Worrying About Your Own Old Ones.

Dawn came out for lunch with her spouses and ran into two reporters.  Some days it really wasn't worth the effort to leave her desk.  "Guys, I'm a bit cranky because I'm hungry.  Do we have to do this now?"

"Just a few questions," one quipped.  "We saw that calendar that's getting one of our people sued."  Dawn shrugged.  "Is Clint still that well built?  We can't tell if he's gotten softer with age and married life."

Dawn stared at her.  "No, he's only gotten harder.  Years of gym work and us helping him work out has made him beautifully ripped."

"He doesn't go to the beach with you?" the other asked.

"He likes to sit in a room so he can watch us but not have to beat the people I have to shoo off."  She walked around them.  "He considers it really relaxing."

"Does that go with his habit of sitting in the ceiling to watch over you?"  Dawn nodded as she crossed the street.  They followed.  "Who was that woman?"

"Ask him.  I don't give out agent names."

"That picture showed that Clint was *modestly* sized," the first reporter said.

Dawn looked at her, shaking her head.  "Not hardly.  Clint's got heft there, ladies, and I jealously hoard it with Natasha."  She smirked.  "Anything else?"  They pouted but shook their heads.  She walked into the restaurant but Natasha said they were in the other one so she went in there.  She flashed over the entire questioning session.

Clint smiled.  "Yeah, I got heft."  He winked.  She grinned back.  They got down to lunch and talking about Philip's upcoming baby shot appointment.  They hated seeing him get shots so Dawn did most of them.  This time they'd have to do it for her, she had a meeting to attend with Pepper that day.  Clint said he'd go if he was local.  Natasha agreed they could do that together.  It was good until Dawn's phone went off.  She paid for lunch and went back to work.  Clint looked at Natasha.  "Our outfits really don't emphasize our good points."

"They make your arms look nice," she said with a smile.  "Mine makes me look good."

"They're bulky and my vest is rubbing my armpit again."

"We can talk to those who are doing body armor work for Stark about it.  See if they can be thinned or whatever.  Stark would if we asked."  She sipped her water.

He nodded.  "We need to ask.  SHIELD uniforms aren't going to work either."

She nodded.  "I'd be interested in seeing the body armor bras they're coming up with."  He grinned.  "No underwire to pinch?  Most women would like that."

"I certainly would."  He winked.

"I'm sure you'll get to see the trials."  She winked and they finished lunch so they could talk to Tony.  They walked in and Tony glanced up from what he was tinkering with.  Natasha moved closer.  "We have problems with the uniforms."

"I doubt Dawn's tailor could help them."  He looked up, sitting on a stool to face them.  "What sort of problems?"

"One of mine is a tailoring one," Clint said.  "The other is that they're bulky and I sweat outrageously during the summer."

"As I do," Natasha agreed.  "I'm also looking forward to what the people with the armor samples are going to do about underthings."

"I've seen one of those.  They had Pepper model one.  She said it's still a bit thick and it's not keeping her perky but it didn't stretch out of shape and it was mostly comfortable."  Tony considered it.  "There's a few things I've been meaning to get them to try."  He pulled up records and got the fabric samples he'd had Dawn find for him, then called that research team up.  "Three things."  He handed over the box.  "Samples of spandex/bulletproof silk blends."  They smiled.  "Second, Barton needs his suit tailored some and we have no idea who could."

"It keeps cutting into my armpit but I need the coverage there," he said.

"Third is that they're bulky and they tend to overheat in the summer then freeze in the winter."

They considered it and looked at each other.  "We're working on a few things we haven't noted yet."

"Anything new on that bra idea?" Natasha asked.

They smiled.  "Soon."  They led them down to their lab and showed them the newest suit trial they were looking at.  "It may not be as bulletproof.  We haven't tested that part yet.  It's mostly genetically engineered silk so lighter and thinner when mixed with the teflon and bulletproof strands."  Dawn brought in Clint's present vest for him.  They had him try it on and decided they could cut down the area under the trim to help ease that and maybe a quarter inch more.  Such tiny measurements could make all the difference to the one in the suit. 

They had one in the silk/spandex class for Tony to use inside the suit.  Tony thought it wasn't real practical but it would help him regulate his body temperature during the hotter battles and the coldest ones.  They were working on one for Natasha and took measurements to adjust it.  The auto-cutter was happy with that since they had made it a bit big for tailoring purposes. 

The new bulletproof test wasn't going to go as great but it did stop arrows when they tried it.  It stopped knives.  They could work on adding more bulletproof strands.  As workout gear and temporary or replacement uniforms they'd do for now.  They made sure Clint's wouldn't bother his arms any and had to have the one of them that had sewing experience fix it.  Tony called in Dawn's tailor to work on that part for them.  That solved a real problem for all of them.  He knew how to fix the armhole problem and compensate for movement in Natasha's. 

They showed her the bra attempt, letting her give her opinion as a woman who would need something like that.  That silk/bulletproof spandex was a better material choice as it moved some but it was stiff enough to keep one in place.  They quickly did a mockup of one for her and she nodded it had good benefits.  It wasn't pretty at the moment but it was comfortable and the fabric felt nice against her skin.  They could fix the cosmetic later if the bra held up to use.


Tony smiled at the woman there to talk with him about a job.  "Mr. Stark, you're not usually interested in fashion things," she said, sitting down.

"Well, I am and I'm not.  There's been some issues with some of the agent suits."

"I've seen those battle suits.  They're not very....pleasurable to look at.  Though they are better than comic book spandex ones."

"They're a bit rough to the touch, which they said was useful, but they also said they were thick, heavy, and made them overheat.  Though, that's another project of the team.  The other one is that they're working on firming underwear for under the battle uniforms.  Regular bras apparently pinch when you're flipping around.  Not that I'd know because I've never worn one but Agent Romanoff and my assistant both assure me it does.  They've worked up a sample that seems to have merit."

"But they're men," she said with a smile.  He nodded.  That explained why they were having lunch.  She had a lot of lingerie design experience.  "I can see that.  How good is the new prototype?"  He pulled up his briefcase and opened it, letting her feel it.  "I've seen the informercials about the bras that supposedly fit everyone in the right size range. This feels different."

"That's partially body armor and partially spandex," he said with a smile.  "With some silk thrown in for softness."

She handed it back.  "We can help them with that.  I'm not really looking forward to taking on a new full-time job though."

"Reports are saying that someone's going to be buying your design company."

"I've heard those same rumors.  They've flown around a few times."  Tony handed her the filing to buy the company.  She grimaced.  "They would probably cut our department as we don't make them as much money."  He nodded.  "If that happens I'd gladly move from a consultant to a full time position."  He smiled.  "How well does it pay?"

"I drew up the standard contract for consultants and for new employees."  He handed them over so she could look at them.  "They're working on new uniform ideas right now to help with the other problems.  So far they're not as tough as the originals but they're getting good ideas from the first ones and having help from Agents Barton and Romanoff.  Then, when they have something fantastic, I'll let them have Steve."

She smiled.  "I'm sure he'd adore a new suit."  She went back to reading.  She pointed at one thing.  "My husband is French."  He shrugged.  She smiled.

"We had to take that one out for Dawn as well due to her Russian wife."

"Okay."  She went back to reading, nodding at it.  "I'll gladly take on the consulting job.  When can I meet with the team over their ideas?"

"Anytime you want."  He handed over their card once she had signed the preliminary contract.   He grinned.  "Thank you."

"You're most welcome.  It's an exciting field to make whole new fabrics that are useful, and the ladies in your life are right.  Something like that bra idea would sell for millions."  He smirked.  She and he talked about their expectations and how far they had gotten over the rest of lunch.  She went back to the tower with him to meet with them and see where they had gotten to this point.  It had a lot of promise.


Fury got tired of the moping.  He hated having entangled agents under him.  It always led to problems.  Problems like his senior agent sulking and flinching each time Joyce shifted in her seat.  "Hill," he summoned.  She walked in.  "Shut the door."  She did and stood in front of his desk.  "Sit."

"If I'm about to be fired for following those orders, I'd rather stand."

"That may cure some of your sulk but the next few in line I'd never trust behind me while I was distracted.  Sit."  She sat down with a grimace.  "What happened?"

"Tara kicked me out."  She looked at him.  "I screwed up and I'm trying to figure out how to fix it, sir."

He sighed.  "I've had two wives that got killed thanks to the job, Hill."

She nodded she knew that.  "That was barely a point she made, sir.  Partially it was that I had hurt the family pack and that she thinks I value my job over the family.  Which.... I can almost see her reasons for.  I do honor my job to the point of never making it home for dinner or time to play with the kids."

Fury nodded.  "So how are you going to fix that?"

"She pointed out that Joyce is supposed to be doing some of the things I do.  We need to sit down and work that out."

"We can do that.  You could have some help but you've refused to let anyone who's raised up to their highest rank of idiocy screw things up worse."

She nodded.  "I usually end up redoing some of the forms on them."

"Which isn't your job either.  Your job is to make sure that your part of the report is filed.  The conclusion page, the summary and wrap up portions.  Then you hand it to Joyce so she can make sure it's all there and able to be read."  He smirked.  "Joyce?"  She came in with some paper and a pen.  "Hill has just realized that you're supposed to be doing half the work she does."

"I've filled in some when she was on maternity leave.  Everyone was confused that it was my job to make sure that files were ready to be handed in.  I can go back to doing that and reminding agents that they have to have certain forms filled out legibly.  Though, some are grousing that they're not on the computer?"

"With as insecure as ours are, I'd hate to see case files on there," Fury said.

"We can put the forms up in a database so they can edit then print."  She smiled.  "It'd save some work and we do it with some forms."  She wrote out an idea.  "We can also organize them because most of the agents come up to get paper copies of the ones they can't readily find."  She let him see it.

He looked it over, nodding.  "That would be handy.  What would we need to do that?"

"I'd say uploading them as files but I'm not absolutely certain.  I called down to computer services and they blew me off."  She smiled.  "I emailed that nice agent Benji that Clint and Dawn both worked with.  I don't understand the one he sent back because it's not in English."

"There's a translator," Hill said.  She went out to get into Joyce's email.  She had it flagged for later work so it was easy enough to find.  She translated it and brought it in.  "Right click on the little book icon and select 'move to english,' Joyce."  She handed it to her.

She smiled.  "That doesn't seem that hard.  Some may need to be put in two categories since there's a form for car chases and one for car chases with injuries of agents or civilians.  If they're good, we could probably even put in a search box.  A few of the forms need to be retitled though."

He nodded.  "I can see that saving a lot of headaches."

"It'll save a lot of sloppy handwriting," Hill said.  "Which I've had to redo."

"I gently take it back and poke them to get it done in a fashion that means the director can read it.  If it's not back in two days I go poke again," Joyce said with a smile.  "If it's not done in another day, I go wait in their office.  Dawn said it worked wonders on getting things done."

"It probably does.  I'd hate to be stared at over a few forms," Fury agreed.

Joyce called computer services.  "The director needs one of you in his office right now.  Or else he's going to fire your entire department and subcontract the computer work to someone at Stark.  Thank you," she finished with perky cheer and hung up.

Fury looked at the clock.  "It shouldn't take more than five minutes."  When ten got there, he called down there.  "Did you think my assistant was kidding?"  He hung up.  Still none of them.  He called personnel.  "Fire computer services, hire me ones that actually know their shit and are willing to do the job, and get me someone at Stark to come help with some computer work."  He hung up.  Joyce was texting Dawn, who said she'd send one over.

The geek from Stark's computer maintenance and tech division snorted when he saw what was needed.  "I can do that in two weeks, Director."

"That long?" he asked.

"It'll take me most of a weekend to do the inputting, maybe into Monday for the rest.  The other two weeks will be curing your buggy system that drives everyone nuts."  Fury smirked.  He knew that look.  "Not for hire, sir.  Sorry, have a juvie pot bust."  He smiled at Joyce, handing her the envelope.  "From your daughter."  He got copies of the forms from Joyce and a desk to work at off in the spare meeting room.  Most companies had done this years ago but it figured the government was behind the times. 

When Stark himself wanted to know what was wrong over there he told him it was a new database for forms and fixing his web of buggy, interconnected problems, and slack as shit system.  They barely had any storage space and what they did have was being taken up by their three hackers that were trying to hack JARVIS and Stark International, plus their porn collections.  Stark said he'd work on it from their end and he'd offer them a great deal on a few servers and the like so they had a *real* system in place instead of their weak one.  He sent that email to Joyce so she could talk to the big guy.  It wasn't his job.

Fury walked in a moment later.  "We have porn on our computers?"

He looked up at him.  "Sir, there's not a single agency in the US and computerized world that doesn't have a few bits of porn here and there.  Yours were using your faster connections for downloading porn."  He grinned.  "You know, they're suing people for that these days."

"They are?"

"Like the music people do when you illegally download their music?  Same stuff."

Fury walked off calling Legal.  "I'm told we have porn on our servers from our hackers on staff and that people are getting sued for illegally downloading it?"  He listened to the four suits from that.  "Hell no, they're doing it, they're responsible!"  Joyce was snickering.  "SHIELD only pays for porn if it's part of an op."  He hung up and went to take something for his new headache.  He called Stark to talk to him about computer things.  Which had to be translated by the geek they were borrowing.  The geek gave him ideas and Stark had better ones so they'd work it out and a payment plan.  He hoped.


Three weeks later, Joyce smiled at the people who had turned up for her staff meeting.  Most of the agents weren't here.  She looked around.  "First, we're here to announce we've fixed the computer system and had to update a lot of things."  A few agents groaned.  "We borrowed from Stark International and they set it up."  She smiled.  "For those that aren't here, they don't have passwords."  She looked around again, seeing the unhappy looks at the empty seats.  "Secondly, the new computer system has all the forms on it."  They stared. 

She called it up for them on the brand new projection system.  "This is where you input the old user name and password, where you'll get your new first password.  The people who rebuilt it put in a time code.  It will expire once a week.  You cannot use the same password for a month."  They took notes on that.  That was important.  "Your username should stay the same but if not, let me know.  Agent Hill and I can both input new user names."  She paused to let them make notes about who wasn't there. 

"Moving on, once you input your user name and password on the fairly bland page, you'll be brought to a choice of sections.  One's labeled 'paperwork'.  That is your forms database."  She called that up.  "They're in clearly and easily understood categories now.  If they merge two areas they're in both.  So the ones on car chases with injuries in both under vehicle forms and under accident/injury forms." 

She showed them how that worked.  "You click on the name of the form, and some have been renamed for easier interpretation.  It opens it in the program where you type the things in.  That way we don't have to nag you about your handwriting," she offered with a grin.  They mostly smiled back.  "Then you print."  She moved the mouse to show that.  "Hit that button."  They nodded, taking notes. 

She backed out.  "This second area is 'personnel' forms.  This is your day off forms, your forms for injuries that you have to file when you're shot on the job, ones to tell HR to change your withholding, your personnel file due to change of status, and the ones to tell Medical you need to change your identifying marks files due to new tattoos.  We'll be redoing those next by the way since so few got noted."

She pointed at the empty seats.  "Those ones will have to do the same thing."  She got into the third section.  "This is the miscellaneous forms section.  Things that don't really fit under either one.  This is your new weapons request forms, your report forms if you're in Research, the ones to request new training, or maintenance in your offices or desks."  She showed them.  "They all work the same way."  A few more smiled. 

She backed out and turned off the system.  "Also, the Director is handing out letters of having your asses spanked for the porn problem that led to us having over ten serious viruses and a few minor ones on the old system.  You can't do that now.  The major violators are missing this meeting today because they're packing their desks and then will have to undergo cavity searches to make sure they didn't bring home anything illegal."   A few of the agents moaned. 

She grinned.  "We know you all work hard and play hard but the director was not pleased that it had let the CIA get a backdoor into the old system.  The last point of this meeting is a few administrative changes.  Those of you who are not senior agents send your reports to them as normal.  They sent them to Agent Hill, who does her few meager sections, then they send them to me to make sure they're complete.  Which means from now on it will be me nagging you for incomplete work, not her.  Understood?" 

They nodded.  A few were slumped down.  She smiled.  "Those that have backlogged files, I would suggest you get to it today.  The Director is grumbling about that backlog being so high.  He said we've had files that haven't gotten done from over a year ago."  One of the guilty winced.  "He'd expect them to be done soon please."  She smiled.  "Any questions?"  No one said anything. 

"Then you can go nag all the people who think that I'm just a pretty face with a taser and slingshot about not having passwords.  They'll be getting reprimands for missing a mandatory staff meeting. For all they knew, it could have been on the next apocalypse battle.  Also, Agent Hill said that it is time for the quarterly evaluation and reading of the invasion policies and if you do not, we will be invaded.  Last time's was a fluke with planned attempts the next day."

One agent raised his hand.  "Where, on the chain of command for battles, do you fall, Mrs. Banner?"

She smiled.  "I don't.  I'm on the administrative side, not the field agent side.  I only handle the reports from all the field agents.  So if you see a need around the office or the hell carrier, I handle it.  For battle and field agent issues, Agent Hill still does.  You might say I'm his personal Metatron and she's his battle one."

He nodded with a grin for the movie reference.  "Can you please tell them to order more condoms in the infirmary?"  He got a few pens thrown at him.

She smiled.  "I ordered them two extra cases after I had to file reports for three different agents that listed different VD's.  You guys can't do your best work with Herpes."  She smiled.  He laughed and nodded.  "They are available.  They're probably in a closet because half the infirmary staff doesn't believe you need sex at all, even when it's part of the operation.  Fury's had it with them as well."  They nodded.  "Dismissed. I'll be at my desk after I get some tea."  They filed out, going to tell the people that missed they were in deep.  She did get some tea and went back to her desk.  She made a list of all agents that needed new passwords.  Fury was already copying and pasting the reprimand forms from it.  It did make things so much easier.


The next morning, Fury looked at his staff.  The entire staff.  "It's nice that I had to write up every single staff member but seven yesterday."  A few got looked at.  "No, Coulson got it for being late due to the twins puking on him then having to leave early."  He stared at them.  "First, Joyce is my mouthpiece.  If she calls a meeting it's because I wanted a damn meeting.  You're to attend if you're summoned.  If not, she has my permission to make sure you get there by whatever motherly means she has at her disposal.  Secondly," he said, glaring at a few. 

"The porn stops, people.  SHIELD only pays for porn, sex toys, whips, chains, collars, leashes, and pony saddles for *some* goddamn reason when it's related to a mission.  Unless it was your mission and you filed for those, those have now been charged back to you."  He gave them a smug look.  "That with the agents who were blatantly fucking up means that we now have room in the budget again."  A few slumped down.  "Third, we still have field missions.  I have *no* idea why we haven't had files on them.  I have no damn clue why I'm still waiting for ones from a year ago."

"I finally got mine done," one agent quipped.

"I had to look up what they were it'd been so long.  I can take a reasonable length of waiting.  I'm not that patient.  In the future, within a month."  A few agents looked ready to cry.  "If you're that busy and have to hit the field again immediately, we'll teach you how to remote log-in so you can do it while you're flying around," he said dryly.  "Coulson?"

"I only have two that are over that month deadline, sir, and both are waiting on the other agency's reports to be included.  The ones from the junior agents I have a week turnaround to nag them about missing forms so Joyce doesn't have to."

"Call them, nag them, have the war dogs bite them if you have to.  We have to justify our budget next month.  I want the *full* backlog of files cleared up.  Even if you work overtime and have to bring your kids here to help you type.  I'm told it's one reason why Callia Stark is so smart; her aunt taught her to type while babysitting."  He looked at his agents again.  "Any stupid questions?"

"A non stupid one, sir," one agent said.  "Who do we call when our computers go down?"

"We're hiring new ones next week.  For now we're subcontracting with two different types of computer geeks.  One at Stark for major issues, like a few of you never filing to have your computers upgraded.  The other is a Geek Squad like service for agencies.  By the way, who in the hell decided not to have their computers upgraded from the nineties?  Are you that desperate to cling to them?"

"They usually have programs that won't work on the new ones," Coulson said.  "I have an older laptop in my filing cabinet for that purpose, sir."

"Some of it was files we couldn't figure out how to copy off.  Things like film files of missions and former agents, sir," another one said.  "I can't copy them and I've tried."

"We can get them off for you and get you a new system.  Yours is being changed while you're here and I'll make sure they got those."  The agent nodded, looking calm.  "Coulson, your backup laptop is noted and reasonable.  If you, personally, want to buy one that old for the old programs go for it.  We won't for you but have fun on ebay off-duty."  He looked around again.  "Anything else?"  Nothing got said.  "Dismissed."  That one agent hurried off to talk to the geeks replacing his system so Fury didn't have to.  That was nice of him.  Coulson handed in his medical excuse to erase the reprimand.  "Flu?" he guessed.

He shook his head.  "They found some cat food in their system.  Apparently they wanted to see why the kitty liked it so much he cleaned his plate.  They said Talsa's gravy tasted better when asked."  Fury snorted, but smiled and shook his head.  "We were not amused."  He walked off.

Fury filed that medical excuse for him.  He couldn't wait to see how the twins did as agents.  Melissa might even take his seat some day.


One agent slinked off the elevator looking sheepish and handed Joyce a file.  "I cannot find my senior agent to give that to him, ma'am."

She looked it over.  "It still needs his forms and Maria's.  Who do you usually give them to?"

"Agent Coulson and he's in the field again."

She smiled.  "I'll have someone do them for you."  He nodded and left.  She emailed Phil to see who handled that and how.  Maria walked over to take it.  "Do they switch off?"

"Most of the time.  We really could use an agent who just did forms."  Fury shook his head from his office.  "Whoever's on the disabled list, sir?"

"That would drive them to get better faster," he quipped.  "See if Panderson can sit at his desk to fill in for those."  She called him.  He had been a lower level SHIELD agent for over a decade but he had never wanted to move up.  His last mission had resulted in a permanent back injury that kept him out of the field so they were trying to find him a new spot since he was so efficient and effective as a field agent.  That might just drive him insane but it would keep him on the payroll.

He grumbled but the senior agents all agreed that he could handle it for those who were not available.  That file got handed over first.  Joyce got him into various offices to steal files and then relocked them.  She also sent notices to those agents that they had someone to cover paperwork so they had stolen it from them.  Most of them sent back loud thanks and a few e-cards.  One grumbled that some of the stuff on his desk was for his kids' school.  She promised she'd help with that if he wanted her to.  She had helped Tara with theirs.

That solved a huge problem in the paperwork chain's backlog issue.


Tara smiled at Phil when he showed up for her 'family meeting'.  Maria was there too.  John rushed over to hug Maria, getting a cuddle back then Phil, who cuddled him.  Melissa crawled up into Maria's lap to cuddle her and waved at her father, who smiled and patted her on the foot.  Tara smiled.  "School."

Phil nodded.  "I know you've had it narrowed down to three."

"I've decided."  She put down the brochure.  "It is about six blocks away.  It is a fairly good school.  One that they'll have to make the most of to get into an ivy league college but good on all the various problems they might have.  It does have automatic admittance into their associated middle and high school.  Again, not a rich kid, automatically get you into Harvard school, but if you work hard you'll get there anyway and any other college would be thrilled with you."

Phil smiled.  "I like the looks of their academy.  I drive past there most days when I drive in."

Maria looked at her.  "How are we affording this?  I haven't even thought about setting aside money for school."  Apparently as soon as she got back to the office, she had to hit HR to see how they did that.

"Well, right now they're admitted for next year," Tara said.  "And I have a small one started though the agent credit union."

"I have a school fund set up for them," Phil said.  "It's with my investment person.  I'll go over it with him this week."  Tara grinned.  "It should at least get them to middle school."

"That school is only five grand a year.  The other one nearby that's any good is eleven."  Maria nearly grabbed her chest.  "The best in the city is two but it's across the bridges and we don't have a car so out of the question, plus it has a four year waiting list."  Phil shuddered.  "Or there's a few good religious schools but I don't really want to go there."

"I doubt a catholic school would do them good anyway," Phil said.  "I'm not, you're not, and Maria's nominally christian."

Tara nodded.  "Teachers at some of those can be snotty to those in alternative faiths.  With the way John shouts out 'thank the goddess' when his sister quits picking on him sometimes they might not like that."  She smiled at the kids.

"Okay, so the best option is this one?"

"Unless we can somehow come up with eleven thousand a year," she agreed, getting comfortable.  "We can figure out how to get them there in a while."

"You could use a car," Phil said.

"I haven't driven in nearly four years, Phil, and traffic in this city scares me."

He nodded.  "I can agree with that.  Maybe we can find another parent nearby who can take them for gas money or something."  He looked at his son, who beamed at him.  "Are you going to like school?"

"He hates preschool," Tara said when her son nodded.  "Absolutely loathes it because they make him quit hanging on his sister, they make him hang out with boys who don't like to read, they have toys he doesn't like."  Phil smiled.  "It's a decent preschool educationally but they're very separate genders for part of the day and he hates that.  He hates that they make him take a nap too."

"My sissy is mine," John said.  "They can blow me."

"Excuse you, what was that?" Phil asked. John pouted at him.  "Don't say that."  He nodded and snuggled in better.  "Have we talked to them?"

"Yes.  They said we should've broken that dependence on his sister earlier."

"We can talk to them," Maria said.

Tara smiled.  "They won't allow you to bring a sidearm into the center, Maria.  It's above the martial arts place that you sent me to for self defense."

"There has to be better placements," Phil said.

"That's where the school board sent us.  There's so many slots and they randomly assign them.  I had to protest when they sent me to a catholic run one across the city."  Phil grimaced.  "If you two want to talk to them, they've agreed we can hold a family meeting.  They do *not* like that you're a biological dad, Phil."

"Can't we home school them?"

"No.  The city said that they had to have preschool unless we plan on home schooling them for the next few years."

"None of us have the patience for that," Maria said.  "I'll see where the other SHIELD parents are going."

Tara shook her head.  "It's random assignment in the public preschools.  You're allowed one complaint unless it's a critical problem like they're going to hurt the kids.  Even on religious grounds because we had huge blow up over that because they tried to send them to one run by one of the hardline churches."

"I don't see why they're listed as public schools," Phil said.

"Open enrollment and they take city funds and bussing," Maria said.  "Some of them aren't what I'd want for my kids at all."  She looked at Melissa then called HR.  "It's Maria Hill.  We're having discussions about preschool for the twins.  She did, and they're not liking that they're twins."  She made notes and nodded.  "Thank you."  She hung up.  "These ones will take SHIELD agents' kids at a highly reduced cost."

"Two are highly religious and one was the one I threw a fit about," Tara said with a point.  "That one's nowhere near here.  Again, needing a car."  She looked at Maria, who grimaced.  "But thanks."  She smiled at her.  "The other alternative was a private preschool, which are mostly expensive, none near here within ten blocks, and really expensive.  Some are kinda snotty too."

"Are they going to kindergarten next year?" Phil asked.  She nodded.  "They won the cutoff lottery?"

"They'll be five six weeks before school starts."

"Hm."  He and Maria shared a look.  "What's closest in private preschools?"

"Ten blocks past that school is a private one.  It's probably full.  I didn't ask past the ten thousand a semester for tuition."  Phil grabbed his chest with a moan.  "Yeah, that was mine too."  Maria shuddered.  "The next nearest one is in the other direction and it's seven a year."

"Why are they so expensive?" Maria demanded.

"There's one in the city that's nearly thirty a year for pre-school, then fifty a year for grade school.  It's meant to get you into any school you want to go to."

Phil shook his head.  "Even if all of us made senior agent money we couldn't swing that."  Tara nodded.  "So...."

"We can go talk to them in an hour. They have open meeting spots today.  I made sure yesterday."

Phil and Maria shared a look then nodded.  "We can talk to them," he said.

Xander appeared, leaning over to kiss him on the forehead.  "Stark needs to start a school.  Callia could use it too."  He grinned at the twins.  "Want to come to the temple?"

"They can show us their favorite things," Maria said, looking at Tara.  She was happy to be included in this talk.  It meant that she still had chances to unscrew things between them.

"Why can't I wear a skirt?" Melissa asked.

