You Wanted What From This Future Old One?
The head of Stark Legal hesitantly walked into Pepper's office.
"Can I get you to give Stark some bad news while I find a hole to pull
"Did Legal do something that's going to endanger the company?" Pepper
asked. "Because if it was an accident he'll forgive you sometime
next year or so."
"No, but it's nothing we can stop." She handed over the CD.
"My son is a *huge* Black Widow fan. Has her picture all over his
room. He got sent that by a school friend." She smiled a
tiny bit. "They're really good pictures."
Pepper inserted the disc to run it, blinking at the front of the calendar that popped up. "She's going to kill someone."
"Yeah, I think so too. Which is why I want to hide from Stark
hunting them down with Dawn being all growly and glowy behind
him." She fled because she heard Dawn.
Pepper flipped through the pages, blinking a few times. "Damn,
when did they get that picture?" she muttered. One she knew wasn't
in the press. It was in SHIELD's mainframe from when Natasha was
undercover. "Dawn?" she called.
She came in and looked over her shoulder. "Huh. Someone
hacked. Interesting." She took the mouse to flip
through the other ones. "Clint doesn't have any topless pictures
anywhere so they really hacked. That's the medical bay at SHIELD's
hell carrier. Probably for his identifying marks file since it's
missing a tattoo." She smiled and opened up a portal, letting Fury
see it with her mom since he was staring over her shoulder. "Did
you sell pictures of Clint and Natasha to someone?"
"No," Fury said. "Why would I have?" Dawn projected the
image by hitting a few keys. "That's the medical bay....
Hill, find out who hacked us for dirty pictures of our agents," he
Dawn put up one of Hill that made Fury growl. "We're doing the
same thing today." She smiled and hung up on them. "Well,
the boss said he was bored," she quipped. "Natasha needs someone
to growl at too."
"Sure, we can let Tony handle it with them. Why none of Steve?"
"Because you can barely get him into swim trunks around here," Dawn said
dryly. "During that family swim thing, he had to have on a
"Good point." She called Tony to come see that. Dawn smiled
and went back to work doing a lot of things she probably didn't need
to. Pepper got proof of that when she got pre-report checks on the
companies they were going to have talks with and backgrounds on the
people coming in. "Bored?" she asked.
Tony strolled off the elevator and came in. "What huge problem's going on now?"
"SHIELD got hacked," Pepper said, restarting on the front of the
calendar page with a smile as she handed him the mouse. "You make a
nice Mr. May."
He flipped through them with the trackball, barely pausing on his.
He was growling by the end. "Bruce is going to be insulted that
they didn't put him in them." He grimaced. "Those are SHIELD
pictures from the infirmary. Hill's going to gut someone.
Maybe she'll bond with Tara over it."
Dawn looked in and shook her head. "Tara's still crying each time
she says Maria's name." She leaned up again. "I told Natasha
and she's growling."
"So am I mentally," Tony agreed dryly. "Thankfully you can't read everyone's mind, Dawn."
She smirked evilly at him. "Boss, it's not hard to see what's on
your mind. It's all science and robots outside of Steve, Pepper,
and the kids. It's kinda obvious when it turns to Steve or
Pepper." Tony blushed. "The science and robots thoughts make
you scatterbrained and non-focusing on people so that's easy to tell
too." Pepper cackled and smiled at him. "The calendar was
not done by the woman who wanted to do one. She's filed a suit
against the person who did it for stealing her idea that she's been
working on for months now. I did pop an IM to ask her and she told
me that. I told her that Clint and Natasha weren't happy over
hacked pictures. She purred back so apparently that works well
with her suit." She printed something and handed it over.
"Who she's suing."
Tony and Pepper looked it over. "Trash rag," Pepper snorted.
Tony nodded. "And then some, yeah." He walked off to handle
this. He wasn't some beefcake to be put up like that. Even
if he was handsome and had a good body, he didn't want it to be flashed
Dawn and Pepper shared a grin and got back to work.
Clint and Natasha were waiting when the person who had made the calendar
came out of her office. "Morning," he said, making her flinch and
back away slowly. He smirked behind his sunglasses. He
liked that response from the leech reporters that made his life a living
hell. "We're taking a leaf from Dawn's usual method."
"Magic?" she stuttered.
"Not my style." Natasha handed her the folded paper over her
shoulder, making the stupid reporter jump out of the way. "You're
hereby served with notice that we're not happy and going to ruin you for
using hacked pictures."
Natasha smirked, tucking the papers into her bag for her. "Also,
there are agents here who would like to know how you hacked
SHIELD." She got out of their way.
"Ma'am, FBI and Homeland Security," one of the dark suited, sunglass
wearing agents said. "We need to talk about how you hacked a
national and international security agency to get risque pictures for
juvenile entertainment purposes." She slowly shook her head but
the agents walked her off. "Have a better day, Agents Romanoff and
"You as well," she said with a smirk for the reporter. She and
Clint walked off. "The girls are going on vacation tomorrow."
He looked down at her. "Are you going?"
She smirked. "I was not invited."
"Me either but I can take a weekend at the hotel as a vacation watching them watch her."
"Hmm. That might be fun." They made reservations to land
just later than the private plane was and got rooms that overlooked the
beach so they could stare at Dawn. She had fixed the bathing suit
issue but Dawn was still worried about her weight. Which wasn't
heavy. It was just her cheeks. Their pagers went off and
they got beamed back to the Tower before it finished going off.
"Major portal full of demons," Stark said, tossing Clint his bow.
"Got it." He got into his field uniform and they left
together. Natasha had hers on under her jacket. They got
there and found others. "Damn," he said, staring at it.
"Barton, that building," he said with a point. "It'll be awkward
but you can't get anything through the portal anyway. Hit them as
they come out. Hulk, get the big things that are trying to come
through. Stark, get the minor ones. Widow, get the civilians
out of the way then join my position."
"Got it already," Dawn said, slapping down shield generators. "You
have shields that are ten feet high two blocks in each direction.
Jonathan's placing the last behind them. Andrew's got the west
side." Captain America nodded and rushed in. Dawn looked at
the staring people. "If something happens, you're all going to
die," she announced. "We're not going to die to protect you
because you're staring in horror, people! To be blunt, fucking
move!" They ran. "Thank you for having common sense!"
She saw another portal opening and blinked. "What the hell?"
She fired on it to warp it closed. It was a bit stronger than her
spell. "We have another one," she called. Stark looked and
fired something at it. "At the portal, not in it!" she
shouted. "Unless you want others to be pulled through!"
"Sorry, Queen of Nag."
"Not nagging this time and I now deserve my vacation." She
concentrated, opening all the Keys. That closed the portal with a
concussive blast that knocked a few people down. "Cool, it's
gone." She turned and summoned her chain mail, sliding into it and
going into the demon-infested shielded area. They were flinging
magic. But hey, all that extra weight was going to be gone so a
bonus of a slight demon invasion. She ducked as Wade jumped
in. "Morning, Deadpool."
"Morning, my Mean, Dark Angel. Cute chainmail."
"Made by Dwarves." She blasted a few more demons for Stark and
Natasha to give them room to move. "Guard what's mine, Wade.
She needs someone at her back." He nodded, killing things on his
way over to her. Dawn saw an opening after killing a few more
demons and took a shot at the power crystal holding the portal
open. It shattered, spraying tiny bits of quartz around.
Dawn contained it and coldly remade it so she could undo it. The
portal started to suck the demons in. "People, move!" They
got out of the way, Natasha making sure Wade made it. She got
Steve and Bucky moved. Hulk wasn't being affected. The last
of the demons got sucked back. "Hulk, smash pretty thing!" she
ordered with a point.
He roared and picked it up to smash it. Magic flowed out and hit
the shields, bouncing around. She raised a hand and captured it,
turning it into a small glowing ball of energy. She tossed it at
Steve, who caught it on his shield. "We're saving it?" Steve
"It'll help when we send those guys home."
"Good to know." Tony changed one of the shields to contain
it. Steve tipped the ball into it and Tony sealed it. "Okay,
any other traumas?" he asked. "Dawn, please quit swearing at the
civilians for staring in horrified awe?" he asked dryly.
She summoned her phone and pulled up something, handing it to him. "Nope. Not after that."
He read it and grimaced. "Some people are always looking for an angle." He handed it to Tony.
"I saw both suits from people suing us because we couldn't save
someone. I countered it already." He blinked as Dawn moved
around him to fire on something that was apparently coming toward
them. He turned and blinked again. "What the hell?"
"No clue," Steve said.
The floating chair with the villain laughing in it looked really
stupid. It was solid gold with dark purple fabric cushions.
It had gemstones along the major lines of the chair to highlight
it. "It's *fabulous*," Wade said sarcastically. "Can we kill
him before the whole Pride Parade makes a mess, Dawn? He's an
insult to gay men's great taste in furniture and some of them will
become militant to remove the eyesore."
"He's not a god. Or a goddess. I'm assuming he can die
somehow." The villain glared at her. "Who are you, what do
you think you're doing, and why are you pissing me off the day before my
The villain glared at her. "I wish to challenge you for your *spouses*. We want their deaths."
"Denied," Dawn said and flipped a hand at him. The villain
screamed as he was slowly eaten. It took nearly three
minutes. She shrugged. "Sorry, but mine is mine and I don't
share." She strolled off undoing her chainmail, shaking her
head. "Okay," she decided. "Someone can send his tacky chair
back to his people. They probably want the money he paid for it
back." She smiled at Natasha, checking her over. She laid a
hand on her cheek, making her wince. A healing spell and she was
better. "Clint, you good?"
"I'm fine. Barely got fired on." He landed beside them and
Dawn checked him then healed him. He took a kiss from each of
them. "Weren't you supposed to stay as the team's backup?"
"I was. Then it went magic centric. Not like you guys can
throw offensive spells." She shrugged and smiled. "See you
back at the tower, guys. Gotta go deal with people," she sighed,
looking at the reporters. She walked that way pulling down her
hair. "People, we have to clean up," she noted. "Do you
really need to watch the demon parts be burned? I can guarantee
The reporters pushed against the barrier. "What was that?" one demanded.
"Was that like LA?" another shouted.
Dawn raised a hand. "One at a time. I'm not going to answer
everyone. No, it was not like LA's invasion. LA's took years
of planning. This might've been like the one that we had in
Manhattan a few years back but otherwise no it was just a wannabe
"Who was the person in the chair?" one shouted.
Dawn shrugged. "No clue. All I know is he wanted to kill two
of the Avengers. That's not really allowed." She smiled at
one she liked. "What?"
"Who's that guy?" She pointed.
Dawn looked then at her. "Remember that battle with the portal
drawing people?" She nodded slowly. "He came through during
that. That's Deadpool."
"My son reads that comic," she said, starting to shake. "He thinks you're an angel?"
"I am an angel." She grinned. "I'm always an angel."
The reporter whimpered. "But he's a good guy. I like him,
he's a good buddy to have. We have lunch at least once a week."
"He's slightly...off," the reporter said.
"There. Here his boxes aren't around. He *adores* Philip,"
she said with a grin. "Keeps teasing him. Asked if he could
bring him home and train him. All sorts of things." She
smiled. "I even trust him around the twins and Sean."
The reporter nodded slowly. "So, vacation, Dawn?"
"Tomorrow. Barbados. Bikinis. Girls' weekend with the twins, Pepper, and Callia."
"Awww. You need the vacation. And dinner, you've lost all that baby weight now."
"Magic can do that." She undid the shields and walked around
them. "Let them clean up. Don't bother the people calming
down from the battles, people."
"We heard SHIELD was looking at a few others who might fit onto the team
but one wasn't suitable?" one of the few male reporters asked. He
was wisely wearing a bulletproof vest.
Dawn nodded. "We had a talk about one not being suitable.
Ask Director Fury about that." He nodded and they went to mob him
since he was showing up. Dawn went back to the tower to
shower then get something to eat and drink and get back to her
perky super assistant self. Pepper was giving her a strange look
when she came off the elevator on her way to the changing rooms.
"You *really* need the vacation, Dawn."
"Wade's not *nice* and he's pouting that you called him nice."
"I didn't call him nice. I know he's not *nice*. But he's
not a mean person and he's subtle, which is nice compared to a few
people I know. And I do trust him around the twins and
Sean." She shrugged and sent him a text about knowing he wasn't a
*nice* guy, even if he was a lunch buddy and she did trust him around
the kids. That made him happier. She felt someone hit
Natasha with a bullet and teleported back with a thunderous
appearance. She stared down at Wade, who had been knocked down by
her flash of magic. "You tried to do what to one who's mine?"
He stuttered, blinking at her. "You know, I didn't think you were
the scary sort before, Dawn," he said, sounding tight and tense.
She smirked. "Yes. I am. But only over those who're
mine. My pack, dear." He nodded quickly. "Now, go
apologize and if you actually injured her, you're going to be very
sorry." He nodded, scooting back so he could do that.
Natasha walked over holding the graze. "Dawn, you do not have to
rip him apart like that one white slaver in Calabria," she said
gently. "He barely injured me and he was frustrated, like Philip
throwing a tantrum."
"Hey," Wade complained.
Natasha gave him a look that clearly said 'shut up if you want to survive this' then smiled at Dawn again. "I'm fine."
Dawn healed it and kissed her. "Are you sure?"
"I'm certain. If he had been trying he would've used the swords."
"I would've made him fuck them if he had tried," she said bluntly.
"Then eat them." She hugged her then checked Clint before going
back to the office.
Clint looked at Wade, grinning slightly. "Still think she's a mean, dark angel?"
"Yup. More mean than not but yup. She's scary in the perfect
way." He sighed. "Damn. I need to find her on my home
realm." He walked off.
"Sorry, we pulled her from that realm to make sure Glory couldn't take
her out," Andrew said with a smile and a wave. "And if you touch
Dawn's pack again she's going to let me find the battle suit."
Wade groaned, walking off shaking his head. "Go," he told the
Roomba army he had built. They went after Wade to babble at him
and shoot tiny lasers at him until he got normal again. He grinned
at Tony. "Hi, boss." He disappeared before Tony could lift
Tony looked from Andrew's former spot to the army of Roombas following
Wade then shook his head. "Roombas, back to the tower," he
ordered. The boys had better have input an override for him to
manage their 'army'. Most of them followed it. Two of them
kept babbling at Wade. Tony had JARVIS program a remote and turn
"Hey!" Wade complained. "They're nicer than my little yellow
boxes! That's mean, Stark!" He turned them back on and took
them with him. They were nearly as neat as Dawn and Philip were.
Clint looked at Natasha, who shook her head. "Let's go, people, before more things happen."
"Yup, good idea, Archer Boy," Tony said, sounding like he had a
headache. He flew off. "See you back there. I have to
nag my assistant about looking up the meaning of the word 'backup'."
Steve looked at Bucky, then the others. "I agree, let's go back to
the tower. SHIELD has the clean up well in hand. I'm sure
someone will tell us about the guy in the chair." He walked off
rubbing a sore shoulder. He ignored all the press. They
weren't shouting at him but at Natasha and Clint. Who was growling
and protecting her. Dawn popped up again with a sword, smiling at
the reporters. They fled for their lives. Dawn cackled and
went home. Steve looked at Clint. "So, weekend of vacation?"
"We're going to make sure no one snatches them from the beach but we're going to be watching instead of helping."
"You could help her relax," Bucky offered.
"I can shoot you too," Natasha quipped. "Dawn likes her beach and bikini time, Barnes."
"It's mean to take away her dick teasing time," Clint agreed. He
got into the van and into the back corner. Natasha got pulled into
his lap so he could smother the laughing he was doing into her
shoulder. Steve and Bucky got in, Hulk got the middle section for
himself. "When is Thor getting back?" he asked once they were on
"Next week we think," Steve called back, rubbing his neck. Hulk patted him on the head. "Thanks, Hulk."
"Very mean demons."
"That too," Steve agreed with a smile. "Someone tried to touch what was hers."
"Dawn mean angel. Agree with weird one," Hulk said.
Bucky nodded. "Me too." Steve hit him on the arm as he shook
his head. They got back to the tower and went to cool down,
change, and get Hulk back to Bruce.
Clint and Natasha got changed and got lunch, bringing it over to Dawn's
desk. Which she wasn't at. She was in the labs somewhere
nagging someone who did something absolutely stupid. They settled
in to eat and wait on her. When she came up, she sat between them
and finished her own lunch. They'd have a talk about things at
Dawn kissed each of them once she was done eating. "I have jell-o
cups in my drawer." They shook their heads and stole her candy
bars instead. It was good to relax. Pepper was blushing in
her office but Tony was evilly teasing her the same way.
A reporter got Dawn as she came out of the office that night.
"Dawn, what do you have to say back to the Mayor since he said that you
were scary today?"
She shrugged. "I did just fine today. I was a bit mean when
Wade poutily shot at my wife, but yay. If the Mayor doesn't like
me being protective of those who're mine, then that's his shit."
The reporter flinched. She smiled. "It's my turn to
cook. Can we go home?"
"Sure." She got out of the way. She laid in lurk, catching
Bruce. "How long does Dawn usually take to get untense after
"That depends on what she has to do afterward. Today she had to
talk to an intern that brought home a rapist because he hung around
after their night together and got another intern. I believe you
covered it when Andrew blew him out a window."
"That was Andrew? Which one is Andrew?"
"The guy with the Roombas."
"Oh, him. He's adorable."
"He's a great young scientist. After the first Roomba dog, he's
made guard Roomba dogs, he's made one that dissolves dirty diapers for
his wife and baby. He and his friends also created a set of battle
suits back in high school. We still have Jonathan with us; he's
Andrew's lab partner. You don't see Jonathan as much but he's just
as good and just as smart as Andrew. They're a great team."
The reporter nodded slowly. "You don't think they're a bit...weird maybe?"
"At their age, Tony was creating robots like Dummy to help him," Bruce
said dryly. "Andrew just took a Roomba someone had in storage and
tinkered instead." He put his hands in his pockets and smiled
slightly. "We adore Andrew and Jonathan around the labs.
They're great young guys who're always willing to help. Their kids
are adorable and their wives are beautiful scientists of their own."
"Huh. Arranged by Stark?"
"Their wives were interns and they met at a Halloween party Stark
threw. No one's forced them together but Dawn and her mother have
both answered confused questions from all four of them. They
weren't geeks who were used to people."
"Oh!" She smiled and nodded. "Do they have a lot of
patents? Are they going to be heirs to the legacy like Callia is?"
"They are I think." He grinned. "Callia adores them.
Calls them her geeks. Said that their kids will have a place when
she's in charge if they want to be her geeks too."
"Awww." She smiled. "Thank you, Dr. Banner. Is Dawn all right?"
"Why wouldn't she be? Was she injured?"
"She seemed a bit...frosty."
"Her spouses getting hurt does tend to flip her temper to the 'on'
setting," he said dryly. "Then again, I feel the same way about
Joyce." He smirked slightly. She nodded and backed
off. "Have a good night." He strolled off, getting a cab
home. Joyce was waiting for him in a pretty robe and had her hair
down. He kissed her. "A hero's reward?" he teased. "I
could like that." She undid her robe and he blinked. "I
could really like this reward thing." He kissed her bare neck and
teased the flimsy nighty she had chosen to have him rip off her.
This was a good thing in his life.
Dawn smiled at the twins. "This time we're going private so you
don't have to get as groped by the security people." They
grinned. Sean pouted. "It's for girls, Sean. Do you
want me to make a gender potion?"
"No!" He shook his head quickly. "Uncle Clint's going to
stare at you though. Who am I going to hang out with?"
"Um, Uncle Xander and Phil?" Sean beamed and nodded, calling
Xander to see if he could come hang out with him. He said he could
so Sean ran over there that night to hang out with his second favorite
uncle. Tony was something like a stepdad to him. Clint was
his favorite uncle because he adored his Aunt Dawn. So that worked
out well. He even brought Philip to take care of so they could
have a 'guy' thing.
Phil smiled and got John and Craig to join in on the guy thing.
Plus Chris from Pepper. They needed more guy bonding time.
Clint was kicked back on his hotel room balcony, watching Dawn and the
girls set up for their day of being bikini-clad dick teases. The
twins looked great in Dawn's old bikinis. Dawn.... He had to
blink and rub his eyes a few times. The booty hadn't disappeared
with the baby weight. Her legs looked extra toned. Her chest
was still very full, and he knew she'd be pumping on and off all day
for Philip. He blinked a few times, hearing a moan from the next
room over. He looked over there then shook his head at Wade.
"Watch her kill you this time," he said quietly.
"Damn her for being that hot." He went back inside to talk to his new little Roomba boxes.
Above him he heard Natasha's porch open and her sigh in
displeasure. He thought at Nat, making her moan. Clint was
moaning. Dawn was spread out to sunbathe. Clint seriously
had to kill anyone who came over to talk to her or the twins.
Pepper and Callia came down with fruity slushy drinks and set up near
them. Even Callia sighed in displeasure about needing a bikini
like her sisters. They could hear her and the twins reminding her
when she needed a bra she could have one too. That made her
happier because it meant she got to talk to them about Jonathan's new
bra fabric trials. Dawn put in a few quiet suggestions and the
twins giggled but it was good.
Clint saw a reporter and nearly shot something at her but she was
staring in awe. So apparently the girls were turning people
lesbian again. It was cute how many people had decided they were
bisexual after wanting the twins. Or Dawn. She still got a
few now and then. One reporter for that entertainment station even
said that Dawn had made her appreciate the womanly form and her husband
was not happy with it. Pity, Clint and Natasha did.
Natasha sent a thought at him so he looked out there. "Yeah,
that's a kraken," Clint said, picking up his bow and his quiver to load
an explosive arrow tip. He sent a thought at Dawn. Dawn
looked up and growled, then flicked a finger, making it swim off yipping
unhappily. Clint got to put down his weapon of choice to watch
his distraction of choice dick tease without doing a single thing.
Tony looked at the online photo special on the ladies on the
beach. He had expected there would be one blaring something stupid
about someone's weight. Instead he got 'pregnancy does a body
good' about Dawn's new curves. "No more baby weight angst I
guess," he said, showing Steve and Bruce since they were having
Bruce shook his head. "Joyce made pretty girls."
Steve grimaced. "They're treating them like auction items again, Tony."
He grinned. "Clint and Natasha are both watching from the
hotel. Barton said it was the most relaxing vacation he'd ever had
the last time. Just sitting there watching Dawn being hot and
brushing people off the twins."
