Researching From Ancient to New to Future Old Ones.

Nick Fury walked out of a meeting with the president being pissed off.  The president wasn't really happy that he had been asked by a reporter if he had any advice for the 'new couple' of Steve and Tony.  He had passed that on to Fury, who was a bit more furious that it got press attention.  Though he was aware that Stark had to go through a lot of trauma over that.  Still, couldn't they deny it in the press or something?  He went to Stark Tower, finding Dawn at her desk looking as perky as ever.  "Next time, you're taking reports for them."

She stared at him.  "Take that up with my mates, Director Fury.  They said I'm not since I'm not an agent."  He scowled at her.  "They think it might hold some information I don't need to know."

"Probably.  Doesn't mean you probably won't find out," he said bitterly.

She stared at him.  "They can keep secrets from me, the same as I can from them.  We *do* have doorways between us.  Now, what did you need today?"

"Rogers and Stark in one room."

"They're in the office talking with Pepper."  She called in there.  "Fury's here to complain and whine at you and Steve, Stark."  She hung up and let him in with a smile.  "Happy whining, Director Fury."  He glared at her.  "My mother does that better."

He snorted.  "Not hardly."  He walked in and shut the door.  "The president got asked if he had any relationship tips for you two."

"I saw that," Steve said with a grin for him.  "I thought it was nice they were worried about us."

"It was, especially from that old hag," Tony agreed.  Steve frowned at him.  "She once compared me to Rain Man and called me a mutant retard, Steve.  She's an old hag."

"She is," Pepper agreed.  "She asked someone once if I was a succuba there to distract or destroy Tony or the company."

"Not likely," Dawn said, coming in to turn on the tv.  "Probably relevant."  She went back to her desk, closing the door.

They watched the FOX News bitter person complaining that all of SHIELD was apparently gay.  Fury shook his head.  "Maybe a third is open minded but not that many.  Ooh, she's going to complain."  They had flashed a picture of Maria Hill and Tara out on a date.  He texted her.  He got back a simple 'I. Know.' from her.  "She's pissed."

"I would be too," Tony agreed.  "Especially with how they keep showing pictures of agents to get them killed."  He shifted, looking at Steve.  "He's going to either ask you to denounce us or go on the record formally.  Which do you want to do?"

"I don't lie unless I have to," he said firmly, staring back.  "Do you need me to?"

Tony snorted and waved a hand.  "If I thought that was a workable solution I would've mentioned it before we got attacked here."

"Good point.  You're blunt that way."  He looked at the director.  "I'll gladly go on the record with my thoughts on things.  Including them showing pictures of agents to get them killed."  Pepper moaned and pointed.  They looked and winced.  That agent had been shot by someone last night.  "We've got to stop that."

"Freedom of the press but...."  Tony looked at Pepper, who nodded.  "We can get an injunction."  He called his head of Legal to come up and do that for them.  She walked in.  "FOX is showing pictures of agents and getting them killed."

"On it," she said, heading off to call others.  She knew someone at the FBI who did their press releases.  That would get stopped.  If not, she'd turn in the supposed reporters to the IRS.  She was not against being torturous to evil shits.  She paused at Dawn's desk.  "FOX is showing agents' pictures."  She growled.  "Got anything?"

She smirked.  "Curses of misfortune for each one that gets dead.  Or... Henry!"  He appeared, looking confused.  She pointed in there.  "FOX News?"

He looked then at her.  "That bad?"

"Getting agents killed by showing their pictures."

"They had one of Maria and Tara," the head of Legal said quietly.

"Fuck no!" he shouted.  "D'Hoffryn owes Tara a debt!"  He went to tell him and get some help.  That was going to take more than one wish demon.

Dawn smiled.  "That was helpful, yes," the head of Legal said.  She went to call her buddies.  By the time she got down there, FOX's main station had went dark due to a power outage.  Their generators were down.  Their backup stations were out.  She nearly cackled at that.  It was an inspired move.  It wasn't even the demons.  They had gotten another covert agency's people mixed up in that set of pictures and they were protesting as she found out.  She let Joyce know so she could tell Fury.


Steve looked nervously around the room he was in.  Dawn walked in and sat him down to work on his hair.  "This isn't what I was expecting."

"You'll be fine, Cap."  He stiffened up and nodded.  "Remember, they're not enemies.  They're reporters.  Just humans who ask a lot of really strange questions."  She patted him on the shoulder and grinned.  "Relax.  Be yourself.  Answer clearly and without statements that can be turned against you because sometimes they're like attorneys."

He nodded.  "I can do that."  She smiled and left him to wait in the car.  He got up to go back to pacing, checking his hair.  The reporter's assistant came in.  "Do I look okay?"

"You look fine, Captain Rogers."  She smiled.  "She won't eat you.  That's why Dawn and Pepper chose her.  Because usually she's a nice lady who has sense and qualifications to put out real news."  She led him out to put a microphone on him.  "Here you go.  Relax.  She won't bite this time."  She left them alone.  He was so adorably flustered and blushing at the reporter, who was old enough to be his mother, even with how long he had been in ice.

"Hi, ma'am," he said.

She smiled.  "Speak up a bit more for the microphone to pick it up, Captain."

"I..."  He cleared his throat.  "I can do that."

She smiled.  "If you start stuttering, we can edit it."  He nodded, making himself try to look relaxed.  "Just calm down."  She shifted closer, making it look less formal to keep him calm.  He was nearly sweating.  The camera man nodded at her point.  "We're talking with a man of great virtue and questionable methods at times, though they've always benefitted the world.  Captain Steve Rogers, welcome."

"Thank you, ma'am, though I'm not sure which methods were questionable?"  This isn't what he was expecting.

"Congress and the Pentagon have released some of the files on your work during World War 2.  Some people have been saying that your actions during the Pergaric mission were a bit unorthodox."

He thought back.  "Was that the train through Switzerland?"  She nodded.  "In that case I would agree but they had rerouted the train and that was the only sane, reasonable option we had in that case.  We did the best we could."

"No one's ever doubted that, Captain.  Sometimes, genius comes with a bit of crazy, as I'm sure you've noticed in Mr. Stark."

He grinned.  "He has a lot of people like that in his labs but they're mostly all very nice, personable, pleasant people.  Some of them are really great people who have ideas pop up in the middle of a sentence that they have to deal with right then."

"I've seen a few geniuses myself over the years.  I've even interviewed both Tony and his father at one point, right before he was killed."

"Tony said you had interviewed him."  She smiled.  "This isn't really what I'm used to but I feel that we should clear up some misconceptions."

"That's great."  She smiled.  "There's been rumors that Mr. Stark was gay in the past."

"He said he's more into certain personalities.  Certain whole beings really that contain the personalities."

She nodded.  "Some people do get along better with one type of people.  We know there's been hints of him and Miss Potts dating on and off through the years.  Do you think she and you are alike?"

"I think if Pepper had went military she'd be a general by now.  She does know how to take charge, get things done, make sure everything's done the right way."  He smiled.  "Pepper's really inspiring in some ways.  Even to me.  I couldn't run Stark International without going nuts.  She does it, is a mom, all that stuff.  She's an amazing woman."

"She is.  Do you think you two are alike though?"

"I've never thought of myself as amazing but very capable sure."  He shifted some and decided to cross his legs.  "She's got the same sort of organization skills I learned in the military.  We do think alike sometimes when we're doing damage control because something's happened to an experiment at the labs."  He looked up then at her, shaking his head.  "Some scientists were horsing around and created a people suffocating foam by accident the other day.  She was getting things handled while I was handling the rescue efforts."

"Things like that happen at Stark.  Do you think he doesn't have good oversight?"

"I think that in that case, they were playing around.  It was a group of interns.  They do weekly reports to cite their progress and any problems they've come into.  Dawn gathers them every Monday when she's making coffee.  Any of them can go to Tony to ask his opinion.  He lets Dawn tell him if she finds something wrong on her daily coffee making rounds.  Then he handles it.  They don't get strong *oversight* but people notice when things start to go wrong."

"She goes into the labs?"

Steve grinned.  "Dawn nags all the science staff that keep forgetting to eat and drink on a schedule.  She makes the labs coffee each day to make sure they have what they need, take anything they need to hand over, and to make sure there's nothing broken.  She doesn't really butt into their work but she does let them know that if they need something to tell her.  Most of them really appreciate it because they forget to eat and things when they're involved in doing something.  Some of them come to her to ask her to help them schedule things."

"That's great."  She smiled back.  "What about his daughter?"

"Callia already loves to tinker and invent.  She's got a corner of her father's lab to do that in so he can help by teaching her things.  That plus her time with her pets and the car collection.  We hardly see Callia."

"Is she in school?"

"Home schooling.  She has three hours a day when she has to sit down and do her work.  We make sure of it.  If it's not us, her step-grandfather does or Dawn does or Pepper does.  She has to sit down at an actual table or desk and do her workbooks or whatever.  She does two subjects at a time and about three a month total.  She's ahead by about two grades from what Tony said last night."

"That's good.  Not too far ahead.  Will he be sending her to a real school?"

"He said maybe in high school but right now she's a bit susceptible to bullying and other problems like people wanting to take her to get a hold of Tony's things, tech or money.  We're all worried about that."

"I would be as well."  She shifted and put up a picture.  "Dawn has said that it was reasonable that she showed up with a shotgun.  Why?"

He pointed at the tubes someone was carrying.  "She identified those as explosives.  NYPD found she was right when they arrested them and the ones protesting at the building.  Tony hadn't realized it until she said that.  I got really pi...upset that they brought explosives anywhere near Callia and the playground.  What if they had set it off?  It could've killed her and any other kids there."

"You were more worried about the baby than yourself?"

He stared at her.  "Tony and I can take care of ourselves.  We're adults.  We're both trained in defensive fighting and things like that.  She's almost seven right now.  If they had hurt her, I would've taken out that whole group.  Injured or not."  He stared at her.  "Most parents would, most close uncles or aunts would.  Dawn definitely would.  She hates her family being threatened by anyone.  Her mother got threatened by people who hated Buffy and then people who hated her.  She's hyper aware of threats like that and always acts swiftly and to the point where people back down."

"I can agree with that."  She put down the picture.  "They showed up to protest that you and her father were together?"

"They did."

"Are you?"

He paused then nodded.  "I do love that man.  All his personality flaws and all that.  All the times he hides behind his drinking, all the times he's lost himself in the lab.  All the times he stares at people like he just doesn't understand them.  He's a good man underneath.  A strong soul and a good man who can and will stand beside me no matter what sort of battles I go into.  Any soldier will tell you finding someone like that is really rare, ma'am.  I got real lucky."

She smiled.  "My son's a Corporal in the Marines."

"Tell him I said thank you for his service."

"I will, Captain."  She grinned.  "He said about the same thing about his wife, though it took a while for her to grow on me."

"It took over a year for Tony to grow on me and to figure out that he's wearing armor in daily life too.  The first few times we met I wanted to punch him so badly."  He smiled.  "We got into a 'go put on the suit so I can have a fair fight' argument during some of it."  He shook his head.  "Tony's really smart, really arrogant, and he's usually right about whatever he's arrogant about.  He has these days when everything he says is wrong and hides in the lab those days.  It was one of those that made me realize that all that is armor to him and he uses it because he's like the other scientists in the building that used to look at me like they weren't sure what a human was."

"Do you think that's a product of the high IQ?"

"No, I think that's a product of parents that don't know how to handle kids with a high IQ.  Callia doesn't have that problem because Pepper stepped in to help and so did Dawn.  They both taught her how to handle people things because she could've slipped that way with just Tony raising her.  They would've went into the lab and never come out for years except when they were hungry."  She laughed.  "He can some days.  I think a lot of that is parents not being sure how they can handle a high IQ and not warp the kids into evil genius sorts.  Sometimes it's parents who don't pay enough attention instead of them being overly cautious.  I've met some geniuses that have no problem with people things.  I've met some that think they should have an extra notation after their PhD's that list them as a minor God in some ancient Pantheon you'd have to ask Alexander about."

"Is he one of them?" she asked.  "He's never in the news."

"No.  He's pretty much a really nice guy.  Callia's new boxer puppy is a lot like him, and named after him.  He's protective and happy and likes to joke around.  He's serious when he has to be.  He's a family guy even though he's slightly scared of kids due to his long history.  He's a nice guy, a real warrior and leader of men sort of guy.  He explained comics to me the other day and showed me some of the ones about me.  I had no idea.  Then he showed me some from another realm that had all the Avengers, including some we don't have here.  It was neat.  He's still a geek without being a scientist."

"He sounds like a decent man."

"He is until you upset him by touching what's his."

She nodded.  "I can see that happening.  I would be too.  Have you met any of the other ones?  You'd expect them to be arrogant."

"I have met his mother, his half-brother, a few others.  Some of them are fairly arrogant 'because I'm a god' sorts.  Some of them are like normal people only they suddenly appear.  His mother's been nagging for grandchildren for years now.  She was going to talk to a fertility goddess that they both know to have Xander get pregnant without his knowing so she'd get grandchildren."  She gaped and whimpered.  He grinned and nodded.  "He made her stop it.  Fortunately.  We're not sure how he'd handle his axe while out to here."  He held his hand out a foot from his stomach.  "Or if his war dogs would like him like that."

"He has dogs?"

"Ares gave him one for his announcement of getting his position.  That would be Hellion.  Then Ares bred Hellion and got a few puppies.  He has two of them and they're finished training recently.  Then Hellion, while up on Asgard for a night off, picked up a red wolf as a mate and they've had four puppies and I think she's pregnant again."  He frowned then cleared it up.  "We're hoping Callia doesn't want another pet.  She has plenty."

"I've heard her talk about her rabbit, Carrot, and some mice.  Now a dog?"

"She inherited five cats.  The mice went to some twins she's always played with.  Thankfully since one of them was pregnant."  She laughed.  "We still have Carrot.  Now him, five cats, and a boxer puppy that loves them all.  We're still figuring out what to do with them since they're kind of a little family on their own.  The original owner named them after some of the family and they're almost exactly alike.  We had to put the cat named after Tony inside twice before security took him upstairs for us so we could leave.  He wanted to see the inside of the car."

"What breed is he?"

"They're all different breeds but that one's a chausie?"  She nodded she knew what that was.  "He's very inquisitive.  Last night at about three he decided to go roaming and got into the flour then found a way into the oven to knock the shelves around.  I got up to shoo him out and he was playful so he ran outside and slipped into the pool on the ice on the patio.  Which did not make him a happy cat.  So he hopped up on the railing around the penthouse's patio and thought seriously about jumping down to the walkway to the new tower.  Sixteen stories and I caught him before he could, because I'm pretty sure he'd be injured but he has no sense. 

"We came inside, tossed him into the bathroom, closed him in, then went back to bed to wash him this morning.  In that time, and this is an unused bathroom, he knocked around all the sample bottles of soap and shampoo, had tipped over the automatic soap dispenser after having it squirt all over, probably because he was fascinated that it squirted whenever he patted it.  Though some was on his back.  He managed to get the back off the toilet," he sighed.  "And we found flour in there so he fell in again.  Then he was napping in the tub with all the toilet paper he had knocked in there and played with."

She cackled, patting him on the knee.  "He is definitely named after the right person."

He grinned and nodded.  "I love the cats.  They're sweet, even the ones I can't pet.   They're just all bundles of playful energy that like to jump on everything."  She laughed.  "Callia sits there and plays endless rounds of fetch with them and the Roombas that someone programmed to be dogs."

"Someone made roombas, the little hockey puck vacuums, into dogs?"

"Remember the young engineer that was out when they found out Pepper was pregnant?  That's Andrew.  Him and his lab partner, Jonathan, made them.  One has a bomb sniffing tentacle and the other has a tiny laser to bite people who bother Liz."  Well, really, both could have lasers by now.  Andrew and Jonathan were like that.  "They were the original pets in the tower.  A lot of us played fetch with them when we were bored."

"Aww.  Did they add dog features?"

"No.  It doesn't have a head or anything.  They both have a tentacle suction tube, very sea creature since the first draft.  They bark, growl, all that."

"That sounds adorable."

"If you ask Tony or Dawn they might be able to find you pictures of it playing fetch."  He grinned.  "They're cute little robot pets.  I played a few rounds waiting on Tony to get done in the lab so we could go over missions.  Jonathan and Andrew use it to think to when they're stuck.  They built it a little recharging doghouse in their lab, all that.  They have little gold ID tags on top of them so we can tell them apart.  They're nice pets and easy to take care of since they clean up after themselves."

"They sound like good pets for absent minded sorts."  She smiled.  "How long have you and Tony Stark been together?"

"I'm not sure.  We hang out because I get bored at events they make me go to.  He gets bored at them too so we'd talk through a lot of them.  When did it just kinda...happen?" he asked with a blush.  "About five months ago?"  He countered back, nodding.  That's when they had become more than 'dating' to him.  "Just over five months ago."  He grinned.  "We were fussing over Pepper and Liz."

"That's very sweet of you."

"Liz is a very sweet baby.  She's the sort to make other women want babies."

"I heard there was a problem with a scientist who was fighting against her mother's idea that Stark was going to breed her for future scientists?"

"That would be Andrew's wife.  Her mother needs...  She needs some sort of help.  She thought we were a cult.  That we were keeping her hostage, that we were going to use her to breed the next great scientist generation.  They tried to calm her down but she got irritated and huffed off."

"I heard she was trying to file a lawsuit and get an order to give her control over her daughter's life."

"We heard and Pepper went to that defense to tell her off.  She brought video of when she showed up the past two times.  The judge laughed her out of court since MB is a really nice girl, very sweet and dotes on Andrew.  He made her drop the lawsuit too by finding it didn't have merit."

"That's wonderful for Stark.  The young lady?"

"Pretty much told everyone that if her mother showed up again to tase her again."

"You did?"

"Dawn did.  She took a swing at Tony the first time she showed up.  This was after throwing a fit demanding to see him and making a huge spectacle of herself."

"Interesting woman."

"MB is great despite her mother.  She adopted a cat Dawn won at kitten poker that's a bit evil."  He smiled.  "Little cute yellow fluffball of a kitten that loves to claw people to death."

"Some cats are like that."

"He's evil," Steve said with a grin.  "He climbs the walls.  He chased Roomba out of his doghouse the other day.  Dawn's cat Loki played with it when she got it that night but he was happy to give him up."

She laughed.  "Her cat's name is Loki?"

