Old Ones Managing Emergencies.

Dawn found Clint cleaning guns on the couch and pushed him back to sit astride his lap, kissing him with a grin.   "Technical question."

"About guns?" he teased.  "We taught you everything we know."

"Not about that.  About your birthday."

"I don't usually celebrate."

She stared at him.  "Yay?"  He rolled his eyes.  "Would you rather I give you a certificate so you can pick your own version of the present I have in mind or would you rather I pick it out?  I'm in no means an expert on the subject and I'm not sure if you'd rather I try and you might not think it's the best version or if you'd rather be picky and pick it out since I'm not near an expert."

"I think that I'm still not celebrating it."

"Bull.  We're celebrating it.  I even found both the chokers," she said with an evil smirk.  "We've been practicing so you won't be able to tell us as fast."  Clint moaned and she could feel him getting hard.  She took a kiss.  "Which would you prefer?  I can pick it out but you can't pout if you don't think it's the best version."

"New laptop?  I could use one."

"You're getting one of those from Tony I think."

He blinked at her.  "Pick it out for me, Dawn.  I want to see what you're talking about and even if it's not the best I'll still like it."  She grinned and kissed him again, settling herself more firmly into his lap.  "Still have to get the guns done."  She took the one he was working on to swab the barrel for him.  He moaned and flipped them over so she could be pounced.  A short, fast, hard pounce and then he'd get back to cleaning the guns.

Of course, their son was their son and he came out to 'help' them.  Dawn looked at him.  "Do you really hate me having sex that much?  Or is it just because I'm touching the Daddy again?" she asked when the baby's wet hand patted her with a giggle.  "That's nearly as bad as the cat glaring at me for touching him, son."  Clint snickered, hugging their son so he could crawl off.  "Go find Mommy 'Tasha, Philip.  She wants to be cuddled."  He squealed and crawled off quickly.  She kissed Clint.  "I told you he hates me."

"He doesn't hate you."  He kissed her, staring down at her.  "I'm suddenly not as much in the mood."

"Yeah, me either.  Want help cleaning the guns?"

He smiled.  "Could yeah."  They sat up to clean guns while Philip pounded on the bathroom door and squealed at the other mommy to make her let him in.

Clint looked around.  "Are we sure he's not really the cat in disguise?" he asked.

"Yeah, Loki's back in my closet of clubbing clothes."

"There goes that explanation."  They heard the baby finally get let in because the pounding stopped.  Then the baby started to cry.  "Nat?" he called.  "Did you just yell at him or something?"

She brought him out to hand over, then went back to her bubble bath.  "The bathroom door can be forced open by repeated shaking."

"Okay," Clint decided.  "Let us show you how to clean a gun, Philip."  Philip sat between them to watch them, staring while he sucked on his first two fingers.  He reached for something but Mommy shook her head and kept it from him.  He whined at her for being so mean.  "You don't need that.  Just watch.  When you're older we'll teach you."

Dawn kissed him on the head.  "We have to make beds in a while so Grandma has somewhere to sleep when she comes in next weekend.  You can help me with that."

"I forgot his birthday was that close," Clint admitted.

Dawn nudged him.  "I'm putting a calendar in the kitchen so you and Natasha both quit forgetting things like birthdays.  She hasn't shopped yet either."  He rolled his eyes.   She wouldn't even point out that she had celebrated their anniversary and neither Clint or Natasha had.  They were like that sometimes.  Philip climbed up in her lap so she cuddled him while cleaning around him.  He grinned at Clint.  "That's right, you stole the mommy from him."

Clint looked over at her.  "He'll go to bed long before we will."  She grinned but got back to cleaning things.  He considered it.  What had he missed this time?  He thought at Nat.  Who had no idea.  He got up to go to the kitchen, finding the calendar already up.  Yup, they had missed their anniversary, which was when he remembered Dawn had said the truck was their present.  Shit!  Which also meant he had missed Dawn's birthday.

"Clint, you never remember it.  It's not like I was heartbroken," Dawn called.  "Bring us some water?"

"That's what I was doing originally."  He brought out a bottle for her to share with the kid and one for him.  "I'm lousy at that stuff."

She looked up at him.  "I've known that for years now."  He huffed but sat back down to go back to cleaning things.  "I don't really expect anything."

He looked at you.  "You deserve better."

"Yes but I love you so unless you're going to suddenly change a whole hell of a lot, I've got what I want and need."  He blushed but ducked his head with a grin.  She kissed him on the cheek before opening her water to take a sip.  Philip made begging noises so she helped him drink out of it then drank the rest.  Philip pouted.  "We can get you a sippy cup, dear.  Want a sippy cup?"  He grinned at her.  Dawn took him to get a sippy cup of water.  He still tried to pour it all over his stomach but he did get to drink most of it this time.  She refilled it and brought it out so he could help them some more.

Clint ruffled his hair.  "You're a good boy and you'll grow up remembering things like birthdays and anniversaries.   We'll make sure of it."  The baby smiled at him and leaned over to look at what he was doing.  Clint saved the couch from the water he was pouring out.  Still a wet spot but not the contents of the entire cup.  Natasha could complain later when she sat on it.  Clint had to find a way to remember those things.  He remembered Nat's.  Why couldn't he remember Dawn's or Philip's?


Dawn walked into the store that she had found online.  She smiled at the guy with long hair behind the counter.  "My husband used to play.  Casually not in a band sense."  He nodded.  "I'm looking to get him a really good birthday present.  Good sound quality, acoustic model, not horribly overly expensive because he'll complain if I spend that much on him."

"How casually?" the salesguy asked.

"More for thinking time but he was good at it.  Had to use it on a few missions too."

"Okay," he said, leading her to a wall.  "What's more important to you?  Professional quality?"

"Sound quality over everything.  I didn't even have to take music appreciation in school but I do appreciate it when he does play."

He nodded.  "That's a wise choice," he admitted, smiling some.  "Budget?"  She snorted and waved a hand.  "The one I'm thinking of is pretty rare."

"Not over a grand?  He'll complain."

"No!"  He shook his head.  "It's not autographed or anything."  He pulled one down to show her.  "This is one that professionals like to teach their own kids on."

She ran a hand over the wood around the sound hole.  "That thin?"

"It's got a higher pitch.  How does he sound when he sings?"

"Tenor, mid-range according to a few people.  I'm told I'm tone deaf."

He nodded, pulling down one.  "Bit expensive but good model."  She nodded, taking it to look over.  He showed her how to hold it.  "That plus a good case would be at about your budget of 'he'll complain'."

She smiled.  "If there's no tag will he know?"

"No.  A lot of those are considered starter guitars that end up in pawn shops when guys in bands get desperate.  They're good musically, they're structurally sound, and they have a good range.  I wouldn't record an album with it but it's got good sound for sitting around playing."  She nodded and he helped her pick out a case.  She included a store card in the bag.  He smiled.  "When is his birthday?"

"Two days.  He's trying to say he's not celebrating."  He laughed and nodded, taking her card to run.  For once that week it was working.  She signed the slip and took it to the car.  He smiled at her back.  She had some good priorities for having no knowledge.


Dawn looked at Natasha.  "How are we doing his presents?"

"I was going to leave his on his plate."

"I can leave his in his closet then."  She smiled and kissed her.  "What did you get him?"

"A new necklace with the newest tracker on it."

"That's cool."  Dawn grinned and walked off.

Natasha watched her walk off.  Dawn had clearly spoiled Clint.  She hoped it wasn't too expensive or outrageous.  She had no idea where she was hiding it.


Clint came out to breakfast on his birthday, finding a present on his plate.  "Thanks, Nat."

"Welcome."  She smiled.  "Dawn's is hiding."

"I saw a box with wrapping paper in my closet.  A big box."

"It's something I think you'll like and size does not equate with expense," Dawn quipped as she came out.  Philip was still asleep so that was great.  She sat down.  Clint opened his new necklace and Natasha got a kiss before he put it on.  They made breakfast and ate then went to the bedroom to see what Dawn had gotten him.  He pulled out the box, which made Natasha glare at Dawn.  "It wasn't that expensive."

He looked at her then at the box.  "Are you sure?"


"Okay."  He opened the top of the box and stared at the obvious guitar case.  "No wonder you couldn't wrap it."  He pulled it out and stared at the black padded nylon case.  He laid it on the bed and opened it, running a hand over the guitar.  "I used to have one of these."

"I saw that."  Dawn flipped onto her stomach to watch him stroke it.  "That's why I asked if you wanted to pick out one you'd like."

"No, I love this."  He kissed her and tested the strings.  "Needs tuned."  She looked confused.  "I can do that later."  He took another kiss and grinned.  "Thank you."

"You're welcome.  You used to seem to enjoy it by what got dug up for me."

"I did.  I haven't played in years."  Dawn hopped up and kissed him then got dressed and headed for work.  He sat down, staring at it.  Natasha cuddled him.  "That I did not expect."

"She's always said you sing very nicely.  I have no idea who dug up that film."

He shrugged.  "Maybe Coulson?"

"Perhaps."  She smiled and kissed him again.  "Tune her and see how she sounds."  She went to shower and get dressed for the day.  They weren't due anywhere today unless Dawn or the world ran into trouble.