Steve shook his head quickly. "Then I'm happy for him but they're still treating them like they're under a microscope."
Bruce nodded. "They're not the only ones they do that too. Thankfully Callia likes to make fun of them."
Tony grinned. "She does. It's so great that they haven't gotten to her yet."
"I'm glad she won't be one that'll end up in the papers from all that drinking and foolish things with drugs," Steve said.
"No, my daughter does know when to wear underwear," Tony said dryly,
cracking Bruce up. He showed Steve, who moaned and shook his
head. "No, she'll never be one of those. We've had a few
talks about girls like that getting disowned for being so damn stupid."
Howard faded in. "You're going to make her stay sober for her
entire life?" he asked. Tony played one of the videos he had
pulled up. Howard blinked. "That's not right."
"No, but that's how heiresses these days act sometimes," Tony said dryly. "She'll never be like that."
"No, I'd kick her out of the family if she did," Howard said. "Or like those kids who have babies at thirteen."
Tony looked at him then at Bruce and Steve, who shrugged. Tony
looked at him. "There's been a few visions," he said
quietly. "Mainly that the Powers That Be, the higher ups over the
slayers, may push her to have one as she's one of the few slayers that
isn't infertile." Howard gaped. "There's only been three
slayers that have given birth before, and she's from one of them."
"Oh no." Howard sighed. "How are you going to handle that?"
"Like any parent would. If it happens, I'm not going to be
*happy*." He stared at his father. "We'll handle it as a
family and make some family decisions."
"Is that why she has all the pets?" Howard asked.
"No, that was someone leaving the cats to her and a demon interceded to
get the dog out of harm's way," Tony said dryly. "Before that it
was Carrot and six mice."
Howard shuddered. "Okay. I was wondering about that little
memorial rock in the atrium." He looked at Steve, who smiled.
"We think it's great that she's so responsible at her age," he told him. "I was at her age."
"I wasn't that responsible until she came into being," Tony quipped,
sipping his juice. Steve's knee bumped his and he grinned at him
for it. "I wasn't."
"I saw the news archive." They shared a look and Steve smirked. "Now you can't be flirty like Dawn is."
"I'd never be as flirty as Dawn is. I can't fit into her
bikinis." Bruce choked, shaking his head. Howard faded out
rolling his eyes.
"You do have the greatest clone ever in your daughter," Bruce said, wiping his mouth off.
"I got reminded I have to redo the will soon since I haven't in over a
year," Tony said. Steve nodded. "So that means I have
to have everyone sign paperwork that they'd take custody of the clone
and her younger spawn."
Bruce smiled. "How far down the list are we?"
"Pepper and/or Steve, Dawn and her spouses or her spouses, then Joyce
and you, Bruce. Then Rhodey, Happy, and a few people I'd trust as a
last resort like Rodney and John Sheppard."
He nodded. "At least one's outside the group so they probably won't go in the same apocalypse we will."
Tony hit him on the arm. "I'm going to find a way to immortality, quit thinking those things."
"I hear ambrosia tastes good," Bruce quipped back.
"Yeah, don't remind me. There are stores for humans that find it according to Sheppard."
Steve shuddered. "No thank you." Tony stared at him.
"Having a mortal life is comforting in a lot of ways. Though I'm
told that Xander set up his own version of Valhalla so I might end up
there instead of the original one." He finished his last bite of
toast and chewed.
"I guess that's better than ascending," Tony agreed. "Could be
fun." Bruce nodded. Tony grinned. "We'll have to
see." Steve grinned and finished up his eggs, then took his plate
to the drop off window. "So, Bruce, no Joyce time today?"
"Not today. She's having her hair done. It's finally starting to grow again and she wants to make it look nice."
"That's great. I know a few women that have went through all the
chemo-related hair loss want their hair to grow out very long at first
to prove that it's back."
"Hers is almost mid-shoulder." He grinned. "She looks
stunning no matter what she does with it." He got up to drop off
his plates and silverware. "Let me get to my lab to work on the
selenium thing." Tony nodded. He finished up and went up to
his own lab to get back to work.
Steve decided to go look at the flowers in the atrium of the second
tower. They had done a great job making it a pretty garden area to
sit in, and it had great light for sketching.
"Captain," a young woman said. He smiled as he turned to look at
her. "Can I have a few minutes for a short interview?"
"Sure, why not," he decided. He led her to a private bench in the
atrium area. "What did you want to know and who are you doing it
"I'm doing the piece freelance for one of the Christian magazines."
He smiled. "That's great. I like a few of those. They
have good news and modern problems coverage. Including one
recently on some charity work that Bruce had done."
"I saw that one. He's done a lot of charity work." She
smiled and pulled out a tape recorder. "So, Captain, how are you
after yesterday's battle?"
"I'm fine. I'm calm, I didn't get injured. It was a
relatively short one thanks to them switching to magic from the higher
weapons they were using."
"Do you think Dawn would now jump onto the team more often?"
"No. She's still sticking to helping when it's a magic problem and
handling the things going on around the team for us. She does a
lot of our PR work and the like."
"We've seen her telling a few reporters off for getting near one of you."
"One of them tried to grab her wife. She doesn't do well when
suddenly grabbed so Dawn was saving that reporter some injury."
"Do you feel strange being on the same team as the trio?"
He stared at her for a minute. "You do realize that I'm in a
relationship with the guy who climbs into the shiny red and gold armored
suit to help me protect people, right?" he asked with a slight grin.
"We thought you might have broken up, or had a change of heart. We never see you two together."
"That's because we don't really like all the attention. Tony can
divert it but it doesn't really make us feel comfortable. So we
stay in most of the time. We watch movies with the kids or read
and play games with them. Somehow Tony got me into Mario Brothers
the other day and I got really frustrated that I couldn't beat the
little walking mushrooms." He shook his head quickly then
grinned. "Callia told me how to get over it after looking up a
gaming manual online."
"That's sweet of her. Do you consider the children your stepchildren?"
"I don't have a step anything. They're my kids like they're Tony's
kids and Pepper's kids. Callia does call me Stepmom. When
we were working things out, she found out what one was and she decided
that's my special name."
"That's sweet." She smiled. "So you're happy with the family you have? Do you want kids of your own?"
"Maybe some day. Right now, I'm happy with the three we
have. Maybe when Chris is old enough to walk around by himself
without one of us following him to make sure he's okay I'll consider
having a baby."
"Those machines that came back on Atlantis?"
He shrugged. "It's not my first choice but if that's the only way
and I'm that invested in the idea of having one at that time I'd
consider it. I have no idea what's going to happen five years down
"Have the two of you gotten any fallout from various religious groups over being together? Or has Mr. Stark's assistant?"
"Beyond those two heathen churches?" he asked dryly. "One of which
is still trying to start problems?" She shivered. "Frankly,
that's not how I was taught God worked but if they're sure I'm sure
He'll have fun talking to them when it's their time to meet.
Though, the one who sent cat toys to Callia's pets that were poisoned
should probably not ever let me know who they are." He
grimaced. "Other than that, there's been various fall outs.
There's been people who hated that I volunteered and the Super Serum
worked on me. There's people that hate that I'm with Tony.
There's people who'll never be happy until I become like them or a
Knight Templar. One suggested that the other day and I kindly sent
back a history lesson on them." She giggled. "Sometimes all
the pressure of being Captain America is a bit much, especially when we
get stalked by reporters and photographers. Or else we'd come
over here to the movies more often."
"You'd have a date night with him?"
"I think that even if we were married we'd still have date nights as you
guys call them. Or else the relationship is a bit boring."
"Do you pay attention to articles on that sort of thing from popular magazines?"
"No. I pay attention to what feels right. Frankly, things
like _Cosmo_ I often can't look at without blushing because it's all
about the sex. I like sex with my partner, but I don't need to air
that all the time the way they do. It's one of those things that
confuses me about the modern world."
"There's many groups that hate that as well."
"Yes, and a lot of them don't like me for having Tony. Which,
again, I can't change their minds. I'm not going to try to change
their minds. They can have their viewpoint and I can have
mine. As long as theirs doesn't start sending death threats or
something like that again."
"I can see that. Do you think Philip is going to get a sibling?"
"Dawn thinks some day he'll have a sister." He grinned.
"She'll be just as spoiled as he is. He's a happy, charming little
boy that Chris loves to complain at. Philip just laughs back at
his grumbling noises so Chris cheers up too."
"Awww. They're being sat by the same nanny?"
"During the day, Beya has them both and Liz usually if the parents are
busy. Sometimes Philip stays with his mom to learn how to type and
make appointments. Or he's with Callia and her arranged kid
playtime with the other infants in the building. She thinks it'll
make the future scientists stronger in the company's family feeling."
"I've heard her call them her geeks before."
"She does." He grinned. "She helps her aunt with report
gathering rounds to check on some of them at least once a month.
Most of the scientists in the building love Callia. They've all
taught her things over the years. Even when she was Liz's size and
following her aunt around mimicking her they taught her things.
She used to dress up pretty and follow Dawn around, scribbling notes of
"My niece has pretend-interviewed me a few times," she said with a
grin. "It's said that she took Bollywood dancing lessons. Is
that because her father's thinking about a new office in India? I
know he has a minor one there."
"Dawn had to wear a sari to something and Callia thought it was pretty,
which it is." He grinned. "Dawn and she were eating lunch
with Pepper and Tony. Dawn pulled up a Bollywood movie on Netflix
to amuse her. She decided she wanted to take it after that."
"Huh. So her father's not structuring her after school activities?"
"We mostly let her pick. We have her try things that we think
might be interesting. We did demand that she take at least the
basic swimming lessons for safety reasons since they do have a pool in
the penthouse. She's done great with that and decided to go
on. She wanted to try gymnastics and likes it. It's her
favorite lesson at the moment. We had her try various sports to
see if they clicked. We tried dance classes. The only thing
we were going to be pushy about was self defense lessons and she asked
us for them before we could start to looking at the various
options. She had seen her aunt sparring to defeat future bad guys
and decided she needed to do the same."
"I've heard mention that she's a future slayer?"
"Future possible slayer. Not every one of them is called. We
hope she never is. It's a hard life and we'd hate to see her
having to start patrolling when she's young. No parent really
wants to see their kid in that sort of job because it's dangerous.
Joyce hated it when she found out about Buffy's calling. I'm told
Tony went on a swearing fit at God when he found out Callia was a
potential slayer. If she's called, she'll have backup. We'll
make sure of it. Even if we have to come out of retirement to
help her on whatever hellmouth she goes to."
"Are you making plans for a later retirement?"
"I think each and every person who's ever been in a battle situation
makes some sort of plans when they get too many battles underneath their
feet and too old to keep doing it the way they have been. Some
day I'd like to pass the suit onto some other soldier. I haven't
been actively looking for a replacement. I'm not ready yet but
with the battles we fight and how big the risk of serious injury is,
yeah we've all had to make subtle plans."
"Is there someone to take over Mr. Stark's suit if something happens to him?"
"Yes. There's plans in place in case he's too injured to help
during a battle. They've been in place for over a year."
She smiled. "Some other SHIELD agent?"
"I can't divulge that, sorry."
"That's fine." She smiled. "Do you think Callia might take it some year?"
He shrugged. "I don't know. Right now she's still working on
her plans to turn an earlier model of the suit into an animal
hospital." He smiled. "She likes the suits, the machines,
all the science and robots. She knows that bad guys get fought by
us so they don't hurt people. She's not all that interested in it
at her age. Right now it's all 'my sisters are really pretty' and
'my brother's really pretty' and animals with her science. Last
week she brought Carrot down to the lab to watch her tinker on the cars
with her father. Carrot is a *very* calm bunny thankfully."
"Where did Carrot come from?"
"Xander. When the whole building had the flu, he showed up to play
with her one day and gave her Carrot after teaching her some teaching
songs in Norse. She wanted a jackalope."
The reporter giggled. "Okay."
"Xander said that the witch on Asgard that made a few might make her one
but she had to deal with real rabbits first." The reporter
gaped. He grinned. "There's been a few of those
apparently. Thor told us Xander captured a huge six foot rabbit
once. Same witch."
"Would probably laugh." He grinned.
"Good to know." She checked her recorder and smiled at him. "Thank you for the time, Captain."
"You're welcome." He shook her hand. "I hope it's a good
article." She smiled and left him to look at the flowers and maybe
do some sketches. It had been a while since he had done any.
Dawn looked up as the guy from the State Department she had worked with
before came off the elevator Monday morning. "Thanks for coming to
visit us at Stark today. Who did you need to nag?" she asked with
a perky smile.
"You, ma'am." He pulled out papers with a slight smirk. "We
finally found out who the guy in the chair was. It took us all
weekend using visual software to run him for an ID."
She looked at it. "Huh, the brother of the guy that took my
spouses and niece hostage to get me. Interesting." She
handed it back with a smile. "They can add onto the teaching myth
they created the last time."
He shook his head. "No, they're not happy."
"I'm not happy he tried to get my spouses."
"He was going to pay them back for blocking his brother's access to you."
Dawn pushed a few buttons. "Can I have you two for a few minutes
please? Thank you." She hung up and sent one at Natasha and
Clint. Natasha came strolling over blotting sweat from her
workout. The head of Legal and Tony both came. "Let's go to a
"The guy in the chair?" Tony guessed.
"Is the brother of the world leader guy that wanted me so much he kidnaped my niece and spouses," Dawn said with a perky smile.
"Then it's good he's dead," Natasha agreed. She walked Dawn to a
meeting room to calm her down. She told Clint, who growled but
said he'd kill him again if they showed up. He was still half
asleep though. The head of Legal and Tony went over the paperwork
while Dawn fumed. Natasha shook her head. "Absolutely
not. She is not wanting any contact with that family or those
"No, I'd rather not hate a whole country for their leader's idiocy," Dawn said dryly.
The State Department agent nodded. "They remember from the last
time, ma'am. We'd like the same thing. We're starting to
build a diplomatic exchange with them."
"Please do and send someone who can wear the scary boots to kick them if
they try," Dawn said. She stood up. "You guys....
Don't make me lose my temper, okay? You're much more diplomatic
than I am." She went back to her desk.
Tony nodded, looking at Natasha. "She usually has tact."
"I think she's lost that today. She had it before the beach time
but had to use a lot of it getting people off the twins.
Especially the *heir* that thought sixteen was old enough and the police
weren't going to upset him by arresting him for it. Until Dawn
nearly got arrested by kicking him around over it and spitting on him
while bragging she was worth more than he was. Verified by a
reporter staring at them in awe."
Tony shook his head. "On the beach?"
"No, after dinner, they were taking a walk on the beach. Fully
dressed in sundresses. Long sundresses," Natasha said, handing him
the video on her phone. She had taped it in case the idiot tried
The head of legal watched, shaking her head. "He's on the run from
the US for a hit-and-run death due to DUI." Natasha smirked at
the State Department agent, who took down the copy of the video Tony did
for him. "Though, Dawn is worth about as much as him."
"Did we include the art she inherited across realms from Lavelle?" Tony
joked. "Or his jewelry?" She whimpered, shaking her
head. "Yeah, we have to some day soon."
"She had the appraisals taken to the IRS and had them help her with the
forms," Natasha said. "Next year she's going to have an accountant
do them." The head of legal wrote down a name and slid it
down. "Thank you." She tucked it into her ID case/wallet.
The agent from the State Department shook his head. "What does she
want us to do with them? They're going to get pushy and rude
"She'd like to ignore them and make them leave her alone," Natasha
said. "The same as last time. He showed up at a
battle. It was his own hand that caused his death."
"I'm just glad the eating thing started at his head so he didn't scream
too long," Tony said. "Dawn was clearly in a bad mood."
"Not our fault," Natasha quipped. "Philip wouldn't sleep the night
before. We weren't about to do more than hold her with him in the
bed." Tony nodded he knew how that went. The head of legal
smiled at her. "Philip has learned to settle into his bed.
Finally." She looked at the agent again. "What did they want
to have happen?"
"They're going to start considering her a family curse," he said
bluntly. "It seems that the bad ones or the ones who will go bad
get fixated on her. I'm told they tested the rest of the family
and the few that showed interest in her or thought she was too pretty
were banished from the lineage to the throne."
"So modestly wealthy bad guys instead of leading bad guys?" Tony quipped sarcastically. "Wonderful!"
"They've started to call her the Deadly Angel," the agent said.
"That goes well with Wilson's Mean, Dark Angel," Natasha said dryly.
"Speaking of, the boss told me to ask when you were sending them home, Mr. Stark?"
"The Mayor said we're not allowed to use the site to send them back and
it's there or the hellmouth, which means it may open," Tony said with a
slight smirk. "We were going to do it next week until he said no."
The agent nodded, sending that text to his boss. "We'll see if we
can help with that. It has to be that exact area or the
hellmouth?" Tony nodded. "Okay. What if the building's
gone? I drove past there and it was being ripped down."
"That's fine. The portal wasn't part of the building according to Dawn
and Tara," Tony said. "The Mayor made a joke that we needed the
The agent shook his head. "Not that much. The president's
really frightened of Mr. Wilson based on the comics we have of his time
in that other realm."
"He seems to have taken those two Roomba as alternatives to his boxes,"
Natasha said with a smile. "He does love to flirt with my wife and
child as well."
The agent nodded quickly. "Great." He smiled. "I'll
let them know." He sent that text as well. "My boss wanted
to know why Roombas?" he asked Stark.
"Have you ever seen those stories online?" Tony asked dryly, cracking up
the head of Legal. "One had me tinkering on them and inputting
AI's. Eventually, I got tired of playing with them and JARVIS gave
them to Andrew and Jonathan to play with. They went from a Roomba
dog that they used to play fetch with to a Roomba guard dog with lasers
to 'bite' people with, to the new Roomba army I'm having trouble
finding in the towers."
"They're using the alternate forming lab," Natasha said, waving a hand
as she relaxed. "That's where their recharging and updating
Tony looked at her. "Updating?"
"For updated programming. They're all programmed to protect the
children. The ones with lasers in the appropriate class can
dissolve diapers if the children need them to. The ones that
cannot are set with an alarm to notify their humans that the babies need
changed or fed." Tony hung his head, shaking it a few times, eyes
squeezed shut. "They've also formed battle units of them.
They're training them right now with Greek battle strategies. That
way if they have to help with a battle they have more than their
robotic battle units to depend on."
"The head of Roomba's parent company called to get a meeting with us
about licensing issues," the head of Legal told him. "I've already
given his secretary the story so they could see how they got started,
Tony smiled and patted her on the hand. "I'm sure he'll giggle
too. I did. I cackled so hard I nearly needed new
clothes. I'll have JARVIS pull up video of the early Roomba dog."
"He was certain you weren't using it in an unlicensed way, sir.
Just that it was odd that his little robot vacuums could shoot lasers
and the like at Deadpool."
"Me too," Tony said. He looked at Natasha. "Diaper
dissolving?" That bothered him. "Won't that hurt them?"
"Not with the way they do it by millimeters," she said. "JARVIS?"
He put up a video of them testing it on a doll. "At least they
used a doll," Tony said, watching how the lasers ate the diapers in
small 'bites' of them. It eventually dissolved all of the diaper
and left the doll unscorched. He groaned. "I wonder if it'll
clean the messiest butts up too," he muttered.
"Probably not that safe," the head of Legal said. "But handier
than a decontamination suit. I wanted one more than once," she
said when Natasha looked at her.
She smiled back. "Clint loves being a hands-on father." Tony
snickered and nodded he did too. "Dawn claims Philip waits until
he gets home to eliminate the biggest diapers so Dad can change him."
"Chris used to do the same thing to Steve," Tony agreed. "I love my demented little future chaos sources."
"You do know that Chris has magic, right?" Natasha asked blandly.
"No he doesn't," Tony said.
"Yes, he does." Tony slumped, staring at her. She
smiled. "Callia figured that out. That's why he felt 'tingly
and sparkly' to her."
"Any idea why?"
"No," she said. "Though Dawn did say something about that comic shop owning Xander having alternative versions of you."
"So an alternate version of me has magic and he knocked Pepper up?" Tony asked with a smile.
"Perhaps some of that is a latent gift." She texted Xander, who
sent three different comics from three different _Iron Man_
universes. She slid them down to him with an evil smirk.
He looked at it then at her. "Magus Supreme?"
She nodded. "Yes."
"Fuck no." He handed them back. "Let me know after I tell
Pepper her son has magic." He went to the office. "Pepper,
Callia thinks that Chris has magic."
She blinked at him. "Really?" He nodded.
"Interesting. How would we tell? I'll have Tara come check
him." She sent her an email. Then she smiled at him.
"If so, he can take the same lessons his sister is."
"There's a comic of me where I'm a magic user in another realm, Pepper."
"What one realm considers tech, the next may consider magic," she said
simply. He huffed and went to his lab to pout. She smiled at
his back. Poor baby man Tony. Magic really did screw with
his science sometimes.
A reporter Dawn liked to give information and interviews to walked up to
Clint and Philip in the grocery store. He was going to have to
quit leaving the house so the reporters would leave him alone. He
looked down at her. She was shorter than Dawn, maybe even shorter
than Buffy had been. Which meant she about came up to his
armpit. It was nicely in kicking range for the baby, who cackled
and did that.
"No wonder we don't get pictures of you, Philip." She smiled at
him. "It took us all weekend to figure out who the guy in the
floating chair was. Is he the Lord out of England that wanted to
take over the Council or is he the brother of that idiot world leader
who wanted Dawn enough to kidnap you two and her niece?"
"She said the second, haven't heard anything about the first," he
admitted dryly. "You know we hate reporters right? That
we're going to learn how to make voodoo dolls of you all?"
She smiled. "I've seen a few done *very* well by stars who hate
us, Agent Barton." She grinned. "I won't even remark on your
*twin* identity." He glared. She smiled. "I'm the
only one that's figured it out as far as I know."
"I'm not him."
"No, clearly not. Though you do look good when you're pretending to be him. The suits look good."
"Dawn's influence." He stared at her. "We have no clue and
hopefully the rest of that family will leave us alone too."
She laughed. "We've heard rumors that they took people out of succession if they thought Dawn was hot."
"She's very hot, didn't you see her this weekend?" he quipped.
"Yes, and that little kicking one there did a great thing to her body."