"Because the school said you can't," Tara said.  "And I agree, you need to be in pants so you can get down and play.  So please go put some on."  She wiggled down to do that and ran into her room.  She caught John and handed him back to Phil.  "She doesn't need your fashion sense, son.  She can dress herself."

Phil hugged him.  "You don't need to help your sister dress."  He looked up at Xander, who smiled.  "Thanks."

"Welcome.  The one that wanted K-9 dogs?  Ares had four that washed out of their training and two of the winged ones are up too.  They're going up to highest bidder for them tomorrow through the guy that Ares usually uses.  If SHIELD wants one, let me know before then."  He waved at John and disappeared.

Tara grinned.  "That's good to know."

"Very."  Phil called that in to Joyce, who said she'd tell Fury when he was finished with his headache induced nap.  Apparently a case file had driven him to a migraine.  He put his phone up and looked at his son.  "Go change your shirt.  It's sloppy."  He ran off to do that when Melissa came back dressed better.  "Thank you, daughter.  Very nice.  Though, matching shoes?"

"Can't find them, Daddy."  She blew kisses and giggled, crawling up to cuddle her favorite mommy again.

Tara smiled at them.  "She's missed stalking you."

"I've missed her stalking me."  She hugged her.  "Where's the two younger ones?"


"Mommy, Craig 'wake," John called.  Danielle fussed.  "Her too now."

She sighed but got up to change them since John had been so helpful.  They got brought out and put into their stroller.  John took Phil's hand.  Maria took Melissa's, and they were off the preschool to make their feelings known.

Melissa walked in and saw the security guard.  She pulled her ID.  "No guns allowed in the building, ma'am," he said firmly.

"Unless you have a gun locker, tough shit.  I'm a federal agent.  Their father is a federal agent," she said quietly and calmly.  "Do you have appropriate lockers?"

"No, ma'am.  You can lock them in your car."

"We didn't drive," Phil said.  The man blinked at him.  He smirked slightly.  "Beyond that, our guns are lesser weapons to how we're trained.  That's why we're SHIELD agents."  He walked around the metal detector.  Tara passed the younger two to him then the stroller got hand-wanded.  She walked through it and had to be hand-wanded because she was wearing jewelry.  John and Melissa huffed but walked through it separately.  Then Maria walked around it.  The guard called that in.

"By regulations, no agent is supposed to be without their sidearms unless it is a direct problem," Maria told the huffy woman about to yell at them.  "We can get fired for that, ma'am.  So unless you have correct storage for sidearms, we are not allowed to surrender them."  She gaped.  Maria stared her down.  "Melissa, is this your teacher?" she asked with a smile.

"No, she's principal," she said with a smile for her.  "Teacher in his classroom."  She ran off.  "I get."

"Thank you," Tara said.  She smiled.  "I told them but that is their regulations.  I'm required to carry at least a knife and a can of pepper spray whenever I'm on SHIELD property working with them.  They have very stringent rules."  John smiled at her.  She smiled back.  "You have spelling words to go over later."

"We can do that," Phil promised.  He smiled.  "We've just found out that they're in preschool.  How are they doing?"

"You're her spouse?"

"No, I'm their father.  This is her spouse," he said with a point at Maria.  The principal glared.  "Tara wished children and so did I so I volunteered as she is like my sister.  I'm also the father one of the younger set."  He smiled. "The other they did some DNA work to make him her theirs.  Is that a problem for you?"

"No," she said stiffly.  "My office is this way.  Melissa, leave your teacher alone."

"He's coming," she huffed, glaring at her.  "Wanted to meet my other mommy."  She took Maria's hand with a grin.  "He thinks I'm neat."

"I think you are too so that's a great thing."  She smiled.  John took her other hand and she grinned at him.  "Do you need to get yours?"

"He not here now.  He leaves early for doctors most thursdays."  They walked into the office together and they both climbed into Maria's lap to cuddle her.  Phil smiled.  "I cuddle you again later, Daddy.  Mommy's been missing bedtimes."

"I know, and we're working on that," she promised, giving him a squeeze.  He grinned at her.  She did the same to Melissa, who cuddled in better.  The teacher came in and nodded at her.  "Graham Chapman."

"Agent Hill."  He smiled.  "It figured that the Mommy Maria was you."  He shook her hand.  "They're delightful twins."

"He does love to overprotect his sister," she said.

Phil shook his hand.  "Agent Phil Coulson, their father."

"I've heard of you, Agent Coulson.  My little brother runs the shelter on Fifth and he's said some nice things about you."  Phil smiled slightly and nodded.  "Tara, they're still struggling with a few things."

Tara nodded.  "That's the process of learning.  Though I don't like the gender segregation."  She sat down next to him.  "How did you know my wife?"

"She was working a case a few years back with my brother and I when we were both still agents."  Tara smiled and nodded.  He settled in to go over where the kids were in their learning.  They were ahead by a bit but hated math.

"Can we have Carrot help us?" Melissa asked Tara.

"Who is Carrot?" the headmistress demanded.  "If that's a stuffed friend, you know they're not allowed here, Melissa."

"Carrot is Callia Stark's pet rabbit," Phil said dryly.  "He's very much alive and likes to help her study as well.  We'll see if we can go over some of the math work with you later, kids."  They grinned.  "Then we'll see if you can go visit Callia and Carrot this weekend for a few hours."  John got up to cheer and dance around.  Tara pulled him over to hug him.  Phil took him to hold.  "You dance better than I do, son."  John beamed and hugged him.  He patted him on the back, hugging him.

"Carrot might know math since Joyce said Callia was doing algebra at the moment," Maria said.

"He might," Tara agreed.

"She's eight?" Mr. Chapman asked.

Tara smiled and nodded.  "Tony has her doing three classes at a time at her own pace, though they've introduced the topic of deadlines and promises to do things recently.  She's doing Algebra 1, Robotics 2, and Circuit Design 5 this time."

"She's always said she wanted to turn the older Iron Man suits into animal hospitals," Phil agreed.  "He's letting her figure out what she'd need for that because she asked me what mobile units for field agents needed to see if anything was similar to a mobile animal hospital."

"She's a brilliant little girl," Chapman said.

"She bonded well with the twins and she likes to read to them and help them learn things," Tara said with a smile.  "Which is why they both read so well."

"They do.  They're fully a few grades above their age level.  The only thing holding them back is math things.  That and Melissa has an upcoming section on food and household things."

"I would hope *both* children did," Tara said firmly.

"I have no idea when he's doing his nutrition lectures," Chapman said.  "Though we go into how to cook.  That's up to him."

Tara shook her head.  "No, they get the same education.  I'm sorry but Melissa may not be one of those who likes to cook, even though I do.  John loves to help in the kitchen.  He's already a champion cookie maker."

"Can Brother make some later?" Melissa asked with a grin.  "I could use cookies, Mommy."

"You sure can and we'll see if we have what we need."   She smoothed down her hair.  "We need to change your shampoo to something better."  She looked at the headmistress.  "Both children would get the same lessons, correct?  I don't like the stereotype that boys don't cook and girls do all the housework that I've seen a few times."

"We think traditional...."

Tara laughed.  "Traditionally, all chefs have been male."  The headmistress blinked.  "Females weren't cooks outside the family table in any time period.  All head chefs were male and females might have been minor cooks and maids but they didn't cook for restaurants, castles, or travelers at inns.  That along with the bias that girls didn't need to read so therefore men had to handle those things and the keys to the spice cabinet.  Personally, being thought of as frivolous and too female to read was one of the best things we've broken since women's liberations started."

"John's helped Talsa cook a few times at Xander's," Phil agreed.  "He loves to cook and Melissa loves to organize.  Xander was having her help shelve the library since someone had done it in Library of Congress order on him and he hates it."

Melissa grinned.  "Books go in alphabetical order by author sorted by subject."

"That's right, they do," Phil agreed with a smile.

The headmistress looked at him.  "She has access to a large library?"

"Alexander has a fairly large one at the temple."

"A religious library then," she said dryly.

"No, his is mostly science fiction and fantasy with a lot of paranormal and other problems.  Then again, he is Alexander."

"That is a myth, sir," she said firmly.  Phil let his godhood out and she swallowed.  "What are you?"

"God over heros."  He smiled.  "His mate actually."  He looked at the kids, drawing it back in.  "You two are coming with us Sunday, right?"  They grinned and nodded.  "Good.  You can use the smaller sections of the training areas to climb on.  You need the exercise."

"We make them do yoga," the headmistress said.

Phil looked at her.  "How do you do that since John still falls over due to an ear problem?"  She gasped.  "We've had problems for years with his left ear."

"He gets botox shots in it to help with the vertigo," Tara said, patting him on the arm.  "It's helped a lot.  Though I like yoga, I'd rather they had more playing energetically time.  They need to run around again."

"If we could get the old building rehabbed, we could move back so they could have the gym," Maria said.  "Phil, can you ask Stark?"

"I will."  He looked at his son, who grinned at him.  He smirked back.  "You and your sister can chase Thor's goats around for a few hours.  They've missed you like the war dogs have."  John beamed and nodded.  "You're a good boy."

"Most of the time," Tara said.  "He got his first swat the other day for trying to lunge in the parking lot to pet a pretty car that was moving."  She sighed, looking at him.  "He did not want to listen."

"He was bad," Melissa agreed.  "Not touch moving cars," she said at her brother's pout.  "You make mommy sad and she'll have to cry."  He shuddered and whimpered some.

Tara looked at her.  "That's my job.  Quit making your brother feel bad."

"Yes, Mommy."

"You physically punish?" the headmistress asked.

"For life threatening problems, yes.  He was going to get hit by a car.  That deserves more than a time out and more than a grounding.  The same as he doesn't play with the guns because he knows better.  If he tried to, he'd get a single one for that.  I'm *well* aware of the difference between abuse and a single swat on the butt for doing something that could get him killed."

"We agreed, that's a reasonable time for that," Phil said simply.  He looked at his son.  "You're not going to do that again, right?"  He shook his head.  "Good."  He smiled at the headmistress.  "He's been stood in the corner many times in his life.  He's had a lot of groundings too.  Both of them have.  We have firm fencelines of expected behavior and whenever they try to go through them they're gently punished and corrected.  However, my son has little sense at times.  Petting a moving car would be dangerous and too big for grounding or anything else like that."

"It's pretty much adopted pack wide," Tara agreed.  "Though I've seen Xander kick one of the trainees in the butt for doing something stupid."

"The SHIELD trainees are adults and should know better by then," Phil said dryly.  "Some don't."  He smiled at Maria.  "Fury told one the other day he was going to shoot him for being an incompetent moron that had made a problem worse."

"Was he the one that nagged the pregnant agent trying to hide her morning sickness into crying?  Or the one that tried to jump on a retreating car and landed on top of an injured civilian because he thought he was in an action movie?"

"Same trainee."

"Ah.  Well, yes, he should probably be put out of my misery too then."  Phil smirked.  "He's passing?"

"He's second highest in the class."

"Then perhaps I'll wing him in the leg."

"I have the feeling he'll have the same sort of luck that Barton used to in the field.  He just needs common sense."

"Then give him a mentor so Barton can beat common sense into him before he gets more agents killed."

Melissa poked him.  "Common sense isn't a virus you can get a shot to get.  Mommy said so when she told Brother he needed some."

"I did, yes," Tara agreed dryly.  "That would have been after the car thing."

"Even if there was, most people who needed it would still complain about it being a vaccine," Phil quipped.  Tara laughed and nodded.

"I don't think that the children are fitting in well here," the headmistress said.

Tara looked at her.  "They do well enough.  I have very few complaints outside of the gender stereotyping.  The kids have made decent enough friends."

"Your religious preference really isn't acceptable to the other parents.  A few have complained that they call on the goddess."

"And yet, your handbook of rules states that you do not discriminate on the basis of religion," Tara said bluntly, staring at her.

"They could probably pass the tests now," she said stiffly.

"They can't pass the math part and John's ear held him back on the physical at the time."

"I still think a less structured placement would work for them."

"Then please write the school board since they sent them here," Tara said dryly.  "They said you were a good school.  I think some of your teachers are good.  Though I do have problems with my son's teacher because of his 'all boys are macho' BS attitude."

"Some kids are artistic," Phil agreed.

"Yes, but we don't encourage gay behavior here," the headmistress said.

"There's many artists that aren't gay," Phil said dryly.  "Though that stereotype could have just put you in a lawsuit."  She flinched.  He gave her his most evil smirk.  "That may depend on if the city's school board does something to you or not."

Mr. Chapman cleared his throat.  "Please don't, Agent Coulson.  There's already over five hundred too few preschool spots in the city.  It's forcing the private ones to admit more kids."

"Which yours will now be," the headmistress said.  "You have a great day."

Tara smirked back.  "You as well.  Though, we really are going to have to talk to the other parents about the Nazi insignia behind your desk."  She looked then gaped at Tara.  She smiled.  "I was a history major in college."  She stood up.  "C'mon, guys, let's go.  We need to see the school board."  She walked the stroller out.  "Mr. Chapman, you've been excellent to my children, thank you."  She shook his hand with a smile.  "I hope they can turn this into a really good preschool."

Maria and Phil did the same thing and walked out together.  The placement board over preschools wasn't happy to see them but they only sighed at the complaints.  There weren't any open placement spots for non-paid preschool left.  They did take the complaints, including the one that the headmistress had complained about a single swat for trying to run at a moving car by her son.  They said they'd investigate and gave them ideas of where to look at private preschools.  A lot of parents were switching at the moment due to problems with the school they were sent to.


Phil and Maria walked papers into Fury's office.  "We need time off to visit preschools," he said.

"That bad?" Fury asked, signing off on them and handing them back.

"The headmistress complained that we wanted John to learn how to cook if his sister was," Maria said.  "She complained that Tara had to spank him once for something dangerous.  Called a social worker on her and when it got explained and Phil showed her what had happened during the meeting she closed the file and put in a complaint against her because this wasn't the first time she'd used social services as a punishment for parents that weren't her sort."

"She decided John was gay because he's a bit artistic, no matter how many times he's flirted with Pepper and other women," Phil added.

Fury shook his head.  "The city's a mess for schooling."  They nodded.  "Good luck."

"Thank you, sir."  They left to take the forms to HR, then head home to talk about school funds and how to handle it.  Phil popped in on Stark to ask him for his list.  "Where did you look at for Callia's education?"

"Honestly, I didn't," he said, turning around to look at him.  "She's too vulnerable with her health issues, plus the whole kidnaping possibility.  I wasn't planning on letting her out until high school and that might not be for a while even though she's nearly there.  Why?  The kids need a list?"

"For preschool.  Tara has them accepted into a good day school next year.  This preschool thing was a problem since she went through the public system.  They were trying to teach John lessons like he's some macho cowboy wannabe.  The headmistress said he was going to be gay."

Tony snickered.  "Your son flirts with every single woman he can find pretty enough, which is most of them if they have breasts.  He's worse at it than Chris is."

"He is," he agreed.  "We have no idea where to send them.  They had gender segregation there."

Tony shook his head.  "It won't turn your daughter any less tough."

"They were about to teach the girls how to cook."

"Ah.  Well, your daughter hates the kitchen so I doubt that would've went over well."

"Which might've gotten her held back," he said dryly.  "I asked.  They said they could've held her back for not liking to do girly things."

"Great!" he said dryly.  "Hell no that wouldn't hold water.  You'd sue."

"I would.  Tara's threatening the last preschool.  Does Pepper have a list?"  He shook his head.  "I guess we'll get the handbook out.  Thanks, Stark."  He left, going back there.  "They didn't even consider it."

"They'd have to have a very secure school to even be on the radar for Stark's kids," Maria said.  "Then have a great, open educational system.  I can agree with the security needs."

"Which automatically adds at least five grand to the tuition," Tara said.  She looked at the rankings she had saved out of the papers and looked at a few.  "There's almost nothing nearby that's not crap."

They settled in to go over it.  Phil sent an email to Stark about the Avengers building.  He got back 'the mayor won't approve of it because it'll draw problems to that neighborhood'.  He showed it to Tara, who rolled her eyes.

"We can move," Tara offered.  "This area has better schools.  It's a bit closer to their future school but on the other side."

Xander appeared with a carpet bag, pouring it out.  "Melissa, can you please sort those for me?"  She grinned and settled in to do that with her brother.  The younger set cooed and cheered them on.  He flopped down.  "We can sell some of it to pay for education stuff."  Phil smiled at him.  Xander bumped shoulders with him.  "It's important to their futures."

"Thank you," Tara said with a smile.  "We'll find some way to pay you back, Xander."

He stared at her.  "You are still like my sister and they are my stepchildren," he said firmly.  "Don't even think about it unless you win the lottery."  She smiled and ducked her head.  Maria smiled too.  He looked and pointed.  "I know someone who went there.  One of the agents was complaining about it having fallen down because his brother wasn't doing near as much homework as he used to.  Called it a fairy hippy place now."

"I wouldn't mind if they were," Tara admitted.  "As long as they had a decent education system."  Xander shrugged, he hadn't asked.  "That's fine.  We can look there."  She added that to her list.  They had a preschool option.   The short list was  pretty long but they had a few days to narrow it down.


Xander walked the bag of stuff that Phil had decided was hideously ugly into the demonic pawn shop.  He grinned.  The owner moaned.  "Found it when I let out Nyama."  He put the bag on the counter.  "Phil's twins need a school fund."

"It came from a dragon's hoard?" he demanded.

"Yeah.  I claimed the bounty on myself.  Then again, I could've let her out anytime since I'm the one that talked her into going in there."

"That was some god, Harris."  Xander let out his radiance and the pawn shop owner blinked a few times.  "What the hell ate you?  I clearly lost my bet on it being a vampire."

Xander laughed.  "You didn't realize I'm also Alexander, son of Loki?  God Protectorate of Humanity?"  The demon whined.  He laughed.  "Yeah.  But anyway," he said, pulling it back in.  "Phil's twins need a school fund.  Their public preschool hated them and kicked them out for parents who had *ideas* and *thinking*."

"I've seen a few of those.  Some of the public schools here in the city might as well be sewers."  He looked in the bag then at him.  "Why these?"

"Phil didn't like them."  He held up two things from his pocket.  "Melissa thought they weren't pretty enough for her mommy Tara."

He took them to look over.  "Better.  The rest I can give you gold salvage weight."  Xander pulled out something to hold up.  "That's a magical artifact.  That'll have to go to auction."  Xander created a portal and held up the artifact.  They took it to look over and offered it to their client.  Who snatched it up and paid them in gold bars, which Xander handed to the pawn shop demon after closing the portal.  "Okay, that works too."  He gave him weight value on those.  It'd bankrupt him but the gold bars were precious and would bring huge profits when he sold them. 

Xander walked out happier and he called someone he knew on the west coast.  "Harris is a God?" he demanded quietly, glancing around.  "Yeah, just saw him!  Something about son of Loki.... protector of humanity....  Oh, shit, that's him?" he demanded, standing up.  "I never connected those two.  So he's Coulson's mate.  Huh.  Interesting.  Though the 'son of Loki' part seems to fit him very well with as much chaos as he's caused.  By the way, he just sold a magical artifact for gold bars.  Yup, so I have five available."  He hung up and thumped his fin on the table a few times.  It was good luck to thump his fin.  Even when it did give him watery eyes and the sniffles.


Phil found a preschool that wasn't on the list.  It was well rated.  It was creepy looking.  It was non-religious.  It was very creepy looking.  It had high scores, wouldn't mind John clinging to his sister or calling out for the Goddess, but it was fairly creepy looking.  He called Tara and Maria to join him.  They got there with the twins, Dawn was off today to babysit, and stared at the school.

"I want to start humming a tv theme song," Tara said.  Phil handed over the information.  "Okay, still...."

He looked at her.  "I pre-interviewed and they were pleasant.  Even if it does look like a very old gothic castle in miniature."

John blinked then at his sister.  "Ooh?"

She nodded.  "Ooh."  They hurried up the stairs, making their parents chase them.  The growling thing overtop of the doorway got a smile and a wave.  "Hi!" she chirped.  "Not a war puppy?"

It stared down at them then at the humans.  "This is mostly a school for demons, Humans."

Tara smiled.  "I'm Tara Maclay."

"Enter and be recognized then.  You have status and needs."  They walked in together.  Phil gave him a pointed look.  "I would never talk to a god.  It is above my rank."

"That's fine.  They're my twins."  He smiled as he walked inside.  "Headmistress."

"Agent Coulson."  She smiled at the twins hugging her.  "You two are adorable."

"They're my twins with Tara before I got appointed."

She nodded.  "I've heard rumors of the twins within the community."

"There's not a prophecy, right?" Tara asked.

"No, dear.  Not in the least."  She walked them back to her office to talk to the parents.  They were delightfully honest and the kids were already cheering.  It was relatively close to the house too so they could easily get there every morning.  It was a good hike, about ten blocks, but they could do that.  The kids would get used to it.  Tara didn't care that it was mostly demons and half demons, plus a few other human magic users.  The kids were open minded and having funny looking friends was great to them. 

They even had a daycare for the younger set if she wanted and needed to drop them off for a day of doing important witch things.  Maria was hesitant but the kids went to visit the classrooms and they adored the kids in there.  The teachers were a breed of nanny demon who could block magic if necessary.  They would be accepted by their next school.  Tuition was cheap. 

This was their preschool.

Even if it was a bit creepy looking.


Dawn opened up the fancy looking envelope, expecting an invitation.  The one she saw was not what she was expecting though.  She sent a cautious thought at Natasha since she wasn't sure if she was busy or not.  No, she was busy.  Clint's mind was blank because he was focused on a target.  She walked it in to talk to Pepper.  Who blinked at it then at her.  "That was my feeling but they're busy right now."

"The 'we'll protect your identity' part is nice," Pepper decided.  "Though it's a bit weird."

"I suggested masks somehow."  She shrugged when Pepper stared at her.  "I was pregnant."

"Oh, then.  Well...."  She sighed.  "Stark probably wouldn't if he couldn't be told to be himself."

"Steve would blush himself to death," Dawn agreed.

"Over?" Steve asked from the doorway.  Dawn handed over the invitation.  He stared at it.  "We're not really that sort of dream team," he said dryly.

She smiled back.  "Totally without showing who you are."

He nodded.  "Some of them might need the extra cash."  He handed it back.  "Ask Bucky and Clint?"


"Bucky's not."

"Sure."  She gathered a few things she needed to deliver over there anyway and headed to the other tower through the walkway.  There were always reporters outside these days.  She swiped her card to get into the Avengers area and walked in.  Bucky was sitting staring at his hands.  She dropped the card printed side down on his hands.  He gave her a dirty look but she had walked off to deliver things to the various businesses.  They had to redo leases soon.

Bucky flipped the card over and burst out laughing.  "That's not really what I'd expect from Stark's assistant," he said, shaking his head.  Steve walked in.  "Did you see this?"

"Yeah.  I told her to ask you.  They've done an illicit and illegal one with some of us.  I wasn't in that one."

"You never really were a naked kid," Bucky said dryly.

"True."  He grinned.  "They said they'd protect your identity."

"I'd be rather noticeable with my arm, Steve."

He shrugged.  "Maybe long gloves?"

"Women wear those."

"No, as I accidentally found out, there's guys that do for some kinky things.  I really need to quit googling things that I'm wondering about and just ask."  He sat down next to him.  "It'd be a bit of pocket change."

"Yeah, maybe."  He looked at it then at his buddy.  His best friend since childhood.  Who had just suggested he get naked and pose for drooling women.  "I have way too many scars."

"There's ways to cover those.  Dawn does with some makeup stuff.  She can even do bruises."

Dawn walked back in with a bloody nose, heading for the changing area to get some towels.  "It's nothing," she said at the dual stares when she came out.

"The black eye too?" Steve quipped.

She nodded.  "Yup."  She walked off.

Tony walked past her on the walkway.  "Security threw out the woman who hit you because you had Natasha and she didn't."

"Thanks," she quipped.  "They want to do the heros calendar with masks."

"Uh-huh.  Not my thing."  He walked in there.  "Someone wanted Natasha, she was jealous that Dawn had her."

"Nothing poisoned, right?" Bucky asked.

"No, nothing poisoned.  Just a pissed off teenage girl who thinks she's *special*."

"I've seen some of those on tv," Bucky complained.  "Steve was right, we lost a few of them in the war."

Steve nodded.  "They'll expect Callia to party like her father used to."

Tony nodded.  "And Grandfather used to and great-grandfather used to," he said dryly, putting his hands in his pockets.  JARVIS cleared his throat.  "What's wrong?"

"Your daughter was doing her plant science lesson of taking pictures of various plants and their bugs in the atrium when that same delusional young woman stomped up to her.  She complained that Callia would never have a good social position and never get a good boyfriend because of it.  Your daughter very wisely said that if that's all that mattered in her life, she was pathetic because Callia had a career ahead of her doing great things like you have, sir. "  He cleared his throat again.

"Who hit who?" Steve sighed.

"The older lady tried to slap the young miss.  Who promptly hit her back and sent her into a cactus.  We may need some gardeners over there, should I call in the regular ones, sir?"

"Please," Tony said, heading down there with Steve, and Bucky following looking amused.  He looked at his daughter.  Then at the young woman who was sobbing.  "Didn't I have her thrown out for trying to start a fight with Dawn?"

The security team all nodded.  "She snuck back, sir."

"She's still a stupid bitch because all she cares about is a *boyfriend* and status," Callia said with a hand wave.  "If that's all that's important to you than you might as well already be dead.  Because, yuck, grody, all that nonsense.  Some of us have shit we have to do to quote my aunt, and you're in the way."  She stared at her.  "I'll be thinking of you when I get my first scientific award in a few years, sweetheart.  Maybe by then you'll have pushed out a trophy heir you lose in the custody dispute due to your drug habit."  Steve covered her mouth.  "Hey!"

Tony stared at her.  "Having a bad day, dear?"

"Yes," she mumbled behind the hand.  "Dumb bitch tried to hit me and ruined my homework.  I'll have to do it all over again, Daddy."

"I think it'll be okay."  He looked at it.  "Steve can show you how to erase that line from the pencil."  Steve looked and nodded, sitting down with her to go over her drawing, and lack of skills for it.  He could teach her art class.  She needed one anyway.  Tony looked at the young woman.  "Why are you so concerned about all that when you wanted Agent Romanoff earlier?"  The guards snickered.  "Then again, she'd never give you society status.  She hates society events."

Dawn walked over looking perky.  "Okay."  She clapped her hands, making Callia flinch.  "You, young lady, move to the other area so they can get in here to clean it up."  She nodded, taking Steve and Bucky with her.  "Agent Barnes, please make sure my niece is in super special shape."  He nodded.  Dawn hauled the crying young thing up.  "Oh, please!" she said sarcastically.  "I've had worse than that and had Natasha tell me to suck it up.  You're not woman enough for her.  You never will be woman enough for her." 

She stared at her.  "And if this is like your livejournal page stated and a planned suicide by stupidity, you've already lost.  We'd only kill you if we needed to."  She handed her to the security team.  "She gets arrested.  JARVIS printed that page at the security desk, guys."  They nodded, walking her off.  She looked at the mess.  "Isn't that a rare cactus?"

"I know nothing about that," Tony said.  "I let people tell me what they are and how good they're doing."  He looked at her.  "She was?"  Dawn called up the girl's livejournal page and he read it, grimacing.  "I agree with my daughter.  She's a dumb bitch that needs help."  He handed it back.  The gardeners who took care of the atrium came in and moaned.  "Tried to hit my daughter so Callia punched her.  Sorry, people."

"We can probably save the cactus and the nightshade next to it, sir."  They got out of the way.

Tony walked over to talk to the officers responding about her getting help and yes his daughter was going to press charges.  The young woman tried to get free but Tony grabbed her by the hair when she reached for an officer's gun and handed her back.  "We're not going to do it for you.  If you want to die that much, do it yourself."  He walked off.   "We're also going to be filing for compensation for the destruction of the garden area."

"That's not our job, sir," one officer said with a smile.  "You have lawyers for that probably."  He walked the young woman off.  She'd have to spend a few minutes in the ER getting some cactus spines removed from her back but that was fine too. Gave them a break from patrol and let them have lunch while they did the reports.  The DA was not going to be happy about this.


