncle Clint noticed me. I wanted to talk to you about serious stuff."
He nodded. "We'll finish later," he told Clint, picking her up to walk her off.
"Uncle Steve, you're all sweaty."
"That's what happens if you're using the gym the right way," he said
dryly. He took her to the caf to talk to her, sending Tony a
picture text, which he had just learned how to do today.
What he got back looked like an unintelligible string of growling and
the word grounded at the end. He showed her. She
shrugged. "I'll suffer for a few days for this." She looked
around to make sure they were private then looked at him again.
"Why can't you and Daddy do what Auntie Dawn is so I get two stepmommies
and a daddy?" she asked quietly. "I'd like that."
He sighed. "We offered, Callia, and she said she couldn't."
"Oh." She pouted. "She doesn't love us?"
"She does but some people don't want to share. Actually, most people don't like to share."
"I share with the twins and my baby brother."
"It's not the same," he said with a sigh at the end. "Let me shower and change, I'll take you back to the tower."
"Happy drove me."
"We can make sure he's still here." He took her to his room so he
could shower quickly and put on real clothes then took her
downstairs. He wouldn't mention the security breach if no one else
did. Happy was waiting. "Thanks," he said.
"The text said her father was here."
"Slight mistake," he said dryly. Happy stared at Callia.
"I needed to talk to him."
"Then next time, summon him like the princess you are." He got in
to drive since Steve could handle the booster seat for her. He and
Tony needed to talk to figure out how to handle this little imp of his.
Steve and she talked on the way over, quietly and him making sure she
knew why she was in trouble for it. He wasn't sure if Callia had
no sense because she was a genius or because she was five.
Sometimes Tony showed the same lack of common sense so he really wasn't
sure. They got to the Tower and he walked her inside, letting
Happy go hide. Tony was waiting at the elevator on the penthouse
level, staring at his daughter.
"I wanted to talk to him."
"Then call!" he complained back.
"Aunties Pepper and Dawn said all good girl talks had to be done in
person, not over video conference where everyone could
hear." She started to stomp back onto the elevator but Steve
picked her up. "I was going to talk to Auntie Pepper."
"First you're going to talk to us," Steve said. "That way you
can't upset Aunt Pepper." He handed her over. "She sent a
text in your name to Happy."
"That's what Joyce said she told the guards." He looked at his
daughter. "So grounded." She shrugged. He walked her
to the couch and put her down so they could sit on each side of her and
talk to her. It looked like one of those semi-grown up
talks. "Okay, what's wrong?"
"Why can't we do what Auntie Dawn is and I get both of them? I could use two stepmommies."
Tony blinked. "That was Pepper's decision. She's not against
us being friends or helping each other out but she doesn't want to date
more than one person at a time. Her mom told her it was wrong."
"Does she get mad at Auntie Dawn then?"
"No. She knows that works best for Dawn," Tony said. "Every
now and then we get a bit frustrated with Barton and Romanoff but not
Dawn." Callia looked at her hands. Tony tipped her face
up. "I would love nothing more than to do that. Okay?"
She nodded. "But Aunt Pepper only wants one boyfriend at a time."
"You can't marry them both so one would be a husband," she said.
"Yeah, maybe but not really. Anything like that takes a lot of
work to make sure everyone's equal in the relationship. It takes a
lot more work than a regular one does. It takes rules and working
things out and doing things together, which I've never excelled at any
"So, if I wanted both of them, I'd have to get them together and you'd visit?" she asked, looking confused.
"Don't even think about it," Tony said, smirking at her. "I'm a
possessive father. They're both mine. Someone's just taking
some time to realize it." Steve gave him a pointed look. He
Steve cleared his throat. "I know sometimes you need a girl talk
sort of thing that we can't give you because we're not girls,
Callia. Pepper will still be there for that, even if she's not
sleeping up here with us."
She pouted. "But I like seeing you both over cheerios.
Daddy's usually gone by then." Tony flinched. "Or in the
gym." She pouted at him. "Can we work things out and make
"We'll talk to her later," Tony said. "You may not because it
could upset her. We'll talk about it like adults and then come
talk to you."
"Yes, Daddy." She got up. "I'm going to hug Auntie
Dawn." She went down to talk to her. She had no idea that
they had rules like she did. Well, besides that Dawn had to be
pretty most of the time and Uncle Clint or Auntie Natasha would help her
take care of bad guys that wanted to beat her up. Like she had
when she was little, she climbed up into her aunt's lap between her arms
and watched her type. "Why are you typing in that language?"
"I'm writing a reply to someone in Russia who wanted to have your dad help him on a project."
Callia looked up at her. "Lies feel tingly in my head," she said bluntly.
Dawn kissed her on the forehead. "He wanted me to work for him and I'm being insulting."
"Oh, okay then. Bad guy?"
"Huh." She snuggled in and waited. Her aunt finished the
letter, proofread it, printed it, and got it ready for mailing then
switched back to her usual English settings. "Why do things have
to be complicated when you grow up?" she asked quietly.
Dawn gave her a hug. "Because the more you know, the more you add
to things until they're no longer simple. If you only know that
the sky is blue, but not why, then you don't wonder why the clouds
change or sometimes it rains or snows. When you know why there's
clouds and why they change then you can worry about how often they
change and how much rain or snow you get."
"Is it like that with people things too?"
"Even more so with people things. Because as you grow up, things
get more complex on their own, even if you don't realize it.
That's why, at your age, princesses live happily ever after with
whatever prince picks them to save. At my age, princesses are
picky about which prince saves them and how they're saved so it doesn't
look bad or make them look weak."
"Oh." She nodded, snuggling in better. "So love changes all on its own?"
"Yup. When you're your age, love is cuddles and hugs and kisses
from Daddy or one of the uncles or aunts. When you're my age,
there's other things involved and emotions and you learn that you love
your parents differently than you do your boyfriend or
girlfriend." Which reminded her, she needed an anniversary present
this weekend for her mother.
"So you love Uncle Clint and Auntie Natasha differently than you do your mommy?"
"Yup. Because cuddling with them is different than cuddling with you or Mom."
"Oh. I realize that cuddling with you isn't the same as cuddling
with Daddy or Uncle Steve or Auntie Pepper." She looked up.
"That's a first step but as you get older, there's other things beyond
cuddling that get added into that. It makes it change and
grow. You know how butterflies start out as wormy things,
She nodded. "Caterpillars."
"Exactly. Then they cocoon, which lets them grow and change into
butterflies, until they're ready to be released and become beautiful
things that people stare at." She smiled and nodded at her
aunt. "Well, being a kid is like being the
caterpillar. Things are pretty simple for most kids.
You don't have to change until you hit puberty or become a
teenager. Then things start to change and you change, until you
emerge from the other side as a butterfly."
"Oh, wow. Will I have wings?"
"I didn't mean literally."
"I know I don't eat leaves. They're yucky and sometimes
poisonous." Dawn nodded. "So right now I have caterpillar
love for everyone and it's pretty much the same, but when I go into my
cocoon and become a teenager, things change?"
"Yes they do. That's the whole purpose of puberty. To make
simple things change into something more complicated and sometimes
"Then I come out of being a teenager as a butterfly that can fly off to meet other butterflies and have caterpillar babies?"
"Huh." She shifted back so she was resting against her chest. "Can I not do that?"
"Nope, sorry. There's nothing that I know of that can keep you
from growing up. Though, read _Peter Pan_ tonight, okay?"
She nodded, snuggling in again. "Things are mostly good right now. I'd like them to stay that way."
"We all wish things would stay where they were good. Every adult,
every kid. But if you didn't have some of the bad things then you
wouldn't understand how good the good things are," she said quietly,
kissing her on top of the head.
"That might suck."
"Yeah, it might."
"Are Jonathan and Andrew out of their cocoons?"
"They took a bit longer but they're butterflies now, just drying their wings off."
"Okay." She shifted some, getting comfy again. "You can type around me."
"I am that talented, yes." She smiled and got back to work.
In the office, Pepper was sniffling. Tony had told her why Callia
had snuck off to find Steve. She had heard Dawn and Callia
talking. She wanted to be a caterpillar again too. It was so
much easier when she was younger. When they were all
younger. When he was Dawn's age it was all flirting and
flightiness during college, dating and escapes for the weekend.
Even after she had started to work for Tony it was still fun and
easy. Then he had gotten sucked into Tony's vortex of magnetism
and now she was trying to tread water because if she didn't, she'd drown
and be lost. Maybe not literally but she wouldn't be the same
Steve handled that so much better. He could do more than dip his
toes into the pool over the edge of the boat they both took refuge
in. She sighed. She was getting depressed again. When
she was twenty, she would've jumped in and drowned for a bit. Dawn
did when it was offered. They kept covering the pool between them
so none of them drowned. She didn't have that luxury. She
was in a drown or don't swim bottomless lake. She went up to talk
to Tony. Then she decided she wanted ice cream. This was an
ice cream think. Frozen yogurt wouldn't cut it this time and she
needed calcium anyway.
Dawn smiled at her back. "Caf?"
"Look in the blue freezer in the back of the pantry. I stocked you some."
Pepper smiled and went to look. Sure enough, she found her
favorite flavor of Ben and Jerry's. Dawn was so great to
her. She went back to the office, closing herself in and thinking
hard about what she wanted. She wanted them in her life. She
wanted to drown but keep being Pepper. That wasn't really
possible with Tony. With anyone else but she'd probably run them
over because she was used to dealing with such a strong
personality. She felt like she did it to Steve sometimes
too. She ate some more and considered things.
Dawn opened the door, one hand on her earpiece. "Spotted
him. Thank you. Pepper, move. Now." She got up
and headed out with Dawn, who closed the door in time to have it
shot. "Go to the decontam floor. Callia's heading there with
Stark." She nodded, taking her ice cream that way. Dawn and
security made sure all the scientists were herded somewhere
She walked into the labs and hit the emergency switch. "Someone
just shot at Pepper and one of the labs, people. Hit the caf,
now." They hurried off after locking down their labs. Dawn
did a lab check, getting a few that were lost in their own worlds and
music. Then she followed. She hated being shot so she had
stayed carefully away from all the windows.
Clint looked up from his recert for CPR, grimacing. "Problems?" the instructor said.
"Slight ones but not here." He went back to it. He probably passed it in the fastest time ever and headed out.
Fury stopped him in the range. "It was against one of the geeks,
they wanted the unholy duo. They've arrested the sniper."
"No they haven't. Dawn just beat someone nearly to death,
sir." Fury groaned. He called. "Stark, who just
attacked Dawn? She's too focused to tell me."
"Some idiot who thinks he's protecting the evil geeks from her
evilness. Come get him. I've got Pepper and the baby with me
and I can't leave them."
"Coming." He hung up and looked at his boss, who got out of his
way. He grabbed what he needed and hit the switch to take him to
Stark. The building was mostly silent, though an alarm was going
off because the flashing light was going off. He put in his
earpiece, switching to the Stark channel. "It's Barton. The
alarm Banner?" He nodded. "I've got a sedative one."
He went to find him first. He was on a rampage but they had
erected shields to keep him in an area he couldn't fully destroy.
Someone had darted him with something.
He shot the arrow at him, letting it hit him on the arm. Banner
yelled and threw it once he had pulled it out. He glared at Clint
and stomped toward him. Then he dropped over. Clint walked
over to check, he was unconscious but alive. He put on the
specially made handcuff ties then went to help Dawn. He came off
the elevator and fired off two quick arrows then one up the other way in
the hallway at the one trying to take on Natasha. He had wondered
where she was hiding, he hadn't seen her since Callia had come
"Good," she panted then stabbed that one and moved to duck the next blow
and take him out. "Could use a bit more help though. This
is number eight or so." Clint took down a few more and shot one
because he wasn't at a bow-friendly angle. Dawn caught her breath,
going to help Natasha, but she killed that one and it was better.
Dawn looked her over. "You okay?"
"I'll heal. You have cuts."
"I'm fine. I'll heal 'em soon. Stepdad?" she asked Clint.
"Sedative arrow. Special flexsteel cuffs to give him a few minutes worth of work."
"Okay." She called in. "It's Summers, Barton, and
Romanoff. We're in the infirmary level. It may be
clear. Checking now." They moved off to check. Then
Natasha went down to the caf to calm and check the scientists.
They were used to seeing her around the office. Dawn would head
Clint paused her, staring at her. "Why did she only have one?"
"He had the bomb."
"Oh, charming." He took a kiss, staring at her. "You seriously all right?"
"I'm fine." He smiled and let her go. She grinned. "They're on the decontam level."
"Got it." He went to check on the family. Sealed off.
Special access key with them. That helped. He made it there
another way and walked into the unit. "We good, people?"
"So far," Tony agreed. "Pepper's a bit stressed. Need Steve?"
"We have it." He left, telling the infirmary about Pepper.
He didn't want to see her deliver early. Most preemies had
problems. Callia had more than her share if he had heard
right. He cleared the lab floors again, shooting a few that were
trying to get into labs. He hit his earpiece. "Security, got
three on the lab floors. All with regular arrows." He went
back to clearing it. They had to come up and unseal one to get him
out of there. He was fighting the new robo guard dog. Which
Clint found amusing as hell since the first one had bitten Dawn.
This time the dog backed away from her looking scared. She patted
it and tossed them at Clint, seeing what he was doing. "Robotics?"
"More than." She bundled things up and had that scientist
released. They got escorted up. "This was on the
table. The robo mutt worked very well." He nodded, looking
things over, finding what was missing. Someone had gotten
away. They made note and let him handle his dog. Dawn
checked the backup security system she had laid on the building, finding
them hiding. "You're not that smart, buddy." She zapped
them and made them scream, which got picked up on the sensors.
Guards ran off with Clint to get them while she cleaned up. She
went down to the caf, looking around.
"It looks as though they were going for robotics and machine
information," she announced. Everyone shut up and stared at
her. "We're fairly certain we know which labs they got into.