"Yes, it did." He smirked. "We enjoy the hell out of
it." The reporter blushed. Philip fussed. He looked
down at him. "I'll change you once we get to the rental, Philip."
"He's adorable. He's prettier than Sean was at his age."
"We had to spend some time on Asgard so she could safely carry him to full term."
"We heard. If that's what Asgard air or genes does to a baby, I need to find one."
"O'Neill has some warriors working with the gate teams but they're
*warriors* and anything less than a supportive woman or a warrior wench
isn't their thing."
"Huh. Is Sean straight?"
"As far as we know."
"Yeah. Both of them have had crushes on guys."
"Is Atlantis going to be home soon?"
"They think within six months."
"That's good." She blinked at the baby, who grinned and gummed on
his thumb a few times. "He's so adorable and sweet enough to make
me want one some year."
"Actually, when the ultrasound pictures came out, him being pretty was
the second most remarked on thing. The first was that he
outclasses Christopher in many ways." She blushed and ducked her
head, walking off shaking her head before he said something else that
was so bad. He grinned at his son. "Someday you'll learn to
appreciate women, son. No dating a journalist but you can
appreciate pretty girls." Philip squealed and beamed at him.
"Yeah, we'd all like that but you can't make me a grandfather while I'm
alive, okay?" He finished picking up fruit and checked out,
taking him to change him. The reporter was out there and snuck a
look while he changed him, staring in awe. "Like father like son,"
"No wonder Dawn can't sit sometimes," she mumbled, walking off. She came back. "That illicit calendar?"
"Didn't pose for it. They hacked pictures and we're suing."
"Someone else had plans for one."
"Turned her down a few times."
"She said that Dawn suggested masks of some kind or another so no one
would be able to tell who you were outside of tattoos and the like."
He stared at her. "She was flashing back to the guy who kidnaped
her for his brother so he could model for him. There's a fairly
explicit picture of her in a Rio sex club thanks to that. We've
left a standing offer to buy it if they ever want to get rid of
it." She blushed, staring at him. He grinned. "He
wanted to keep her long enough to paint but she said no. We
nearly put a collar and leash on her in Brazil so we'd quit losing
her." He tucked Philip into his carseat and looked at her once the
door was closed. He tossed the diaper into a nearby trash
can. "That was like the third or fourth that week."
She shivered. "How explicit?"
"Playboy level. Tasteful. Classy. Hot." She
swallowed. He grinned. "You'd have to find it. I don't
have it bookmarked." He walked around the car to get in and drive
She was on her phone looking up sex clubs in Rio. She did find the
picture and stared. "That's Dawn?" She called her.
"Dawn, is that picture of you in a feathered mask and jewels something
that's well known? Talked to your husband actually. He
bragged a bit." She listened about how that had happened.
She squeezed her eyes shut. "I caught him changing the baby
too." She quipped something else. "That's what he said and
if he's that blessed, relatively speaking, then I can see why you can't
walk some days. Um.... That calendar with the mask
idea?" She told her how it had come about.
"That's not a bad idea. Thanks, Dawn." She hung up and sent
her best friend that link with a 'that's Dawn during their time in Rio'
message. She got back a 'no f-ing way' text and assured her she
had gotten it from Clint and Dawn both. And that Philip was so
adorable he put Sean to shame. She walked off composing a spot
piece on the baby being adorable and the idiot in the chair. She
later found out that they were the same person and that just made her
week. It was news not even the paranoid ones had, not even Dawn.
Pepper and Tony looked out from the office. "Who asked about that?"
"Marian. Clint told her about that painting." She looked at
them. "She cornered him in the grocery store and was blushing that
if he's built on the same ratio as Clint I obviously had reasons for
being sore sometimes."
Tony nodded. "He's going to be porn star huge." The geek
intern coming off the elevator blushed and stared. "Her son
Philip. It was the first thing we noticed on the ultrasound."
Dawn smiled and nodded. "It was. He went from 'aww, it's a
boy' to 'damn, boy' about my son. My poor son is going to have a
complex about his body when he's older." Tony swatted her.
"What's up, Gertrude?"
"Um, reports a few days early? Our experiment wrapped up and it was pure crap," she sighed.
"Sometimes that happens." Dawn took it to look over and hand to
Tony after copying it. "Are you going to change variables and try
"That's what we're planning. Philip's built big?"
"Yeah, he is," Pepper sighed. "My poor son is going to feel
inadequate next to him." Gertrude blushed and giggled, heading
down to spread that gossip.
"They're both going to look at the twins and Sean and sigh in displeasure," Tony assured her, patting her on the back.
"Sean's a good boy. Yours...." Dawn teased with an evil smirk. "Is already flirting."
"I saw. Pepper was scowling at him and he was so confused about
why mommy was upset. It comes naturally from the Stark genes,"
Tony said, strolling off.
"Hopefully Chris's future assistant won't have to pull a sorority out of
his bedroom," Pepper quipped. "Especially not over the course of a
"It was a four day weekend," Tony defended. Pepper gave him a
pointed look. "You and Bruce can get with Steve about not being
the slut I was. Hopefully he can find the perfection I was
searching for sooner than I did and be worthy of it when he does."
He kissed her on the cheek and walked off grinning because she was
"My son will never be that smooth," Dawn quipped.
"No, that's straight from the Stark source," Pepper agreed, starting to
laugh. "Yours is going to draw them in with his face and then
grunt. Mine's going to talk them into bed with science
brilliance. We need to make sure they don't keep score."
"Or share," Dawn agreed. She walked in there and they shook on it
then got back to work. Her calendar beeped. "Who do I have
the meeting with in half an hour?" she muttered.
"Fury," she called. "Down in Legal."
"Okay." She locked her system after getting a few things done then
went down there. She walked in, finding the two scary looking
lawyer robots waiting on her. "Evening, Director." She shook
"Thank you for letting us use this to screw up the others trying for SHIELD," he said. "We still don't like it."
"I don't like having to kill people like the guy in the chair. By
the way, the State Department identified him. They showed up
earlier." She let them into the meeting room. The head of
Legal straightened up her work mess. "Sorry. Should've
"It's not a problem, Dawn." She smiled. "Not like I'm the
head boss who used to have a few secretaries under the table."
She smiled. "Pepper and I are formulating a plan for when Chris and Philip start to date."
She laughed. "Good luck. They're both pretty little
boys." She looked at the other lawyers. "Let's get
started." Dawn's phone rang. "Bad?" she asked when Dawn
glanced at it.
"Clint's here with the baby." She went to grab him and bring him
in with them. Fury was staring and she smiled. "He's very
"He is. Barton made a pretty kid with you." They settled in
to go over what was needed to happen to finish off the collapsing that
the suit had started. A few CEO's were about to fall too.
They needed a nudge. Stark strolled in and sat down. Chris
was on his chest babbling at them. Fury looked at the kid, making
him squeal and grin. Philip did the same thing. "There's two
of them," Fury said dryly.
"Three. Liz is going to bite you in a minute. Liz, no biting Director Fury," Dawn said.
She came over and climbed up to hug Philip, then jumped over to hug her
baby brother. She smiled at Fury. "Douchebag."
Dawn cleared her throat. Tony looked at her. "Who taught you that word?"
"E!" Dawn said dryly. "Bad word, Liz." Liz pouted.
"Yay! Watch me teach you to stand in a corner like your sister
learned." Liz cuddled Chris and reached for Philip. "No, I
have him. You hug your brother." She looked at Fury.
"We're not sure if the dog isn't talking now and then to teach her new
words. She was in a locked room, that she locked, with the dog and
somehow came out knowing the word bitch."
Tony snickered. "We're not sure about that one
either." He patted Liz on the back, making her belch.
"'Scuse," she said with a grin.
"Thank you, very nice," the head of Legal said. She looked at the
settlement papers and then at the lawyers. "Are you infected with
moron cooties?" Fury laughed. "Director, would you like to
explain this clause that would give you custody of Philip Summers?"
"Not his father's name?" he asked.
"Clint said no." Dawn shrugged. "I let him make that call and offered hyphenation or Barton."
"I said they're all Summers," Clint said, walking in to stare at the
director. "This is as close to my son as you're getting unless he
somehow loses his mind and wants to follow me into SHIELD."
"That was not my idea. I did not put that clause in there." He looked at the lawyers.
"It came from Agent Hill's desk, sir," one said.
"I doubt that since she's on administrative leave at the moment," he
said dryly. He looked at Stark. "It was the people who want
to be overtop of us that gave her the orders to try to take over your
company. She's sorry she followed them. She's
miserable. Can you two talk to Tara?"
"Tara's still crying each time she thinks about her," Dawn said.
"I don't think it's time yet." Fury nodded and let it drop for
now. "But you're not getting my son in any manner unless he
decides to take up one of his other parents' jobs."
"I wouldn't want them that young anyway," Fury said. "Little kids cause hell."
"Yes, they do," Tony agreed, looking smug. "Mine more than most. No, Callia, don't do anything magical in here."
"Shoot. I was going to steal baby sister." She looked at the
director, then grinned. "Your tingly lie spot on your neck is
dumb. It's made by dumb people with moron cooties who have *no*
idea what Daddy can do to them for that." She smiled and stole
Philip, walking off talking to him. "We're going to teach you
about kitty cats, Philip."
"He already has one of those," Clint said, taking him back.
"Sorry." Dawn stole him from him. He nearly pouted but Dawn
looked a lot less harmful and dangerous with the baby on her lap.
Callia pouted. "I need someone to read the boring assignments
too. Even Carrot won't let me read the history book to him because
it's *boring*. He started to sneeze it was so boring. The
vet agreed with me when I told him what happened," she said when her
father started to laugh. She stole Liz and Chris, walking off
carrying Chris since Liz could walk. "C'mon, you've got to learn
history too I guess. I don't know *why* but we all have to learn
it. Maybe Stepmommy can make it make sense and not be boring."
"If not, ask Natasha," Dawn called after her. "Since you're doing world history."
"Yes, Auntie Dawn. Thank you. Though she said it was strangely boring too."
Dawn shook her head, looking at her son. "Some day you'll have that same complaint."
"Are we home schooling him?" Clint asked.
She shrugged. "I guess that depends on what's going on when he's five."
She smiled. "There's a few good ones that don't."
"Good." He settled into the chair at the other end of the table so
he could stretch out. "So, anyway, this settlement crap?"
Fury looked at him. "It's really just with her."
"Do you know how many people I've had to kill over her?" he asked dryly. "This year alone?"
Fury considered it. "Ten?"
"This year?" he snorted. "Higher."
"Crap." He looked at Dawn.
"Mine's about ten," she admitted. "Something like that." Tony shuddered. "A few even came here."
"Don't remind me," Tony ordered. "Please don't remind me. My
daughter still has nightmares over the one that attacked you in front
Fury stared at him. "One did?" Tony and Dawn both nodded.
"Didn't hear about it until afterward," Clint said dryly. "Though someone has figured out that whole IMF thing."
Fury nodded. "We'll do what we can, Barton."
The lawyers looked at him. "We have nothing on that, Director," one said.
"Nor will you," Dawn quipped with a smile. "Because endangering my
spouses means I get to be my most evil yet." Fury shuddered when
she cackled. "Remember, I *like* Deadpool so when he grazed
Natasha I was *pleasant*. I don't know you yet." They
nodded, eyes wide. She smiled sweetly at Tony, who was
"The chaos kid outburst that made all the chaos gods work on our side for the next year."
"Dawn?" Clint asked, staring at her.
"Xander's chaos kid outburst." She grinned. "Mine came from making a godparent."
"Ah. So that's how that happened." He nodded once then smirked evilly. "Think we can make him babysit?"
"I'll babysit so I don't have to have that very nasty thought,
Barton. There's no telling what your son would come out like."
"The girls found Fenrir and told him about Philip too," Dawn quipped.
Tony looked at her then at Barton. "I tried," he defended. "We both tried, Stark."
Dawn grinned. "We got tired from the flight." She looked at the head of legal. "What else is in there?"
"A lot of things that are very wrong." She was crossing out whole
sections, handing a few to Fury, who was looking pissed off.
"Whoever wrote this is an idiot." She smiled at them. "I
graduated at the top of my year in Yale. Did these people graduate
from Mexico City College or something?" They slumped and shook
their heads. "Then I'd suggest it get better. After all,
Philip will need a *lot* of cute outfits to keep up with his mother and
later on they're planning a fashionable little daughter."
"Or two," Clint quipped with a grin. "We could use two girls."
Dawn looked at him. "Can't Natasha have one?" Fury moaned
and held his head. Dawn looked at him. "Maybe next time I
won't have to summon people to help me with the labor." She
smiled. "Because next time, I'd learn lamaze if my spouses are
that far out of touch when I'm in labor. You might be a
half-rabbit, but yay! Furry things can be very comforting and
Clint shook his head quickly. "I just saw our cat staring at you
in that what the fuck manner while you were pushing out the next kid,"
he said, rubbing his eyes.
"I thought about the Tony cat, or worse all her herd of animals,
including Carrot, to help," Tony said, rubbing his forehead. Dawn
snickered, hugging the baby, which made him giggle too.
"When we were babysitting, Loki had a lot of fun watching the Tony cat
get into everything and only snorted a few times at his going back to
things," Clint said. "Though Callia said that Natasha was trying
to be Ceiling Cat."
"Who?" Fury asked. Dawn pulled up the site and did a quick search
for him. She showed it with a grin. "I can see Romanoff
doing that." Now he was starting to get a headache. "Stark,
no more kids."
"Steve said he might want one some day," Dawn said. "The reporter asked him if he'd be using the machines from Atlantis."
Fury thought for a second then shuddered. "No, not allowed."
"Not your choice," Dawn quipped.
Clint got up and took the baby then kissed her. "You need a
snack. C'mon, Philip, let's get Mommy a snack so whatever's making
her blood sugar tank is cured." Before his poor son got warped or
something else tragic.
Tony looked at Dawn. "Didn't you just have a vacation?"
"I'm in a happy mood, Boss."
"Uh-huh." He patted her on the arm. "Be less happy."
"I will be later when we have to fight reporters to get home." The
head of Legal snorted, shaking her head. "Security said that
they're lining outside hovering."
"Use the garage entrance," Tony ordered.
"Why?" the head of Legal asked.
"No idea." She sent a text message down to security, who sent one
back. She showed it to Fury, who winced. Tony took the phone
to look at and sent his own, signing his name after it and one to
Pepper to let her handle it.
Pepper saw the message and sighed, handing her phone to Natasha.
"We can handle that." She went to the training area to put on her
special battle outfit and weapons. The press loved them in their
uniforms. Steve looked over from beating up on Bucky.
"That bad?" Bucky asked. "We can help you shoot them."
"If Dawn had wanted them dead, she would have asked Wade." She
came out of the dressing area sliding her guns into the holsters, then
fluffing out her hair. "They're being annoying about the
baby." She went down there to talk to them. Clint was
waiting on her and had the same idea. Though the baby wasn't with
him now. "Where?"
"Andrew stole him again. Had two of the Roombas shoot tiny little
ineffectual lasers at me so two more could steal him. He said he's
training them to get Caro or Allenetta back from someone." She
shook her head. "Roomba's people are coming to see Stark to see
why we have a robotic vacuum army."
"Stark is most confused too." They walked out there
together. Clint slipped on his sunglasses once he got
outside. She looked around. "What are you doing?"
"Is the baby here?" one asked with a perky smile.
Clint stared at her. "Our son isn't allowed to associate with anyone who might give him *ideas*. Sorry."
She pouted. "We just want to see him. She's hiding him. He's said to be really adorable."
"If I hadn't been distracted by him crapping, I would've made sure the
reporter that saw him wouldn't have." He crossed his arms over the
chest. "You guys are annoying Dawn. She's back in bad idea
land." A few shuddered. "She's even talking about giving him
a baby sister who's even more fashionable than she is." A few
moaned. "Needless to say, bad idea land means that won't
happen." They stomped off. He smirked and waved. "If
we wanted our son to be a press star, we'd teach him how to sing."
He walked off. "Ice cream?"
"Dawn could use some," she agreed. He grinned at her.
The few reporters still waiting around got shots of them getting ice
cream. They thought it was adorable they were trying to cure
Dawn's bad mood with ice cream. The speculation about a future
daughter was highly anticipated and people were going to be staring at
Dawn's stomach for months.
Dawn made it home and collapsed against the wall, looking at the baby
under her jacket. "You okay?" He grinned.
"Good." She accepted Natasha's help up. "They're getting
rabid and a few asked me when we were planning on giving him a little
"It got them off Philip," Clint said with a grin. He took the
baby, who squealed and babbled at him. "You sound like Mommy
today." He walked him off. "Mommy needs to get
changed. Grandma wants to see you tonight."
"She does?" Dawn asked. "I saw her earlier and she didn't say anything."
"She and Bruce want a quiet night on the couch with the baby." He
shrugged. "It's good for us. Are you going to complain about
a night out alone?"
She smiled. "Never." She kissed the baby. "Help me
express?" He followed to help her with that. Philip wiggled
on the bed and laughed at them until Natasha came in to get
dressed. Dawn smiled at what she was pulling out. "We're
"After dinner," Clint said, looking at that. "We can't go to dinner at a good place in that, Natasha."
"That's for afterward." She pulled out something more ...covering for dinner. He grinned.
Dawn pointed at her second closet. "Black and blue dress
please?" Natasha pulled it out. It looked nice and had a
jacket. Without the jacket it was strapless, tight, and would
probably look great on Dawn. Philip fussed so Dawn let him have
some of the milk instead of pumping it. He fell asleep on her and
it was good. Clint took him to put down while the ladies cleaned
up and did their hair. Bruce and Joyce got there to babysit, Bruce
cooing at the sleeping angel. "He's been in a happy mood all day,
"That's always a great thing." He kissed her on the cheek.
She looked good. The outfit was just tight enough to highlight but
the jacket covered most of her chest. It hinted at
cleavage. The jacket emphasized her waist and the heels were high
enough that she was taller than Natasha tonight. Natasha got a
smile from Joyce as she adjusted a strap of the halter dress for
her. They grabbed a few things, including weapons to hide, and
left together. Bruce smiled at Joyce. "We need to do that."
"We can do that this weekend. We're going to be in Boston all
weekend long for that conference." He smiled and kissed her.
Philip fussed a bit so they kissed him. He snuggled back in to
nap on Grandpa. Bruce was calm and comfy to sleep on.
Phil felt the weird, presex feelings from the trio and sighed. "We should go out to dinner."
Xander smiled. "Want to visit some of my favorite places in LA? They're not suit worthy but they have good food."
He nodded. "We can do that." Xander beamed and got them
dressed down in jeans and good enough shirts to put it as he did.
Phil made sure he had a few weapons and Xander had a few hidden ones
then they left with Xander navigating. They appeared outside a
small diner looking place that had humans and demons. Phil looked
at his mate. "Good food?"
"Great food from multiple realms." He walked in, pulling on Phil's wrist. "Hey."
"Xander!" the waitress behind the counter said, leaning over it to hug him. "Who's this?"
"This is my husband, Phil." He pulled him closer. "I'm showing him one of my favorite restaurants."
"Awww. That's so sweet." She got them a booth by glaring at
someone. Who was staring at them in awe. Xander
grinned back. "Yes, they're Gods. Duh!" the waitress
said. They moved to the counter.
"We could've eaten there," Phil said quietly.
"No you can't. That table's supposed to be for humans only.
It's got no scent markings so the blind species don't sit there and so
succuba don't try to get frisky later." She winked. "Unless
you like it that way?"
"Not really. I tend to get a bit jealous when people flirt with my
spouse," Phil said, making Xander grin. It was good to see Xander
in goofy young guy mode. They sat down and Xander handed him a
menu, pointing at a few things and explaining them. He had never
heard of them.
"Try the sampler," the waitress said with a grin. "It's real good and has a lot of that in tinier bites inside pastry."
"That's great," Xander agreed. "The Vrbub?"
"That's inside spinach leaves. Pastry got real nasty when we tried
it." Xander grinned. "Grilled like usual." She got it
for them and Xander ordered a few other things plus their drinks.
Xander smiled and pointed. "That's Vrbub. It's a meat animal
but it tends to be a bit greasy." He introduced the other things,
letting Phil try everything. Phil ate one and pointed.
"Spicy?" He tasted it and nodded. "It was in heat." He
handed over the ice water with a grin. "But still good.
"Very good," he said once he had swallowed the water and spicy
meat. "We need a place that serves these near the temples and in
"I have no idea where the ones in New York are."
"They're too high class," the waitress snorted. "They'd never
stoop themselves to real, homey food. Xander, do you want stew or
"Bisque please." He looked at Phil. "The stew is really
thick and can be a bit greasy as well but it's hard to scoop out it's so
"Then bisque it is," he agreed with a smile. The waitress brought
the rest when it was done and they ate, talking casually about the
temple and how they really needed to decorate the bedroom because it was
plain and Talsa had threatened to do it on them. They had
decided on some new curtains and maybe a few new sets of sheets.
Xander paid the bill when it came and it was nicely small for a huge
feast worth of food. He put down a nice tip and Xander grinned,
taking him to show him a few of the prettier sites Phil had never seen.
They ran into Faith, Connor, and Gunn but got nodded at and they went
back to tracking down the night's vampires while Xander and Phil
It was a good night because at the end, Phil took Xander home and gave
him a long, hard massage and then got some internal massaging done too.
Pepper looked at Dawn the next morning. "They realize you're not
pregnant right now." She handed over the gossip rag's online
story. Dawn grinned. "Was it a good night?"
"Mostly. Clint got paged to help Ethan by telling him who someone
was. They're somewhere in Europe near Prague." Pepper nodded
at that. She grinned. "Natasha thought I looked very hot
and if I ever lost the new ass I gained from Philip she was going to
"She's not the only one. The online story had a few pictures of
Clint staring at it too." She smiled and pulled that up.
Dawn blushed but shrugged and grinned, going back to her desk.
Pepper looked at the story. "I need to go back to the gym."
"You look fine," Dawn said from her spot sorting mail. "You're
very toned and feminine at the same time, Pepper. It's not your
fault the kids didn't give you a booty-worthy ass."
"Good point. Or that I didn't keep the extra cup size."
Dawn looked at her. "I went up two. I'm hoping I lose
them." Pepper laughed. "Really. Buying bras is getting
"You can switch him anytime now," she said.