Clint and Natasha got called in for their updated personal identifying marks file update.  They both showed up together.  The doctors in there smiled.  "Agent Romanoff, there's a female nurse who'll be in with us so you don't have to feel uncomfortable."

"Outside of one mole on my back, I don't really have any.  That has not changed."

"We had to scrap the old one and start over completely.  It was simpler than updating it would be."  Clint snickered.  "Agent Barton, I know you have some tattoos."  He nodded.  "Any present bruising we'll have to disclude on either of you?"  They shook their heads.  "Excellent."

"How do we know these won't be hacked for another calendar?" Clint asked.

"We now have a lot better security.  When they upgraded all the systems, ours got the standard and then some additional security work."  The doctor smiled.  "We heard that they had done that to you two.  We're sorry."

Clint shrugged, taking off his shirt.  "It happens when they stalk you that way."  The nurse handed over the camera.  He took a full chest shot then a picture of each tattoo.  "I've got one on my hip and one noticeable scar on my thigh."  He dropped his pants, smirking at Natasha's open stare.  "Not like you haven't played with them."

"Dawn was thinking about coloring that one on your thigh in with a permanent marker.  She said it's faded."

"It is."  He let them do a lower body shot and then take a picture of those two things.  Another scar got a picture.

"There we go, Agent Barton.  Agent Romanoff?"  She stripped off her shirt and undid her bra strap.  "Thank you."  He took the pictures quickly.  "No other large scars?"

She considered it.  "I'm in no mood to pose lewdly so you can get the one on my inner thigh."  The doctor blushed and nodded, making note that she had one.  Clint took the camera and her into the bathroom to get a shot of it.  And to tease her a bit.  When he came out a few minutes later the nurse was blushing since Natasha had moaned.  Natasha came out doing back up her shirt.  "Thank you, Agent Barton."

"Welcome, Agent Romanoff," he said with an evil smirk.  "You remember it's your turn to make dinner, right?"

"I know.  I'm hoping I can trade with Dawn."  She looked at the staff.  "Anything else?"

"No, ma'am," the doctor said with a smile.  "Unless you need travel vaccinations?"

"No, I got those recently.  Thank you anyway."  They walked out together.  "Are you going to get those recolored?"

"Maybe.  Not sure yet."  They passed by Coulson.  "They're making it painless."

"As long as this one doesn't send me to Psych," he said dryly.  He walked in.  "We'll need to draw a curtain.  I'll have to get fairly explicitly naked as one's on my hip."

"Of course.  Do you want a second person in here for your modesty and protection, Agent Coulson?"

"No, I know you won't pounce."  He stripped carefully out of his suit down to his boxers.  He let him do the upper chest one.

"That bruise?"

"My mate put it there.  It's permanent."

"A bruise?"

"A marking."

"That's wonderful.  I'm told he's Asgardian and that's probably something that warriors do so they can find their mate even in the middle of a battle."  Phil smirked slightly.  "I heard about the last one, Agent Coulson.  I don't care what you two get up to unless I have to treat whip or handcuff marks."

"No, that is not our style."  He stepped out of his boxers, letting him get the one on his hip and the few other scars.  Including the long one down his cock.

"Surgery?" he guessed.

"Knife fight in a bar with a target."

"Ow."  Phil nodded.  "Any others on your backside?"  Phil turned, letting him get the scars back there.  "All done, Agent Coulson.  Get redressed.  I'll need to upload these and ask if you need any travel vaccines or anything."

"I'm not sure if they'd work on me," he admitted.  "They used to but my status has ...changed."  He slid back into his undershirt and boxers then all the way up from there until he was doing up his tie.  He looked at the staring doctor.  "They made me immortal so my mate would not be left alone.  They did that before they told us we were getting married."

"That's really weird.  I didn't think Gods would go for arranged marriages.  Huh."  He added that to his file.  "We can take some blood to see if they'll actively harm you."  Phil let him do that from his wrist.  "I'll let you know what I find out.  Any other needs?"

"Not at the moment.  Thank you.  Oh, whatever the Director says about the one on his thigh, it was from a war dog puppy that mistook him as someone hostile."  He left, walking off happier.

"I'll ask him about that when I do his."  He uploaded those files and made sure they were all locked down before sending out the next batch of appointments.  He decided to add the director into that one so he wouldn't forget that.  Fury came in first, already grimacing.  "It's not a long process, Director.  Simply a few photos."  He pulled the curtain.  "I can call in a male nurse if you want a bit of security."

"I'd beat your ass if you tried to jump me," Fury assured him dryly.  He took off his leather jacket and then his shirt, letting him take a picture of his two tattoos.  The scars got more looked at and a bit of better lighting since some of them were now faint.  Fury groaned but undid his pants so they could fall.

"Agent Coulson said that was the result of a war dog?" he asked, taking a picture of it.

"I should've skinned that mutt but it was a bad day," he said sarcastically.  "Done?"

"Yup," he said, handing the camera to his nurse so she could upload them.  "Any vaccinations needed, Director?  They've updated the travel ones."

"No.  Thankfully no one asks me for any."

"You've had your Hepatitis ones?"

"There is?"  The doctor nodded, looking at the medical records.  He made a list and Fury nearly got sick.  "Why so many?"

"This one is to prevent shingles, which comes in people who have had chicken pox.  There's a whooping cough epidemic in a few areas so they're recommended.  By agency policy you have to have these," he said with a point.  "We can do them next week."

"I'll try," he said dryly, walking off once he had his clothes back on.  He passed by Joyce.  "Your turn?"

"Probably."  She walked in and smiled at the doctor.  "I don't know why I need one."

"In case something tragic happens and they bomb the building," the nurse said, smiling at her.  "I know you have a few marks, Joyce."

"Yes, but thankfully the surgical scars are hidden under my hair."  The doctor looked at her.  "I had two bouts of brain cancer."

"Oh, dear.  How long have you been in remission?"

"Three years now," she said with a smile.  "Full remission.  Still doing checks though."

"That's fine.  I can have a nurse sit in with us, Mrs. Banner."

"Fine.  If you must."  The curtain was closed and she took off her blouse, letting them take pictures of the little stars to denote where radiation was focused on her neck and the scars on her arms from the PIC line and other IV's.  He looked at her hair, taking a picture of one scar that could be seen.  She shivered when he touched it.  "Still a bit sensitive."

"I understand that fully."  He handed the camera off.  "I'm sure your regular doctor is making sure your vaccines are up to date?"  She nodded, putting back on her shirt.  "Any other scars to note?"

"I have that one on my lower back."

"I got that one.  Claw?"  Joyce nodded with a grimace.  "Have your doctor call us if he's having problems scheduling your scans and we'll see if we can work you in here."  He patted her on the hand.  "Tell your spouse he has to get one as well.  He's been avoiding it for two days."  She texted him and got him up there.  She smiled and kissed him on the cheek.  "Dr. Banner."

"Must I?"

"Yes.  In case something tragic happens so we can identify you.  Unfortunately it's a risk, even with your special other half protecting you."

"Fine."  He took off his shirt.  "I don't have many scars."  Joyce ran a hand over his bicep, making him shiver and smile at her.  "You're being distracting."

"I am."  She grinned.  "You're making dinner."

"I'll order.  Thai?"

"Spaghetti and you cook tomorrow night?"

He smiled.  "I can make something less spicy for you, Joyce."  She kissed him then walked off.  The doctor had gotten all his pictures done while he was distracted.  "That went better than my last exam."

The doctor smiled.  "I do need to ask if you need any vaccines."

"We have no idea if they'd work, much less if they'd cause harm.  I'll look into that this week sometime."  He put back on his shirt.  "Are we done?"

"We are, Dr. Banner.  Thank you and have a good dinner with her.  She's a charming woman."  Bruce smirked as he walked out.  The Dr. looked at his nurse.  "How many do we have left?"

"We've done all the ones in the building and most of the ones that roam.  We have to do the other Avengers members.  We have to do Summers.  We have to do the auxiliary offices."

"Call the other Avengers in to do theirs today or tomorrow."  She sent those notices out.  "Don't forget Summers.  She's in the database files."  She nodded, adding her.


Dawn looked at her email.  "Pepper, SHIELD's doing the updated identifying marks files."

"You're both adjunct members.  No," Pepper said.  "It's not safe."

Dawn wrote that back and then to her mother to tell her Pepper said they couldn't.  It was against Stark policy.  Then she got back to work.  Pepper's phone rang and Dawn snickered since that was the SHIELD ringtone.

Pepper huffed.  "He said that you both have to do it."

"I can refuse.  I'm not paid by SHIELD," Dawn said, looking back at her.

"It's got a good reason.  Do you have any identifying scars?"

"Three."  She smiled.  "I'm wondering if they caught the tattoo that Clint has hidden."  She sent a text at Tony to tell him.

"Hell.  No," her phone said a minute later.  "We are not paid by SHIELD.  We are not members of SHIELD.  SHIELD has no need to see my scars, my chest, or anything else.  But I'll tell Cap and Bucky."  He hung up.

Dawn smiled and sent that back to her mother.  She did say she could tell them she had three identifying marks.  One on her shoulder, one on her inner thigh and the one on her neck.  Also that it should be pretty obvious who Stark was with the hole in his chest that glowed from the energy creation unit in it.  She got back to work.

Steve walked past her desk.  "Director Fury said...." he started.

She smiled.  "They don't pay me, Captain Rogers.  They never have."  He grimaced.  "Nor do they need to see my inner thigh.  Thanks though."  She grinned.  "I told them where they were so they could input them, that should be enough.  They also aren't getting dental records, which they've asked for, or anything else.  Even with the newly upgraded security there's morons out there who want my files more than anyone else's."

"Good point I guess.  Let me take Bucky over there.  Clint and Natasha?"

"Did theirs."

"Thanks.  Stark?"

"He said no.  Though it should be obvious thanks to his chest."  Steve nodded that was true, taking Bucky with him.  She smiled and sent that to Stark, who sent back a 'thank you' and 'come make me coffee please'.  "Pepper, Stark wants coffee."

"Make him eat too."

"I think he made lunch for a change."  She went down there to do that for him.  "Pepper said to make sure you've eaten in the last six hours."

He waved his fork since he was eating a salad.  "You hid my coffee grounds on me."

"No I didn't."  She looked in the container.  "You're out.  You had half a container last night."

He looked over.  "Really?"  She nodded, showing him.  "JARVIS, who stole my coffee?"  He ate a bite of his salad.

"Your daughter.  She was using them to teach herself how to distill things."

"I'll get you some tonight."  She went up to get into her personal stash, bringing it down to make him some.  He grinned.  "Clint's coffee stash."

"I'll thank him later."  She poured him the first cup and started a second one then left him to eat.   He had clearly missed breakfast.  "Tell her I want to know what she's doing, JARVIS."

"I already have, sir.  She's cleaning up after the dog, who threw up a minute ago."


"I believe he ate some grass the last time he went out.  She'll be down in a minute."

"That's fine."  He put down his salad to sip his coffee.  She ran in a few minutes later and jumped up into his lap to hug him.  She moaned and grabbed his salad to inhale.  "You have to not follow me in that bad habit," he told her.  She looked up at him while she chewed.  "If you have to set an alarm so you remember to eat, so be it.  You're still growing and you could end up stunted or something."

"I'll set an alarm, Daddy.  Every five hours?"  She finished his salad and drank the dressing from the bowl.

He put her on her feet.  "We'll hit the caf."  He took her down there to talk to her about what she had been doing all day.  He hadn't paid attention to her yet today.  Liz ran in squealing and headed right for the cookie tray.  "Liz?"  He waved his cookie.  She ran over to pounce him and steal it with a grin then ran off.  "Does your mother know you're wandering?"

"Probably not," Callia admitted.  "JARVIS, does Beya have Chris?"

"Andrew has Chris.  They lost Liz for a few minutes but Jonathan just intercepted her," the AI said dryly.

"Great," Tony agreed.  They went back to going over what she was doing.  Distilling was coven work and the rest was not making her happy but she was trudging through it at an acceptable rate.

Maria Hill walked in and sighed.  "Mr. Stark, even as an unpaid adjunct member, we have to have the identifying marks file or you won't be allowed back in the building."

"Sure, I can not show up," he said with a smile.  "No way in hell.  I have marks that I don't want anyone to see.  I don't want anyone taking a picture of the arc reactor, and there's been plenty noted on Dawn as well.  So no."   He smiled.  "Nicky can blow me."

"Daddy, you told me saying that was rude," Callia said.

"Yeah, it is."  He grinned and nibbled on a cookie, looking at Maria.  "Anything else, Agent Hill?"

"Director Fury said I was to use force or coercion if I had to."

"You can try if you want.  My daughter will applaud when I kick you around."  He ate another bite of cookie.

Dawn walked in with Clint.  "No!  Hell no!  He doesn't need to know and the other two I keep hidden so not everyone knows they're there.  They're in my file here and if it was that critical to identifying my dead body they can call the Stark infirmary and get it."  She got some juice and took a kiss, smiling at him.  "Did it capture your hidden one?"  She strolled off.  "Beyond that, I still have a few faintly showing in henna from the last rite I had to help with.  They're not staying."

Clint shrugged at his senior agent and grinned.  "Nope.  Sorry."  He looked at Callia.  "You've lost weight."

"I noticed," Tony said.  "Got it handled, Barton."

"Okay.  Want me to find her an alarm?"

"She has a program on her tablets and her laptop," he said.

"Do you?" Clint asked.  "Because you've dropped at least ten pounds again.  You're looking like an addict."

Tony rolled his eyes and waved the last of his cookie before eating it.  "I'm an adult.  I'll deal with it."

"Thanks.  Dawn would cry if she had to start teleporting food into your stomach so you didn't get sick."  He left.

Maria Hill huffed.  "We really must insist, Mr. Stark."

"Like Dawn, mine's here in the infirmary and it's needed for something tragic, it can be sent over.  That's not getting out.  The same as the rest of our medical files aren't.  There's a reason I erased mine and hers.  Mostly due to the idiots that have happened in the past."  He stared at her.  She gave a tiny shudder of understanding.  "Thank you for your visit today."

"I'll let him know that."  She left.  The director was not going to be happy.  She walked into his office when she got back.  "They have ones at Stark and their files here have been erased due to the past idiot Dawn wanters."

Fury flinched and grimaced.  "I forgot about them."  He looked up at her.  "Their infirmary has a good one?"

"More than enough probably, sir.  Stark's pretty identifiable due to the arc reactor.  Summers says she only has three scars and she routinely hides two."

"Fine."  He waved a hand.  "Put that note into their files."  She nodded, texting that to Medical so they could do that.  Fury went back to his paperwork from hell.  "Summers, this one's not complete."

She looked in.  "That was passed on from Maria, Director, and the agent that had been doing it died recently from being hit by a drunk driver."

"Oh.  I didn't realize."  He looked at the others.  "From his desk?"  She nodded.  "Hill saw them?"

"Yes, sir."

"Fine."  She went back to work. "Hill?"  She came in.  "No one could finish these?"

"Those were mostly solo assignments.  We have what we could and I turned his notes into what little I could fill in, sir."

"Fine.  Make a note in his file about that in case it intersects any other agents' reports."

"I already have."  She went back to her desk.


Dawn sat her son on the kitchen table at home and looked at him.  He was happy.  "What do you want for your first holiday season, son?  I have no idea what to get you since you hate every single toy I've ever bought you."  He was still smiling.  "I know, you like me sometimes.  If I could stay home and be your toy, I would."  She cuddled him.  "We'll need stuff for you to crawl over."  She put her tablet on the table, letting him help by patting it.  "Let's see, baby toys for a year-old-guy."  She pulled up a toy site and selected by age.  Then by 'boy'.  "Let's see.  I see a lot of walkers."  She looked at him.  "You'll do that on your own."  She looked again.  "I see some activity centers, including on the walkers." 

She made a note of that.  Her mom had asked for a possible list.  "I see Baby Einstein stuff," she said with a grin for him.  "Want to learn stuff and be really smart like Uncle Tony and Callia?"  He squealed and threw up his hands, beaming at her.  Then he went back to sucking on his finger.  "You have not a clue what I'm talking about, do you?"  She shrugged.  "How about we put on the language DVD and let you veg for a bit?  You've been stimulated today by the other kids."  She turned it on and let him cuddle up to her on the couch.

Clint hated the baby language systems, mostly because he had fallen asleep to one and woken up repeating it while their son stared in awe at the daddy talking like the DVD.  Natasha thought he'd pick it up naturally around them.  Dawn wasn't so sure since they only used Russian and English around the house.  Plus, Dawn could use the brushing up on her language skills.


Clint walked past Joyce's desk with a file.  "Mission report," he said when she held up a hand.  "Already finished." 

She took it with a smile.  "That's good, and you used the new forms.  Thank you."

"Welcome, Joyce."

She grinned.  "When is Dawn getting the christmas list done?"

"What list?"

"Every baby gets spoiled on their first christmas, Clint."

"Not all of us," he said dryly, putting his hands in his pockets and shifting his weight some.  "I guess he'll get some toys."

She stared at him.  "If yours were still alive I'd kill them for you so hard you'd beg for them to have some mercy, sweetheart."  She stood up to kiss him on the cheek.  "Your son is getting spoiled."  She grinned.  "What do you want to help him play with?"

He shrugged.  "As long as it's not Dora or something educational, I don't care.  I don't want to have a kid as smart as Stark.  I'd hate feeling dumb next to my kid."

"I did that many times, even next to Buffy.  It's a natural thing and then you sigh and ground them for something stupid."  He snorted, grinning some.  "So no Baby Einstein?"

"No.  Please no.  Dawn's gotten him some kiddy language systems.  We hate those things.  I feel stupid.  Natasha said he'll pick it up from us, and Dawn thinks she's full of it because we don't use them at home, only on the job.  Get him toy toys."

She laughed.  "At his age it's all activity centers, walkers, and that sort of thing."

"I think I had a walker.  My brother said I did once.  I guess it kept me out of the cabinets and stuff."  He shrugged slightly.  "I know Dawn said he'd do it naturally."

"I'll find something then.  We can shop together."  He relaxed and nodded that was a good idea.  "Though, you'll probably still get some educational things from Tony or someone."

"That's fine."  He walked off.  "I'm going to talk to the wife."

"What's happened now?" Joyce asked.

He rolled his eyes as he turned to face her again.  "She's decided the baby hates her."

"Sometimes it seems that way.  Buffy preferred Hank for a few weeks until she realized he hated to change her."

"She's not seeing it like we are."

"It's a motherish thing to do."

"As long as I don't find out the hard way," he quipped, getting on the elevator to go to the garage level.

Joyce snickered.  "I can't see you using the machines, dear."  She sat down to go over the file for completeness then put it into the 'need signed off on' box.

"They make learning systems?" Maria asked.

Joyce smiled and nodded.  "From the pre-verbal age to help them learn how to talk on up."

"Huh.  I'm glad Tara's not pushy about that."  She shook her head.

"All three of them put down how smart they are," Joyce said blandly.  "I almost wanted to spank that out of Dawn a few times."

"Do it for the bikinis instead," Fury called from his desk.

Joyce leaned in there.  "I have no problem with her flaunting her natural gifts, Director.  I have problems with her not flaunting her non-physical natural gifts."  She sat back up.

"Someone wanted to know if Dawn wanted to be a First Lady again," Fury said, tossing out the paperwork.  "The agent kindly told him no."

Joyce took it to look at, her laughter making all the agents on the bridge area look at her.  "She'd never go for something so disinteresting.  He couldn't keep her attention in any manner."  She put it on top of the files to go back in there.


Clint came off the elevator and turned off the baby Spanish DVD with an eye roll.  "He likes those," Dawn said.

"No he doesn't.  He's asleep."  She looked then shrugged some.  He sat next to her head, letting her inch up to rest on his leg.  "So I heard rumors that you think our genius there hates you?"

"He does.  He doesn't like a thing that I buy him.  He never plays with the toys, he hates the food I picked out.  He doesn't like the clothes, even when Natasha tries to dress him.  He hates me.  Today's he's in a cuddly mood but otherwise he usually won't even do that."

"He doesn't hate you."  He looked down at her.  "I know for a fact if he hasn't seen you in about ten hours, he'll start refusing to eat.  Even a bottle of expressed milk. That day Nat was in the tub with him she said he refused to take anything, even water, until he saw you."  Dawn blinked up at him.  "I think the toys are just above his range.  He's not a Stark and I'm not that smart."  She pinched his leg.  "You are but I'm not."

"You're very bright, Clint, you just hate getting it out of books."

"Fine, whatever."  She pinched him again.  "That's going to get you spanked."

She looked up at him again.  "You need a vacation from your bow that much?"

He grinned.  "I could yeah."  She huffed but cuddled his thigh.  "The clothing thing is because he hates clothes."

"Natasha manages to get him dressed."

"That's because she talks him into it.  She's got that way with guys, even tiny guys.  She's talked me into a lot of things over the years."  He stroked through her hair again.  "The educational DVD's can wait a year."


"Thank you."  It was a small victory but his son wasn't going to be a nerd like Andrew.  He got up to toss all of those DVD's into the stairwell.

"Those are expensive," Dawn complained.

"I know.  That's why they're in there."  He sat down again, letting her have his thigh for a pillow again.  Philip woke up and blinked then cooed at him.  "Hey, little man."  He patted him on the head too.  "Cuddle the mommy."  Philip fussed until he picked him up.  "See, that's Mommy."  Philip cuddled into his shoulder and fell back asleep.  "Uh-huh."

"It's a guy thing I guess," she sighed.  She sat up.  "I'll start worrying if our future daughter does it."  She stood up.  "Did you get that invitation?"

"No, what invitation and where are you going?"

"To make dinner?"

"You're going to be dinner."  She blushed and shook her head.  "Why not?"

"It'd be kinda nasty since I'm on the last day of my period?"

"Oh, that reason.  Well, maybe later in the tub then."  She kissed him and went to make him something to keep his energy up.  He looked at their son.  "Want to lay down?"  No answer so he got put down.  He didn't even wake up.  He loved naptime.   He came out to help make dinner, mostly by cuddling Dawn while she stirred, but she snuggled back into him.  "Do you want me to do that calendar?"

She looked up at him.  "That's totally up to you, dear.  They said they could keep your identity a secret.  Steve handed it to Bucky."

"Bucky could probably use the money."  He gave her a squeeze.  "You sure you're not done with your cycle yet?"

"Nope, sorry."

"Shoot."  He nuzzled her throat.  "Your mom wanted to know about the present list," he said in her ear.

"I just started on it today.  He needs more clothes.  He's outgrown most of them.  I'm not sure about things like an activity center that he can walk around or not.  A few were car shaped.  One was musical."

He smiled.  "That'd be good."  Natasha came off the elevator.  "Joyce wants a present list."

"He only needs a few things.  He wouldn't appreciate it this year."

"Not the point," Dawn said.  "The point is to spoil him because it's his first.  The same as the tooth fairy pays more money for the first tooth and the first day of school is so special, all that."  She looked at her.  "All first things are considered special."

"I can understand that but we are not going overboard.  He doesn't need a ton of toys."

"He won't get a ton of toys.  Shirts," Dawn said dryly.  "Because he's drooling through three or four a day right now."

"More teeth," Clint joked.

"Yeah, ow," Dawn joked back, grinning at him.  "He might be weaned sooner if he keeps biting."

He shrugged.  "If that's what you want, we can do that and help make sure that you dry up."  He kissed her neck again, making her shiver.  "Burning it."  She stirred and took the pan off the heat.  Natasha came over to take over while he took Dawn to tease on the couch again.  Getting off helped with cramps and was a great thing for Dawn to have for dinner.  Natasha rolled her eyes but smiled at their antics, going to get Philip when he decided to be awake.  He decided to stay with her instead of Mom.  Which made Dawn pout some more that the baby actually hated her for some reason.


Dawn sat down at her desk with Philip, staring at him since she had sat him on the desk.  "Okay, kiddo.  Let's talk."  He fussed.  She stared at him.  "I gave birth to you, that means you have to spend time with me, even if you do want the Daddy and other Mommy more.  Keep it up and go on the bottle full time, little ungrateful one."  She adjusted his shirt, making him whine.  She stared at him.  "Really?"  He pouted.  She pulled him over to cuddle, even if he did fuss.  Pepper came out to stare at them.  "He so hates me."

"He doesn't.  I get that from Chris and Liz sometimes too."  She took him from her and Philip beamed at her, stopping the fussy whining he had been doing.  "That's the Mommy.  She gave birth to you and she feeds you.  You should appreciate her more."  She handed him back.  Philip complained some more.  Dawn sighed and put him in the carrier.  That helped.  He didn't fuss as much if he didn't realize it was her holding him.  Pepper patted Dawn on the shoulder.  "He'll grow out of it."

"We hope."

"He will.  They all do."  She went back to her desk with the mail Dawn held up.  She looked up when the slap of a hand hitting the emergency alarm went through the admin area.  "Dawn?"


"Okay."  She called Tony.  "Was it biological or something else?"

"Yup.  Not sure what it is but I'm going to beat whoever didn't scan the mail this time."  Security teams came off the elevator.  Dawn held up the envelope full of powder.  They nodded and called the infirmary to come get her and the baby, which made them wince.  "He'll be fine, but I'm going to kill one of you," Dawn assured them.  "We didn't need this today."  They got her into a quarantine bubble and down to the infirmary.  This was not good but the scan of the powder was even worse.

Tony came rushing in with Clint and Natasha behind him, wincing at the baby on the second bed, fussing his butt off because he was alone.  "Guys, can we get near the baby?"

"No," the nurse said.  "Not without a lot of decontam gear and it frightened him."

"I can take getting sick," Clint said.

"Still no, sorry."  The nurse looked at the baby, then at the parents.  "We're putting him into a baby incubator style bed soon.  It'll have waldo gloves so you can touch him, Agent Barton.  Right now, worry more about Mom, okay?  She inhaled it directly, he only got exposure through the carrier and her shirt."  He nodded he was.  The doctors came out after calling someone.  They pulled Clint and Natasha into the office to talk about things.  Tony could put on a suit for the moment and pat the baby to calm him down.


Dawn woke up from being sedated, finding someone staring at her.  Not who she'd expect.  "How's my son?" she asked, sitting up with a wince.

"He's fine," Fury said.  "You're not."

"I noticed the bubble was still up and that this is Malibu's center instead."  She stared at him.  "Who?"

"No idea yet.  We're still searching."  Dawn nodded once.  "The kid's fine.  Natasha has his fussy self upstairs.  Barton's in the range blowing off steam."

"Okay, so why are you here?" she asked.

"I need a statement."

"Can't you get the security footage?"

"I have, we still need a statement."

"All I did was open the mail.  Then threaten the lives of whichever guard didn't scan things.  The sensor in the mail room should've hit on that much of anything that wasn't paper to have it scanned."

"They said it's broken."

"Uh-huh.  It wasn't broken last week," Dawn said.

"It blew a fuse, Summers.  You're a bit paranoid."

"I'm allowed!"

"You are," he agreed.  He got out of Clint's way.  "We still need a statement, Barton."

"She's alive and going to watch while we happily kill someone, sir.  Need more of one?"

"Fine."  He walked off to put that into the file.  Summers was generally paranoid for a reason.

Clint sat next to the bubble.  "You'll be dried up by the time you get out of there."

"I'm getting out of here?"

"Yeah.  You got a really light case, Dawn."  She relaxed and nodded.  He grinned slightly.  "Philip will *not* quit screaming no matter what we do."

"He misses me?"

"He does.  He won't settle down for a bath, he doesn't want to eat.  They were about ready to put in a feeding tube until Joyce showed up and took him over for a few hours.  That barely helped, and Callia.  And the cat.   We've tried *everything*."  She smiled.   "So apparently he's fussing just to be fussing at you so you talk to him more or whatever."  He shrugged.  "It's not going great but we're upstairs in a visitors suite."  She nodded.  "You've got at least another week in here."

She looked.  "No IV?"