"He was a fire escape cat," Steve said, crossing his feet in the other direction and shifting some.  "Sorry, sore back from sparring.  I looked up one day and there was this tiny black kitten with green eyes staring intently at me.  He didn't look away when I stared back.  He didn't move when I opened the window.  I put down some tuna and water and he sniffed then looked at me and huffed a 'good enough' sound before eating.  I named him but she took him in a few months later."

"Aww."  She smiled.

"He really loves Clint's hair."

She giggled.  "That's great."  He smiled and nodded, shifting again.  "Sparring today?"

"I train every day, ma'am.  Sparring practice is twice a week.  Tony was trying some new suit modifications and knocked me into a roof support pole by accident.  He promised me a backrub in payment for the bruise."  He grinned.

"That's very nice of him.  Can you beat Iron Man when you're sparring?"

He considered it.  "Depends.  There's levels of being *into* a fight.  If it's a real battle and something like Tony was compromised, I'd do whatever I had to do to bring him down in a way that wouldn't permanently injure him but immobilize him.  If we're just in the ring boxing, I tend to take it easy on him.  Myself, Agents Barton and Romanoff, Agent Coulson, Tony, and sometimes Dawn all spar together."

"She does?"

"She does."  He smiled.  "As she pointed out, there's been a lot of people who wanted to kidnap her and she doesn't like that.  She's been taking self defense lessons for years because of that problem.  She's also got a different style of fighting than the others do so it keeps us out of a comfort zone.  Though, Agent Romanoff is one of the best fighters I have ever met.  She's absolutely focused even in sparring.  She knocks me down a lot."

"She's that redheaded woman, right?"

"She is," he said with a grin.  "She's one very tough fighter.  I've seen Director Fury not win against her a few times."

"That's wonderful.  I know the movie has her being very competent with weapons."

He nodded.  "Whatever she picks up she can use.  She's great with weapons from piano wire up.  Plus fighting bare handed.  She's really the best that a lot of heavy training could make."

"Huh."  She smiled.  "She's an interesting woman.  I wouldn't have expected her to be more than well trained."

"She's more than well trained.  She's a full agent with a long history inside SHIELD."

"Wonderful.  Women need strong role models to look up to."  She smiled.  "Are Dawn and Clint going to be announcing anything soon in the way of perhaps an engagement?"

"I believe you'd have to ask her that.  As Dawn says, I'm not authorized to give out any personal information about anyone inside Stark International or SHIELD without their permission, ma'am."  He grinned.

"I can ask her later then.  We see her now and then at the grocery store."

"She's a pretty decent cook.  We have cookouts as a team and she usually fixes something nice."

"Great."  She smiled at him.  "Are you happy?"


"In general."

He considered it then nodded.  "I know there's a few things I could be doing better but overall I'm very happy."

"What about those people that say that you're dirtying the uniform?"

"I think they don't know what they're talking about.  From the first military in any country, from the first day of any new military in any country, there's always been gay officers.  We've all served loyally.  We've served patriotically.  I've done more than a lot of them have for my country and like the ones that tried to judge Dawn for not wanting to put on spandex and join us, I'm really sad that the US went that way.  This isn't the same country I knew before I had to crash that plane.  People like that hid it better back in my old days, usually under a white sheet."  She shivered. 

"I wouldn't have put up with that then and taught them manners.  Now, if they get in my face they're still getting a lesson in manners."  He grinned.  "Dawn's a great young woman.  She's doing what makes her happy and if her specific skills can be used, all we have to do is ask.  Usually she's there knowing about it before we do.  Personally, I think with those sort, the Nazis may have won a bit of a foothold and it makes me really angry and upset that we lost some good Americans to them.  That we fought them so hard but now they're making a comeback among certain groups."

"What do you think about that church in Georgia?"

"I think that's not the holy book I was taught," he said bluntly.  "The ministers that taught me would've been highly ashamed of their cults.  He'd probably feel the same sort of shame that they used to have when they talked about snake handling churches being warped versions of our own faith."

"You know, there's still some of those around."

"Really?  Huh."  He shook his head.  "I never got that.  I guess it works for them, and that's what's really important in faith, but it's not my version of any faith I was taught by any minister.  The same as the yahoos down there that tried to crash Tony's plane with them on it."  She stiffened.  "It wasn't a mechanical failure, no.  The FBI has been dragging their feet about arresting the people who were behind it.  She opened the door, said they were going to die for being ungodly, and then let the wind take her. 

"Thankfully, Clint was on the plane so he could fly it after she capped the pilot, and Tony got the door shut.  Also I'm really thankful and saying nightly prayers that Liz was in the bedroom area on the plane because Pepper had been feeding her.  Because she was too vulnerable.  It hurt...."  He cleared his throat.  "It hurt a lot when I heard Dawn and Pepper making emergency plans to send Liz away magically if they had to and were going to die.  I wanted to go in there and hug them both but it wasn't a good thing to do at that time."

"Were there others involved?"

He nodded.  "That minister in North Carolina, the one you were nagging the other day about his plan to set up restricted communes for gay people so they die off?  Same guy.  He put up a nice note just after they took off about how they had died in a plane crash but it was God's will.  I'm pretty certain when he meets God, God's going to have a few questions for him."

She shivered.  "I'd hope so.  He has had a lot of idiotic viewpoints."

"He's one I think we lost the war for," he said.  "Maybe he has a white sheet hanging in his closet, maybe he's the new breed, but America doesn't need people like that.  She never has, she never will.  That's my feelings and I doubt anyone's going to make me change it."

"No, I agree.  We have a lot of people that we don't really need.  Speaking of, a hot button issue.  Immigration?"

He smiled.  "Even the Native Americans came from somewhere else and I'm pretty darn sure that they didn't have Immigration then.  I'm pretty sure some snuck over each of our borders and all that up until we started to really pay attention around the Civil War.  I'm pretty sure others did after that.  Frankly, the people who complain they're taking American jobs?  I'd like to see them go pick fruit.  Dawn was helping Doctor Banner go on a vaccination round of fruit pickers for the flu shot and things.  He does things like that and I had never even seen a fruit farm, being born and bred here in the city." 

He grinned.  "We talked and they make horrible wages for really long days of work.  I saw a few that were working with broken limbs, not casted ones, but wrapped in ace bandages.  Really, I doubt most Americans would do that sort of work.  Even the ones in jail would complain about it being too hard of a job."  She laughed.  "Really!  I had no idea!  And if Americans did those jobs, food would cost a whole lot more because we'd have to get minimum wage and all that they don't.  I had no idea and Tony explained that to me later on that night so I knew all the arguments around immigration going on."

"You weren't interested?"

"I was a soldier, not a politician.  I may have done USO work but I'm not really into any of that politics stuff.  I don't understand it.  I don't understand the whole 'making deals' things.  Nothing like that.  I grew up pretty poor.  We worked hard, we died young from it.  The rich people worked at better jobs and lived longer because of it.  The American dream was to get a job that paid better and let you live longer and better.  Now it's....  apparently complaining in some areas of the country.  Which I don't understand either."

"It's a lot to take in, all the changes in society."

"It is, and the first time I saw a mini skirt I nearly offered the woman my jacket since she looked cold."  She cackled.  "I was not ready for that.  Not at all.  But the people at SHIELD helped me get accustomed to things.  Helped me update myself to modern history, all the wars we had fought, all the presidents, all that stuff.  I'm still shaky on a few things but I'm pretty good with everything except my DVD player.  Anytime I push the open button it closes really fast and tries to bite me.  Even Tony can't figure out why it hates me."

She laughed, patting him on the arm.  "It does that to many of us, Captain."  He grinned.  "Can you use a computer?"

"Tony showed me how to google and how to email on one and on my phone.  I don't tend to use it much beyond finding news articles online and every now and then answering SHIELD emails.  I still prefer talking to someone in person instead of over the computer or the phone.  In my neighborhood, there were two phones on my block.  I only had to use one once and that was when my mother died."  She gave his arm a squeeze.  He smiled.  "It doesn't hurt as much anymore but thank you."

"It's a hard thing for anyone to go through. Though most of us will."  She gave him another pat.  "Do you watch tv?"

"I do sometimes.  Clint got me turned onto Iron Chef.  Tony watches Deadliest Warrior sometimes.  Agent Coulson watches things like Super Nanny and I've caught a few eps when he was babysitting Callia for Tony."

"He does?"

"Sometimes.  Not always.  Everyone else was busy and he's a good sitter.  He made her do her homework she was avoiding and do some ahead.  Got her reading it to her rabbit when she was being stubborn about it.  He's done a lot around the tower to keep things efficient when things start going out of control.  Pepper knows she can ask him for organizational advice if she needs it.  He's like a big brother to Dawn that nags her about her clothes and shoes."  She smiled.  "He's a nice guy.  I like Agent Coulson.  He's great to hang out with and all that.  He's really good when we have cookouts.  Tony actually lets him have the grill sometimes, unlike the rest of us."

"It sounds like your team is very close."

"We're pretty close.  We've taken a lot of turns looking out for each other.  And Dawn."

"One last question.  Do you know anything about what happened at FOX News?"

"From what I have overheard, they were showing pictures of agents.  Which had gotten a few dead."  She shuddered.  "SHIELD does have covert agents, and a few of them got shot while on assignment as well.  I know someone shot at Tara and the twins, which led to Dawn turning them into a puddle of goo for it before anyone else got there.  But they also showed pictures of agents who weren't SHIELD.  Who were part of another covert agency. 

"So covert the CIA has to wonder who they are.  Like that movie with the guy on the wire and the safe room at the CIA?  They got some of their agents mixed in and they were protecting their agents' lives.  Not that I personally really miss them.  I think a whole lot of them shop at the white sheet sale in February to quote Dawn."  He grimaced.  "I really don't miss the one that asked if I am on the penetrative end or not.  Not that he'll ever get that question answered. 

"Really, some of your fellow reporters were kinda rude at that network.  I have no idea why someone made a supposed news network full of rude bigots but maybe it's meant for those sheet wearing sorts so I'll never understand their bias, their hatred, and their outright lies about things.  By the way, I was told they were wondering if I was Mata Hari.  No, I was not.  I met her once.  She was a pretty nice lady with a very strong focus on what she did.  She wasn't the same as me though."

"Who said that?"

"That skinny dork that likes to pick on Tony a lot."

"I've seen him.  I'm not sure if he was being serious or not."

"He opened a comment section with it.  I had two others who asked if my main job was morale helping.  If I see them I'm punching them in the nose for it."  He smiled.  "And you can tell them that that's not Dawn's job either since they were thinking it was."

"She's a pretty girl but committed to her relationship, whatever that is."

He nodded.  "They're very committed to each other.  I've never seen anyone have a reaction like I did the other day when someone shot at Agents Barton and Romanoff outside the Children's hospital."

"Why were they there?"

"There's a young boy up on oncology that idolizes Clint," he said with a smile.  "Once he heard, he started to visit him.  Dawn and Joyce both go up about every other month to help the kids and talk to them, encourage them.  Agent Romanoff was going with them this time to read to the kids."

"That's very sweet.  I know Dawn's mother had a brain tumor."  He nodded.  "Is she in remission?"

"She's doing checks every four months but they haven't found any new cancer cells.  One blood clot due to the medicine she's on but nothing else serious."

"That's wonderful."  She smiled.  "Thank you for talking to me today."

"Thank you for not being the sort that makes me nervous."  She smiled and the producer cut.  "Really, thank you," he said quietly, taking off the microphone.

"A good reporter should make it easy unless it's a hostile interview with someone like that warlord prince that wanted Miss Summers the last time."

"She destroyed his castle for kidnaping her niece and Agents Romanoff and Barton," he said quietly.  "She was going to torture him over that and having Callia in a shock collar."  She shivered.  "I expected her to turn green."

She smiled.  "I've heard that her mother married Doctor Banner?"

"Yes, they have, though he didn't want her to take his name because of incidences like that military thing."

"I can understand that.  And what Dawn did.  She's a brave, strong girl."

"She is but we all wish she'd quit having to prove it because of attacks on the family or on Stark.  We're all really tired of those.  Especially from the people who were using their Starkpad to plan the protest and assault on the tower."  He smiled.

"That is how some of those sort are," she agreed.  "Thank you, Captain."

"You're very welcome.  Thank you."  He kissed her on the cheek and left.

"My son needs manners like him," she told her producer.

"He has good manners but he swears more.  It's a modern problem."

"It is."  She got up to stretch.  "He did good for his first official interview."


Dawn looked at the interviewer she was with.  She had set up her own because there needed to be a few things handled.  Cap was doing his and she would hopefully be done by then.  "No," she told the reporter who had asked if she was going to pull on spandex.  "I'm not.  I'm not suited for that.  My skills aren't suited for daily combat usage.  I can do a few small things or one big thing and then I pass out for a few days with a migraine."

"I did not understand that process.  Magic is foreign to most people so they base it on what you read in stupid books."

She smiled slightly.  "Some get it mostly right."  She clasped her hands on the table.   "What I do uses up my own energy.  I don't usually get to channel from the earth or anything unless it's a prepared spell and that's usually got nothing to do with combat.  What I do is channel my own energy, my own stored fat cells most of the time as well, and push it at things with intent to change or move them.  Which is why anytime I've been sick, I've lost a ton of weight."

"You have looked moderately skinny more than once."

"I figured out back when I was eighteen how to put back on five pounds in two days if necessary.  It comes in handy."

"I figure it would.  So what is your upcoming problem?"

"Actually, I'm foreseeing, without the vision, just with logic, a bigger problem.  Two really.  What happens if all the heros are in the infirmary or the hospital from the last battle when a new one starts?"  He gaped, giving her a horrified look.  "Even if we have more, because half the times I've been taken it was by people who wanted to start their own country's program of heros the hard way, there'll still come a time when everyone's worn out and something will happen.  Then what?"

"I don't know," he admitted.  "The military?"

"The military's not equipped to handle something like an alien invasion outside the SGC and they're not big enough to handle a full scale one.  They might've handled the one in New York, but it would've lasted longer and caused more damage."

"That's a very good point to raise.  What was the other one?"

"What if they attack somewhere we're not?  Or somewhere we are?  What if they attack Iran or Saudi Arabia?  Or even Afghanistan with our very worn out soldiers over there?  Do you think the soldiers there are going to be able to handle a sudden invasion scenario by things with higher weapons?"

He paused to consider that.  "I would hope that their governments would call for help."

"They have nothing to lean on to ask for it.  There's no international agreement in place.  Nothing that says 'for the fate of us all, we'll come help defend you even though we hate your country and your politics'.  If Cuba had that invasion instead of New York, all their allies were over six hours away.  Maybe four if Argentina has really fast planes.  More than that for Russia and their arsenals.  Or hell, wild speculation, what if they attack part of South America that isn't really watched over by any government.  In the mountains, where there's rebel forces?  No one has any way of calling for help beyond begging.  Which most world leaders will not do."

"Those are actually very good points.  I would say make more heros but we can't really breed them.  It'll be decades."

"It'll be longer than that.  SHIELD's team has one woman and four guys.  How many kids, even with spouses outside the team can they have?  And one has a spouse that's not fertile."

"I heard your mother married Doctor Banner."  He licked his lips.  "Here's a point, what about training agents?"

"We'd adore it," Dawn quipped with a grin.  "We really would."  He slumped and groaned.  "England's trying but ....  Let's put it this way.  I've been taking self defense since Pepper became my  mentor, mostly because people keep wanting to snatch me."  He nodded at that.  "Either because of my sister, because I have magic, because they thought I'd be an easy chip against Tony Stark, whatever.  A few just because they wanted me.  Me having taken self defense classes for four years and then sparring practice with most of the Avengers on and off since then, I can usually tie with Agent Barton."

"Your boyfriend."

"Yes, him."  She smiled.  "I can't fully beat Agent Romanoff on a consistent basis.  Most of the time I can't win against her at all unless it's a sacrifice of myself at the same time.  I can sometimes tie with Captain Rogers and I'm pretty equal to Tony Stark."  He moaned a tiny bit.  She smiled.  "It comes in handy.  Really, it does.  Because each time they try to take me I have to get meaner and meaner.  We just stopped one plot by a group that wanted to use me to start a new breed of superheros.  They were going to kidnap me, impregnate me, then let me go to see how the kids did."

"Ow," he hissed.

"This isn't the first time.  I've had fertility meds shoved into my birth control shots.  I've had them dose me with it through subliminal programming that got a few of us, and I dosed Agent Romanoff during that too because I was just as hit.  They dosed my mom in the serum that started off the second tumor's growth."  He shuddered.  "They're a bunch of crackheads and next time I'll destroy them.  But, if me, little, tiny, womanly me, can get to that level.  What can someone normal do?  I admit I'm not fully normal.  I'm really close to normal but not fully normal."

He grimaced.  "So you're saying agents need to be picked carefully for training?  Maybe athletes?"

"Agent Romanoff was trained with gymnastics as a young woman.  She was also trained to dance and other things."

"Which is why she's very graceful," he said.  "So we need to start an agreement."

"A *universal*, planet wide agreement that we will not let petty politics hinder someone having to come in and save a country in case of an apocalypse battle.  Because right now, if the hellmouth that's starting to form in Jordan goes off, they're screwed."

"There is?" he demanded.

She nodded.  "It's a tiny pinpoint right now but we've seen it with the strange weather patterns over there?  It's forming in that area.  We had someone trying to force it open a few months back.  We've found books written by the missionaries that founded Sunnydale with the old mayor, who was working to become a pure demon."  She licked her lips.  "When it started, nothing was drawn to it.  You got some really severe occasional storms.  Ten miles up the road is a normal thunderstorm, on the hellmouth there was one that needed an ark sort as they described it.  It had nice aurora sort of lights now and then during the summer when it was really humid for the water vapor to merge with the spacial radiation."

"They've been reporting that sort of sight...  Oh, dear."

"Yeah.  What happens if and when it opens?  The slayers aren't welcome in the Middle East.  Their military probably can't deal with a demonic invasion.  They don't have anything set up to ask for any sort of help, nothing that would compel the other world leaders to help outside of panic.  Then what happens?  SHIELD can't get there.  The people above SHIELD probably wouldn't let them even if Jordan asked.  So how do we handle that?"

"We make national teams without compelling people, because that won't get them guarded competently."

"No, conscription leads to a lot of angry soldiers that will not do a damn thing," she agreed.  "I probably would've killed everyone and walked over them on my way out."

"I can see that point, though some will want it."

"But that's not the answer.  Even if they did, how would they know which ones were good enough?  How many of their current agents are good enough?"

"In countries like Iran, probably not enough," he said.  "Are there bloodlined witches over there?"