Dawn blushed brighter red. "He'll get weaned off me on his first
birthday. That'll be his last night then they'll help me drain
them." She walked off to deliver Tony's mail to him.
"Wow, I needed to do that," Pepper complained quietly. "They never
do more than cuddle." She pulled up security footage of what the
guys were doing right now. Tony was picking on Dawn about
blushing. Dawn finally swatted him and made him yelp. Pepper
smiled. Dawn handled Tony very well for her. Steve was
sparring with Bucky again but they both looked odd. She
frowned. "JARVIS, what's wrong with Steve and Bucky?"
"I believe Mr. Barnes had a flashback or something similar. When
he woke up he was not his usual self, but a bit colder. Steve
spotted it and they've been sparring now for over an hour."
"Send Dawn to help him."
"I can do so." The AI told her that. She popped over and
attacked from behind, making Bucky lash back at her but she and Steve
got him corralled and worn out quickly enough. Then Dawn had to
slam his head into the wall and then the floor because he tried to bite
her. Bucky shook them off and went limp, staring at them.
Dawn backed off cautiously. Bucky came up off the floor and Dawn
let herself go back into those same urges. Steve gaped but Dawn
was kicking his ass and Bucky was smirking in a not nice way.
At least until Dawn nearly broke his jaw for him. Then spun-kicked
him again on the other side to knock him down. He went down
holding his neck. "Infirmary staff to the Avengers sparring ring,"
she ordered. They got there while Steve and Dawn were calming
down. Dawn told them why she had been so brutal. Bruce
pulled her off to the side to stare down at her. She nodded she
was fine. Bucky had whiplash and a small fracture in his jaw but
he had been gifted with special healing skills by the Russians.
Steve went with him. Pepper went to check on him then on Dawn
because Bruce had her well in hand. "He okay?" she asked Steve.
"He's fine. He was in that same flashing state Dawn has to spar to
get rid of. That's why I sparred but I think that was the wrong
thing with him."
Natasha ghosted in. "It was not. They had him longer,
Steve. They did more work on him than they got to do on
Dawn. If they had her for longer, we would see her having more of
those. Thankfully she got enough fighting during her pregnancy to
keep them down." She patted him on the wrist. "He'll be
fine. You'll want to lock him down as a precaution," she told the
nurse. "As you would myself, Dawn, or Clint in that state."
They nodded and put on the padded wrist restraints. She guided
Steve into a chair. "Sit and wait. Make sure he comes out of
it all right." She looked at Pepper. "Dawn's fine.
She's still calm and safe." She went to check on her. Clint
was at SHIELD handling something today. Dawn was back at her desk
by then and looking like normal. Tony was staring at her.
"Yeah, I let myself drop then pulled myself back when he hit the floor
that second time." She grimaced. "I was a bit mean to him."
"It was the right response. They had him longer than they did you
and frankly, I don't know how many times they did that to me."
Dawn got up to hug her. She liked that Dawn was openly
affectionate, even if it wasn't a good time for it. "Thank
you." She whispered something in her ear in Urdu, getting a laugh
and a nod. "We will spar later while you watch." Dawn
grinned and got back to work.
"We forget how dangerous and deadly you can be, Dawn. You hold back a lot with us."
"I don't want to damage you. Pepper would have my ass,
boss." She stared at him while typing, grinning slightly.
"So yeah, I do. I don't with Natasha and Clint. Most of the
time I even pull them with Steve so you don't have to baby
bruises. Though, you were meant to forget."
"I like that then." He walked off. "He down, Romanoff?"
"He's hitched down. Steve's with him to make sure he comes back out of it."
"Good. Any idea how to help him?"
"There's a few people that specialize in undoing brainwashing.
One's in that clinic in Switzerland." She looked at him. "We
made sure Dawn came out the same way I did."
"Which is great of you." He smiled and walked off. Natasha
was a deadly woman and he had forgotten why she was so deadly.
Dawn too. Which was a good thing for his mind. Scary women
weren't really his ideal to have to be around all day. Or else
he'd have more military people on staff bothering him about ideas.
His phone beeped with a text message from Beya so he had to head
upstairs to take care of Callia.
Dawn took a quick kiss then got back to work. "Make sure they're
not broadcasting at him like they did us?" she suggested quietly.
"I can do that." She walked off to make sure of that. It was
dirty pool from their former masters. They didn't need that in
Dawn was going to the second tower for lunch when Wade grabbed her arm
and walked her off. "Nope. Nope nope nope nope.
"What now?" she asked.
"Big general people." He handed her to someone.
"Hunt," she said. Though she was getting a strange, tingly
feeling. And there was a low hum. She blinked. Then
she teleported out of the way. That wasn't Wade, it wasn't Hunt,
and it wasn't Benji. She summoned guards to help her and shook
herself free. The sonic hum was there to distract her. It
wasn't going to work. Guards descended on the van. The three
'agents' were taken into custody. Dawn did a sound muffling spell
around her head. That helped block out the hum. She sent at
Natasha, who sounded confused but was upstairs. She came down and
found the general and his staff lying in lurk. She sedative
darted them; Stark hated them to draw blood in the building unless they
had to. It created a bad image and people quit coming to shop and
She walked over one of them and went to find Dawn. She could hear
and feel the hum. She sent a thought at Dawn about the person
sneaking up behind her, making her turn to defend herself while she got
the source of the hum through JARVIS and Stark. Callia was
throwing up so he was a bit busy but he did what he could and Callia had
him start something she had planned in case someone came for her or the
pets. The anti-kidnaping defenses were powerful and a bit
scary. Natasha stared at one laser then at Dawn. Dawn was
ignoring the people babbling at her. She snapped at her and
pointed at her ears. Dawn sent over a thought. She promised
it was ended so Dawn undid the spell.
Suddenly noise came back around Dawn and she blinked at the
reporter. "You do realize that there was just an attack?" she
asked dryly. The reporter frowned. "Including a sonic
one?" The reporter huffed. "Sorry but I had to block it off
and it's not really safe at the moment."
"No spouses?" the reporter sneered.
Dawn looked at Natasha, who shrugged back. She pointed. "You
mean like that one?" The reporter blinked at her. "Unless
you're seeing something I'm not, that's Natasha."
"No, she's not a redhead."
"You're clearly from somewhere or somewhen else," Dawn said. She
walked off looking at the guards. They got someone down to check
over the civilians and the reporter.
SUV's screamed up with lights going. Agents got out and rushed at
Dawn, who stared at them. "You should not sedate generals, Mrs.
Barton," he sneered.
"I was out here. There was a general for real?"
"I sedated him," Natasha said.
He sneered at her. "I don't know who you think you are."
"I think I'm Agent Romanoff of SHIELD," she said bluntly. "Which
means I supercede your authority." He backed down a bit.
"Dawn was out here, not inside. She was nearly taken by three
pretend agents. What was your part in that?"
"We're here to arrest her for being so pushy with her skills."
"I doubt that." She looked at Dawn. "Can you summon someone?"
"Yes, I can." She opened a portal to the meeting where Fury was. "Or I can do that."
"That works," Natasha agreed. "Director, I just had to sedative
dart three soldiers and a general who were part of the plan to stun and
take out Dawn."
Fury looked down the table. "This meeting was a bit oddly timed."
"It doesn't matter. It's just the newest charge," the agent in the
lead said, grabbing Dawn. He screamed when his hand burned.
"That's another one."
"First, you haven't identified yourself," Dawn said. "That means
for all I know you're another person out to snatch me. The SUV's
aren't official and don't have government plates. That proves it's
a hoax. Secondly, even if that were true, I still have the right
of self defense. Thirdly." She snatched his dog tags, making
the illusion drop. He yelled and rushed her. She kicked him
into the portal and through it. "Go talk to your masters.
My visit to the land of idiots is done with for the day. Put me
into a situation where I have to kill, watch me do it easily," she
warned. "They did teach me that too." The agents all backed
down. "Guys, who are they with?" she called to the security team.
"No ID's, Dawn," the head of the security response team said.
"Also, the sonic hum is what made Callia puke. She quit once it
was shut off."
Dawn nodded, looking at the people in the portal. "So you decided
to attack a kid who's almost nine? Congratulations."
"We don't need her. Girls aren't soldiers," one of them sneered. "She'll never take over the suit."
"She might not want to. Stark's not pushing it," Fury said.
"Though, taking out a potential slayer means that someday you may wish
there were more of them." He got comfortable. "Summers, go
inside. Take your spouse."
"There's a reporter here who said I'm not myself," Natasha told
him. "She's muttering that Howard would correct this problem."
"If she's a temporal problem, send her home. If she's a plant,
arrest her. If not, ignore her or send the ghost at her," Fury
"I have done two of those," she said, walking off with Dawn.
Another SUV pulled up, this one with government plates and spilling out
FBI agents. "Gentlemen."
"Agent Romanoff, what happened?" She pointed and he walked with
her. She gave them a concise report and had the AI pull down and
copy the security footage. He took it to view with the bosses over
the secure network in the back of the SUV. He looked out at
gunshots. One of the Stark guards had been killed and his weapon
taken, the agent was now firing on the others. The head FBI agent
shot him and killed him. He checked his agents then the security
team. The others got looked over for treatment and taken off to
the Federal building. On the way there, someone shot at their
transport van, knocking it over with an explosive arrow to the
tire. The head agent heard that and looked at Fury. "Where
is Agent Barton?"
"He's in Connecticut. He's updating our agency files with another
group that we work with. They have files we don't on various
threats and problems. We're merging them today and as he sometimes
works with them, he's handling it."
"No way he could have shot at the van?"
"Ask one of his spouses where he is." His phone rang.
"Fury." He put it on speaker. "Barton, where are you?"
"Connecticut, sir. That arrow was shot by a young guy by the name
of Herman Hollitzer. Russian trained archer that got injured
before an Olympics. He's repaying them by taking out selected
targets. Calls it dear hunting, spelled like your lover not the
animal. According to the files I just pulled up, he's in the US
under that name. His main target was to get Romanoff, Barnes, and
Dawn into custody. I've emailed you the plans the people here have
hacked, Director. They're really cranked and Dawn's going to go
destroy a lot more people. Especially since it looks like they may
have Deadpool hostage."
"The kids?" the head FBI agent asked.
"They weren't going to make a special effort to get Philip but if he
happened to be there, great. Another generation. There's
timid plans in place to breed them both by Barnes to get better super
soldiers and a higher powered witch on their side, sir."
"Do we have ID's, Barton?"
"Yup. All six of the team. The extra backup team was through
the group that took her in Romania. They incorporated them into
their program. They may also be what set Barnes off before he woke
"Good to know. Barnes fine?" he asked one of the staring security guards.
"Summers kicked his ass and he's tied down in the infirmary, sir."
"Good. He doesn't need any more bullshit than what he
already deals with." He saw Rogers storm out.
"Captain." He looked over and walked over. "They wanted
Barnes and Romanoff back and Summers to join them."
"Over their dead bodies," he said bluntly. "Even if it is off-mission."
"It's not. Take Barnes if he's stable to make sure they know how
he feels about being bred to Romanoff and Summers." He looked at
his phone. "Barton, finish that then reappear in town. If
Wilson's still captured we'll go find him when you get back."
"Am." He hung up.
Fury looked at Steve. "Save the ladies for backup or your team if
you need them. You have three special task force units to back you
up if you need it and one may already be partially infiltrated.
Phil leaned around Steve's arm to look in the portal. "They are
infiltrated, sir, and are expecting Captain America and Agent Barnes in a
few hours. We will be hearing a few claims of 'we did not order
this' but we have proof of who did."
"Give me a copy, hand the president one so they can talk in a few hours,
once the agents are done," Fury said. Phil tossed him a
DVD. "Go." They nodded and left. He smirked at the
others. "So, you wanted what?"
"You to fail," one sneered.
"Too late. We've been around since SSR fragmented after World War
II, boy. You've failed for a very long time." They got up
and stomped off. Agent Hill was waiting to knock them out and
arrest them. "Good to have you back, Hill." He got up.
"Close the portal?" She texted and it shut. "Nice."
He walked over their prisoners, heading down to the SUV. She could
handle things for him.
Steve walked into the infirmary, undoing the straps. Bucky stared
up at him, his eyes looking dead. "That was a plot by your former
bosses to get you and Natasha back, with Dawn. We're going.
"Yup." He got up and grabbed his shirt and jacket to put on. "They do anything more to me?"
"They had something sonic going earlier according to Natasha. She thinks it may have set you off this morning."
"I remember seeing some of that in action. It's incredibly nasty."
Steve smirked. "Natasha has too. They wanted future agents too."
"I would've loved to have had Natasha as my wife and mother of my brats but it's not going to happen now," he said bluntly.
"No, they were going to get you with both women," Coulson said, handing
over the files. "Your meeting time and the file on who. What
we know so far thanks to Barton having someone hack and Natasha helping
just now." He handed over something else. "Clean
ID's. Including passports." He set off the beaming satellite
once he had targets on them. They landed in Prague. Which
shocked the hell out of the agents staring their direction.
Bucky looked at it. "The train will get us there." He walked off to handle that.
Steve nodded at Ethan and Benji. "Someone just pretended to be you two to capture Dawn." He walked off.
Ethan jogged after him. "Who?"
"Some Russians." Ethan took the file from his hand to look over, grimacing. "You know them?"
"I know them real well. These two were involved in the bombing
thing that got IMF shuttered." He pointed. "This one's a
"They're on our infiltration team." He pointed. "I'll make note of that though."
"Thanks." He looked the other file over and pointed. "He's a
weak link. He's a heavy drinker and likes to get into bar
fights." He handed it back. "We're done and making our
way back to the UK. If you need us, yell, Captain." He
walked off, telling Benji in code what was going on. Benji texted
Dawn, who said she was fine. Clint said the same thing and gave
them some orders. They decided they were okay with that and went
with the flow. That would let them take down some of the power
behind the orders.
Steve smiled. He could like Agent Hunt when he wasn't hanging off a
wire, a wall, or bouncing off the walls like he had too much
sugar. No wonder Clint had called him a flying squirrel.
Dawn looked up as an agent came off the elevator with a scowling Phil
Coulson. "Bad news?" she asked. "Am I in trouble for
defending myself this time?"
"No," the agent said. "Though there's some unhappy higher ups."
"I help whenever I can. I volunteer to help whenever I can.
Hell, I was pregnant and helping the team there for a while," she said
firmly. "If they don't like that I help when and where I can then
they can blow my ass." The agent flinched.
"Which is what we've pointed out," Phil said. "They said you might as well put on a suit."
"I don't want to put on a suit. I have a nice mundane identity and
if we had more offensive-capable magic users you'd all see a lot less
Phil smiled slightly and nodded. "We agree on that. I haven't found one."
"There's that batty sorcerer who thinks he's Dr. Strange from the comics," she said dryly.
"I'd rather not make him get into battles," Phil said.
The other agent looked at him. "Who?"
"The guy who shows up now and then to nag Dawn about being so open," Phil said.
"Oh, him. Weird wardrobe guy." He looked at Dawn. "Are you all right?"
"I'm fine. I'm calm. I'm not going to spaz out and start
going off on civilians. My wife is here in case I get hit too hard
with an urge to go stop this shit myself." The FBI agent
smiled. "They did teach me that in Romania."
"Figures." He put down a card. "I'm handling this investigation with SHIELD."
"Fury has a lot of people arrested," Phil said. "Including higher ups." He looked at Dawn. "Where's the baby?"
"Andrew. They're having a play date while he reminds Caroline she doesn't want to be a Wells-Summers."
"It'd be a very interesting match," Phil decided, then shook his head. "Fury wants an inventory of all your weapons."
"You ask like I keep track of what I win at kitten poker, Phil.
You know that. Most of the time I use descriptive names, not
proper ones. Natasha and Clint haven't wanted to do one."
"Where's your storage areas?"
"The necklace ones are in Natasha's locker in the sparring area outside
the one I've got on." She took off her necklace to hand over to
him then pressed their thumbs together to copy the key for him.
"There's a few things in the closet up there and I have one started for
Philip." She smiled. "They're all ray guns and the like
"Sure," he agreed. "If and when our future kids are born, Xander
and I will have to add some of those and more swords. Does
"Yeah. I've got her one started. It's in Malibu."
"Good to know." He smiled slightly. "Thank you for not making me ask twice."
She grinned. "I know you'd only take stuff that didn't work and
you'll tell Clint so he can either brag or think I'm having a bad mood
so he'll make it better."
Phil walked off smiling. "Quite possibly." He went to get
the other ones so they could find a quiet spot to look things
over. Tony joined them in the elevator on that side. "How's
"Better. The sonic thing was what made her sick. She had a weapons cabinet from Dawn?"
"Apparently. I'm not sure who started it, Buffy or Dawn, but I
think it has some minor things like a few swords." He looked at
the worried father. "It's in Malibu."
"Huh," Tony said. "We'll have to look at that, see what Dawn's put
up for her, especially since we're all hoping she's not called."
They got off and walked into the training area. It was
empty. Bruce was at SHIELD with Joyce. Natasha's locker was
easily opened when she walked in and did it for them. The other
five hidden lockers got handed over. Tony stared. "She had
"The blue one is Philip's until she can get him a cabinet." She
smiled. "He is going to have a lot of fun learning those."
She went to get the babies and brought them over without the
parents. "Here, learn weapons. It's good for you, son, and
your friends in case something happens when there's no Roombas
around." She walked off happier.
Phil smiled at the three kids. "Settle in. We'll look at
weapons." He unlocked all of them and started with the one Dawn
had been wearing. She had clearly just grabbed one since it was
all artillery. He found the switch to turn it full sized so they
could walk into it and he sighed in pleasure. "Wonderful
collection, Dawn." There were handguns on the walls and the
artillery stacked in the center for easy grabbing.
Tony and the FBI agent both looked and Tony huffed. The babies crawled in and cooed, petting the weapons.
Jonathan leaned in. "Allenetta is not allowed to learn how to use
weapons that are not sonic screwdrivers or phasers, people.
Nothing like a regular gun or a RPG whatever that's not a role playing
game." He pulled back to go back to the lab.
"If they can build a real phaser, I'd put it into mass market," Tony quipped.
"We'll see if Dawn has one already," Phil shot back. They settled
in to do a real inventory. Though he did shoot a picture of that
one to Barton, who was proud of his wife's organization and taste.
All of them had some artillery and some guns. A broad range in
case things happened. She needed better bullets and Barton said
he'd pick those up on the way home.
"She's not planning on taking over Guatemala, right?" the FBI agent asked. "I know she's got a home down there."
"No, she's only concerned about the area around her house being safe,"
Phil said. He handed Stark a few things that clearly needed to be
repaired. He could do that. "So you can teach Callia."
He called her down to see. She bounded in to go over the weapons
with them. She even took notes. She was such a Stark geek.
Tony was so proud of his clone.
The FBI agent wisely didn't say anything. For all he knew, Stark got the same education from his father.
Dawn was in Malibu that night, with Stark. They had beamed over at
Phil's order and Tony's complaining that she had started a weapons
closet for Callia. She ran into the guy who had played Clint in
the movies and was now playing a witch hunter. She smiled and
summoned a book, handing it to him. "About page eighty." She
smiled. "Send it back when you're done." She walked off,
getting Tony his coffee and picking up the newest weapon she had
found. "Here, boss. The newest ancient weapon I found at
auction for Callia."
He unwrapped it, looking at the multi-head crossbow, blinking a few
times. It had a heavy wooden stock that came with a leather
strap to hold it around your forearm. The head had a rotating
seven-hole cylinder. Three holes were always covered but the
others could be reloaded on the fly. He did a few test fires and
it did slot his pen into position when he tried it. "Damn."
She smiled. "One of the old time Watchers was a weapons nut.
He created that for his slayer when she had to take down nests.
I've gotten most of his collection."
He looked it over. "Nicely balanced. Wood's still in good
shape. Metal pieces could use some cleaning up because it looks
like some water damage. Wow." He tested the metal
string. "I can update this."
"If so, Xander would adore it. He loves crossbows." She grinned.
"Yeah, I can do that." They got into the car and went to her
storage area out here. Which was at the gear shop. Dawn
walked in and waved, heading for the storage areas. "What's this?"
"Where I get some nice things and I'm storing Callia's future weapons, boss. He's doing an inventory."
"That's fine, Dawn. You have some sweet antique pieces." She
let them see the crossbow, getting a few moans. She smiled and
went to open it for him.
Back at the café, the actor opened the journal - it was Xander's
journal by the first few lines. He flipped through it, grimacing
at some things until he came to the one that she had mentioned.
"Hansel and Gretel were demons?" he muttered, reading over that
section. That explained a whole lot! He took pictures for
the producer and sent that back to the office at Stark for her.
She had just tickled the producer, who was having a few storyline
quips. It'd freak out a lot of people.
Tony and Dawn got beamed back and Tony went up to the apartment to flop
down next to Pepper. "She went with antique demon hunting
equipment, Pepper," he said quietly. "It's all so *sweet*.
All original designs, a bit odd in a few places but she knows enough to
teach Callia how to use them." She rested against his
shoulder. "Damn but they're good. Philip's future weapons
closet for when he gets Dawn luck has futuristic weapons and they're all
so cool. Andrew had a weapon-gasm over them." She patted
him on the wrist. "I need to make the slayers some special
"You can do that."
"Yeah, I can do that." He kissed her. She kept him from
going to the lab right then by sliding into his lap. "Later.
I can do that later." He kissed her again, making her moan.
It was a happy sound. He loved that sound and needed to hear more
Xander got his journal back and looked at what had been gotten
into. "Oh, that stuff. With that movie I heard about they
probably needed to know." He hid the journal again and decided to
go play with the kids. Tara was pouty. He stared at
her. "The adult thing to do is to talk and see if it's really
"She hasn't even asked to see her son," she said quietly.
Xander stared then pulled over a tiny camera. "She watches over
them all the time. She's not sleeping because she's watching
them." Tara nodded, taking it to look over. She put it down
facing the kids. It beeped and turned itself off. He
smiled. "She still wants you and them, Tara. Talk about it."
"She hurt the family."
"Because someone had crackhead ideas and had power over Fury's
head. They went around Fury to send them." She slumped down
further on the couch. "You two need to talk."
John walked over and stared at his mother. "Are you sad again, Mommy?"
"Just a tiny bit, John, but it'll be okay. Your mommy and I will talk tomorrow."