"You yanked it out earlier on them.  They'll give you pills now that you're awake and can swallow.  The first two days they had you sedated?  You didn't swallow."  She slid back down, flipping onto her side to face him.  He grinned.  "It'll work.  I promise it will.  Stark's gone icy cold and clinical.  Steve too.  Even Callia has.  She reprogrammed a few of the attack Roombas to attack whoever did this."  He patted the bubble, letting her touch the other side.  "Few more days, princess."

"I can handle that.  Visit a lot?"

"I can do that."  He grinned.  "We got you the cheapy e-reader so you have something to read in there since you'll be destroying it later."

She nodded.  "That figures."  She looked at her hands.  "My ring?"

"Been professionally cleaned.   Necklace too.  We took off the storage cabinet on it and we're letting the people at the gear shop clean it for you."  She nodded, relaxing and yawning.  "You rest."  She nodded, falling asleep again.  He leaned back, watching her sleep.  He hated lying to her but she was in such bad health that she didn't need to know that.  Natasha brought in Philip, who was crying again.  He took him and pointed.  "Look, Mommy's taking a nap."  He whined and reached for her.  "If I could, I'd bring us both in there, kiddo.  For now, all we can do is watch."  He took the bottle and held it up.  "Baba?"  He turned his head and fussed some more.  "You need to eat or we need to drop a feeding tube."  He got onto the floor with his back against the bubble so Philip could stare up at Dawn while he ate.  That seemed to help.  At least he ate.

Natasha took the chair to take her turn watching over them.   This was not a good time in their lives.


Dawn woke up again and blinked.  It was awfully bright.  She groaned and pushed at the light magically, sending it flying.  "Ow, people."

The nurse looked over at her.  "I take it you're awake?"

"Were you trying to blind me?"

"It was a sun lamp so you got some vitamin D.  You were low again."

Dawn shrugged.  "I don't get much playing in the sun time these days.  Am I out of quarantine?"


"Where's my son?"

"Finally asleep.  Let him."

She sighed but nodded.  "The spouses with him?"  The nurse nodded.  "What did I have?"

"Smallpox."  Dawn stared at her.  "This is now week three of you being sick."  She stared back.  "You're damn lucky."

"Okay, when was it that Fury was here with Clint?"

"That was a few days ago.  We resedated you because your fever went up again.  Thankfully you're no longer able to pass it on."  She took her temperature.  "Not bad."  She made notes of that and the machines around her.  Then she looked at her again.  "They'll be down soon.  It's the middle of the night.  Sleep."

"I need stuff to do."

"No, you don't.  You need to rest.  Before I hit you with another sedative."  Dawn grumbled but laid back down and got comfortable.  She wasn't asleep but she wasn't being fussy or active.  Though she did have to scowl at the mirror being floated over.  "You won't scar.  We made sure of it."

"Thanks.  Except for that huge sore on my chest?"

"Yes, probably.  Maybe one on your hip."  Dawn nodded and let that go.  She could cover them.  The mirror got put back and she yawned but stayed awake.  She checked her bonds, they were napping.  She heard Phil and Xander's voice in her head and thought at them, and they gave her updates on how she really was, where she was, and how things were going.  She yawned again but said it was nice of them and she'd see them soon.  They promised it'd be tomorrow if the nurse let her stay awake.  Dawn said to make sure she stayed awake, even if she was dying.  They agreed and they promised they'd tell Clint in the morning.  Dawn drifted into some meditation.  She wasn't really tired, just physically muscle tired.

The nurse huffed but the doctor came in so she couldn't sedate her again.  "She's been awake."

"Good!  We wanted her awake a few days ago!" Doctor Pigalli said dryly.

"Then quit sedating me," Dawn said.

"I haven't."  Dawn pointed at the nurse.  "You have been?"

"She needed to rest.  She wasn't resting."

"So?  We needed her awake."

"No more sedatives, even if I'm fucking dying," Dawn ordered quietly.  "I'd rather die awake, thanks."

The nurse huffed off.  "That's not good procedure."

Dawn looked at her.  "Yay.  Patient's wishes, dear."  She looked at her favorite doctor, who smirked back.  "Philip?"

"Was not affected, only had a tiny fever from cutting teeth.  He's fine, if cranky."  Dawn nodded.  "Your milk has dried up.  We gave you the shot to help make sure."  Dawn nodded once.  "No restarting it.  You'll have medicines for the next few months that he shouldn't get."

"Will it affect them?"

"No.  Just some strong antibiotics."  Dawn nodded.  "It's four."


"Though the baby's probably awake.  I'll send someone upstairs to slide a note in."  She sent one of the guards to do that.  They had all been really worried about Dawn.  The ones in New York were less worried about Dawn but Steve had a talk with them about how fuses got blown and not repaired.  Because even the medical staff had decided that was suspicious.


Clint looked over when the note went under the door, then down at Nat, who he had been fooling around with to relieve both their stress.  He got up to get it and nodded.  "She's awake."

"Excellent."  She sat up.  "We should go down there."

"We can do that."  He looked at Philip, who was awake and scowling.  "Son, you look like Chris.  Are you sure you're not a Stark?"  He picked him up, changed him, then took him down there.  Dawn was awake.  They had blocked off the bond so she couldn't hear anything bad from them.  He climbed up next to her with the baby, letting him rest on her stomach.  She smiled and patted him on the back.  He finally quit fussing and fell asleep.  "Thank you."  He kissed her.

"It says you're asleep."

"Dawn, you nearly died three times before they got you back here," he said honestly then sighed.  "We decided not to stress you out.  That way you wouldn't have to hear us worrying on top of the bad fever dreams you had."

"Oh."  She nodded.  "Then why does it still feel like you're asleep?"  They smiled and let the blocking go, making her relax.  "Nat, I can shift over."

"No you can't.  They can take turns on your free side," Dr. Pigalli said from the desk.

"Okay.  Change in an hour?" she offered with a grin.

Natasha sat down on that side.  "This will work for now."  She held her hand across Clint's body.  That let Clint cuddle her and the baby. 

The nurse came in and scowled.  "The baby should not be with her.  She's still sick!  And you should not be on the bed.  Move, now.  Or I'm having you thrown out."  Clint pulled his gun and pointed it at her.  "What are you doing?" she squeaked.  "You can't do that!  I'll have you thrown out of the complex!"  She hurried off.  Clint put back the gun and grinned, kissing Dawn on the head.  She came back with security.  "Him!  I want him gone!  He threatened me!"

"Agent Barton, please don't shoot the nurse," the guard said, staring at them.  "Even if she is a bit huffy, she's good at what she does."

"Then next time she probably shouldn't start making demands."

"Probably true," Doctor Pigalli said, handing the nurse a book.  "The protocol for having those three in here due to injuries.  If we were at home, they have an expanded bed."  She looked at them.  "No weapons on the hospital bed unless they're concealed and can't get in the way."

"Philip was helping me clean it earlier," Clint said with a grin.  "Take a nap, Doc.  You sound exhausted."

"I am."

"When can we take her back to the one in New York?" Natasha asked.

"Few more days.  Then she'll have a few days there before she can go home."  They nodded.  She looked at the sulking nurse.  "Yes, they're allowed on the bed on her free side.  Yes, the baby's allowed on the bed with them because he's been crying non-stop for the last three weeks because he missed his mom.  Read the protocol, and thank you, security team."  She smirked and they left with a wave at Dawn, who waved back.   "We need these guys in New York."  Dawn nodded, yawning again.  She fell asleep on Clint's shoulder.

Natasha smiled and got comfortable.  "I can wait until she wakes," she said quietly.

Clint grinned.  "Thanks, Nat."

"We will hover to protect her and the baby."  Philip cooed in his sleep and they smiled.  It was nice he wasn't fussing.


Dawn was finally allowed out of the bed long enough to shower, going to do that.  She found her hair had been trimmed and glared.  "Is there a reason why someone did a hack job on my hair?" she bellowed.

"They did?" Doc asked, coming into the bathroom.  "Oooh, they did.  We've had it up under a cap to keep it off your skin."  She glared out there.  Dawn huffed.  "You can get it styled in a few days, Dawn.  It won't take that long to grow out."  She nodded, going into the shower.  "Hold it."  She looked at a sore on her back.  "That might infect."

"Can we put stuff on it to help heal it?  Or would a healing spell help?"

"You're too weak to do a healing spell and we have some great stuff to put on them."  She went to get it.  Dawn took a fast shower and came out, letting her put on the cream for her.  The last few sores all got some.  Dawn looked at them and grimaced.  They'd probably scar and Dawn hated scars.  "You can have them bleached out."  Dawn shook her head and did a healing spell, getting smacked on the head for it.  But they had all healed.  Even the one between her toes.  Dawn was shaky and got helped back to bed.  Thankfully, Natasha was turning it down after changing the sheets.  "She healed all the sores."

"I felt."  She helped tuck her in.  "Clint's getting you some juice and dinner."

Dawn smiled.  "They cut my hair."

"I can see that.  Whoever did it obviously just gathered it and cut it."  She smoothed it back.  "We'll handle it."  Clint came in with the baby and a tray.  "That was fast."

"I ran into one of the geeks who asked how she was.  I asked how to get to the caf the fastest, easiest way.  There's tunnels, Nat."

"I heard."  She smiled and took the tray so Dawn could eat.  She got to curl up with Dawn, getting snuggled into while she inhaled her dinner.  Then Philip got handed over since he was fussing.  And he still fussed.  "She's the one you wanted for the last few weeks."

"I don't smell like myself," she said, patting him on the back.  "Calm down."  He still fussed.  "Doc, is there a way to see if he's having sensory problems?"

"I can try."  She took him, which made Philip flinch and stare at her like he was horrified.  She smiled.  "I know but yay."  She took him into the exam area with Clint to see things.  "He can hear, he's just not listening."  He followed her finger like he should at his age.  The sniff test came back off.  "Cold?"

"Could be.  He's been hyper fussy about things," Clint said.

"We can check."  She got a nasal sucker and tried to get some out.  "No snot."

"So... sinus pressure?"

"Probably."  She gave him something for that, making Philip grimace and lick his lips to get the nastiness out.  "Sorry, kiddo."  She checked the other ones.  "He's got slow reflexes in that right foot."

"We've noticed," Clint said.  "It hasn't stopped him any."

"Okay."  She handed him back.  "Have fun with Mr. Fussy."  He grinned and walked Philip back out to Mom.  She made notes in Philip's file on the computer system and sat down to watch over the few people in there.  Someone had gotten burned earlier by some overheating acid they should've paid more attention to.  The nurse was nagging him about being more careful.

Clint looked over at her saying Dawn had the same sort of stupid things going on.  "Um, no.  She's Pepper's and Tony's assistant, not a scientist.  She got it sent to her desk.  It wasn't a lab accident."  He looked at the guy.  "Reading smut?"  He nodded with a grimace.  "It happens.  Email Tara, see if her healing syrup can help with those."  He pulled over his phone to find her email.  It was in the directory.  Tony looked at the huffy nurse.  "Dawn had it sent to her desk up in the admin area.  That's why she and the baby got exposed.  Beyond that, accidents happen sometimes.  Even Stark's had accidents.  Nag less.  People run from those who nag."

"Even me," Dawn agreed.  "If it's after nine on the east coast, it'll be tomorrow.  The twins are in bed so she's cleaning the house."

"That's fine.  I can wait a day," he complained.  "I thought my lab partner was watching it but it turned out he was out to lunch."  Dawn grinned.  "You'll be fine and whoever sent you the smallpox deserves to be shot repeatedly, then killed."

"Don't tempt us," Clint said with a grin.

He smirked back.  "I'm sure you can make them really miserable, Agent Barton."

Dawn looked up at them.  "If they move back here, I might need to find us a place to live."

"Stark's said a few times he hates New York at the moment.  Mostly because it's getting cold and stuff."  He smoothed over her hair.  "Who did that?"  Dawn shrugged but pointed at the nurse.  He glared at her.  "Why did you chop her hair that way?"

"To help with the fever!"

"I'll get that hair growing charm from that one Xander," she said, then snuggled into Natasha again.  Philip blinked up at her, patting her on the hand.  She smiled and kissed his fingers back.  He giggled and smiled, waving at the guys walking in.  Dawn looked over.  "Hey, Happy, Tony."

Tony leaned on the footboard.  "Someone did a number on your hair."  Dawn pointed at the nurse, who stomped off.  He looked at Doc, who shook her head.  "Deal with that," he muttered, knowing she could read lips.  She nodded she would.  He looked at her again.  "You're on medical leave for three weeks.  That way you have time to regain strength.  The twins showed up for a few hours with their sister and step-siblings.   Callia spent it all babbling about you."  She smiled, letting the baby play with her fingers.  "Beyond that," he said, straightening up.  "Pepper and I are thinking about snowbirding this winter."

"That's not going to bother me but we have to find a place out here.  I gave up my hidey hole."

"We can do that," Tony promised, smiling at her.  "You need one anyway.  Do you have one in North Dakota?"

"Yeah, about twenty miles away from yours, where we had hidden."  She smiled.

"You bought the farmhouse?" Clint guessed.  She smiled and nodded.  "That's cool."  He kissed her on the head. "Good hunting, nice yard.  We have to fix the whole 'no heat in the bedroom' thing and find a room for him."

"I had a second story put on with two kid rooms, another two bathrooms so they don't have to share, and a playroom.  Your nesting place is just higher up now and still over the living room.  The rooms are only over the kitchen and the back area."  Clint smiled at her for that.  "I was going to put up a Tackleberry yard."

"When they're older, they can have one," Clint promised.  He grinned at Tony.  "How long are you guys out here for?  We'll have to put in paperwork."

"Probably until April."

"It's barely starting into October.  We can find somewhere," Natasha said.  She looked at Dawn.  "Tara has the cat."

"I figured she or Callia did."

"I've got to have all hers moved," Tony complained.  "I forgot about that."

"Private plane, boss.  We can lock them in the bedroom with their litterboxes and things," Happy said.  He smiled at Dawn.  "I'm damn glad you're better."

"Me too."

He patted her on the foot.  "We can have someone out there pack the clothes and stuff for the move."

"They'd have to be careful of a few things, like the weapons cabinet," Dawn said.  "We can arrange it this week, Happy."  He nodded.  She grinned.  "That way we can sneak things out from under SHIELD's watch."

Tony snickered.  "If you do I want to know how."  He patted her foot too.  "So... few days back there to arrange things?  Then back here?"

Dawn nodded.  "I can do that.  Phone?"  He handed his over.  She dialed Faith's number by rote.  "Faith, Dawn.  Yes, I'm still alive.  I'm even awake.  Can you have Gunn find us a place to squat out here?  Thanks.  No, few weeks at the most.  The bosses are moving back here.  At least three bedrooms, four if possible so they have work areas.  Yeah, that'd be good.  Thanks."  She hung up and tossed the phone back.  "Gunn will look."

"He has decent lower level taste," Tony said.  He smirked.  "Nothing too fancy."

She snorted and waved a hand.  "This means I get to buy a few new bikinis for beach time, right?"  He walked off laughing.  Happy winked and followed.  She looked at Natasha.  "We would, right?"

"We would," she agreed.  "I'll ask around as well."  She kissed her on the forehead.  "Thankfully the insurance covers most everything in here."  Dawn nodded, squeezing the baby.  He shifted and pooped for her.  "Clint?"

"I know, it's my turn."  He got up with a groan to grab him and take him to change.  "I've gotta remember not to bet against you, Nat."

She smiled.  "We bet for the next dirty diaper."  Dawn laughed and squeezed her for being so devious.


Dawn was on her last day in bed and she was not happy.  She was exceedingly unhappy because she couldn't be beamed back and there had been an attempted attack last night in the compound by a demon, which took magic to beat.  So not only was she exhausted but the demon had clawed her pretty well.  Which meant she had to go through the airport and flight tomorrow with an open wound.  They'd have to go to a specialist to get the slime cleaned out and the wound closed.  Thankfully the plastic surgeon she had went to before could do it for her.  Though she was having a lot of bad thoughts about the TSA people.  They seriously tried to piss her off each and every time she had to fly commercial and she could see them trying to make her take off the sterile dressing to prove it was an injury.  Which would be gross. 

Maybe it wasn't too late to charter a flight?

Clint walked in and stared at her.  "They're not that stupid, Dawn."

"Yes they are.  They had some elderly lady take off her adult diaper to prove it was one.  They had a cancer patient take off her sterile dressings in the middle of the airport and wouldn't even let her have any privacy."

He blinked.  "Okay, that's bad."  She proved it by finding the article on her phone.  He grimaced.  "Private?"

"I can stretch out.  Not have to sit up the whole time."

"How about we fly him in?" Tony asked from the doorway.  "Because we did."

Dawn smiled.  "Love you too, boss."

"Welcome.  I needed him to look at the other injuries we had too.  Steve is not happy."

"Maybe the new body armor stuff will cure that."

"Maybe."  He got out of the way.  "The rest are in the other ward."  He walked off.  "Barton, Fury's here with his army of lawyers over the suits."

"Fine."  He kissed Dawn then grinned.  "Let me go handle that."

"You can bring Nat.  She's missing mean time."

"I can," he agreed.  "The sprout loves her being mean."  He shook hands with the doctor.  "Thanks."  He left them to talk.  Dawn's injury made even him wince.

The doctor looked at her.  "Why are you out here?"

"They moved me back here when someone thoughtfully decided to send smallpox to my desk."

"Interesting."  She nodded.  "Let's see this wound."  Dawn shifted and winced, letting him peel off the bandages once he had on gloves.  "That's not that hard but I know the slime residue is a pain."  He looked at her.  "Healing spells?"

"Once you get the insides stitched, the skin's being healed."

"I can agree with that.  I remember how you felt about scars."  He looked over.  Dr. Pigalli was staring at them.  "Let's take her in to clean this mess up."  She nodded, taking them into the surgical suite and getting the stuff he said he'd need to clean up the residue of the slime.  It wasn't going to take long.  It was going to take longer to stitch her muscle groups back together.  Then he'd have to do the same for the other ten people who had taken on the demon to give her time to get up there.


Dawn looked up, sending a prayer at Xander for that hair growing spell.  She was not going to have a chin-length bob, she looked dorky in them.  A paper floated down a minute later and she smiled.  That would help.  She did the spell, which made her hair grow very long.  "Okay, so now we have it trimmed."  She got up off the bed, gripping it a bit because she was still tired and exhausted.

"Remember, nothing too strenuous, Dawn.  No sitting if it hurts, nothing like situps."

"Sex?" she asked with a grin.

"As long as you don't have to use those stomach muscles, sure."

"Well, we've played with bondage before," she said dryly, cracking Doc up.

"Have them use hand and foot restraints but keep your middle loose," she said with a grin.  "And be gentle for the next few weeks.  It should take a few for those stitches to fully be absorbed."

"Yup."  She carefully picked up her phone, all she had down here, and put on the robe that had been left for her.  She signed the forms and went up to the guest quarters slowly, wandering that way but stopping every now and then to rest.  She finally made it and one had a glowing dot over it thanks to JARVIS.  She walked in and shut the door, smiling at her mates.  "I'm free!"

"I can see that.  We would've come got you," Clint said, stroking over Natasha's bare stomach.

"I'm good."  She walked over and took kisses.  "I'm not allowed to do anything that would make me use those muscles.  Doc said you'd have to tie me down so I couldn't bend."

He grinned.  "I can definitely do that."  He gave her a kiss, then she gave one to Natasha, who was languidly relaxed and happy.  "Let's shower.  Nat?"

"I can help."  They glanced at the sleeping baby in the front room then went in to take a shower together.  "Why is your hair suddenly longer?"

"Hair growing charm."

"Wonderful."  It was a lot of washing and then conditioner but it did give her extra playing time.  By the time they were done playing, Dawn was shaking again so they tucked them all in and cuddled in.  They could have sex to make sure she was all right later.  Clint got up to get the baby, bringing him back.  He wouldn't care if they were naked at the moment.  He just wanted to cuddle.  Natasha gave him a pointed look.  "In native areas, the whole family shares one bed and they're mostly naked, plus they manage to have kids with them in there.  He's not even a year old, Nat.  He can cuddle our shoulders.  Not like he hasn't seen breasts."  She sighed but let him cuddle them.  He wanted Clint this time so Clint got him and the ladies cuddled around him to play with the fussy thing.  Dawn fell asleep but that was fine too.


The head of Stark Legal smiled at Fury's lawyers and him when they came in.  "You dirty little jackass, Fury.  You tried to slide in something lowball while her spouses were distracted with her getting sick."  He winced.  "Dawn still hasn't found out yet and that lowball ten mil offer?"  She snorted and waved a hand.  "I can tell her if you want."

"You probably should."

She called her.  "Dawn, busy?"

"Nope, not for three weeks.  Just trying to decide if we're doing a house or a condo out here," she said from the speaker.  "Oops, maybe I am.  Philip, why are you puking."  She clearly picked him up because the sound of vomiting came through. 

The SHIELD lawyers all looked sick so she took it off speaker.  "Let me know when you can hear their interesting offer."  She listened.  "Ten total."  Even without the speaker they heard the laughter.  Fury was groaning and rubbing over his eye patch.  "Sure, I can do that.  JARVIS, do you have the full list of the incidences in question?"

"I do," the AI said.  "It's printing in your office."

"Thank you."  She put the phone on her shoulder, looking at Fury.  "Ten each incident."

"That's a hundred million," he said.

"No, Director, those ten counts were categories, not individual incidences, and she should charge for the one she just went through since the Feds finally arrested them according to her."  Fury looked at his phone, sending a text to someone.  He got back one and nodded.  "Related?" she asked with perky cheer.

"Definitely."  He put his phone up with a sigh.  "I don't have that sort of room in my budget and the insurance people are going to slam us.  Can we try for reasonable?"

She stared at him and slowly smiled.  "Dawn was feeling reasonable.  Especially since this last one nearly killed her and her son.  Not to mention all those times that they tried to kidnap her and/or her son, or tried to blow up her and/or her son, or shoot her and/or her son.  Dawn isn't an agent and that's not an acceptable risk in her life."

"Most mothers wouldn't consider it so, but she can't really change the parameters."

"You clearly did not read the full suit, just the summary," she said with a smile.  She pulled up the full filing for them to read on a virtual screen.  Fury went pale.  Her assistant brought in the printed forms.  "Thank you, Dara."  She nodded and left.  She put the stack on the table.  "Built like a D&D sheet, gentlemen."  They looked at the very thick stack and Fury suddenly got a sudden, sharp pain in both his chest and his wallet.  She smiled.  "I'll be generous.  Five each incident or it goes back up to at least ten tomorrow.  Because the safety and health of her son is priceless."  She stared at Fury.

"How many are there?"

"I didn't count.  You can if you wish."  He slumped, taking it to look over.  He could challenge a few of them but most....they had happened because SHIELD had let out her identity.  They hadn't wanted Dawn as hard before that.  The few he wanted to challenge he put aside as he counted them.  His agency's insurer was going to throw fits about this.  "I need to talk to them.  Leave that offer on the table for the rest of the week?"  She asked Dawn and then nodded, hanging up.  "Thank you." 

He left, going to talk to his people.  That night, they came back to redo some of the settlement.  They would not directly imply that they had been the cause of it, that SHIELD's hacked databases and information files had been the cause.  That let them off the hook with the insurance people.  The rest...  The agent had cheered that they were going for a lowball like that so they had expected it to be *huge*.  Fury needed to hire some insurance people because they were totally ruthless.  He had agents he had considered borderline psychotic that weren't as hard as these guys.

He had to put down his foot at the idea of them messing Dawn up with the paperwork.  This last time had been way too close to her death and they did not want that.  Especially since it meant they had no one on call for magical emergencies, which was all the insurance people understood of why he didn't want her or Philip dead.  Maybe humanity wasn't worth saving sometimes.  Or maybe it was just insurance agents.


Dawn walked into their guest suite and looked at her spouses after a visit with her financial guy at the bank to see where things stood.  Which reminded her, she had to pick a new investments guy.  Happy had insisted he could drive her since Tony wasn't doing anything.  She loved the 'family' at Stark.  "Okay," she said, putting forms on the table.  "This is my current net worth and our budget.  It will be changing next month because two payments will be done with."

Clint looked at them.  "We took out a mortgage?"

"To build a credit history.  He suggested I should.  As of next month, that will be paid off fully."  He grinned at her.  She smiled back.  "We have to decide about housing things.  Renting versus buying something out here.  Also high rise versus house."

"It could be our training but owning a house leaves a huge papertrail," Clint said, looking at Natasha, who nodded it did.

"There's every chance we'll be bouncing back and forth to the various offices," Dawn said.  "We can rent one long term but we'll have to have some specific insurance added on that would usually be within the homeowner's."

"Insurance?" Natasha asked.

"Natural disaster, for things like earthquakes, renter's insurance for break-ins, flood insurance.  We'd also have to get permission to install a security system with a house we rent."

"What about a condo?" Clint offered.  "We're used to crappy apartments."

Dawn looked at him then pointed at the baby.  "Are you going to take him to the park all the time to play outside?  If so then we can do that."

"Hm," Clint said, staring at the napping baby.  Then at her.  "That's a point to consider."

"How far from the office are we looking?" Natasha asked.

"Twenty-five miles at the most.  That can turn into a three hour commute depending on which road you're stuck on but if it's not on the major roadways that'll cut that down."

Natasha nodded.  "That could conceivably lead to Beverly Hills."

"Nope," Clint vetoed.  "I'm not a yuppie.  Not Bel Air either."

"The problem really is how expensive things are in that area," Natasha said.

Dawn nodded.  "They are.  I went through Yahoo's real estate search as a casual tool.  If I lower it to 15 miles around Malibu, then there's just over 1400 listings."  Clint moaned, shaking his head.  "I actually found one that was only 319 thousand," she said dryly.

"Seriously?" Clint said.

"It hadn't been updated in over fifteen years by the wallpaper," Dawn said.

Natasha patted him on the arm.  "We are in one of the few areas in the country where a house like you grew up in would be close or over a million dollars."  He stared at her then at Dawn, who pulled up her earlier search pages.

Dawn pointed.  "I like the looks of this one's outside, with the gate.  I think we need a fence for security purposes, and a garage."

"Why four bedrooms?" Clint asked.

"I should put it higher for when at least one of the twins comes back and Sean," she said.  "But work areas, bedroom for us, bedroom for Philip.  Six bedrooms drives the costs up tons though."

"Out here, only mansions have more than three bedrooms usually," Natasha agreed.  Clint looked at them again.  Dawn nodded.  "North Dakota is often cheaper," she said with a smile.

"It's like New York real estate, Clint.  Each additional bedroom adds on at least a hundred thousand, if not more, and so do bathrooms.  A lawn is even beyond that."

He stared at them.  "Condo?"

"Sure," she agreed, modifying the search.  He stared then shuddered as he walked off.  "We're going through a realtor so they'd have more options but I'm paying for it."

"We can pay for it," Clint promised.  He got them bottles of water and came back.  Philip fussed but flipped over and went back to sleep.  "Or at least part of it."

"Fifteen miles around the center is better," Natasha said.  "Malibu itself is one of the most expensive zip codes and a bit exclusionist."  She opened and sipped her water, glancing at their son.  He was yawning but not awake yet.

"At that fifteen mile limit are places that are under a million," Dawn said.  She looked at Clint.  "I'm casually surfing to find things I like.  I want a kitchen of some sort that works.  Doesn't have to be totally upgraded to stainless steel.  We need at least four bedrooms, if not more.  We need at least two bathrooms, if not more."  He nodded that was true.  "If we're going for a house we need a fenced in yard.  We need a garage at the very least.  If we only get two cars and I find a three-car garage you guys can have that for work space."

"Why two cars?" Natasha asked.

"We can't share one.  It'd become a logistical nightmare," Dawn said with a smile.  "We need at least one for errands.  If I have to I can hire a driver again to get back and forth to work.  Doc said she doesn't want me driving for probably a month so that means you guys having to get up to take my ass to work."  They smiled at her.

"So, two to three," Clint said.  "Though we can have the Lotus brought out."  She smiled and nodded.  "Yard for the kid to crawl around on.  I hate mowing so someone else gets it this time."

"Yard service," Dawn quipped.

"Yuppie ideas," Clint countered.