He settled on the bed to pull out his new guitar and tune her by ear.  She sounded good.  A bit deep but not real deep.  It wasn't a 'pro' guitar that you'd see in a studio but it was a good one.  His E string was going to annoy him to death so he had to fix that.   He found the card for the guitar shop and decided to get that new string today.  He could even bring the baby.  He'd like music, they all did and they'd make sure he got exposed often to it.  He and the baby took the pickup with the guitar.  Philip loved being in the truck.  He patted it like it was a pet and cooed at the color.  Clint got out at the shop, picking up Philip one-armed and taking the guitar in.  The salesguy winced.  "No, I love it.  Whoever helped her has great taste, but I need a new E string.  It's stretched."

"We can do that," he agreed, smiling and waving at the baby.  "Hey, kid."

"Say hi, Philip?"  Philip smiled and waved like Mommy had taught him.  "Good boy."  He let the salesguy take the guitar to get him a new string.  Clint pointed at something.  "That's a trumpet," he told his son.  "It's loud but you have to blow really hard.  It's what that guy on Mommy Natasha's record plays."  His son stared at the shiny thing his other mommy liked.  Clint smiled and took the case back, paying for the string.  "Thanks."  He took them back to the car, ignoring the reporter trying to hover.  "Go.  Away," he said finally.

"You play?" she asked with a happy grin.  He stared at her.  She huffed.  "We're trying to be nice to you."

"If you were nice to me, you'd leave me alone so I could do my job now and then but you don't."  He put the guitar in beside his son, who was petting it, then closed the back door and got into the front, locking the doors so he could put on his seatbelt and head home.   He even gave her a smile and a wave as he drove past her poutiness.  "Son, always remember, reporters are like bugs.  Some are helpful to the environment but most likely they're still going to get stomped on by your mothers."  He adjusted the mirror. 

The baby was cooing and petting his guitar case.  Clint grinned, turning on some music.  The truck had a huge Sirius collection of stations so he could find something he liked.  Of course, on the way someone tried to run him off the road.  He stared over at them for a second then sped up.  Which got him stopped for speeding.  He realized he didn't have his ID on him and thought at Dawn, who sent it magically as the officer got to his window.  "Trying to avoid the idiot, Officer."

"I saw them."  He stared at him.  "What was that twinkling thing, sir?"

"My wife sending my ID case," he said, holding it up with a grimace.

"Huh.  Okay.  Got anything I shouldn't hear about?"

"Few spare guns?" he offered with a grin.

"Yeah, I don't want to know about those," he decided, taking the ID case to look at.  "SHIELD, huh."  He looked at him.  "You're that archer guy."  The baby let out a loud squeal.  He glanced back then at him.  "Sitting?"

"Mine actually."

"They never showed that in the movie."  He handed it back and wrote out a warning.  "Did you forget your license too?"  Clint shifted to pull out his wallet to hand it over.   The baby was starting to fuss.  "Son, I'll let your father go in a minute."

Clint looked back at him.  "Quit."  Philip pouted and stared at him.  "Thank you."  He looked at the staring officer again.  He grinned.  "Mommy Natasha taught him that."

"She's good."

"Yes she is."  He took the warning and the license back.  "Thanks."

"Welcome.  Be more careful please."  He walked back to his cruiser, watching him pull off.  He shook his head and rolled his eyes.  He hated dealing with agents.  It was a pretty well held opinion in all law enforcement circles.  The ones from SHIELD were just a bit more weird than they were used to.  He saw twin looking cars go speeding up the highway and called it in.  Yup, they were after the agent.  He added that to the call in.  They'd need more cruisers for that, especially if they endangered that kid.  Because according to a lot of magazines he had stared at by the registers, that agent was married to that scary witch sort.  She could probably cause a lot of damage if they hurt her son. 

He saw the truck get off the interstate by cutting someone off.  The two cars tried to follow.  One went over the side of the overpass onto the highway below.  The other cut across the grass to turn around.  He moved his cruiser to block him.  Which meant he got hit and jammed against the bridge.  Thankfully he had help coming since someone got out shooting.  Nope, help was not faster than Iron Man.  He had thought Stark would be taller in his suit.  The guy that got out to shoot at him got knocked stupid with a blast from whatever hand-weapon that suit had.  Then Iron Man flew down to check the other car's stupid humans.

Dawn helped him out.  "Morning, Officer," she said with a smile.  "I hope you have some handcuffs."

"Yes, ma'am, and please don't make me use them on you."

"You won't."  She walked over to the one still trapped in the car, tapping him on the head since he was spaced out from hitting the airbag.  "You do realize that you just tried to hurt the truck with my son in it?"  He slowly shook his head.  She smiled and nodded.  "Yeah, you did.  Why?"  He whimpered, starting to cry.  She patted him on the shoulder.  "If you tell me I won't make it a messy death."  She smiled.  He mumbled something in Greek.  She rolled her eyes.  "No, that was Clint, not Natasha.  Clint has the baby today.  It's his birthday."  She smiled.  The whimpering got louder and the guy started to shed tears.  She smiled at her wife since she was strolling over.  "Hi, dear."

"Dawn."  She stared at the man.  "Do I know of you?"  He burst out really crying.  "I see."

"He thought you were in the truck."

"No, Clint needed to get another string."  She helped him out and over to the officer.  "SHIELD will probably want them."

"Please," the guy begged the officer.  "I'll take warring gang members in the same cell.  Please!"  He hugged his arm.  "I'll be a good boy and you'll get to deport me anyway!"  He grinned.  "I'll be a good boy."

Dawn cleared her throat.  "No.  I'm not that nice.  It's SHIELD or me."  The guy's eyes went wide and he started to shake.  "Now, which do you want?"

"SHIELD," he said, staring at her.  Dawn grinned.  "Thank you, ma'am."

"You're welcome.  Do you have ID on you so we can do the reports?"  He nodded, handing his wallet to Natasha, who smiled at him for being so scared of Dawn.  She called that in and Stark said something sarcastic back that only she heard, but it did  make her laugh.  Dawn grinned.  "I think they like you."

"I'll beg for mercy," he offered.  "Without prompting."

Dawn smiled.  "That's very nice of you.  We like that sort of initiative."  The guy sat down and let the officer cuff him.  Dawn smiled.  "You have a better day and remember, the baby's often with one of us."  She disappeared.

Natasha looked down at him.  "That's very wise.  We forgot our anniversary again."  The officer tried not to laugh but he couldn't help it.  "She did say it was all right but ...  She's young."

"She's not all that young," the officer said, smirking at her.  "Young girls faint at things like this, ma'am."

"Perhaps.  She's still very young."  Stark landed and walked over.  "He said he'd nicely beg us for mercy."

"Great," Stark said, staring at him.  "Why did you want Romanoff?"

"She's the one who assassinated our group's leader."

"No, I was not," she said.  "The Winter Soldier did and *he* is probably not going to be pleased to see you either as we've recently rescued him as well."  The Greek agent stared at her, eyes wide.  She smirked.  "I took out your head anarchist's wife, not him.  She was torturing the families."

"Oh."  He slumped.  "I won't fight."

"That's a good thing," Stark agreed.  He looked at Natasha.  "You forgot your anniversary again?  Aren't women supposed to be better at that stuff?"

She looked at him.  "I would not take off the armor today were I you," she said dryly.  He laughed and flew off.  SHIELD SUV's showed up with lights and sirens.  "Stark made sure they're all very ready for pickup," she told Coulson.

"Wonderful.  Who is this cooperative person?"  She handed over his ID.  "Interesting.  Wasn't his father part of that anarchist group that rumors say you took down?"

"We took down."

"We?" Coulson asked.

"It was a joint project between myself and a certain Soldier."

"Ah."  He nodded, looking at the staring man.  He smirked slightly.  "Welcome to being in SHIELD custody."  The man fainted.  "Wonderful."  He snapped and pointed.  "And him."  They picked him up and tossed him into the back of an SUV with the others.  "What did she get him?" he asked quietly.  "I don't want to duplicate and I'm shopping today."

"A guitar."

He smiled.  "I knew finding that film for her to brag about was a good thing."  He walked off.

"It figures it was you who sent it to her.  We could not figure out who told her."  She walked off to help clean up the mess.


Natasha made it home to find the boys in the bedroom.  Clint was slowly learning his guitar's quirks while he played.  Philip was staring at him, sucking on his fingers, laying on his stomach while Daddy played him music.  He wasn't making any noise.  He wasn't even fussing that he needed changed.  Natasha took him to change, making him squeak when she grabbed him.  "Let me change you."  He hugged her and babbled noise at her.  She smiled.  "He is very talented.  It's good that you're learning that from him."  Clint laughed and sent a warm thought at her but kept playing.  She got him changed and brought him back.  He laid back down to watch Daddy, on his side this time.  Natasha sat against the footboard, letting Philip curl up against her knees.  Clint finally stopped to wave his fingers to get feeling back into them.  Philip crawled over and nudged the guitar out of the way to cuddle him.