"Okay." He hugged her but grinned at his uncle. "Can we borrow puppies?"
"Nope. Your cat is scared of the puppies. Sorry. You
can come play with them." John and Melissa both cheered, which
made their baby siblings happier and Mommy too. Xander took them
to play for a while, leaving the doorway back to Phil's apartment open.
Phil appeared half-dressed until Melissa's squeal made him flinch and
manifest a shirt very quickly. "Playing?" he guessed, smiling at
"Kitty not play, Daddy. We play doggies," John said with a grin.
"I like the dogs too." He hugged them. "Did we get dinner
yet?" Talsa came out with plates. They ate and he got
bedtime duties then he came back to get naked and pounce Xander.
"I'll check next time," he said with a grin. "Just in case."
"He wanted to borrow a puppy."
"I'm sure he does." He took a kiss and pushed Xander against a
wall. "Have I mentioned that I find you utterly amazing and yet so
"The confusing part is usual but the amazing part is new." He smiled and took a kiss. "Why am I amazing?"
"You have enough stamina to match mine when I'm in the mood to ...work
out." Xander grinned and stripped them both with a bit of power
flexing. "That's a very good idea." He nuzzled Xander's neck
then licked over the bite mark on his shoulder. Xander
groaned. "That's pretty, Xander. I need to hear more of
"We should go to bed then," he said with a point.
"Yes, we should." He moved back a tiny bit and smirked. "If
you want, I'll chase you." Xander shivered but kissed him and
strolled off. Phil watched and then pounced once Xander was near
the bed. Xander yelped when he landed but it was all good.
Talsa looked up as the temple started to glow. "They need to quit
waiting to do that." She went back to the cookbooks she had found
in the local library. They had a lot of interesting things she'd
never heard of.
Clint walked in and paused. Dawn was walking the floor with Philip, who was fussing at her. "He have gas again?"
She smiled. "I think he was waiting on you to get home."
He kissed the baby then her. Philip yawned and babbled baby noise,
reaching for him. Clint took him to cuddle. Philip fell
asleep a few breaths later. "I think you're right." He put
the baby down and came back to kiss Dawn again. "Didn't we say to
let us do an inventory?"
"You haven't asked to get into those."
"Now we know." He took another kiss, backing her toward the
couch. She fell onto it and he laid down on top of her.
"Nat's asleep," he said in her ear. "Philip won't wake up."
She grinned and wiggled out of her pajamas. He stood up to strip
down and laid down overtop of her again, kissing her. "I think you
made Stark hot."
"I'm pretty sure I did. Callia asked him why he was getting all panty over the lasers."
"You're the queen of dick teases," Clint said before kissing down her throat to nibble on a spot that made her moan.
"Andrew had weapon-gasms according to Tony."
"Yup, that's how you roll." He kissed there and then her lips, staring at her. "How many pages was the inventory?"
"You'd have to ask Phil or that FBI agent."
"At least he probably won't do anything about it." He took another
kiss. "We basically have the whole house to ourselves," he said
with a teasing grin.
Dawn smirked back. "Want to pounce me then go pounce Nat?"
"I'd love to pounce Nat with you." They shared an evil smirk and
got up to go pounce their wife. Natasha flailed at the first
delicate kiss to her neck but Dawn blocked the automatic strike and
Clint chuckled in that tone of voice that got them hot. He
stripped Nat down and looked her over. "Nice, sweetheart.
Clint laid down to kiss her and it was good. Very good. Dawn
was teasing them both. "She gave Stark and Andrew both
weapon-gasms she said."
"She did. Stark was so adorably flustered that Callia was giving
him concerned looks and tried to check his pulse once. The babies
patted and cooed at the weapons. Though our son did kiss a sword."
He licked up her throat to get near to her ear. "We can make sure
he loves guns and bows just as much." She shivered, spreading out
for Dawn to tease her lower half while Clint worked her into a pouncing
frenzy. "Dawn and I agree, you need pounced."
"I like being pounced."
Dawn leaned down to lick over her clit then grinned at her. "And invaded?"
"I do like that as well but I must be able to sit in the morning, unlike you."
"We have tomorrow off," Clint said happily. Natasha stared at him. "Dawn has to work."
"She has meetings all day too," Dawn quipped. She wiggled closer to go back to her treat.
Clint smiled as he watched what Dawn was doing. "That's great
foreplay, Dawn. Tease yourself for me? I'll lick you while
I'm riding her hard."
Dawn pulled off to grin and share a kiss with him. "She can if you get her on her knees."
"She can," he agreed. "And I do like that position." Natasha
started to move but they laughed and got her back into it. She
liked it like that and they adored her for it.
Dawn walked in the next morning looking perky and cheerful, running into the same FBI agent. "More problems?"
"How do you get weapons?"
"Kitten poker." She smiled. "Why?"
"Half of that's illegal."
"We use it for demon apocalypses."
"Good point. The guns aren't registered?"
"Do you know how hard people would freak out?"
"Yeah, I do." He sighed. "The higher ups thinks they make you dangerous."
"I can sneeze and decreate humanity. Weapons don't make me any
more dangerous than I already am." He blanched. She
grinned. "Thankfully I have control of my magic. I learned
from watching Rosenburg and running the other direction. Outside a
few battles I never open all my skills up at once. Mostly it's
like an underground lake that spouts up to a river. I draw buckets
from the river when I need things. I plant a well when I need to
do bigger things. Things like the battle out in Sunnydale, I blast
a bigger hole and then plant a well."
"Okay, that makes sense and means you're not dangerous all the time."
She smiled. "I'm not dangerous unless someone forces me to
be. Once those sort of things stop then I don't have to be
dangerous outside protecting the family."
"That's a great thing. That Romania thing?"
"I didn't gain skills, I gained knowledge. Frankly, half the stuff I can do I learned from Spike and Xander."
"Xander being Alexander?" She smiled and nodded. "Who's Spike?"
"A master vampire who helped the team after the Initiative bullshit. He's helping the LA team right now."
"That's even better," he said. "Is he a danger?"
"No, not generally. He used to date my sister."
"That's...." He shook his head. "Okay," he decided. He
smiled at her. "They want to make sure you don't have bad plans
for the US or anyone."
She shook her head. "Nope. Not unless they force me
to. There's a few who want to force me to and I have to keep
fighting back but I'd like to quit having to fight back as hard. I
really would. I'd love to just be Stark's perky PA."
"We'd like that too."
She smiled. "Empathic gifts mean we can tell when you lie." He slumped. "Who wanted you to do what?"
"They'd really like us to arrest you for having all those weapons."
"Technically they're for the spouses."
"They're not allowed either, even as agents with SHIELD."
"No," Tony said, coming off the elevator. He handed over
something. "Directly from the president. Because Loki showed
up to talk to him about the next huge battle, which is in about a
Dawn read it over and handed the letter of permission to hoard weapons
to the agent. She read the prophecy, frowning. "That's
"That's what he said. We've pointed out Glory's already happened. He thinks she found a way to come back."
"No. She had to insinuate herself into a newborn and have him grow
up. So it won't be in a year." She handed it back.
"We'll see what's going on. I haven't had any sort of vision."
Xander and Phil appeared. Phil handed over a judicial order to
leave Dawn alone while Xander looked at the prophecy. "That's not
the right one. That's on Glory. No, we're dealing with
someone higher up but not her." He brought the book. His
father showed up to scowl at him. "We defeated Glory, Dad.
You were trapped in Sunnydale that weekend."
"Are you certain?"
"She has to find a newborn and have her people put her into them," Dawn said. "Or at least that's what we were told."
"So unless they're growing up on Asgard or another realm that has faster
time," Xander said. "Not this year. Maybe when Philip's of
"He'd better not," Dawn said.
Xander looked and held up the book. "Is that what you were looking for?"
"Yes," Loki sighed. "Frankly, she scares some of us."
Dawn took it to look over, nodding slowly. "She's not real nice. Worse than Thanos, Xander?"
"No. Probably at the level of Shiva in Destroyer form."
Dawn uncovered her knife holster. "That help?"
"A lot. Who...."
She grinned. "Natasha got them for me and Mom over the holidays."
"Awww." He hugged her, hissing in her ear. She nodded she
had realized the agent was there to arrest her. He kissed her on
the forehead. "It looks like your husband can help more with this
one. She's got a huge cult and we can't touch them. They're
in a protected area that's basically inside a pocket realm."
"We can handle it," Tony said, taking it to look over. "She'll do what?"
"We're not sure if they aren't confusing her with Shiva. One of
the other prophecies about her says that she'll play music to lure
victims. This one says she'll dance to lure victims."
"Sounds like a super siren," Dawn said.
"We think so," Phil agreed. "One with enough grief that she's wanting to share."
"Then we'll handle it," Dawn agreed. They nodded and Tony called a
meeting. "Natasha might not be able to show up, boss. It's
her day off and I'm not sure where she is." She grinned.
Tony looked at her. "You're not walking funny."
"I have meetings today." She strolled off. "Let me hit my desk." They all nodded.
The FBI agent looked at Coulson. "Why?" he asked quietly.
"Because you don't take out the adjunct protectors either," Xander said
bluntly. "Or else there's no one there to protect you when you
need it. She's the only offensive capable witch we have.
Even under my people and Phil's people."
"What about when she's had to use her powers in an abusive manner?" They all stared at him. "Little white mice."
"They were all trying to snatch her," Tony said. "She didn't just
randomly pick agents to turn into mice. Dawn's been the focus of a
lot of agents trying to get her to do what they want to help
them." The agent slumped but nodded. "You're being played."
"Clearly. I'll look into that."
Xander produced a scroll. "The agents that we've background
checked and made sure were good, reliable agents. That's the list
for LA, Cleveland, New York, and DC."
He looked it over. "Half of the agents I'd depend on aren't on here."
Xander nodded. "We know."
"The others would do their job, most likely in an efficient manner, but
they're either able to be used as a pawn by someone, have something in
their background that's worrying, or we've found evidence that they've
got dirty leanings."
The senior FBI agent nodded. "I can see why you did this."
"Dawn started it for the LA team," Xander said simply. "They needed it."
"Some of the best of the best are out there. I see most of them
listed." He walked off to call one of them to ask him to do a
behind-the-scenes investigation for him. They had a long talk
about why and Stark had sent him a list of casefiles to look at about
those mice agents and other things. It was not going to be pretty
by any means.
Xander, Phil, and Tony went to the Avengers meeting area. Natasha
was there but looked sweaty and she wasn't quite sitting right.
Tony blinked at her and grinned. She growled back. "It's
good that he makes you as happy as he does Dawn."
"She's the one who made me so sore," she complained. "She was needy."
"She was cuddly too," Clint said with a grin. He'd be fixing her
soreness later with some of the exercise that had gotten her sore in the
first place. Philip was beaming at everyone from Daddy's lap and
babbling noise at them.
Bucky and Steve came in. They had gotten back late the night
before and had handed over all the evidence and the ones they could
capture. They were already planning another raid. They sat
down and Bucky stared at the babbling noise machine. "Kid, you're
loud. You need to learn to be subtle."
"He will," Clint said. "He's only six months." He looked at
Tony. "This looks like 'there's a bad thing coming'."
"There is," Xander said, taking his godson. "Hey, kiddo.
Wanna help talk about a battle?" The baby squealed and patted
him. He smiled. "Good boy." He settled him in his
lap. The baby beamed and babbled at Daddy now. He spotted
Bucky and leaned over to babble at him. He wiggled so Xander put
him on the floor. Philip stared up at the big people who dared to
put him down. Steve laughed and waved at him. Xander
grinned. "If you want Bucky that much, go to him, Philip."
Philip pouted but no one handed him over. He huffed and looked at
the really long distance. He concentrated. He couldn't move
himself like mommy did. Damn. Guess he had to do like the
others did. Chris was crawling. He had seen him chasing a
cat. He tried that but he wasn't going to manage it and it
frustrated him. Xander reached down to pat him on the back,
getting pouted at. Philip looked at Bucky again and decided he
could do what Christopher did. He was just as good as Chris
was. He wiggled onto his stomach.
"You flipped over," Clint said, staring at him. "When did you start doing that?"
"Last week," Natasha said. "Freaked us out when we went in to get
him up and he was snoring on his side. If you want him, crawl to
him like Christopher does, Philip." He looked around until he
spotted her then grinned. She smiled and waved back. "Crawl
He looked around, spotting Bucky again. He shifted,
grimacing. That didn't feel good. He huffed, making the
adults watching smile at him. Well, Mommy had told him there was a
way to do anything he wanted. He finally figured out what Chris
had done and used it. He slipped a few times and his arms were
shaky but he managed to make it to the strange guy who felt sad.
He patted him, sitting to stare up at his legs.
Bucky looked down. "Why did you crawl to me?"
"Go ahead. He's a bit empathic like Mommy is," Clint said quietly.
Bucky picked up the baby and got hugged. "Thanks, kid." He
patted him on the back and Philip burped then babbled at him. He
looked at him. "You're so much like your mom." The baby
patted him and grinned. He smiled back. Philip cuddled him
some more until he fell asleep on him. He looked down at the first
baby huff of sleep, then at the parents. Clint got up to take
"Yeah. Dawn is. Callia is. Liz is but we're not sure
about Christopher yet," Clint said, sitting down with him. "Your
mommy's going to be so proud," he said quietly. "We'll have
oatmeal in celebration for that crawling stuff."
Tony smiled. "I remember those days. You have to put things up at least twice their standing height."
"Most everything is thanks to the cat," Clint said with a grimace.
Natasha took the baby from him, letting him rest in her lap.
Clint stretched out. "Okay, next big bad thing?"
Tony handed him the book. "Conflicting accounts of her skills."
He read it and passed it to Natasha, who read it then passed it to
Bruce. "Sounds like Shiva," Bruce said, looking at Xander.
"I asked, she said it's not her or her alter ego. It's also not an
offspring. She thinks she's a higher up from another realm
"Okay," Bruce said, handing it on.
"I thought it sounded like multi-talented sirenic gifts," Phil said,
handing it to Steve. "I'm not sure if that's realistic or not."
"The one I dated sang to get victims for the witch but she wove in her
free time and for fun," Xander said. Phil stared at him.
"You knew I dated bad girls before, Phil," he said dryly.
"I didn't expect them to be that bad."
Xander shrugged. "It was a nice thing while it lasted for the
eight months I was trapped there. The witch wasn't going to touch
me because she had figured out who I was when I nearly killed her.
She told me to go away so I did. It was like a vacation fling."
"If you two have kids together, our heirs will make sure they date normal people," Tony said.
Thor stomped in and nodded. "Well met, my brethren." He sat
down with a groan of pleasure. "There are too many storms right
now that I could not end for fear of harming crops."
"We can understand that," Xander said, handing him the book. "The next apocalypse battle."
Thor looked at it then at Xander. "Did you not date her?"
"Not that I'm aware of. Why would you think that?"
"When you were but eleven or ten years of age, there was an entity that
showed up to talk to Odin All Father about your hand in marriage.
Your father did protest greatly. She returned when you were
"I had that fever that year," Xander reminded him. "I don't
remember anything from that year, Uncle. I remember a few weeks
before I gained that fever from that injury and that bite, then about a
year and a half afterward, at the festival with all the ribbons in
"Aye, you were barely standing then. I remember that illness of
yours. She showed up shortly after you were injured but before you
were bitten to see if you would consent." Xander slowly shook his
head. "Call upon your father. He yelled at her muchly."
"Dad?" Xander called. Loki appeared. "Thor thinks that she was one who asked you for my hand when I was ill?"
"Back when he had that great fever but before he was bitten," Thor
said. "The one who showed up when he was pre-manhood as well."
Loki considered it, then shook his head. "It shouldn't be
her. She was destroyed, or so I thought, when she went to try to
gain Ismala's hand instead." He frowned, creating a mirror to look
at. Xander looked confused. "You have no memories of that
"Not a single one. Not until the Greek festival with all the ribbons."
"I should show your mate how you got bitten so he knows that you have
worse ideas than Love Goddesses, son." He handed a mirror to Phil
with a smile. "He heard there was an attack on one of the villages
he guarded. He was greatly ill with something that came with a
high fever but no spots."
"Felt like ebola," Xander complained.
"It looked a tad bit like it as well," Loki said dryly, shooting his son
a look. "So my son, who was literally talking with his aunt Hel a
few minutes earlier about what sort of job she'd have waiting on him,"
he said with a scowl at his son. "Gets up out of bed, not wearing
more than a loin cloth, grabs his favorite axe, and went to do battle
with the creatures. Which then bit him and nearly killed
him. He claimed he was naked to bring down his fever and that's
why the thing was able to bite him so easily."
"I've seen him go outside in a snowstorm in only socks," Phil said, looking at the incident. "Trolls?"
"Goblins," Xander said. "They show up every few decades. I
know it was goblins because Frigg nagged me for *ages* over going into a
battle against them while ill. Which I usually turned back on her
as 'that's what a true warrior does' and huffed off. Odin still
thinks I got bitten by a rat," he told his father.
"He would. The man pays no attention to anything that's not from
his mangy birds or his ale stein." He took the mirror back when
Phil winced and handed it back. "Do be aware that some day he'll
probably do so again." He left.
Xander shook his head, glancing at his mate. "Sometimes it's necessary."
"We have handcuffs," Phil said, smiling slightly at him. "If I
must, I'll use mine." Xander hugged him. He shook his head
"I thought that first fever might have come from Dwarven food," Thor
said. "But you seemed to prefer it over your mother's cooking most
of the time."
"Hell yes! Dwarves don't use spices." Clint snickered,
grinning at them. "For about ten centuries or so my mother thought
that her masala mixture went in *everything* like it was a
goddess-given right to have it in all food all the time. We had
curried egg pie with coconut. We had curried fish eggs and
fish egg pie. Mom totally ruined caviar that way more than
once. Hell, there for a while I couldn't eat *anything* because my
stomach was always so upset from all the spices. Then Gaia took
her aside and taught her how to cook before I starved to death.
Dwarf's cultural food is a lot like cooking in the Bayou country down
south. It's *really* good but you don't want to know what's in
"Dawn said that they had some amazing stews and stuff," Clint agreed, still smiling.
"Yup, they do. They make fantastic unleavened bread too.
They make ale that will knock a real Asgardian warrior on his
ass." Thor nodded quickly.
Phil smiled. "That bread and ale is the major lunch and dinner at
their special training academy. It was good. Strong, but
good. After you got over the peppered dirty socks aftertaste it's
Xander looked at him. "I remember the dirty socks aftertaste but pepper?"
"Just at the first few sips on the tip of your tongue."
"Oh, that taste. It's from the shells of that little blue lizard. They ferment and grind it for spices."
"I don't need to know. I'll take the mysterious effect, Xander."
"Okay, sure." He looked at Natasha. "Do you want me to sponsor him into the training camp?"
"Not unless he chooses to be a warrior of yours," she said. "Otherwise, we will train him in how to follow our footsteps."
"Sure, I can do that." He relaxed, looking at his uncle. "So not her?"
"He thinks not. I'm not certain. If we had paintings or
pictures of her from either time we'd know for certain. I will ask
Mother whence she came from so mayhap she'll have an idea." He
looked around. "There are days I wish my mother had a computer."
"Your mother would have to get it from Frey when he was surfing for smut," Xander quipped.
"Mayhap," Thor agreed dryly. "John has." Phil hid his smile behind a yawn.
"I think most of them need more to do," Xander said. "A garden, a hobby, something to take care of and do."
Thor looked at him. "Thankfully your chaos charging outburst has
went by for this decade, nephew. Though, I believe it *mean*."
Xander smiled. "But helpful."
"If you're sure." He leaned back.
"What was it this time?" Tony asked. "I didn't see any
tentacles." Bucky opened his mouth then shook his head and shut
it. Tony beamed the video to him.
"I made all the chaos gods work for the light for at least a year,"
Xander said with a smile. "Dawn's minor one made Dad an alternate
godfather to Philip."
Tony considered that then shuddered. "Okay. Does that mean that the light side is screwed?"
"There's many things chaos can go to help the light if they choose to,"
Phil said. "Including using it to destroy villains who might
otherwise have gotten sided with."
"You two need the *long* vacation," Bruce said. "Did Loki like that?"
"No, he's still swearing that Dawn cursed him unfairly," Xander
said. "Which is stupid since he started the shit and therefore
it's fair. Even Frigg said it was fair and cooed about how good he
did with me." Thor shook his head, taking off his hat to run a
hand through his hair. "She did say that they gave you a reprieve
and wouldn't kick you out if you gave her grandchildren as ordered to."
"If I could find a woman that was suitable I'd already be working on
it. Jane Foster does not want to be immortal with me."
"Artemis is two years too young," Xander said. Thor stared at
him. Xander stared back. "What? I'm not blind."
"She is very sweet and gentle."
"Yeah," he snorted. "The same way her aunt is." Thor
gaped. Xander put up a mirror for him to watch. It was the
twins sneaking home for cocoa recipes and stuff to make it with John in
transcended form. They went back after a panting Dawn told them
where their next care packages were stashed until they could come up
that weekend. They took them and somehow Artemis had gotten
pounced by an infant troll. She had decided to hand the pack to
her sister and took the troll baby back to the enclave, which got her
attacked. She fought her way out, with a bit of help from the
Warrior Queen Sif. Thor was blinking.
She and Sif talked on the way to Atlantis. Where John and Rodney
both threw an unholy fit but she said she would not have innocents
harmed for any reason, be it a human baby or a troll baby. John
and Sif agreed it was good of her but dangerous since she didn't have
weapons. Sif agreed that she'd do good in her warrior training and
that she was not meant to be in wars but to defend her home village
when the menfolk were needed elsewhere. Diana had said she wasn't
going to train in more than Midgardian ways because she loved it down
here. Sif smiled and said that was reasonable and each twin had to
have their own lives. Then she had walked off.
"I miss the Swordswomen and that Sif," Thor said. "My former wife
Sif is not like her and I thought it amusing that so different of women
shared the same name." He handed the mirror back to Xander, who
tossed it to Clint when he got given a pointed look by the archer.
"She is a warrior born to warriors."
Xander smiled. "She is. She's also the sort to stand beside
her spouse and fight with him instead of pushing him behind her like her
mother did a few times to Hylal."
"She is beautiful," he sighed. "But young. She would want years before children came."