"If there are, they're in deep hiding and will not come out for anything.  Which, I agree with.  People put them to death over there."

He nodded.  "I've seen them putting fake ones to death."  He considered it, looking at his other panel.  "So, she's right.  That's a problem we have to solve."

"We do need an international agreement," one said.  "Quickly.  Because I can see that happening during the negotiation and someone trying to put conditions on it."

The other one nodded.  "As for the breeding thing, genetically, it might not work.  Who says that the serum that enhanced Captain Rogers will get passed on?  Who says that the gifts that Tony Stark shows for engineering and how he turned around will go to his kids?"

"She's starting off a lot like her dad but she's asked to turn his suit into an animal hospital.  She's nearly seven though."  She smiled.

"My seven-year-olds all wanted to be teachers but I can see how much she's mentioned her animals in the past.  What happens if Iron Man is too injured, Miss Summers?  Is there a protocol?"

"I am not at liberty to divulge that.  It has to come from SHIELD."

"Good to know someone's thinking ahead."

She nodded.  "When I brought up these points, Director Fury got a migraine and said there was nothing he could do about it right now because people had their thumbs up their butts again."

The reporter laughed.  "That's putting it mildly at times."  He looked at his other two commentators.  "How would we get new heros beyond breeding?  Because we'd need a large pool to make it diverse enough for non inbreeding and that's really a nasty thought to have because it would take away their rights."

"And the people that want us all to move to a reservation so they don't see us ever again would really hate that," Dawn agreed.  They stared at her.  "Some people want heros on top; to be in charge so they feel safe.  It might give some power in the short term but they put it as everyone would feel safe.  Some people want us hidden as freaks of natures, put somewhere well out of sight so even if there's a battle they don't have to be scared by it."

The reporter nodded.  "I hadn't thought of those.  You've seen some churches using both."

"You have," Dawn agreed.

"That meteoroid?"

"There is no witch strong enough to pull an asteroid from orbit to hit a church," she said bluntly.  "I asked Alexander and he said it would've had to take at least three Gods from any pantheon he knew of.  We do know who did it and they did it by mechanical means."  She smiled.  "SHIELD knows.  They're well aware of that situation's consequences and quietly made sure they can't do it again."

"So, some warped genius?" the reporter asked.

"I think it took a few.  Needless to say, Fury had a hissy fit about it when they figured out who had done it.  If that ever gets unclassified, you'll probably laugh at the movie plotline they had."

He smiled.  "If you're sure they're safely put away?"

"Unless they somehow broke free, yup.  SHIELD has them under very tight watch."

"Good to know."

"I thought it might be someone at Stark," one of the commentators said dryly.

"Not for a while before then.  They were fired a while before that happened."

They nodded.  "That figures," they agreed.  They settled in to talk about how to train future hero teams.  How to get the people they needed.  What incentives they needed since conscription would mean they wouldn't protect people.  The people had to want to protect others, had to want to serve.  Which gave them the idea of testing inside the military and current agents.

The reporter looked at her.  "Is there an agent testing ground?"

"Yes.  Every two years all the agencies in the US gather for an agent olympics."  She smiled.  "It includes adjunct and consulting members because I had to run a 10K thanks to that clause.  Special people like Thor and Captain Rogers were not allowed to compete due to their specialness."

"You ran?"

"All the agents ran.  It was cumulative score for that event.  I also did the language event."

"So we could set goals up and talk to agents that met them," one said.

Dawn nodded.  "You could but I'm not sure how you'd set them.  How high, how fast.  Each agency has their own standards for incoming agents.  SHIELD's are very high.  To even make it past the preliminary physical testing, you have to be able to lift at least sixty percent of your own weight.  You have to be able to run five miles in under a specified time.  You have to be able to prove you have stamina, physical prowess, and abilities that they can use."

"Why a percentage?" the reporter asked.

"Because me lifting two hundred pounds would never happen.  You lifting two hundred pounds might never happen because I'm guessing that's more than you weigh."

"Barely.  Oh, so the weight and height differentials are taken into account."

She smiled and nodded.  "That's something that's recently changed instead of 'everyone must be able to lift so much' requirement because they realized it was pretty unfair.  That's just preliminary to move onto the second stage of training with Alexander.  There, you have an obstacle course that's really hard to do within time, even for Captain Rogers.  You have hand-to-hand and weapons training, you have stamina work.  By the time you get through with that, over half of the group has washed out.  Then you move to field work trials and training in how to do that.  They start with groups of about twenty or so and usually end up with three by the end.  And then those three usually only one or two pass into full agent status."

"Which means they have very high standards.  That female executive officer of Fury's.  Where does she rate against someone like your boyfriend?"

"Agent Hill is very tough.  She's very strong, very deadly, very fast.  Clint beats her in marksmanship but she's up there in the top two percent of SHIELD's firing range scores, he beats her most of the time in sparring because he learned how to street fight and she's more of a head on fighter instead of a sneaky one.  She and I spar now and then and she generally beats me barely.  She beats Stark.  She can't beat Captain Rogers and I've never seen her spar against Agent Romanoff."

"So she earned her position," the reporter said. 

Dawn smiled and nodded.  "She worked her way to the top and all the little ones that tried to stand in her way because she's female are very miserable if they're alive."

"That's the sort of thing you'd expect as an executive officer at SHIELD though," the other commentator agreed.  "Can we use her as a baseline?"

"Agent Coulson made rules for the rookies to aspire to during training.  You have to beat someone of my level.  You have to have a skill they can use beyond that.  Or something that's handy on the team beyond that fighting.  You have to be field tested and trained so they know you can handle it when things hit south and keep going in that direction.  You have to be able to match or beat all senior agent physical requirements."

"Which seem simple but just any one of those could be a lifetime's worth of work for an agent," the reporter said.  She nodded.  "So it takes exceptional skills and exceptional abilities."

"As it should," she agreed.  "Anyone who wants to serve can be a soldier, but not all soldiers can be a general.  Avengers take over field command and handle the big things, the tough things, while the soldiers and the lesser agents handle the little things and clearing the normal people out of the way.  Speaking of which, every city needs to have a disaster or emergency plan.  It sounds like most would but they don't.  Cleveland didn't have one until I started one for them before the Sunnydale battle.  I updated LA's for them."  They all groaned.  "It's something they need to think about and it'll help if it's another natural disaster too.  During the battle in New York, an officer dared to ask Captain Rogers who he was to give the NYPD orders about how to clear people."

"Which in some ways, makes a bit of sense since he was in uniform but not theirs, but in others it seems pretty dumb," the second commentator quipped.

"Yup," Dawn agreed with a grin for him.  "Just a bit.  New York's has people evacuating through the subway.  What happens if they get collapsed?  A few places did during the battles.  We need plans made.  Even if it never happens, it's better to have a plan that you never use than to have to come up with one off the crack of your butt as things are going on that're chewing on it.  That way you don't have to avoid the teeth as you're yanking it out."

"That's a blunt way of putting it but I agree," the reporter said.  "Are you planning on having kids?"

She smiled.  "Some year.  I'm almost looking forward to it.  Pepper made it look amazing.  Some day I want my own little genius in the making who we'll teach how to fire every weapon known to mankind."

He smiled.  "Just not right now?"

"I'm not even twenty-three yet."

"Good point.  Do you have eggs stored?"

"No.  I thought about it up until the first time someone tried to dose me with fertility meds so they could knock me up against my will."

"That's a great reason not to.  Anyone might steal them."  She nodded.  "Does he have sperm stored?"

She grinned.  "Not able to divulge that, sorry.  Ask him."

"If we see him I'm sure some nosy reporter sort will," the reporter quipped.

"Hopefully not the same one that asked if Tony took it the other day in front of his daughter so he had to explain it."

"No, that's a bit tacky."

Dawn nodded.  "We see many of those some days."  He laughed.  "There's one that keeps nagging me because I'm a bit pretty and twinkly at events.  She yells and complains that I don't fade into the woodwork leaving my boss to shine."

"You're young, you should go as pretty as you can and as twinkly as you want," the reporter said.

She grinned.  "Pepper told me to be pretty and not hide it.  So I don't."  She smirked.  "I like teasing sometimes."

"I've seen you do that before."  He cleared his throat.  "Those are very provocative questions we need to answer.  When we come back from commercial, we'll take suggestions."  The cameraman that had been signaling him cut.  "Thank you, Miss Summers."

"You're welcome.  It's a problem we need to get addressed even though most people want to be ostriches."  She shook his hand and waved at the other two.  "Have a better day, guys."  She handed over her microphone and headed out to the car.  Steve was waiting.  "Hey."  She climbed in.  "I'm done, Happy.  Can we get cheap cheeseburgers on the way back?  I'm starving."

"We can do that, Dawn," he quipped.  "It go well?"

"Yeah.  I pointed out we needed an international treaty of 'I'll come save your ass' and that we needed to find better ways of finding future heros beyond conscription and making me having billions of kids."

Steve patted her on the shoulder.  "We know you'll only have two or three."

"Two.  One for each spouse."

He smiled.  "If you're sure."

"Unless they're twins."

He laughed.  "I'm sure we'd love to see twins of you running around causing havoc and hell in the tower."  She grinned.  "Maybe they can inherit the cats and the bunny rabbit."

"Maybe."  She settled in and had to shift seats when they got to the burger place Happy picked.  She paid and handed Steve his, Happy his usual, and settled in to nibble her fries while they were still very hot.  She didn't mind cold fries but they gave her hiccups.  Her phone rang and she looked then hit ignore.  "Fury."  She stuffed her mouth again.  The carphone rang, clearly transferred.

Steve hit the button.  "Yes?"

"What the fucking hell!" Fury yelled.

"Shut the fuck up," she snapped back.  "It needed to be said, it needed to be figured out, because I'm only having two kids probably.  Not billions."  She hung up and ate another few fries.  Then she smiled at Steve.

He shook his head.  "It did."  He texted Tony to warn him.  He said he knew Fury was ranting.  They had watched the interview with Dawn since it was live.  She did look poised and made good points.  Which was getting Fury nibbled on by the World Security Council above him.  She sent back a shrug.  Tony praised that it got people thinking outside of using her so it might keep her from being snatched.  Before they needed to answer they were pulling into the garage and going upstairs, with Dawn hugging Happy on the way.  "Did I look okay?" Steve asked.

"Yours won't be on until tonight," Tony reminded him with a smile.  "Nice suggesting, Dawn."

"Thank you."  She hugged him and Pepper.  "Let me eat at my desk."  She went back there.  Maria Hill came off the elevator with Fury and paused to give her a hug.  She grinned around her bite of burger.  "You do kick ass very well," she said once she had swallowed.

"I do."  She walked in there.  "Captain, yours was copied for us and you looked fantastic."  He grinned at that complement.  "Stark, good work having Dawn do that."

"All her idea," he said.  "Though I've heard that something else was her idea."  He glared out at his assistant.

"I said they needed someone that combined your bs skills and diplomatic glad handling when you want to use it with Pepper's organization and good business skills, boss."  She ate another bite of burger.

"What?" Fury demanded.

"Mr. Stark's got about twenty percent of the popular vote right now to run for president, sir," Agent Hill said.  Fury grabbed his chest and winced, sitting down right there.  Dawn and Steve were already calling the infirmary for him.  So he could see why everyone liked Dr. Pigalli better than SHIELD's infirmary for himself.

Tony came out and hugged her.  "I asked when I first saw that, because I nearly had a heart attack too.  It's a good idea.  I'd vote for Callia too."  He went back to the office to talk to Steve and Pepper.  Agent Hill had Fury's heart attack well in hand.

Coulson appeared, looking at Maria.  "The Council just called," he said in her ear.  "They wanted you to move desks because you're too loyal to Fury.  They told AJ that."  He pulled back to look at her.

"I'm higher up than he is."

"Yes but they want to clean Fury's taint out."

She glared.  "How dare they."

Dawn walked over and handed her the phone.  "Tara called wondering why you were so upset."  She walked off.  "Can't be good for Eggbert either."

"Good point."  She put the phone up against her ear.  "Tara, they're trying to remove me because I'm too loyal to Director Fury."  She walked off talking to her.  Something was going to have to be done because her being pregnant was going to be counted against her.  She didn't want that.  AJ was nice but he'd screw up SHIELD so hard.  She looked back at Phil.  "How did they know?"

"They have some sort of sensor on him."

"No they don't," Dr. Pigalli said.  "I can't find a single electronic sensor or tracer on him."

"Interesting," Agent Hill said.  "Agent Coulson, find that out for me please?  I need to see someone."  He nodded, staring at her.  "I'll....  It's not time yet."

He gave her a hug.  "If and when it is, and you want to do it the same way, you come to me."  She nodded and walked off.

"Agent Hill?" Dr. Pigalli called.  She came back.  She wrote out a prescription.  "Take that tonight.  I'd suggest being in a tub."  She nodded her thanks and took it to get filled.  She smiled at Phil.  "She'll be okay."

"I'm sure she will but I'd like to spar with someone for daring to make her make that choice."  He walked off to check on Dawn, who was eating.  He kissed her on the head.  "Maria might need some healing energy later," he said quietly.

"If she needs it, have her talk to me."  She looked up.  "They trying to remove her?"


"Hell no!" Tony called from the office.  "I'm not dealing with a minion ever the fuck again."  Coulson looked in there.  "You're not really a minion anymore."  He called up one of the Council members.  "It's Stark.  I'm not dealing with any minions outside of Hill and Coulson.  None of my tech, none of my people, none of my designs because I don't trust any of them.  So if you want Iron Man to go handle emergencies, you'll leave her alone."  He hung up and repeated that call a few more times.

Dawn came in to hug him and hand him her spare cheeseburger.  "You deserve a treat."

"That's a greasy mess."

"Without pickles or onions so no nutritional value whatsoever."  She grinned.  "That's why it's called a treat."  She went back to her desk.

"She got Happy and me lunch too," Steve said with a grin.

Tony unwrapped it.  "Happy picked a good place for greasy burgers."  He ate and hummed.  "That's actually pretty darn good."  He walked off.  "Let me go make something to make them beg."

"Sure," Pepper agreed with a smile and a wave at his back.  She looked at Steve, who was grinning.  "She had good points."

"She did and she said she'd probably only have two kids unless she has some twins.  I could see them wandering around the tower painting things on people."  She cackled, nodding. "But maybe they'd get the cats and rabbit when Callia went to college."

"Maybe, if Liz doesn't claim them."  They shared a smile and she looked at Liz, who was sleeping peacefully.  "Someday soon she'll be crawling."

"Too late," Dawn called.  "Andrew said he caught her chasing after Roomba 2 last night."

"Really?  He didn't tell me!"  She texted him and he found footage to send her.  "Aww, she was!"  Steve came over to look.  "She's very determined too."

"Roomba 2 has a kitty toy," he noticed.  They shared a look and sent that at Tony.  Who sent back him grinning madly in a picture.  Dawn texted a message to the building that Liz was now crawling so please pay attention now and then in case she escaped the office and her.

All of a sudden, Pepper started getting emails about forcefield fencing options and baby leashes.  Jonathan offered to train Roomba 2 to go with her everywhere so she couldn't get into trouble.  She sent back a 'that's sweet but she won't get free that often' to Jonathan and the others.  Dawn's back got a glare shot at it but Dawn ignored it.

Clint walked in with a rope gate, hanging it across the doorway.  "That should help."  He walked out to kiss Dawn.  "Two?"

"Two kids.  One for each of you."  She smiled.  "Unless there's twins or something."

He took a deeper kiss.  "I could like two.  As long as they're as smart as you are."  She blushed and kissed him again.  "Hmm, cheeseburgers."

"I needed lunch."

He winked.  "I'm making dinner."

She grinned.  "I love that you cook."  He laughed and left her to work while he went grocery shopping somewhere they never went so no reporter could corner him about kids again.  She laughed at that thought but did get back to work updating things for the upcoming meetings.


Clint came home that night looking spooked.  "Reporters are persistent."

Dawn nodded.  "Depends on the type, but yes they are."  She grinned.

"Is that a punishment?"

"Would I punish you by throwing you to entertainment reporters?" she quipped with a grin.


"Then it might've been," she said with a happy look.  He kissed her and she moaned.  "That gets you out of the doghouse."

"Good!  Because I had three that followed me through the store, followed the cab, and tried to nag me before I could get in the doorway.  All about you being flirty, you getting pregnant, how many kids are we planning on, how many do I want, are we trying yet, is there going to be a huge wedding," he finished with a sigh.  "Damn."

"I deal with them every few weeks," she assured him.  "I know."  He hugged her.  "Want me to cook?"

"No.  I got pork chops."

"I love your pork chops."

He smirked.  "I meant the real ones, not the innuendo ones."

"Still the same answer, dear."

"That's good to know."  He carried the groceries into the kitchen to put things up.

Natasha walked in and leaned against the door once it was locked.  "What did you say to them?" she demanded.

"I avoided answering things," Clint said.  "Dawn told them if they found me they could ask when we're having kids."  Dawn smirked evilly at Natasha.

Natasha came over to kiss her.  "That's evil."

"Sometimes."  She grinned.  "He said I was getting fat this morning."

Clint shivered.  "Sorry, I won't mention that half of your jeans are a bit snug."

"There may be a reason for that," Dawn said, staring at his back.

He turned to stare at her.  "You are?"

"Not exactly but for some reason the whole thing is swelling.  I think it wants really, really hard.  I had Doc check this morning and she said she couldn't see anything implanted but it looks like the drugs they gave me last time made me release up to five eggs by the look of my ovaries."  He shivered.  "So I'm going to have the mother of all PMS in about a week and about a week later I'm going to live in the tub for a few days."

He nodded.  "We can be extra careful later," he assured her.  He got back to marinating things.  That explained why she was looking a bit heavy.  "At least you don't go into heat like Garnet does.  Or Clay."

"Thankfully.  Did you hear how they had to solve him going into heat with a ball of power as an IUD?"

Natasha shivered.  "That is a very bad thought," she said, curling up with Dawn.  Dawn smiled and cuddled her.  "It is not time yet," she said quietly.

"I know.  When it happens it will."  She kissed her on the ear.  "I promise I'm not prompting it, 'Tasha."

"I know.  Sometimes our bodies have strange ideas."  She gave her knee a squeeze.

Phil appeared.  "They poisoned him."

"Fury?" Clint asked.