"I love you too, little guy."  He kissed him on the head.  "Are you sure you're not the cat?"  Natasha pointed at where the cat was sitting and staring at them.  He smirked at the cat.  "Not hiding anymore?"  The cat hopped down and then up onto the bed to sniff the guitar.  Natasha pulled him away, getting scratched.  Clint got him with the training can of air.  That made Loki cat leave the guitar alone.  Clint put it into the bag and zipped it shut, cuddling the baby since he was falling asleep.  "Dawn not done yet?"

"She's having to do some extra work tonight for a sudden board meeting that got called.  Apparently they're fussing over Stark being in Malibu, having the suit with him, and there having been something minor he helped with earlier while he was bored."

Clint rolled his eyes.  "They do it after each and every single time Iron Man's sighted doing something."  He carefully laid the baby down beside him.  Philip snuffled and curled against his hip to snuggle.  "You're a good boy, Philip."

She smiled.  "How long was he staring at you?"

"Since we got back.  I think I forgot to feed him."

"He would've fussed if he was hungry."  She leaned over to kiss him.  He grinned.  "Why can we not remember her birthday?" she asked quietly.

"I don't know.  I was wondering that."

She sighed, sitting back up.  "We really have to fix that."

"She put up a calendar for things.  Including his birthday."

"I bought him a few new outfits."

He grinned.  "I did too but I think mine's too small."  He looked at him.  "I'm starting to wonder if during that tampering thing something got switched."

"Maybe.  I'm not sure."  They laid down to cuddle together.  The baby got Clint's back, which he liked to nap against anyway.  Anytime they brought him into the bed to stop his fussing, he ended up against Clint's torso somehow.  They thought about dinner but they were tired.  They hadn't done much all day but they were tired.  So they could rest and wait on Dawn so they could order something.  Natasha sent a small thought at her, getting that it was going to be late so eat without her.  They groaned.  But still weren't hungry.  Maybe Philip was being extra supportive of them being sleepy.  They needed a nap too.


Dawn finally made it home about midnight, looking exhausted.  She had been driven home because she was too tired to drive.  She took down her hair on the way to the bedroom, spotting the trio on the bed.  Philip was trying to nurse off Clint, who was asleep.  Natasha was asleep too.  She sent a thought at Natasha, making her blink awake.  She smiled and kissed her then Philip on the head.

Natasha slowly ran a hand up Clint's arm, waking him slightly.  "Don't move too fast.  You'll startle the baby."

He blinked down at his son, grinning.  "Son, those aren't like the ones that fed you."  He petted over his hair, waking him up.  "Hey, no sucking on me.  Those don't work."  He pulled him off, making him fuss.  "Hungry?  We'll feed you if you're hungry."  He looked at the clock then at Dawn.  "Bad day?"  She nodded, stripping down and climbing into the bed and pulling the covers over her.  "Let me feed him and I'll come cuddle."  Natasha moved closer to cuddle her.  Clint took the baby to feed.  He found his phone flashing a voicemail and listened to it, then stared at the bedroom.  "He'd never allow it," he called.

"They're going to try something stupider than paying a frustrated, slightly failed chemist to blow up a lab.  I had to calm Andrew down because MB had been in there with the fire," Dawn called.

He sent a text to Steve.  Rogers was the most non-sleeping Avenger and would probably be up.  Stark might be in the lab but he'd never hear his phone.  He got a situation report back and Steve said Dawn had been right to deck a few people.  That she wasn't in trouble with Pepper or Stark but she probably did feel miserable.  The fire had made her cough for a few minutes too.  He went in to check her over.  She was asleep.  He showed Nat the message and she grimaced, nodding slightly.  He went back to feeding the baby.  Philip was more than happy to eat for him and then wanted to play.  Clint checked the security system's readout.  "We have to drop Mommy off at the office tomorrow, little guy.  She apparently took a cab home."  They went onto the back porch to play so the baby cackling wouldn't wake Mommy up.


Stark looked up as Barton walked in looking nicely dressed up, and had the baby.  "Hey, Philip."  He took him to look at.  "Are you all right?"  The baby grinned and squealed at Chris since he was running up the hallway.  "Yup, he figured that out last night.  Woke us up to it."  He handed the baby to Chris.  "Take him to Beya."  They crawled off together.  "JARVIS."

"I am watching them, sir," the AI promised.

Clint stared at him.  "I saw the paper."

"So did I and withdrew all our advertising from it.  It was factually correct.  Dawn did administer corporal punishment to the idiots.  They deserved it and the person who paid them I spanked last night with a lawsuit."  He smirked slightly.  "Is she not coming in today?"

"I dropped her at her desk."  He looked back there, she wasn't at it.  "Dawn?"

She came out of the head office with paperwork.  "Synching the calendar.  Adding a few new things to the board meeting's minutes just in case, boss."

"They're going to be bitchy," he said dryly.

She grinned.  "That's fine.  Clint can do my rounds for me during it."

Clint stared at her.  "I think I can help more than that."  She stared at him.  So did Tony.  He grinned.  "Dawn does have a majority stock of the company that's available.  There's 8,000 shares up for sale, right?"  Tony nodded slowly.

"We own seven of those," Dawn said.  "I wasn't going to take them all.  It'd look bad."

He stared at her then smirked.  "Don't you get some stock options due to the job too?"

"That is part of my benefits package," she quipped.  Tony walked off snickering to talk to Pepper.  She kissed Clint.  "So you're going to be sitting in as a major stock holder?  I was wondering why you were in the suit."  She winked and strolled off.  "Going to check on MB, boss."

"She's still in the infirmary," Pepper called.

"That's fine.  I know where it is."  She walked off on the right floor a few minutes later, walking in there.  "Hey."  She helped MB sit up since she was coughing.  "It helps, trust me."  MB nodded, still coughing.  "Doc?"  The one she didn't know came out.  "Oh, hey, you're the new doc aren't you?"  She smiled.  "Oxygen?"

He came over to listen to her lungs.  "Yes, you could use some, Mrs. Wells.  You should have told us."  He looked at Dawn.  "It's not visiting hours."

She smiled.  "Yay."  The doctor huffed.  She grinned at her.  "Seen Caro?"

"Andrew brought her in so she'd eat breakfast.  She's pouting hard," she gasped.  Dawn helped adjust the oxygen mask for her.  She breathed and relaxed.  "Ow."

"Yeah, it does suck when you can't stop coughing."  She helped her get comfortable.  "Philip's probably already hugging her.  You know he considers her fascinating."

"He does.  Though the kids can't date.  I'd hate to have Caro learn scary girl things from her parents-in-law."  Dawn laughed and hugged her.  "Thanks, Dawn.  Make sure Andrew eats lunch?"

"I will."  She patted her.  "Want a puzzle book or something?"  She pointed at her Starkpad.  "Cool.  Let me know if you need anything.  There's a huge board meeting later but other than that I'll have my phone on."  She nodded.  "And Stark keeps his on during it so JARVIS can find him."

"That's cool.  I think I'll nap."

"That's a great idea."  She tucked her in and walked off, going to check on Andrew.  He was growling.  "Hey."  He jumped and turned to stare at her.  "I just got her back on the oxygen.  She's napping.  She said I had to nag you about eating."

"I will so Caro will."  He hugged her.  "Thanks, Dawn."

"Welcome, 'Drew.  If you need to talk, Clint's here for the board meeting."

"I'm going to be there too."  He grinned meanly.  She fussed at his shirt.  "I'll change."

"You have about an hour.  Wear the blue button up with the striped tie."  He grinned and went to change.  She looked at Jonathan, who smirked evilly.  "Phil's interrogating people today."

"Wonderful."  Dawn walked off and he got down to some evil plans in case they needed them.  Andrew might be nice but he'd go fully Dark Side if his wife was that hurt.

Dawn walked back up to her desk, finding the doctor complaining to Pepper.  "Andrew is coming in to the board meeting."

"That's fine.  He has the right to make a statement against them, Dawn.  Did you give him an idea of what to wear?"

"I did."  She grinned at the doctor.  "Yes, I'm nosy and into everything around here.  It's my job."  Pepper snickered but nodded.  "Speaking of, where's my son, JARVIS?  Has he found Caro yet?"

"Yes, he has," the AI reported.  "He's presently hugging her even when she's whiny.  He's cooing and humming.  It's adorable how he's taking care of her.  Liz is on her other side doing the same thing."

"Great," Pepper agreed.  "They're both very sweet kids to make her feel better."

"I'll let you know if there's a problem during the meeting.  The erring board member just showed up with his lawyer."

"Gloria's going to need to be there," Dawn said, texting her.  She was handling a staff meeting.  She sent over her protege.  Dawn got that young man, who felt evil to her, the forms.  "That's what happened.  This is the present doc on shift so he can get the records."

He read it over, snorting.  "They're very screwed."

Dawn stared at him.  "Where did you graduate?"

He smirked.  "Berkeley and Stanford.  My father was Wolfram and Hart but I have *some* ethics."

Dawn smirked.  "Some of my sister's friends fought against your father's people."

"I saw.  Your sister usually needed weight added to her figure."  He smirked.  "The injured party?"

"Infirmary.  Bed two," Dawn said.  "Her husband's going to be at the meeting."

"Wonderful."  He went to find him and talk to him.

Pepper stared at Dawn.  "I didn't know we had some evil lawyers on staff," she said quietly.