Everyone check your labs when you're allowed back up there and let us
know immediately if something's missing. And no, I don't mean
staplers," she told one guy who was about to crack the stress relieving
joke. "They were in the crawl spaces too." They nodded and
security did a recheck then let them back to their labs.
"We're going to keep the quarantine/break-in seals active until we're
sure we got them all," she told them. "So try to stay in your labs
for now please. Just in case we missed one." She followed
them up, making sure everyone could get into their labs. Some
people hadn't remembered their passes or their security codes to get
in. She was back on the main floor of the lab, heading for labs 7,
8, and 9 when she was grabbed from behind. She started to fight
back but the needle jab in her throat made her pause. "I'm not
giving you anything."
"You'll get me into two labs or what's in this needle will kill you," the female said in her ear.
Dawn snorted. "I can do a pretty mean healing spell, lady."
She winced as something firelike was shot into her neck. "I'm not
getting you into anything. You want it, break in."
Downstairs, Clint and Natasha paused, winced, then took off
running. Natasha was calling for medical support. They knew
what that was. It was acid being shot into Dawn's neck. Dawn
would start having seizures soon if not treated.
Dawn saw the elevator ding on their floor and 'ported just out of the
way. The woman shrieked and she kicked her back toward the
elevator. Natasha caught her and took her down. Dawn was
holding her throat. Clint came off the next one and sat her down
to look at it. "What was it?"
Natasha sniffed. "A very light acid." The medical team
showed up to take the needle and Dawn down to the infirmary. "What
did you still need into?" she asked. The woman spat something at
her. Natasha hit her. "Now, what did you need into?"
She looked and got up, taking the idiot with her to lab 7. "Boys, I
need some HCL in a needle."
Andrew looked at her. "That's dangerous but it's in the blue box
on the wall beside the doorway. It's the anti-theft system."
Natasha opened it and pulled out the needles she wanted, smiling at
them. "Very nice job, boys." She walked the idiot off to
talk to her in private. Her screams might be heard all over the
lab but it would mean no one else would try this stupidity again.
Clint looked up as Tony walked into the infirmary. "It was a light
acid, didn't do much damage. Dawn's worked a bit of healing and
the rest will have to heal on its own for now."
"She'll be fine. Her neck is a huge mess." He leaned on the
bed where Dawn would be back in a minute. "They're scanning her to
make sure it was just acid."
"We can put in a neutralizer."
"We did," Dr. Pigalli called. "It's soaked it up. Now we need to get it out of there."
"I can handle a scar," Dawn noted. "Even if I do hide it."
They nodded and got her into the mini surgical suite to do that.
"No sedatives, people. Let me do it on my own." They nodded,
letting her go into her mind to wrap herself around her links to Clint
and Natasha. Clint stiffened slightly but held her for now.
Natasha let Dawn see how she was paying the bitch back for that injury.
The doctors got into her neck wound to clean it out. It wasn't
pretty but it would heal mostly fine with a very minimal scar they
Stark watched over Clint for now. He was in no shape to do it on his own while he was guarding Dawn that way.
Dawn's lawyer presented the judge with some paperwork that had been sent
down from SHIELD and Stark. "Sir, my client will not be at the
preliminary hearing due to an injury that the other party has helped
The judge looked them over. "So they paid this group that wanted
to break in anyway to pick up your client as well, thereby funding this
illegal action," he said, looking at the lawyer, who nodded. "Has
the other side seen this?"
"No, not yet. I'll leave that up to you. I know that my
client is in their infirmary due to acid being shot into her
neck." He handed over that information. "She resisted when
someone captured her to get them into the sealed labs."
"I see." He considered all the information. "I need to inform his attorney."
"As you see fit, sir." He sat down while he called him in.
Their office was only up the street, most of them were in this
area. That lawyer came in and the judge handed over the
"What your clients paid for earlier," the judge said. "They traced the payments back."
He read it over, going pale. "I have no idea about any of this,
Your Honor." He looked up. "They did not include me in any
discussion of this corporate espionage plot."
"Good," the judge agreed. He looked at the first lawyer. "Your client is dismissed from appearing."
"Thank you, sir. Should I keep sending you batches of the sermons that have the threats?"
"Please do." He looked at the other one. "As they did
precipitate an illegal act of such magnitude and seriousness, are you
"I need to think about it, sir. Possibly beat my clients but I'll
let you know by tomorrow." He let the clerk copy it then took it
to the church to meet with the morons.
The judge looked at the pictures. "It's a shame. She was a
pretty girl. That scar's going to be pretty bad." He made
notes in the case files. This was seriously getting out of hand.
Callia looked at Pepper that night. "What happens if someone hurts Daddy?" she asked quietly.
"If your daddy's too hurt, you come to me. If we're both hurt you go to Dawn."
"If she's too hurt?"
"Your grandmother or Clint and Natasha, then Tara."
She nodded. "If everyone's hurt?"
She smiled. "Then I'll come back as an angel to kick everyone's
butt while Uncle Rhodey takes you in." Callia smiled and hugged
her. "You need to talk, don't you?"
"I talked with Auntie. You taught her how to have girl talks very well."
"I did, yeah. So did your grandmother." She cuddled her. "I'm sorry you got so scared earlier."
"You didn't make the bad guys come. I hope Uncle Xander hurts the ones who did though."
"That's normal, but no wishing."
"I won't." She snuggled in and held her. "Can you maybe move in for a few days to try it?" she whispered.
"Sweetheart," she sighed, hugging her. "I can't. It won't
work well and we'd never be as happy as we are the way we're at right
now. I wish I could but I can't."
She looked up at her. "I'd want you there even if it wasn't for the baby."
"I know, Callia. I know. Sometimes I'd want it to happen
too." She hugged her, rocking them both in the rocking
recliner. If Tony wasn't such a bastard, things might've worked
themselves out but she wouldn't love him if he wasn't a bastard so there
was no way to work things out and remain sane. She and Tony
worked best on a sometimes schedule instead of a full time one.
Even if it did upset her elder daughter. Because Callia was so
Clint let Dawn go back to her own body and relaxed, staring at the
bandage around her throat. Dawn woke up and blinked.
Clint flashed a picture over. "It's a three-sided box shape," he
said quietly. "They had to remove some tissue that was damaged."
She nodded, keeping herself calm. "If I have to, I can pay someone
to inject my butt fat into it or whatever." He nodded, resting
his hand on hers. She looked around. "She still killing
"Making a report. Fury threatened to have her taken back in cuffs
if she didn't come." They shared a look and shot a thought at her,
getting a tight one back. "Hey, kill him for us," Clint said
Dawn concentrated and pulled up her phone, logging into her mother's
deskcam. It looked directly at the office desk area. She
zapped a lightening strike on it, making Fury yelp and move away from
his now burning desk. Natasha was cackling as she walked
off. The sprinklers were going. "I'm in a bad mood," she
said when Clint stared at her. "I'll buy him a new damn
desk." Clint leaned up to kiss her, making her smile. "Thank
"Welcome." He looked over. "Hey, Doc, home therapy?"
"No. She's in here until tomorrow at the least, Barton."
"Sure. Private room?"
"Doc," he complained.
She came out to look at him. "No," she said slowly and
clearly. "Even though you want to check the rest of her over and
hold her, I'm sorry. We need her closer to monitor her."
"We have the new trial monitors," Dawn said. "They went to the
Expo, Doc. I could use a cuddle," she said when the doctor stared
at her. "Really I could."
"I understand that. If they were here and hooked up...."
Tony walked in with a set of them. "Eavesdropping?" she asked
"Yup. This is Pepper's favorite soap opera and mushy novel
combined. Fury said you're buying him a new desk and a new flask
of really good whiskey that was in a drawer."
"If it was metal, it probably survived with some smoke damage," she said.
"It was and it did but still."
She snorted. "Whatever."
Tony smiled, hooking up the monitors to Dawn. The doctor approved
so she got moved to a private room with a locking door. When
Natasha got there, the door got locked and they both cuddled her.
It made her feel better because this was closer than she had gotten to
death in a very long time and it had freaked Dawn out a lot.
Tony looked at the doc, who shrugged. "They're my favorite sappy love story too."
Tony smiled. "Mine too." He walked off calling Joyce.
"She's fine, Joyce." She went off on a screaming rant. "Let
me find him. He's probably sitting in a corner somewhere."
He hung up and went to find Banner, who was human and the cuffs had
automatically inflated to keep him bound as he changed down.
"Hey." He undid him. "Sorry."
"I needed the calming down time. What happened?"
"The idiot church hired some people who wanted to break into the robotics labs."
Banner glared at him. "Are they dead?"
"Somewhat. Dawn's in the infirmary."
"Not great but they're with her and behind a locked door. Joyce just chewed me a new one about where you were."
"I'm on my way home," he said, getting up. He found the outfit
that someone had dropped for him while he had been unconscious and put
it on, heading home. He walked in and Joyce pounced, crying.
He got them to the couch and laid down to hold her for a while.
He was upset too. Maybe he'd go work at SHIELD for a while to make
sure nothing happened to her again.
Dawn woke up around two, blinking at the two staring people. "Can't sleep?"
"You had nightmares," Clint said quietly. "You kicked me and bit her." She hugged them both.
"It happens after such things," Natasha said quietly. "You're still worried."
"I want to see it."
"In the morning," Clint said.
"I need to see if I can heal it."
He made her look at him. "Even if it's a huge, ugly scar that's
permanently raised and red or blotchy, we won't care." Dawn
slumped. "Really. I love you, scars and all."
"As do I," Natasha said, giving her a squeeze. "Though I'm sure it will fade to a regular scar, like a shaving one."
"I still need to see what sort of damage it did."
"We will in the morning."
"Do I have to have all the gauze?" Clint pulled out a pocket knife
to remove that part. It left the bandage on the right side of her
throat. She floated a mirror over to look at it, wincing at how
large it was. "That's going to be hugely ugly."
Clint kissed her. "Doesn't matter."
"It does to me."
He stared at her. "It doesn't to us," he said firmly. "Which
is why it would matter to you." She slumped again. He
kissed her again. "It'll be fine and we'll do what we can to
minimize it if you want." He kissed just to the side of it.
"I'm happy you have it." She pouted. "If you didn't, we'd be
burying you, Dawn. That is a really old dirty trick that you used
for nasty field assassinations." She shuddered. "So, scar's
fine. Scar means you're here with us and that's what matters."
"I guess. I want to be here."
They smiled. "Sleep," Natasha soothed, humming at her.
"S'no fair that you have a nice mental singing voice too and I suck."
"It happens." They soothed her into sleep and looked at each
other. They'd help her in the morning when she saw it for the
first time. "It could have been much worse," she agreed quietly.
He nodded. "I've seen ones where they had to remove a limb that
got hit." He wrapped himself around them again. Natasha did
the same and it was better.
In the morning, the nurse woke them up by pounding on the door before
unlocking it and bringing in breakfast. "Food." Clint looked
at her. "Yes, you have to eat even if you normally don't.
Also, your boss has been calling here every thirty minutes for the last
two hours wondering where you two are."
Natasha looked at the clock across from them then nodded. "We slept in."
Clint shrugged. "I have vacation time I haven't used in years."
Natasha smiled. "I do as well." She took the trays and put
them on their laps. Dawn was picking at her toast. "Eat and
then we'll look at your neck." Dawn nodded, digging in
listlessly. "It is not as bad as you think. Remember, it
Dawn looked at her. "I hate scars."
"It doesn't matter to us," Clint said firmly.
"It does to me."
Clint looked at her. "Nat and I have seen people who lost whole
limbs to this. Where yours is, we would've lost you. We'll
take some disfiguring scar over losing you any day."
"I know that and I agree, but..." He kissed her. "I don't
want to be marked. I won't feel like I'm *me* anymore."
"That's a normal thing when you've had a serious injury," the nurse
assured them. "It's like you're suddenly a bell ringer in
Paris. Even if it's a tiny thing. Even if it's fixed.
That's why she's always healed things before you guys could really get a
good look at them. Burn victims and those who've went through
heavy radiation or chemo have the same problem about not looking like
they used to." She smiled at Dawn. "Though, we were
fantastic and it will heal with a very thin, slightly noticeable scar
instead of something huge." Dawn sighed in relief. "Now,
eat. Or else we can't look at it and put the anti-itch stuff on
it." She nodded, digging in a bit faster. The nurse let them
eat in peace.
Clint looked at her. "You do?"
"Yeah. If I had kept each and every single scar I've gotten since
we moved to New York I'd look like that bell ringer." She stuffed
"You've only had six," Natasha said.
"Twelve," Clint said.
"Try closer to twenty-four, twenty-nine, something like that if we're
counting minor cuts from fights. The one with the spy from the UK,
the first one, I got like seven. The second I had the broken
bones, the dislocated bones, the tiny hole from the taser spike that hit
me, and a few cuts." They stared at her. She nodded.
"That whole week would be eleven, including the graze I got earlier in
that first fight's day." They groaned. "I don't want to be a
mass of scar tissues. I definitely won't feel flirty ever again
if I am. Or sexy, and I doubt I'd let anyone touch me if I felt
that hideous about myself."
Clint shut her up the old fashioned way, making her sigh. "We wouldn't let you do that."
"It's not about us, it's about her self image," Natasha said, getting
it. She really did. "It's why I have scars that I keep
covered up with makeup whenever I dress up."
Clint stared at her. "It's a girl thing?"
Dawn leaned over. "If you had a scar like Roque's, what would you be like?" she asked.
"Probably a lot less flirty," he admitted, realizing it. "Okay, so
I get it. I do. I really do." She smiled and kissed
him quickly before going back to eating. "Eat slower, we know you
missed dinner. You're going to choke." She did but
grimaced. He gave her his extra bagel, earning a grin. "Even
if you had more, we wouldn't care about this one. Because this
one means that you got saved."
She swallowed, nodding. "I get that. But if it's ugly I'm having it fixed with plastic surgery."
"We can accept that," Natasha agreed, squeezing Clint's knee since it was next to her hand. "But nothing else."
"Eww. I don't need fake parts."
"Good." She handed over half of her eggs, getting a grin
back. They had managed dinner. Dawn had still been
The doctor knocked and walked in. "Good, you all ate."