"Yes.  Not even with something I had in the office.  Something that they had someone design for them.  Maria's in a hell of her own making."  He looked up and frowned.  "Give me ten."  He went up to talk to her, finding her in the bathroom staring at the little pill.  He tipped her face up.  "They poisoned him.  They had someone make one that would mimic a heart attack."

"Does that mean they're not going to get pushy?"

"I have no idea."

"I have about a week," she said quietly.  "Tara's sobbing."

He kissed her on the head.  "SHIELD won't and can't run without you, Maria."  She smiled slightly.  "Give it that week."  She nodded, putting it back into the bottle.  "If there's no other choice, then I'll help you next year," he said in her ear.

She nodded.  "I'll take that."  She hugged him.  "Thank you, Coulson."

"Welcome."  He let her go.  "I'm ranting at Dawn that they didn't even use my poisons."

"I'd be more worried about Dawn's versions.  She did read over your shoulder."

"Good point."  He went down to stare at her.  "You made something off my lessons."

"I made three things off your lessons and one thing out of an old book I found among Willow's crap at Xander's temple."  She grinned.  "But they're all traceable."

"Pity.  Which?"  She sent that at him and he moaned.  "That's nearly evil."  She grinned.

Clint stopped stirring the marinade to look at her.  "Is that like Warren's pill?"

"No.  It's meant to kill you during it.  So you go happy as the book said."  She grinned.

He shivered.  "Where are they stored?"

"Medicine cabinet in the study's bathroom."

He went to look.  "There's only three bottles."

"One's in the blue package that says 'razors'."

He looked and came out nodding.  "Is that the other one?"  She shook her head, sending over what each one was.  He nodded.  "They can stay in there, right?"

"I'd never do that to you.  If I want you to die during sex, I'll ride you until you go happy, dear."

"I might like that."  He kissed her.  "Let me go lock those up."  He did that and came back to cook.  "You can finish learning those.  I know it makes you dangerous but you're hot when you're deadly."

She grinned.  "I did.  I can make them all.  I just don't want or need to right now."  Phil pulled his book from Xander's collection to hand her.  "Thanks.  That's where I got that one from."

"I figured.  In the back cover is one I got off Frigg."

She pulled it out to look at it.  "Hmm, better, herbal truth serum."

"Doesn't work that well," he admitted.  "It's too weak for most modern mortals."

"That's because the hensbane potion is so out of whack.  They seem to do that to each one."  He smiled and patted her on the head before going home to pounce Xander.  Dawn made notes while Clint cooked and Natasha read over her shoulder.  Dawn got her the introductory lessons so she could go over them.  Clint hated chemistry so he could cheer them on.

"If I need pompoms your fantasies are out of whack," he complained.

"No, no pompoms and I won't make you wear the skirt or the spankies either."

Natasha shook her head quickly.  "I did not want that mental image," she complained.  Dawn kissed her.  "Still there."  He looked at her and shot a vulgarly dirty thought at her.  It had her tied to the bed, sweaty, wrung out, begging hoarsely for more from them.  "That may have helped," she said.

"I can get behind that plan tonight," Dawn quipped with a grin for Clint.

"You'd still be invaded," he assured her.

"It's one of my favorite things.  I miss it when you don't."  He growled.  She grinned and got back to making notes, pulling a few of Tara's books to reference.  Tara came down to get them back.  "Phil got wrong recipes from his poisoning lessons.  I'm correcting a few."  She smiled.

"That's evil, Dawn."

"Well, yeah, but I need some the next time someone kidnaps my pretty ass to knock up."  Tara shivered.  She smiled.  "They deserve it if they take me."

"They do," she agreed, taking her books back.  "Do it at work tomorrow to scare Stark."  She walked off to put those up and hold Maria so they could talk.  SHIELD was not going to like it when she destroyed them over her woman.

Dawn sighed and grinned.  "We need to find out when their wedding is so we can buy a good present."

"I think just after the spring equinox," Natasha said, looking over the introductory lessons.  "This is not that hard."

"No, it's potions for muggles," Dawn agreed, blowing a kiss.

Natasha looked at her.  "You still may not have a robe."

"But Disney sells them.  Callia and I can be witches together."  She grinned.  "Pointy hats and all?"

"No.  Be sirens, not witches."

"I can do that but it might raise a few eyebrows.  Halloween?"

"If it's not too cold."

Clint came out to kiss her.  "No more bad thoughts, please?  Let me finish dinner before I get things on me?"

Dawn pulled him down to kiss him better.  "I'll give you a great blow job later if you feed my hungry ass."

"I'm going to feed that part of you too," he promised.  "And hell yes I'm getting a great blow job after one of you does the dishes."

"Okay," Dawn agreed.  "I can do the dishes."  She got back to making notes.  Since Tara was busy she got the books back and went back to correcting the potions that went into the poisons.

Natasha smiled.  Dawn being a book nerd was sexy to her.  She loved Dawn in book nerd mode.


Pepper came in with Liz, pausing when she saw Dawn reading an ancient looking book.  "Spells?"

"Advanced poisons.  I studied over Phil's shoulder and a few things were seriously out of whack.  So I'm adjusting the potions that go into it based on herbal science."  She smiled.  "So far we've tried two of them and they work, but one hasn't.  I'm thinking another part of the potion is out of whack but I need to study a few of the ingredients I've only used ritually before."  She went back to it, answering the phone absently.  "Thank you for calling Stark International, how may I direct your call?"  She listened.  "Please hold.  She's just gotten here and hasn't settled behind her desk yet."  She hit the hold button by feel.  "Grace from Vogue."

"I'll take it at my desk."  She walked in there and sat down with Liz on her lap to hit the button and put it on speaker.  "What's wrong, Grace?  Did I forget that we had a scheduled interview?"

"No, I wanted a comment on something Dawn said.  Someone has taken her to try to make her bear children?"

Pepper sighed.  "There's been four times that someone managed to dose her with a fertility medicine.  At least three of the kidnapping plots that we know of were based on trying to get her to breed, and that's just the other countries, that's not the Russian mob or anything.  They're still being stupidly persistent.  There's been a few that we managed to stop and one Dawn managed to destroy.  They were trying to dose her again this last month to kidnap her to a facility in England that's part HYDRA and part UK wanting heros."

"Oh, dear.  No wonder Dawn's so tough."

"Some people want her due to her sister, some because of the magic, and some just want Dawn."

"Huh.  That poor girl.  Is she handling it okay?"

"Yeah, she's fine.  She calms down, she vents a bit where no one can hear her.  She gets cuddles, and it's better."

"Awww.  So Agent Barton is good to her?"

"Clint's a slightly mean, slightly psychotic teddy bear at times.  Depends on his mood.  He plays pranks, he hangs out in the ceiling to watch over her....."

"He does?"

"Yeah, but it's come in handy and he's really comfortable in the ceiling so we don't mind much as long as he uses good manners and doesn't spy on anyone but Dawn.  Since she doesn't mind and it makes her feel safer and wanted we accept it as quirky assassin behavior."

"That's kind of strange, but I guess with her history, it's protective instead of possessive?"

"When he wants to be possessive, we all hear a growl," she said with a smile for Liz, who growled.  "Yup, just like that, Liz.  That's a very good Uncle Clint growl."  The baby beamed and clapped.  "I'm glad you're happy today since all of the cats and the dog were on you again this morning."


"Inherited, but yes.  Named after the family and they got them *so* right."  She looked up at the yelp.  "I think one of them just got Clint."  Liz cackled and cooed.

Dawn came in to look up there, using a touch of magic to lift the corner of the ceiling tile.  "Hi, Tony cat and Clint cat.  C'mon."  She pulled them down and searched, getting the other three and the dog down from where they were hiding.  She smiled at her spouse.  "Have fun, dear."

"You too.  I'm napping and hiding from you fixing poison recipes."

"I told you I'd never use one on you.  If I want you dead, I'll kill you with sex."  She let the tile back down and picked up the cats, even though the Clint cat fought.  "Keep it up, watch me ground Callia from walkies."  She carried them to her desk and let them out down there.  The dog followed, sniffling her until she petted it.  "JARVIS, can you please have Roomba come lead them back upstairs?"

"I can do so," the AI said, sounding fond.  "It may not work on all of them.  I'll also alert Mr. Stark that he really does need to make the forcefield around the porch higher."

"Thanks."  She got back to work, letting the cats explore that area.  Roomba came off the elevator and barked.  They all followed him since he was spraying catnip spray.  Even the dog, who followed the cats around all day anyway.  They got sent back upstairs and played in their playroom.  Dawn got back to her poison fixing.  It was fun working with potions.

Tony walked past reading something.  "What is that?"

"Advanced poisons.  They made them wrong on purpose."

He blinked, looking at her.  "You hated chemistry, Dawn."

She grinned.  "This isn't chemistry, it's potions with deadly intent."

He moaned.  "Do I want to know?"

"I promised I wouldn't use them on Clint or Natasha, no matter how much they asked."

"Make me the same promise?"

She grinned.  "I'm not dating you, why would I want to poison you, Stark?"

"Good point but make it anyway?"

"Unless you beg me I won't poison you."

"Thank you!"  He went into the office, pointing.  "Pepper, she's scary again today."  He closed the door and let Liz down to crawl around and explore.

"Dawn's scary every day, Tony, but today she's enjoying it," Pepper said, making the woman on the phone laugh.  "Grace, anything else?"

"There's rumors going around that there was a hidden wedding."

"You'd have to ask one of them.  We don't give out personal information."

"Can you switch me back?"

Clint leaned down.  "No.  Comment.  And you freak us all out, thank you."  He retreated and went back to watching Dawn freak people out.

"What Clint said," Tony agreed.

She moaned.  "Fine.  Thanks, guys."  She hung up.

"Welcome," Pepper said as she hung up, grinning at Tony.  "She wanted to know about the kidnapings and the backup plan."

"We have one, which is great.  The president agreed they need an international backup agreement for things like emergency invasions.  The king of Jordan is really pissed off about the hellmouth thing.  Especially since he barely got told someone was trying to open one, not that it was already there.  He demanded someone prove it to him.  Dawn, how would he prove that it's there in Jordan?"

"Have McKay pull out an energy sensor like they use in Sunnydale and Cleveland, boss," she called back.

"That makes more sense."  He sent an email to McKay to tell him that.  O'Neill sent one back saying they were already doing that but it was still tiny.  Could they ink it to show it off better?  He walked out to show Dawn that, and she was on the phone.

"Yes, Your Highness.  That's because it's very small at this point.  Cleveland's is over a thousand times bigger than yours."  She listened.  "I can come reveal it but it won't do more than show as a dark spot in the air.  I can do that.  Let me get something to cover my hair.  Who's there?  I have General O'Neill marked in case of an emergency.  I'll be right there once I find a scarf, sir."  She hung up and went to grab one from Pepper's emergency stash. 

"Let me go light that up."  She tucked it around her hair and disappeared, fixing on O'Neill.  She landed behind him and cleared her throat, looking around.  "Wrong direction, Rodney."  She concentrated and pulled up magic, dusting the air with color motes.  It was slowly drawing toward the hellmouth so she traced it and found it.  "Here's the main hellmouth and it looks like you have a baby rip starting next to it," she said, lighting up that whole area.

The watching generals all glared at her.  "Can we find that scientifically?" he demanded in Arabic.  A translator started to chatter.

Dawn held up a hand.  "I speak Arabic and read it, sir.  Yes, we can."  She pulled out her phone and chose a filter.  "The same energy filter that you use to take photos of stars, flipped to the negative side, will show higher power fluctuations.  This one's still pretty weak so we'd need to make it stronger."

"I have one of those," Rodney said, showing her.  He took a picture and looked at it.  "Undo the spell?"  She did and he did it again.  "It's not showing as much energy output without it," he said, showing them.  Dawn translated for him.

The generals nodded.  "How often will it cause problems?" one asked her in Arabic.

"The Sunnydale hellmouth has a book that recorded the history for the first fifty years of non-Native American settlers on it."  They nodded.  "The Native Americans there had absolutely no problem with it until people prompted it to open, then it went rogue and started to expand as it ripped.  The Cleveland hellmouth has been open for about the same millennia.  If you notice the difference, Cleveland's stable and Sunnydale wasn't.  As long as this one stays stable, you just have to make sure people don't try to use it and watch out in case the universe gives it a nudge so it glows brighter for a few days.  Which will usually screw up weather patterns."

"So, some specially trained guards," the general in command said.

She smiled and nodded.  "That would probably be for the best.  Like I said, Cleveland's is open at a ten cm diameter most of the time, and when it's forced open or it's blown open by something, it goes to nearly thirty feet wide at the highest that's been measured.  Yours is barely two cm wide right now.  So unless it's prompted by a rite, prompted by a human or demon doing something to it to summon or use it or drain it, whatever, it's probably only going to flash now and then."

"Can it be repaired since it's so small?" O'Neill asked.

"Ask the man," she said, pointing at Rodney, then repeating it in Arabic for them.  "I do magic, not physics.  All the physics I know I learned off geeks in the lab."

Rodney shook his head.  "We haven't found a single method of relieving the pressure that causes them.  If there's some sort of safety valve to the universe, we're not aware of what it is outside of a black hole, which there's none nearby spatially speaking."

"This is between realms and planes, Rodney; I'm not sure that would work," Dawn said, repeating that for everyone else.  "Would a black hole do anything?"

He did some math on his tablet, shaking his head.  "No, I had thought it was universal energy, not inter-universal energy.  In that case, until a black hole or something that suck some of the energy out between the layers of planes and realms, there's nothing that'll stop it from growing slightly each year."  She translated that.  "But, there's so many that it's spread out between them."

She nodded, looking at the generals.  "We know of planes, thanks to demon immigration from them, that have hellmouth like openings every few miles.  We're nowhere near that level.  I can get him information on that so he can see if it's pertinent."

The head general nodded.  "Please, Miss Summers."

Dawn pulled out her phone.  "Dwayne, Dawn Summers.  Huge issues, need book lending for McKay.  Yes, the cranky guy on Atlantis.  Because he's trying to figure out how to repair hellmouth leaks or ease them.  That's what I was hoping for, yes.  Is it there?  Thank you.  Yup, later today.  We're in Jordan.  Thanks, Dwayne.  Do I owe anything?  Even better.  Coolness.  Bye."  She hung up and smiled.  "They do have scientific readings on those planes.  They can lend you a copy but they might not be in measurements you have right now.  Ask Xander to ask Blippy Xander if he has any."

"I can do that," he said, sending that note to Xander's phone.   "Thank you."

"Not a problem."  She looked at the generals, who nodded their thanks.  She looked at O'Neill.

"Go home."  He grinned.  "Cute scarf."

"Pepper's.  I don't have many scarves and I never keep them at the office."  She disappeared to go home.  Pepper stared at her.  "People are getting McKay research from other places so he can see if he can heal some."

"Good thinking," she said.

Dawn grinned.  "Thank you."  She handed over the scarf.  "Problems?"

"Aren't you already here?"

Dawn checked.  There was a magical marking up the street that had 'handle this' written on it.  "Hmm.  Yup.  And there's a simple problem I need to solve apparently."  She walked off humming, avoiding herself as she went up the street.  She found the thing that had sent her back here, thanks to the grace of Coulson.  She spotted the van in the parking garage and the guys gathering around it with maps.  She called  911. 

"I am seeing a van with explosives up the street from Stark Towers on the main strip that the walkway goes across.  It is in the parking garage that is one block up from the entryway.  It is a black van with white rimmed tires.  I can't see the front license plate but it's blue.  No idea which state that is from.  There are five people standing around it looking at what looks like plans and maps."

The operator swallowed.  "Panel van, commercial van?"

"Teenager van.  Bed in the back normal van.  Black, tinted windows.  Third floor right now.  I'm staring at it from the rooftop across the street."

"Can I have your name, ma'am?"

"Dawn Summers."

"I'll have NYPD right there.  Please do not approach them unless necessary."

"I have no desire to be blown up today," she assured her.  "It was a slightly happy day until I spotted them."  She hung up.  Two minutes later, NYPD had a phenomenal response time today.  They sped up and one passed by the van, which was making the people scramble.  The other two blocked in the van while the first one blocked the path out.  Another cruiser was blocking the other ramp.  More cruisers were showing up to handle the situation with them.  One looked over and she nodded and pointed.  They looked once they had the passengers down and out.  Bomb squad got there five minutes later and was let through.  Dawn strolled off happier.  She blipped off so she could merge again.

Dawn woke up at her desk, shaking her head.  "Wow.  I hate having to slip time."  She looked in the office.  Bruce was in there now and Steve wasn't.  "Hey, we good?"

"What happened?" Pepper asked.  "I was working on the budget and now I'm not."

"When I came back from Jordan, Coulson slipped me back by an hour to go handle the bomb in a van up the street."  Pepper stared at her.  "I gave it to the NYPD."

"Thank you!" she chirped.  "So that's why Steve was here and now it's Bruce?"

"Yup.  Tiny things changed but nothing big as far as I can tell.  Let me make notes about Jordan in case it becomes pertinent."  She went back to her desk to do that.

Pepper looked at Bruce.  "I can do the math for that," he offered.

"Please don't."

He smiled.  "Okay, I won't."  He got up and picked up Liz.  "Come on, sweetheart.  I need coffee cake and they give me extra whenever I have you."  He carried her out, pausing to kiss Dawn on the head.  "Thanks."

"Welcome."  She smiled and waved at Liz, who waved back.  "Good girl.  Very brilliant."  Liz babbled noise at her 'grandfather' and it was great.   Dawn walked in to get the budget and brought it back out to go over it.  She was excellent at them.

Pepper smiled and got to work on other things.  Hopefully nothing huge had changed.  She turned on the local news to find them telling everyone to stay away from the street they were on, that NYPD had been told there was an explosive device and they were handling it.  "Good!" she agreed.  "Better than Tony or Dawn handling it."

Tony walked in looking confused.  "What was that?"

"Coulson sent her back to spot an explosive van.  She told the NYPD."  Pepper pointed at the tv.

"Oh, good."  He walked off happier.  He hugged Dawn then went back to his lab.  That explained why he had switched things in the middle.

Clint leaned down to look at Dawn.  "Thanks."

"Welcome."  She grinned at him and blew a kiss.  "Go back to hiding.  I can hear complaining people."  He did that.  He hated that the science staff whined at Dawn.


Dawn and Phil set up shop in his apartment to make the first fixed poison sample.  It was going well until the dogs decided to help.  "No!" she ordered.  They backed down.  "This is bad for puppies.  No licking, no sniffing, nothing.  Go get daddy!"  The nuzzled Phil and whined.