Dawn smiled at him.  "You hate mowing and they're cheap out here."

"Fine.  I can agree to that expense but not a pool boy if we end up with one."

"Out here, the smaller homes it's usually a pool or a yard," she said.

He looked through the first few pages.  "None of these really look like a home a Barton lives in," he said.  "They look like the rich kids' in town's homes."

"They can be but we don't want something run down," Dawn said.  "Or that we need to upgrade so we can use it."

"No, I don't.  Eeww, manicured bushes," he muttered.  She patted his wrist.  He looked at her.  "I don't want some grand estate.  If you have to pay two mil," he started.

"Then you usually get a yard," Natasha put in.  Clint slumped.  "We can go for a condo.  Perhaps even on the beach."

"We can do that," Clint agreed, looking at Dawn, who shrugged.  "You're going to leave it up to us?"

"Within reason.  We have to think about the twins and Sean coming back out with us, or future kids.  If it was just us, there's a killer condo I've drooled over a few times about ten miles from the company compound."

Clint grimaced.  "Single bedroom?"

"Great views, on the beach," she said with a grin.  "Adults only building."  He grinned back.  "But..."  She pointed at Philip.

"Good point."  He went back to searching.  He had noticed the ones Dawn has pulled out to put into separate tabs to look over.  Most had some sort of fence, even if it was more decorative.  They could upgrade that easily.  Most had a good yard.  "Why does this one look like it's built into the ground?"

Dawn smiled.  "It's a nice looking house.  Has a great yard, old trees for him to climb.  It's a single story house."

He nodded.  "Okay."

"There is a hobbit house," Dawn said with a grin.  "It's a beautiful house.  The house is mostly built into the hill's top and the back doors lead to the back yard and stepped pool system."

"It's for sale but it's outrageously expensive and outside your stated area," JARVIS said.

"I know.  Which sucks.  I like that house."

Clint shook his head.  "I'm too tall to be a Hobbit, Dawn."  She pulled up pictures of that house, showing him.  "It's cute, but cutesy.  The kid would grow up warped and might turn into a mime or something."  He closed out a few more.  "Okay, of your ones pulled out for consideration, I left the two castley looking ones, that really expensive one with all the old trees, and the one that's a bit further away."  He looked at her.

"You do call her a princess," Natasha said with a smile.  She took the computer to look at those four.  "Let's remove the older castle."   She looked at the other ones.  "Is this the one with the old trees?"  Clint nodded.  "It's outrageously expensive."

Dawn reopened it when she closed it.  "It's perfect for what we need, has a real lawn and a pool, has privacy.  We can put up a swingset for him.  It's a single story."

"It's highly expensive."

"Yeah but that's real estate in southern Cali, Nat."

"I know."  She grimaced.  "I would have to see it."  She read the description and sighed.  It did sound nice.  "We don't need the adjoining lot, right?"

"Not unless we're getting a horse," Dawn said dryly.

"I don't think so," Clint said.  "A cat is enough."  She nodded.  "You can take lessons for the next agent olympics."

"Hell no.  I'm not going to be in any shape by then."  She pushed her hair back.  "What about that spell?  We have to be out there to do it."

"I've been emailed by Wade twice," Natasha said.  "The first time I told him you were quite ill.  The second time I told him why and he sent back to tell him when you got better so he could stalk you again.  I've since told him we have to move out here for a few months due to your job."  She stared at her.  "He said he'd tell the others, who probably realized you were ill with the way the coverage of the stomping around happened."

"There was coverage?" she asked with a wince.

"Blood hunters aren't going to come like they are for Xander.  They can't make a new strain," Clint said.  Dawn relaxed and smiled.  "So, the last few houses are in Pacific Palisades or Hidden Hills."  She nodded.  "Yours is just up the coat to Malibu.  So's the castle.  The other one is across a busy highway by the included map; I'm not sure if it's an overpass or something like that."  Dawn shrugged, she hadn't been out there.  "Though, the castle's a bit odd looking."

"I thought it looked interesting."

"Let's eliminate the one above the highway we'd have to somehow cross," Natasha said.  "That can lead to morning traffic jams and it looks further out."

Someone knocked then Tony and Pepper walked in together.  "Hey, kids, it's the landlord," Tony joked.  He looked at the things pulled up, nodding.  "I like the one in the Pallisades but it's going to be a commute."

"It's within fifteen miles and there should be backroads," Dawn said, switching it.  "I liked that one."

"I know someone who lives out there.  Most days for them it's about a half hour," Tony agreed.  He grinned.  "Renting, owning?"

"Open to it," Dawn said.

"Good."  He patted her on the head.  "Gloria's here from Legal."  Dawn started to get up but Tony pushed her back down.  "No, you sit.  You have stitches."  He had her brought down.  "We were making sure you weren't in the middle of sex or something important."  He grinned.

"Not yet," Clint said.  "We're going to get dinner from the caf in a bit then have sex."  Gloria tapped then was let in by Pepper.  "Hey."

"Clint, Natasha, Dawn," she said, with a hug for her.  "From Andrew's wife.  Caroline's missing her Philip time."  Dawn grinned.  "This is the settlement we've reached."  Dawn looked it over frowning at something.  She looked and nodded.  "We had to leave that in there.  Fury demanded."

"He wants first right if our kids want to become agents," Dawn said, looking at them.

"Yeah, we can handle that.  As long as they're not made to be agents," Clint said.  "If so, I'll teach the kid how to fake asthma if he doesn't want to."  She let him see it.  "I know nothing about legal language, Dawn."  Natasha took it to decipher.  Gloria settled in at the table to go over what each thing meant.  They agreed and Dawn signed it.  Tony and Pepper signed as witnesses.  "When do we have to deal with that?"

"Next week.  He said he expects to see you both by next week."

"We'll be going back to get the clothes and stuff," Clint said.

"And the cat," Natasha said.  Dawn smiled.

"You guys know you can live here," Tony said.  "That way she's safer."

"It'll take a month to close on the house if we buy it," Dawn said.

"Good point."  He patted her on the back and they left with Gloria.

Dawn looked at Clint.  "You were going to feed me?  Really?" she asked with a grin.  "Like real food?"

"As long as it won't make you work your stomach muscles too much," he teased back.  She leaned over to kiss him.  "Lap, Dawn, that way you don't have to bend."

"That will give me urges that I'd have to ignore because of my stomach."

He pulled her over, noticing she was thinner again.  "No you won't.  I'm fantastic and Nat can hold you down while I make you wiggle."  He kissed her.  She moaned into it.  "Missed you too, princess."  She slid down his lap and onto her knees, making him moan.  "I was going to do that to you later, after a long bath," he said, spreading out for her.

"She and I can have a bath while you get dinner," Dawn said, unzipping his pants.  He groaned but let her do whatever she wanted.  He was just happy she was around to tease him.  Anything else was a bonus right now. Especially since she was so good at sucking him.

Natasha smiled, watching them play.  "I will get us dinner then she and I will play in the tub," she said.  She walked off happier.  Dawn was definitely feeling perky due to her painkillers.  It was good to have her back.

Philip fussed some.  "Son, I'm getting your mom's best gift ever, so you're going to have to wait for five minutes," he moaned.  Philip fussed more.  "Son, c'mon."

"Philip, Daddy's getting some Mommy time.  You can have Mommy time in a minute," Dawn said, hurrying him up.  No one could have a great orgasm with their kid fussing.  Clint came with a moan, gripping the table instead of her head.  Dawn smiled up at him as she licked him clean then tucked him back into his clothes.

"That was great Mommy time," Clint said, pulling her up to kiss her.  Philip whined so they grabbed him to put between them while they kissed.  He liked that, it gave him both parents.  Though he would fuss until his other mommy got back.


Pepper looked at her son a few days later.  He had one of the mini farm animals from his play set and was saying 'frog hump' as he hopped it around.  "Chris, honey, frogs *hop*, not hump."

He grinned at her.  "Frog hump hump."  He bounced it around a few times.

She got down next to him.  "No, see, it's hop hop.  Frogs hop.  Though that's a pig but still, frogs hop, dear."

"Frog hump hump."

"Dawn, why is my son insisting that frogs hump?" she called.  Dawn had watched him earlier and frogs hadn't humped before then so it had to have come from her assistant.

Dawn leaned in from her desk.  She was only pretending to be back to check her email.  "Because someone tried to take Philip from me and hand him to someone else while complaining I'm probably contagious.  The evolutionary dead ends are idiot frog humpers."

Pepper sighed.  She had thought it was something like that.  "JARVIS?"

The film got pulled up and she got to watch as Dawn took her son back from the chemist.  "Are your idiot species named Frog Humpers?  Because I'm pretty sure that's as close to homo sapiens as you'll ever get!  You evolutionary dead end, you don't take my kids from me, especially not to hand to someone the fuck else!"   Callia clapped at that.  "You, no," Dawn said.  "They'll beat you if you have to name a new species of idiots."  The chemist huffed off.  The one who had been handed Philip was backed in a corner.  "What did you think you were doing touching my son without my permission?"

"You were sick!"

"I know that," she snapped.  "That doesn't mean you need to touch my son!"

"You could be contagious!"

"Smallpox isn't transmitted that way and it's been long past the incubation period.  Beyond that, he was there when I got exposed to it, so if he was going to get sick it would've been then.  Beyond even that, you don't touch a person's kid without their permission!  And what were you planning on doing with my son anyway?"

"Blood tests to make sure he wasn't sick then I was going to hand him to Stark."  He turned and ran.  "I'm reporting you."

"You do that, sweetheart.  Watch me kick your ass, even in my tired ass state."  The video cut off.

"Dawn, you're no longer allowed to teach the kids anything that's not new english words," Pepper called.  "Especially not swears or about idiots."

Tony strolled in.  "I saw that.  I think it's great the Queen of Nag and Mean is back."

"Only partway, boss.  Still tired."  Dawn yawned.  "And I feel like I'm slowing down again."

"Your speech is getting a bit slow," Tony agreed.

"It's the stupid meds.  Can't I take regular antibiotics?"

"They said no," he quipped.  "Sorry.  But only two more weeks of it."

"Yay, two weeks of being stuck on a slower speed than anyone else," she said slowly, starting to blink.  "I was waiting on something from the realtor."  She blinked again.  "Okay, let's go back to bed, Philip."  He whined.  "Sorry!"  She got up and walked off slowly and carefully.

Tony followed to make sure she got there.  That reminded him, he had to talk to those chemists.  They should know viruses didn't work that way.


Tony watched Pepper fight the 'humping frog' epidemic and smiled.  "He only does it around you so you pay more attention to him, Pep.  I heard him going 'frog hop' all up and down the hallway with the new stuffed one we got him."  She looked up at him.  "He likes it when you teach him things.  He's a Stark.  You're special to all of us."

"I knew it had to be the Stark genes," she complained, looking at him.  "Honey, I'll pay attention to you whenever you ask, even if you don't need taught anything.  You don't have to manipulate mommy."  Steve was snickering.

"Why is it always the Stark genes?" Tony quipped.  "Some of the best things come from Stark genes."

"Yes, but they'll all manipulative like the giver of the Stark genes," she said dryly.

"Oh my god, that's so wrong!  That's so wrongity wrong wrong fucking hell wrong!" Callia shouted.  "You're such a frog humper and you clearly floated through the moron signal tower until some of it got stuck in you!"  She slammed the door from the lab and stomped off.

"Daughter, language," Tony quipped.  "And who sent you into that swearing fit?"

"We really have got to fix her mouth sometimes," Steve said quietly.  She came out to glare at him.  "Good girls don't swear."

"I don't give a goddess damn and if I'm not a good girl then am I a bad boy like Daddy was said to be since I'm his clone?"  She looked at her father.  "Grandfather just wanted me to become a brainless bimbo debutante.  That's the ones on E!, right?  That's who he was talking about?"  Tony nodded slowly.  "Then we really need to do something about Grandpa before I find Andrew's ghostbusty things!  Because eww!  I wear panties, thank you!  I'll never be a drunken slut like them!  I'll never crash my car into innocent people for shits and giggles, and I'll be damned if I'm not going to use my brain as more than something to keep my ears from being sucked together!  If he wants girls like that, he should reincarnate into one!"  She stomped off again and slammed her bedroom door, making Liz and Chris both jump and fuss.

Pepper hugged them both.  "I think it's time we had a talk with your father," she told Tony.

"I'm all for finding Andrew's ghostbusty stuff," Tony said.  "Then soaping her mouth."

"Yes, that needs to be done and I'll have a talk with Howard," Steve said, getting up to go find him.  Howard was fuming about his granddaughter swearing at him.  "She might need her mouth soaped but she's right.  She's not going to be the brainless bimbo trophy wife like you turned yours into."  Howard gaped.  Steve stared back.  "Your granddaughter is just as much of a genius as you were and as her father is. 

"You just insulted her horribly by trying to make her turn into one of the drug using, liquor abusing girls she shuns on tv.  She won't even watch shows about them."  Howard floated backwards.  "For that matter, leave her alone!  She doesn't need this stress.  She's already got stress from the temporary move, Howard.  Please quit making it worse."  He walked off.  Maybe Dawn could stick him in one place so they could show him what debutantes today did.  No sane parent wanted their kids like that.  He walked back up to the living room, finding her sulking.  He stared down at her.  "You swear like that again and I'm soaping your mouth," he said quietly.

"What's that?"

"Just like it sounds."  He stared at her.  "Good girls do not swear."

"Then I must be a bad boy in girl disguise since I'm just like Daddy."

"I got my mouth soaped a few times by my mother," Tony admitted.  "Didn't stop me much but it wasn't like she had consistent rules.  You do."  He looked over at her.  "Still grounded."

"But....  I'm starting to feel my brain going numb from boredom, Daddy."

"Good, then that makes it two months," he said with a smile.

"That's not fair!"

"There's no such thing as fair in life or science," Tony said with an evil smirk.  "Especially not for girls!  Most scientists are old white guys and they don't really appreciate girls in science.  So, yay!  Have fun breaking that ceiling too, sweetheart."  He grinned and waved at her.  "And you're now doing a paper on that gender stereotyping."

"That's discrimination."

"Yes it is," he quipped.  "And it's all over science.  It's all over business and a lot of other fields.  Thank the Goddess you pray to that you were born in the US instead of in some of the rest of the world, and add a paper about gender discrimination around the world to your list."

She pouted.  "That's mean.  It's probably against that Geneva Convention thingy that I can't remember what it's for right off but I know I did a paper on it while I was half asleep."

"That's only for prisoners of war," Steve quipped.  "And yes, the paper on it showed you were half asleep so you're due to hand in the revised copy next week.  Did you forget?"  She whined.  He grinned.  "Yay.  Things are tough all over.  When I grew up, girls weren't in science at all.  They sometimes had factory jobs, or worked for families like yours, but mostly they had babies."

She growled.  "That's why we fought for equal rights.  I remember that paper."  She stared at him.  "If you think so highly of girls like that then you shouldn't have gotten frozen for ninety years.  People looked for you like you were Waldo and they worried."  He winced and backed up a few steps.  "You didn't tell anyone where you were so they couldn't get the bomb thingy you iced yourself for.  You didn't even say goodbye to people."

"Enough!" Tony snapped.

She stared at him.  "You do that again and I'll make you one of Chris's frog humper people."  She stomped off to her room.

Tony started to get up but Steve held up a hand.  "Let me.  It's a problem with me."

"I think it's more a problem that she's worried you'll both do the same thing," Pepper said.  "We all have that worry, guys.  It's what family of people who dress up in spandex suits do when we wait at home."  She stared at them.

Steve nodded.  "I get that.  I really do."  He went to talk to her.  He even knocked first.  She didn't answer so he walked in and sat beside her on the bed.  "I did not mean to do that, but it was necessary at the time," he said quietly.

"There were thousands of other soldiers."

"Yes, there were but I was the only one there."  He stared at her.  "Sometimes, you do what you have to do, Callia.  Even if it hurts others."  He looked at the pets then at her again.  "The same as sometimes vets, like you want to be, have to put down animals because they're sick, guys like me have to fight the bad guys because they have sick ideas.  There was a lot going on and if there had been another way, I would've taken it."

"You could've gotten help."

"We were mid flight."

"We had planes back then.  You could've parachuted out and let it crash by itself."

He stared at her.  "If I hadn't piloted it, it would've taken out New York.  Which is why I jumped in to take it somewhere else.  I didn't want to.  I wasn't happy to.  I was swearing so much I'm pretty sure the God I believe in was scowling at me for it.  Which I hate to admit but it happens.  Though, you're still getting your mouth soaped the next time you spew that way.  Good girls, like you are, do not swear."

She wiped her eyes off.  "Bite me."  He took her into the bathroom and did soap her mouth, no matter how much she struggled.  He got done and backed off, staring at her.  "That's evil."  She was spitting and rinsing out her mouth, trying not to cry.

"No, that's being a parent who has to deal with a kid that does things to get punished.  Punishment's not supposed to be fun."  He stared down at her.  "If you worry about our jobs, you can come talk to us," he said quietly.  "You really can."

"No I can't.  You're always doing things."

"Most of the time, Bucky and I are just sitting and talking.  You can interrupt that."

"He scowls at me."

"He scowls at me.  Big deal."  He stared down at her.  "You're not that delicate and if you can interrupt your father talking to the president, which should've gotten you spanked and grounded, then you can interrupt us."

"He's scarier than the president, who's a woose."

"Want more soap?"

"That's not a swear word."  He stared at her, smirking slightly.  "Even when you were my age it wasn't."

"Yes it was.  My mother would've gotten me for that word."

"Thankfully we moved on."

"You're still going to have manners like a real lady, even if you do end up being a vet or in science.  My daughters, which you are one, will have *excellent* manners.  I grew up with them and so will you and your sister and your brother."  She slumped.  "Now, do you want to talk about things?"  She shook her head, looking down.  "If you do, all you have to do is come talk to us.  Pepper has some of the same worries.  So does your aunt."  He picked her up to hug her.

"I'm not a baby."

"Doesn't mean you can't be hugged."

"I don't need picked up."

"You're short, I didn't want to bend."

"You wouldn't do it to Little People," she quipped.

"I've never met a Little Person from the fairy community and the only one I know that's a human probably wouldn't have minded all that much at times.  Then again, that's part of being in the middle of a war zone."  He stared at her.  "You're not that big yet."  She huffed.  He smirked.  "Keep it up.  Make it three months and another paper."  He put her down.  She hugged him once she was standing.  "Thank you, Callia.  Now, go revise that paper and start on your other two." 

He grinned.  "If you get them done early we *might* consider moving your grounding back some.  Maybe.  If you're good."  He walked out to sit down again.  Tony had clearly been hovering because he was smiling.  Pepper was too.  "I know she's starting to assert her independence and testing her limits. She's still going to have manners."

"I grew up with them and then promptly forgot them at college," Tony quipped.

"You're not a girl," Steve said with a smile.  "She will keep hers."

"I can find someone who can teach her," Pepper said.  "I never grew up with rich kid manners, just regular kid ones."

"They should be good enough," Steve said.

"Slight differences," Tony admitted.  "We can work on that too."  He picked up Liz, who squealed and beat him with her stuffed pig.  "Do I deserve that?"  She grinned and nodded.  "Fine.  Want cuddled, Liz?"  She snuggled into his arms, humming at her pig.  "Great, you hum.  That's cool."  He patted her on the back, making her belch.  "Manners."

"'Scuse," she said cutely with a grin for him.

"Good girl, thank you," Steve said.

Callia opened her door.  "What's an evolutionary deadend?"

"You know how many ways of looking stuff up?" Steve quipped without looking.

Callia huffed.  "One of them is asking my parents, who're supposed to be smart enough to explain things to me."  She slammed her door again.  "I'll ask Jonathan.  He's probably not mad at me anymore for using his computer to find out why some boys have hanging skin and some don't."

Tony called Dawn.  "Your niece is grounded again."

"You need to cut the papers for punishment stuff, boss."

He looked up.  "Why?" he asked dryly.

"Because...  You haven't been paying attention to her ones for school, have you," she said dryly.


"Then perhaps someone should give her some advice on how to explain the differences between Newtonian physics and whatever other version is out there to make guys like Rodney hot," Dawn said dryly.  "It's due next week and I know she's stuck."

"She's not taking physics," Tony said.

"They wanted it for chemistry and with some of the stuff she's doing, I didn't get that in college."

Tony got up to get her assignment sheets, looking them over.  "I didn't get some of this in college," he said, handing them to Pepper and Steve.  "Huh."

"Beyond that, it's teaching her a lot but wearing her out.  She could probably use a spring break."

"Yeah, she could," Tony agreed.  "Thank you for telling us.  How many of these have there been?"

"You know that C she got last year?  There's a reason for it."  She hung up.

Tony got into the files she had sent over for that class.  "That's college thesis level work and a crappy paper," he said, reading it over.  "My teachers would've laughed about that."

"I couldn't help her with that one," Steve admitted.

"I tried.  It was too broad of a topic," Pepper said.  "The teacher had her cut it down, which meant a total hatchet job.  Though, I never would've turned in the original because it was a bit flighty."

Tony went in there to get the original from her system.  He took it to his office to talk to her teacher advocate in the New York school system.   He had no idea why they had wanted such hard work done but accepted such weak papers on it.  Yeah, she was getting a spring break.  Dawn was right about that.

Back in her room, she smiled at the pets.  "Hey, no typing tonight."  Her dog pounced her to lap her.  She giggled and petted them all, spending time with them.  "We need to redo my bedroom.  It's for babies."  They curled up around their human to stare at her/get petted.


Clint and Natasha had to reappear back in New York to pack and hand in 'change of office' papers. He walked in first, with her following after a quick stop at Joyce to drop something else off.  "Here," Clint said, handing his over.

He looked at it then up.  "Hell no!  We need you two here."

"That's going to suck since our wife's out there with Stark," he said dryly, staring at him.  "And Pepper and the kids."  Fury glared.  "Stark wanted to snowbird."  Clint shrugged.  "Cap's out there too, sir.  The only one that isn't is Banner."

Natasha nodded, handing hers over as well.  "We'll be there probably until April."

"Which works out well since Faith said the next huge thing is going to be a takeover attempt of LA from what they're hearing."  Clint crossed his arms over his chest.  "Other than that...."  They ducked as the window got blown in and Deadpool slid in.  "He's going to make you pay for that.  Dawn just screwed their budget for screwing with her."

"Is she better yet?"

"It'll be April before we're back out here and there's no way she can do the spell for another few months.  Not until she's a lot better.  She barely made it through the banishing the other day and has over three hundred internal stitches thanks to it.  Which we threw a fit over."

"Good!"  He pouted.  "The others agreed that her having smallpox sent to her wasn't her fault.  Can I help with that?"

Clint shrugged.  "No one's told us who it was yet.  Sir?"

Fury looked at him.  "The FBI took it over."

Clint snorted, looking at Natasha.  She texted another agent, who sent back a file number.  She pulled it up and printed it for him.  "Aww, they're in Singapore.  Great!  Next time I'm over there we'll handle them."

She looked over his arm.  "Is that not the robotic people?"

"That is.  Which was a plot."  He looked at Deadpool.  "You know, there's a realistic robotic company that sells a version of Dawn."

Wade looked at him then sighed.  "It wouldn't be the same.  LA?  Really?"

"Until April and we may be having an apocalypse battle out there then."   Clint grinned.  "A demonic takeover event."

"Cool!  I always wanted to see one of those."  He considered it.  "We can do it around July or August probably then.  Give her time to recover and build back up energy stores.   By then the baby might even squeal my name too.  Who's the weird sorcerer guy?"

"He wants to be like the Dr. Strange comic," Natasha said.  "He's got some light skills and likes to try to nag Dawn."

"Figures.  He tried to nag me too until his nose exploded thanks to my fist."  He looked at Fury.  "Do you have anything I can go kill for you?  Even the Roombas are bored."

Fury looked at him.  "I can offer you a nice room."  Clint smacked him on the head.  "Barton!"

Clint stared at him.  "He doesn't need a room.  That's what got him into the shape he's in," he said with a light sneer.  "So don't start.  Dawn's considering him a buddy."  He looked at Wade.  "Talk to the people in Cleveland.  They can always use another fighter on the hellmouth.  The swords will come in *very* handy down there.  It'll also give you more demon hunting experience.  Just don't hit on the slayers or Xander will rip your head off."

"I can do that," he agreed happily.  "They cute?"

"All three are under eighteen," Natasha said.

"That's fine."  He shrugged.  "Cleveland?"  Clint wrote down the address for him.  "I can do that.  Thanks, man."  He left through the window, heading to pack his Roomba boxes and go down there.

Clint grinned at Natasha.  "The girls have needed backup according to Coulson."

"They have."  They stared at their boss.  "We have to figure out housing later this week and pack.  Who is the agent in charge in LA?"

"You can't go," Fury said.  "We need you here."

"Thor's out there," Joyce called.  She walked in.  "Phil just called.  The backup team is ready for a trial and they're going to handle the minor skirmishes here, plus he said to remind you Stark does have that beaming satellite, Director.  So if something huge happens they can get here."  Fury scowled at her.  She stared back.  "I'd kill them both if they stayed here while Dawn was in LA until April."

"We'd sneak away anyway.  We'd miss her and the sprout," Clint said with a grin.  "Did Pepper complain yet about Chris and frog humpers?"  Joyce burst out giggling, nodding and patting him on the arm as she walked off.  He grinned at Natasha.  "We're going to let you make the decision.  House or condo?"  They walked off together.

"House.  I like the one that has the older trees.  It's highly expensive but the worth will grow and it's in a safe area.  It has a nice yard for him to run around in when he's walking.  We can even put up a play area for him."

"Dawn wanted to put up a Tackleberry yard."  They waved at Joyce and went back to their present apartment to pack the clothes, weapons, and the cat.

"I don't think he's old enough to play with his Uncle Xander in one yet," Natasha said after considering it.



Pepper was out with the two youngest kids to get them clothes that fit.  Chris was in a mood.  Pepper sighed, looking at him.  "No, sweetie.  Frogs hop with Mommy, frogs hump with Daddy.  And that so came out wrong but okay.  Okay?" she asked with a smile.  He grinned back and switched to hopping because Mommy was upset.  "Thank you."  She kissed him on the head then Liz.  "Liz, please don't pick out dresses that don't fit you." 

She took them and got her the same thing in her size.  Liz whined.  "It's the same thing."  She grabbed the dress she had picked again, hugging it.  "Fine, put it into the cart."   Liz did that with a grin then ran off.  Pepper checked before switching them to the right size and moving on.  Chris wasn't going to tell her they weren't her picks.  She found Liz on the other side of the small boutique staring at a dress and sniffling.  "Liz, do you like that one?"

"No!" she shouted with a point at the lace dress.  "Bad, eww!  Callia say no!"

"No, you don't have to wear a lace dress and your sister would be upset by it.  That's very smart but a bit loud.  Indoor voice."  Liz scowled.  She stared back.  "Manners."

"'Scuse," she chirped with a grin.

"The other manners.  Indoor voice," Pepper said firmly, staring at her demented offspring.  She wasn't even a Stark and already acting like her stepfather.  It had to be osmosis from Tony.  Pepper found a few things she thought were cute and held them up.  "Which one do you like?"  Liz scowled, hands going to her hips.  She smiled.  "You look like Grandma Joyce when you do that."  Liz beamed at her for that complement then ran off.  "No, stay here," Pepper said patiently.  "Come pick out three more outfits then we'll look at pants." 

Liz brought back one, making Pepper sigh.  She squatted down, taking the outfit from her.  "Okay, see this?" she said with a point.  Liz smiled and nodded.  Pepper got one of the ones from the cart.  "Yours should say *this* *here*," she said with a point.  "See, they're different.  You need ones that have this number."

Liz stared then at her.  "No?"

Pepper smiled and held them together.  "See how yours is smaller?  It's too small for you.  We need to get yours with the right number size.  So let's go look then we'll come back to pick up some stuff for Chris."

"Dress?" she asked with a point at the lace one.  She grinned.  "Pretty."