"Gloria said he's her protege."

"Huh."  She nodded.  "We'll have to make sure he's got a great career on our side."  Dawn and she shared a grin.  "Are you wearing that, Dawn?  You look sweaty."

She looked at herself.  "It's the fabric.  I need to do some dry cleaning runs.  I have two things in my locker."  She went to find something better and a jacket.  She came out putting up her hair again.  The lawyer walked past her.

"I liked the other one."

"This one's less shiny and crinkly.  Plus I look more professional."  She buttoned up the jacket.

"That is better then," he decided.  "Him?"

"I told him what to put on."

"Even better."  He found the meeting room thanks to her.  She counted chairs so she could put a few more into place then a few against the wall by the head of the table.  She put name tags on them and cups out.   She started some coffee and made sure there was water in the mini fridge.  That worked and she smiled at the set up.  "Stark's back there?"

"That's the head of the table and the room controls are behind him.  The other end gets sun glare."  She smiled and adjusted the drapes.  "It's by rank of influence and annoyance."  She strolled off.  Andrew walked up with Caro.  "She has to be quiet."

"She will be.  I'm saving her from being mobbed."  He rolled his eyes.  "The kids are all great little empaths."  He walked in there, finding his seat thanks to Dawn.  Clint strolled in to play with the baby and keep him calm.  "Thanks, Clint."

"Welcome, 'Drew."  He waved at the baby.  "Hey, Caro."  She smiled at him.  "Did Philip cuddle mob you again?"  Andrew nodded.  "That's good then."  He took her to sit on his lap.  She cuddled in, playing with his tie.  "That's a good girl.  Learn to like ties.  Maybe whenever we find Callia a nice guy from a spy he'll have a nice younger brother for you."

"You are?" Andrew asked.

"That way she's safe and it works like ours does," he said smugly.

Andrew nodded.  "Could be."  His daughter waved.  He grinned and waved back.  "You're so silly."  She cackled and patted the tie again.

Dawn handed him some water.  Caroline got helped to drink some and not spill it all over Clint.  She left, going to tell Tony and Pepper the room was ready.  Pepper got off her current call while Tony came back to lounge around while they waited.  The lawyer settled into his spot, talking to Andrew about what had happened.  Dawn found the board members pulling in.  "The room is ready if you want to join us."  She walked off.  She grabbed the minutes and headed in there.  She poured Tony some coffee and made some more.  He inhaled it like some people drank water.  She settled herself in her seat, smiling at Caro and Clint.  She set up the recorder and it was working when people came in.

"Thanks for calling a meeting," Tony said dryly.  "I think we need to talk about a few things."

"We need outsiders?" one asked.

Andrew looked at her.  "Your fellow board member tried to have my wife killed.  Yes, you do."  She gasped and looked at the others.  He took his daughter back to keep himself calm.  She smiled and patted him.  He cuddled her.  "It's all right and we'll go see Mommy in a few minutes."

Clint smiled.  "Yes, some of us are holders of the biggest chunk of publically available stock.  I think this concerns us as well as it affects the company so strongly."

Tony smirked at him.  "With the publically available and her stock options, you two have about as much as each of the kids.  Which works since she's their next in line for custodianship."  He looked at them.  "Sit.  Let's get started, people."  A few were missing.

Dawn looked.  "Should I call the two missing ones to see if they're on their way?" she asked.

"They have five minutes to the stated time or they're not here," Pepper said.  "We can note they were absent."  She crossed her legs and sipped her tea.  "We need to switch this maker to a two-pot maker, Dawn.  That way we can have hot water."

She smiled.  "The spigot on the side will dispense hot water, Pepper."  She got up to refill it from the bottled water stash.  "There, that way if you run out of tea you can make more."  She sat down, crossing her legs again.  She set up things to take notes.  She sent a thought at Clint, glancing at him.  He smiled and took Caro back since she was fussing at her father.

Tony checked his watch.  "It's time."

Dawn texted security.  "One's here, they just came through the gateway, boss.  No sign of Abigail Glanner."

"That's fine. Make a note she didn't show up and this one was tardy."  She did that.   The missing member walked in and sat down quickly.  Tony looked around. 

"We had a problem yesterday.  Let's talk about it," Pepper said with a cold, icy smile.  A few started to open their mouths.  "We had a board member pay a chemist to blow up their lab, which endangered others' lives.  Including a very promising chemist, who is the wife of one of our engineers."  She pointed at Andrew.  A few looked at him.  "It also disturbed three other labs.  Including virology."  She sipped her tea while the ones who flinched could.  "So let's go over what happened."  Dawn was making notes about the goings on.  The recorder was taking the verbal.  Dawn was taking notes about what the people were doing and who looked guilty.  "I've never seen a company that's had as many problems from their board as Stark International has with ours," Pepper said dryly.

"I agree," Tony said.  "No one else has to deal with this level of bullshit.  Frankly, my father would've had you all taken out."

"He is floating around the penthouse still," Dawn said quietly.  "I can summon his spirit out here."

"No, he's pissing off my daughter again," Tony said dryly.  "He should stay out there."   His father faded in and he looked at Dawn.  She shook her head.

Howard looked at him.  "Callia did the summoning.  She thought they should be paddled."

"They should," Tony agreed dryly.  "But I can handle it, Dad."

"Fine."  He floated over to settle next to Andrew, looking at Caroline.  "Hey, kid."  She smirked at him and waved.  "She's cute, Andrew."

"Thank you, Howard," he said quietly.  He was staring at the reason his wife was in the infirmary.

"What, exactly, happened yesterday?" one of the board members asked.  The lawyer got up to give the official report.  Then Andrew interrupted him and got up to talk to them about how his wife was trying to stop him because she walked in from lunch to find him trying to blow up the lab.  Dawn got up to hug him and he calmed down.

"She'll be fine, Andrew," Tony said calmly and quietly.  "If we could get Dawn over smallpox, we can help MB heal her coughing from smoke inhalation."  He nodded, letting Dawn help him sit down.  He took Caro to hug.  Clint patted him on the arm.

The lawyer stared at the errant board member.  "I have the feeling he did not come up with this plan himself."

"Why?" Tony asked.

"Because I believe that he would not have the money to do that on his own," Dawn said.  "Unless his financial records were forged, he paid the guy most of his net worth to do that?"  She printed the file Natasha had sent from her desk.  "That's his public filings, boss."

Pepper and Tony looked it over and nodded.  "No, that would've meant he had to raid all his funds to pay him."  He slid it down to the lawyer, who looked it over.

"Things like this never have just one person involved," he said smugly.

Dawn and Clint shared a look.  Dawn cast a silent spell to let her see through illusions and found the reason that smugness looked so familiar.  The 'lawyer' looked up at her.  She quirked up an eyebrow but he went back to smugging the board to death.  She sent a thought to Natasha, who sent Tony a quick text.  Apparently Loki's present influence group was a bit upset with the board.  They had stumbled into a war of influence.

"There's no way the company will ever be as good," that one board member sneered, standing up.  "What're we going to do?  Die as we sell minor tech?  We need to go back to weapons!"

"So we have things stolen from military units and used on them?" Tony asked sarcastically.  "No thanks."

"A few lives is nothing," he sneered at him.  "Including yours."  Dawn punched him again, knocking him into a wall.  "You'll pay, Summers."

"It's Summers-Romanoff-Barton," she said dryly.  "And you want it, bring it."  He yelled and rushed at her.  She stopped it with a gun to his chin.  She stared at him until he whimpered and slumped away from her.  "That won't save you," she said quietly.  "As a matter of fact, it probably doomed your whole conspiracy."  She smiled.  "You'll tell us about it.  Won't you?"  He shook his head, looking scared.  "Agent Barton, can I please have your tie?"  He took it off and handed it over.  She flicked it at the idiot and magically created a rope from it to tie him up.  He tried to run but Dawn tripped him and tied him up.  She smiled, putting her gun back in her holster on her thigh, which got rehidden.  "Now then, you wanted to make a statement?"

"I won't!  You won't win!"

Dawn chuckled a warm, pleased sound.  "Really?"  He swallowed, shaking his head, trying to wiggle away from her.  "Keep going.  Remember, I get more effective at a longer range."  He stopped moving and she walked closer.  "Now, what, exactly, was the bright idea, sunshine?"  She smiled slightly.

Tony shivered.  "Dawn, interrogations should be private."

Natasha walked in.  "I believe I can handle that."  She hauled him up.  "Interesting rope pattern, Dawn."

Dawn smiled at her.  "I'll change it back into Clint's tie later.  Caro really liked that one on him."

"So do I."  She walked him off.

The lawyer who was Loki playing dress up stared at Dawn.  "Very interesting."

She smiled.  "I'm trained to be the last line of defense for the bosses."  She sat down and smoothed out her skirt before crossing her legs.  She smiled at the board.  "You do realize that with the children being minors, the vote for them goes to either their parents, or their next in line for guardianship?"  They all moaned.  "Which means *I* hold the proxy for Liz, Callia, and Christopher."  She smiled.  "Plus mine from my benefits package.  The extended family still holds ninety-three percent of all stock in the company."