He cleaned his hands off carefully then petted them.  "Go get Xander."  They ran to do that.  Xander came to the doorway holding one of the new puppies Garnet had just had.  "We're making a fixed poison."

"They don't need to help, she was right."  He closed the door once he was on that side and the puppy was back with the Mommy following him.  He looked.  "What's this?"  Dawn handed him the notes.  He read it over, blinking.  "I thought the poultice should be weaker, not stronger."

"Nope," Dawn said, grinning at him.  "Weaker would cause hallucinations and fevers.  Stronger will just kill you."

"Oh, good."  He settled in to watch them mix and blend and chop.  When it was done, Dawn tested it on a frog.  Which died with a choking noise.  "Was it supposed to do that?"

"Frogs die with that sort of noise," Phil said.  "The book warned about it."  He pulled out the frog dissection kit to go over what had happened.  The heart had exploded.  That worked for his needs and the lighter version with the softer poultice to soak in it would do good for other needs.  He carefully copied the notes into his journal and they cleaned up to make sure nothing could harm the kids or the dogs because they could hear the kids throwing fits. 

Once it was all cleaned up and sanitized again, he sent a thought at Tara and let Xander open the door so the dogs could come in.  Dawn skipped off home, with Ruby following her. Phil and Xander both looked.  Loki cat didn't mind the dog much.  It sniffed him and then went to bowl over Natasha so she could be petted.  Clint was Loki's human so that worked out well.  Even if Ruby did nose under Loki's tail and get clawed lightly for it.

"No, Dad's not usually into butt sex either," Xander quipped.  "Just like his namesake there."

Phil kissed him.  "He's getting plenty of it because the president never has problems sitting."  He grinned.

Xander laughed.  "Apparently.  Let me make dinner?"  Talsa came over to hand them plates and mugs of coffee.  "Thank you, Talsa."

"Welcome, Alexander.  Dogs, go home?"  They growled.  "Now!"

"They're fine."

"This place stinks like it needs cleaned."

"We just cleaned it after trying a new poison recipe," Phil said with a smile.  "Including alcohol wipe downs afterward."

She stared.  "Dogs, home."  They ran home.  "Thank you!"  She closed the door.  "Cure his mind before it slips farther, Lord Alexander."

"I'll do that after dinner," Xander quipped, grinning at Phil.

"I'll definitely appreciate it after the last few days."  They settled on the couch to eat and rest against each other.


Phil went to Olympus the next morning, tapping gently on Apollo's door.  "Lord Apollo, can I have a moment please?"

"Sure, Phil.  What's wrong?"  He turned to look at him.

"I'm studying poisons as my advanced training at SHIELD and teaching Dawn since she's correcting some of the mis-wrote poisons.  Do you have any books on that?"

He blinked at him.  "Dawn's plenty mean enough already."

"It does her good and she could use it when she's captured the next time."

He stared at him.  "I have some but you can't give them to Dawn.  I'd hate to see what might happen if she snaps and uses some instead of just making them suffer with non-healing wounds."

"I can tell her that."  He accepted the five books.  "Thank you, Lord Apollo."  He went back to his apartment to hide them.  Dawn was pouting.  "Sorry."

"That's okay.  I'm sure his aren't out of whack the way those were."  She went to work.  Phil took his first book with him.  They were still banished to the tower and he had nothing to do.

Clint saw the book and shook his head.  "Please don't use me to test them?" he begged.

"We only use frogs, Barton.  Unless she turns you into a frog."  He looked up with a slight smirk.

"No thank you."  He walked off.  "She promised to never poison me."

"I'm happy for you."  He got back to his reading.  Until he was summoned to the infirmary a few hours later by the director.  "Yes, Director Fury?"

He stared at the book.  "More poisons?"

"Yes, I got them from Lord Apollo."

He nodded.  "Great," he said blandly.  "I can come up with an assignment for you."

"Sir, I had a reporter hounding me last night to ask about Agent Hill and Tara."

Fury winced.  "The other two?"

"Similarly hiding from reporters.  A few followed Barton around a grocery store asking about future children."

"That's charming," he said bitterly.  "Why?  Is it Summers' fault?"

"She did tell them to ask him but no, he's been fairly well known since the battle in New York, sir.  He was the least known at that time but then you made him go to events, and the rest of us.  We got a bit too well known.  Would that matter to the assignment in question?"

"Yes," he said, grimacing.  "And Romanoff not being able to do her usual thing."

"I'm not sure if they've talked about that or not, sir.  I can call her down here."

"No, don't you dare."  He huffed.  "We need new covert agents."

"There's seven about ready to come out of training."  Fury relaxed.  "Three personally trained by Romanoff and Barton, sir."

"Even better.  Can you run them in the field?"

"As long as I'm not seen, I can.  Otherwise I would blow their cover by being seen with me.  As stated, until the general public believes that the movie's actors are the real version we're not really safe."

"Fine.  Get Agent Hill?  She's not answering her phone."

"I believe she had to take a medical day, sir."


Phil stared at him then decided not to be delicate.  "Because they were going to fire her if you couldn't return to work and her medical status became an impediment when they found out."  Fury glared.  "It was not our idea.  I wouldn't wish that on anyone but if not, they were going to use it as a method to remove her and put AJ in both of yours places."

"That'd never happen."

"Sir, you do know that you were poisoned and not by me?  They made one specifically to create a heart attack."

Fury stared at him.  "Get some to Romanoff and Barton and have them talk to the World Security Council."

"I'll see if they can do that."

Dawn leaned in.  "Two have had suspicious car crashes because they were aligned with Wolfram and Hart.  Would that help?"

"Yes," Fury said.  "Are the others?"

"No.  They're still aligned to the remains of the Watchers Council.  That leaves five of the seven and I have something for them.  I can gladly give it to Natasha and Clint."  She smiled.  "Would that help?"

"What are you sending?" Phil asked.  She said something in Norse.  He blinked and nodded.  "That would make them sick but a few could survive it, Dawn."

"Not your version, mine."

"That's much stronger and merciful," he said.  He smiled.  "We'll let you tell them how to safely carry and administer it."  She grinned and called down her spouses.  She gave Natasha the instructions for making it and how to carry it.

Natasha looked then at her.  "I take it we are solving the problem that they have created?"  Phil nodded.  "I can accept that.  An antidote?" she asked Dawn.  Phil got it from the shelves in there.  "Consider it done in a few days, Director."

Clint nodded.  "Compact and nice.  Any orifice, Dawn?"

"Oral or nasal is best.  Anything that gets it into their blood system.  Ear delivery would make him go nuts as it eats into it."

They nodded and took the bottle to repackage and pack safely then head for the airport.  They were in different countries but they could handle that.  They had in the past.

Dawn blew a kiss at Phil.  "I made the blue one."

"I wasn't supposed to show you those books."

"You didn't.  I found them in Rosenburg's journals.  Hecate gave them to her."  She beamed and walked off, calling Tara to talk to her.  She'd tell Maria and make her happier and fix things.  Hopefully she hadn't gotten to the pill yet.

Phil looked at Fury.  "I'll check on Maria tonight.  Right now, Tara has her well in hand."

"That's good for her though."  He rubbed his forehead.  "Maybe I'm getting too old for this."

"Maybe the politics above you is getting worse," he countered.  "You've headed SHIELD a long time, sir, and now they're getting trying."  He left.  He was sensing something and Xander was going to check.  He looked up when Xander found the file  and the dead member.  "Send it to me please, Xander."  It landed in his hand.  "Thank you."  He walked off reading it.  "Dawn, meeting."  She followed him. 

He put the file down in front of Tony and Pepper, who were cooing at Liz together to make her quit screaming.  He picked her up to look at her.  "I don't care if you are dirty and nasty, have a diaper rash, and you feel like crap because none of the cats or the dog played with you today.  Stop it for ten minutes and I'll have them change you."  She calmed down and gave him pitiful looks so he handed her to Stark for his changing pleasure.

"Did you get a diaper rash?" Tony asked her.  "That's mean of your butt."  He got up to change her in the bathroom and brought her back out.  "What's that?"

"The proof that they were going to take some extra eggs when they had Dawn hostage this time.  They were going to knock her up by Captain Rogers and the extra ones would be tampered with so they could test her with Barton and Romanoff.  They figured she wouldn't destroy those two and might not destroy the one she could carry."

"Like hell I wouldn't destroy them and all the work they had done," Dawn quipped, taking it to look over.  "They're so damn dumb.  That won't work.  Steve's not genetically close enough to where I am."

"Can you get pregnant by Barton?" Pepper asked quietly.  "I know it has to be off human standard DNA to work."

"Yeah, I had Andrew and Patty run the genetic samples for compatibility.  I can and it'd be a healthy crossing.  For kicks she ran it against the rest of you.  Bruce and Steve are both a bit too far off normal for mine.  Clint's got a few abnormalities that show up just enough to warp it slightly off human.  And a really high ATA gene by the way.  So does Natasha."

"So the ATA may be the key to getting more Avengers," Phil said, considering that.  "What other ones?"

"Not my field," she reminded him.  "The guy doing the vision research had it."

"I'll ask him in a few moments.  Romanoff's?"

"She got a different shot if what she knew was right."

"From what I understand there was one," Phil agreed.  "Different though."

"Yes, and that's why she's still so spry," she said dryly.  "It knocked her about three percent off human."

"So, the rest of us they can't use," Tony said.

"You do have an ATA gene, boss.  That's the screwing factor that warps it enough.  Any pure human with an ATA gene isn't a pure human.  They refined it down to I need it to be about three to five percent off human for it to be successful.  Clint's ATA does that.  Natasha's ATA and her specialness do that.  Yours is about two from what Andrew said.  Though he did test Callia's and Liz's.  Callia does not have an ATA but Liz does."

"Do you?" he asked.


"Why?" Phil asked.  Then he realized.  "They Key is from where the Ancients got the ATA key to insert."  She smiled and nodded.  "Which means that ATA sequence is actually from another realm or dimension since that's where the Key is supposed to lead."

"To the main one it was meant for; it's a wasteland.  There's no one there anymore.  To the others it can go to, most of them still have a lot of demons.  They're hell realms for a reason."

"Could the Ancients have gotten whoever was there and brought them here to insert that?" Tony asked.

"No clue," she admitted.  "The original Key did not know."

"You asked it?" Pepper asked.

"Yeah, one of the other ones.  The one that made me I can barely interact with."

They shared a look.  "I want you to tell McKay that," Tony said.

"I can do that."  John appeared, staring at her oddly.  She smiled.  "I had Daniel help me talk to it.  He went ascended and we chatted while I was in meditation."

"Huh," he said, nodding.  "That's good to know."  He looked at them.  "We thought the ATA was original in the Ancients."

"Who said that they didn't have it because they screwed whoever?" Tony offered.

"Good point."  He blinked.  "Go answer that damn phone since it's screaming and I'll get McKay, O'Neill, Lam, and Jackson."  He went to gather them while she routed a call to Legal since it was MB's mother and she didn't understand a 'do not contact her' order.  When they came back, Dawn told them what she knew about the genetics and got Andrew and Patty down to explain what they had found, then Daniel explained his findings from the Key.

O'Neill considered it.  "So this other realm?"

"They said it's dead," Daniel said.  "It was before the demon societies fell."

"So it's possible that the last few people fled here," Jack said.  Dawn shrugged.  "Were the Ancients before or after demon societies?"

"After," Dawn said.  "They're the ones that took over from the demon societies, had cannibalized their things and science.  Then they fell like the ones they overthrew."

Jack looked at his geeks, who were frowning.  "Can we verify that?  Not that I don't trust you two but we have kick ass geneticists on staff that are doing all the ATA research."

"Yeah," Patty agreed, smiling at them.  "You can do that.  The guy who's working with the vision research has it right now hoping to find a key to shut off or slow down visions."

Tony called him up and he brought up a report.  "Not wondering about that.  Dawn told us what they had found about her genetics."

"Oh, that."  He smiled at the general.  "It's a huge puzzle but it's led to a few new things that I don't believe even your ATA researchers have found out yet."

"Can we access that realm to do a dig?" Lam asked Dawn.

"I have no idea how I'd do that.  Or if it might take blood to keep the portal open all the time.  If Rodney could build a dimensional key hopper, then I'd gladly donate some to help but I'm not going to die for it."

"No, I don't want you sick at all," Tony ordered.

"I fully agree," O'Neill said.  "Are there other demons that can get there?"

"No, not any longer.  The only ones that knew how to use the Key to do that died out during the wars.  They were considered highly dangerous so the humans took them out."

He licked his lips.  "Are there any of their records still here?"

"If Alexandria was still around, maybe.  It had the remains of all the demonic libraries."

"We know where it was," Daniel said.

A flashing light heralded D'Hoffryn.  "Why do you want to know?"

"Because the ATA key is necessary to use most Ancient devices and a lot of them are important to the safety of the world," Jack said.

"General O'Neill, this is D'Hoffryn, who is Lord over the Wish Demons."

"Well met," Daniel said in the only trade tongue he had learned, earning a smirk from the demon.  "Are there any records still around from the demon societies?"

"There were a few that took most everything with them when they left Earth to the uppity humans that would become Ancients.  Who did try to eradicate magic," he told Dawn."

"It figures.  Most scientists would like to.  It uses rules they don't understand and can't control.  It drives some of them so batshit insane it's not funny."

Rodney nodded.  "Yes, it does."

"Yet it powers the ZPM," Dawn said with a smile.

Rodney stared at her.  "It does?"

She nodded.  "I'm pretty sure the ZPM has a bit of chaos magic in it.  I've only been close to it that once."

John looked up then frowned at her.  "Where are you feeling that?"  He took her with him to the ZPM chamber.  She felt it and found it for him, letting him feel it through her.  "Fuck!"  He brought her back.  "There is chaos magic.  That's how they got it loaded safely.  Chaos magic is covering and holding in the power so it can compress safely."

"That explains why we couldn't replicate it," Rodney said.  "Also probably Diama's 'bad air' reason not to try it near here."

"You'd probably need a very magic heavy planet to do that on," she agreed.  "Which I can't help you find."

"We can take energy readings.  We've figured out how to tell a magic world from a techno world," John assured her, patting her on the back.  "That was a huge step we were missing."  He looked at Stark.  Who was grinning at Dawn.  Then at O'Neill.  "Can we adopt her if she leaves here, General?"

"No, if she leaves Stark and she's not running from the US again, she comes to SHIELD," Phil said blandly, smiling at Dawn.  "We'll let you borrow her.  Nice work."

"Thank you."  She smiled at them.  "I'm back in pointing out problems mode apparently."

"No, we like that," O'Neill said.  "A whole lot.  Because that gives us new areas to look at.  McKay, can you find a way to open those?"

"I have no idea," he admitted.  "I would need to see how her power did it."

"That we have books on," John and Dawn said.  "They're in Rosenburg's things."

"I can get those from the temple," Phil assured them.  "Xander has them locked up for the most part."

Xander appeared with the newest puppies, which all bayed at John until he petted them.

"Don't let Callia see them," Stark said quietly, glancing around.

"She said she has too many pets right now," Andrew said, "when MB was talking about her cat playing with them."

"The little fluffball of evil would probably warp them," Patty said.

Dawn patted her.  "Loki cat considered him a great playmate."

"That doesn't surprise me."  She hugged Dawn.  "When are you going to have kids?"

"We agreed to wait two years.  But if it happened it did."  She smiled.  "So sometime."

Steve raised a hand.  "Why is it important how much the ATA gene is off human standard genetics?  Beyond the fact that Dawn can't get pregnant by just anyone?"

"ATA genes are what the Ancients coded in their machines so we could only use them when we got advanced enough," John said.  "There's very few strong ATA carriers.  You're looking at two of the three actually."

"Clint's is nearly as strong as O'Neill's," Dawn said.  John and O'Neill both looked at her.

Patty nodded, calling up her research notes.  She handed it to Doctor Lam.  "That's what we found."

She looked it over.  "Romanoff's reads like an enhanced one, like a natural one that took the vaccine to make it stronger," she said quietly.  She flipped through it.  "Barton's is just as strong as the O'Neill strain of it."  She kept going.  "Stark's is about as strong as McKay's so just barely."

"Could that be an intentional split?" Dawn asked.  "The scientists who would be fixing and making new machines wouldn't have to run the defense chair or anything unless it was an emergency."

"I've wondered that," John admitted.  "And how I got it since my birth isn't exactly human standard."

"Who said that it was and your dad was probably the carrier?" Xander said.  "He was an outbreed from the Greek Pantheon."

"He was," he agreed.  "I hadn't thought about that.  So the human side had it, his Godly side hid it so it wouldn't interfere with his power, and then Mom's ...  Would the other Gods have ATA?"

"Don't know," Xander admitted.  "Did you guys test mine?"  They nodded.  "Yes, no?"

"Yes," Andrew said.  "But you read about McKay's level."

"So either Dad or Mom," Xander said, looking at John.

"For it to be as strong as John's is it had to come from both sides."

"Xander, can you talk to the Old Ones that have merged?"

"I can," he admitted, having her help him put up a viewing mirror to them.  "People, I need a question answered."  They all stared at him and one smiled at them.  They still liked him because his fussing kept them amused.  "The ATA sequence that the Ancients put into humanity, do Gods show it?"

"Only certain bloodlines decided it could be useful later on so absorbed it out of some humans.  Zeus does not but Ares and Apollo do.  One of the Fates does for some reason.  Among ours, Alexander and Jonathan, there is a recessive for it among the Warrior clans."

"Mom's a river goddess," Xander said.

"Yes and her family are warrior clan.  Remember your early lessons in how there were priests, warriors, and farmers made?  Each original god made had to fit into one of the three?  Even if they were first generation and right from the birth spurt?"  They nodded.  "Your line came from one that was mostly warriors.  Your uncle that was killed was.  Your other uncle that still lives is."  They shared a look and nodded.  "There is another line out of the Norse side but it is in the Giant lines," he told Alexander.

"Mine's not that strong," Xander said.

"Everyone was surprised you were a warrior with an earth goddess mother and a chaos god father," one of the few females that had merged said.  "By all rights, most of you are healers, not fighters.  Occasionally thieves or like Hermes.  Perhaps like Apollo's musical side.  But still artistic and dedicated to that sort of thing because you can channel the chaos through your creative gifts and give it back to the earth as beauty."

"I think you're a thing of beauty when you battle," Phil told him, earning a rare shy grin from Xander.  "A few more questions if we can.  Are there other lines?"