"I'm horribly starved," Dawn quipped. "I nearly ate them."
Doctor Pigalli smirked. "No eating of your spouses in this
infirmary, young lady, unless we're doing a fertility treatment."
She looked. "I see you got the gauze off."
"I felt like I was suffocating."
"I can understand that." She got Natasha out of the way since she
was on the bandage's side, and moved to undo it. She looked and
spread some gel around it. "Not as bad as it could be." She
found a mirror but Dawn was floating a larger one over. "The scar
will fade. Right now it's inflamed. It should heal down to a
Dawn stared at it. "That big dip in my throat?"
"That can be filled in with a fat injection or something." Dawn
nodded. "We can refer you for that." She patted her on the
knee. "No trying anything healing yet. Give it a day.
It's not going to be anywhere near scabbed over by then." Dawn
nodded, putting the mirror back. The doctor rewrapped it and taped
it down. "Rest. You can go home tonight if you rest
today." Dawn nodded, swallowing. "They can stay with
you. I've already yelled at their boss twice about being a
dickhead." She patted Dawn on the foot. "Be a good
girl." She left.
Dawn looked at them. "It's not as bad as I was thinking it would be." They cuddled her, knowing she needed it.
Tony walked into Fury's office, looking at the former desk then at the
man who usually sat behind it. He tossed over a copy of the
medical report from yesterday. Fury shuddered. "Leave.
Them. Alone." He walked off. "Coulson, your
might-as-well-be little sister wants you to visit when she gets home
"I was planning on it anyway." He looked at him. "She better?"
"Calmer. She'll work on the healing tomorrow with the doctors watching over her."
Phil nodded. "I'll help if I can but I know nothing about healing spells."
"I have a healing syrup for cuts," Tara offered from her corner beside Joyce's desk. She was helping her today.
"Doc said no, sorry, Tara," Tony said. He shrugged slightly.
"She's going to probably need someone to help her by injecting
something into her neck to cover up the divot of flesh they had to
Phil shuddered. "The acid?"
"Neutralized fairly quickly. Didn't do much damage. The
scar's not big but you know how she is about them." He
nodded. "So she's calmed down. Doc slipped her some valium
in her IV this morning before she looked at it." Phil
smiled. "She'll be released after dinner."
"That's fine. We can come visit. Thank you."
"Welcome. By the way, the people that wanted to do this are in
seriously bad shape." He smirked. "They had DoD
contracts." He walked off snickering.
Phil nodded. "Let us know if you find anything we should know about."
He looked at Joyce, who was making plans to show up. "You bring dinner and I'll bring the twins to hug then go home?"
She nodded. "That would probably work best." She and Bruce
texted back and forth, and with the evil duo before they got into it.
Dawn came home to find people. "Hi." She blinked. Her
mother hugged her, getting cuddled back. "Hi, Mom."
"Dawn." She put her on the couch and tucked her in. She got
Clint and Natasha onto the couch too. She tucked them in with
Dawn. She got them dinner while Xander and Phil hugged her.
Bruce fussed a bit. The twins hugged and went home with Mommy
Maria, which made Joyce sniffle that they called her that. Tara
got in her own hugs and promises of helping with the healing if she
needed her to. Then she left them alone.
Phil looked at her. "I know nothing about healing spells or I would too."
"None of the ones I know would help this sort of injury," Xander
admitted, giving her another hug. "We'd miss you so you can't get
dead. At all." He kissed her on the head. "Be a good
girl." He and Phil went home. He needed cuddles.
Losing Dawn was going to kill him. Maybe both of them.
Joyce smiled and fussed some more until Bruce pulled her home to cuddle her.
Natasha looked at their tucked in states then at the food that was on
the coffee table, which was just out of reach. Dawn pulled it over
magically so they didn't have to move. "I have never been fussed
over by anyone like her."
Dawn looked at her. "Be thankful you've been mostly healthy. I do a mean impersonation."
"You do," Clint agreed. He fed her something and they got back to
eating. It was good and they could help Dawn through any
nightmares later. If they managed to make it off the couch.
Joyce tucked them in a bit too tightly. But it meant more Dawn
cuddles so they were okay with it.
Dawn looked at him. "Mom always leaves the right bottom edge loose
so you can get your feet free." He hugged her and they settled in
that way. They could spend the night on the couch. It was
comfortable. Dawn could sleep this way.
Dawn was at the infirmary the next morning for a bandage change when
what looked like an imp in a business suit showed up. She blinked
at it. "I know you're not a house elf."
"No, Miss Dawn. I'm a herald for a law firm. May we have a meeting later?"
"I'm at my desk all day. I'm free all afternoon."
"You're off today," the doctor assured her.
"I have to work to pay for Fury's new desk since I lit his on
fire." She looked at the imp. "I'm not doing anything
strenuous later. Call me and I'll set up a room so we can have a
The imp nodded, taking that down. "The Masters say at three, here."
"Agreed. Should I bring anyone like an attorney of my own? What is this about anyway?"
"An inheritance." He disappeared.
Dawn nodded. "Okay. I don't know too many people who'd use a
demon law firm." She grimaced but cleared it up. She looked
at her neck. "Doc, how much work is going to be needed to heal
"Not much. You can deflect attention in public until they can fix
it." She nodded at that. "I have a name for you." She
handed it over. "He's an imperial jackass but he's a good doctor
and he agreed to work on it."
"I can put up with jackasses. I do here." The doctor laughed
and patted her. She recovered it. "Thanks, Doc. You
were super." She hopped down off the bed and headed
upstairs. She found Tony glaring at the elevator when the doors
opened. "I have to pay for Fury's new desk somehow."
"What was that?"
"An imp that was asking for a later appointment with me over an inheritance. No clue. They're coming at three."
He stared at her. "Make sure the conference room is one they can't get out of."
"I will, boss. They're not Wolfram and Hart. They don't use
herald and scheduling imps." She grimaced then winced when she
tried to shrug. "Got to not do that for a few weeks."
He stared at her. "We'll be there with you."
"I'm not sure who I inherited from."
"We'll see." He walked off. "You have injury leave time, Dawn."
"I'm fine and going nuts at home. I almost vacuumed. That's not my chore."
He rolled his eyes. "Sit there and do nothing. You and Pepper are both on couch rest."
"Yup, whatever. Did anyone take out the mail?"
He paused then looked at her. "No, they didn't. Andrew found it this morning and wondered why one was in Russian."
"I wondered where she was," Dawn muttered. "I told him no. I forwarded Legal the letter he sent as well, boss."
"Won't save your ass."
She sighed, shaking her head slightly. "I did what I was supposed to do."
"You're supposed to rant about those sort. Most women would."
"Tony, I may shop like a woman, act and look like a woman, but I'm not
that sort of girl," she said sarcastically. He laughed but walked
off looking smug over having handled it for her. "Not like it was
the first anyway," she muttered.
"Heard that," Tony quipped back before he walked around a corner.
Dawn found the listening device and got up to stomp on it until she
heard him yelp in pain from the noise of it breaking. She
presented it to Pepper and went back to her desk.
Pepper smiled, adding it to the one that had been in her office.
"Sometimes Tony's an overprotective boob," she said quietly. "But
he's sweet about it most of the time."
Clint and Natasha walked into the room and sat around where Dawn was at
the head of the table nearest the door. The demons were at the
other end. Tony strolled in too. "Boss, we can do it without
you," Dawn promised.
He looked at her. "My building, my assistant, my rules."
"Fine." She looked at the demons. "He's being highly overprotective again."
"Sometimes people are." The lead demon lawyer smiled. "We're with the Hertzgold Group, Miss Summers."
She quirked an eyebrow up. "I've heard of you. You're mostly
light sided, you deal with things like marriage contracts between clans
that are at war and things of that nature."
He smiled. "We do have a few that do prenuptial agreements and
wills." She nodded slowly, then winced and held her throat.
"Are you well enough for this?"
"Someone tried to kill me yesterday," she said. "I'm fine. Just a wound."
"Very well then." He pulled out papers. "We are here about
the will of one Alexander Lavelle Harris-Jigen-Lupin, AKA
Lavelle." He looked up.
"Lavelle died? Was it a raid or a job?"
"No, he died in his future but his wishes were that his assets be taken
back to the point where the recipients could use them. We also
have the contents of the wills of the you in that realm, and her
spouse. Also the ones from his spouses and the elder Goemon clan
She blinked. "Why now?"
"Because it was thought that you could use the safety that the things
might give you. There were certain things that went to his own
clan and family but not everything. Frankly, his will said that if
he outlived a few of the heirs then they were to go to who we chose
would honor them. In this case...." Phil and Xander
appeared. "Thank you for attending. And the other one," he
said at the older looking Xander behind him. "Thank you for not
making us travel planes today, Lord Xander."
"Welcome." They sat down. "So, this is Lavelle's will in the future?"
"In about sixty years of his timeline. He knows that we have
disbursed it in this timezone, so even your charming conventions won't
be bothered by it." They all nodded. "He'll die at
approximately one-hundred-seventy-eight due to deaging potions and
things like boons so Hell wouldn't have to have him too soon."
They all nodded.
"Why hell?" Tony asked. That seemed a bit odd even if he was a dark Xander.
"Lavelle got given to a Hell Lord, one of the Princes," Dawn said
quietly, patting his hand. "He killed him and took over his spot
before getting free. He killed a number of them before getting
"Yes, he did," their Xander agreed. The lawyer smiled. "How many more of us get things?"
"The one in Miami gets something. The one that fought his way out
gets his status and a few of his books and artifacts. The one in
that newly magical Hawaii gets a few things."
"Decent," comic store owning Xander agreed.
"We have arranged to move his assets to the realms where they need to be
disbursed. As such, all his collected comics and animes are now
yours," he told comic shop Xander, who moaned and nodded. "You
also inherited his lifetime subscription to _Hell's Hit List_ because it
always made him happy to see how you did." Xander grinned and
"Lord Xander, he left you a few specific books and one that we cannot
move. He left you his chocolate company." Xander grinned and
nodded. "He thinks you'll get a lot of teasing enjoyment out of
it. He did leave Miss Dawn a box a month so she'd never run out,
and the one in Miami as well." He licked his lips and turned the
page. "As for why we're here today, Miss Dawn
"Um...." Tony said. "Rosenburg?" he asked Dawn.
"Willow did a blood adoption rite to bind her and Buffy together, but it
went haywire, as usual," the lawyer said dryly. "It bound her to
her family instead of her natal one. It's a mess legally.
Her marriages actually cleared many things up." Dawn smiled.
"My client left you a few things. Including all his kimono
collection, both male and female ones. He would've left it to the
Goemon clan but they took what they wanted from it already and they only
wear them for special occasions. He left you the ownership of his
art collection, legal and not I'm afraid, and half of his jewelry, all
his female pieces specifically. He also left you all his female
"The rest is going to the long haired Xander?" Natasha asked.
"The jewelry and a few other things are. The books and other
things are going to the Xander and his children in the newly magical
Hawaii. If that Xander does not want them then they'll go to him
or to Dawn."
"They can go to him. He has the boys and the new daughter to care for," she said. "I have some money socked away."
"Good." He smiled. "He said that we were to pick the best
time to hand this over. This will give you some protection as
you're now wealthy enough to handle getting bodyguards if you should
need them. It also means that you'll have to sort out the
collection fairly well." She nodded. "The pieces that were
stolen in that realm will not be so here so I'm not sure how to deal
with that. That is not my area of expertise."
"We can ask someone at the Met," Dawn said. "They have someone that's a half-demon who'd realize what happened."
"That's fine. That's up to you." He smiled. "There is
no inheritance tax across realms." He smiled. "He also left
you half of his weapons, new and archaic." Dawn moaned. "He
left you the information on the businesses he ran legitimately.
That way if you want to start them here you may." She
nodded. "He did suggest that you have a backup plan for
that." He stared at her. "Such as a second identity that did
that." She smiled. "And he wished you much luck with the
"Thank you," Dawn said quietly. "His family is taken care of?"
"Fully. They have more than enough and knew about his will.
Melissa amended it on him to cut them out more fully." He slid
down the papers to them. "Read and sign please."
They went over them. Dawn pointed. "This clause that we will
not give to police charities? Do my mates being with SHIELD count
and I do donate to the widows and orphans fund. They didn't do
anything to deserve to have that happen to them."
"That may be fine." He looked that clause over in the will.
"It's stated in here that you would not support any charity that would
get his family captured. That would not as far as I can
tell." He smiled. "Their jobs are fine. That's not a
charity and his daughter's own wanted spouse was ICPO for a while."
She smiled and went back to reading. She signed hers last because
it was thicker to read through. She let Clint and Natasha have it
to read over and sign as her spouses. Then they handed it
back. "Thank you."
"You are most welcome. We have used some space charms on the
storage area you have claimed here. That way everything would
"Thank you." She got up to properly shake his hand, earning a
smile. "May your spawn be blessed with good health and happy
"Yours as well." He smiled and took the others home to show them
their things. Then to talk to the other two Xander's.
Dawn led them down to her storage area, opening the door and gasping. "Wow, they needed more stretching."
"You can only stretch an area so much," the imp in there said. "We can move some to another area and stretch it."
Natasha looked around. "Move the kimonos to my apartment?"
"There's thousands," Dawn said. "And I'm not going to get to them
for weeks probably, 'Tasha." She smiled and patted her on the
cheek. "Then that's fine. Can you?" she asked the imp.
Who nodded. They looked at the rest of everything.
From fandom costumes, which disappeared to comic Xander's realm, to
jewelry stacked very high. There was a stack of paintings, a
gathering of statues, and some pretty rare plants. "I need
Wardrobe Xander's TARDIS," she sighed. They went to look at the
weapons in the next storage area. No one else used these.
Tony moaned at a few thing. Clint was petting something.
Natasha was looking amused. Dawn was looking at the crown
jewels. "I knew he said he hit the Tower but damn."
Natasha came back to look over her shoulder. "It is." She moaned. "Oh, dear."