Clint looked over and shook his head. "Artemis is more than
looking forward to having kids, Thor. She was nagging Dawn that
she didn't take film of the birth. Even the gross one from lamaze
class just made her sigh happily. Though she did want drugs for
it. They agreed it was a great thing."
"There are drugs for birthing?" Thor asked, looking confused.
"Pain killers, things to speed up the contractions," Tony said, shifting
to cross his legs. "Dawn had light versions of both."
"No, we begged the nurses to give her better IV drugs," Clint said. "Because we *hurt*." Natasha nodded quickly.
Tony smiled. "She told Fury if you two were that out of touch
during the next one he was going to be doing her hand-holding for
you. Even if she had to cuff him to the bed."
"I adore her in that mean mood," Natasha said happily. It made it
so Clint pounced Dawn instead of her and made Dawn sore instead.
Clint looked at her. Then he smiled. "I heard that." She nuzzled the baby and didn't look at him.
"Let's get back to business," Steve said. "Before I know more than
I need to about anyone's relationship? Or childbirth?
Please?" They went back to formulating strategies on how to deal
with her. Beyond Xander going in to tease her into coming out of
her lair. Because Phil growled loud enough that Philip squealed at
him for it.
Xander grinned at his mate. "He thinks you're a war dog."
"I make an excellent dog of war," Phil said dryly. He was staring
at his mate. His mate was going to have more trouble sitting than
Natasha did very soon.
Dawn got home that night and grinned. "Ha! I made it home
without a single reporter." Clint and Natasha pointed when she
started to take off her shirt. "Hunt, is it super important or are
you just visiting?"
"I was going to steal your husband in about an hour," he said.
"Make it three." She pounced Natasha, who squeaked and wiggled.
"Dawn, I'm still sore."
"That's cool, I can ease the ache, Nat." She kissed her throat. "I thought about easing that ache all day long."
Clint moaned and helped the ladies into the bedroom. "Make it four
hours, Hunt." He shut the door. "Callia demanded a
few hours of babysitting time."
"I know." Dawn smirked evilly. "She's pushing for Steve to
give her a sibling too." She went back to teasing her wife
Natasha was grimacing and wiggling but mostly to get more attention
instead of to get away this time. Clint took over again and it was
quite nice. Though, Dawn using her strap-on set made her quite
warm. Dawn was getting pounced later. Finally she had to
give up. "Please? No more tonight? I'm too
sore." They kissed her and Clint teased Dawn, taking the strap-on
from her. Natasha would use it on Dawn but she was too sore to
"Get loud, princess. I want them to be echoing for hours in my
head," Clint ordered. Dawn obliged beautifully by getting very
loud, very happy, and making Clint sore from all the work. Clint
finally came with a moan. Dawn pouted. "I've gotta
go." He took a kiss from each of them and got up to take a quick
shower, which let him stretch his sore back and thigh muscles. He
came out to get dressed, finding Natasha fingering Dawn to finish her
off. Dawn finally came, staring at him in his suit. He
winked. Natasha was staring while licking off her fingers.
"When I get back, you can strip it off me." He winked and grabbed a
few things, checking the wallet for the correct ID. He walked
out. "Okay, let's go."
Hunt stared at him. "What did you do to them? My wife never did that."
Clint smirked. "Whatever they wanted, Hunt. I'm excellent to
my ladies." They left together, him getting a kiss from Philip
since Callia and Tony were bringing him back. "You be a good boy
for the Mommies, Philip, and I'll see you in a few days." He gave
him a cuddle, getting drooled on and cuddled back. He kissed him
on the head. "I'll call, kid." He patted Callia on the head
and climbed into the car with Benji eating behind the wheel.
"Sorry, Dawn came home needy."
"Meant I got supper and we're not on a tight deadline here." He
drove them off. He'd wonder how trios worked but he didn't want
those sort of thoughts about Dawn and Natasha. Natasha would kill
him for having them and Dawn was sweet like a sister of his would be,
which would be icky to think about.
Natasha called Bruce the next day once she had everything set up for a
very long soak: chocolates, three guns and two knives within reach but
hidden under towels, something to nibble on, a few bottles of water in a
bowl of ice, a bottle of juice chilling with them, a bottle for the
baby in a pan of warm water, extra washcloths in case the baby needed
cleaned up, the portable dvd player in case she wanted to use it and a
few movies, her phone with netflix in case she wanted something
different or music to sleep to or a book to read instead, three
hardcover and one softcover book sitting handily in reach in case she
wanted them instead, and a cranky baby waiting on her.
"What herbs do I soak in to get less sore?" she asked Bruce
quietly. "No, Clint had to leave for a meeting and Dawn
was...hyper last night." She rubbed her forehead. "That will
work. Can the baby soak in it? Thank you, Bruce." She
hung up and wandered into Dawn's work area to raid her herb
stash. The ones she'd want were in there. She crushed them
since they were dried and let them float on top of the hot bath
water. Philip got brought in with her and it was nice. Very
relaxing. Someone came off the elevator. "Who is it?" she
called, reaching for her handgun. It had to be someone within the
group or someone who had their fingerprints.
"Just me," Tara said, smiling as she walked in. She looked at the
herbs and tossed in a small cheesecloth wrapped bundle. "That's
what I used when I had Danielle." She kissed Philip on the
head. "You're such a good boy for Mommy Natasha." She
grinned. "Dawn a bit hyper?" Natasha nodded. "Bruce
asked about an herb and the only reason it's used is for soreness
soaking." Natasha smiled slightly. "I'll let you two
bathe. Call if you need more."
"I will. Thank you, Tara."
She smiled. "We've all been that sore sometimes." She
grimaced. "Though I'm not looking at it anytime soon." She
slumped. "Do I give her a second chance?"
Natasha looked at her. "I'm not well versed in real relationships,
but you might find out how she felt about having to do that. She
might have been kicking herself."
"She put cameras all over the house but she won't even see Craig."
"As I would do," Natasha agreed. "Because that gives someone a
handle to try to harm us more. If we're not there to literally
protect them then it's safer if we're not there."
"No one would harm us to get her."
"She is the executive officer of SHIELD, Tara. There's many people
who would like to topple SHIELD. There's agents who are ruthless
enough to want her out of the way. I know she's stopped a few one
night that were going to kidnap her from her cab." Tara grimaced
and shuddered. "I would at least give her a chance to explain
herself and talk about things. It's the only sensible action and
it can have many outcomes, including a longer fight that needed to be
"I guess I can do that. Thanks, Natasha." She kissed her on
the head and left, going home to sulk. She looked at the
cameras. "If we're going to talk, we're doing it today while the
kids are at preschool. I'm not going to have them hear us fight,
Maria. If you don't show up today, then I'm removing all the
cameras. Real mothers do more than watch." She reached over
to disconnect it then sat on the couch to sulk with tea and ice
cream. Maybe she needed to bake.
Natasha looked at her son, who was cuddling but awake. "Some day
you will hopefully have a woman that kind to your soul, son.
Though I would wish one that could defend herself, Tara is an excellent
female role model for your future wife." He turned his head to
stare at her. She smiled. He grinned back and pulled up a
thumb to chew on. "Comfortable?" He cooed. "Good
boy." The phone rang and she answered it. "Yes?"
She blinked a few times. "Why? No, I'm not able to go on a
mission today. I'm in the tub because I strained my back.
Yes, with the baby," she said. "Though, I did just see your wife
and perhaps you two should talk like adults. Tara was trying to
figure out if she could or not." She hung up and looked at her
son. "Sometimes, people are inconvenient. You'll take your
other mother's way of getting around them instead of mine please.
It's generally much nicer."
He giggled and cuddled, patting her breast with a damp hand. "No,
those do not feed you. Sorry." She reached down to get the
bottle sitting in a pan of warm water. "Want that?" He
moaned as he sucked, happy with that. She did adore the
baby. He was perfectly normal and happy with it, yet some day he
would be as good as his father and other mother were. Philip was
falling back asleep and that was fine. The bottle went back into
the pan of water and she pulled up her e-reader to read something.
He grunted so she read out loud to him. They said it made babies
smarter. She was all for having a genius son who never had to pick
up a weapon outside of practice at the range.
Maria hung up and checked the cameras on her phone. One was
blank so she ran it back to what Tara had been doing. She nodded,
walking off. "Sir, Agent Romanoff cannot go on that mission.
She stated she's in the tub due to her lower back. Let me pick
another one after I get back from lunch."
"Fine," he agreed. He looked at her. "Send Joplins in to do
it." She smiled and called that agent up. "Then go take a
long lunch. I'm tired of Joyce scowling at your back. She
might just take you out for upsetting her adopted daughter."
Maria nodded, going over to their apartment to talk to Tara. She
picked the lock, she hadn't wanted to before because that was an
invasion. Tara had changed the locks for a reason and she had to
respect that. She walked in and looked around. "When did
they start preschool?"
"Last week. They're four, it's about time. They're already
mostly ahead." She put down her empty ice cream bowl and sipped
her tea. "How's SHIELD?"
"Cranky." She sat down on the other end of the couch, staring at
her wife. "Tara, sometimes we get given orders that we don't
like. I didn't want to but the orders made sense and I have to
Tara stared at her. "You don't have a thinking for yourself gene any longer? Or a conscience?"
"I do," she said firmly. "I've went against orders more than once because they were bad."
"Yet, trying to destroy Stark was okay?"
"No, I wasn't trying to destroy it. I was trying to get it under SHIELD more firmly so it was protected."
"It would've destroyed the company, Maria. Or Tony would've destroyed SHIELD."
"I realize he would've hated it."
"He would've dissolved the company and restarted it somewhere
else. He and Dawn both make a lot of emergency plans." She
shifted to curl up more. "Beyond that, it's not exactly something
to be proud of."
"No, but they need a guiding hand."
"I think that's what Tony and Pepper do. That's their job, not
SHIELD's. Tony's not making weapons for the general public.
He does some for the Avengers. He's helped upgrade things like
body armor and the like. Why would you send him to the place he
was before he got the arc reactor?" Maria flinched but grimaced
and shook her head. "It would. Guys like Tony are like
artists. They don't do well under firm control. They don't
fit into any uniform, don't follow rules, and definitely would've
destroyed you from the inside out if you had managed it. Then they
would've used one of their backup plans. Tony's ready to dissolve
the company anyway and start over." She sipped her tea.
"Beyond that, Tony is like family. So is Dawn. You moved
against my family."
"I.... If the orders came from a different source I might not have
followed them but these came from the highest desks, Tara."
Tara shook her head. "If they order you to eliminate your family are you going to do that?"
Tara stared at her. "Are you sure? You nearly gave up Craig
to stay in SHIELD at one time," she said quietly. "I love that
sort of loyalty but not if it's going to get us hurt.
Natasha said that there's agents who nearly took you out one night?"
"There's some ambitious people who'd never make it to the top spot I hold, Tara. Even if they did take me out."
"Not the point."
Maria huffed. "No, I would not. I'd refuse those
orders. Or to hurt any of the kids. Stark can fight back
against those things. So can Dawn."
"Yes, but we shouldn't have to," she said quietly. "And Dawn's
very much at the end of her rope with all that fighting back.
She's going to snap soon and prove someone right." Maria
gaped. "She wasn't nice about it the other day. Each time
she has to defend herself and the family, things get harder and
harsher. She's going to end up doing a 'cleaning up the mess
behind the screen' sort of thing soon. Just to make sure her son
is safe. I would be and I'm mostly a pacifist."
Maria considered Dawn tactically. Dawn was a wild card and her
training was shaky. "Her spouses would never allow it."
"Her spouses would help her," Tara corrected. "If they're local."
Maria winced. "She wouldn't."
Tara sipped her tea. "You sure of that?"
"No," she admitted. "I'll talk to Coulson about it."
"What makes you think he's going to be able to stop her if she falls back to what Spike and Xander taught her?"
Maria blinked a few times. "She....."
"Spike was a Scourge of Europe. There's still whole villages that
tell them as scary stories to get their kids to straighten up.
He's the last one left since Angel ascended or whatever. Well and
if Dru's still alive. No one's sure about her." She stared
at her wife. "They taught Dawn how to survive and protect herself
first. I'm pretty darn sure they taught her to make a mess if she
had to. Xander does do that when you attack his pack. So
does Dawn. Only she doesn't have an axe."
"She'd use guns."
"Dawn's been studying bomb manuals at Xander's for years when she was
bored." She finished her tea and put the mug down. "Beyond
that, Dawn's actually a pretty accomplished sword woman. She took
lessons for that." Maria gaped. She smiled. "She does a
lot of training each and every single Sunday."
"Oh. I did not know that." Tara nodded. "I've seen her doing sniper duty."
Maria looked at her. "So....."
"She'd destroy you and offer me a shoulder to cry on, then help me pick a
second wife, Maria. All of the Summers women are practical and
'we'll handle it and move on' about stuff. Joyce cried for all of a
day about Buffy's duty then jumped in to help where she could.
Her aunt and great-aunt were both in costumes doing what they had to do
when women were barely thought of as more than animals to be bred to and
look pretty. One fought beside Captain Rogers a few times.
We all forget that a Summers woman devolves to 'fuck this, let's handle
it and get on with it' when things happen and then they fall apart or
sniffle a bit and move on."
Maria looked at her hands. That was something she hadn't realized
about Dawn. She had seen Joyce do it. She had seen the
profiles done while Joyce was in the cancer wards and how she had
bolstered a lot of helping there. How she had never said to break
down about things. How she had basically run the cancer into the
ground by sheer stubbornness. Buffy had survived longer than any
slayer, first due to backup then due to being a stubborn young woman who
refused to die, even when injured. Or call for help when injured a
few times but she managed it. She looked at Tara. "Dawn
would've taken me out."
"She might have," she agreed. "The family pack's hierarchy
would give her that right if Phil didn't. Xander's the alpha head
of the pack with Phil as his mate. Then Dawn's the top beta female
in the pack's hierarchy with her mates backing her up. She's
Xander's little sister in all but fact. Joyce is an older female
pack member and Xander will listen to her but she doesn't take charge
unless it's something only she can handle. She lets Xander and
Dawn do it. If it's a family thing, Stark defers to her about the
demon stuff. The business stuff he does better so she defers to
him on the job. I'm on the lower end of the totem pole, and will
probably take over Joyce's wise older female post some year. If
the pack is attacked, think about who reacts first?"
"Xander, then Dawn and her mates and Coulson." She frowned. "Why are we a pack?"
"Xander's hyena." She smiled. "She's not real bad. She
came out a few times and we had a talk. She sniffed me and the
babies then laid down to cuddle them."
"Way back when the twins were newborns. He had gotten a bit
drunk. He gets drunk, he loses the keys to his mind to the hyena
or the soldier. She checked on all the pack, including the baby
members, and then made sure they were fine."
Maria shook her head quickly. "Okay, I didn't know that."
"He can stop it. Actually, I'm not sure if Xander can get drunk
without willing himself to." Maria looked confused.
"I hadn't considered that." That realigned the family in her mind. "Hyenas are male headed?"
"Female headed," Tara corrected. "They're all matriarchal."
"So we have the top two alpha level females in Xander and Dawn, with
Dawn's wife as a second to that." Tara nodded. "I never
considered it that way."
"The pack doesn't often show itself to the outside fully. Though
you do see Dawn being the overprotective one of the pack."
"I have, yes."
"And she nearly destroyed you."
Maria nodded. "She was going to. I retreated instead of pushing the issue."
"It saved your butt." Tara shifted to curl up better. "Which
brings us back to the point that they had you attack the family group
and you did it. Which I don't like. I won't accept because
if they can make you attack Stark then they can make you attack us."
"I'd never hurt the kids or you, Tara."
"If they wanted to take us out, they'd send someone else, Maria.
I'm well aware of that fact. They'd send you to take out Dawn and
you'd lose. There might be more tragedy in that but you'd still
lose. I love your loyalty to the ideals behind SHIELD. I
love your loyalty to Fury. I need to know where your line
is. Where is your higher loyalty?"
Maria grimaced. "A few years back I would've said I didn't have
one but now I have the kids and you." Tara nodded. She
thought about it. "If they sent me to take out the family again I
probably wouldn't. I still think someone at Stark needs a leash on
"That's Pepper's job and Steve's job."
Maria stared. "That's not in the business."
"Pepper does, that's why she's the CEO. She knows Tony better than
anyone because she helped him finish growing up. She regrets some
of the time he lost to playing around and being a dick. Being the
playboy he was that she couldn't help him change. Though I'm
pretty sure she rightly blames that on Howard." She tipped her
head some. "Guys like Stark don't do leashes, Maria. They
break, they don't bend. They don't bow. They fight back
until they're put down or they break and do what Warren was trying to
do." Maria shuddered. "And you nearly made him go critical
in a way that would've probably sent SHIELD into the ashes too.
Did you not even consider the orders?"
"You're trained not to."
"That's one reason why I'll never be military. I like thinking for
myself and not having to be given orders about everything in my life."
"That's my job."
"Yes, but is it your life?" Tara asked. "If the same order was
given today, would you do the same thing? Would you attack the
family to the point where it stressed the bonds and nearly snapped a few
Maria huffed and slumped some. "I don't know."
Tara nodded. "That's one thing you need to figure out.
Because I can't have a spouse who values their job over our
family. Unless it's the fate of the world that we get taken out,
then I can't. I won't. I grew up with people who thought I
was worthless outside my ability to do chores they didn't want to
do." Maria winced. "I need to know that my spouse considers
our family more important than anything like an order. I don't
care if he gets you up in the middle of the night to handle things, even
minor things. I care that you think that there's no line between
the two and that one's not more important."
"I do think they're more important. I'd never let anyone hurt the
kids. I've protected them for years now, Tara. You know
She nodded. "When physical threats happened." She sat up
more firmly. "I even understood when you denied us to the press
that day, Maria." Maria openly flinched and winced. "But I
need a spouse that's there for us, that we're more important to them
than anything but the fate of the world. Even if you can't
understand artistic people like Stark, even if you hated some of the
family. Whatever. I can't have a wife who only wants a
trophy wife and someone to warm their bed."
"I want more than that."
Tara stared at her. Then she pulled over her phone. She got
into an email folder and showed her. "Do you copy and paste
those?" She let her see them.
Maria blinked. They were mostly the same. All mostly calling
off lunches. She looked at Tara. "You showed up anyway."
"I did. Because otherwise we wouldn't have seen you for
days. Phil manages to call from the middle of nowhere and you
can't call when you're staying late doing paperwork."
"I... my job is important to me, Tara."
"If it's more important to you than we are, then I hope you find the
trophy wife that'll be there to warm your bed and not say anything,
Maria. I need a *wife*. A real, living, breathing
wife. One who does date stuff and talks to me and loves our kids
like they're special. Not just one who comes home each night and
maybe plays with them and might make it to dinner now and then."
"The job's important. Coulson...."
"Even before he could jump time, he still managed to talk to the kids
each night. Yes, I'm basing it on what we had when we were living
together as a not-couple. He was there and he helped around the
house and he loved on the kids until they wondered where he was until he
called. Half the time, the kids don't ask why you're not at
dinner. Yet you do the same amount of work."
"I do a bit more since I'm over him," she said dryly.
"You have ten people who answer to you. They all pass on things
that're mostly completed. You have to pick agents for some
jobs. Which is another point. Whose bright idea was sending
Clint out repeatedly until he couldn't be with Dawn?"
"The same higher ups."
Tara nodded. "Have they been dealt with yet?"
"I don't know."
"I'm sure Dawn will have to some day then." She curled her knees
up to her chest, resting her chin on them. "You work a lot of
pointless hours doing nothing that Joyce is supposed to be doing."
Maria stared. "Don't you?"
"I do a lot of the paperwork."
"That Joyce is supposed to be doing," Tara said. "That's her
job. I asked one day. She said she's supposed to be making
sure that everything's in the folders for reports. That all the
forms are filled out correctly. That the ones that get passed back
down the chain get where they're going. You're supposed to be
reviewing files and signing off then passing them to her. Not
filling in the reports and forms that the lesser agents don't. Not
doing all the work that Joyce does. She's noticed by the
way. She wasn't sure if it was territorial or just habits."
"I wasn't aware she was supposed to be doing some of that," Maria said carefully.
"Then maybe you two should sit down and work out where your job and hers
collide some day." She stared at her wife. "You can do that
while you make a few decisions."
"I...." She nodded and stood up. "I do." She kissed her, then hugged her. "I'm sorry, Tara."
"I don't mind you being all work and little play, but I need you here
sometimes," she said quietly, staring up at her. "We need
you. Even the older two."
"I know." She left, going to think at her desk. She had
nearly ruined the best thing in her life and Tara was the most gentle
spanking she'd ever been given. She slumped in the cab back to the
office, thinking hard. Was she doing it on purpose so she didn't
get close? Normally she'd go to someone like Joyce to ask that
to. Well, there wasn't a chance of that this time since Joyce
would kill her for upsetting Tara. She had seen the pointed looks
at her knife and safety taser. When she made it to the office, she
logged in and went to the gym to think. She found Barton
there. "Why aren't you home?"
"I had to do some range time and Natasha's sleeping in the tub."
He stared at her. "You look like you just lost your best friend."
"I may have."
Clint nodded. "Yup." She scowled. He stared
back. "Want me to be blunt?" Maria nodded. "Tara needs
someone who puts her first, not the job. So did Dawn. They
deal with too many world ending things to ever consider not having
someone who considered them more important than anything but the end of
the world. Especially with Tara's family's shit. You're damn
lucky she didn't turn out like me, Hill. She turned shy, sweeter,
and has a steel spine instead of letting it ruin her. It took
over a decade for Natasha to work me down to the point where I could
stand to have someone staring at me much less standing directly behind
She nodded. "I remember those days."
"Think about where Tara could've went." He walked off.
Maria logged in her gun for the range time and wasted a lot of bullets
thinking. Still spot on shots but the back of her mind was running
over things in her life like it was a mission file. Looking for
the weak links, looking for the spots where she could niche herself to
do what she had to do. By the end of an hour she had discovered
that Tara could do it without her, mostly had done it without her with
as many long nights as she had worked since they got together. She
had no niche. She could remove herself from Tara's life and
nothing would change in hers or Tara's outside of the occasional bit of
sex and cuddling. Or the times when she made herself go home early
to read to the kids. She calmly logged out and put her gun in her
locker so she could shower. If she was in the water, no one would
notice her sobbing that she had so fucked up everything in her life.