"Dawn's benefits package and the ones they bought are about twenty percent," Tony said with a grin.  "Plus the kids each have fifteen until they're eighteen or get their first degrees."

"So let's talk about this plan going on," Dawn said with perky cheer and a happy grin.  "Before we have to heal more people."  A few got up and stomped off.  She smiled and waved at their backs.  "I'm sure you'll love being arrested by agents.  Thank you for outing yourselves."  She looked at one.  "I wasn't sure about you."

"Natasha said she is," Clint said.  "Or her husband is and is using her."  He got comfortable, smiling at Caro and wiggling his fingers at her.  She pouted, patting his chest.  "She'll give me back my tie in a few minutes, dear."  She grinned, cuddling her daddy.

"I'm what?" she demanded.

Clint looked at her.  "JARVIS, please pull up what Agent Romanoff was looking up?"  It was projected over the table.  That board member gasped, shaking her head.

"Bad second marriage, ducks?" the lawyer asked with a smirk.

"Clearly.  Stark, I had no intention of moving against the family."

"I know.  You'll fix that later on I'm sure."  He smiled at her.  "Your family has sat on the board for years."  She nodded, getting up to go handle that.  "Any other comments?"  No one said anything.  "Then meeting dismissed.  Thank you for helping us find the matter's truth."  The few remaining ones left.  He looked at Pepper.  "We deserve frozen yogurt."

She smiled.  "We do."  They got up.  "Dawn, type that up for us and I'll get you some strawberry?"

"I'm not really in the mood for froyo, Pepper, but thanks."  Clint and Andrew both stared at her.  "Slight headache."  She glared at Loki.  He appeared in his usual form.  "Which group's plan did they step on?"

"My own.  While having this most amusing group making weapons for the stronger militaries is useful I'd rather not deal with the consequences of others trying for it through robotic or other means."  He disappeared.

"We have robots getting in the way again?" Tony quipped.  "Did I build them?" he asked Pepper, who shook her head as she walked off.  Tony smirked back at Clint.  "She's got a break coming."

"Wonderful."  Andrew blushed and strolled off with the baby, who wanted Clint's tie back.  Natasha gave it to her on the way past to the board room.  Andrew was bright red.  He had an idea what 'breaks' with a spouse meant.  He took plenty of them with MB.

Natasha walked in to stare at her.  "Since when do you not want frozen yogurt?"

"Since I'm having one of those 'not real hungry days'?" she guessed and shrugged some.

"Sure, we can make lunch tempting."

Dawn walked over to kiss him.  "You're a great lunch."  She grinned and did the same to Natasha.  "And you're a special one because you always take longer."  She strolled off to go back to work.

Clint and Natasha shared a look then a kiss.  "Chinese?" he suggested.

"I could go for that.  Or Thai."

"She doesn't want the spices.  Korean?"

"That works."  They went back to their various things, pretending to do something so no one would ask them to babysit or anything.  Clint loved that Philip adored seeing Beya for hours on end.

Natasha had to file a supplemental report on the idiot board member so she could have him arrested.  Then she could go back to making sure nothing else got near Dawn to hurt her.

Dawn enjoyed them being this way though.  So it was all right if they were a tiny bit overprotective.


Clint had watched Dawn for about a week.  Something was off about her.  He wasn't sure what.  He was pretty sure she wasn't pregnant.  The baby wasn't upsetting her by having a preference for Natasha over her.  Which amused him but he could see Dawn's pouty point about the baby hating her sometimes.  Philip did like Natasha more.  Maybe it was because Natasha was more subdued?  He'd figure that out later.  No, Dawn was hiding something.  This was her 'hiding something huge' behavior.  So he went to talk to someone that his wife would tell.  "Hey, guys," he said as he walked into Andrew and Jonathan's lab.  They stared at him oddly.  He grinned.

"Aren't you two telepathic with her?  I thought that meant it'd be easier to read your wife's mind," Jonathan said, looking at Andrew.

"I would've figured it was too.  And I'm too tired to beat his ass with the battle suits," he told his best friend.

"Can it, 'Drew.  I know she's hiding something.  The reason for the something is the issue.  Any idea?"

"How is she able to block out having visions from you?" Jonathan asked.  Clint stiffened slightly.  "Especially when you're in the gym in the next building and she ends up in the infirmary for two hours?"

"We tend to keep it separate most of the time," he admitted.  He considered it, thinking at Natasha.  She was busy at SHIELD's west coast office.  The head of the office was being nagged.  He looked at them.  "Any idea what the topic was?  She's gotten back into that pre-battle tired mode."

"Then there's probably a battle coming?" Andrew guessed.  He shrugged.  "Beyond us and Stark getting into the other realmal comic books so we can make sure nothing huge is going to be started, like him doing something that gets the earth invaded, or making a sentient life form that's going to kill you all, we haven't been paying that much attention to otherworldly things."

"Crap.  Well, I can do it the usual way then.  Thanks, guys."  He walked off.  He knew where to find those Godiva bars.  He paused in the office.  Dawn was working on Pepper's neck.  "Headache?"  Pepper nodded.  "Do I need to go shoot someone for you?"

"Only if you can shoot one of the kids for knocking her down the stairs this morning," Dawn said dryly.

"No, probably not a good idea.  Chris?"  Pepper nodded again.  "Take a nap, Pepper.  You probably need one and I'm sure he's sorry."

"He cackled as he ran over me," Pepper said, looking up at him.  "No, he wasn't.  Daddy has him to talk to him."

"Take a nap," Dawn agreed.  "That way you give the advil time to kick in.  You have two free hours for a lunch date."  She walked around the desk and gave Clint a kiss.

"Want to tell me what the vision we didn't know you had was?" he asked quietly.  "Or should I find the straps and Godiva bars?"

"What vision?" she asked.

"For some reason I got that little 'lies feel tingly in my head' feeling," he said, staring down at her.  She was wearing ballet slippers today so she barely came up to his chin.  She huffed.  "Tell me?  That way we can handle it?"  He stopped her from moving.  "Remember, Dawn Summers-Romanoff-Barton is not allowed to handle things all on her own," he said calmly.  This was clearly bad.

"Even if it leads to having to arrange custody agreements?"

"Whenever you get stressed, that whole 'leaving you' thing comes into them," he said.  "So what was it?"

She considered it, glancing at Pepper, who nodded to tell him.

"So she knew?" Clint asked.

"She found me having it and debriefed me."  She walked over to get an envelope from her desk then came back.  "Even if it's so bad you're going to be curling up in a corner for a few hours?"

"Even then; we can't handle it if we don't know."  He stared at her.  "Though I'm not really the curling up in the corner sort, Dawn."

"Even if someone from your past is now looking for you?"

"My past?  Like way back when I was a new SHIELD agent?"  This was looking like a personal apocalypse.

She bit her bottom lip then handed him the envelope.  "Like your brother's still alive?"

He flinched.  "He's what?"  She nodded.  He looked at the envelope, opening it to read the statement from the vision.  Behind it was Stark's hacking work to find him.  "Okay," he decided, swallowing the nauseous feeling.  "I can accept this was a really good reason not to tell me.  Were you going to hunt him down?"

"And warn him."

"He'd do it just to piss us both off."

"Yeah but it'd be a more open one than just trying to get into the house."

"Good point."  He read back over the account of Dawn taking over the fight with his brother to spare him the pain of having to beat his brother's ass again.  He hugged her.  "You cannot take battles from me."

"No one deserves that sort of pain and you'd do it for us," she said against his shoulder.

"I would.  This one, not exactly the same as the pact we made if our loved ones turned into zombies."  He felt her relax.  He cuddled her, looking over it again.  "How far away is he?"

"He got recruited into that new company up the coast that's a wannabe hero breeding and training ground."  She pulled back to look at him.  "They have a few dangerous assholes up there."

"What do we know on them?"

"Not a lot.  I know that they were started by a douche from Tony's past."

"Okay."  He realized he was repeating himself but he could handle this.  Dawn gave him a squeeze.  "I'm not going into this alone, Dawn.  I'll let you and 'Tasha both back me up."  She nodded, giving him another squeeze.  "Fuck!"

She pulled back to look at him.  "I can...."

"No you can't."

"Yeah I can."

"No, you can't.  That's for me to do."  He kissed her.  "Maybe I'll sit and stare at you for a while."

"I have an hour lunch break penned in," she said with a smile.  "I was going to invite you out for pizza."

"I'm not hungry."

"Yeah, I haven't been either.  Let's go to one of the guest rooms and spend some time sitting?"  He nodded, taking her down there to cuddle up with her.  She pushed him onto the couch and curled up against his side, just cuddling and letting him think.  He had always thought his brother had died after their last fight.  Sometime after it.  Now, he knew better.  Which sucked but he got why Dawn was hiding it from him.  He was going to have to shut down and process for a few minutes to get his brain back on track. 

Dawn stroked a hand up his chest under his sleeveless t-shirt and scratched his chest hair with her nails.  He shivered.  The hand casually drifted down to take his mind off things with a fast and dirty hand job.  Which got his mind to white out for a few minutes.  He needed that.  He looked down at her.  "You are the best thing that's ever happened to me."  He kissed her.  She smiled, cuddling better.  Now he could think, he could make plans.  He could stop Natasha from going up there to kick Barney's ass for him. 