"Possibly." She looked up. "JARVIS?"
"Yes?" the AI asked.
"Can you please look up the number for the Met Museum? I need to talk to Mr. D'Ortenic."
"I can connect you." There was a pause. "Here he is, Dawn."
"Thank you, JARVIS. Mr. D'Ortenic?"
"Yes, Miss Summers? Is there a problem with an artifact found on a hellmouth?"
"No, actually, Lavelle's will in the future was just handled by the Hertzgold Group."
"Interesting. Are there artifacts?"
"And he was a jewel and art thief," she said dryly. "I'm presently
staring at two I know I've seen in your museum and a few pieces of
She smiled at the ceiling. "As I know that you're able to deal
with such matters honorably, can I ask you to sort them out for me?"
"I can do so, and hand back to that realm what's theirs."
"Thank you. I'm at Stark International."
"I'll be there in about a half-hour."
"Thank you." She hung up. "Thank you, JARVIS."
"You're most welcome. Should you be standing this long?"
"I'll get to sit later." She looked over more things, shaking her
head. "Wow, found his female clothes." It looked like it'd
mostly fit outside the shoes. She found his choker and held it up,
staring at it. Natasha took it from her fingers, giving them a
squeeze. "I'll miss him in the future."
"I know. He seems like a very interesting Xander." Dawn
smiled and nodded, settling in to tell her about Lavelle until the art
manager got there. He walked in and moaned. "The weapons are
next door," Natasha told him.
He smiled. "Not my area of expertise at all, ladies." He
looked at the statues. "I know three of those will be copies
here." He sorted out tags in his briefcase so they could mark
where they were here. Dawn got him dinner from the cafeteria so he
could glance through the paintings. A few more got marked but
some got sorted out. "These were fakes he was going to put in
Dawn smiled. "I don't mind owning fake of the real things."
He smiled. "They're excellent fakes but the colors don't have the
right depth and luster." He looked at the other piles and then at
the jewels in the cases. The show cases got marked. He
opened them to get into specific ones. "I know this one here is a
fake because the original got stolen. It was said to be four
"That could've been his kids. He was so proud that they managed to
rob Gringotts in a realm they hit," Dawn said with a grin.
He blinked a few times. "That's very strong in their skill
set." He went back to looking. One necklace he looked at the
sapphire pendant. "I'm not sure about this one. It was
stolen at the same time but it's not the same cut. I'd have to
check serial numbers."
She smiled. "I'll gladly let you do that and pay you for your time."
He smiled. "Thank you, Miss Summers." He shut his
case. "I'll be back tomorrow to do that. Would that be
"I'm on light duties so I can let you in here. Will you need anything?"
"A wifi signal so I can log on."
"I can get you a temporary log in here on ours," Dawn said with a
smile. He shook her hand and left. She looked at
Natasha. "You didn't want to see the weapons?"
"I saw them but you needed some comfort."
Dawn kissed her and snuggled into her arms. "Thank you."
"You're most welcome. Though you will drop the Rosenburg from your name."
Dawn pulled back to grin. "Whatever we decide on as a last name is
going on my other identity," she said with an impish grin. "Is
"That would be an excellent use." She winked and they left,
letting security lock everything up tightly. The boys came out of
the other storage areas with an ATF agent. "This would be?" she
"Ezra," Dawn said, shaking his hand with a smile. "Have you been introduced to Natasha yet?"
"I have heard of her beauty and skills." He smiled and shook her
hand. "Agent Ezra Standish, ATF, and son of Demeter."
Natasha smiled. "It is good we can keep things in-house as it were."
"Quite. Half of these have never been created here."
"That Xander did have a huge geek complex of his own," Dawn quipped with
a grin. "We compared them. We had some of the same geeks
working for them."
He smirked. "Clearly." He looked at Tony then at her.
"We'll list them as being prototypes in holding here. It will find
a more secure storage area that cannot be found." She nodded
slightly. He looked at her neck. "That's bad. Have
none of the healers looked at it yet?"
"It only happened yesterday and I wasn't going to ask for favors."
He snorted and waved a hand. "Apollo, may I have a moment?" he called.
He appeared wearing a short cream toga that showed his gold speedos well
and gold sandals. "Thankfully I'm just back. Ow, Key.
"Some jackass put an acid in my neck." He grimaced. "Our docs were fantastic."
He looked and nodded. "They were." He touched it and healed
it. "I can heal the wound itself but the missing tissue won't
recreate." He took off the bandage and nodded. "Not a bad
Dawn looked and hugged him. "Thank you, Lord Apollo. I wasn't going to ask for favors."
He grinned. "I like coming to flirt with you. You're surrounded by prettiness."
"Yes, I am, but sadly I would never bend over for you," Ezra said dryly,
cracking the healing god up. He disappeared with a smirk for
him. Ezra smiled at her. "That's not as noticeable."
She hugged him. "You do give exceptional hugs. I shall
remember that for later hugging needs."
She smiled. "I learned from my mom."
"Most of us do." He tweaked her ear. "Be good." He
looked at Stark. "I'll bring the paperwork tomorrow." He
disappeared to tell his team.
Clint stared at the scar then kissed it. "That's very tiny," he
said in her ear. She hugged him too. He pinched her.
"No more mushiness at work."
"Please!" Tony said, flapping a hand. "You're Pepper's favorite
soap opera." He walked off. Security sealed up that storage
area. "Did we miss one, people?"
"The other one has more clothes, sir, and light jewelry plus some books," the head of security said.
Tony smirked. "We'll move most of it this week if possible."
"Thank you, sir." He looked at Dawn.
"I need new bookcases first."
He nodded. "Maybe a few new closets too." She laughed and
walked out with her mates. They had leftovers waiting for
them. He assigned two guards to sit in that hallway at all times.
"More mice?" one joked.
"No, someone left Dawn stuff from another realm. Expect an Agent
Standish and a Mr. D'Ortenic from the Met tomorrow." They groaned
but sat there and made sure there weren't any problems. Dawn
didn't need any more hell in her life.
Dawn looked in her closets, moaning. The cat was giving her bad
looks for taking his napping and hiding spot but yay. She got him a
little kitty climbing and hiding house. He liked that because it
let him sit on top and stare at the bed. Her closets were now
overly full of all the extra clothes. She started with the
gowns. She could donate the ones she couldn't wear. Somehow
Xander had gotten on a puffy sleeve kick.
They got laid on the bed. One had a huge bloodstain so she put it
aside to be cleaned. If it could be gotten out then great.
If not, she could donate the fabric to some quilting group or
something. She looked at the rest. Lavelle had good, sultry
girl taste. The her in that realm had cat suits and a lot of mom
jeans for some reason. Those got put into a donation pile.
As well as anything that was too large.
Clint walked in and stared at the mess on the bed. "Sorting the closets?"
"Going to donation."
He smiled. "That's fine." He helped her. The shoes she
couldn't wear got sent too. That Dawn was a normal foot width
unfortunately. One pair of boots were really cute looking but not
in her size. Natasha walked in. "Going to donation."
She picked through things, pulling out a few she wanted. The jeans
were going to be too big for her. The shirts were well fitting
but not the sort she'd wear. She looked at one that was in a more
cowboy motif with fringe and pearl snaps. She carefully put it
back down before it infected her. She didn't want to know.
The guy's clothes that was being pulled out for donation Clint let
Coulson know so he could come look through them. He said he had
new things but thank you.
Dawn finally sighed in pleasure. "There." They smiled at her
once she had closed the closets. Loki's nest of her sarongs got
put beside the closet and vanity so he could still lay on them.
The top one was hopelessly furred. He meowed and stared at
them. Dawn reached up to pet him. "You're welcome."
Natasha smiled at the tiny black cat. "You're very spoiled. I'm glad I taught her to spoil kittens."
Clint kissed her. "I probably would've freaked out if I had seen
you as a kitten." He smiled, helping Dawn bag things up.
"We'll take them to donation later."
"Tomorrow," she said with a smile. "After my appointment with the
guy who can put stuff in the dented area." They nodded and let it
go. Dawn made dinner once the bed was clear. They got comfy
to watch tv in there and eat. Then they'd pounce Dawn. They
had to make sure she was really all right. They hadn't been able
to while she was injured. Now they could make her squeal and
writhe and be all right.
Dawn looked at the doctor the next day, smiling. "Thank you for seeing me on such short notice."
He nodded. "I know Dr. Pigalli." He looked at her neck. "Healing spell?"
"Apollo finished healing it for me." She grinned. "Someone asked."
"Interesting." He looked at it, poking gently. "I know what
happened. I can shave down the scar so it's less
noticeable." She nodded. "What were you hoping for?"
He moved back to sit behind his desk.
"I was hoping maybe some filling in on my neck? To make it look more even?"
He nodded. "I can do a fat transplant for that. It may not be permanent."
"I understand that and that it won't be perfectly symmetrical but I
still flinch slightly when I see it. I know it'll never go fully
He nodded. "Then you're not an airhead like so many young women
your age." She smirked. "Which I've heard as well. I
can do some fat injections to put in there. I can hopefully even
it out. The scar shaving can be done by laser. I can
probably take it down to a faint line instead of a raised scar."
"That'd be great. How much will it cost and how long will it take?"
"Are you on a timetable?"
"I'm not sure if I want to go to the scientific fundraiser next week
with it but not really. I can cover it up then. I have a few
heavier necklaces that'll work to cover it."
He stared at her. "You're worried how people will see you?"
She snorted. "Not really but there's always people who complain
about anything I do. One complained that I'm a bit sparkly and
twinkly when I have to go to those things. She's done that a few
times because I don't fade into the background like a good assistant
should according to her. I'm usually pretty flirty and sensual,
but.... That's not exactly stopping it but it's making me feel
He nodded. "Injuries can do that. Especially when you nearly died."
"It's not my first one but this one wrecked me more than the others have."
He nodded. "Sometimes the reality hits at the wrong moment. Even if you're threatened."
She snorted. "I have two churches that want to burn me at the
stake. You can't get more threatened than that or the hate mail
because I have a gift or because I'm me."
"No, you can't," he agreed.
"I just want to feel like myself again."
"I understand. It's not that hard. We can schedule a fat
injection for early next week. That will take a few days for any
swelling to go down."
She nodded. "I can handle that problem."
He smiled. "I'm sure you can. I'll try to do the scar
shaving at the same time but it may leave a large irritated area where
the laser touches the skin." She nodded she understood that.
"Good." He looked in his book. "I have early Monday."
She looked at her schedule. "I have an interview to help Pepper
with that morning at ten. Which means I have to be there by
He looked at her. "You do what?"
"I'm an administrative assistant," she said with a grin.
"Interesting." He looked. "I can do it at two."
"I'm free from one-thirty to three. Then she's got lamaze and
birthing class at three-forty. Traffic usually takes about a
half-hour on a good day."
"That will be fine," he assured her, penciling her in. She put him
into her schedule. "Are you pregnant or on anything?"
"Caffeine now and then. Not pregnant as far as I know. I'm on the shot."
"Good to know. That shouldn't matter." She nodded. "I'll see you then."
She shook his hand. "See you then, sir, and thank you." She gathered her bag and left.
He leaned back in his chair, considering her. A bit vain but
reasonable about it and overly concerned what others thought but not the
point of anxiety over it. That was a reasonable woman and
patient. Unlike his next one who wanted bigger implants put in.
Dawn looked on as the dresses for donation were looked over. "Oh,
not that one. How did that get in there?" She pulled out her
new backless black dress. It wasn't the same dress but she'd wear
The helper smiled. "Must've gotten tangled in there." She
finished making out the donation receipt and handed it over. "Here
"You've donated before, I remember you. Why do you need so many gowns?"
"I'm an administrative assistant but this batch I inherited from a good
friend." She smiled. "Most of them aren't my size."
"That's always a great thing."
Dawn grinned. "I'm sending a whole lot of clothes to the Salvation Army's store too."
"I'll tell a few I know. Do you get shoes? Now and then we do take shoes if they go with the dress."
"I got some but they're all plain heels, not specially dyed."
"Pity. If you do, remember us."
"I will." She smiled and walked out with her dress. She
texted Clint, who said that dress was at home so apparently it was
Lavelle's version. It went into the closet and he helped her haul
the bags down to the hired car for the rest of the donation. He
and Dawn carried it into the store. "Donations?" They
pointed. They carried them back there. "Hi, donating some
stuff I inherited that I can't wear, both sexes of clothes."
The women back there smiled and took the bags to look through.
"These are in great shape, dear. Thank you," one said. "Oh,
and shoes. That's charming." She smiled. "We'll send
them to the Dress for Success."
"I couldn't find where to donate to them directly but thank you.
Can I do that with business suits through you?" They wrote down
the address for her. "Thanks." She smiled and walked off
with Clint. "I do have those older ones in the closet."
"You do and it's a nice thing," he assured her. They shared a grin
and got ice cream for lunch on the way home. Once they had gotten
home and pigged out on their ice cream pints, he pulled her into his
lap to kiss her throat. "How bad?"
"He can fill it in but it might still leave a small dip. He can also shave down the scar so it's not so prominent."
He kissed it again, licking over it. "I can accept that."
She shivered and he held her, letting her get used to it. He knew
it was still hitting her and she needed to deal with it in her own
way. He could do that because he wanted to make sure the wound
didn't reopen, even though he knew it was healed. It had been too
close and she hadn't been doing anything dangerous or in the
field. She petted his chest and stomach, calming him down.
They could handle this together and help Natasha when she came up from
looking over the kimonos. She came up to join them, taking Dawn
for her own cuddling time. Clint moved closer to cuddle Dawn's
stomach while Natasha got her own squeezing time in.
Dawn smiled as she walked into the Japanese consulate the next evening. "Hi, I have a stupid question."
"We've heard some of those," the receptionist said.
Dawn smiled. "I inherited some kimonos from someone."
"Okay. Do you know how to store them properly?"
"Yes. He sent his specially humidity and dust free cases for
them." The receptionist smiled. "I inherited over three
thousand kimonos." She winced. "Is there anywhere that's
looking for some to exhibit without donation?"