"Two strains were put into humans.  One died off due to the Gods interfering and the other lasts to this day."  She pointed at O'Neill and frowned at McKay.  "There's a fake one?"

"A synthetic one so we can interact with the technology and understand and use it," he said.

"That's sensible as long as it doesn't cause problems."

"Those who've taken it and had children have natural carriers," O'Neill said.  "Dawn's Key went to a realm originally that may hold where the ATA sequence came from?"

"Yes, it's where the myths of beautiful things that touch you and kill you come from," she said with a smile.  "They have all died out."

"Is there a way we can go there to look at their libraries?" Daniel asked.  "Without hurting Dawn?"

"I'm not sure."  They shared a look.  "The Chinese pantheon was working on doing that.  That is their mythical city of wonder and peace."  The oldest one shook his head.  "I am not sure if they succeeded and no one can find them any longer.  They sealed themselves up so they could not fade."

Dawn looked that way and shook her head.  "I can't even feel a spark of power."

"They basically moved themselves about thirty-five seconds behind us in time," Xander said.  "That's how they closed it off as it was explained to me."

"We have something that can break that," Rodney said. "So we could ask them?"

"We can try," John agreed.  "I can do that.  They like me."  He smiled.  "Most pantheons do like me and Xander."

"They do," Xander agreed with a grin.  "All but my paternal one."  He looked at them.  "Is there any storage of knowledge that could contain things from the ancient demon societies still left on this planet?"

"Alexandria had the ones we were sure of but there have been Gods of Books in pantheons that are now extinct.  They may have some but I have no idea, Alexander."

"I can talk to the ones from Syria and Persia.  Macedonia I know got destroyed down to the rubble level."

"Ah, no," Dawn said, shaking her head.  "When I was in Jordan helping out there was a huge spike from a sealed temple nearby."

Xander and John shared a look.  "Which one would that be?"

"No clue," John admitted.  "I was a bit young then and so were you.  We can ask Thot.  He'd know."

"He would," Xander agreed.  "I can pop around to ask him later or tomorrow.  I know they're having a holy day to celebrate Osiris's reawakening tonight or tomorrow."

Dawn got into her calendar app, selecting a calendar to show.  "Tonight at sunset and at sunrise he woke."  She put her phone back in her pocket with a grin.  "If it's the same as the human one."

"I think it is," John said.  "So within a few days," he told the general, who nodded that was reasonable.  "Is there anything you can tell us about the ATA, how they used chaos magic to make ZPM's?"  They stared at him.  "Dawn spotted it.  It's containing the compression."

"Was that done on the same plane as the ATA gene came from?" Tony asked.

"As far as we know they did do that on another realm due to the danger.  We are not sure if it was the same one or not," the eldest there said.  "We did not stare over their shoulders as they did not believe in us."

"The only one who would know is one of them and all the ones that old have already faded," the goddess said with a sigh.  "Though it is nice that they no longer clog up our ethereal existences with nonsense about not interfering with our creations."  She rolled her eyes.  "I nearly lost my peace with the universe over some of their nonsense."

"I nearly ascended," Rodney admitted.

"I did.  They sent me back without my memories for helping my friends," Daniel said.

"Sounds like them," they agreed.  "Any other questions, children?"

Dawn smiled.  "Is there a book on the Key?  It's history?  That way we can at least know their name and look through the other demon libraries?  Or the name of the ones that left and took knowledge with them?"

"That would probably be at the main temple," the eldest said.  "Which I'm not sure is still around or not.  If so, it is well hidden magically.  It would blow the timeline that humanity knows out of the water, again.  They will get upset again."

"They'll handle it," O'Neill said.  "It might make those against demons calm down some."  He nodded and smiled.  "Thank you for your patience with our questions."

"Sometimes children need to question the universe," the eldest said with a smile.  "It helps them learn and advance to a higher state of being."  Xander and Dawn shut the portal.  He smiled at his fellow Peaceful Ones.  "It's good that they're discovering that finally."  They nodded.  It would mean that the Gods could let them handle it again for a bit while they regathered and hoarded some strength for upcoming battles they could foresee.  "What did the Key do?"

"She gave up some of her visions so it could not harm her mates.  Each one harmed them slightly more and caused her more damage.  It was a move of someone in foolish love but reasonable for the human she is," the eldest female said.

"Humans have love and it's the greatest asset they have," another reminded her.  "If not for love they would have died out long ago as those that call themselves Ancients did.  That's why we created love gods, to make sure they lasted longer and better."  She nodded that was true.  They went back to their meditations and ignored all the huffy Ascended who were mad that they had given answers.  It was not like the puny former mortals were on their level or any of their concern.  They could banish all of them to another solar system easily if upset too much.


Xander looked at them.  "We have some answers."

"I will look for the other ones," D'Hoffryn said.  He disappeared.  He had no idea humans had gotten that far.  Without Godly help since Jonathan was unaware of those facts.

Dawn shrugged.  "Let me know if you need my help."  They smiled and she went back to her desk.

"That's more progress than we've made in over a year," Lam said quietly.

"The great thing about ancestors that old is that they don't nag for grandkids anymore," John quipped with a grin.  "Because I'm going to drown Mom in a salt river if she keeps nagging me to knock up Ronon and/or Rodney."

Xander shook his head.  "She was going to ask Roque's mom to get me pregnant  against my will.  When I heard I kindly told our mother that if she did I was going to destroy her and the rest of the family.  Roque could mourn his mom.  Clay would help him through the funeral process."  They shared a look and grinned at each other.  "Have fun with the family."

"You too."  He looked at the general, who waved him off.  He took McKay with him so he could go over the ideas.

O'Neill looked at the others.  "Stark, thank you for making her into the hell of a young woman she is today.  Joyce could've but you've made her mind sharp and hard."  He had the rest of them beamed back to the main base.

Tony grinned at Steve and Pepper.  "I think we did good with Dawn too.  Now all we have to worry about is Callia and Liz."

"And if I'm pregnant since I couldn't eat breakfast," Pepper said.  Tony beamed and hugged her, kissing her hard enough to make her moan.  "Let me get tested first.  I was going to wait until next week when it'd be proof."

He grinned.  "If you are, we'll be happy.  If it's the flu, we'll baby you and then try again," he quipped. 

She poked him on the shoulder and got free, answering her phone.  "Hi, Mom.  No, it was nowhere near the building, Mom.  Dawn found it up the street in a parking garage.  Mom, I have no idea how Dawn knew.  I don't know magic or anything.  Then again, Dawn's studying poisons."  She smiled at the hushed suggestion.  "No, she's not going to poison Clint, Mom.  She promised she wouldn't do him or Natasha. 

"No, they're on assignment for the next few days.  Yup, all that.  Thanks, Mom.  She's having fun babbling at the pigeons outside the office window with the cat that snuck down."  She sighed and pointed.  Tony took his namesake back up there.  "No, Callia's. The Tony cat.  Yup, that one.  Thanks, Mom.  Love you too."  She hung up and looked at her daughter.  "Grandmother said hi."  Liz smiled and waved.  "That's very smart, dear.  Want applesauce?"  She pulled some out of the drawer.  He daughter lunged and grabbed her hand so she could be fed.

"Let me so you can get back to work," Steve said, smiling at the baby he took to feed.

Pepper grinned.  It was great that she had such great support for her and Liz.  And any future kids.


Natasha came back from their joint assignment limping.  She had been tripped over in the airport from behind by fans.  Clint was amused and being an asshole teasing her about it.  Dawn shook her head, taking the last of the bottle of poison to dilute so it could get tossed out.  Chemistry was more than happy to give her what she needed when she announced it was a poison.  They didn't want to know who sent evil things at her this time but they'd gladly help in case it was a new attack.  She came back from destroying it and tossing out the bottle.

Natasha and Clint were off making reports to Fury, who had been kept in the infirmary because of his blood pressure spiking out of control.  That poison they sent at him was a bit evil.  Dr. Pigalli was not pleased with it.  Fury looked at them.  "All done?"

"Yes, sir," Clint said with a smile.  "One tried to get frisky but we fixed it.  Not totally unnoticed as he ended up having a car crash but close enough."

"Even better."  He looked at Natasha.  "You tripped?" he asked blandly.

"No, I was tripped by fans," she said, grimacing.  "They wanted to have us sign things."

Fury shuddered.  "That's a very bad thing."  He looked at Barton, who just smirked.  "Not you?"

"No, not me.  I only got one set of adoring looks, sir."

"Thank you.  Anything else I should hear?"

"There had been a mother beating her kids to death," Clint admitted.  "Pity."

"Fine."  He nodded.  "Good work.  Dismissed.  Take the rest of today off pending emergencies."

"We can go grocery shop since Dawn hates to and doesn't buy real food," Clint said, taking Natasha up there to get kisses and then go shopping.  Dawn swore she had but they'd see.  She had actually filled the house with food.  Which was a bit odd.  They thought at her and found out she was planning on doing a group dinner tomorrow, which was fine with them.  They got dinner for tonight and then went to the bedroom to make sure they had everything they needed for a welcome home celebration.  They needed more lube but they'd handle that easily.  And the sex shop was a fun shopping trip anyway, especially since they kept hiding stuff from Dawn to tease her about how it worked.


Stark looked at the gathered Avengers, plus his daughters and Pepper.  "The new idiots on the World Security Council have that 'not amused' look about them.  Especially when they ordered we were to do some publicity to go with the negotiations for the world-wide help treaty."  Dawn shrugged, it was her suggestion but not her fault.  "They suggested that we all go to the premiere."

"What does one wear to a movie premiere?" Dawn asked.  "I doubt we could do jeans."

"Most stars wear suits, we can wear dress pants," Natasha said.  Dawn nodded that might be okay with her.

"The last one I went to, I went as a date and had to wear a nice dress," Pepper said, stealing Liz back from Bruce, who was trying to tickle her.  "She'll vomit again, Bruce."

He grinned.  "Kids do that."

"My sibling more than most," Callia quipped.  "Am I going?"

"Well past your bedtime," Tony assured her with a grin.  "If we like it, we'll bring you to one of the matinees."

"Okay."  She looked at Dawn then at Clint.  "Does that mean she gets to get real pretty and flirty again?  She needs more flirty time."

"She does," he agreed, patting her on the head.  "If she wants to be flirty we can guard her so no one steals her again."  Dawn hit him on the arm.  He grinned at her.  "It's been nearly a month."

"Shut up," she complained.  "I have went more than a month without someone trying to attack me."

"It has been nearly a month of no threats, no Dawn wanters, nothing like that," Tony said, looking at Pepper.  Dawn huffed.  They smiled at her.  "Go armed."

"I'm always armed," she said dryly.  She looked at Natasha.

"I was trying to figure out when the last threat was," Natasha admitted.

"I still got the monthly letter from the Russian mob."

"That's normal, not a threat."

"Not with what they wrote."  She looked at Tony again, who was staring at her.  "Legal got a copy of the letter and I sent back a voodoo doll this time, boss."  She smiled sweetly.

He shuddered.  "If you get voodoo dolls to work, I don't want to know but please don't make one of me?"

"I'd never do that to my niece," she said dryly, smirking a bit.  "She's much too young and the cats would end up on the Board of Directors."

Pepper hid her laughing in Liz's hair.  "Yeah, probably."

"They can?" Callia asked.

"They'd do a better job than the present set," Tony quipped, sipping his water.

"They might," Bruce agreed.  "So, we show up, be nice looking and happy looking, see the movie, then go home?  No reporters?"

"Nope," Tony said.  "Not unless they shout things at us."

"It'll be the shortest trip to an event in history," Dawn quipped.  "I'll get protocol guides for how to do all that from someone."  She made a note on her tablet, including specifics of when to arrive - before or after the stars have gotten there - and what to wear.  She looked up.  "I'm calling on your ex."

"That's fine.  She likes me."  He grinned.

Pepper nodded.  "Most of them do."  She looked at the others.  "I have no idea who's babysitting."

"Maria might or might not want to go," Dawn agreed.  "Tara said she wanted to see it but I'm not sure if they'd go opening night."  She sent that text message at Maria, who said they were ordered.  "She, Fury, and Coulson were all ordered to go to the opening.  The studio has tickets, and I'll ask your ex Pam the pertinent things," Dawn said.  She put her tablet aside again.

"Why Coulson?" Pepper asked.

"Notably part of the group even if he's not on the team.  Maria's in some of the movies, as is Fury, and the new WSC are jackasses according to her."

"Good to know," Bruce said.  "I'll tell Joyce."  He sent a text message, getting a very subdued answer back.  He sent one asking what was wrong.  She said AJ was being a jackass and Fury was arguing with him.  "Let me go to lunch with my wife."  He got up and strolled off.

"I'll have Happy drive you," Tony called, texting that to him.  "Dawn?"

She looked up then shrugged.  "Mom's a bit sniffly but not sure.  If she goes to full out crying or gets too upset, I'll go kick someone's ass."

He nodded.  "We might like that.  Do they like you?"

"They so hate me," she said with a grin.  "I got a 'we're not pleased with you, Miss Summers' phone call last night."

"I answered that," Natasha said with a grimace.  "They're not exactly mental giants."

"One of them was making some very wiggy points," Dawn said.  They all stared at her.  "Including that perhaps I should think more about the offer from England's clinic."

"Hell no!" Tony snorted.  "I'll destroy them myself if I have to."

Dawn smiled.  "It's not a problem, boss.  Really."  Clint stiffened, he knew that tone of voice.  She patted him on the hand.  Then grinned at Natasha, who was staring extra hard and poking at her mind.

"We forgot to spar recently," Clint realized.  Dawn blew a kiss.  "Noted?"


"Cameras?" Natasha asked.


"You sure?" Tony asked.  "Because I really don't want to see Interpol show up here to arrest you.  The press would never die down and they might put you on the same cellblock as the bimbo."

"No, boss, nothing like that will happen." 

He shivered.  He had heard that tone once.  Then she had went out to play kitten poker, accompanied by Spike, and had come back two hours later looking a bit sweaty, bragging she had won some earrings, and the problem had never shown back up again.  "I don't want to know like I didn't want to know about that one when we had just gotten you."

She grinned.  "That one decided to leave the realm."  She shrugged.  Natasha gave their bond a hard poke so she showed her what had happened, which made her cackle out loud.  She smiled at her.  "See, I'm a good girl."

"Some of the time, yes," Natasha agreed, patting her on the arm.  Clint poked and got the same information, making him shake his head.  He grinned too and shifted to cross his legs.

"I don't want or need to know unless Interpol or some other agency shows up to arrest her," Tony told the trio.

They shook their heads.  "No reason to," Clint said.

Natasha nodded.  "There shouldn't be a reason for them to do more than wonder why she had talked with that person."

Tony walked off shaking his head.  "Find that out for us, Dawn, send a memo."

"Yes, boss."  She grinned at Pepper, who laughed back.  Tony was having one of those days again.  He'd go create something that blew up and feel better soon.


Dawn looked around at the theater's preparations, looking at the woman beside her from the studio.  "Anything I need to bully, handle, or otherwise fix?" she asked quietly.

"No, so far it looks good, Miss Summers."

"Dawn, please.  I'm not the formal one."  She smiled at one of the workmen.  "Two more weeks?" she quipped.

"For that interior to be done then the specialists show up to handle the range and other areas."  He smiled.  "Stark's got majorly weird ideas.  That insulation is a pain."

Dawn nodded.  "But we might need it in case Bruce goes all Hulk inside."

"True."  He finished his trek for lunch then went back up to the work floor.  Everything on the second tower was done except the top four floors: the specialist gym and range, the Avengers only common area, the quiet rooms, and the other two training areas that were mostly just simulated walls and things.

Dawn smiled.  "They're finishing up the Avengers only areas."

"That's fine.  We're amazed that the theater portion got done so fast."

Dawn smiled.  "They're a great crew.  They're the same one that fixed the original tower for Stark."

"I'll have to remember them if we build out here for some reason."  She noted the name of the construction company in her portfolio.  Dawn showed her to the area for parties, getting a nod for it.  "This is really nice."

"Tony can't really throw parties at the penthouse with Callia about to turn seven early next month."

"I couldn't either."  She checked, the catering and bar areas were well equipped so they could host the party here.  They had a backup location but it looked to be okay.  She smiled at Dawn.  "You did good."

"I just had it stocked for the next party.  Pepper did the list of things way back when and I just ordered."  She grinned and showed her the other areas, including the bathrooms.  "The infirmary is in the main tower and if something happens, security can call them," she said.  "Stark security are all background checked so we don't usually have to worry about much."


"One of them a few months back was going to help that nice clinic in England that wanted me to get knocked up."  She shook her head.  "Really nice guy but he wanted to save me from them."

"Oh," she said, clearly not getting it.  They checked out the other facilities they might need, making sure it was all up to spec.  The workmen would be gone for the day long before they had to do more than set up things for the opening of the movie.  Dawn treated her to coffee while they went over the final plans and she gave Dawn what she needed to know about what to wear and when to arrive.  All that was scheduled.  "Is Stark showing up in a limo?"

"From across the street?  I can suggest it if you want me to."

"No, that's fine.  The others?"

"Most of the Avengers live about ten blocks from here.  Tony and Bruce are the exceptions.  Bruce and Mom live about fifteen in the other direction and Tony lives at the Penthouse."

"Okay," she said, figuring that in.  "Your mother?"

"She and Bruce married last year."  She smiled.  "They're really happy and in flirty, gushy love.  I'm happy that Mom's so happy and that Bruce is such a nice guy."

"Wonderful."  She made note of that.  "Your mom knows how to dress?"

"She's where I get it from.  I'll give her the updated guidelines and it'll be fine.  If she has to, she can borrow one of my dresses."

"Wonderful."  She smiled and made note of that.  "Director Fury?"

"You probably won't get him out of his all black and leather thing."

"His executive officer?"

"Agent Hill?  She can usually dress but her girlfriend's a bit more conservative with the longer skirts."

"Femme's fine," she assured her.  Dawn smiled.  "I saw a picture of them from that horrible broadcast."

"We're really lucky since a few people tried to take shots at them.  Thankfully, Tara's really able to protect herself and the kids, and when it happened Agent Coulson and Alexander showed up seconds afterward to stomp them flat.  Literally."

"Huh."  She looked up.  "Is he coming?"

"Alexander or Agent Coulson?  Because, if one comes the other probably will.  Not too sure about Xander.  He's not really one for publicity."  She sent a prayer his way and he appeared to shake his head quickly.  "Not coming even if Phil has to?"

"No."  He looked at Dawn.  "He promised we could see it together when all the furor died down so we didn't get mobbed in the theater."  He disappeared.