She opened an investigation on that group for him.  That was helpful and they could handle it together.


Clint was sitting surveillance.  He was really good at it and no one had recognized him yet.  Though he was being very obvious.  He looked to his left as Coulson appeared with a muted flash.  "Finally got that under control?"

"I have to concentrate very hard to not flash.  At least I don't leave glitter like some love gods."  He crossed his arms over his chest.  "Want some backup?"


"We can do that."

"We can't take them all out yet."

"I'm not worried about them yet."  He looked at him.  "Just the one."

Clint smiled.  "Thanks, Coulson."

"Welcome."  He gave him a slight shoulder nudge.  "How do you want to play this?"

"I want to summon him out.  Make him come out of his own free will."

Phil considered it, asking Xander a question.  Xander set the spell so Barney would notice him and come out.  They saw him look out a window and pause then disappear.  It took about a half-hour but he did come out.

Clint stared at him, he looked thinner and harder.  He didn't look as happy to see him as he had expected.  So no trying to smarm him this time.  "Barney," he said quietly.

"If it isn't the national media hero," Barney Barton said dryly, sneering at him.  "What are you doing here?"

"I never wanted them to follow me around.  I fight with the press all the time about that."  He relaxed.  "Beyond that, I thought you had died.  What, no holiday cards?" he sneered.

"I doubt they would've made it through the hellhole that you ended up in."

"SHIELD doesn't read the mail or else Fury wouldn't be getting panties again."  He shifted his stance some.  "So, what are you doing out of jail?"

"The time of your team is over with."

"Um, no.  We have things we have to do this spring with another demonic invasion of LA.  Fighting the good fight and all that."  He shrugged slightly.  "It happens as part of the job."

Barney sneered.  "You do things like that?"

"Fight huge demon threats and alien invasions?  Yeah."

"I saw you had a son."

"Phil's a cool little guy.  He's going to be smart like his mother.  Already likes music," he said with a grin.  "He's going to walk soon."

"You sure you're not going to *change*?" he asked dryly.

"No, I'll never turn into our parents.  Dawn would kick my ass."  Coulson nodded that was possible.  "Beyond that, he's a bit spoiled because I overcompensate."  He shifted again.  "So."  He stared at him, man-to-man, eye-to-eye.  "Your bright idea came from a really dim bulb."  Barney took a swing at him and Clint paid it back then kept going after him for the last time they fought.  He finally pulled back, staring at him.  "Don't come near my family, Barney.  At all," he said quietly.  "Not the wives, not the son.  They see enough evil shits."  He walked off.  "And if you think about pressing charges, so be it.  I'll get probation."  He smirked.  "There are a few benefits to being an Avenger."

Coulson stared down at him.  "I'll second the not going near any SHIELD member or adjunct member, or their children.  We do tend to get...vindictive on those that do.  Have a better day."  He walked off, taking the keys to the SHIELD SUV.  "I'm driving.  You can pick the radio station."

"Sure."  They climbed in.  "Did we tell that you Dawn got me a guitar for my birthday?"  He buckled up.

"I did hear."  He looked at him.  "My namesake?"

"He laid on the bed, didn't even fuss at the dirty diaper or being hungry, to watch me play," he said with a grin.

"Wonderful.  Maybe he'll be a musician instead of an agent."

"I'd like that."  They sped off.  "He's going to press charges."

"Possibly.  Then again, he's a wanted felon."  Clint shook his head and rolled his eyes.  "You good?" he asked quietly.

"Yeah.  Did you guys hear Dawn's vision?"

"Xander may have.  He didn't mention it however."

"We really have got to get them to remember that they have backup."

"That would be nice.  Xander was beating a few bigots earlier that tried to attack Tara and didn't leave me a single one."

"Pity.  There's more wanna-be villains back there if you want a few."

"I'll get plenty when it's time."  They pulled onto the highway and headed back to SHIELD.  If he was going to be arrested, it'd be at the office, not at home and not at Stark.


Dawn smiled, coming out into a reporter ambush.  "People, annoying," she noted with a grin.  Philip was scowling from her hip.

"He's only getting prettier, Dawn.  What was your husband thinking when he went to beat that agent?"

"First, his brother's not an agent.  He's actually a wanted felon."  They all shut up to stare at her.  "Secondly, I have the feeling that if you looked at Barney's present *job* there's probably a problem.  Considering I had a vision."

"So that was his brother?  We thought he was dead," one of the reporters said.

"So did Clint."

"Oh, dear."  That reporter winced and waved at Philip, who was scowling.  "He doesn't look happy."

"You're keeping him from his daddy time.  Daddy's been playing music for him each night before bed."

"Aww," the reporters said.

"Clint was at a music store with a guitar," one reporter said.

Dawn grinned.  "It was my birthday present to him."  That got another coo.  Philip glared and laid a nasty diaper.  She looked at him.  "Eww, son.  Must you, really?"  She walked around the reporters.  "Let me change him and go home, people."

"Why did you buy a Tesla?" one called.  "Why not a more standard hybrid?"

She smiled.  "It was a present."  That got another coo.  She got Philip into the backseat to change him then put him into his car seat.  She tossed out the diaper and used a diaper wipe to clean her hands before getting in and driving off, carefully around the reporters to not hit them.  No matter how much they'd all like her to.  She turned on some music, making Philip happier.  He liked rock music.

The reporters stopped Pepper when she and the kids came out for their planned picnic for dinner.  Pepper stared at them.  "People, get away from the children."  They backed up.  "Liz?"  No answer.  She looked around.  "Security, find Liz."

"She's heading for the limo," one called, pointing at her. 

Callia jogged after her to pick her up and bring her back.  "You silly thing, we're going to eat here on the grass.  It's called a picnic and even Daddy's out of the lab for it."  She handed her back.

Liz pouted and pointed at the reporters.  "I know, we usually get into the car really fast when they're around but this time they're going to go back beyond the gate," she said with a stare at them.  They complied.  "Then we're going to have dinner, Liz."  She smiled at her, walking her and Chris that way, with Callia helping.  Caro and Allenetta ran out to help them.  "Hi, guys.  Are you joining our picnic?"

Andrew walked MB out with a grin.  "We think a geek-wide picnic is a great idea, Pepper.  Do you mind?"

"No!  It's a good idea.  A lot of you could use a tiny bit of sunlight now and then, 'Drew."  She smiled at Allenetta.  "Where are your parents?"

"Having fun since she found out earlier she's pregnant again," MB said.  "We're babysitting."

Pepper smiled.  "That's a great thing too."  Tony, and Bruce, came out together.  "Bruce, when did you get here?"

"Two hours ago."  He kissed her on the temple and smiled at the kids.  They all mobbed 'grandpa' and it was good. "Joyce is coming out tomorrow," he said when Liz demanded her.  "We're out for Philip's birthday."  They squealed and dove in to eat with their friends and relatives.  A few other geeks came out to join them.  It was good for them.  The reporters said it was 'a great team building' thing and went to file reports on what had happened to Barton earlier.

A few even took the hint and investigated that company.  When one got killed for it by them, others took notice and stepped in.  Without prompting by SHIELD at all.  By the next afternoon, the reporters had gotten the FBI into it and all sorts of neat things.


Dawn looked at the judge.  Clint's bail was trying to be set very high.  "Your Honor, is that a cash or a property bond?" she asked.  He stared at her.  She smiled back.  "That way I know who to call to get his bail through."

"Cash or property, miss.  Are you related to him?"

"I'm his wife."

"Oh."  He grimaced.  "What was this over?"

"His brother beat him and left him for dead, twice.  He's also a bit bad."  She handed over the reports from the reporters.  "That's a preliminary but the FBI is investigating their group at the moment."

He read it over, grimacing.  "Sounds like a real winner."  He looked at Clint.  "You do this?"

"No, sir, I'm a Federal Agent."



The judge blinked.  "SHIELD?  It's not just a movie thing?"  Clint shook his head with a slight grin.  "Huh.  I did not know that."  He considered it.  "I can release you into your boss's custody but I'm not sure what he'd do about all this."

Dawn looked back at Fury.  "I'd send his ass home to play with his infant son," Fury admitted, standing up.  "Though we do pay a lot of attention to him and their activities are already pretty monitored."

"Is he going to get into trouble for this?" the judge asked.

Fury shook his head.  "I would've shot him for Agent Barton if I had heard he was alive. Most of my agents who are aware of the background would say the same thing."

"Me too," Dawn said.  She looked at him.  "We can pay bond, Your Honor."

"Are you an agent as well?" he asked.

She smiled.  "Personal assistant."

"Oh.  To an agent?"  She shook her head.  "To...."

"Not involved," she said dryly.  "They don't want to be in the middle of this incident.  They consider it a family matter, that my spouse acted in the best possible way, and offered him a few new guns if he wanted to go shoot him, but they didn't want involved in the court case."

"I can understand that."  He looked at him.  "You have a lot of very fierce defenders."  Clint nodded that was true.  "Are you going to beat him again?"

"Only if he comes near my family."

"That's reasonable I think."  He sighed.  "One million, cash or property."  He banged his gavel.