"I don't know. Let me ask our art people." She called back
there to ask him. He came out to talk to Dawn, who told him most
of what had happened. She could tell he was at least a partial
demon. He said a few of the collection may have been stolen but
there were a few places in Japan that were looking for certain types of
examples to show. She let him see the pictures that Natasha had
taken of them. He moaned and pointed at a few she should
The rest, he called someone in Kyoto who he knew was looking for
some. He explained why she had inherited them and he said he knew
someone. They'd be in New York in a few weeks for a business
meeting. As it turned out at Stark so Dawn promised they could
talk then. He promised to listen to see if anyone needed more for
an exhibition and let her have the pictures back. She bowed
properly and left. He was charmed by her. She was so nice.
Xander and Phil were sparring at the temple, which the recruits were staring at in awe. "Do we have plans?" Xander asked.
"For?" Phil asked with a parry.
He nodded. "I have an idea." He shared it mentally. Xander smirked and nodded. "How would I do that?"
"You make sure you're there and change the energy structure at the last
minute." Phil nodded, backing up a step to let Xander's lunge pass
to the side then back forward to meet the next one. Xander spun
and hit him from the side, making Phil wince but he managed to mostly
block it. They kept going. Xander sent over the image of how
you did things like that and it was better. Phil could see doing
that. "I'll help if you can't get there," Xander promised.
"Welcome." They finally broke apart when John walked into the ring. "Need some?" Xander teased.
"Nope. The trainees need time." They moved out of the way. He smirked at Phil. "Nice."
"He took me to some dwarves to have me trained."
"They do a great job. I look forward to sparring with you."
He looked at the trainees. "Yes, you have to learn how to use a
sword in case it comes up, especially if you're in Cleveland,
people." They groaned but the trio taught them the basics of how
to use one in case it became necessary. Someone was swinging his
around like an idiot so Coulson slapped him with the flat of the blade,
making him yelp. John smirked. "Keep it up, watch someone
lose something important and you be back at home."
The agent in training nodded and looked down. "Good. Get
back to it." They went back to the simple exercises that would
help if they were in the field and had to pick up a blade. Xander
also taught them how to use a crossbow. That was a bit easier for
them. Buffy showed up to waddle around. John looked at her
stomach. "I thought you were only five months," John said, patting
the mound gently.
"I am," she complained. "Apparently I'm making up for having a son
first." She handed him off her back to Xander, who stared at
Sean, who grinned back. "I have no idea but he's demented.
He kept trying to get into his diaper earlier."
"All kids do," Phil said, taking Sean to look at. Sean hugged
him. "Thank you, Sean." He patted him on the back, earning a
burp but the baby was giggling. John took him and got a squeal.
"See, demented noises," Buffy complained.
"John's his mancrush," Xander said dryly. "Go take a nap?"
"Please?" she begged.
"Go take a nap," Phil promised. "Diaper bag?" She handed it
over and fled to nap on their couch. Hylal was up there and Bia
got them to a real room with a real bed for now. "We'll sneak an
ultrasound on her later," he said, taking Sean back. "Want to play
with the twins?" He squealed and beamed, patting Phil. "We
can do that." The trainees were staring at him. "Yes, I'm
the father of Tara's twins," he said blandly.
"I thought that was Agent Hill," the idiot said.
Phil stared at him. "Did you flunk basic biology?" The guy groaned and looked down again. He looked at Xander.
"Don't look at me. I'm not a god that can make male werewolves pregnant. Ask Roque's mom."
"Then send him out to sex someone up for information?" John teased with a
grin. "Been there, done that. The head of the oil company
way back when was kinda fun."
Phil looked at him. "Very fun or just mildly fun?"
"Mildly. I never get anything beyond mildly fun if they're not fully evil."
"Which is why I used to date the evil ones," Xander quipped with a grin.
"Thankfully yours now uses evil for the good of us all," John quipped.
"I do try," Phil said dryly. The idiot agent in training and a few
others gasped. "Gaia decided we'd be married and made it so
without consulting us." He shrugged. "It happens."
They all stared at him.
"Tried it on me too," John agreed. "It's the Kentucky Derby of
nagging up there. Whoever wins sponsors the wedding that becomes
the Preakness and the Belmont is the honeymoon. Which is why McKay
tazed someone who tried to force him to a dinner so they could marry us
"Dawn's going to have to do something about that for the next one," Phil said quietly.
Xander cackled and nodded. "Yup, though Hera noticed." They
shared a smirk. "They have to pick a last name too."
John looked at them. "In the open?"
"That's fine then, I can't see the freaking out if not." He went
back to the crossbow lectures. The group had patrol in Cleveland
tonight with the three vamped agents and the two that were currently on
duty there. And Buffy if she quit snoring so loudly. He
looked at the house. "Is that Clay or Buffy?"
Xander listened for a second. "Hylal and Buffy. Apparently they equal Clay."
"Bite me," Clay yelled from where he was working out. "Scrolls with dinner invitations came earlier."
"Shit," Xander and Phil muttered together, walking off to handle things with some of the trainees.
"Who sent 'em?" John called.
"Oooh," Xander said with a wince and a hiss. "Formal table manners
but less strict dress codes." He texted Clint to make sure he
knew he'd probably have to go. Then he sent Bia to find him
something to wear. Bia came down wearing too many earrings.
"I thought Hera called it."
"She did but your Mom's hosting a tea."
"Dawn's at work."
"Thankfully." She blew a kiss and grabbed Clay, walking off carrying him over her shoulder.
"Bia, I needed that workout."
"Do situps for Roque's dick, Clay. His mother's at this tea so
he's going." She put him down and patted him on the head.
"Be a good boy and get dressed. I'll make sure Roque knows that
you can do situps during sex." She went back to finish getting
Clay groaned, walking off shaking his head. Roque looked nervous. "Tea?" he demanded with a smirk.
"Tea. Horrible food so eat first." Clay nodded, accepting
the sandwich. "Put on something that vaguely doesn't resemble
"Going, nag." He went to shower and change so he could be dapper
and be bored shitless by the gods nagging each other. He, Roque,
and Bia disappeared together. They got there and got seated on
couches, which was nice instead of the banquet chairs that put your ass
to sleep after twenty minutes on them.
"Mother," Roque said with a nod.
She looked at Clay. "What is that? That is not what I meant."
"Mother, you're interfering with his career," Roque said firmly.
"That is the only way we could keep him out of heat, before he got
attacked and raped for being in heat." She backed down.
"Would you mind taking it off? We're not going to have kids for at
least a century." She glared at him. He stared back.
"I don't think the military would take a kind view on me being pregnant
and I'd probably end up in an NID lab somewhere," Clay said, relaxing
"I'd pretend to be Xander and go blow that shit up," Roque assured him with a smirk.
Clay smirked back. "Works for me but get there before they get to the torture?"
"I can probably do that. Don't want you scarred." Clay
smirked more evilly. He grinned. "You won't be a pretty wife
Clay swatted him. "I'm not the wife, you are. You take more dick than I do."
"That's because Xander's last chaos child outburst gave you *trauma*," he sneered.
"It gave it to you too!" he defended.
"Yeah, it did. I have to admit the dildo tentacles did give me nightmares for a few days."
Xander and John's mother looked at him. "What?"
"His last chaos kid outburst," Roque said dryly. "It created
tentacle monsters that had dick tentacles that liked to pull people down
and work out the stress for them." She shuddered.
"John had to beg Artemis and some Valkyries to kill them for him," Clay agreed. "Xander will never live that down."
"Wonder what next time's will be," Roque quipped. "I didn't mean to give him that idea that time but it was a good one."
Clay nodded. "It was fun to watch until we had to kill the damn things."
Bia looked at them. "I saw it on replay." They smirked at
her. "Poor Jensen, they couldn't decide if his wings were sexual
"Ask him, not us," Roque quipped. "Or Xander, he had wings for a bit."
"I saw. They were adorable." They shared a smirk. "I wonder if Phil wants to try flying sex."
"Who knows," Roque said dryly. "John's more the flying sort though."
"I doubt Phil would try it with John," Clay said. "He's the faithful sort."
"Thankfully before I have to kill him," Roque and Bia said together. Roque punched her on the arm.
"Roque, I had to point out earlier that he could be doing situps during
sex if you're doing it right. Clearly you're falling down on his
physical training requirements."
He swatted her again. "Filthy minded bitch," he said dryly,
smirking evilly at her. "I do him just fine. He has to work
other muscles beyond his ass and stomach sometimes though."
"Fine." She waved a hand in the air. "Mine is better than that."
"Does your mother know you're dating?" John and Xander's mother asked politely.
"Hell no. Not since she sabotaged my last one and Xander at the
same time." She shuddered. "I'm not talking to my
mother. Or Gaia since she still redid the bad thing. Even if
they did learn they could be good together."
"Is he still upset?" Roque's mother asked. "They are good together."
"If you got forced into marriage, even if it was a great thing, you'd be
pissed too because of the forcing stuff," Bia said, staring at her.
"You young Gods don't understand duty and honor."
Roque snorted. "And yet I've done more than my duty to our
people." He sipped his tea, looking at his mate. "The King
said you were hot in that tabloid shot of you guarding Dawn."
"I was hot," he agreed.
John showed up in a flash of light, looking sweaty and nasty. "Guys, slight issue. The hellmouth just opened."
"On it," Roque said, changing their clothes to join him. They
flashed down to the mess in the park that housed it. "Damn."
"Yup," John said, tossing them weapons. "Half of the mess was
Xander and Phil taking on the Krel'tek demons." Roque shuddered
but they moved to clean up any remaining problems.
Clay found a major problem and looked around. "Roque, we've got a
preschool!" he yelled. Roque, Xander, and Phil came jogging back
to get the kids free and out of the way. "Any others?" he asked
the adult with the kids.
"There's another group but they were hogging the other play area so we came to this one."
"We can make sure," Xander said. "Get them to safety back at the
center." She nodded, helping the kids run. Xander looked
around. "Clay, find them." He nodded, heading to do
that. "Roque, the Krel'tek are mostly done for. There's a
few other harmful ones and a peaceful cult that's worshiping."
They nodded and headed out to fix the rest of the trauma. Clay
reported that the kids were now on their way out of the park.
Apparently the other side hadn't been cleared. Xander let out a
string of swears in Greek that made John shiver. They finished up
the damage and the demons. Xander did the spell to close the
hellmouth, making it wail as it sucked closed again. Then he
stomped off. The locals were getting his foot up his ass.
"Let me," Phil ordered, changing and cleaning up so he was in a
suit. Xander stared at him. "It's my job to deal with higher
ups." He put on his sunglasses. Xander nodded, letting him
do it while they got to work burning the bodies. Phil walked off,
snapping at the lesser agents. "On my six." They followed
him to the local City Hall. He walked in and stared at the
mayor. "Please call in your head of the police here."
"Who're you?" the mayor demanded.
"Agent Coulson, SHIELD." The man gaped and then frantically
called. Phil waited until he walked in and the lesser agents had
shut and guarded the door. "Did it not occur to anyone that if and
when the hellmouth opens, that it would be wise to evacuate the
children from *both* sides of the park? Because perhaps it might
take anyone responding a few minutes to get there, and that would mean
some of them could escape into the city?" The Mayor
flinched. "Thankfully, the ones of us today managed to get both
daycare groups out of the way." He stared at the officer.
"Also, we could not find a single officer anywhere near that park.
Is no one being mugged there any longer?"
"Yes, sir," one of the lesser agents said. "There has been a
string of muggings, robberies, and three rapes there that we have been
working to find the reasons for since the local officials are not having
the area patrolled," he reported.
Phil nodded. "Thank you. Did you file a report?"
"I have, sir, and Director Fury wasn't sure why until we informed him
that it was not being patrolled even though it is near three colleges
and events are held there by them and the local high schools. In
fact, class picture day was interrupted by the Hari Krishna-like group
that lives downstate because they were up for a remembrance of their
Highest ascending during a battle to protect people."
"Good to know. Thank you." He looked at the two
officials. "Is there a problem we can help you solve by perhaps
training some of your officers?" he asked them. "Or letting them
have some sort of easier to understand manual? Most of the agents
who tour through here have made their own. We'd be more than happy
to share so that your people are safer."
"Why can't you end that?" the head of the PD demanded.
"How do you end a spot that's basically a rip into the powers of the
universe?" The man started to stomp off but the agents were at the
doorway. "We have numerous physicists working on that
problem. Including Dr. McKay's team. No one has found any
way to repair said leaks, and think that even if they did, it might
reform somewhere else because of the pressure. Basically, the
universe is expanding and the skin it's in isn't." He stared at
the Mayor. "Also, the response time for emergencies is somewhere
between fifteen minutes and possibly up to thirty, depending on where
the agents and slayers are. Right now, Mrs Cloudson is in Colorado
napping off her, what we expect are, twins. Thankfully we had
agents who alerted Colonel Sheppard and us. So let's work out how
to handle things."
"We can't have the colleges moved," the Mayor said.
"It's not like we can camp in the park in tents," one of the lesser
agents said. "Even if we wanted to, there's no necessary
facilities there and it's not exactly the duty most of us would agree
Phil looked at him. "No one has suggested that solution."
"They have locally, sir."
Phil hummed. "Interesting." He looked at the two higher ups
again. "The agents have a house that they rent next to the slayer
house. It is on the nearest residential block to the hellmouth as
far as I was told."
"It is," he sighed. "We can't just close the areas."
"Then it means we have to prepare better ways of handling things," Phil
said simply. "I'll be back tomorrow so we can look over your
emergency plans, any staffing in that area and how they're trained, and
make plans for handling any of the hundreds of things that could
happen. Including it being chaos mages instead of demons."
The Mayor shuddered. "Yes, humans. They have acted against
all the hellmouths in the past. What time would be good for you?"
"Can't Summers abort or something?"