Dawn smiled and pointed.  "I guess we won't have to save a seat for him."  Phil text messaged her.  "Phil said if he wasn't ordered to, he'd rather go to a later showing with fewer people as well."  She looked up.  "But his bosses above Fury ordered."


"They're newly in charge.  The seats on the World Security Council just changed hands."

"Oh, a power showing move," she said, grimacing.  "That's why we're getting Fury?"

"Yup.  Because he nearly had a stroke when he heard about the movie."

"Some people don't like it," she said with a shrug.

"He more thinks it's going to shine too much light in the wrong areas," Dawn explained.

"That I do understand with all that mess with the agent photos."

"I thought it was nice of that smaller agency to end that threat for SHIELD," Dawn admitted.  "Saved them some work and hell in the press."

The other assistant smiled.  "It was nice of them."  She looked up.  "Are you bringing a date?"

"If you really want Hawkeye there, then yes, I'm his date," she said dryly, sipping her coffee.  "We're kinda together."

"Oh!  I had not heard that gossip.  I heard you and Agent Romanoff....."  Dawn quirked up an eyebrow.  "Huh."  Dawn smiled.  "I won't say a word.  You three can come in the same limo since you live in the same building."

Dawn grinned.  "Yes, we do.  With Captain Rogers.  I'm not sure where he's showing up from that night."  She made a note to check with him and to arrange for a car.  Maybe the one from her old backup spot, which was parked in a garage.  "Limos only or regular cars?"  She looked up.

"Regular cars are fine.  We'll have valet parking arranged in the garage area."  She made note to make sure of that.  "Yours?"

"I think we can bum one for a few hours.  Our lease is getting a bit well known again."

"That's fine.  A lot of stars rent for the night to make the right impression."  She made a note to make sure they were all gathered properly.  She looked up.  "Security concerns at the opening?"

"If they need their own, that's fine.  Stark security teams will be there."  She texted Maria, who sent over the plans for that night.  "This is SHIELD's plan for that."  She let her see it.

She nodded.  "All the exits are covered, no one unsavory should be able to get in."  She saw someone come into the coffee shop and hit the counter looking like he was exhausted.  "That's Dr. McKay."

"He and Stark tinker sometimes," Dawn said with a smile.  "Hey, Rodney."

He glanced at her.  "Morning, Dawn."

She checked then him.  "Not even on your coast."

He snorted.  "I've been up all night."  He sipped his coffee, putting in a small tip.  He came over.  "New drama?"

"Opening for the movie."

"Sheppard got invited by someone but I don't know if he's going or not."  He took a drink.  "Anything going on at the tower outside the labs?"

Dawn checked then shrugged.  "No one's caused a lab explosion or anything.  Yet.  Though someone might want to take the firecrackers away from Callia.  I'm not sure who gave them to her."

"I will on my way back to the tinkering lab."  He walked off, drinking his coffee.  Once he was back in the main tower he told the guard on the desk so they could send people and Stark up to stop the mini genius.

Dawn grinned.  "Things are nicely calm today for a change."  The other assistant smiled at that.  She heard a bark and looked down.  No Roomba.  She glanced around and spotted the seeing eye dog barking at someone.  "Let me go handle that.  I'll be right back."  She walked over there.  "Ma'am, is there a problem?  I noticed your dog felt threatened?"

"This man was just sneering at me," she said.

Dawn looked at him.  "Sir, perhaps you should move along?  Stark Towers are fully handicap accessible."

"She's my ex," he sneered.  "You're not with the police."

"No, you're right, I'm Ms. Potts' personal assistant and therefore part of Stark security."  She stared at him.  "You can take your pitiful domestic out of sight of the rest of us please.  There's plenty of seating areas you can have a disagreement in that won't upset others."  She pointed at the group of kids going to the new theater who were staring in awe at them.  "Please."  He grimaced but stomped off with her following.  She smiled and waved at the kids.  "Have a good movie, guys."  They beamed and waved back before going with the teacher urging them to.  She got back to the table and sent an email to security about it.  She smiled at the studio's assistant.  "Sometimes, it's people that drive you nuts."

"It is," she agreed with a smile.  "We have many people like that at the studios."  They shared a smirk and got back to the planning part.  Everything would go just fine, pending emergencies that night.


Dawn stared at her closet the afternoon before the opening, considering three things.  "How flashy?" she muttered.  She had one she wanted to wear but it was nearly backless.  It was a bit twinkly too.  Probably a bit much since she wasn't in the movie.  She had something more plain that was hot on her, but Clint would growl and if something happened she didn't have much of a hope in hell of helping handle a physical fight in it.  She had a third choice but it was much too dressed down by her standards. 

She considered things and then looked in another closet.  Loki was in there and stared  up at her oddly from taking a bath.  "Hey, Loki cat.  Maybe the velvet bustier...." she said, pulling it out to hold against a skirt.  "It's warm enough for that and a jacket....."  She put the original third outfit in and put that one in its place.  Then changed the gold velvet bustier for a medium gray one with silver piping along the top.  She had a jacket that could match that skirt.

Pepper was let in by Natasha, who had picked what she was wearing.  It made her look nice but not too grand.  It was simple, black, and she had good shoes for it.  "Natasha, wear something other than black," Pepper ordered.  "Dawn's going to be dark enough so you and Clint can wear a color and black."  She went into the bedroom, putting back the bustier outfit.  "JARVIS said you were hesitating like Callia."  She grinned.  Dawn beamed back and nodded.  She looked.  Then pointed at the twinkly one.  "That one."

"It's a bit twinkly.  It's a cocktail dress and she said dressed up, not that dressed up."

"You have it in a less twinkly version," Pepper reminded her, pulling that out.  Dawn nodded.  It was the purple and red dress that Clint and Natasha had warned her not to wear to work without a lot of weapons.  "No wonder they said not to wear it," Pepper said when she came out in it.  Dawn smirked.  "Shaving?  You missed spots."

Dawn stripped off and went in there to reshave.  That helped and she came out looking smooth and in control.  The dress went back on, and was joined with stockings and jewelry.  Then she brushed her hair, checking it.  Off her neck worked best.  Pepper got the single zit on her shoulder that was trying to come out.   "I need pasties," Dawn complained, getting the support pads that women used when they had a backless dress on.  They didn't hold her up very well but they at least covered her nipples. 

She sighed and took them and the dress off to put on better set that would hold her up better.  Pepper shook her head so that dress got changed for a different dress that was bra capable, because she had one that was a halter.  This new dress was a halter and still totally backless.  It dipped down to the top of the crack of her ass.  It was a subtle shimmering fabric, when it caught the light right.  The halter was thin but the dress made her look stacked, even though it was a bit tight.  Dawn turned sideways and grimaced.  "I'm gaining weight."

"A tiny bit," Pepper agreed, checking her over.  "I like that one usually but you're right, it's making your stomach look padded."  Someone would say something mean about her weight again.  They picked out the other halter dress.  Which was green and a tiny bit looser, it was meant to drape from the collar in front.  The collar held up the deep sweetheart neckline that dipped nicely.  It was done in a dark bronze metal frame that was exposed due to cutouts. 

In the back it was still a plunge backline, because Dawn liked herself in that look.  The zit got some coverup applied.  The front was a bit flowing from the bustline.  Pepper stared and shook her head.  "I don't like the color combination and someone will say they got the idea from a shower curtain, though you make it look really hot, Dawn."

Dawn grinned.  "I make everything hot."  Pepper laughed and nodded.  Dawn took that one off and looked in there.  She did have a few things.  She made sure her armpits were hairless, pulling out a few stray hairs that she had missed.  She checked, her legs were fine.  She got into a third closet and pulled out something she had gotten from Lavelle's will.  It was dark emerald green and flowy but she put that back and pulled out something else.  That one was deep, rich royal purple that was nearly black.  It was too figuring hugging though, with that tiny bit of extra weight....

"Spanx?" Pepper offered.

"Eww.  No thanks.  They roll up."

"Sure."  She saw something and pulled it out, blinking at it.  "I can't imagine you in that."

"Inherited but I do look hot in it."  She put the deep, gothic red dress on and it was nice on her.  She could wear the bra that was only shoulder straps, no back, with it.  Some double-sided tape to hold that in place and then the dress.  This one dipped lower in the back, so she had to adjust it.  The front was a strapped square neckline that led to formed bra cups and then a loosely braided section in the same color and fabric to emphasize her waist, then fell to the same fabric tightly across her hips to a decorous four inches above her knees.  She had heels for it.  She changed her jewelry and it was good.  Pepper helped her refix her hair then they were done.  Pepper went back to the tower to get dressed.  Dawn walked out, her heels clicking.  The cat was following the human.

"String," Natasha said, turning her to clip it.  The cat adored strings so he was happy.  She looked her over.  "Lavelle's?"  Dawn smiled and nodded.

"Falling hem," Clint said, staring at her.  She and Natasha got that tacked back in place.  He blinked at her.  "There's no little bump of stomach in that dress."

Dawn smiled.  "Exactly."  She turned so he could see the back, earning a swallow.  She smirked.  "We ready?  We're due to arrive in about an hour."  They nodded.  Pepper could complain that he and Natasha were in black. Clint looked her over again once he was standing.  She smiled.  "I do fill it out nicely.  I'm not super skinny."

"No, you're not.  You're at a great weight to fill that out in ways that're giving me dirty thoughts."  He smirked.  She blew a kiss at him and then one at Natasha, who was smirking evilly.  "We ready to handle this problem?"  She nodded.  Natasha sighed but nodded.  Clint made sure they had everything.  Dawn had no purse but she had her thigh holster hidden.  He had felt it when he had pulled her closer to kiss her.  Natasha was armed as much as she could.  He was better armed because he had on clothes that didn't show a lot of flesh.  The girls did one last check, Natasha getting some tweezers and getting a hair Dawn didn't catch.  "Were you that nervous?" he asked.

She nodded.  "I've never done this before.  Before the first formal Pepper and Tony made me attend, Pepper took me to the spa with her so they could do all that for me."  She put on some lotion that was fragrance and dye free in case she ran into someone allergic.  They left together.  The car was supposed to be there in about ten minutes.  Maria and Tara had already left.  Dawn popped her neck, which meant Clint took care of that for her, earning a few breathy moans for it.

"If there's a problem, you tell someone.  Do not handle it," he said in her ear.  "Lower profile."

"Yes, dear."

"Thank you."  He gave her a squeeze around the middle.  "That's so getting cut off you later," he said in her ear.  She smirked and shook her head.  "Yeah, it is."  The car got there and they got inside, heading to the theater.  He looked at Natasha.  "Are you joining our walk?"

"I am."  She smirked.  "It's subtle but I won't separate us tonight."

Dawn grinned.  "Which one of us is getting the middle seat?"

"I am," Natasha said.  "That way if something happens we're closest to handle it."  Clint nodded he'd take the aisle one because he hated to be cooped into a theater with too many people in it.  They got there and the valet helped them out.  Clint handed out Natasha, which made some of the watching crowd shriek in glee.  Then Dawn, which got more shrieks.

Clint smiled and took their arms.  "Let's go, ladies."  They smirked and took them to walk up them.  "Dawn, ignore the reporters," he said quietly.

"I am."  Someone shouted her name so she looked and walked over.  "You wanted me to sign something?"  The girl was nearly crying but nodded.  "Aww!  I've never had a fan before!"  She signed it and kissed the kid on the cheek.  "Thank you!"  A few more pushed their way forward to get her to sign things.  "No shoving, kids."  She did sign it.  "Hey, Bob.  Clint, Bob's here."  He came over to hug the kid and sign something for him, getting Dawn and Natasha to do the same thing.  The ladies all smiled, especially when one girl who had clearly dyed her hair red asked Natasha to sign her poster.  She did and they went inside.

One of the reporters rushed over.  "Dawn....  That dress is by who?"

"I'm not exactly certain.  I inherited it from a friend."

"Aww.  So you're wearing it in their memory?"

"Yeah, they would've loved this."  She smiled.  "Gotta go get popcorn."  She smiled and walked off.

"Mr. Barton?" the reporter called.

"No comment," he called back with a grin and a wave.  "I don't talk to reporters."

"Just one question?" she begged.  He stared at her.  "There's rumors of an underground wedding?"

He shrugged.  Then grinned.  "I like having a private life, sorry."  He walked off with Natasha following.  The reporter tried to get her to comment on it but she just smiled.

Dawn found a person she knew wasn't a reporter.  She walked over.  "Who let you in?" she asked, interrupting the 'interview'.  "The last time I knew, you were an assassin, not a reporter."

Natasha calmly walked over and grabbed the woman's arm, walking her off.  "We do not need this tonight," she said quietly.  "Do not make us kill in front of all those children."  She handed them to SHIELD.  "Someone is an idiot.  They let in assassins without checking ID's?"  That one was a very young agent so he called that in.  Senior agents came in to grab them and walk them off.   Natasha walked back off, smiling at the stars.  "Sorry.  We did not want them to ply their trade tonight in front of children."

Dawn got handed an earpiece by one of the too-young agents guarding the building.  "What?" she asked once it was in.  She groaned and winced.  "Crap."  She looked up then outside through a nearby window.  "There's Thor."  She projected her voice.  "Thor, to your left."  She walked out there.  "Hi, Stark Security," she said at the star.  "We've loved your work, we've watched it for the last three days.  Inside please," she said, walking him that way.  Thor got the guy on top of the building, making everyone flinch at the noise of the lightening hitting him.  "Nice shot, Thor," she said, taking out her earbud to hand back to one of the security team.  She smiled.  "Clint and I got a bit crushy on your last role, sir."  She walked off.

"Wow," he said, blinking.  He pointed and looked at the guard.

"Dawn.  Stark's personal assistant."

"Huh.  She's pretty."  He watched who she went to and smiled.  "That figures."  The guard smiled and nodded.  He smiled at the reporter waiting.  "That was really smooth."

"Dawn's very subtle most of the time," she assured him with a smile.  "How are you feeling tonight?"

"I'm great.  It's a great opening, great fans.  This new theater is wonderful looking.  I'm hoping it lives up to the fan expectations."  He smiled.  Thor landed and the crowd started to shriek again, making him look confused.  "Someone should save him."

"There's Captain Rogers, he will.  The team covers each other very well."

He grinned.  "I think that's the definition of a team."  He shook Thor's hand.  "Thank you for taking him out before he shot me."

"It was no problem," Thor said.  "People should not have rifles on top of buildings during such happy times.  It ruins celebrations and makes Dawn have to do something odd to stop it."  The reporter cackled.  He smiled.  "I'm sure she would so no one else had to get messy."  He patted the reporter on the shoulder.  "We will go see this movie.  See how well you did get the noble Clint portrayed."  He walked around him.

Steve grinned at him.  "We all had a movie marathon of some of your other stuff at Clint's insistence and he said they picked very well to play him."  He shook his hand and walked off.

The reporter beamed.  "That's a great complement."  The reporter nodded.  He went inside.  The Avengers had a row.  Clint was on the end.  He paused and smiled.  "Thank you for letting her handle that."

"It's not a problem and I don't have my bow tonight.  Can't hide it in the monkey suit."  He grinned and shook his hand.  "I saw some things that said you did real good."

"I'm glad.  It's hard living up to a living person's reputation."  He grinned at Natasha.  "Yours was fantastic to work with and she took extra training time to do you as best as she could."

She smiled.  "From what I've seen, she did a good job."  The actor smiled and went to his seat.  She shifted to move her holster.  "That strap is stretching.  I need to replace it."

Dawn smiled at her.  "We can get you a new one."

"I can replace the strap."  She smiled.  "I have a spare but haven't gotten around to it yet."  They had to get up for Steve and Thor.  Then for Pepper and Tony.  Then Dawn had to get up when she caught someone sneaking in, taking her out to security.

"It's not something you get to come to," she said, staring at her.

"I wanted to see it too," Callia pouted.

"It's going to be on very late, Callia."

"I can stay up.  Daddy said I get to make my own schedule."

"You do but you've never stayed up past ten in your life and this one will be going until after eleven.  If we like it, we'll bring you to an earlier showing next week."  She handed her to the security guard.  Who smiled and had her brought home.  She walked back in there, looking down at Tony.  "She was well dressed for it."

"I was impressed that she wasn't wearing pajamas," Natasha admitted.  "Usually she does for late night movies."  Dawn sat down with a grin.

"We have taught Callia fashion sense," Pepper said with a smile.  She was between Tony, who was next to Dawn, and Steve, who was next to Thor.  The seats were roomy, tipped back, and had good leg room.  She had insisted when the theater was being designed.  Maria was on the other side's outer edge with Tara next to her and Fury was in his own seat looking displeased.  That left two for Phil and Xander between the two groups.  They appeared and Xander looked windblown.  "Fly in?" she teased.

"Not yet.  The crowd got kinda more silent when we appeared together.  I even had us in a car."

She smiled.  "That's fine, Xander."  He sat next to Thor so he could explain things to him if he needed to and Phil got Fury, because Xander sitting next to him might mean he'd hit him.  The rest of the special guests were let in and they settled in to watch the movie.  Great thing about premieres, they didn't have to sit through trailers.  They enjoyed the movie, even if Natasha did get patted a few times by Dawn and Clint for what was going on up on the screen. 

They shared popcorn up and down the row like usual.  Pepper got a bit sniffly at one point too but she'd hug Natasha later.  It ended with her being taken into SHIELD by Clint and Coulson.  There had been a lot of sexual tension in there, and it was clearly a good lead in.  She started to grab her purse but Dawn shook her head and so did Xander, who stuck them all in their seats.  During the credits there was another scene that led to Iron Man's movie.  Pepper moaned and looked at Tony.

"He looks like me," he said.  "That's really nice.  Though he looks a bit more like my father really."  He grinned at his lovers, who smirked back.  They got let up and went up to the party with everyone else.  Natasha thanked her actress for doing such a good job then she and Dawn made the obligatory rounds while Clint hid.  Things like this were not his forte in life.  They got to escape back to their apartment to get that very nice dress off Dawn one way or another.

Tony smirked at the director.  "Nice job."  He got a grin back.

"Thank you, Mr. Stark."

"Nice casting too for me.  He looks a lot like my dad."

He laughed.  "We noticed that with some things that came out during that Biography Channel special."  Tony smirked and walked off, taking Pepper and Steve out of harm's way.  Steve was getting flustered and they needed to calm him down.  He went to talk to his crew.  They were great.