"It'd be very pretty on him but I doubt his father would let him wear a dress this week, Liz."  The sales girl was laughing behind the counter.  She helped her by showing her the numbers on the outfits.  Liz got the point and grabbed a whole bunch of stuff with the right number.  "Good job," Pepper said, looking at the hideous pile.  "Let's look at things you want to wear."  Liz stared.  "What ones do you like?"  She pointed at the pile.  "Ten things, Liz."  Liz pouted.  Pepper sighed.  "That's cool."  She got them into the cart and let Liz help her look at Chris's clothes once she knew what his number was.  The salesgirl smiled at her.  "They have to learn.  We'll work on fashion sense later," Pepper quipped.

"She did pretty good.  She matched most everything."  She checked them.  "Wrong number."  Pepper went to get it in the right size then came back.  She paid and Pepper walked out with the kids and their bags.  The saleswoman tweeted how great Pepper was with the kids.  She was really patient with her daughter and the Stark heir.


Tony walked out to help Pepper grab bags.  "Are you shopping like Auntie Dawn?" he asked Liz with a smile.

"Chris dress pretty?" she asked.

"No, we didn't pick Chris up either of those dresses.  We'd have to make sure Tony wouldn't mind if he wore a dress."  Liz batted her big, green eyes at him with a smile.

He hugged her.  "He's small enough that if he wants to wear a dress he can wear one of your older, pretty ones, Liz."  She beamed and ran to find him one.  He looked at her.  "Callia needs more too."

"Not tomorrow.  Please?"

"Sure."  He helped her carry in the bags and Steve helped by showing Liz how to fold clothes.  "Did she buy the whole store?"

"She finally got the point of the right size so she picked most everything in it.  It wasn't a war I was going to be able to win today," Pepper sighed.

Steve looked in Chris's bag.  "The salesgirl got things mixed up," he said, brining it to Liz's room.  He noticed how much smaller it was and looked at Liz.  "Why does Chris have a dress?"

"He be pretty."  She grinned.

"Oh, that reason."  He went to hang it up in the back of Chris's closet.  They could give it to the next daughter in the family or Danielle.  His son really didn't need a dress.


Dawn looked up at her spouses as they came in.  She was on her back on the floor doing her leg lifts on the edge of the couch with Philip giggling on her stomach.  "Hey, guys.  Philip, look, Mommy Natasha and Daddy are back."  Philip looked up and squealed, crawling over to them to pounce.

"Hey, little guy," Clint said, prying him off his leg to hug.  "Are you happy to see us?" he asked with a grin.  Philip slobbered all over his cheek for him.  "That's a great welcome home."  He sat down next to Dawn's feet.  Natasha took the other side of them.  "Want me or Mommy 'Tasha?" he asked the baby.  He pointed when the baby pouted and she got squealed at instead.  He handed him over.

Natasha smiled at him.  "You are quite loud today, son.  Did you miss us that much?"  He snuggled in and patted her on the chest, cooing at her.  "We love you too."  She cuddled him and he grinned at Daddy.  "You are a little flirt."

"I think that's his 'I have her and you can't' look," Clint quipped.  He stroked over Dawn's ankle.  "Why are you doing those?"

"Had a slight leg cramp earlier."

"Then that makes sense."  He grinned down at her.  Philip was cuddling with his favorite mommy so he should get the other one.  "We have a residence."

"We do?"  She quit moving to stare at him.  "When are we moving?"

"Two more weeks.  Everything went through well and we signed the papers today."  He stroked her ankle again.  Dawn tipped her head, looking confused.  "We do have a salary we're not really using, Dawn."  She pounced him to kiss him.  He moaned and held her against him.  "You're welcome."

"You bought us a house?"  She smiled.  "Wow."  He grinned and let her fuss over it.   Even when she called her mother from his lap.  "Mommy, they bought me a house."  She grinned.  "I don't know but not the point.  They bought me a house, Mommy."  She smiled at the baby.  "Grandma said hi."  She listened.  "Yup.  Thanks, Mom."  She hung up.  "Fury's still fussing at her."  She plucked the baby from Natasha to cuddle him.  He stared up at her.  "I'm a happy mommy.  You can cuddle me too."  He grinned and pooped.  "Gee, thanks."  Natasha laughed but got up to change him.  Dawn kissed her husband again.  "Thank you."

"You're welcome, princess."  He stroked up her back.  She grinned.  He knew that look and it was going to get him pounced.  "Let us shower."  He winked.  She went back to her leg lifts with the baby while they showered together.  Though, the baby followed them a few minutes later and squealed happily at the naked water time he was going to get.  They stared down at him.  "Are you that happy, son?"

"Apparently," Natasha said, handing him the baby.  "At least you're a boy," she said at his look.  She moved behind him to scrub his back while he bathed the baby so he'd quit squealing loud enough to be heard all over the city.  That made him a happy crawling drool factory.  She was happy to help Clint scrub down so that was a bonus for all of them.  When they got done, and the baby was rediapered, Dawn took him back to give him some oatmeal. 

Natasha smiled at him trying to avoid the spoon.  "Eat for me, Philip.  We'll be very proud."  He looked around until he spotted her then smiled and almost-waved, but Mommy took the opportunity to stick the spoon full of oatmeal in his mouth.  "I don't think he liked that," Natasha quipped when the baby glared at Dawn.

Dawn grinned at him.  "Eat or you can't cuddle Chris later, son."  He pouted but she fed him because the other parents helped.  "I still say he likes one of you best."

"He might," Clint agreed with a grin.  "For now.  He'll go back and forth on favorites depending on who's doing what with him."  He stretched out.  The baby fussed and avoided the spoon some more until Dawn finally sighed and put him on the floor again.  He crawled over to Daddy and patted his leg until he picked him up.  "Need some guy time?  I can understand that.  I'm surrounded by girls."

"That used to be Xander's line," Dawn quipped with a smirk.

"He was surrounded by bitches.  I have two beautiful women who like to make me brainless and beg.  So much better."  He grinned.  Natasha kissed him.  The baby grunted at her and pushed.  "I think he wanted some guy time."  He kissed him on the head, getting grinned at.  "Don't want Mommy Natasha to kiss me?"  Dawn kissed him and he grinned at her, getting the same treatment from the baby. 

"Okay, so we'll have some guy time," he said.  "What did you want to do?"  Philip stared at him.  "Hmm, baby ESP time.  Want to go for a walk?"  Philip squealed and bounced so he got up with a groan and pulled on the baby snuggler.  "C'mon, maybe we'll run into your buddies."  He walked off with the baby.  The girls could entertain themselves and him.  Which was always a great thing, that and walks tended to wear Philip out so he napped for a few hours.

Dawn smiled and pounced Natasha, making her laugh and cuddle back.  That was good and Clint could get happy with them later.

Clint walked the baby through the tunnels and outside to the really overdone 'lunch garden' as it was called.  It was way too rigidly manicured for his tastes but the baby liked it.  He saw press people and winced.  "Oh, crap."  Philip flinched.  "Not you.  You won't while we're out here or we have to go in to change you because I didn't grab anything, little guy."  He stayed out of the way of the press, even if a few did catch sight of them walking.  Philip was nice enough to tease them by waving when one shouted their names. 

"No, you don't need to flirt with reporters, son.  That's a bad habit because then they'd stalk you all over.  Which would make all your parents very upset."  He heard the explosion and looked.  That wasn't a lab accident.  He considered it but there was a giant robot stomping out.  "Shit."  He ran over, handing the baby to a reporter he recognized.  "Watch him for ten please.  Stark, need my bow!" he shouted when he spotted him running in.

"Barton!" Andrew called, tossing him one.  "Not yours but good enough?"

"Yeah, I can use that."  It was a nice compound hunting bow.  With spikes for some reason.  It worked, that's all that mattered.  That and he had explosive arrows.  Jonathan tossed him some of those and he started to distract the robot.  "Get the kid from the reporter, 'Drew."

"Yup."  Jonathan ran to do that while Andrew set up something to help.  The sonic wave generator worked, which was good since they hadn't tested it yet, and the wave of noise hit the robot, which gave Clint's explosive arrows an opening to blow the guy up.  Stark came out to finish it off.  Andrew looked at Jonathan and the squealing baby.  "He needs to make putting on the suit and taking it off faster, huh?" 

He took Philip to hug since he was being squealed at.  "Caroline missed you, little guy.  You still can't date her though, please?"  He sniffed and looked at him, walking him down there.  "Diaper needed and I have no idea how to change little boys."  He handed him over and took the bow and quiver back.  "Have fun, we'll see you tomorrow, little guy."  He ran off before the diaper started to overflow.  With the way his face looked, Philip's butt was going to have an epic eruption.

Clint looked down at him.  "Didn't I ask you not to do that since I didn't bring out a diaper bag?"  He walked off.  "Let me change him."  Natasha walked past him.  "Want to change him, Nat?"

"Not with how he's still going.  I might have to change clothes."

"Me too," he complained, holding him out at arm's length.  Even if he fussed, it was nice not to have to do laundry tonight for more than the baby.

Natasha walked out there.  "Stark, do you need help?"

"No, we've got it dead," he said.  "I have no idea who was working on that."

Jonathan walked over and shrugged.  "It looks like someone got our girl-fetching robot and updated it, Tony.  Sorry."  He ran off.

Tony looked over.  "Aren't you two in New York?"

"Caroline missed her Philip and Chris time," Andrew said with a grimace.  "I'm still reminding her they can't date so they can't make a non-geek baby.  Because with that much brain power it'll be too delicate for anything but a living computer brain or a non-geek."  He walked off, following where Clint had went.  "They in Guest Suites, boss?"

"Yes."  He shook his head, looking at Pepper when she came out with Liz and Chris in a stroller.  "Andrew and Jonathan are here."

"Wonderful."  She smiled.  "Chris keeps scowling because he can't flirt with Caroline."

"I agree with the boys.  If there's kids between them, they'll either be non-geeks or too smart to do anything but lay there and think," he said dryly.  She cackled, patting him on the arm as she walked past him with the kids.  "Okay.  Clean up on aisle six, guys."  The security team and his robotics team gathered the parts together to look over.  Tony went to take off the suit and check on the kids.  On the way he ran into Pepper with all the kids.  "Problems?"  He patted Allenetta on the head since she was fussy.  "Where's your parents, young lady?"

"Jonathan told her where the original robot came from so Patty pounced Jonathan so hard they dented a wall," Pepper said with a smile.  "Chris, being a Stark, decided he wanted to help by trying to undo MB's shirt buttons.  Philip was pouting that he got left out with Caroline so they were cuddling and sucking on each other, which made Andrew horrified.  So we're going to teach them all about paperwork today.  Maybe one of them will be Callia's assistant when Dawn has to retire."  She smiled and walked them off.

"That's a scary thought," Tony said, following her.  He paused when he heard a squeal.  "Wow, I didn't know MB was a screamer like Dawn."  She tugged on his arm so he went with Pepper, smiling at the kids.  They found Steve up there and the kids pounced him, getting hugged.

"Hi, Caro, hi, Allenetta."  He hugged them then Philip.  "Hi, Philip."  Philip wiggled free and crawled over to pounce his fascinating older girl friend.  Caroline gave him a dirty look but cooed and patted him when he cuddled.  He laughed.  "You two are adorable."

"Andrew and I agree, Caroline and my kids can't date.  They'd probably make a non-geek."

"Or a really dysfunctional version of you," Pepper agreed with a smile.

"Or that, one that never did anything but lay on their bed and think."

"There's nothing wrong with that," Callia said firmly.  "I enjoy the hell out of it."  Steve glared at her.  "I do!"

"Swearing," he noted.

"This is all family."  She grinned.  "I don't in public and if Daddy can I can."

"Faulty logic," Pepper warned.  "He's an adult, you are not.  Slight change of variables."

"I hate variables," Callia complained.  "I hate math too."

"You used to like math," Tony said, staring down at her.  "What happened?"

"It makes no sense!  It doesn't even make Uncle Rodney without coffee and sleep sense!  How can anyone do something with an unabsolute, varies by whim variable!"

Tony hugged her.  "I promise, if you go into physics instead of engineering, it'll be okay and I'll let Rodney and Radek mentor you, sweetheart."  She huffed and stomped off to call her uncle to complain about her daddy malfunctioning again.  Clearly he needed guy tinkering time to cure it.  That's what usually did it.  Or him getting really loud with Mommies Steve and Pepper.  She pouted when Diama appeared.  "I suck."

Diama hugged her.  "You don't suck.  It's confusing.  Even I get confused.  I had to ask Radek why math had so many things that weren't numbers."  Callia smiled because if her future goddess was confused it was okay if she was.  "We should go see Rodney and Radek."

"JARVIS, tell Daddy I'm going with Diama to see Uncle Rodney."  They disappeared to the lab to pout at him.

Radek looked over at the door opening.  "You two are not scientists," he said with a smile.  "Not until have first college degree."

"It makes no sense," Callia pouted.  Diama nodded.

Rodney looked over from his desk.  "What makes no sense?"  The girls ran over to climb on his lap and tell him about math not making sense to them.  He grabbed some paper and a pencil to go over how you handled those freakish non-absolute things like infinity and symbols that changed value based on the surrounding matter.  The goddess got it faster but Callia did get it and she snuggled him.  He smiled at them.  "Better?"  They nodded.  "Then you two should probably check in with your parents."

"I had JARVIS tell Daddy we were coming to see you," Callia said with a smile.  "Daddy's malfunctioning again.  He needs guy tinkering time or whatever he does with Mommy Pepper and Mommy Steve to get giggly.  Can you come back to do that?  We won't let Philip or Liz or Chris pounce you."

He looked at her.  "We only tinker in the lab.  Your father's mood afterward isn't the same as when he's spent time with his all-but spouses."

Callia shrugged.  "It seems the same and he's just as happy.  That way he could be happy and make squealing noises back when Chris made them at him.  And it'd help him calm Mommy Pepper down when Chris insists that frogs hump again.  You can even talk down to Grandpa because he wanted me to be a *debutante*.  I got so punished for yelling at him," she sighed, hugging Diama.  "There was soap and extra papers too.  Daddy even said that girls weren't appreciated in science."

"Some of the older scientists aren't used to having women in science," Rodney agreed.  "There's not a lot of you, even today."  He gave her a squeeze.  "Which grandfather?  I can't imagine Bruce wanting you to be a debutante of all stupid things."

"Grandpa Stark and I know!  I mean, I wear panties and I don't drink, or do drugs, or drive into innocent sidewalks while doing either of those.  How could he expect me to have yappy dogs!  I need better conversation than yappy dogs.  Most of them don't even know how to spell science, much less do it, and he wanted me to have *babies* to do the science stuff.  I don't care if I do get my mouth soaped again, he was a stupid frog humper."

"Frog humper?" Diama asked.

"Dawn called some idiot scientists that tried to take Philip from her that.  That and evolutionary dead ends.  And when I asked, Daddy gave me *another* paper to figure out what that meant!"  She looked at Rodney.  "You need to remind Daddy why science makes him happy so he's not as mean, Uncle Rodney.  He hugged me earlier and said it was okay if I wanted to follow you instead of him.  He's going weird."

"He clearly is, yes," he agreed with a smile for the girls.  "Though, I may have to use the frog humper nomenclature later on."  He blinked a few times.  Then he hugged them.  "I'll call him after I have done all my work for the day."

Diama snorted.  "You'll never get done because you keep adding to your list.  You need days off to remember why science was fun and not work too, Rodney."  He stared at her.  She smiled.  "I'm your goddess and I said so," she chirped.

"He can tinker with Daddy for that," Callia said happily, cuddling her.  "That'll help them both.  They can even figure out what someone did with Warren's girl fetching robot to make it mean.  Or he can help them make new roombas for the army."

"Army like Ares'?" Diama asked.  Callia grinned and babbled about the roombas.  Radek and a few others tried not to laugh but had to leave to cackle outside.  Callia waved a hand without looking.  "They'll understand soon.  Deadpool might bring some of them to the demon apocalypse this spring in LA."  She beamed.

Diama patted her on the head.  "You need a vacation from science too.  That way you have fun."

"It's my spring break but I'm grounded so no one's going to take me anywhere except to get new clothes because mine are too small again.  Daddy said I looked like a streetwalker in my favorite shirt yesterday because I nearly flashed some nipple."  Rodney groaned and shook his head.  She cuddled him.  "It's okay.  I put it up because boys are icky and if they try to touch me I can beat the shit out of them like I was Auntie Dawn.  Even if I'm in a future bikini."

"Yes, I'm sure you will," he promised, giving them both a hug.  "Let me call your father, make sure he's not worried."

Diama looked up then shrugged.  "He's letting Philip play with his hair while he teaches Chris colors."  She looked to the east.  "Brucie is bored."  She grinned.  "Meet you in the labs.  'Lantis, Rodney needs to visit Uncle Tony in the labs here please.  He needs vacation time."

"I can do that," the AI said happily.  "It would make him calmer and sleep better for a bit."

Callia looked up.  "Did we forget the rolling boxes in New York?  JARVIS hasn't talked to you in a few days."

"We've integrated more so we only have to connect by a slight surge of power through the connection to the Bifrost Bridge that Colonel Sheppard helped Baldr create, Callia, but thank you for thinking of our happiness."

"Is that like making babies for computers?" Callia asked, making Radek change his mind and walk out again.  "It sounded like it," she called after him.  "You need a vacation to color and stuff too!"

"I'm sure they're more chatting as they don't have the physical apparatus for such pursuits," Rodney said quickly.

Callia looked at her.  "There's that robot company that pisses Auntie Dawn's spouses off in Singapore.  I found their video by accident when I was looking at the trashed files on the Stark company system.  Or Andrew and Jonathan could build one probably.  The robo-Mommy Pepper and robo-Auntie Natasha are both great, even if they were built by Warren for his nasty boy needs."

Diama looked at her.  "Robot people?"  Callia nodded, telling her about them.  She looked and frowned.  "Who did that?"

"Warren.  He was friends with Andrew and Jonathan but he had a bad brain leak so he's in the hospital until he quits trying to kill others and sleep with robots.  He had been visited by the bad idea fairy."

She grinned.  "That's Ares' new job."  She cackled and took them to the labs in Stark.  Then she grabbed Bruce and brought him.  She went back to tell Joyce and get a hug, because Joyce gave great hugs, then went to teach Tara's twins about science stuff and balloons.  She loved her balloon geeks.  They explained *everything* to her.

Bruce looked around then at Tony.  "Isn't this your lab at the house?"

"Yeah."  He looked at his daughter.  "What did you do?"

"You needed the happy times like you get when you tinker with them or when you have giggling, loud time with Mommies Pepper and Steve."  She grinned.  "I'll get someone to pick me up."  She ran upstairs to measure her room while waiting on Happy or someone.  She'd have to redecorate whenever they moved back here.  It was even more for babies than her one at the company compound.

Tony shook his head.  "I have a great lab at the company.  Grab her, Bruce."

"Problems beyond the remodeling?" Bruce asked, looking around.  He hadn't been here before.

"Dawn had a vision that this house was going to be attacked."

"Oh, charming."  Tony got them a ride while he went to help Callia with her simple thing until it got there.  He could protect her while Rodney and Tony talked about how to calm Callia down.  Because his daughter was now incredibly warped and he had no idea how he had done it.  They needed to fix her before she outdid Warren and made herself robotic friends or something.  Or turned into Deadpool with the way she babbled and liked weapons.


Dawn looked at her niece, shrugging some.  "We both need some clothes."

"If you'd gain back those five pounds you wouldn't need some," Callia said with a smile.  "You need to make Unclie Clint feed you."

"He did last night."  She took her to shop.  She had to hire a car for the day, Happy was busy and she wasn't allowed to drive for a few more weeks with the way the meds were slowing down her reaction times.  But that was fine.  They were half-demon owned and they respected her and Callia so they'd be safe enough.  Dawn checked the upcoming schedules.  "Do you want to go to the theater with the parents?"

"What's the theater?  Like movies?"

"No, like plays."

"I've never seen a play."  She considered it.  "Is that a date for them?"

"No, they've put a notation on there to see if you wanted to go.  If so, you'll have to dress up."  She looked over at her.  "That means slightly formal clothes."

"Pretty dress?"

"Pretty dress, jewelry."  She looked her over.  "We might want to talk about getting your ears pierced soon too."

She touched her ears.  "For earrings?"  Dawn nodded with a slight smile.  "I might like that."  She considered it.  "That would hurt, huh?"  Dawn nodded.  "Fine.  We can do that."

"You sure?  That means you have to take care of them."

"They'd have to take less work than the pets," she quipped.  "Can we look at things to redo my bedroom?"

"Yup.  Though, I saw your ideas.  That won't work because of your dog."

"That's true, Xander puppy can't get up onto a raised bed.  I'll have to fix that.  Maybe a ramp.  He can jump but he doesn't like to."

"That's because he's getting chubby," she told her.

"Yeah, kinda."  She shrugged and smiled.  "But that's okay.  We can start to go for longer walks since it's not chilly out here."  The car paused and they got out, going into the store.  Dawn was checking her accounts.  One was suspiciously not working so she had to switch to the cards from her main draw account.  That helped and she sent an email at Natasha to find out why the bank was down.  Callia got outfitted for the next few months.  Dawn took her up to a fancier store to get her that important first semi-formal gown.  She smiled at the curious looking saleswoman.  "This is my niece, Callia Stark.  She's going to the theater with her parents in a few weeks.  So it's time for the first semi-formal nice dress."

"Of course.  This way, Miss Stark."  She smiled at her.  "You'll probably want something nice but comfortable?"  Dawn nodded.  "Which show?" 

Dawn checked then shrugged.  She looked that up and found it.  "The opening on the eighth."  She smiled at the saleswoman.  "Which is in French."

"I'm learning French," Callia said happily, smiling at the saleswoman.  "Do I get to be twinkly?  I sometimes like twinkly.  I'm getting my ears pierced later on."

"That's a great thing," the saleswoman said with a smile.  "It'll help when you have to pick out jewelry."

"Sometimes a good pair of earrings is enough or a necklace, that way you don't have to wear a ton of jewelry at once to show off," Dawn agreed.  She looked at something and shook her head.  "Nothing that kidish please.  She's nine."

"Sure.  Let's see."  She found the flowergirl dresses and pulled out a few.  "These we have in a size near hers.  It'd have to be tailored."

Dawn considered it, staring at them then her niece.  "Let her try on the blue one.  If we need to, we can get her a belt to make it look less like a party dress."  The saleswoman nodded and took her to help her try it on.  Dawn looked up kid clothiers in the area and smiled.  One of her more favored shops might have some and they were only a few blocks away.  Callia came out.  "It'll have to be hemmed.  You're not allowed to wear heels yet."  She made 'turn around' motions, shaking her head.  "That's going to take a ton of tailoring and we only have three weeks."  She considered the other ones.  "Let's look at hair things for now."  She let Callia pick out a few things and went over why she liked them.  Including a little cap/veil fascinator.  "Those are fashionable right now."

"They are," Callia agreed happily.

"That and that purple dress might work.  It had black trim, right?"  The saleswoman got it for Callia to try on.  Dawn smiled.  "That should work for the theater."

"It should," the saleswoman said.  "It fits her tolerably well.  It could use a bit of tailoring but nothing too huge."  Dawn nodded and they looked at her.  "Do you like that, Miss Stark?"

She looked at herself.  "What shoes would I wear, Auntie?"

"Your black suede flats probably.  Or black ones.  Your accessories should probably pretty much match."

"Huh."  She twirled a few times in the mirror.  "Then I like this."  She smiled.  "Do we have someone who can fix where it's a bit big?"

"We can ask my tailor back in New York for recommendations," Dawn assured her.  Callia beamed and bounced a bit, going to change and let the saleslady wrap things up.  She stared at her card.  "It just worked."

"The bank may be down.  One of mine's not working and it's through the same bank." 

Dawn handed over her other one, getting it run.  That worked and she smiled, taking the card.  "Okay, let's get your ears pierced."  She walked off, hugging her.  "You have very nice taste, very young and yet still pretty."

"Think Mommy Pepper will like it?"

"I think she'll adore it."  They shared a smile. Their driver was more than happy to give them time to get frozen yogurt on the way to the jewelry store Dawn liked.  Dawn showed them the dress and fascinator.  They had a nice pair of amethyst that would go with it.  Dawn bought them and let them pierce Callia's ears.  Callia winced and teared up but got hugged until the ouching stopped.  She even took notes on how to care for her ears.  The saleswoman there was more than happy and Callia found something she liked, getting it for herself.  It was young and a solitaire on a chain.  So good for her jewelry box.  They went home.  Dawn smiled as they walked in.  "She is going to the theater with you."

"You got her ears pierced?" Pepper demanded.  She pulled Callia over.  "Where did you go?"

"To the jewelry store," Callia said with a grin.  She showed her the new earrings.  "That will go with the pretty dress and hat, Mommy Pepper, and I got this because it was pretty."  She showed her that necklace.

"That's very good taste," Tony agreed.  "Classic and goes with a lot of things."  He looked at Dawn.  "I think you may have stepped on some toes."

She kissed Pepper on the cheek.  "It's a semi-formal.  You still get to get her the first fully formal special dress."  They shared a look.  "She got a hat too."

"A hat?" Pepper asked.

Callia nodded with a grin.  "I look good."  She twirled around and pounced her father to hug him.  "Earrings hurt."

"They do, yes."  He cuddled her.  "What else did you get?"  Dawn handed over the other bags so she could show him.

"By the way, her bank card quit working mid-trip."  Dawn sat down and looked at Pepper.  "This way we both get one of the special outfits."

"Good point and the first formal is usually for something really special."  She stole Callia back to hug her.  "I want to see first.  That way we know if you need shoes or a slip."

"Slip maybe," Dawn said.  "But it's nowhere near see-through."  Pepper smiled and nodded.  "Go ahead."  Callia took that package into her room to change.  "It needs a touch of tailoring.  We did not go couture by any means."

Callia came out pinning her fascinator on and smiled at them, twirling around.  "See, pretty neat, huh?"

"Very," Tony said, staring at his little girl.  She clearly wasn't so little anymore.  She was turning into a teenager way too soon.  He wasn't ready for this yet.  Pepper was sniffling too.  He tipped his head to the side.  "Those new earrings will go very well."

"They will," Pepper agreed, pulling her over to hug her.  "You did good, kiddo."

"Thanks, Mommy Pepper."  She grinned at her auntie.  "We picked the hat first."

"Sometimes you need the great thing to go with the accessory."  She winked at her.  "Go change back."  She ran off to do that.  "Those shoes are too tight."

"We can fix that," Pepper said, wiping off her cheeks.  "She looks like a young lady in that."  Dawn nodded with a grin for them.  "Wow."  She looked at Tony, who sighed but nodded.  Pepper hugged Dawn.  "Thanks for leaving me the extra special one."

"For her coming out or her prom probably," Dawn agreed.  "Both super special things."

Pepper smiled and nodded.  "They are, yeah."  Callia came out in a leotard and shorts, pouncing her for a hug.  "You showed excellent taste today.  You get to help me teach Liz and Chris how to match clothes later."

She laughed.  "That's fine.  Make sure they can't play with my earrings?"

"I can do that."  She cuddled her.  "You're getting so big."

"No I'm not.  I'm only nine.  You have *years* yet before I'm a big girl and boybands in between," she joked.

"We taught you better taste than that," Tony joked, taking her for his own hug.  Dawn gave them some privacy to figure out what to do with a tweenager.  They had to mourn the little girl times that were past them now and the future teenager years that were ahead.


Dawn looked up as music came on over the loudspeaker.  She sent out a building-wide memo that if they were having a theme song day to pick something that would not get complained about.  It got switched from _Weird Science_ to _White and Nerdy_.  She shook her head.  It was a goofy day in the Stark compound.  Philip chirped and cackled.  She looked down at him.  "Some day that'll be you, yeah."  She handed him a teething biscuit, making him a happy boy.  Tony walked up the hall with the speakers around him automatically switching to _Have a Drink On Me_ by AC/DC.  "Appropriate," Dawn teased with a grin.

"Yes it is."  He looked down at Philip.  "Hey, little guy.  Why aren't you with the other kids?"

"He actually likes me today.  He can sit with me, Tony."