Phil raised an eyebrow. "She might be a slayer but that does not
mean she has to give up a slightly normal life for this. I'm
fairly certain she did not plan either pregnancy and was upset that she
caught so quickly after the last one. Her husband is as well,
especially since he thinks it'll get her killed." The Mayor
shuddered, leaning away from him. "Beyond that, how do you expect
one young woman to handle every single emergency, especially when she's
forbidden to kill humans who might be affecting the hellmouth?"
Both higher ups slumped. "When is a better time for you two to go
over the emergency plans tomorrow?"
"I need to talk to the governor. See if we can get some National
Guard troops," the Mayor decided. "Then we'll talk, Agent..."
"Coulson," he reminded him. "I'm the liaison between Mrs. Cloudson and the other slayers to SHIELD."
"That's fine. Thank you, Agent Coulson. Let us make some plans."
"Agreed." He handed over a business card. "That is my
cellphone." He left with the junior agents. Once outside and
he had his sunglasses back on he looked at them. "Threat index?"
"Done, sir, updated monthly. It's attached to our bulletin board."
Phil looked at the other one. "Weapons list?"
"Sent in, Director Fury is considering parts of it. So far our
armory is acceptable but not exciting or overly useful. He thought
bullets might be made in specialty classes but no one has yet."
"I'll ask Stark about that," Phil said. "Anything else of note?"
"Yes, sir. We are unable to stop a private sorority of
succuba." Phil nodded slightly, letting a tiny grimace out.
"We are not sure if they're that way naturally or if they are
recruiting. We do not believe they are recruiting but we do not
have anyone who they will talk to. They can feel Buffy coming and
hide from her for good reason."
"I'll see if Dawn can," he decided. "Or perhaps Bia if she's been
bored." They nodded, smiling at him. "Anything else I should
"No, sir," they agreed.
"Update those for our meeting. Get me the actual needs for the
armory that you don't have access to right now. I'll have Stark
work on it." They nodded and he walked off, disappearing from the
shadows. Those two had decided to stay on the hellmouth and they
knew enough about him to not wonder. By the time he landed at
Stark International, his phone had beeped with both preliminary
copies. He took them to the tinkering lab, where everyone
was. "Stark?" He looked up then took the phone to look over
the list. "The armory in Cleveland is somewhat useful. They
have guns without speciality bullets."
"I can work on them but the wooden bullets don't react right."
Dawn walked in with one of the DCIS books and handed it to him.
"They jacketed the wooden ones and had a tiny bubble of holy water in
another set." She looked at Phil. "The hellmouth?"
"It's fine. There's a sorority of succuba?"
She grinned and nodded. "There are. There's one at UCLA too. They play poker with Spike."
"Can you talk to them? They're not sure if they're recruiting."
"They don't go out and recruit but if someone comes in and wants to join, that's open."
"Not tonight I can't."
"No, she can't," Dawn's phone said. "Agent Hill said she could though."
"Thank you, Agent Romanoff," Phil said dryly. "Are you hiding?"
"Talking with others." She hung up. Dawn grinned.
"Good." He patted her on the cheek. "Behave." She
cackled and walked off. He looked at Stark. "Can you at
least come up with ideas?"
"Of course. I'm the fount of all ideas," he said with a smirk. "You know that."
"I do, that's why I come directly to you. Dawn, dinner," he called after her.
"You probably have to."
"Can't. Have to babysit."
Tony looked then at Phil, who shrugged. "Okay," Tony decided then
downloaded the list to his 'to do' list. He handed the phone
"Thank you." He walked off. He had to figure out what he had
to wear to this one. Fortunately John had something laid out for
him. A nice suit was good. He was used to suits. John
came in looking dapper in his dress blues. "Will they let you get
away with that?" Phil asked.
"If Xander says it's okay it's fine," he said with a smug grin.
"Even if Hera or someone huffs. It's my official dress
uniform." Clay leaned in. "Wear your official dress uniform
or a suit."
"Got it, thanks."
"Not your uniform," Roque ordered. "I hate seeing you in it with
the way they fucked you over." He walked into the suite.
"Dawn's refusing to get dressed?"
"She claims she's babysitting," Phil said.
John laughed. "Not likely." He flashed over, letting his
impression sink in with the appreciative looks. "Babysitting isn't
a fit excuse, Dawn. Dress up, get them dressed up. They'll
pull them in whatever they're wearing if not." He gave her a
pointed look then at Clint. "Tux or suit. Tie covers
acceptable. Bowties are a bit much though. Ladies are
to be in formal dress." He disappeared.
Dawn moaned, shaking her head. "I was hoping we could get out of it."
"They'll announce us," Natasha said. Dawn nodded. "It'll be public record?"
"Among all the demis and possibly spread farther." She stared at them. "Still thinking about your jobs, guys."
They shrugged. "We're all but famous. They can't send us out
as spies," Clint said. He got up, putting aside his plate.
"Let me go find a suit." He went upstairs.
Natasha smiled. "Thank you for trying to help us." She took a kiss. "Wear something fabulous."
Dawn smirked. "How fabulous?"
"Enough that we stare at you all night instead of whatever dinner is being served."
"If Hera's throwing it, it's greek food."
"I'll take that into account." She got up and went to her own
closet. She didn't have much that was fantastic. Dawn had
clearly shared though because she had a few extra formal gowns.
One in black that looked slightly like her new one. She pulled it
out to look at. Clearly it had come from Lavelle's collection with
the length. She put it against her and nodded, finding the right
heels for it. She went to shower and change, then do her hair.
Upstairs, Dawn went to her closet and pulled out her new black
dress. She went to shower and do her hair. Her hair got
turned into a riot of curls that flowed down her back. A nice
necklace, some earrings. Some light makeup. She stared at
the scar, reaching for her coverup. Then she closed her eyes and
closed the coverup. She stepped into her shoes and checked.
She walked out. Natasha came up from her apartment in a similar
dress. Dawn's was sleeveless. Natasha's were a very fine
lace. Natasha's hair was in a mass of pulled back curls.
They were held back by a simple comb on each side that was
jeweled. They kissed and grinned at each other. "I knew
that'd look good on you."
"It does." Clint came down and stared. Then he went to
change suits and came down in something hotter, adding extra
weapons. He looked them over, kissing each of them. "Names?"
"We have to decide if I'm hyphenating or if we're picking a mutual last name to use."
Clint shrugged. "I heard your 'I'll use it in my other identity' thing."
She kissed him. "I'd love to use it here."
He smiled. "There you can be a Barton. We'll all be Bartons."
"Why?" Natasha asked, adjusting his tie.
"Because I'm the husband?" He smirked. "Here.... Do we
want to combine, hyphenate, or pick a mutual one?" They
"Mine was changed when I was young," Natasha admitted.
"Mine's mine but not exactly happy memories."
Dawn sniffled. "I'll accept what we decide."
They stared at each other, holding a silent talk. "We're taking yours," Clint said, taking a quick kiss. "Teeth?"
"Can still taste your salad dressing." She went to rebrush her
teeth and then reapply her lipstick. "You sure?" he asked Natasha
"I like hers." She smiled and teased his lip. "We are rightly matriarchical. There's more of us."
"That always pleases me," he said with a wicked smirk. Dawn came
back and they were brought off before she could reach them. He
looked around. "That's handy."
"Very," Dawn said. She put her hands through each of their arms.
The heralds stared at her. "I didn't think to grab it, people."
"The Key, Dawn Summers, and her spouses," they announced in unison, opening the door.
They walked in and Dawn curtseyed at all the major tables before sitting
with her mates. Clint got the center this time. The elder
ones were all talking and staring at them. Dawn sipped her wine,
smiling. "That's a great vintage."
Bia was beside her. "It is. Lord Dionysus outdid himself
this year." She smiled, looking at the ring she wore.
"Pretty work. No band and solitaire?"
"We combined them," she said happily. Hera was staring at
her. She smiled at her. "Thank you for the invitation, Lady
"You're quite welcome, Dawn. They are stunning."
Dawn smiled. "They're beautiful to me in all ways."
Hera smiled and nodded. "Excellent."
Roque and Clay walked in and nodded at the head table then sat down at
the other end of the table. By tradition, the ruling people in the
house sat in the center. John got announced next and walked
in. Then Phil and Xander.
Hera gasped, standing up. "How did you two do that?"
Xander looked at her. "By accident, how do I do anything?"
He smiled at Gaia. "Still pissed at you. We're big gods now
and don't need fix ups." She slumped down but nodded. They
sat down and Phil was next to John while Xander was next to
Natasha. "You two look stunning. Clint looks nice as well."
"Thank you," Natasha said with a smile. She sipped her wine. "We never find anything this good on earth."
"Lord Dionysus makes some of the best wines," Xander agreed. "Even
for the other pantheons. They bring him berries and fruits to
press for them."
"He has an excellent hand. Just fruity enough to be flavorful but not overpower and moister than most white wines."
"I don't really drink wine but it does taste good with the
dinners." He grinned. "We're not really grape growing
She laughed. "I know." He grinned. She sent a thought
at Dawn about why they had to bow to all the tables when the rest
didn't. It came down to the Key wasn't really a part of any house
but Xander had adopted her mortal form into his. So they were his
and not his. It was protocol that would drive them all nuts.
Zeus looked at John. "Is that appropriate?"
"In this life, he serves honorably and has status and rank," Xander said
simply. "He is not to disgrace his present service or his past
services by denying his duties."
Zeus nodded, looking thoughtful. "I can see why you allowed
it. The ladies look nice as usual." They all nodded with a
smile. The last few got announced and he rang the bell.
"Tonight we celebrate a few announcements." They all stared at
him. He stood up. "First, that even though Gaia had to be
sneaky and push things that bordered on Alexander's temper, he is now
mated." They stood up. "He and Phil, God over Heros, have
come to an agreement that they could handle things."
"He is my mate, my true mate," Xander said, looking around coolly, daring anyone to say something. His father moaned.
Hera stood up. "Their marriage is more than accepted by our
standards. Especially as they have the mating and claim marks that
are spoken of in myths and have joined their powers in ways that most
of us would not even consider."
"Pure accident," Xander quipped, sitting down. Phil sat
down. He noticed his father staring at him and smiled
smugly. "Yes, Father, we have joined our powers fully a few
times." Loki slumped and nodded. "Before anyone starts to
ask or nag, there will be no children for at least a century,
people." They all sighed in displeasure. "Sorry."
"Our duties mean we can be called into battle at any time," Phil said
calmly and quietly. "Which means we must not be incapacitated by a
pregnancy until more are doing the duty so we can take time off."
Dawn smiled down at him. "Tony had a total brainfart vision where
you were pregnant, Xander, walking down the halls at SHIELD with your
axe over your shoulder, and eating a twinkie."
Xander laughed. "That could happen."
Thor nodded. "As long as they do not ask me again if I plan on thus." He gave Roque a pointed look.
"I didn't send him into heat," he quipped. "We're not having kids
for at least a century either. He's military and it would get him
captured and tortured to see how he did it. So until someone makes
a mortal male pregnancy pill, we're staying kidless."
"Funny you should mention that," Natasha joked with a smile for him.
He flinched and looked down at Dawn. "Seriously?"
"Andrew and Jonathan."
He whimpered, shaking his head. "Still, it'll be at least a century."
"I think that's sweet," Xander cooed with a grin at her. "I'll let them surrogate for us if they want."
Hera shook her head. "I don't want to know." She sat down.
Zeus cleared his throat. "What?"
"They're working on a male pregnancy for mortals," Hera said simply.
Zeus looked at Dawn's family. "It sucks. It's heartburn,
headaches, and then your head opens." She smiled at him.
"We're also ready to announce that Dawn has married." She stood up
and they stood up with her. "These are her mates...."
"Clint and Natasha. They are my mates and I will make sure no one
tampers," she said, staring at Loki. He saluted her with a glass
and smirked. She quirked an eyebrow up. "Remember, you
nearly got pregnant too." He gulped and choked on the wine.
She smiled at the others. "We're presently deciding on name
"You'll take his," Hera said.
"No we're not," Clint said. "We're taking hers for official things."
Dawn looked at him. "We are? We're sure? It'll make it official."
"We are," Natasha agreed. "Hyphenated."
Clint smiled. "I can agree with that. For formal things, we're Summers."
Hermes smiled at them. "Beat all the bets, kids." Dawn smiled and they sat down. "Very amazon of you all."
"Natasha is one hell of a warrior woman," Dawn said with a smooth purr in her voice and a smile at her wife.
Natasha smiled. "You are quite good on your own."
"Yes, you both are," Artemis said with a grin for them. "You are
more than worthy of being one of our Amazons, ladies, and your mate is a
good captured mate." They smiled at her. "Do you share?"
"Hell. No," Dawn said with a smirk. "I'll destroy this planet if someone touches what's mine without my permission."
Xander grinned. "I'll help."
"Cool but I get the bigger ray gun."
"Sure. I'll have my axe." They shook hands behind the spouses.
Hera blinked. "Good to know. Bia, are you involved, dear?"
She checked on her mate, who was ready. She had him summoned by the heralds.
"Major Evan Lorne," they announced.
She stood up and held out a hand. "Lady Hera, this is my intended
when I finally trip him, tie him up, and carry him back to my tent as is
proper for a female of my lineage." She smiled and created a seat
next to him while Xander stretched the table.
"Pleasure to meet you, Evan," Hera said, smiling at him. "I'm sure you'll be good to our young one?"
"Of course. Anything less is dishonorable, ma'am."
"Excellent. Then we look forward to seeing how your relationship
grows." She smiled at Zeus, who was blinking. "He serves
"Wonderful." He nodded and rang the bell again so food could be
served. That whole house was now full of people who were married
or all but married. It solved so many problems outside of
Jonathan. He looked at his pantheon's half-offspring.
"Jonathan, do you have anyone you would like to invite?"
"Still not dating, Zeus, sorry." He stuffed his mouth.
"Pity," Hera said. "You would make someone an excellent husband."
"Yes I will. When I'm ready." That got a nod and they got back to eating.
Phones went off all along Xander's table outside of Bia's and Dawn's.
Dawn looked at Clint's phone. "Should I go prepare to be backup?"