Dawn smiled and pulled out her checkbook, making it out and handing it to him.  "Do I make it out to the courts?"

"You do," he said, staring at her.

She smiled.  "Thank you.  He'll be notified when his court date is?"

"Yes.  In addition, I want him in the local area.  No missions to other countries," he told Fury.

"Not an issue.  We're working on the one for this spring."  The judge moaned, shaking his head.  "Yet again, yes."

"Fine.  I'll try to have this done by then.  Dismissed."  They left together.  He had the check handed to the right office and it was good.  Which meant he had just stepped on someone's toes.  What sort of personal assistant made that sort of money?

Dawn looked at the reporters out front.  "People, move," she said quietly.  "Don't touch the spouse."  They got out of the way.  "Right now, we have no comment and it'll stay that way unless something else happens."  They still shouted questions.  She got them into the hired limo and went to the office.  Tony patted Barton when he walked past him.  Dawn kicked Tony out of her desk chair.  "I said I'd be right back, boss."

"I was playing tetris."  He grinned at her.  "You just turned into the high society bitch that Pepper does when she gets mad."

"That's how I learned that."  She smiled. 

He walked into the office laughing.  The office door got shut.  He looked at Clint.  "You okay?"

"Yeah, I'm good.  Are they going to try to retaliate?"

"Not unless they can get out of FBI custody," Fury said.  He lit his cigar and took a puff.  Pepper snatched it and put it out.  "Fine."  He looked at him.  "Feel better?"

"Yeah, as long as he doesn't come after the baby or the wives."

"I doubt he would.  He's more a sideways thinker," Fury reminded him.

"If he comes for someone here to get my attention he'll get it in the worst possible way," Clint said firmly.

"No, he comes here and he gets *mine*," Tony assured him.  "And possibly Rhodey's."

"And ours," Pepper reminded him with a smile.

Tony looked at her.  "Where's the original Pepper?"

"She's talking to MB.  She's been sobbing all day for some reason."  She shrugged.  "Our original source is very caring."  Fury gaped, staring at her.  She smiled and waved.  "Hi."  She looked at Tony.  "We'd like to visit Warren.  His original one wants to stay with him but we'd get sad about where he's living.  Can we do that?"

Tony nodded.  "I'll have Coulson arrange the visit.  I'm not sure if she can stay or not."

She smiled.  "Thank you, Mr. Stark."  She stood up and kissed him on the tip of his nose with a grin.  "I'm going to make cookies for the kids.  They need cookies and my fellow girlfriend is already doing that."  She strolled out.

"I kinda wish that Nat could bake like that sometimes," Clint admitted.  He relaxed.  Dawn and Philip came in.  She sat in his lap, cuddling the baby between them.  He held her and smelled Philip's hair.  This was a great thing.  Natasha walked in and took his side.  He included her in the family cuddle.  This was what family was supposed to be like.  Not what he had grown up with, not what his brother had shown him, but this.  Including the little pooping monster.  He looked down.  "Thanks, kiddo.  Glad to know you love us."  He grinned.  "I'll change you in a minute."  Philip wiggled free and ran off.  "Hey!  When did you start doing that?"

"I think earlier," Dawn said, watching him.  "Philip, where are you going?" she called, getting up to follow him.  Natasha shook her head with a moan.

Clint kissed her on the head.  "He's a lot more mobile now."

"I'll never get another bubble bath without his help."

"We'll distract him."  He cuddled her.  Dawn and Philip came back once he was changed and they cuddled in again.

Tony grinned.  "Aww."  He took a picture.  Clint flipped him off before he ran a hand into Dawn's hair.  He and Fury left to go talk somewhere there wasn't mushiness.  "By the wire we had planted on Dawn, the judge thought SHIELD was just in the movie?"  Fury nodded.  "Good."

"I like that too."  They passed by Steve and Bucky.  "Where are you two going?"

"To get Philip," Steve said with a smile.  "Liz is chanting for him.  She won't do a single thing without him right now."

"They're family cuddling," Tony said.  "Coulson, Warren's girlfriends wanted to visit," he told him when he appeared from an empty office.

"They're allowed to go up next weekend because I heard.  She may not stay."  Tony nodded, letting Coulson tell them.  They watched as Philip ran past them cackling and Steve following, trying to catch up to him.  "Wow, he's fast," Phil said.  "I've got to teach him to jog like I did his mother."  Fury snorted, walking off shaking his head.


Tara looked at her kids.  "What do you want to do this weekend?"  They pointed out the window.  "What's out there?"  She hugged them.  "You two need to talk more."

"Ponies," Melissa said, staring at her.  "Ponies please?"

Tara smiled.  "You can talk in complete sentences."

"Mommy Maria likes me to be little," she said with a grin.

"She does but not that much."  She smiled.  "Did you want to go watch the horses in the park?  We do that but it means getting up early."

"We *ride*?" John asked, looking awed.  "Please, Mommy?  Ponies are fun!"

"They are."  She smiled.  "We can see if there's any pony rides this weekend."  They grinned and hugged her, going into the kitchen.  "An apple or an orange, kids."  They pouted and held up the strawberries.  "Fine."  They settled in to color and nibble on them.  The younger two were pouty so she got them some jelly sandwiches.  It was safer than handing them fruit.  Them with berries would mean berries over all the walls and the couch.  She texted Maria to let her know they were going to park that weekend to watch ponies and see if there was a pony ride.  Maria sent her a link that she looked at.  She vetoed riding lessons.  Way too expensive.  Apparently they gave SHIELD discounts.  Tara said they could have *one* to try it if it wasn't too expensive.  Maria agreed so that was a good thing.


Warren Meers looked up as his room's door was unlocked that Friday afternoon.  "Visitors, Meers," the attendant said.  He got out of the way.  "Nothing too bad.  No violence and we'll be watching."  Once the trio was in there, he walked back to the cameras.  He had no idea why women as classy as those three were visiting that geek but some women had no taste in his opinion.

Warren stared, mouth open.  "Ladies," he breathed.  His original girlfriend pounced him with a squeal, sobbing on his shoulder.  "I'm sorry I left you there.  Do you two want hugs too?"  They came to cuddle him.  He got his first girlfriend calmed down and it was better.  He'd have to find a way for them to stay with him.

His therapist came in to talk to them.  "Ladies, I didn't know Warren had a girlfriend.  He never told me that."  He smiled at Warren.

"They've very good women," he said, glaring at him.  "Leave them alone."

"I was going to see if they were going to stay nearby to help with your rehabilitation."

"Yes, they're moving up here."

Robo-Natasha kissed him and nodded.  "We're going to be in New York but Natalie's staying.  We set up her apartment for her yesterday."  Warren smiled and nodded, cuddling them.  "We'll be up each and every weekend.  It's a very short train trip."

"It is," he agreed, kissing them.  He glared at his therapist again, making him leave.  "Are you guys okay?  Your power cores are good?  All that?"

Robo-Pepper held up a finger.  "I burned my finger making cookies for Stark's babies because they were being adorable."  He kissed it and she cooed, kissing him on the nose.  They cuddled until someone came to pull them off him.  The original girlfriend zapped the attendant, giving them another ten minutes.  Then they got a guard in there to walk them off.

His original girlfriend smiled at him.  "I'll be back, Warren.  We'll be together again."

"I can't wait."  He sighed, smiling at her.  "Stay local?"  She nodded, walking out in front.  The other two took their kisses and walked off.

"They seem very nice and personable," his therapist said with a smile.  "I would've expected someone a bit more like you, Warren.  A bit more fandom oriented."

"No, they're great.  They're perfect the way they were made.  I was so brilliant when I made them."  His therapist paused to stare at him.  Warren sighed.  "I need a conjugal visit.  Damn!"  He got up and went into the bathroom.

"Warren, were those some of your design?" his therapist asked.

"Yup."  He moaned and came out a few minutes later.  "I needed that.  Thank you."  He smiled.  "They always inspire me to do great things.  Stark was keeping them from me until I was healed.  Now I know I need them to heal me."

"They seemed very realistic."

Warren stared at him.  "They're a lot better.  They don't have the complicated girl things like bad hair days or periods."  He smiled.  "She'll never cheat on me.  And I'll kill whoever keeps them from me."

"Sure," he agreed.  "I'd like to get to know them. It could help if they joined you in your sessions."

"Natalie, my original girlfriend, she'll be up here."

"Wonderful."  He smiled.  "We'll include her when we can."  He left, going to call Agent Coulson.  "They're robots?" he demanded quietly.  Coulson told him more about the girlfriends and how realistic they were.  How they were a bit scary too.  He hoped that they could straighten out Natalie so she'd be less jealous as well.  He sent him all the files he wanted on them.  The therapist decided that Warren was scary and very talented.  He definitely wanted to know more about these very realistic robotic women.

This was a serious best seller book for sure!


Clint met with the DA the next week.  With the head of Stark Legal.  Because Tony said he needed a lawyer.  "Why are we meeting?" he asked as he sat down.

"We're going to offer you a deal, Mr. Barton."  The ADA smiled at him.  "Six years of probation."

Clint laughed.  "No.  Thank you anyway."

She stared.  "You can be facing serious jail time for that assault."