"Fine."  He went into the office.  The music cut off because Pepper had JARVIS stop it.  He kissed her and winked at Liz.  "Are you liking the mommy time too?  I thought you were with Beya."

"She was until Beya got a sudden nose bleed."  She pointed at where Chris was staring at the painting on the wall.  "I have no idea why but he's been doing that all day."

"It's probably the Stark focus.  Or we'll have him checked."  He walked over and Chris stared at him, smiling.  "Hey, Son.  Want closer to the pretty thing?"  He picked him up to let him stare at the picture better.  That made Chris happier.  "We're having your eyes checked."

"He has an upcoming baby doc appointment in three days," Dawn called in.  "Then Liz has one the next day so you don't have to wrangle them both together."

"He can refer us to a good eye doc if he thinks it's necessary," Tony decided, looking at his son.  Who grinned back at him.  "Then we'll see if it's the Stark focus or not."  He sat down and put him on the carpet with Liz.  Who smirked at them.  "Is that your 'I need a diaper badly' look?" he teased.

"She's almost two so we need to start the potty talks soon," Pepper said.

"Lizzy, run for the potty," Dawn said.  Liz squealed all the way in there and climbed up to stand on the toilet and pee.  She grinned.  "Steve caught her doing that the other night and could not figure out what she was doing."

"She's mimicking the daddies," Tony said, looking awed.  "Will she do both?"

"Do not know.  We know she'll go when prompted but it's not her idea," Dawn said with a grin at Philip.  "Some day soon you'll learn how to do that too.  Though, you are learning to sit down at first.  It's easier."  She smoothed down his hair.  "Almost time for the first haircut, son.  Your daddy's looking forward to that."

Clint strolled up the hall reading a book on parenting.  "What?"

"First haircut needs to happen soon."

Clint grinned.  "It is getting a bit long in front."  He hugged his son, earning a happy grin and some slobber.  Clint gave him another teething biscuit.  "Natasha wanted to know how you potty trained."

"They have to be old enough, usually two or three," Dawn said.  "You prompt them to go, then treat the hell out of them for it."  She smiled.  "He's learning how to sit down first.  It's easier and we can put up a potty seat."

"He's a guy, Dawn.  We don't usually sit down."

"He's got no aim yet," she countered.  "He'll need to sit down until he can aim it."

"That may be a point," he admitted, considering it.  "We'll see."  He kissed her and walked off reading.  "Is he going to walk soon?"

"He's not standing up so no."

"Wonderful.  Wade wants him to squeal his name."

"I'll get to work teaching him once he starts to babble more than noise," she said dryly.  She smiled at him.  "Say mama?"  He babbled everything but that.  "That's okay.  It's a bit early, son."  She got back to work.  He fussed so she pulled him into her lap to watch her type.  That made him happier because he got Mommy time and he got to see things magically appear for her.  Dawn finished up her task and printed it, carrying it and the baby into the office.  "Did you hire another assistant?  I haven't gotten anything from you in a few hours."

Pepper shook her head.  "I've sent you three things to proofread and polish for me, Dawn."  She considered it then looked up.  "JARVIS, what happened to those files?"

"It's clear that Dawn should not be back at work yet.  She's exhausted and not up to her perky self," the AI said.  "Therefore I put them in holding until she got some rest."

Dawn sniffled.  "I love you like a fussy uncle, JARVIS."

"If I had true emotions I'd probably feel the same, Dawn.  Now go take a rest."

"I can't.  I have to earn my paycheck.  I don't want to set a bad example for Philip by slacking."

"I doubt you are," Pepper said, smiling at her.  "We know you're not one of those who earned their paychecks on their back or their knees, Dawn."

"Yeah but it's still my job and I'm taking less hours right now.  I can do typing stuff, JARVIS, really."

He huffed.  "I'll release them singly so you can handle them as you're able.  You should have waited another week before coming back, Dawn."

Tony leaned in, staring at them.  "JARVIS, Dawn can handle it."

"She was doing some in bed last night," the AI said firmly.  "She should have been doing other things, like resting."

"I couldn't sleep anymore," Dawn said with a slight shrug.  "Really, I'm okay, JARVIS."

"You are not.  Your biorhythms say that you're tired."

"It's nearly lunch and I was going to eat and rest for a half hour," Dawn said.

"Then I'll release those to you afterward.  Your mate is picking up your lunch anyway."  He hung up.

She smiled at Pepper.  "He really is the greatest AI and fussy uncle ever."

"Yeah, he is."  She smiled.  "See you in an hour."

"Yup."  She looked at Philip.  "Lunch time?"  He stared at her.  "C'mon, let's eat with Daddy."  She smiled at Tony.  "He backlogged my work on me."

"I heard."  He smiled at the happy baby.  "Have fun with your food, Philip."  He babbled baby noise and flung around his soggy teething biscuit all the way back to their suite.  "I agree, she came back early."

"She wanted to," Pepper said with a smile.  "She only came back at part time for that reason."

"I know.  The only thing she hasn't fully managed is her rounds to collect everything and fuss over people."  He smiled as Natasha strolled up the hallway in a nice outfit.  "Out for a date?"

"No, we've found evidence that one of your people is selling their time to other countries as well so I'm going to pretend to be Dawn for a bit."  She smiled.

"They all know you're not her."

"Yes, but they'll still talk to me."  She strolled off.  "I'm going on her gathering and nagging rounds."

"Start in building four, she hasn't gotten to them in days," Pepper called after her.

"I need to do building seven."

"She hasn't gotten there since Monday," Tony quipped.  "She's got a chart made for right now."  Natasha came back to get it and look it over.  Then she went back to fill in for Dawn while checking up on that group.  She'd go tease them in a few minutes for information stuttered at her chest.  Most of the scientists here in the compound did.  Those ones though, they were the married, straight, not even looking at her sort.  So she'd have to work around that.  And Caroline trying to claim her for some  auntie time when she ran into them.  She smiled at the baby cheering at her.  "Philip is having lunch."

"She just ate," MB said with a smile.  "Dawn's on lunch?"  Natasha nodded.  "Shoot.  I needed to know how she made that thingy she gave to Jonathan when you guys didn't make it home in time to eat it."

"Which thing?"

"The mushroom thingy."

"Put mushrooms into a baking dish or a casserole dish, add italian seasoning, the dried kind, and a bit of garlic powder but not too much.  Add cheese on top then cover with breadcrumbs.  Bake at 350 until brown.

"So that's how it came out crispy.  I need cooking lessons."

Natasha smiled.  "There's a great many ways of doing that.  Including trading recipes among the labs."
"We might have to do that.  I'll have Dawn send out a memo.  Thanks, Natasha."  She looked at her daughter.  "C'mon, we'll go sit outside in the sun.  You haven't seen the sun today.  Or yesterday.  And possibly not all week thanks to Daddy being busy."  She walked her off talking to her.

Natasha smiled and went back to her finding of information and gathering of things.  Dawn really did have a very unusual job with all the fussing she did but it had gotten out all her maternal instincts before she had the baby.  Now....  The geeks liked the baby more than they did anyone but Callia.  She ran into her.  "I'm gathering reports for your aunt."

"Okay.  I can help."  She looked at herself.  Jeans, band t-shirt her Uncle Phil had gotten her.  Hair up in a ponytail.  "We can do that."

"Shoes," Natasha ordered.  She huffed but summoned some to put on and they went together.   They could probably visit all the labs.  Callia smiled as they walked into the first one.  "I'm doing Stark rounds," she quipped with a grin for them and a hug for one she knew.  "To make sure my future geeks are all like family."  They smiled at her and talked to her about what they were doing while Natasha made coffee, got them new pastries sent up since their plate of them was empty, and gathered reports.  By the time they were done with the buildings Dawn had not gotten to yet, Callia was about hoarse but happy.  Natasha did that one building, earning a look from the little genius.  She smiled back.  "I have need of talking to one of them," she said quietly.

"That's fine.  That's kinda your job sometimes."  She took the reports they had gathered and went to the office.  "Here, Mommy Pepper.  Auntie Natasha did the rest of the rounds for Auntie Dawn."  Dawn grinned from her seat on the couch.  "Hi, Philip."  He beamed and waved.  "Good boy."  She hugged him.  "C'mon, it's time for me to brush the dog.  Want to help me brush the doggy?"  She carried him off.  "You're so heavy.  You must've just eaten."

Dawn smiled.  "Bring him back when he needs changed."

"Beya's with us."

"Okay, that's fine."  She looked at Pepper.  "Which one in building seven?"  Tony shrugged.  "I'll ask her later."  She got up to look over the reports.  "I'll pop around to make sure on the food thing.  Those buildings never eat."  She went back to her desk to go back to work, thankfully JARVIS and Clint had talked and Clint had convinced him to release her work back to her since she had rested.

Pepper and Tony shared a grin and got back to the company stuff -  after Tony had kissed her stupid and got in a bit of groping.


Tony was staring at the front of his house.  He loved his house and missed it.  He looked at the trees out front.  One looked like fall foliage.  The other....  Did it in the spring.  He realized that and texted Dawn to see which one it was.  She sent back a question mark so he reminded her of the vision.  She told him and he stared.  That was bad.  It probably should've happened already.  So maybe.....  No, probably not.

Xander appeared, looking up at the house then at him.  "The bomb's there.  It's got a motion sensor stuck on a wall in the stairway down to your lab."

"When did it get put there?"

"No idea," Xander admitted.  He showed Tony the motion sensor.  Tony huffed and disconnected it.  Xander had to move him when the house exploded.  Tony was a bit injured but not as badly as it could have been.  Xander put them both into the infirmary, handing him to Dr. Pigalli since she was there.  "He went to check on the house since that vision should've happened by now.  He disconnected the trigger sensor wrong."

"Good to know."  She checked him over, handing him some tylenol and doing the few stitches he needed from shrapnel.  "Could've been a lot worse, Mr. Stark."

"The vision had the house falling off the cliff with all of us in it."  Pepper stomped in.  "Xander found the trigger to the bomb for that vision."

"Wonderful!  Why did you set it off?"

"I was trying to disarm it," Tony said.  He looked around.  "JARVIS, has LAPD responded there yet?"

"Yes, sir, and the fire department.  They are not pleased that you tried it yourself."

"Well, I do know most bomb types by rote," he said dryly.  He looked at Xander.  "Can you go tell them?"

He sighed but took him with him.  "Guys, owner?"  He gave him a nudge and left again.  Tony could get a ride.

Stark took the tylenol.  "There was a vision that the house would go up," he told the officers staring at him.  "That's why we 'remodeled' for the last year."   That got a single nod from the officers.  "Alexander, who dropped me off, found the trigger."

"You should've called for SWAT, sir," one said.

Tony stared at him.  "I'm Tony Stark.  I built bombs for a living, kid."  The officer slumped a tiny bit.  "I wasn't even near the bomb.  I was removing the stuck on motion detector when it went off."  That was still in his hand.  He had been holding onto it when Xander had moved him.  He held it up to look at.  "That's not fully motion sensing though.  That's a sensor on the side I did not see."  He looked at it better.  "Huh."  Coulson appeared so he tossed him the sensor.  "That's the motion sensor Xander found."

He looked it over.  "That's one of the new DNA sensors from that company in England."  He looked at Stark.  "You good?"

"Bit sore.  Ringing ears."  He looked at the mess of his house then back at his oversight agent.  "Bit pissed off."

"At least you had the warning to move everything," he said bluntly.  "Agent Coulson, SHIELD."  He pulled his ID case.

"Why weren't we informed of the vision?" one of the officers asked.

"Because I'm not sure if the guys who did this might have a janitor or someone who can get into your systems," Tony said.  "I told SHIELD."

"It was deemed too much risk of getting out of out sight," Phil told them.  He was staring at someone.  "Barton?"

"No, that's not him, and I've wondered a few times if there's a few hidden Barton kids around," Tony said dryly.  "No, he's not Clint."

"Huh.  Looks like him."

Tony nodded.  "He does."  They looked at the officers again.  "He does look just like Hawkeye."  They nodded they knew that, and had probably teased him over it.  Tony smiled a bit.  "I don't think anyone's told Barton that yet."  He shook his head to clear it.  "Anyway, that was stuck on a wall, no string, cord, or wire to it.  So I pulled it off and that set it off.  If I had seen that sensor I wouldn't have done that."

"Still, if you had told us, we could've had people here waiting," one of the officers said.

Tony nodded.  "Which would've alerted them and if they had a shut off set up they probably would've.  Like I said, guys," Tony said as he put his hands into his pockets.  "I've built bombs for *years*.  This thing is probably weaker than what I used to build back in college when I got bored and frustrated."  He shrugged slightly.

Phil looked it over.  "You had structural issues from the shifting cliff line after that last slide anyway," he noted.  The head of the SWAT bomb response team came over.  Tony got walked off by him.  He tossed back the sensor.  "I can help do the paperwork."  The officers smiled and handed it to him while they reported to their boss.  Stark's insurance person was not going to be happy that he hadn't called in a professional to help.

Then again, he was Tony Stark and he built weapons so maybe they did rate him as a professional.  Who knew.


Pepper looked up as Tony strolled into the office later that afternoon.  "So, they had it already there?"

"Probably in the last wave of workmen," Tony agreed.  He flopped down, taking the coffee and advil Dawn handed him.  "Thanks, Dawn."  He gulped them both, letting her refill the cup.  "I had warned the insurance agent that there was one, which is why there was 'remodeling'.  He quipped about needing the hole in the floor fixed anyway."  Pepper smiled and nodded.  "The scary thing is that sensor.  I looked those up.  If you had gotten within a foot of it, it could scan you.  Anything near mine would've set it off.  So Callia and Chris could've."  She grimaced but nodded.  "They're scary, Pepper."

"That company is not real healthy anyway," Dawn said, pulling up what Phil had told her to look up.  Stark looked it over and they nodded that it was in a prime takeover spot.   It would mean Stark went back to selling weapons though.  Not that Tony had anyone he'd trust to take them over.

Tony looked at her.  "I saw Clint's twin."  She looked confused.  "There's a SWAT guy that looks *just* like him."

"Huh.  Didn't know that."  She sent that thought at him, getting a 'not that I'm aware of' back.  She pulled up the film people had taken of the clean up and found him, printing it in their suite for Clint to see.

Clint came in a minute later.  "What the fuck?"

"Either you went back in time," Dawn said dryly.  "Or your doppleganger is a slightly cranked SWAT agent," she said dryly.  "Relative?"

"Probably not."  He stared at the enhanced picture, shaking his head.  "Yeah, he looks just like me.  If I had relatives to ask, I'd do that.  Can you find his name for me?"  Tony nodded he had it.  "Is he related?"

"Coulson was looking at that since he thought it was odd too," Tony said dryly.  "He found one that looks just like Dawn in New York being a deb."  He sipped his coffee.  "None on Natasha yet though."

"Huh."   They shared a look and shrugged then got back to things.  Clint took Liz with him.  "C'mon, you.  It's more than time for Beya to change that low hanging thing.  Diapers are not hip huggers or gang boy pants."  Pepper laughed and smiled at him for that kindness.

"Have Beya tell her to do the P-thing," Dawn quipped.

"I can do that."  He looked at her.  "What P-thing?"  She cackled.  "Sure, we'll both see."  He walked her up to the Stark suite and handed her to Beya.  "She said to tell her to do the P-thing?"

"Potty time," Callia quipped from where she was doing her homework.  Liz ran for the bathroom to stand up on the toilet and pee for them.

Clint and Beya both stared then Clint nodded.  "She has to teach Philip that when it's time."  He walked off.  That would definitely help his son learn to pee standing up instead of sitting down like his mother wanted, and hey, no aiming issue if you were standing on the toilet itself.

Beya took care of Liz once she was done.  "That's very helpful, Liz.  Thank you."  She got her cleaned up and rediapered, sitting down to talk to her about potty things.  Potty training was a great thing.  Diapers were horrible.  Even with the disposables that they had here on Midgard.


Dawn looked at her son.  This was going to be their first real separation.  They were spending two human days on Asgard so she could have some accelerated healing time.  Which meant a month for her and a weekend for Philip.  Thankfully, Auntie Tara and Grandma had decided to descend and take him in for the weekend instead of his namesake uncle.  Uncle Phil and Xander needed some non-kid time too. This would mean he'd have the whole weekend free with Xander at their special cabin while Clint, Dawn, and Natasha had one of the others, nearer to Atlantis so they could check on the kids. 

Artemis should be done with her training about now.  Diana was probably coming back with them if she wasn't staying on the city for a while, and Sean was still struggling with his balance of warrior to geek.  Dawn kissed him and stared at him.  "You be good for the Auntie and Grandma.  No being fussy."  Philip was grinning, he loved Tara.  He wasn't paying a bit of attention to Mommy.  Dawn smiled.  "Thanks, Tara."

"You need to get better faster before the geeks take over the city with robots or something."  She smiled.  "We'll be fine.   We're staying here so Tony can talk Jonathan into science too."  They grinned and let Xander take them up to Asgard with their shared bag of weapons and clothes.  Tara smiled at him.  "You and the babies will get some cuddly time together.  You haven't seen Craig and Danielle recently, have you?"  She put him down between them.  They were a year old now.  Ancient by Philip's standards.  Which meant he had more fascinating older girls to stare at in awe.  Melissa was too because Philip was adorable.


Dawn looked around the cabin, doing a cleaning spell to get the dust off.  Xander rolled his eyes but took Phil to their cabin for the weekend.  Dawn tossed their bag onto the couch and pulled down her hair.  Clint kissed her and she smiled.  "Thank you, kind sir."

"You're most welcome."  He kissed her again then Natasha, who was going to steal Dawn from him.  When she did, that was okay too.  Clint enjoyed them together just as much as he enjoyed his time with each of them.  "When are we checking on the kids?"

"Tomorrow," Dawn said.

"Good.  Plenty of time to rest and let you get cuddly."

"I'm cuddly?" Dawn teased with a grin.

"Yes, you are."  He cuddled her and she leaned against him.  "See?  You're very cuddly."

"I could like being so cuddly."  They climbed into the queen sized bed covered in quilts.  It was just large enough for all of them but small enough that they had to cuddle together for more than warmth.  Which was just fine with them.


Hades appeared, looking at Xander.  "Thank you for giving me more work."  Xander grinned and ate a bite of dinner that Phil had made.

"Was there an incident I wasn't aware of?" Phil asked, staring at his mate.  "I would've helped."

"No, each pantheon has to have someone to handle their dead," Hades said, creating a chair and sitting down with a groan of pleasure.  "It's good to be off my feet."

"I could've named a new god of the dead for our House, but I decided I liked Hades and he said he was bored."  He ate another bite of dinner.

"So I've spent the last few months setting up an area for all of your sort of dead."  Hades smirked at Xander.  "It meant I had to do some rearranging but that's great according to 'Seph.  She had fun decorating for them."  Xander smiled.  "Also, I finally got around to locking off your ex's field."

"His ex's have a *field*?" Phil asked flatly, looking from the God of the Dead to his mate then back.  "Why do they have a *field* instead of individual things?"

"Because it's just easier," Hades said bluntly.  "Before I gave them their own area, they used to sneak out.  A few went to help with other punishments.  A few went to break some of their friends out of punishments.  A few started an orgy or sixteen," he said dryly, shooting Xander a dirty look.  Xander shrugged one-sidedly.  "You're not going to comment?"

"They were good at it.  Of course they wanted to continue that trend after they died."

Phil stared at Xander.  "I'm aware of what you used to date."  Hades burst out cackling, nodding some.  "How many are there?"

"Um....  No clue," he admitted.  "I never kept that sort of track, Phil.  One at least every few years.  Is Anya....."

"I'll let her in when she gets there.  They were trying to spread out to the new area to invite the new ones under you into their present orgy."

Phil shook his head as he cut a bite of chop.  "Want a plate, Hades?"

"No thank you, Phil.  I already ate."  He smiled.  "There's 612 people in that field."

"That's less than I would have expected."  He ate a bite, staring at his mate.  Who was still grinning but now blushing a bit.  "Anyone notable he should've told me about?"

"There's a few warriors there.  There's a few assassins.  There's a succuba for some reason."

Xander shook his head.  "Not my doing."

"Yes she was.  She was human when you two dated then she decided she wanted to change careers from a washer woman."  Xander stared at him, fork halfway to his mouth.  Hades nodded.  "Alina, yes."  Xander shook his head and ate that bite of dinner.

"Alina?" Phil asked.

"Late Greek, taking a vacation, she was the cleaning woman I hired for the villa I rented.  Kinda happened a few times when we got drunk, and it was not just me.  Thor was there.  So were John and Roque.  I'm not sure if they saw her or not."

"She didn't remember them but you made such an impression she decided she wanted to be a succuba," Hades said, showing Phil a picture of her.  Phil blinked at the slinky looking brunette with gold ribbons in her hair and a skimpy, low backed black dress over her pale skin.  Hades banished the picture.  "Both sets of twins are taken with each other."

"Only two sets?"

"The other one is in punishment and won't be coming out, Xander.  They're a bit evil," Hades said dryly.  "If they had gotten their way, and hadn't been sidetracked with your dick, they would've taken over the Roman Empire, expanded it, and still been like Caligula most of the time.  Thankfully Jonathan sent you to sex them up so their plans got interrupted.  They're not coming out of punishment."

"Three sets of twins?" Phil asked.  Hades showed him the two sets in that field, which were playing with each other.  "I'm very glad my twins will never learn to play with each other that way."

"No, Tara would freak out," Hades agreed, banishing that picture and putting up another one.  "That's Helleta.  She's a former warrior and I might give her the option of moving to your new one but she's a bit...rough."

"She's the one that taught me how to get out of bondings," Xander agreed.  "And why I can't stand to be in really tightly enclosed spaces anymore."

Hades looked at him.  "Thoth's still pissed off that she took the bindings off that mummy, wrapped you in them, and *stored* you in his sarcophagus."

"Really?" Phil asked.  Xander nodded quickly and stuffed his mouth, not looking at him.  "Why?"

"She had to go beat some incoming problem army and wanted him safely stored for her return," Hades quipped with a smirk for the younger god.  "Totally pissed Thoth off.  Isis nearly wet herself cackling when we rescued you because you were complaining so loudly but no one else could hear you."  He grinned at Phil.  He liked Phil a lot.  "They took him in for a few days to feed and help him calm down.  We couldn't figure out where Xander was having his hissy fit and panic attack for about a week and when we did find him, he had finally calmed down enough to tell us, because she had drugged him to get him in there and wrapped properly.  He woke up and was struggling with the bindings while having a swearing fit."

"I'll have to remember that so you can't get too enclosed," he said, blinking at his mate.  "Anything else I should know might cause a reaction, Xander?"  He ate a bite of chop.

Xander shrugged slightly and stuffed his mouth, still not looking at him.  "Not really."

"No, there's really not," Hades sighed.  "He had a lot of pretty, slightly sinister ones in there.  They're still holding orgies every Saturday because it was his favorite day for *years*."  He rolled his eyes and looked at the younger god.  "Also, as a note, you will have to do some planning, young man.  Some of us do realize, even if the more hidebound don't.  Or her."

Xander nodded, looking at his mate.  "Do you want to be the Consort of the Gods?"

"Better than Queen of them I suppose, especially with your hyena matriarch taint," he said blandly, stuffing his mouth.  "But I'm not putting on the pretty gown and tiara."

Xander smiled.  "I'd never expect you to, Phil."  He looked at Hades.  "We don't want to upset things."

"You're not.  No one who's not had to be picked realizes, Xander."  He stood up and sent his chair back to his house.  "You still need healing gods."


"You need messengers."

"We have a lot of people with visions and I'll find an official one from the military.  Maybe Jensen."

Hades considered it.  "How would he be a messenger?"

"Anytime I need to contact everyone, he sends out the text messages," Phil and Xander said together.  Xander grinned at him. 

Phil smirked slightly.  "Does this mean we're not a House, we're a Pantheon?"  Xander nodded.  "Because of us?"  Xander nodded again.  "Okay.  Why didn't you tell me?"

"Because if he says it out loud, other Gods will hear," Hades said bluntly.  "Which might freak some out.  Especially since you guys hang out up here on Asgard."

"Some of them would, yes.  And hey, I have to appoint a love goddess.  So if the trio somehow get made immortal, that's my head of love, my head of war, and I'll find something for Dawnie."

"If so, ask Stark."

"I thought about that but he'd freak out without the others.  And having to watch the kids would suck, Phil."

"It will."  He stared at him.  Xander gave him a slight grin.  "We'll talk about that later, after I paddle you for having had three sets of twins."

"A few of them, Jonathan set up because he was our head of demigod intelligence gathering.  He picked them specifically so Xander could screw up their missions and goals."  Xander nodded quickly.  "Though they were some of the most *interesting* ones."  He disappeared.

Xander shrugged.  "There should be double that, not that few."

Phil chewed slowly.  Then swallowed and sipped some of his ale.  "I knew you were alive for a long time, Xander, and I knew you had a lot of sexual partners."  Xander grinned.  "I don't mind that.  Twins... maybe."

"The stamina I built from them helped a lot with Anya."

"I'm sure it did."  He ate another bite and pointed with his fork.  "Eat, you'll need the calories in a bit."  Xander beamed and dug in, wiggling some.  Phil slotted that into what he knew about Xander.  "What about the ones that John set you up with?  Did you mind that?"

"Kinda but he usually had reasons and he usually only asked if it was something he couldn't do himself and they were already attracted to me.  Usually I was willing because I was alone anyway."  He looked at him.  "Sometimes you gotta do the sexpionage thing to save the world."

"I have a few times."  Xander growled.  He smiled.  "Back in my much younger days, Xander.  Not anytime in the last decade."

"That's good."

Phil smirked slightly.  "I'm not exactly pretty enough for it.  Barton still is and there had been a few he would've been asked to go on if Fury wasn't certain it would've gotten him killed by Romanoff or Dawn."

"Huh."  He ate a bite.  "Yeah, I'd help her destroy him for that.  Then Barton."  He dug in again.  "So we have to make a few decisions."

"I really am not wearing any sort of ostentatious crown."

"Not my thing either.  What about a circlet?  They can be simpler."  Phil stared at him.  "It might have to be done."

"Who do we have as God of Forging Things?"

"Stark if he's somehow made immortal.  If not, Hephie or one of the Celtic ones might for us."  He grinned.  "If they get turned immortal we can find things for all of them to do."

"That might keep them out of trouble but I doubt anyone would make them immortal."

"Dawn is until she has a daughter to soak up a Key."

Phil considered that.  "They're not actively trying but that could be good to know.  Do they?"

"Dawn does.  I'm pretty sure Clint figured it out."

"Hm."  He ate another bite and pointed with his fork.  "You're still getting it later."  Xander smiled and dug in.  "How many positions do we have to fill?"

"Not that many.  We have people to do a lot of it.  John's my head of intelligence.  Roque my House's Protector and Hunting God." 

Phil nodded that was reasonable as he dug into his vegetables.  Xander was trying to ignore them.  "Eat the green things too," he ordered with a smile.  "You need the healthy stuff, Xander."  Xander nodded but dug in.  "Who's our Chaos god?"

"I don't know," Xander admitted.  "I can appoint someone.  I wouldn't want to appoint Dad.  I'd have to pay too much attention to him.  I like Janus.  He's done good with me in the past.  His whole costume thing was super helpful to me then.  Coyote's nice."  He shrugged.  "We'll figure it out."

"Sure."  They finished eating and Phil put the dishes in the sink so the automatic spell could happen.  He turned and found Xander naked on the couch.  "Bed, Xander.  I'm too old to have sex on the couch and so are you."  Xander grinned as he ran up the stairs.  Phil banked the fire and went up there to find Xander naked on top of the covers.  It was a bit cool in the house.  Xander's body was reacting to it.  Phil did a warming charm on the room and stripped off.  "Cold will make you not get as hard and that would be a shame when I make you scream, Xander."  Xander moaned.  Phil smirked a tiny bit and moved closer.  He kissed him and suddenly pulled them both into elemental forms.  They went from two balls into one ball and Xander did indeed scream in pleasure, many times.  When they separated out to two balls again and then back into humans, Xander was panting, clutching the sheets and Phil was licking over his cock that had just spewed like a volcano.  "Very nice.  Let's do more of that."