When she calmed down, she changed the mission file into a battle
plan. She knew what had to change. She knew where the lines
for fights had to be drawn. She just had to implement them.
If Barton and Romanoff could manage to not screw up a marriage, she could too.
Tony was staring around the dining room table that night, looking at his
family. Howard had been going to see Tara about school ideas for
the younger kids when he had run into Tara and Maria
talking. He had nicely given them privacy and came back to
praise Tony in making a steady, stable family. Which was something
he never had thought he'd have.
Callia stabbed him on the hand with her fork. "Daddy, quit
thinking so hard and pass the veggies please?" she asked with a grin.
He stared at her. "Have I beaten manners into you yet?" he asked but he did put the bowl in front of her.
"I asked twice then checked with Mommy Pepper first," she said. "You were lost in muse land."
"No, I was thinking about something else. Something Dad said after
he accidentally ran into Maria and Tara having a fight." He
dished himself up more vegetables too since there weren't any on his
plate. Which meant he had probably skipped them first but it would
get him scowled at by Steve. Steve and Pepper had set down the
rule of there had to be one hot meal in each and every Stark every day
if possible. One that hopefully was a bit balanced and set a good
example for the younger kids. He looked at Pepper and Steve.
"Dad congratulated me on having a stable family."
Pepper smiled. "We do good making sure it stays stable."
"You do. I never expected to have a steady girlfriend sort or
boyfriend sort. I never expected to have one kid, much less three
kids. I never expected any of this. It's a bit scary when
you think about what I was doing at Dawn's age and how much I've
Callia stabbed him with her fork again. "You forgot some, Daddy."
"Dawn's your aunt, not a part of us," he said.
She snorted. "Unless I'm really your female clone, it takes two
people to make babies. Usually you call the other side in-laws but
they're still family if you're good at it. Since you are, we have
a *huge* family. Including Uncle Xander, who adopted me into his
House, and the other two too at the next banquet. That means that
we have Uncle Phil as one too. We have Auntie Natasha and Uncle
Clint. We have a huge family and just because you're an adult
doesn't mean they're not yours. As Auntie Dawn says, we're all
Steve stared at her. "Pack? Why a pack?"
"Unclie Xander's hyena lady," she said with a grin. "She's
nice. He let her come out to sense the littler kids so he'd always
know to protect us all even if he lost himself to her." She ate
"Why would we be considered pack members?" Pepper asked.
"Well, duh, Mommy Pepper!" Tony swatted her for that. "It
still takes parents to make a baby so the parents are part of the baby's
family. Even if they don't realize it sometimes when the extended
family descends on us kids to spoil us rotten."
"You are rotten," Steve assured her.
She grinned. "Thank you!" she chirped then ate. "Daddy, eat
before it gets cold and you violate house rules. Mommy Pepper
might have to spank you for that." She ate another bite.
He ate a bite and considered it. "We're considered pack members?"
Phil appeared, nodding. "That's why I haven't promised to taze you
in the last few years, Stark." He looked at Steve. "If and
when you have one, Xander's going to adopt him into the house too.
It'll lead to some better protection from his people without much
chance of another god retaliating." He disappeared, going back to
his own dinner with Xander. "Stark just found out he's part of the
"Sometimes he's a bit slow about people things. That's why it took
him so damn long to hook Pepper." He ate a bite of pork chop and
grinned as he chewed.
"She has helped him become more well-rounded instead of focused on his
work to the point of them having to check to make sure he hadn't
died." Phil dug into his own dinner. "How did Tara and
Maria's talk go? I didn't want to eavesdrop."
"Tara drew a line. Including comparing it to what you two had as
co-parents. Maria's realized she's screwed up majorly from what
her mind said. She's not sure if she's working on it or not.
I almost went to talk to her but I doubt she needs the talk today."
Xander smiled. "They're my kids too, Phil." Phil
smiled. Xander kissed him. "But we're never having any
between us because I couldn't stand being pregnant and you'd look a bit
"Probably true." He took another kiss. They dug back in and
ignored the huffing of certain love goddesses. "We need some
weapons cleaning time tonight." Xander moaned. That always
turned into foreplay. Phil smirked slightly. "I think your
axe needs polished. I caught a few trainees reverently stroking
her. Want me to work on her polish and sharpening while you do my
Xander dropped his fork. "We can finish this later." He
teleported himself into Phil's lap to pounce them. Phil moved them
to the bed to finish the pounce. It was good, even if Phil did
have to mute the noises Xander was making him put out. Xander was
just that good but the trainees didn't need to know that.
Artemis and Diana had picked their direction for their adulthood
hunts. They headed in opposite directions to make sure that it was
them doing it on their own. They had told John and Ronon where
they were going just in case something happened. Both girls
knew what they needed to do to camp and all that. It was going to
be great. Sean had brought in a large doe with his bow. All
the bucks were young when he had went out and he had wanted an older one
to make sure he didn't stop the breeding process. John still
hailed him and held the celebration for him. Ronon was
proud. Even Rodney was proud, even though he didn't
understand why you did those things.
Diana found her ideal spot first and set up a camp, making sure to pack
snow around her tent to camouflage it. She was near a river and
far away from all the villages in the area. That would mean better
animal life so she could pick the best one to bring home to prove her
Artemis found a nice valley crevice that had signs of animals
grazing. She set up inside a cave and waited patiently.
Still. Silent. Just waiting.
Thor showed up with Xander and Dawn, her spouses appearing with Phil's
help. They were bringing up the next supply shipment. They
were also waiting.
"I can tell they're nearby," Dawn said. "And getting
closer." They settled in to properly wait on them. Diana
showed up first with a proudly huge young buck. "Nice work," she
said. Single arrow through the eye. It was a fine, strong
buck. She hugged her. "Nice job, niece. Welcome to
adulthood." Diana beamed and showed him to the others in the
family. As tradition, the deer was mounted to be shown off and
they started a good dinner in her honor.
Dawn was watching for Artemis. She was nearby. Slowly
dragging something huge. She finally spotted her coming out of the
trees. "Niece, did you shoot her?" she asked.
"No, Aunt, she was gored by the two things we drag and I had to defend
her from some wolves on the way here." She handed her burden to
Thor. "She was gored by them," she said with a point. "I
field treated her injuries." Diana was staring at her. She
grinned. "I wasn't going to leave her to die in the snow."
"Those are trolls," Xander said, staring at them. "Adult
trolls." Both had arrows sticking out of their throats.
"Clean kills, goddaughter?"
"Nay, I'm sorry to say they took a few minutes. I needed them down
to get to their victim, Uncle." She stood straighter. "The
wolves we took out were clean kills. I could not bring them
without using magic, and I pledged to use no magic on this hunt. I
did skin them." She pointed at the bundles of fur.
Thor looked and nodded. "Many male warriors would have a tough
time with that, Artemis. Well done." He patted her on the
cheek. "Welcome to adulthood." She beamed and bounced
some. "Let us show the trolls and the wolf pelts."
Xander nodded. "I think that deserves it." He looked at
Diana. Who was rolling her eyes. "If you had run into
something similar I have no doubt you would have done the same."
"Aye, but she's still flashy."
"Wait until you see her in her formal armor," Xander quipped.
"Which Thor helped design." Diana shuddered. They dragged
the trolls and the wolf pelts in to put in the honorary showing off
position as well. The warrioress went into the infirmary to be
treated. Xander looked at the girls, smiling. "Tonight, both
of the twins have completed their adulthood hunt. They are now
legal adults by *Asgard* standards."
"You all still need to count for the human legal age," Dawn quipped,
cracking the soldiers up. The twins hugged her. "Sit and
celebrate with our family." They all sat down to eat.
Sean was staring at the trolls then at his sister.
"Diana...." She pointed at Artemis. "How and why did you
bring home trolls?"
"They were attacking a young warrior woman," she said. "I had to
get them off her. The wolves came because they smelled the
blood. Sister, I saw Fenrir on the way back. He
congratulated me on my hunt and sent one for you." She
grinned. "He'll see us on our official adulthood day." She
and her sister shared a smirk. "Maybe I'll have him escort me to
the training camp."
Thor looked over. "You're not supposed to be escorted, even by friends."
"I know. It's a pity. They should see you off."
"They do so at home instead," Phil said. "Then welcome you home
with a celebration usually." She nodded, digging in. "Are
"Yes, Uncle Phil. We both train with Ronon."
Xander and Phil shared a look then Xander nodded. "We can show
them some." Phil smiled and nodded. He looked at the
twins. "I was trained by Tyr and Heimdall, but also by the
Dwarves. They hold a special training camp for warriors who will
go to real wars and battles. Those called to not only lead but
lead in the shiny armor so people stare at them in the battles."
He ate a bite.
Artemis shivered. "I am not one of those, Uncle."
He nodded with a smile. "Good." She grinned back and they dug in again.
"Diana, how did you preserve the deer?" Rodney asked.
"I packed the sled I built in snow, Rodney. That way he would not go bad."
"Excellent idea." He dug in again. The deer would go into
the kitchen stores. The trolls would be burned and the wolf
pelts.... He looked at Artemis. "What are you doing with the
"By tradition she would be welcome to wear them," Thor said. "As a
cloak or as decoration. With four wolves I am not sure." He
looked at her.
"I will have them made into a wall hanging or rug. I want to wear
no pelt. I like furry things to pet, not to wear." Thor
smiled at her. "Then when I have a home it will have a place of
honor. As the head will for my sister and brother."
Thor nodded. "That is reasonable and also traditional of
you." She grinned shyly and dug back into her dinner. Thor
had some serious thoughts. She was nearly of age. She was
still the more pretty girl he could stand to look upon and she was
nearly made for his needs of a wife. She glanced up and blushed,
smiling slightly before going back to her dinner. Clearly she felt
nearly the same for him. Though she was innocent and he was not
by any means. That was a lot of heavy thinking to mead to get done
Diana knocked on John's office door. "Enter," he said, smiling up at her. "Problems?"
"Pouting. My sister and I are about to be apart for the first time in our lives." She sat down.
"It'll be hard but you can write to her. They do allow letters at
the training camp. Also, with how Xander and Phil were working
with her, it may not take her a year."
"Still, we're growing further apart. I like computers and
technology. I even like math. My sister wants to be a
warrior wife. I'm not sure I want kids even far in the future when
John smiled. "You'd have to do it before then."
"Not the point."
He laughed. "I know. It's hard but you'll always have your
special bond of being twins. You'll always be special to
her. You'll always feel her and Sean."
"I know. Though Sean's not sure where he wants to fall."
"Like some of us, he can be both warrior and smart. He'd do good
if he wanted to go military or train to be an agent. I haven't
asked him and Ronon isn't because he'd pout like you are." She
swatted him with a grimace but settled in again. "It'll happen as
it does, Diana."
"I know." She sighed. "It's already bad though. I
wanted to talk about cute boys and she walked off with her fingers in
her ears after stating she'd go to her marriage bed a virgin and didn't
want to know about most men's parts."
He laughed. "Girls do that. She's a bit uptight but that is
very Asgardian of her. Whereas you tend to take more after the
human side of your heritage. Though some people would expect you
both to go to your marriage beds virgins."
"Nay, I do not want that. How do I know that any future husband
would be good for me? I certainly don't want an arranged
one. I need to get to know them and learn to trust them, not just
submit myself to his will. I keep having bad dreams of her future
husband tossing her down and mounting her like wolves do even if she
wanted something gentler."
"I'm sure any mate she takes will heed her needs," he said. "If
you want to date, go for it. Around here it'd have to be a hunting
date." She blushed. "Are there a few you're interested
in? I can give them the shovel speech as Xander calls it."
"A few," she squeaked then cleared her throat. "I don't know what
to do about it. They're... I don't think they'd be receptive
to the idea."
"Sometimes guys are picky and like to make the first move. Some
guys aren't. Then again, most girls have crushes on guys that are
unattainable. It's part of learning how to lust and love
someone. It also lets you know where your creepy, stalker line
is." He grinned. "You might try asking if they'd sit with
you at dinner a few times."
"I might," she agreed, standing up to kiss him on the forehead.
"Thank you, John." She went to her bunk to think. Her sister
was clearly having nasty thoughts about Thor again under her sheets but
if that suited her, so be it. She had some of those herself about
the most unattainable one there was. She had a few about her
aunt's relationship too that were downright nasty and she had no idea
why she thought of them sometimes. Even though Clint was
Sean walked up to Ronon. "Can you help me design a chastity belt for my sisters?"
"No. All sisters must grow up and experience relationships, even
though brothers wish they wouldn't. It's what growing up
means. Even as you experimented with that one girl, they will too
"But... girls don't...."
"They do," Ronon assured him with a smile. "All girls do.
Some before marriage, some afterward, but they all do the same thing you
"Not good women."
"Then the one you slept with was bad?"
Sean paused then huffed. "That's no fair."
"It's a bad double standard that humans seem to have. Boys are to
be impure but not the girls. Then how do they get impure since the
greater majority that believe in that hate same-sex relationships?"
"I don't want them to look like sluts."
"They're never going to be sluts, Sean. They're too picky to be
sluts. They'll never go to a bar, get drunk, and take someone
"I'd kill them."
Ronon looked at him. "Humans don't have honor killings and neither
do Asgardians from what we know of them." Sean pouted. "For
that matter, they're the same age you were when you decided to try
someone out. If it's time for them, then all we can do is scowl
greatly and make sure that they're safe when they do so. As I did
when you did the same thing." He clapped him on the back.
"Go meditate on them being adults and you not being able to nag them any
longer. Adult women don't get nagged."
"Bullshit. Uncle Phil nags Auntie Dawn all the time and she's an adult."
"Perhaps but not in the same way. While you're meditating, go over
the belief that your sisters should wear that all covering garb that
they do in Muslim countries instead of their nicer clothes."
"Their hunting clothes make them look like sluts!" he said firmly.
"Maybe but that's not your call and have you seen what your warrior
women wear? Even Teyla was amused by how much of it looked like a
metal bikini." Sean's eyes nearly popped out. Ronon smiled
and nodded. "They do. It's not like they'll be wearing
chainmail like your aunt."
He huffed but went to do as ordered. He still thought his sisters were looking like sluts and their father would be upset.
Ronon walked off to talk to the girls. "You have laces on those vests for a reason," he said when he ran into Diana.
"It just broke and I'm on my way to get another one." He
smirked. "Sean going off on us having bodies again?" He
nodded. "The boy's slept with two different women and we're still
pure. If anyone's the slut, Sean is!" She walked off
happier. Dumbass brothers needed to have their heads
rearranged. Maybe they'd spar with him later. Artemis looked
up from getting dressed when she walked in. "Sean needs to be
reminded he's not Daddy."
Artemis nodded. "Yes, he does." They shared a smirk and
finished dressing. Diana did get a new lace and did up her
top. Artemis was in a t-shirt and leggings because she needed to
do some time in the gym. They went to eat and then went to beat
their big brother up for being a jackass. Sean was out of his
meditation and doing some cooling down exercises for focus that Teyla
had taught him. They waited and pounced, making him yelp and try
to beat them back.
Dawn, Thor, John, and Teyla all watched, shaking their heads. "I
taught you better than that," Dawn yelled. Sean took a real swing
at his sister. She stopped the guys. "They started it, they
can either finish it or learn not to piss their brother off. The
same as I did Buffy."
Sean got Diana down and kicked her but she managed to trip him.
Artemis took advantage of it to beat him until he begged for
mercy. Artemis stared down at him. "Real warriors learn that
their body is all that should concern them outside the bedroom or the
storage shed. Because only their body is under their
control. If they worry so much about their sisters' breasts then
others wonder if they're perverts who want their sisters." She
walked over him, helping her sister up. "You're not Daddy.
If you don't quit, we're going to start dressing like Mom used
to." Sean whined. She stared back at him. "Next time
I'll turn you into a girl so you can be concerned about how much breast
someone shows legitimately." She smiled and walked off. She
hugged her aunt. "He really needs to be reminded he's not Daddy."
"He does," Dawn agreed, checking them over. "Go get ice
packs." They walked off talking about clothes. Dawn walked
out there to stare down at him. "C'mon, nephew. Let's have a
family talk." He moaned. "Yay! I've done worse to
Clint and Natasha sparring. If you're whining, maybe you should be
more geek than warrior." He got up with a groan and she walked
him off to talk to him about how he wasn't the father, the uncle, or
anything else. How he was a brother and it was normal to be
disgusted by his sisters but he was taking it a bit far and next time
she'd kick his ass for it. Then she opened up a small viewing
portal so he could talk to his father. Clearly this was a guy
thing. She went to talk to the other people in the family.
The three big brothers had traveled to congratulate the twins on their
new adulthood. One's wife had even brought them new clothes.
Which were a bit skimpy.
"How do you not freeze in that?" Ronon asked, looking at them.
"True Asgardians have warmer blood," the eldest brother said
happily. The girls came out and they looked them over. "Bad
hunt?" he guessed.
"Nay, idiot brother," Artemis said with a smile. "Who thinks that breasts are evil."
"Our mother was a warrior wench whose armor was very tiny after having
me," he told them. "She still wore it. Even when Father was
staring at her chest. Which is why I have siblings." He
smiled at them. "You two are fairly demure for warrior
wenches." His wife handed over the new clothes. The girls
squealed and hugged them, going to get dressed in the new deerhide
outfits. With cloaks over them. The brothers gathered Sean,
greeting their father and mother. Sean was pouty but they could
help him. Hylal smiled at the girls, who blew kisses. Dawn
ended the portal and they went to talk in a sitting area. Sean
didn't like their skirts that opened up over most of their thighs or the
tight, laced up vest tops that they wore. Their brothers coached
him in how to handle it. They also shared accounts of the mother
he hadn't had and her warrior gear. She had even went out in it
Dawn smiled at John, patting him on the cheek. "If you hit on her, she has to be eighteen." She walked off.
John blinked. "Dawn, I'm not thinking that way."
She looked him over then smiled. "You sure?" He gaped.
"You could do worse and so could she. At least you're honorable
and a nice guy sometimes." She strolled off, taking Thor to talk
to him about Artemis. They had to come to a family understanding.
Thor sat down across from Clint that night, staring at him. "Your wife's mind goes strange places."
"Often," Clint agreed with a smile. "Which way did it go now?"
"She was telling me how to treat virgins."
"Gently, Thor. Very, very gently. It hurts a bit."
Thor gaped. "I remember Dawn's very well and then the damn renewal
potion that she was under for a few months. If you do it wrong,
you can injure her. Faster, harder and tossing her against the
wall to claim her as a dick trophy is for the *third* time, not the
first. The first you'll have to battle her shyness and fears a
bit. Take her mind off it."
"I only know how to do that one way."
"I'll get you the book once we get back."
"There's books on how to woo women?"
"Yes, there are, and things about what interesting things people have
come up with to do in bed." He smiled. "Just...take it
gently and slowly that first time. Make sure she is ready, that
you distract her from the momentary pain, and that you make it good
enough that she begs for more later."
"Yup. If you're doing it right." Thor blinked at him.
"Dawn?" She looked over. "What do you have on your e-reader
for the girls?"
She smiled. "I got them their own with books about girl stuff and some stuff to read for fun reading. Why?"
"Someone could use a manual," he said mentally over their bond. "Thor's apparently a pounce and have at it guy."
"You two talk muchly over the mind bond," Thor complained, blushing slightly.
Dawn looked at her phone's books then got the girls' e-readers to look
at. She found one on Sean's that would work and handed it to
Thor. "I got that for Sean." She hugged him around the
shoulders. "Virgins are different than girls who have had a
lover," she said quietly. "Penises are scary to them. They
have no idea what to do with them, about them, or for them." He
nodded, blushing bright red. "Read that." She walked off to
talk to Teyla some more. Natasha and she were fairly good
friends. If Teyla came back to earth, she'd have to introduce her
Thor read slowly but some of it was odd. "You do what?"
Clint looked over and nodded. "Often. It's one reason why Dawn gets so loud. The other is tongues."
Thor stared at him. "Why would one do that?"
"For the same reason you'd expect a woman to do it to you."
"Nay, we do not." He slowly shook his head. John walked over
to hiss in his ear, getting a fast nod. "Those are nice."
"Girls like it too," John said simply.
"Oh. I had no idea." He went back to reading. There
was much he was missing about girls. Why had his former wife not
told him this? Well, perhaps she had no idea about it. She
was a very sweet, simple girl when they married.
Clint kicked back, smiling at Sean and Ronon.
One of Sean's brothers was staring at his wanted mate, a female
soldier. He walked over and kissed her. "May I claim you
Dawn looked over. "If you're talking claiming in that dick trophy
way, that's a marriage proposal," she told the soldier, who blushed
bright red and stared at him.
"Aye, I could use a good warrior woman as both my mothers were."
He carried her off. "We will see if we are compatible then I will
claim you." She proved herself worthy by pouncing him in the
"I guess we can have him moved to the Mountain's team," John decided, walking off to send that email warning.
Sean's other brothers were laughing at that one. It figured that
one wanted something exotic and tiny. He had always been a
bit...slight about the house.
Sean shook his head. "I need a real woman who wants what I
want." They soothed him and told him about the young women they
knew. None of them would appreciate him using his mind but maybe
one would be talked into it.
Dawn went to talk to Diana. "You're blushing."
"They're loud!" She shivered.
Dawn hugged her. "It's called voyeurism and it's a slight kink but
not a bad one. You'll find someone who likes it too. Like
Jonathan watching porn with his wife." Her niece stared at
"Even if you think about ones who are very hot but you shouldn't?"
Dawn grinned. "Honey, even Xander's had thoughts about us and
sex," she said quietly. "Just don't share any of it." Diana
whimpered but nodded, going to hide with her big brothers. Dawn
sent that at Natasha and Clint, who grinned at her for it.
"We are the hottest thing ever," he mouthed at her. "It's all good." She ducked her head but was grinning slightly.
Thor looked over and pointed at something on the screen. "That works?"
Clint looked and nodded. "A lot." Thor was blushing
again. "Asgardian women expect simple things but human women
expect performance. Thankfully, like any skill, a man gains better
skills as he practices."
"I'm fairly certain if we bring up women's magazines, they'd expect
more," Teyla said, coming over to join them. "Athosian women
did when the soldiers shared theirs."
"Humans have it for fun and joy, plus breeding. Athosian women had
it for breeding?" Clint guessed. She nodded, smiling some.
"Humans do it just because we're bored."