"Not magical this time," Short Stuff." Clint took a kiss.
Natasha took a kiss. John blew a kiss with a smirk. The rest
of them disappeared. They took Evan with them to spare him the
formal dinner stress. Thor went on his own.
Dawn looked at Bia, who was watching. "Let me know if they need help."
"What interrupts a dinner?" Demeter snorted snidely.
"An emergency where someone who's a demon cocksucking minion opens the hellmouth," Dawn quipped with a smile. "The idiot."
"Buffy's pregnant with twins we think," Bia told Athena and Artemis, who
both moaned and shuddered. "We've let her nap with us all
day. Sean's been with his grandmother charming her and the twins
that belong to Tara."
Gaia smiled. "The twins are charming and Sean is adorable if large."
"His father's an Asgardian warrior," Dawn said with a smile. "Buffy and Hylal make a good pair."
"Even if she is occasionally a dick trophy," Bia quipped then stuffed
her mouth. Odin coughed and choked. "He hath claimed her
properly, All Father Odin. Almost a year before they did it
on the mortal plane."
"My sister had no idea because he didn't tell her that all those things
meant formal marriage but they did it in her way since Buffy considered
that a handfasting."
Frigg smiled. "They are a good couple. As are yours, Dawn."
"Thank you, Frigg."
"When are you due to have children?"
"When we're ready. Which isn't this year I don't think."
Frigg stared at her. "Unless you know something I don't?"
She scanned herself. "No, not yet." She went back to eating.
"Children do enhance a marriage," Demeter said with a smile at her daughter.
"Yes but it also means you can't have loud, rowdy sex on the couch any
longer," Persephone said then stuffed her mouth. Hera moaned and
Zeus looked confused. "Children do get in the way of relations,"
she pointed out.
"That's why they have mothers."
"Then how do mothers have sex?" Bia quipped. "To give second
children." Zeus moaned and shook his head. "Personally I
think you should wait at least two years after getting married before
getting knocked up."
"Or maybe five," Dawn said. "Depending on your age and things in your life."
"That's true. Yours get shot at," Bia agreed.
Dawn nodded. "I have too a few times." She stuffed her mouth.
Apollo cleared his throat. "Any pains, Dawn?"
"No, thank you. I got referred to someone who can fill in that
dent and he'll sand down the scar so it's not as noticeable." She
smiled. "Thank you for healing that for me."
"You're welcome." He smiled. "It's clear your spouses consider you precious."
"I consider them more necessary than air sometimes," she agreed with a grin.
Bia flinched. "They just got overrun by a larger demon."
Dawn wiped her mouth, took one last sip of wine. "Excuse us.
We have to be backup." She and Bia disappeared. Dawn
slipped out of the dress on her way to get on something she could fight
in. She came out pulling on her sneakers and then grabbed her
chainmail and weapons. She and Bia landed in Cleveland and got to
work on the demons there. She looked around. "Where are the
"Um, Sunnydale's," she said.
"Great!" Dawn said dryly. She had remembered her earbud.
"It's Summers. Can we have some backup in Cleveland please?"
The security team said that SHIELD was enroute and to hold on.
"Got it. How long?" She nodded. "Thanks." She
tapped it. "Twenty, Bia."
"Great!" she mimicked, blasting the demons back away from the
hole. She and Dawn destroyed most of the demons but the bigger
thing was still coming out. "Weapons! We need major
weapons!" she yelled at the first agent to appear.
"That sort has to have the head taken off!" Dawn yelled, firing as she retreated to let the agents take the front lines.
Agent Hill looked at her. "You're getting yelled at. Why are you wearing makeup?"
"Formal dinner until this shit started."
"Oh. Okay." They blew up the huge demon worm while the
ladies kept the demons from getting to the hole. They got the
human summoning the Old One out and Dawn kicked him in the head.
He went down in a lump of flesh. Dawn looked at Bia. "The
She checked. "They may have it."
Agent Hill called in. "Coulson, do you need backup? We just
took out Cleveland's problems." She nodded. "They do."
Dawn and Bia grabbed hands, Bia smiling at Dawn's 'fuck this shit'
entrance key to her powers. The ladies took Hill and a few others
with them to Sunnydale. Dawn looked. "This is like a
nightmare replay." She looked around. "At least it's not a
purple guy." She blasted the thing coming up with power, making
him scream in pain as he lit on fire. "You're ruining my
manicure. And damn it, I hate turning into my sister!" She
blasted him again with Bia's help. The demon retreated. The
human doing it got shot by John.
Xander looked at her. "I had the same thought."
"You were turning into my sister too?" she quipped.
"No!" He punched her on the arm. "Thank you, ladies. I
heard Cleveland mentioned?" Maria waved her hand with the weapon
in it. "Oh, good. Any others? Two is not the usual
Bia scanned and nodded. "Yup. No wonder the Persian pantheon
wasn't there!" They all flinched and Maria called it in.
"Fuck it, and they can't capture some of us anyway," Xander decided. "John?"
"I hate the Middle East but I guess." Phil nodded, taking Xander's
hand to go with him. Clay and Roque got more weapons from Hill
and went with them. Clay got the rest of his team there.
Jensen changed to his larger form and stomped on the demon trying to
come out. "How dare you interrupt my movie night! I was
having relaxation time after beating up on cadets earlier!" He
kept stomping until the demon died. He huffed.
"Pitiful. Really pitiful." He glared at the human, who was
whimpering. "You're next." Xander shot him. "Cool." He
smiled at Xander. "Home?"
"Home," he agreed, making sure everyone left before him. The
hellmouth there they could close somehow. They hated magic and
local militia types were showing up.
Clint looked at Dawn, smiling at her. "Like the makeup with the chainmail too."
She pushed back her sweaty hair. "That's good." She undid
the throat and wrist clasps, then took a kiss. "You good?"
"I'm fine." He looked over. Natasha walked over after saying
something to Thor. She took her own kiss from Dawn, who grinned
"If she's giving out kisses I'll pass. She'd probably try to take
control again," Stark said, putting up his visor. "We done
now?" They nodded. He got his people back to the lab. Dawn
got her spouses home. Tony let the take off station remove his
suit and looked at the waiting ladies. "Chaos sorcerers should be
shot. We were having dinner." He smiled and walked over to
them. "Is it cold? We have a few microwaves, one that even
runs on nuclear energy around here somewhere." He led them
off. Steve got beamed back because he had said he wanted to make
sure the field was cleared up. "Done?" he asked.
"Done," he agreed, removing his mask. He walked over to his
weapons cabinet and put his shield there. It was his backup one
but it was a good one. He walked into the bathroom to change out
of his uniform and into street clothes. Then he came out to join
them for dinner. "Did you hear Dawn's comment that she was turning
into her sister?"
"What's wrong with my mommy?" Callia asked.
"Sometimes your mom jokes about demons messing up her nails during fights," Tony said. "Your aunt made the same joke."
"They do I guess," she said. "We need to invent a nailpolish that won't get damaged, daddy."
"When you're old enough to know chemistry you can do that."
"Okay." She smiled and they got back to dinner.
"With the makeup job she had, I'm wondering what she wore to the godly banquet," Pepper said with a grin for Tony and Steve.
"Probably something great that made Barton drool," Steve said with a smile. "She seems to like that."
Tony's phone rang. He put it on speaker. "What?" he asked.
"Boss," Dawn said with a breathy moan. Then a groan. "Um,
not making it tomorrow," she said then sighed in pleasure and groaned
again. "They're giving me a great massage and I can't walk. I
fell on the stairs." She moaned a visceral moan that even Pepper
reacted to. "Bye." She hung up and went back to getting
spoiled. She had used a lot of magic and was sore and tired.
Then she'd do the same for them.
"Backrubs make you moan?" Callia asked.
Tony nodded. "If they're hitting the sore muscles they can. You did when I worked out your leg cramp the other day."
"It hurt for a minute then it suddenly felt better."
"Which is why your aunt was groaning," Pepper assured her. "Finish
up?" Callia smiled and finished dinner, skipping her bath and
bedtime reading to go play with her pets in her room. Pepper
sipped her iced tea, looking at the boys. "Wow."
"Very," Tony agreed. "But not squealing loud enough to set off the
security system this time." He stuffed his mouth. He knew
that look, he'd need energy. His phone beeped so he looked at
it. "Never mind. Dawn gives excellent massages because
Barton set it off this time." He canceled it and put it into his
pocket, looking at Pepper then at Steve, then back at Pepper, who was
blushing like Steve was. Tony grinned. Finally! Those
who were his would be his!
Xander looked at Phil once they were home. He loosened his
tie. Phil loosened his and smirked. "Wrestle for being on
"Sorry, out of your weight class," Phil joked.
"Did you call me fat?" he said, moving closer.
"More muscular, not fat." Though he did pinch a love handle on his
mate's side. Xander pounced and he moved himself out of the way
with a wicked smirk. He slid his tie off and took off his jacket
then undid his dress shirt. "Someone was wondering earlier about
"That would be the shit," Xander cooed with an evil smirk. "I can see us doing that."
"No, not tonight. When we've had plenty of arm resting
time." He slid closer and Phil teased him by moving away and
taking off that dress shirt. Then his undershirt. Xander was
pulling his tie free and dropping it onto the couch. He took off his
jacket and shirt with a thought, staring at Phil. He took off his
shoes. Phil toed out of his and then used his toes to push down
his socks so he could get out of them. Xander stared at his feet
then at Phil. "Want me to worship at your altar?"
"We'll see who worships," Phil said with a tiny smirk. He undid
his belt but left it hanging. Xander stripped out of his
pants. Phil strolled off, taking off everything as he headed for
Xander pounced him into it and made Phil a happy, happy boy.
"Oh, no," one of the trainee agents said then turned around and huffed off. "I did not want to know."
"We are married," Phil said dryly. "I can and did learn to enjoy
my husband now and then. If you don't like it, I'm sending you on
special missions to sex people up for information." The agent
shuddered and went to pack and leave.
Xander shook his head. "He's more Victorian than Dru was. Thought women should wear long skirts."
"Pity. Legs can be nice." Xander growled and kissed him. Phil grinned. "I can look."
Xander bit down on his claiming mark, earning a hiss. "Look,
yes. Fantasize unless it's a trio and she's really great in bed
will have to wait for a few years," he said in his ear, pushing Phil
against the side of the pond to rub against him.
"I'd never cheat, Xander."
Xander kissed. "I know but I'm still getting used to this. I'm a mite possessive."
"Just a tiny bit," Phil agreed with a smile. "I'll only fantasize
about us in bed with women who want to get between us?" Xander
rubbed harder and Phil chuckled in his ear. "I can do that."
"You certainly can." He groaned and rubbed harder.
Phil wrapped himself around Xander's waist, letting him do whatever he wanted. "So, wings? Really?"
"They're like an extra sexual organ," he said in Phil's ear, casting the spell on them.
Phil moaned as his wings came out. Xander ran his fingers under
the feathers and suddenly Phil knew why Dawn screamed when it was
good. He was clutching Xander too hard to play with his wings but
Xander had covered them by wrapping his wings around them and Phil was
nuzzling the one next to his head. Xander was purring and Phil had
found all new terms for happy nerve endings firing off in rapid
succession that was leading him to an orgasm. He came so hard he
started to black out. Thankfully Xander understood and held him
up. He panted, looking at him. "Xander?" he panted.
Xander grinned. "So, how do you like wings?"
"I love wings suddenly." Xander and he kissed. "Teach me to fly?"
"I can do that." They got out and Xander dried off their wings
with a thought, teaching Phil how to take off and fly. Naked
flying was good too and Xander was coordinated enough to get in some
flying groping too.
John, Clay, and Roque looked at Xander's gasp of pleasure. "Damn,
he's gifted," Clay said. "I don't think I could slide home and
keep them both up there without crashing. Don't even think
about it, Roque."
"Never wanted wings." He created them on John, who moaned in pleasure and went back to Atlantis to fly.
"This again!" Rodney ranted when he spotted him. "Must you do that!"
"Yup, I must," John agreed.
Jensen looked up from where he was sitting with Cougar. "See,
that's just wrong. Guys don't go into heat as dragons. Girls
go into heat as dragons."
"They have fluffy wings, not scaly ones," Cougar said, sipping some of
his beer. "Not in heat either." He looked at Jensen.
"We need to find you a woman of your own."
Jensen glared. "I get plenty of women even when you cockblock
me." He huffed off to the local town to find a few good, pretty
Cougar snorted. "Sure you do." He'd give it two hours then
go find Jensen. Probably in jail but he'd find him
somewhere. When he went looking for Jake, he had to go into yellow
fur form to sniff his path out. He found where he was and changed
back, heading in there by an upper, open window. What he saw
fried his brain. There were six girls who wanted Jensen to
partially change and do them that way.
He snuck back out because only Jensen could find girls who wanted to get
laid by a dragon. He wasn't going to interrupt because he might
find out things he did not want to know. He had heard of groupies
but dragon groupies? He went back to the temple with a stop at a
church on the way to apologize for being such a bad friend.
Clearly he had cockblocked Jake too often if he had ended up with the
kinky six-pack of women.
Fury looked up as Phil walked in the next morning for the training
meeting, staring at his back. "What the fuck is that?" he demanded
with a point.
Phil looked then at him like nothing was wrong or unusual. "Wings,
sir. Alexander has a wing spell he likes. They're actually
very comforting in some ways. Even if I did nearly shut one in the
elevator just now." He sat down.
"I can see that they're wings and I remember Harris doing it before," he growled. "Why do *you* have them?"
"Because I'm his spouse. He wanted to go for a fly. It's very freeing."
Fury stomped off. "That's it, I'm going on vacation."
"Should we book you anywhere?" Joyce asked as he stomped past
her. "I have a nice new list of places that people find
relaxing." Fury slammed his door and let out a scream of
rage. "Okay, maybe Bora Bora?" she asked Agent Hill.
"I'm not sure if we shouldn't book him a room beside Warren Meers," she
said quietly, going into the meeting room. She spotted the reason
for the screaming in the office. "Agent Coulson, should we be
inputting new things into your identifying marks file?" she asked.