Xander looked at him.  "That's evil."

Phil smirked slightly.  "No it's not.  It's stamina building and exercising off the excellent dinner I made."  He slid into his mate's body, he had prepped him during their elemental time.  Well, really, touching one of them was like touching them both so they were both open and slick.  Which could come in handy later.  He hauled Xander up, kissing him.  "Ride me."

Xander smiled.  "Like a pony ride?" he teased.  Phil thrust up and Xander moaned.  "Oh, that's a good pony."

"I'm not a pony, Xander.  I'm not a short anything.  Tease me like that again and I'm going to make you extremely sorry."

"You'd leave me hanging?" Xander pouted.  Phil nodded.  "That is really mean, Phil."

"Yes, it is, to both of us.  So be a good boy."

"Yes, my stallion."  He kissed him as he started to ride his mate's cock.  "I was having a cock needing day anyway," he teased.

"I could tell.  It was like an empty cavern that needed filled."  Xander moaned and rode him harder.  Phil stroked down to his hips, holding him firmly.  Xander shifted nicely for him.  It was good.  Xander was good.  Xander was panting and swallowing air so Phil kissed him.  "Slow down, Xander.  I'm not nearly ready for you to come yet.  If you do, we'll have to go back to elemental form."  Xander moaned a deep, rumbling moan that Phil felt through his own chest.  He smirked.  "I think you like that."

"Do," he panted.  He pulled them back together that way.  It was like he was fucking himself on his own cock but he was also surrounded by Phil's essence.  It was everything and not nearly enough at the same time.  He needed physical *touch*.  He needed the sound of Phil's heavy breathing, he needed to be both at once.  Phil had no idea how to do that for him but he could manage it.  He had seen something that had said they could do that.  It was a different form of elemental form.  Xander slowly merged them to do that and his scream of pleasure when he managed it was loud enough that the local village heard.  When he came, it was so hard, his magic flashed out and lit up the surrounding area with it.  The locals could feel it was pleasure and a few got the same urge to celebrate.  It was good for them.  It was great for Xander and Phil.

Of course, they were slightly stuck but they could handle that.

Now Xander understood when Dawn said that Clint had redefined religious for her.  Phil had done it for him.


In Valhalla Odin slowly put down his mead mug, looking at the other gods.  "Who be that?" he demanded calmly and quietly.

Loki appeared, buffing his nails on his vest.  "That be my son, All Father."  He smirked up at him.  "They have managed that secondary elemental form.  Of course, they're using it for sexual relations."  He gave Freya a smug look since she hadn't even managed a single version.  Frigg was sobbing over that.  Loki smirked.  "He makes my son *very* happy."  He disappeared, going to wait on them to wake up.  Because that, more than anything else he had seen of their powers, told him that Gaia was no longer in the head of all Pantheons spot.  Somehow his son had changed the entire world order around.  And he wanted some of that.

Odin cleared his throat.  "Tyr?"

"Yes, All Father, that is Xander's powers I feel."

"I knew not that they had merged."

"They had merged way back when they got deathly ill," John said, appearing with a smile.  "I hereby declare that Xander, God Protector of Humanity, and Phil, God of Heros, are eternally mated and none shall sunder them."  Gongs rang out in all the pantheons.  He smiled at the ruling couple.  Freya looked horrified.  "I hereby declare that Xander now elevates his house from House to Pantheon.  Long live the Pantheon of Humanity's Protection."  Bells and gongs rang again, in each and every pantheon's meeting area.  Even the dead ones were hearing ringing from their afterlives.  John bowed to Odin and Frigg.  "Thank you for letting him continue to use his cabins for their vacation time, Odin All Father."  Odin grunted but waved a hand for him to go.  He disappeared to the cabin.

"Why are bells ringing and gongs too?" Xander shouted.

"Because you got too obvious, dumbass.  We just had to announce that you had elevated to a pantheon."

"That's fine.  You're my head of intelligence."

"Like intellect?"

"That too if you want it.  If not, Diama's getting a position in it."

"That's fine.  What about the trio?"

"If they become immortal, Barton's my God of War.  Natasha's my Goddess of Desires, and we'll find a spot in your house for Dawn."

"Cool."  He went to check on them then back to Atlantis.  In a tiny room up in a tower most of the people on the city couldn't see, those that weren't at least demigods, bells and gongs were ringing.  He found Dr. Peter looking up then at him.  "They flashed *so* hard into that second elemental form during sex."

"Interesting.  There's going to be a shit storm coming."

John smiled.  "That's why we had to announce it, before they could nag."

"Might help, yeah.  That means we'll have to have a banquet."

"The next one is going to be very interesting but we don't have to throw it.  The Goddess Tea Society will probably be getting ansty soon and call one."  He strolled off.  His mother appeared.  "Mom."

"Son, Krishna wanted to talk to you about why you prompted such noise."

He grinned.  "I'll go visiting in a few minutes, Mom.  I have to get someone to help with something first."  She huffed but disappeared.  He went to talk to Mari and Rodney.  "Mari, you know he'd probably have a spot for you."

"I know."  She smiled.  "I wouldn't care one way or another but I need this curse taken off.  I'm sick and tired of my own hand."

"I'll talk to him about it, and Krishna since he just called."  He smiled and disappeared, going there.  He bowed before Lord Krishna, who was lounging on his pile of pillows with his wife demurely sitting beside him playing a sitar.  "Sire."

"Jonathan."  He stared at him.  "There was much noise just now and it felt as if you proclaimed something.  Should not that happen in front of your natal families?"

"I did it in front of the other natal family of who it was about, Lord Krishna."

"What did Xander do this time?" he asked with a smile.

"He managed a second elemental form with Phil during sex."  Krishna sat up, staring at him.  The music stopped.  John smiled at him.  "I announced the elevation of the House."

"I figured that's what the bells were.  What was the first set?"

"The eternal mating announcement," he said quietly.  Gods all around them went nuts.  "Since it couldn't be hidden due to that flash of power they let out."  He shifted his weight as he sent a thought at Xander and Phil.  They were still having sex and were working on another elemental form.  He held up a hand and everyone went silent.  They could barely feel it when Xander and Phil managed the last elemental form, the one that took them into Creation.  John smiled at Krishna and his wife.  "I believe that shows that the gongs were correct."

Krishna sensed that way and nodded slowly.  "They do.  Gaia will cry on someone."

"She set them up.  Even if they fought it, she did start it."  He shrugged.  "As once upon a time, a Titan ate his children to start their downfall, so has she created one that would mean some day she'll have to go back to being the Goddess of Earth."

"So the new Pantheon of Humanity is elevated," his mother said.

"The Pantheon of Humanity's Protection, Mother."

She swallowed.  "He has adopted many of the demigods into it for their protection."  John smiled and nodded.  "Are they shifting powers toward them?"

"The only one that has asked for a boon is Mari so that curse of hers can be taken off and she can finally find a mate without losing herself."  He looked at Krishna.

"I always thought that was stupid anyway," he admitted, glaring at the one who had done it.  "Remove it.  Today."

"I shall, Sire," she said, looking down.

Krishna stared at John.  "You glow with a new marking, my scion."

"I am the head of the House of Intelligence for Xander when he gets around to naming positions.  So far he has only named Hades to one for their honorable dead.  Which I believe means that Hades told Phil about some of Xander's ex's, which prompted the pouncing that drew them that close."

Krishna swallowed but nodded.  "Some of his ex's I'd want to make him forget as well."  His wife giggled and patted his hand.  He smiled at her then at John.  "Roque?"

"God of Hunters, as ever he has been."

"Interesting.  The others?"

"I know not.  He hasn't discussed that with me.  He has discussed what to do if some of the ones under Phil ascend to immortal status.  Other than that, they're acting like nothing has changed."

"I see."  He looked around the room then at John.  "Atlantis is doing well?"

"She's doing quite well, Sire."  He grinned.  "She's adapted beautifully to the snow and lake she's on."

"Excellent.  How long?"

"Few more months."

"Even better."  He swallowed again.  "Xander should come talk to us."

"I think they're still busy, Lord Krishna.  Considering I can hear him chanting for mercy from Phil's tongue, I'd say it's going to be a while."

"I have had a few nights like that," he admitted, stroking over his wife's hair, earning a smile.

"Xander was realizing what Dawn meant when she said her husband had redefined religious for her."

"Then it is good for them.  I wish Mari much health when she is able to find hers."  He smiled at John.  "What of yours?"

"I have no one I'm interested in, Lord Krishna, and am actively avoiding love goddess and motherly urgings."  He rolled his eyes then smiled and disappeared.

"The head of such a major house should not be single," John's mother complained.

Krishna looked at her.  "Unlike Xander, who accidentally found his perfect mate, I don't think it will happen with Jonathan.  He does not have your other son's luck issues.  His would probably turn unsuitable."

"Fine," she complained.


Steve, Bucky, Pepper, and Steve were meeting with Gunn, Faith, and Connor at their headquarters.  They had to talk about the upcoming problems in LA that spring.  Steve smiled.  "Faith, Connor, Gunn, this is Bucky Barnes.  He served with me during the war and then the Russians made him a super soldier."

Faith shook his hand.  "Welcome to demon hunting."

"I've seen a few vampires but nothing like this."  He shook the other two's hands.  "Stark pulled up footage from the invasion a few years back."

"Yeah, that one sucked monkey ass," Faith agreed, leading them to the work area.  "This is all we've been able to find out.  We could use Dawn's kitten poker skills but she's been banned locally because she caught a few cheaters that have status."

"Which we enjoy since it nearly got her in trouble a few times," Tony quipped.  He settled in to look over what they had.  "How much of this has hit SHIELD?"  He looked at them.

"None," Faith admitted.  "The liaison agent out here is a bit creepy.  If we had seen Phil we would've told him."

Connor nodded.  "I'm going to beat the local guy to death soon with a club.  He kept asking Faith if she'd volunteer some blood."

"Why?" Pepper asked.

"Not sure," Faith admitted.  "I'm not sure if he's going to try something or if he's trying to figure out something."

"I'll have that checked into," Steve said.  She grinned at him.  "Just yours?"

"The ones in Cleveland had a creepy agent but he managed to get bitten," Gunn said, settling into a chair.  "I'm not sure if it was arranged or by who."

"That'll be stopped.  Phil will throw a fit," Steve said with a slight grin.  "I'll talk to him when he's back from his weekend on Asgard."

"Thanks," Connor said.  "Can we get the local guy changed before I'm tempted to have him eaten?"

"We can try," Pepper said, patting him on the shoulder.  "You need a haircut."

Connor looked at her.  "Not my mom, Pepper."

"So?"  She smiled.  "Dawn would say the same thing."

"Probably but she's not my mom either.  Even if Philip is adorably scowling like I do."

"We've figured out that Philip has his favorite parent but if he doesn't check in with the other two he'll throw fits," Pepper said with a smile.  "I'm hoping Tara doesn't have a huge problem with him this weekend because they're taking the weekend off too."

"She shouldn't," Tony said.  "They'll all cuddle him when he gets back.  Her kids are more than enough distraction for Philip."  He tapped one page.  "How reliable?"

"Very," Faith said.  "Which sucks because that's bigger than the invasion was if I remember right."

Tony nodded.  "It is."  He handed it to Steve, who read it and handed it to Bucky.  "Okay.  So we're talking a city ending event.  How can we stop it before it happens?"

"It's all there," Gunn said.  "We can't get there to take out the head people, and they're not going to listen to anyone even if we did.  Even with the idiot emperor that Xander took out, we'd never get it stopped."

Tony nodded.  "Okay.  Is this in retaliation for that?"  The three demon hunters shook their heads.  "Good.  I'd hate that."  He took the sheet back to go over it again.  "Any idea where?"

"There's not many places to put a steady portal in the city," Faith said.  "Most of it's blocked by the Sunnydale radiation problem and a few blessed areas.  So like the invasion, there's only so many places they can put it, unless they move it to the Valley.  Or the desert.  Either one's a good place for it.  Palm Springs is a possible but not a likely because there's no support there for a permanent portal.  The desert has a few of those rock arch things."

"Which we can't really break," Pepper said.

"Could they make a traveling one?" Bucky asked.  "Send it through first and switch the portal to it?  I have no idea how magic stuff works," he said when Connor stared at him.

"I don't know," Faith admitted.  "And I can't get hold of Giles.  He's in Bermuda doing something."

"Research conference," Pepper said.  "I called."  She tapped out a message to Tara to please ask someone in the coven about that.  "If we have to, we can ask that Magus-wannabe.  He said he's dealt with some interdimensional portals before."

Tony nodded.  "We might have to, or have Coulson ask one of the higher beings."

"The PTB won't answer," Faith snorted.

Pepper smiled.  "Xander and Phil can ask others that do."

"I totally forgot about Boytoy being godly," she admitted, staring at Gunn.

"It can help."

She nodded.  "Could, yeah."  She looked at Pepper again.  Then at Bucky.  "Any other ideas that they might have?"

"Can we get some sort of surveillance?  Even by whatever that staring in the water thing Callia was practicing is?"

"Scrying," Connor said.  "I don't know if you can scry other realms or not."

Tony looked at him.  "What was she watching?"

"Her pets.  She said she had to practice.  The coven had taught her and told her to practice."

"Is there part of that coven out here?" Pepper asked.

Tony shook his head.  "There's a few out here that they trust to guide her.  They're of the strong, uptight, backbones of steel, women don't do things like science sort though."  He leaned back in his chair.  "One of them had a fit at her daughter for daring to want to be a veterinarian.  They're supposed to be Mothers of the Earth, not women who serve those that live on earth."

"Should've heard it when one of the local kids with healing gifts didn't want to become a nurse or a doc," Faith snorted.  "Not even one of their kids."

"There's plenty of ways to heal people without using magic," Pepper said.  "Plus healing people magically is dangerous from what we've seen."

"It can be," Gunn agreed.  "That one hates the sight of blood.  She wants to work construction."

"You need to do what makes you happy in life," Tony said.  "There's going to be plenty of opportunities for her to use any special gifts she might have with accidents and if she has a family some year.   Plus, not everyone considers having gifts like that a blessing.  Even Callia hates hers sometimes.  There's been plenty of times she wanted to be normal."

"There's been a few times I wanted to be normal again too so I could do things that normal guys could do, like get drunk after really bad battles to forget how bad they were for a few hours," Steve said.  "We had a talk about that."

Bucky nodded.  "I'm glad she's got those too.  It means she's a lot more normal than she thinks."

"Which means we've done a pretty decent job," Pepper said with a smile for him.

"You have.  She's the most normal, centered geek in the whole compound.  One of the most moral too."

Steve smiled, that was a lot of his and Pepper's doing.  "She's a good girl."

"She'll have her moments when she wants to destroy humanity, like the first time she's dumped," Tony quipped with a grin.  "I nearly built a genetic based bomb."  Pepper swatted him.  "Mom heard about it from a friend in the press and she came down to make me talk about it instead.  I had a few pretty volatile years in there.  Most teens do."

"No, not us," Bucky and Steve said together.

"You two had each other to calm the other one down," Pepper said dryly.  "I had a few girlfriends.  Tony was pretty well stuck in the house those years."  Steve shuddered and hugged him.  Tony smiled and patted his hand.  "Why did Howard change so much about Callia?  He went from 'you'll do' to 'you'll give me a legacy'."

"Dawn had a 'this is your hell' talk with him according to JARVIS," Tony said with a smug look.  "She also had a talk about how long slayers lasted now instead of how long they used to last."

Faith nodded.  "I've lasted over a decade."

Bucky blinked.  "Slayers used to last a few months," he said, looking at Steve.

"Then Callia's mom, Buffy, was chosen," Steve said, grinning back.  "She had backup from Xander, who was stuck on the hellmouth with radiation poisoning, and Willow, who we do not speak of.  She was a witch."  Bucky nodded slowly.  "I'll go over all that later.  But the backup helped Buffy.  Then they ended up taking down the Council when they tried to take out Buffy due to the NID making her pregnant with Callia.  Since then, the girls get backed up by SHIELD, they get treated as soldiers and get training.  The one girl/one watcher system was fully broken for good."

"I didn't know Callia was on the list," Bucky said.

Tony nodded.  "Really far down but yeah, she is."  He looked at Faith.  "Dawn found out that most slayers are infertile."

"Yeah, I am," she said, nodding slightly.  "I wondered about that."

"Dawn had a vision where Callia was going to have a teenage pregnancy," Pepper said.  "She's only the fourth slayer to give birth."

"So prompting from on high?" Gunn asked.  Pepper nodded.  "Huh.  So maybe they'll go into demon hunting when they're older.  Take our places," he told Connor.

"Could be," he agreed.  "That might be nice."  He looked at Tony.  "You okay with that?"

"Hell no," he snorted. "If there's a reason I might like to know why it has to be her."

"Genetic advantages," Pepper said.  "Pre-slayers don't have any gifts but Callia is a bit stronger and faster naturally."

"That one guy Robin who was after Spike for taking out his slayer momma wasn't a slouch either," Faith said, looking at Gunn.

"No, he wasn't.  He wasn't really on par with a slayer or a vampire but he was better than average."

"I'm wondering if that ATA thing might matter," Steve said.

"No, Dawn found out Callia doesn't but Liz does," Pepper said.

"If the Ancients knew about slayers then they probably wouldn't have wanted them activating any of the tech," Tony said.  "We can ask Atlantis through JARVIS."

"It might be something to find out," Pepper agreed.

"ATA?" Bucky asked, followed by Gunn.

"The stuff Stargate found from the Ancients takes a gene sequence to activate," Tony said.  "That came out a few months back."  They shrugged, they weren't paying attention to that.  "Well, anyway, they named it the Ancient Tech Activation gene or something.  In normal people it can make them a bit better fighters."

"But slayers don't show it?" Gunn asked.

"Callia doesn't," Pepper said.  "I don't think we tested Buffy's before she died."

"Yes I did," Tony said.  "I kept a reference sample on hand and when I heard that I did have it tested.  She didn't.  I doubt Faith or the others would since the ones in Cleveland don't.  I had Coulson check."  He looked at her.  "We're pretty sure Ancients hated demons."

"Good point."  She shifted.  "That might explain that then, yup."  She looked at Bucky then at Tony.

"Yeah, he does.   He shows a lesser level of the warrior levels."  He looked at Bucky.  "There's two basic groups of levels we've seen.  One lesser one that seems to go into scientists and the like and one higher level version that goes into warriors and the like.  They have differing levels between the two groups but most of the scientists that have one are weaker in it and most of the soldiers that have one are higher in it."

"On purpose?"

"Don't know," Tony admitted.  "It's just now showing back up in our DNA.  We ran some ancient DNA samples they've pulled from burial pits.  It stopped showing up for the most part in ancient Egypt and Greece, and a few in Central American cultures, then suddenly returned in the last fifty years."

"How prevalent?" Bucky asked.

"The SGC did some testing from samples at a few blood banks.  They have to pull samples to test for diseases and typing so they added in this test with those.  They found less than one percent had it."

"So elite of elite," Steve said.  Tony smiled and nodded.  "What about the higher levels of scientists?"

"O'Neill leaked the ATA stuff accidentally but it let them look at the scientific community.  I let him talk to our geeks to see if they'd volunteer those few drops of blood needed.  At the top levels, the ones that are Nobel quality, five percent.  It's about seven or eight at most graduate programs they looked at.  A lot of them drop out though or get taken in by shadier corporations or the government.  In soldiers, the top levels based on physical testing and abilities like skilled pilots and the like, that was about ten.  Just over."

"Which makes sense," Steve decided.  "They wouldn't have wanted just anyone activating it.  The best of the best breed, make more mini ATA babies, and slowly it comes back while those that can teach."

Tony nodded.  "That's what we figured.  Interestingly enough, Liz shows it, Dawn shows it, and Barton shows it.  He's got a top level warrior version.  Dawn and Liz's are both subdued but not too low into the scientist levels."

"So, stronger genes than geeks but less than warriors," Steve said.  "Is that because....."  He waved a hand.  Tony nodded.  "I remember that day.  I had forgotten about it because it didn't really seem relevant.  Then we can maybe use that as a test for future Avengers members."

"The ones on the backup teams mostly are," Tony said.  "The few that aren't, are actually exceptional in other ways."  He smiled.  "They did it unconsciously."

"Does Clay?" Pepper asked.

"No clue.  The Yellow Fur genes and virus overwrote their DNA.  Presently no.  Before, no clue.  Jensen doesn't.  His whole people don't."

"That blond computer geek in the glasses at the temple?" Bucky asked, frowning some.  "He's not human?"

"Dragon people," Steve said with a grin.

"What's a Yellow Fur?" Gunn asked.

"Pegasus werewolf," Connor quipped.  "Buffy told us but you were out when she was complaining about it."

"Huh.  Are they moon phase?"

"Emotion," Tony said.  "They're very pack oriented too.  If one goes into heat, the whole pack fixes it."  Faith shivered, hugging herself.  He grinned at her.  "Yeah.  Especially since Colonel Clay was put into heat by Roque's mother wanting grandkids.  Thankfully they stopped it before any of that was needed."

"Damn, I didn't need that happy thought tonight," she complained.  They all laughed.

Pepper looked up at the gongs going off.  Then bells and gongs.  "What's going on?  Is that an alarm?"

"The last time we heard gongs like that, Xander and Phil were bonding," Steve said dryly, looking up.  "Must we hear that too?"  It didn't stop.  "Apparently we do," he sighed.  They faded out.  "Phil said that they seemed to happen whenever they bonded or something huge got announced."

Faith nodded.  "That's another dirty thought I did not need, Cappy."  She walked off rubbing her arms.  At least she had a boyfriend she could break at the moment.  One of Gunn's guys who appreciated her stronger/faster/better stamina skills in the bedroom and out.

Gunn texted his buddy to let him know Faith could use a helping dick and hand then put his phone up.  "She's dating one of my gang."  Pepper smiled at him.  "How're the ones in Cleveland doing?"

"Two are still there and one's roaming with an agent backing her up," Steve said.  "There had been a few problems that agents had run into and needed to call on them to help with.  They switch off doing that every six months."

"Wonderful," Connor agreed. "Means they get a vacation and get to use the exceptional weapons now and then."  He grinned.  "That's gotta be fun."

"Keep it up, we'll send you to San Diego to deal with theirs," Gunn joked.

"I'd probably end up busting into that comic con thing they showed on tv with all the demons hiding as people."

"They do?" Pepper asked.

Gunn nodded.  "Some cosplay in costume, some go as their normal self since they can hide in plain sight.  Some cosplay as humans."

Bucky shook his head.  "I saw that.  I'll never understand that."

Steve smiled.  "There's an Avengers fandom convention."  Bucky shuddered, heading out to the car.

"Did you get invited to speak too?" Tony quipped with a grin for him.

"Nope."  He followed Bucky to calm him down.  That was a nasty thought.

Tony grinned at Pepper.  "I accepted for you, Tony, and Dawn's already got it on your schedule."  He rolled his eyes but they got back to business.


Phil woke up to the feeling of a slick cock sliding into his body, smiling sleepily at his mate.  "Good morning to you too."  Xander grinned, leaning down to kiss him.  He finished sliding in, making Phil arch up and moan.  "That's nice, Xander.  Do more than that?"

"It's my turn to turn you as brainless as I got turned last night," he said, taking another kiss.  He joined their hands, pressing down on Phil's hands to hold him in place while he slowly and gently rode him.  In and out slowly, pausing often at the apexes of the thrust line to let Phil savor that spot.  He was sweating hard and Phil was trying to get him to go faster and harder but it was good.  It was driving them both nuts.  Phil moaned and arched up.  Xander smiled and nibbled on his mark on Phil's throat.  "All mine."

"All yours," he panted.  "Please, Xander?  You're being an evil tease like Dawn is."

"Yes, I am where she learned it from," he said in his mate's ear, making him shiver.   He pushed in all the way and let himself rest there while they kissed.  Phil was a great kisser and it was always good with him.  Phil tried to get him to move, and when that didn't work, to flip them around.  Xander laughed and pulled him closer.  "You are my home," he said in his ear, nibbling on it.  "The home for all of me to rest."  Phil moaned.  "Pray for mercy, Phil.  I love getting your prayers.  They make my whole body clench and yearn."  Phil sent up a prayer for mercy and Xander shivered.  Xander sent one back and Phil whimpered, pulling him around to kiss him properly.  "We're each other's high priest, do you realize that."  He grinned and pulled back to thrust in again, slowly and carefully.  Phil groaned, clamping down on it.  Xander smiled, letting him have some say in how things would go.  "Want more or less?"

"More, much, much more."  He flipped them over and held Xander down so he could ride him at the speed and depth he wanted.  He could finally ease the ache that the slow, steady thrusting had caused.  He *needed*.  Xander let him for a while then started to distract him by stroking Phil's cock off-rhythm.  Which broke his steady pace and changed it without Phil realizing.  Phil moaned and tried to speed up but Xander knocked him out of it again with his cock. 

It was frustrating but it was so *good*.  All he wanted right now was *more*.  It had to be *more*.  He shivered and changed to the rhythm Xander changed to, which gave him more of what he wanted - a little bit faster, letting him go a bit harder.  Then Xander was evilly slowing him down but he whimpered and kept it up.  The stroking was nice but he was going to set the pace for this debauching.  All he wanted was harder and faster and deeper and he was going to take it.  Xander flipped him onto his back suddenly and pounded into him for a few minutes, making Phil shriek with pleasure as that's what his body was craving, but then the slower pace returned.  Inching in and out slowly, patiently, until Phil was losing his mind and he was going to stop that. 

He needed more.  He needed Xander to do more.  Xander clearly read his mind because he added more force to the slow thrusts but it was still too slow and it was a horrible time to tease him.  This might make him turn evil, it really might.  He didn't want to be evil to Xander to get what he wanted but if Xander didn't quit teasing him then he was going to have to get creatively evil.  Xander chuckled in his ear, so he knew he had said that out loud.  Or their minds were connected again.  He didn't care! 

He rolled them over, taking over again, leaning down to kiss Xander so he couldn't distract him this time.  Phil was hydroplaning on Xander's sweaty chest.  His own sweat was dripping off him to add to the puddle on Xander's body.  It was incredibly sexy and Phil wanted more of it too.  Xander suddenly grabbed his hips and thrust up hard, just once, hitting his prostate.  Phil shouted and came hard, going to elemental form without realizing it.  He came back panting, staring at Xander, who was still hard and smirking.  "Damn."

"Yes, you're damned to an eternity of me," Xander said quietly, stroking through the sweaty hair.  "But I'll make it a great forever whenever I can, Phil."  Phil stared at him.  Xander smiled and flipped them back over to go back to riding Phil until he was mindless, acting on instinct, just letting it all go again.  Phil was shivering, the sweat trying to dry as he built back up to the state of brainless.  Xander smiled because Phil was very vocal today.  Usually he wasn't.  He'd find some way to mute the noises.  This time, he wasn't able to and it was glorious sounding.  It drove him higher and harder than even the connection with his mate was.

"Fuck!" Phil shouted when he was trying to come and Xander changed rhythm to stop it.  "Xander!"

"I am, Phil."

Phil kissed him.  "Not that meaning of the word and we're not fucking.  We're making love, Xander."

"We are."  He kissed him, grinning at him.  "Fucking takes a quick thing and this is anything but fast."  Phil nodded, staring up at him.  He smirked evilly and changed how he was thrusting again.  Phil tensed up and wrapped himself around Xander's body, making him do more.  "That's no fair."

"Neither are you."

"No, I'm a tease today."

"Xander, come for me," he begged hoarsely.  "Please?"  Xander moaned and sped up again, doing as his mate had begged for.  He loved Phil being brought to begging.  Xander finally came and leaned down to lick across the head of Phil's cock to bring him off that last time.  Phil moaned and came, going limp in a sweaty heap of flesh, bones, and hair.  Xander laid down next to him but Phil pulled him closer and kissed him hard.  "Mine."

"Your's," Xander agreed, cuddling with him.  It was great how Phil liked to cuddle.   They could deal with all the petty shit later.  Right now, all he had to worry about was Phil.

The End.

To next story

back to index