"Or we had dirty thoughts all day," Dawn quipped.
Natasha looked at her spouses then at John. "May I perhaps find shelter up here?"
He grinned. "You'd have to do something scientific or soldierish to contribute."
"I may find one then." Dawn and Clint both smiled at her.
Maybe she'd find it soon before she was made too sore to sit again.
John hugged her. "It's all right, Natasha. They adore you,
even when you take control." She smirked evilly at that
idea. It would keep her from being too sore. Dawn... well,
she could take being sore. So could Clint.
Thor let out a squeak. "Men do what?"
Diana looked over then at him. "Auntie Dawn told us it was
great." She shrugged at his continued blush. "That's all
I've heard about it. She almost wrote epic poetry about it, Thor."
He shivered. "That is probably a good thing." He looked at Clint, who looked then nodded with a grin. "Why?"
"It feels good, like the rest does. Some women will, some
won't. Some women will kick you out of bed if you suggest
it. Depends on the woman and sometimes how uptight she is."
Thor nodded. "I would never think of such things with a woman."
Diana shrugged. "I'll try it someday to find out but not this
week." Sean glared at her. She stared back. "I am more
than allowed to date, Sean."
"Aye, you are," the eldest brother said. "Though we'd prefer that you went to your marriage bed a virgin."
Diana shook her head. "Most human women don't."
"Really?" He hummed. "Well, that would show how well they fit together, or not, but still."
"Some couples live together before marriage," Dawn said with a
smile. "In all meanings of the word." All three boys and
Sean stared at her, eyes wide. "Some women date and get serious
but never move onto the living with or marriage stage. They're
happy with the dating and casualness of what they have."
"You married," Sean said.
"We were living together before we found out Natasha had done the paperwork to marry us months earlier."
John looked at her. "You did?" She nodded with a smile. "Sneaky." She beamed.
"We had no idea for almost a full year," Clint told them. "She'll
find whatever relationship suits her best. As long as it's a
healthy, sane, consensual one we'll be happy for her. If he's a
bad jackass he'll be killed."
Diana smiled. "I'll let you back me up," she quipped.
Sean looked at his big brothers. "We can arrange one for her," he offered with a slight grin.
Diana stared at him. "If my brother wishes an arranged marriage,
then he is more than free to go for it. His sisters will pick
their own lifemates. Or else we would simply kill them when they
upset us the first time."
"Arranged ones are for girls," Sean said happily.
"Unless they're marrying girls to girls, boys are in them as well," she
shot back. Sean blinked. "I heard Father say that he was
thinking about one for you, that way you'd have a woman who would put up
with your confused viewpoints." Dawn swatted her gently.
Sean stomped off. Dawn followed to calm him down. "Sorry,
but he has been pushing his luck recently," she told her older siblings,
who all nodded. "Including insisting he was Father and
could dictate how we dress."
"He got over his bikini meltdown fairly quickly," John said. "Both times."
"Bikinis?" one of the wives asked. Diana took the e-reader to pull
up pictures from their vacations. She showed her.
"Oh! Those are charming! Like underthings for the warm
Diana grinned and handed the e-reader back to Thor once she had the book
pulled back up. "For swimming in. Or just getting a tan
in. They're mostly comfortable but we inherited Auntie Dawn's when
she outgrew them. Callia is looking forward to her first one."
Thor looked at her. "I saw pictures in those trash
magazines." Diana grinned and nodded. "They stalk your aunt
fitfully and remark on her weight."
"We didn't get that."
"We hope you never get that," Clint said. "It drives us and Dawn
batty when they do it to her. Now they're all staring at her
stomach to see if she's going to get pregnant soon."
"I saw those articles too," Thor agreed. "They really are not nice to skimpy clad wealthy women."
"Most of them anticipate the attention because it gives them attention,"
Clint said. "Dawn's not one of them but the heiress patrol are
generally not real worthy of anything beyond being made fun of.
Some do work, some do good things, the rest are worthless and sucking up
the world's supply of drugs and liquor."
"People should get attention for what they do, not giving them attention
for being drunk," Diana said. "It's dumb but some of them play up
to it. They even make sure of it by doing things like not wearing
panties." Thor stared at her. Clint nodded to back that
up. "Then they're made fun of for years for it when they flash
"That is truly stupid of them," Thor said. He went back to
reading. Earth women confused him greatly. Thankfully Jane
was not like that. Neither was Natasha, Dawn, Pepper, or the
children. They mostly had sense. A few things in this book
were odd and gave him images he did not want in a crowded room but it
was very educational. Sean came back out and hugged his sister
then sat down. Thor closed the book and handed it to Sean.
"Thank thee for the lending, Sean."
"Not a problem, Thor. Some day you'll have a mate you claim like
our father did our mother. Though I'm told he did it more than
once." He shook his head.
Clint snickered. "We used to joke about how often your mom was a
dick trophy for Hylal. Any happy time and she ended up being
one." Diana and Sean both blushed. He nodded. "The day
she found out she was pregnant with Sean, it took magic to get a phone
call answered. Xander said your father answered the door with her
on him like that at least once. Something about scaring
missionaries." Thor cackled, nodding he had heard that too.
Dawn smiled. "I found my stash of pictures of them, including the
wedding photos, kids." She pulled them out of her bag. "I
know you've seen Mom's." She let them have the envelope full of
They snuggled together to look them over. Diana smiled at one and pointed. "I've never worn anything that short."
"I'd have beaten you if you did," Sean assured her, moving on.
Their mother had been flirty like their aunt. Their mother did it
for bait during patrols he was sure. He stared at the wedding
photos. "That is a dress even an Asgardian washer woman would say
was too massive."
"Hylal complained he couldn't get underneath it," Clint said. "It
was nice that the attack before the wedding was done with by the time
she got to the church."
"I don't think they have the celebration curse," Dawn said. "None of theirs have been interrupted."
"Thankfully," John quipped. "The one birthday Buffy had while you
guys were trapped on Atlantis in Pegasus was a bit strange. The
Genii wanted the warrior princesses they had heard about." He
walked off shaking his head to get a drink.
Dawn grinned at the kids. "Every single happy event your mother
has been at has been attacked." They all shook their heads.
Artemis came over to get in the pictures with them. Dawn pointed
at one. "That's about what your mother wore the whole time we were
in Sunnydale. That and low rise pants and heels." She
showed them another picture she had in her wallet. "That sort of
"Mother was a pretty woman," the youngest above Sean sighed. "I need one of those."
Diana grinned at him. "Sean's offering to arrange ones." He
swatted her but Sean nodded he'd help. He got swatted too.
They went back to the pictures. Dawn waved a hand. "Ours?"
"Yours. That's the only copy made out of my pictures. Mom's
having some made for you guys. Then you can figure out how to
split them up or make copies for each of you." They smiled and
nodded. She sat on Clint's lap, looking at him. "I finally
went through that whole box of photos and found some from our time
outside the US."
"The ones we took in Paris. The ones from China. Which has
an odd thing you should look at. The ones from Tibet." She
grinned. "I got a great picture of the yeti that wanted Natasha so
hard. We have pictures from most everywhere."
"Huh." He cuddled her. "We can go through those when we get
home." Dawn grinned and nodded. He gave her a squeeze.
"Are you cuddly?" he teased.
"Yup, I am. I deserve to be cuddly." He stared at her. "I'm not pregnant, just cuddly."
"Hmm. Bit tired?" She nodded with a yawn. "That's
fine." She snuggled in beside him on the large chair. There
was enough room for her to barely squeeze in like their cat did to them
on the couch. He put an arm around her and let her nap.
"The magic up here is different and her Keys are probably trying to
compensate," John said quietly with a grin. "Though it's
"Of course I am. That's why _People_ has both you and I on their sexiest man list again this year."
John winced. "Where?"
"You're four, I've thankfully fallen to ten," he said
sarcastically. "Stark's going to pout. He's at fifteen and
Bruce is ahead of him by two." John smiled. "They put actors
on top again."
"Good! What about Rogers?"
"Two. Which made him go hide in a closet."
"Ahhhh, yes," John said dryly.
"Especially when Bucky heard."
John stiffened. "Bucky?"
Natasha nodded. "They found the Winter Soldier. He's
undergoing healing." John stared at her. "Who was Captain
America's best friend."
"Wow. Small world." John hummed. "Is he okay?"
She nodded. "Then good. I'm glad he's happy. How did
that work when he got introduced?" Natasha blushed and said
something quietly in Russian that made John laugh and hug her
briefly. "I'm sure it was a good thing."
"Very." She looked over at Clint. "Dawn's having another one," she told him.
He looked down at her. "That is a vision dream, yup. So
maybe the nap was prompted." She gasped awake a few minutes later
and looked around. "What was it?"
"Paper. Need paper." She swallowed. John got her some
and a pen, letting her scratch out what she had seen while she held her
head. Clint worked on her tense neck muscles so she'd relax.
She finally dropped the pen because she was back asleep.
John read it over, blinking a few times. "That's going to suck huge."
Clint looked then at John. "Why is it in Chinese?"
"No idea," he admitted. "Ask her when she gets up."
Natasha took it from him to read over, frowning at it. "The
upcoming problem does know Xander but is not the one Thor thought.
He'll freeze because it's his ex, the one who committed suicide thanks
to his mother." Clint grimaced. "We'll have to show Phil."
Phil appeared with Xander. "We felt a vision."
"From Dawn." She handed it to Phil.
He read it and sighed handing it to Xander. Who frowned. "I
can't read this. I can speak a few words but not read it."
He touched Dawn's head and stiffened. "Those mother fuckers," he
said in Latin. "Cow fucking bastards."
Phil took him to hold. "We will avenge her," he said quietly,
making Xander nod but stay stiff. "It's good we know. Maybe
we can get through it faster or easier." Xander looked at
him. "We will work on it together."
Xander hugged him. "I'll freak out later," he said quietly. "Thank you."
"I would not let you go through this alone." Xander kissed his
mark on Phil's neck. "That's right, together." Xander
nodded, relaxing against him. He sat down and let Xander
cuddle. "John, your mother's brother 'saved' her by having her
taken as some sort of shade. That wasn't on there but he saw it
from her mind."
"Which brother? There's three."
"The one that's green."
"Then he can go to any version of hell he wants to visit," John said
bluntly. "Xander was nearly destroyed when she died thanks to Mom
being a bitch." He considered it. "I should go talk to him."
"That's our job," Phil said. "You can help us though. Have
you seen the newest battle coming up?" John slowly shook his head
so Phil pulled up the book for him.
John read it, grimacing. "That fucking sucks. He did it on
purpose because he's always hated Xander." He snapped it
shut. "Tell me when you go."
"I will," Phil promised. "Can you brief them and us about what
possible skills she'd have? We have conflicting accounts."
"Yup, I can do that." He walked off with Thor to go over what had
been shown so he could tell the other demigods. John got the book
he'd need and brought it out to show Phil. "That's what she turned
into. It's basically the shade of a torture victim. You've
seen some of them around war crimes camps and refugee camps."
Phil read it over, shuddering. "So the singing/dancing thing?"
"She was an excellent one before she died. She was too high up to
have a job but she performed for the various parties whenever they had
something." Xander looked at him. "We'll handle her,
Xander. You don't have to be in that battle."
"I do. She might stop for me."
"No, she'd probably attack you," John said. He ran a hand over his
head and knocked him out. "Peter?" He came out of the
kitchen area with some tea. He handed him the book. "His
almost wife 'Mina."
He read it, grimacing. "I'll have the potions to protect people made, John. When?"
"About ten, eleven months," Phil said.
"Best done sooner," Peter advised. "I'll have them start on them
tonight." He went to the infirmary to send an email to his cousin,
who was the only other Celtic deity with a computer as far as he knew.
John handed Clint the book. Then he walked off. He wanted to
have a talk with someone before his mother heard. They'd need
some support. He appeared in front of Krishna. "I have a
serious problem that you're going to lose your calm demeanor about."
"Come tell me about it. Is there a problem on Asgard,
Jonathan? I know it has different powers." John sat at his
feet and touched his hand to show him what had been seen and found
out. He saw Krishna's blue skin go light sky blue instead of a
darker, royal blue. "That is a problem." He looked around
the other gods staring at them. "Leave us." They left.
He waited then looked at John. "What is going to be done?"
"We'll have to defeat her. Phil's promised to help his mate when they come discuss why that was done."
"I'm aware of the distaste her brothers bear for her and her
offspring." John's mother walked in. "This is a private
"I wished to hug my son then will leave." She hugged him and kissed him on the cheek. "Do you need cookies?"
"Dawn brought some up, Mom. Thanks." She nodded and
left. John put up muting charms, earning a smirk for that.
"I know eavesdropping is the national pasttime around here.
Especially when it relates to bets."
"This will certainly start some." Krishna considered things for a
moment. "It would be better if it was handled before Xander could
work himself up to get there."
"He thought she might stop for him."
"It would be unfair but she would blame him. I know almost nothing of his mate. How well trained is he?"
"He went to the same training school Xander did, with the Dwarves.
They are very good against each other. He got marked as getting
"Excellent. Xander needed a warrior to help him with things he
never wanted to ask help for." He rubbed his forehead marking then
looked at John again. "It would be best if it was handled long
before Xander could handle it himself. As we both know he would."
"That was my thought. Phil was against it."
"He must think more of his mate this time." He wrote out a
message. "Make sure Roque and the others of your little pack of
demigods and immortals know."
"I can do so." He bowed and left, going to hand Phil that note
then talk to Roque. Roque looked up from his drinking, looking
pissed off. "Xander thought he might talk her out of it."
"No way in fucking hell," he said quietly.
"Krishna thinks it'd be better if we who could and know would do it."
Roque nodded. "I'm with that plan. Clay's getting dressed and weaponed."
John smiled and went to his temple to do the same thing. He passed
back up to Atlantis, looking at Phil, who nodded he had knocked Xander
out. Phil pointed at Clint but John shook his head that they
wouldn't need him. "I can do it with Roque and a few other demis,"
he said very quietly. "Just keep him calm. Let him talk
about her. Krishna agreed that you two could talk to our
uncle." He left after grabbing a few extra weapons. He,
Clay, Roque, three other demigods and one immortal grandson of a god all
went to Arkansas to handle this apocalypse in the making. John
walked in first. "Mina." She turned and smiled at him,
floating over to touch his cheek. "You can't do this."
"You must not. They'll ask Xander to come kill you and he can't. It would kill him instead."
"He cursed me."
"No, our mother's brother cursed you and he'll be dealt with by
Xander. Xander's sitting on his mate's lap, shut down so he can't
sense anything at the moment because he found out what had happened."
"He did not know?"
"No. No one told him."
She huffed. "Still, they cursed me."
"No, he didn't," Roque said. "The only one that cursed you was the
one who resurrected you." She stared at him.
"Seriously." She shrieked and went after him with her nails.
Clay shot her a few times. She started to cry. Roque, John,
and one of the demis worked the spell to send her back to her rest
while Clay and the others got the people around her and the victims
free. A few more demis showed up but they were healers from
Peter's family. One of the healers joined the spell to send her
on. She shrieked and threw power at them, injuring them, but it
was done and she was gone with a sob.
The healers pushed potions on them and got them back where they needed
to go. Clay called in Fury for the cult and victims. They
got there within thirty minutes on quinjets to handle things.
Roque looked at them. "Long story but that was the next apocalypse
battle, people." He let himself and Clay be taken back to their
temple. Jensen had the soaking tub run full of hot water and some
herbal oil on top. They climbed in with a wince at the heat but it
felt good. Roque nodded his thanks and Jensen left them
alone. Roque leaned his head back and shifted with a wince.
"How many of those are there?" Clay asked a few minutes later.
"Most bad sites that had people dying have at least one," he said
quietly. "We've banished most of the ones in Europe. You can
still run into them in some of the jungle regions of Asia and Africa
has a few dozen left. We send them on when we find them.
That one was stronger because she was pulled back by a god, not out of
anger or pain." He looked at him. "That's what the Crow
legends really lead to, not the movie shit."
Clay nodded. "Teach me how to handle those. It's clearly more than a one-man job."
Roque snorted. "Women do it easier but damn it." He slipped deeper into the water. "You have to have magic."
"You can sometimes pull on mine. We'll figure it out." Clay
nodded, relaxing next to him but not cuddling. They did not
cuddle. Even if Roque had an arm around his mate's shoulders and
Clay was resting against his side, they did not cuddle.
Rodney helped John onto the infirmary bed, staring at him. "That was bravely stupid."
"It was necessary. She would've tried to kill Xander or Phil." He stared at him. "I'm fine."
"I'm sure you are. We'll make sure of it."
John nodded, resting while Peter finished the potions he'd need to
finish healing. "Hannah and her clan showed up," he told
Peter. "I got most of the standard healing potions."
"S'good," Peter said, smiling at him. "He'd thank you for sparing him that."
"Krishna okayed them going to talk to him."
"Even better. You rest. It'll be a few days." Diana
walked in with some tea and handed it over. Peter sniffed and
smiled. "Good idea, Diana." She grinned and bounded
off. "She fusses over you like a silly big brother." He let
John sip the tea then lay back down.
"Yeah, she does. She's a neat young woman. Very sweet and
kinda sassy at times." He grinned, yawning as he drifted
off. That tea always knocked him out.
Rodney settled in and opened up his tablet's interface to get into
something he needed to do. He'd sit watch. Diana brought him
something to eat and drink, earning a smile. "Thank you."
"You're welcome," she said quietly. She bounded back out to tell her aunt John was back.
Rodney smiled at the simple but efficient sandwich and apple
juice. The girls had encouraged them to trade for them and they
were magnificent tasting. A bit tart, a bit sweet, and somehow
seemed to soothe any craving for salty things they might have. It
made excellent juices but only mediocre pies or cobblers.
Thankfully there was a green apple variety that made good tart pies and
cobblers that you could add to with maple syrup or molasses so it wasn't
as bitter as rhubarb.
Thor went to Valhalla that night, bowing to his father and mother since
they were on their thrones. "The next great problem on Midgard was
Odin stared at him. "I want no war with his mother's people, son."
"He and his mate will finish this wrong they caused. Krishna
already agreed it was the proper thing to do when Jonathan talked to
"Good. Then all is well?"
"They are recovering well. They are tired and a bit beaten up. She was stronger due to how she was made."
Odin nodded. "I have seen such made by mortals be strong enough to take down Tyr."
Freya glided over, smiling at Thor. "I have found your mate."
"I doubt such," he said firmly. "I have one in mind. I need
not the help, only the patience for her to obtain her majority and
finish her training so she finds herself worthy of me. I find her
more than worthy already," he said at his mother's opening mouth.
"She is training herself as she feels she must."
Frigg smiled. "Do I know of this young one?"
"You know of her mother because you complain now and then about how loud she is."
"One of the twins?" Frigg asked with a smile. "Diana is a sweet child."
"Who is going to do human things, Mother. Artemis and I are
interested and we will attempt to get to know each other as adults once
she is of age and out of her training. She wishes to train with
Sif and the warrior women to protect her home and family."
"That is good," Odin said, nodding. "The twins are pretty young women."
"Who just had their adulthood hunts," Thor said proudly.
"Girls don't need one," Freya sneered.
Thor glared at her. "All need one to prove that they have the
ability to be adult and act like rational adults. She took down
two trolls while saving one of Sif's handmaidens then wolves when they
came for them due to the blood." Freya gasped and backed
away. Thor smirked. "I need not the help. Even if the
infatuation does not prove out in real love I'd never take the help of
those who do not know my needs well." He looked at his mother
again, who was grinning, then at his father, who was rolling his
eyes. "Her family have granted me leave to get to know her when
she is of legal age on Midgard. Which is eighteen."
"Not a bad age and that will be next year," Frigg said. "She's an
interesting choice, son. I hope it works out well between
you." He grinned. "If you should find yourself needing
marriage advice just ask."
"I had a talk earlier with her aunt and her spouses. They do many
different things than we do. Now I understand why my sister
had herself married to that humming being." He walked off happier.
Odin shook his head. "I still say Alana is warped for that."
Frigg shrugged. "Freya, who did you have in mind?"
"His first wife's cousin. She is pretty, red haired, and a strong woman to bear many babies."
"She's a simpleton who cannot read," Frigg said bluntly. "I doubt
they would be suitable as more than parents and I would worry her mind
was not big enough to take care of the children." Freya huffed
off. She shook her head. "We need to teach people what makes
a happy marriage."
"One of the spouses hiding poisons so the other does not disagree or peeve them overly much," Odin joked.
Frigg smiled. "I added to the collection as well." She got
up to walk off. "Let me talk to Freya. Mayhap it is a new
relative being grown that gives her such ideas."
Odin shuddered. "I would hope not." Loki appeared. "You needed?"
"My son's well being but I doubt I'll earn it this year," he
complained. "As all chaos gods were cursed to work for the Light
for the next year, I must warn you that there is an invasion coming and
Alana is going to have to handle it." He left, going to check on
his son. Phil stared at him. "What has happened?" Phil
pointed at the paper so he read it. His face turned stony and he
stared at his son-in-law. "What is being done?"
"John and Roque handled it," he said quietly.
"Thankfully." He found Jonathan and went to see what had
happened. He was asleep so he touched his fingers to John's
forehead, freezing Rodney in place.
"He needs the rest, Loki," Peter ordered.
"I only wish to see what has happened. That way I can see where I
need to help as I've been cursed to it." He pulled his hand
back. "They handled a very strong one on their own. I'm
pleased." He went back to his temple to seethe about that.
Someone needed to feel his wrath. A note slowly floated down from
mid-air. He caught it to read, smirking some. Jonathan had
made sure that Phil and Xander could *talk* to the being
responsible. Good! It meant one less person he had to
destroy this year.
The family finally went back to Earth, with the kids so Grandma Joyce
could hug them to death. They landed in the middle of an
issue. A huge issue. A huge issue with walking furry
creatures. The girls and Sean pulled out their bows and used them
with Clint, facing outward in a circle. Natasha fired on
them. Dawn handed her explosive tipped bullets when the regular
ones didn't work and got her own bow out to use. The creatures
died before the rest of the Avengers could get there. Dawn looked
around then shrugged and put up her bow. The kids put theirs up
and Dawn got them a cab to go see Grandma. Clint and Natasha
called in that it was handled and they were back.
It looked like they were back to business as usual for the Avengers.
To next story
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