He looked over from talking with one of the other trainers.
"They'll only last two weeks, Agent Hill." He smiled
slightly. "Xander wanted to go for a fly."
"Did him giving himself wings lead to yours?"
"For safety and security reasons he couldn't go alone," he said
simply. "Colonel Sheppard was back on Atlantis with his so he
needed a flying buddy."
She nodded and walked out. She tapped and walked into the office,
kicking the door closed. She took the scotch from her boss's hand
and gulped some then handed it back. "Joyce suggested Bora Bora,
sir. Warm, beaches."
"I'd get flashbacks to Summers in Miami," he complained.
"There's the north pole. Somewhere in Scandinavia." He gave
her a dirty look. "Africa, sir? There's a mission going."
He snorted. "I might go on that. I can handle that sort of
sand." She nodded and filled out forms for the both of them,
letting him sign them. She handed them to Joyce to send off for
her and went home to pack. She, Tara, and the kids needed some
bikini time and she'd back the day before Christmas. Tara would
Fury walked out. "I'm going on a mission in Africa, Summers.
Don't destroy anything until I get back or Hill gets back."
"Of course, not, sir." She smiled and waved at his back once he
was in the elevator. She went in to look at the wings. "You
need preened, Phil. You have bent feathers."
"Yes, but if I do, I'd have to take the day off."
She hugged him around the shoulders, resting between his wings.
"That's probably why Xander loves them so much." She went back to
her desk. Things would go on like usual unless there was a crisis
or an attack. When Phil came out she held up something. "A
complaint from Cleveland that their demon cocksucking people were dumb."
"Thank you." He walked off reading it.
Joyce smiled at the man coming off the elevator. He was the
technical third in command and an asshole bigger than Stark. "Sir,
Director Fury told you he was going on a mission?"
"He did," he said. "Where is Agent Hill?"
"Bora Bora for the next week." She smiled. "The office is
locked but there was nothing on his desk before he stomped off."
She found things and handed them over. "Those are the current
reports waiting on him to sign off. Agent Hill dropped them on my
desk before she left."
He grimaced. "Open the door?"
"I'm sorry, sir, but Director Fury said no one in his office even if
he's in a coma. You can work in the secondary office," she said
with a point. "Or in the conference room. The seats in there
are more comfortable and you can spread out." He glared at
her. She smiled sweetly. "My daughter does that
better." He huffed into the conference room. She routed
Fury's phone in there and then sent in the other things that had to get
signed. Including the budget for the cafeteria.
He came out with that. "Why does he need to specially sign off?"
"The World Security Council said anything out of the ordinary and they
had a complete freezer breakdown. It didn't get fixed for three
days. They lost about a month's worth of food they'll need to have
"Is that really a necessity? We're not on the hell carrier, Summers." He handed it back.
"Then you might lose your infirmary staff, everyone who's on sick leave,
and about half the admin staff who is here because we have to eat on a
schedule with medicines or for other reasons," she said, handing it
back. "The medical staff are all on medications right now to
combat the virus that got released in the lab upstairs, which has to be
taken with food every four hours. By food, it needs to be taken
with protein, which is usually at least refrigerated or beans, and three
are allergic to beans."
He sneered. "Most of the admin staff are also on the same medicine
for the very same reason. You nearly lost us all to a
quarantine situation for over a week." Still sneering.
"Also, do be aware that I have to take mine with my medicine to make
sure the brain tumor doesn't come back and if I don't get mine, then I
have to go back to the hospital, which means nothing gets done."
"We did without a PA for years."
She slugged him. "That's nice, sweetheart, but that's probably why
nothing got done. Including missing weapons, missing tech gear,
missing science information, three leaks in R&D, that also happened
to almost compromise Stark International, and we nearly got invaded by
someone who wanted someone in our cells. Which meant that our
invasion drill turned real and three agents died. Overall, those
leaks have led to the loss of an irreplaceable sixteen agents.
Now, do you want to deal with things the proper way or would you like to
keep throwing fits like a child, at which point in time I'll stick you
in a corner like you're deserving?"
He huffed and got up. She grabbed him by the ear and slammed
him into a corner, making him yelp and hold his nose. "Stay there
until you can act your age." She sat back down. "People,
work is not getting done," she noted. The admin staff went back to
it. She typed a text to the fourth in command, who was much
nicer. The man tried to move so she casually hit him with her
taser. "I said stay there until you can be a big boy and use big
boy panties and words, Dexter. You're clearly missing out on your
"I'll have you fired," he sneered.
She smiled. "You go right ahead. I can probably get one with
Stark and have better benefits anyway." She set off the taser
again, making him scream. "My! I didn't even scream that
much in labor. Neither did Tara and she had twins without
painkillers." She smiled at the fourth in command that showed
up. "Good morning, AJ."
"Joyce." He looked at the guy above him. "Fury?"
"Mission in Africa I believe he said," Joyce said with a smile. She showed him the film of him stomping off.
"Maria will love Bora Bora," he decided. "Him?"
"Acting like a toddler."
"I thought that was Coulson's threat to Stark," he said with a grin.
"I did learn many great things from Phil. He's such a nice boy when he's not in the field."
"Fucking faggot," the third in command sneered.
She hit him again and dropped the taser into her plant by
accident. "Oops." AJ dug it out and turned it off.
"Sorry. It did slip."
"It did, I saw it slip." The other guy was panting. "Why
don't you hit the infirmary and I'll deal with it." Coulson came
off the elevator with some folders. "I wondered why Fury screamed
that way and Hill took a sudden vacation."
Phil smiled slightly. "Alexander wanted to fly and needed a flying buddy."
"Two weeks as far as happened last time."
"Wonderful. Learn some skills that way to make sure if we want to do that in the future for battles."
"I'm sparring with Romanoff today." He handed over the
folders. He stared at the other guy. "We do have a
non-discrimination policy and if you voice your opinion on my
relationship again I'm going to use you to warm up. We may not be
gladiators that rank ourselves by our fighting abilities but I'm fairly
certain you're near the bottom anyway." He looked at AJ.
"The planned meetings over the move are on Friday," he said more
"I can attend those and conference in Fury. Joyce?" She
handed over the scheduling book. "What's this one with the caf?"
"The budget's due by then." She pointed at the mark beside
it. "Paperwork due by then." She handed it over.
"I heard." He looked it over. "Seems reasonable. We need to buy for the hell carrier too."
"That has a separate budget line." She showed him. "It's due
next week. They'll be sending the order to me by Wednesday so we
can get it to them by next Saturday."
He nodded, signing off on things. She pointed at the conference
room. "I know he hates people in his office when he's not there."
"That and Dawn burned his desk for him." She smiled.
"We heard why," he assured her, heading to look those folders
over. "Agent Coulson, please drop our superior in the infirmary on
your way to sparring."
"Yes, sir." He hauled him up and down there.
Joyce sighed and smiled. "He's gotten so much stronger from the sparring. Xander's done him very good."
AJ came out. "They spar?"
She smiled and nodded. "Xander's teaching him sword and axe work too."
"Excellent. Have him do a preliminary evaluation with it."
He went back in there. "Then do one when he doesn't have the
"Yes, sir." She sent that text message. He brought it up to
hand over. She patted him on the arm. "You've gotten much
more openly muscular, Phil."
He smiled at her. "I have. I had to buy whole new shirts and jackets." He left, going back to his office.
AJ looked it over. "He's pretty damn good." He filed that
for later inclusion into his folder. Joyce had everything set up
so he could deal with it within minutes, which left Fury time to handle
everything else. Before it'd be late nights of lost paperwork and
having to redo things. Now, it was much more smooth. Though
the guy above him really needed to be gone. Unfortunately his
profile was locked in the system. Joyce brought him in a tablet
with a site pulled up and logged into. "Peoplefinders.com," he
read, shrugging and trying it. It did a pretty good job of the
public stuff. "He was picked up for prostitution?" He did a
check on those through the local papers and courthouses. Maybe
that was a decent place to start. He'd have to remember it.
Xander appeared, lazy smile in place, smirking at Dawn. "You called off work because...."
"Mom?" she joked, smirking sleepily. "He finally worked that kink out of my lower back."
"That 'my chair is at the wrong height' knot? Cool. Your mom wanted to know."
"I'll talk to her in a few."
"She said Fury took off for Africa on a mission." Clint moaned and
shook his head. "Maria, the twins, and Tara all went to Bora
Bora." He grinned, his wings flapping slowly.
Natasha lifted her head up. "Wings?"
"I like the wings. I'm not usually one for flying but it's the shit." He smirked. "I can give her the spell."
"Um, no," Clint said from under Dawn's back. "I'd never hear the end of the jokes. Thanks though."
"Okay, if you're sure." He disappeared, going to check on Stark. "Hey."
Tony jumped and stared. "Wings?" He came over to look at them. "Huh. Messy feathers."
"Sexual organ," Xander said before Tony could touch them. "Sorry."
"Like literally, like an extra dick, or just physically and sensation wise?"
"Sensation wise definitely. Sividia me and his slightly evil Sam have wing foreplay." He grinned.
"Wonderful. I want readings on them."
He clipped two clips to the edges, ignoring Xander's wishes. "More
than a pinch?" He turned it on and read what it showed without
waiting for an answer. "JARVIS, scan those for me?" A beam
went over Xander and a virtual model came up. "Huh." He
casually touched a few feathers, watching how the image changed.
Then he stroked down over them, making Xander moan. Suddenly the
display lit up and a warning went off behind it in the form of Phil
appearing with a scowl. "Testing! Not coming onto him!"
"Uh-huh. Unhook my mate's wings, Stark. Before we give you
some." Tony unclipped him. "Thank you." He took Xander
Xander popped back for a minute. "Joyce wanted to know if you
really let Dawn have today off due to sex." He left again.
Tony nodded. "Of course I did. I totally changed my PhD
dissertation defense one time due to the succuba sorority hitting on me
the night before." He shrugged and got back to work. "She's
allowed two sex days a every six months. It's in her
contract." He went over the wings and the sensitive nature of
them. There might be something there he could use.
Jonathan walked in looking green. "Tony, what do you do when you're motion sick from the elevators?" he asked.
Tony looked at him. "With your recent research I'd go take an
EPT," he said bluntly. "JARVIS, run a scan on him please?"
It popped up with a bright pink plus sign over his head. "Boy,
"No idea yet," JARVIS admitted. "I can't test DNA without a sample and it's too soon for that."
Jonathan grinned. "I managed it? Cool!" He ran off to
babble at Andrew and the girls, who all cheered him on and took him to
the infirmary for a test, even though the doctor was confused, then for
ice cream. Tony sent a text telling him which tests he needed to
do and how often, how to journal everything, and then to get ready to
publish it. Jonathan showed them, it was a great step. They
could do great things with this!
Clay looked at his phone. "Dawn texted." Roque lifted his
head. Clay got into the message and groaned, throwing the phone at
his mate's head. "The geek twins managed it."
"They're going to be on us even more," Roque complained. "Anyone wanna have kids for us?"
"Nope, but the ladies last night might like some," Jensen quipped.
"Condoms," Roque reminded him firmly.
"I did! Even if I did stretch some way too far." Cougar had
been walking in but turned and walked off crossing himself and muttering
in Spanish again. "Sorry," he quipped with a grin and a wave.
"What hookers did you hire last night?" Clay asked.
Jensen grinned. "Dragon groupies." He got up and changed to his smaller form to fly off.
"Someone get me something to kill him with," Roque complained, rubbing his forehead.
"There's actual groupies?" Clay demanded.
Roque nodded. "There's vampire and werewolf groupies too.
They'd love to have sex with them, and some'll do it in animal form."
"I did not need to know that," Pooch said, turning and walking off.
"Talk to Jensen about his," he ordered.
"Hell no. I don't want to know."
Jensen leaned in a minute later, back in human form, and grinned.
"They were really nice. They oiled me and they teased me and they
had really a lot of fun squealing about me."
"In animal form?" Clay complained.
"My dragon form is as much a part of me as your wolf one is yours," he
said firmly. "Besides, having sex in human form can be really
weird. We're usually in dragon form when we mate if
possible." He jogged off again.
"I've got to buy him a damn wife somewhere," Roque complained.
Clay looked at him. "We can ask Xander."
"No then he'd probably get more groupies!"
Xander leaned in. "Did I hear groupies?" he asked with a grin.
"Jensen found dragon groupies last night."
"Can't say as I've ever tried a dragon in full size," Xander
admitted. "They'd probably be really big." He shrugged and
walked off. "Jensen, if your groupies show up later, keep them off
the trainees. They're all mentally fragile about sex stuff."
Clay looked at Roque. "Can you and I go back to Pegasus? The
shit there was weird but I could put up with it better than I can this
He nodded. "I'll see if we can." He and Clay left to go
somewhere far, far away from all groupies, Xander's wings, Jensen,
Cougar, and anyone else. They could go back to the same sex house
they had been married at and replay their mating.
Clay looked around then at him. "This seems familiar," he said dryly.
"Should," he agreed, throwing him in the sling and tying him down with
an evil grin. "Lucky for you I even brought a sharp knife to cut
the clothes off you." He got to work on that, slight, precise cuts
that made Clay shiver and grab onto the arm straps he was hitched to.
Xander and Phil meet up later that night. "So," Xander said,
moving closer to Phil, one hand going around his waist. "I hear
we're not babysitting for a week?"
"We're not," he agreed, sliding one of his hands around Xander's
waist. "Why?" Xander spun him and he grabbed him back and
the sparring/tickle match/seeing who was on top match was on.
"Oh, dear lord Odin, just fuck already," Talsa yelled.
"We will when we see who's on top tonight," Xander quipped. She
threw a heavy pan at his head, making him yelp and duck. Which
Phil took advantage of with a smirk and taking them to the bedroom.
"You're not because you get funny ideas like wings!" she called after
him. "Need it cured, boy." She went to fuss over the
trainees. They were all mentally slow but she guessed it was like
field warriors who could only take orders, not make their own.
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