"No, she walked up, said she was security, praised the movies, and then got me inside," the one that played Clint said with a grin.  "She was absolutely smooth about it.  She seemed sweet."

"She is," the director assured him with a smile.  "She had to sit in on a few of the meetings we had with Stark.  Her mom's the same way but I heard her snap at a lower agent in that mom way and he jumped."

They all smiled.  "Any idea who that assassin's target was?" the actress that played Maria Hill asked.  She hadn't had a huge part in this one.  She'd have a bigger one in a few movies.

"Not yet."  He looked around.  The only Avenger left was Thor, and that was probably because he couldn't slide away unnoticed very easily.  He did see Director Fury.  He went to talk to him.  "Do I need to set up security around my people, Director?" he asked quietly.

Fury shook his head.  "He was aiming for Stark.  He was supposed to injure him so they could get him from the hospital.  It was a stupid plan and that one's not a great loss to assassins."

"Good to know.  Thank you, and for letting us do the movies."  He smiled and went back to tell them that.  That eased a lot of worries.


Pepper smiled at Tony and Steve.  They were up on the Avengers only floor with the rooms.  "We do have a bedroom just a few floors away," she pointed out, pointing out a window across the street.

Tony smiled.  "With a sleeping set of very curious girls.  They'll pounce you as soon as we walk in."  He kissed her as he pulled them into one of the quiet rooms they had set up.  "This also has better soundproofing."  Pepper laughed but let Tony have his way.  She was a bit needy.  The movie had made her sniffly and she was in the mood to have that cured.  Steve was behind her making her a happy girl too by nibbling on her neck.  Tony had taught him well.

They paused when they heard someone on the floor with them, Steve going out to check on that.  He was the most dressed of the three of them.  Tony kissed her to take her mind off it.

Steve closed the door and looked at the guy looking around.  "I know you're not with the security team or SHIELD.  So who are you and how did you get up here?"

"Card readers aren't that good when you have someone's fingerprint as well."  He smiled.  Steve punched him, knocking him into a wall.  "Hey!"

"JARVIS, we need security here," he noted.

"Already coming from the main tower, Steve," the AI replied.  Guards came in a minute later and gathered him.  "I'll finish installing the security software and exempt the workmen.  It was going to be upgraded once they were done so no one could interrupt you."

"Thank you, JARVIS."  The guy was struggling.  "Tell us who he was tomorrow, people."  They smiled and nodded.  "Any others, JARVIS?"

"Only one that comes up as an assassin that's pretending to be a reporter.  I think SHIELD let her go."  He cleared his throat from Maria's phone.  "Agent Hill, that one that Dawn identified as an assassin is back," he said quietly.  "Pretending to be a reporter."

"Which one?" she asked, scanning the room.  She found her and huffed.  "I'm retraining those agents myself."  She walked over to grab her by the ear and walk her off.  "You're making Tara upset," she noted as she walked her off.  "That's unforgivable since this is her new favorite girl movie."  She handed her to a watching agent.  "This time, keep the assassin in custody."

"Yes, Agent Hill.  Sorry, sir."  He walked her off to the other agents.

Someone appeared and reached for Tara.  "Now you'll both be mine."

"Fat chance," Tara said, moving out of the way and to a better defensive position.

Maria shot him and he fell down screaming at the wound in his spine.  "No, she's mine.  Not yours."  She smiled.  "Anything else you wanted to do today?"  He was crying.  "Good.  I'm glad we're in agreement that Tara's mine."  She walked over him.  "Sir, one of the chaos mages is having a moment," she reported.

He was watching, nodding slightly.  "I can see that.  People?"  He snapped and pointed.  Guards and infirmary staff got him out of there and taken.  "To SHIELD, not Stark's infirmary," he ordered one.

"Yes, sir," he said firmly.  "And the assassin that got free earlier, sir."  He followed.

Fury smirked at her.  "Nice shot."

"Thank you."  She smiled at Tara, who came over to hug her.  "Sir, I'll need some flexible time for the next eight months."

He huffed.  "Do we think this is twins?"

"Not really, sir, but we'll find out soon."  She smiled.  Tara swatted her on the arm but she was smiling as well.

"Fine.  Make sure they're as great as the twins are at distracting Joyce."  He walked off smirking slightly.

"I think that's a given," Tara told Maria, who smiled and nodded.  She cuddled her.  "We have to finalize plans too," she said quietly.

"We do.  I need to find something great to wear."  They walked off talking to go home.  They needed to be home because they needed to talk to the babies.

The director smiled at his actress.  "She's one strong woman."

"She's very strong and they're adorable together."  She grinned.  "I'm in the right part."

"You are."  Fury looked over.  "I originally had her playing Agent Romanoff."

"She's not curvy enough but the new one did a good job.  I almost felt teased through the screen."  The actress blushed and smiled, ducking her head some.  He followed his people out and it was good.  The party was more for Hollywood types anyway.

The director for the movie grinned at his actress.  "You did great."

"Thank you."

The guy who played Clint grinned at her.  "We start shooting the first of the Avengers movies in three weeks."

"I know.  It'll be great."  She walked off with him to talk about things in the upcoming script.  They were allowed to be overheard and tease the rest with it.

An alarm went off.  "Sorry," JARVIS' voice said from the speakers.  "Had that on the wrong setting.  Nothing to worry about."  He turned it off and they all shrugged.

"Is that his AI?" the guy who was going to play Stark asked.  The ones who knew nodded.  "Huh."  He grinned at the director.

"He's included.  We got a very good English voice actor for him."

"Decent."  He sipped some of his beer.  It was a good thing.


Dawn walked into the apartment first and had to beat someone.  "Why are you in here?" she demanded as she kicked him.  "That's so damn dumb to wait on us and you had better not have hurt the cat."

"No, the cat's still staring," he said, trying to back away from her.  "I didn't want to hurt the cat."  Clint and Natasha walked in together.  "Hi, guys."  The cat leapt down from a bookcase he got backed into and clawed him.  "Ow!  Shit!"  He got the cat off him.

Natasha scooped up the cat.  "Very nicely done, Loki.  Thank you."  She petted him.  "Dawn, just shoot him."

"I come bearing news," he offered.

Dawn paused then hit him harder.  He went down.  "Really?  You couldn't call for a meeting?  I can schedule those because you're cutting into my naked, squealing time."

"Dawn," Clint groaned.  He darted the guy and knocked him out.  He kissed Dawn.  "You're still getting naked, squealing time.  It'll take him an hour to wake up."

"I only get an hour of naked, squealing time?" she pouted but her eyes showed she was joking.

"Hell no.  We'll break to let Natasha talk to him and I'll have you since she'll be busy."  He smiled.

"I could like that idea," Natasha said, coming over to unzip Dawn's dress.  They went into the bedroom while Clint tied up their visitor.  The cat got huffy but checked on each of them then went to his closet hiding spot.  He didn't like to watch them have sex.  Clint came in and they stripped him for their pleasure, then Natasha got undressed.  Dawn was on the bed teasing herself while they kissed.  It was a good night.  Dawn would get plenty of naked, squealing time.  She might even be late to work in the morning.


Tony looked up from behind the CEO's desk, smirking at Clint and Natasha walked in together.  "Did you wear Dawn out too much?"

"Nope," Clint said with a grin.  "She's checking on Andrew and Jonathan to tell them how the movie was."  He handed over notes.  "From last night."  He walked off.

Natasha smirked.  "He's finding someone to talk to about those plans."  She walked off in a happy, slightly dirty mood.  Dawn's dress of the day was her fault.  It was flirty and from the goth shop so it fit her body *very* well.  When she ran into Dawn in the bathroom she had to unzip it to get under it instead of pushing it up but that was fine and Dawn got a bit of teasing.  She kissed her back and turned to tease her back.  Natasha groaned into Dawn's mouth but it was quick and dirty, but great.  Then they cleaned up and went back to their jobs/lounging around the tower.

Tony was still rereading the notes when Dawn got to her desk.  "The boys going?"

"Sunday afternoon."  She smiled.  "That what the idiot waiting on us had?"

"Yes."  He looked at her.  "Pepper will be fine."

"I know she will."  She smirked evilly.  "If we have to, Callia and I can build things for any Pepper'naping idiot.  She's already started on a few."

"I saw," he moaned, shaking his head.  "They're very nice."

"One's a bit evil.  She took Roomba 2's spare mini laser cannon and put it on Pepper's defense belt and wrist cuff."  She answered her phone.  "Thank you for calling Stark International, how may I direct your call?"  She listened.  "No, it was a great movie.  We adored it.  Clint and Natasha both got really happy with it.  No, they're not talking to the press.  You know that, Dwight."  She leaned against her desk, smiling at the doorway and Tony shaking his head.  "No, they're good.  They're both here somewhere in the tower since Fury didn't want them at SHIELD right now. 

"Yes, he was hit with a dye pack; those rumors are true.  Thankfully our infirmary managed to get it off him right after he had a health problem for a few days.  No, he hasn't said anything that I've heard and I haven't talked to Mom yet today so no clue, but he wasn't unhappy.  They made SHIELD agents look very competent and strictly great.  Yup, I can text Mom to let her know someone wanted Fury to comment.  I doubt he will.....  Sure, Dwight, later."  She hung up and did text her mother.  Plus Dwight's number so she could pass it onto SHIELD's PR team.

Tony stared at her.  "Tell my daughter I want to see her anti-Pepper'naping ideas?"

Dawn called up there to interrupt Callia's litter box cleaning time.  "Your dad wants to see your anti-kidnaping stuff when you're done, Callia."  She hung up on the squeal.  "It's making her happier than the litter boxes are, boss."  She sat down to go through the mail and handle the daily assistant stuff.

Callia carried in two tablets very carefully about a half-hour later.  "Here we go, Daddy."  The person in there stared at her.  "Hi.  Daddy said he wanted to see my anti-Auntie Pepper kidnaping stuff."

"Let me finish with this reporter and we'll go over it," Tony said with a smile.  She sat down and made sure she had everything.  Including the dog that had followed her.  They were due for a walk.  Dawn took him with her instead.  Tony smirked at his daughter.

"I'll get her lunch later in thanks for walking the Xander puppy, Daddy.  I promise I will."

"Good girl."  He finished up with a few questions that were aimed at Callia, which he wouldn't let her answer.  The reporter pouted but yay!  When she left, he patted his lap and his daughter hopped in it with her tablets, one of which she had stolen from the storage closet, to show him her designs.

"I took apart the mini laser to see how they worked," she admitted.  "Then I had Jonathan explain it to me.  He's very good with them, Daddy."

"He is.  That's one reason why I hired him."  He kissed her on the hair, looking at his daughter's first laser design.  "That needs to be tilted more."

"When you turn it on it tilts it.  It's a safety mechanism.  Jonathan said you needed one, like on guns, but you can't do it the same way."  She ran the simulation she had JARVIS and Jonathan help her build.  "See?"

He nodded.  "That's not a bad design."  He gave her a squeeze.  They went over all of them.  The 'Pepper belt' was a lot like Batman's but it had a lot of handy things.  Including a mini nursing pump for some reason.  He looked at her.  "How much of this did the boys help you with?"

"They explained things and why my idea for the laser wouldn't work but mostly it's mine."  She smiled.  "They should go on the paperwork, Daddy."

"They should.  We'll go over this with Pepper later so we can make sure she'll use it."  She beamed and wiggled.  He hugged her.  "I'm so proud of you."

She kissed him on the cheek.  "I love you too, Daddy."  She hopped down and took the leash from her aunt.  "I'll get you lunchies for walking him for me."

"I could like that."  She smiled.  "How are they looking?"

"I need to make a few things."  She grabbed her tablets to show her.  Dawn had some ideas about kidnaping things.  She had it happen to her all the time.  "How do you make a tracer?" she asked.

"I don't know.  Some work like GPS chips, some work like radio ID frequency like on pets.  You'd have to look that up."

"I can do that," she said, looking very determined.  She got into the online wiki database she liked to start in.  That led her other places and it was good.  She was drawing something and a program on the computer tested it for electrical design flaws.  She had a few and got a bit frustrated but her father came out to make a suggestion and it was easier that way.  She could enjoy that.  She hugged them both and retreated to his lab to go over the ideas with JARVIS.  He was great and helped her make things.

"Some day you'll have to teach her how to forge things by hand," Dawn said with a grin.

"Once she's a teenager and wants her own car.  We can build her one."  He smirked, going back to the desk.  "Pepper's off today."

"We don't have much scheduled but you have a meeting anyway, Tony."

"I know."

"Sorry!"  She grinned at him.  He groaned but nodded.  "And no wishing.  They might come and fix that, which would destroy the company."

"Good point.  I'd never do that to myself."  He got into the paperwork waiting on him.  Including the budget, which looked wrong.  "Dawn, did you do the budget?"

"No, boss.  That came up from accounting.  I submitted the one Pepper and I did."  She came in to look, frowning.  "What the fuck?" she muttered, taking it to go down there.  She walked in and around the secretary's desk, getting huffed at.  "Delilah?"  She opened her door, letting Dawn in.  "Tony and I looked at what you guys sent for the budget and had a 'what the fuck' moment."  She handed it over and pulled up her copy on her tablet.  "That's not what we submitted."

She looked and blinked.  "That doesn't add up at all," she agreed.  "It's not the right format and it's not the right budget.  Is this someone's homework?"

"Maybe," Dawn admitted.  "If so, they need a calculator."

"They do."  She went to find out from someone.  It was indeed their master's accounting degree homework.  She was supposed to be finding problems within it.  Dawn got the actual budget corrections back to look over.  A few things got cut and she had to ask why but it happened all the time in companies.  She brought it back up.  "It was someone's homework."

"That explains a lot."  He took it to look over, grimacing.  "Are profits low?"

"You have a bunch of it going to company investment accounts," she said with a point.  "It's the year for it.  The last one was shortened because of the whole 'Iron Man' thing coming out."

He nodded, going over that.  "Get me the file on those?"  She got it from accounting and brought it back plus the actual expenditures for this year and the last year.  He looked them over and Dawn pointed out a few things.  Including that they hadn't accounted for the unused budget in this one.  She called up the head of accounting to show that to her.  It went under profit but it meant amending the budget for last year to an end-of-the-year report on how they had done.

That changed the projected budget.  Which made Tony happier because it left him with extra money for his pet projects and the Iron Man budget lines.  Dawn found another error in the math and pointed it out.  They looked and groaned, fixing it.  That got Dawn a nice bonus because it gave Tony a few extra mil to play with.


Dawn walked in that night and grinned at Clint and Natasha.  "I found a budget error."

Natasha smiled.  "Are you getting a bonus?"

"Yup.  It gave him a few extra mil to play with in the labs."  She winked and strolled off taking off her dress.

Clint looked at Natasha, who shrugged slightly.  "That's good to know."

"She got a nice one for finding a very big budget discrepancy, which was what started her college fund."

Dawn came out in nothing, kissing them.  "Which is now set up as a college fund for any future kids that may come into being."  She smiled.

Clint stared at her.  "Were you going to put on something?" he asked casually, smiling slightly.

"Not in the least.  Our anniversary is tomorrow."  She smirked.

"Good."  He pulled her closer to kiss and settle into his lap.  "Because that's what I wanted to hear."  Dawn helped him out of his clothes, letting her tease him then tease him by stripping Natasha and kissing her.  "I love watching you two."  He stroked himself, watching them tease each other.  Natasha was moaning and letting Dawn do whatever she wanted.  It was going to be a great night to be Clint Barton.  He pulled them onto the couch together, kissing Natasha and sliding into Dawn's body.  She moaned and arched up to meet him.  "My girls like to play?" he teased with a smirk.

"We do," Natasha said.  She moaned.  "Make us beg, Dawn."  She got an evil smirk and Dawn moved to lick her instead of fingering her.  Clint like that position better too.  It gave him better leverage to hit Dawn's sweet spots hard each thrust.  Dawn was moaning into her body, and Natasha was moaning at the vibrations and what Dawn was doing with her tongue.  "Dawn!" she ordered.  Dawn quit teasing and tongue fucked her until she came.  "Oh, yes." 

Dawn looked up and licked her lips.  "Want more, 'Tasha?"

"If you know what is good for you, I will have more."  Dawn laughed and licked over her gently and carefully.  "Dawn, no teasing," she ordered.

"I like teasing you."  She winked and got back to how Natasha liked it.  Natasha was writhing against Dawn's evil tongue and fingers soon enough, which made Clint slow down to watch.  Dawn wiggled on him but he was enjoying it.  Dawn pulled Natasha's hips up to give her a better angle, making Natasha shriek in pleasure because it got her clit nearly tortured by Dawn's mouth.  Dawn winked at her and shifted on Clint again.  He got back to riding her and it was a great night to be Dawn too.

Clint moaned into Dawn's ear.  "I love watching you do that nearly as much as I love doing it to you."  Dawn pulled back to lean back for a kiss.  Natasha moaned.  Clint and Dawn shared a look and decided that tonight was Natasha's night so they would please her.  He pulled out and pulled Natasha up to push into her while Dawn teased her breasts and kissed her. 

Natasha was in heaven and hell, one of her own making.  She was with two who loved to tease her until she gave up and got loud.  The thrusting wasn't at the usual depth or strength that Clint used on her.  Dawn was teasing her clit while sucking on her breasts.  Natasha finally moved.  She flipped Dawn onto her back and followed to teach her not to tease.  Which meant Clint got her from behind and it was good, hard, and just what she needed to ease the ache in her.  Dawn was easy to please.  She got off well and loudly.  And often if they wanted her to.  Natasha got off from Clint and it was good.  She was happy.  Dawn was ready to scream for it by the time she let her go.  "Then next time, don't tease," Natasha told her.

"You love being teased," Dawn said, pulling Natasha up to kiss her.  "We love to tease you."  She flicked her fingers around Natasha's clit, never quite touching it.  Natasha growled and shifted.  Dawn smirked and kept doing it until Natasha smashed their mouths together and got Dawn off.  Dawn squealed into the kiss but she was nice enough to help Natasha off.

Clint pouted.  "You two didn't save me any."  They shared a look and Natasha got to pounce Clint tonight.  He was a happy, happy boy with her sliding down him and slowly making it worth his patience.  Dawn was helping by holding Clint's hands down for him.  Natasha stared down at him, making him start to sweat.  She smirked slightly and twitched her hips a certain way, which made him shout and push up harder.  She smiled and did it again, and Clint caught the clue.  He was going to get her off and he was going to get to come, sometime.

Yup, it was a great day to be Clint Barton, even if they did have insane press people wanting into their private lives.

The End.

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