"Which would be my first offense since I was seventeen, which got me into SHIELD.  So, no."

"You have a noted history for violence.  You're a sniper."

"Yes I am.  I'm also an agent.  Before I was an agent, I was handling some minor problems where I was."

She swallowed.  "Really?"  Clint nodded.  "You really shouldn't give us new things to look up."

"With the way they stalk me, some reporter would tell you," he quipped.  He grinned.  "Beyond that, I'm pretty sure that my brother is not going to keep things going."

"That's up to the DA," she corrected.  She smiled her best icy smile.  "They won't give you leniency for being an agent."

"So I've heard."

"We go to trial in six months."

"That'll be right after the invasion."

"You're not allowed to participate," she said.

"The judge did not say that and it'll be about as bad as the invasion so my boss overrules you.  The fate of the world supercedes things."

"I doubt that.  I can have it determined."

"You do that."  He smiled.  "You still can't stop me being at the battle, lady."  She glared.  He stared at her.  "I'm sorry but that's not going to work and I've seen scarier street mimes."  He stood up.  "Anything else, miss?  You seem busy since you got me confused with someone else."  She glared.  He walked off putting on his sunglasses.  The lawyer was staring at him.  "Sorry," he said once they were in the elevator.  "I channeled Dawn."

Gloria smiled and patted his hand.  "That's fine.  The first offer is never the best unless it's the only one for a murderer."

"No, I'm not unless you're a PETA member.  Then they consider me one for going deer hunting."

"They sent me death threats because my car hit one and they saw it happen."   They walked out and drove back to the office.


Dawn opened the door to the officers.  "Yes, Officers?"

"Ma'am, the judge over your spouses's release said that we were to remove the weapons from the house."

"I'm sorry, that's not possible.  By federal orders he's to have weapons around and so am I."  She got that letter to hand over.  "You can tell him it's still in effect, we checked after the election and he does not supercede the president."  She smiled slightly.  "Beyond that, most of the weapons in the house are registered in my name, not his."

"Oh."  He called that in to the DA.  Who was swearing.  "Ma'am, he said that's not a legal order."

Dawn smiled and opened a portal, pulling the DA over.  She handed him the letter.  "You do not overrule the president.  That's signed by the current one.  Also, all the weapons in the house are *mine*.  They're in my name."

"We don't like you," he said.

Dawn shrugged.  She smiled.  "Then save your own ass this spring when something slightly bigger than the invasion happens.  I don't *have* to be there."  The officers went pale.  "Nor do my spouses.  I can travel to anywhere to avoid the mess."  She tipped her head to the side.  "Then again, you're a halfie, aren't you?"  He shook his head violently.  She laughed.  "Dear, my sister was a slayer.  I know how to spot demons."  He took a swing at her.  Dawn glanced at the officer.  Then she flattened him.

"You still hit awkwardly," Natasha said from behind her e-reader.  "Clint, catch the baby."  He did that.

Dawn smiled at the officers.  "Want me to ask the judge?"  They nodded.  She opened another portal.  "Your Honor, this half-demon just tried to hit me for me pointing out that if he didn't like *me* having registered weapons then he could save his own ass this spring.  Also."  She got the letter to hold up.  "I believe that overrules the wish to take weapons registered in my name."

He let his bailiff take it to look over then handed it back.  "Why must you have weapons, Mrs. Barton?"

"It's Romanoff-Barton, and it's because I've fought off a lot of kidnaping attempts over the years.  I've had to make a royal mess a few times to get away from some of them."

"I see."  He stared over her shoulder at Clint.  "Do you have things that are not registered?"

She smile.  "I do hold a slayer's arsenal in case the need happens.  Also, you do not register swords or battle axes."

"No, you don't," he agreed, grimacing.  "They thought he might be a problem."

"Yes, I heard that the half-demon there decided that my spouse should not be able to be at the battle this spring.  At which time, the invitation to let them handle it themselves is open.  We'll probably need more fighters anyway.  We did during the last one and I was too young to have helped."

The judge considered that.  "They offered a deal."

She laughed.  "Six years of probation, really?"  He grimaced.  "Not likely, I'm sorry."  She smiled.  "Beyond that, the Wolfram and Hart rejects," she said, staring down at the half-demon.  "Should probably not bother the sister of a slayer."

Xander appeared and grinned at the demon.  "I killed your brother one night for trying to hit on Willow."  The demon flinched.  "Wow, small world.  You were one of the lawyers in Sunnydale too."  He grinned.  "Don't recognize me?  The hair's getting a bit long."

"No, I do," he said, glaring at him.  Then at Dawn.  "I'll press charges."

"You swung first so if you do, so be it and I'll do it right back, baby."  She patted him on the head with a smile.  "I'm only mean in retaliation.  Then again, we *do* have to liaison with the local community over the invasion."  She looked at Xander.  Who shook his head.  "We should."

"Connor is."

"Great."  She smiled.  "Kitten poker?"

"I could use a good hand of kitten poker.  Sure."  He grinned.  "Guys, coming?"

"Babysitter," Clint noted.

"Talsa?" Xander called.  She got sent by John.  "Can you babysit Philip?"

"Of course!"  She smiled and took the baby.  "I've missed my own grandchildren and Beya never shares the babies."  He grinned at her. "Come, we'll teach you how to cook, young man."  Xander sent her back to the temple.  Natasha sent a diaper bag with her.

Xander kindly banished the DA at the judge, letting him appear there.  "There you go.  So he can whine."  He grinned at the judge.  "You know, with this recent thing, there's been a few goddesses that want to turn Clint immortal to stay with Dawn.  Then he'd get to be my god of war."  He closed the portal and hugged Dawn.  "Go put on something comfy and not slinky.  You can't compare with the succuba."

She winked.  "Yes I can.  I'm hotter than all of them."  She smiled at the officers.  "Anything else?"  They got a text and shook their heads, going back to their office.  "Have a nice night, Officers.  We know it puts you in an uncomfy position."  She smiled as she shut the door.  "Bags?" she suggested.

Xander nodded.  "Could."  They did move all the weapons into a more hidden area.  Dawn's necklaces were a bit full but that was fine.  They changed and went to play some kitten poker.  It was a good night for it.

One of the demons in there moaned 'Key' when they saw Dawn.  She smiled and waved.  "Hey, Freddie."

He stared at Xander, who grinned and waved.  "Are you playing tonight?"

"Yeah.  We're bored," Xander said with a grin.  That got another moan but they did get to play.  Dawn made sure what currency was being used on the tables she played at.  Her spouses helped and learned how to play.  Xander looked over at a few hissed whispers of questions, shaking his head.  "No, she's not."

Dawn smiled at them.  "No, Natasha's not part succuba.  She's just really hot."  The demons nodded, staring at her.  "She's all mine, guys.  Clint and I do not share."  They looked away.

"Key," one of the elder demons in the room said, walking over to her.  "A few did not want to ask, but they feel something...different about you.  Something..darker?" he asked, wincing some.  If he had asked Rosenburg she would've killed him.

She smiled.  "I was helping Andrew bleed off the magic he had accidentally pulled up when his wife was hurt.  I'm still bleeding it out of myself."  He smiled and nodded.  "I'd never follow in Willow's bad footsteps, really."

"I didn't think you would but some of the younger ones remember her a bit too well," he said quietly.

"I know.  So do I.  I had to make sure no one compared my niece to her too."  He nodded and went back to his table to tell them that.  She looked over.  "I'm not Willow and I've never been Willow.  You can ask me things."  They smiled and nodded, getting back to their hands.  Xander was staring at her.  "That whole thing that got MB hurt made Andrew snap into magic again."

"That would be what he could call on by his family's known gifts."  He went back to playing.

Clint leaned over to watch her play.  "I'll never get the hang of this."

She kissed him and winked.  "I'll teach you."  She looked up at the funny feeling coming her way.  "Spike, what did you eat?" she asked, frowning at him.  "You feel funny to me."

"Sorceress doing a spell," he complained, sitting at her table.  "Whelp."

"Hey, Spike.  Did you get her name when you looted her wallet?"

"Not really.  No ID or money.  Pretty but dumb."

Xander looked back at him.  "Asgardian?"

Dawn tested Spike and shook her head.  "Doesn't feel like Asgard magic, Xander."  He tested then shook his head and sent a note at Tara.

"When are the kiddies coming back?" Spike asked with a grin.  "Should be adult now, yes?"

"Yup.  Artemis will come back with her new husband when he comes back."  Spike stared at her.  "They eloped."   She smiled.  "Artemis did great in her swordswoman training.  Got marked as highest honors."  Spike grinned and nodded.  "Diana's coming back soon for college stuff, with the city when it gets back.  Sean's going to be taking a few classes but not going full time.  He wants to finish his training with his mancrush on Ronon.  Not that I blame him.  He's very pretty."  Clint growled.  She grinned at him.  "He is."

"Yeah, but still taken."

"Me or Ronon?" she teased.

"You.  Definitely you."  He kissed her bare shoulder, making her shiver.  Spike smirked at him.  "How's the local team?"

"Good.  Been a bit bored."  Xander let out a whining moan.  "Sorry, boy."

"Not a good sign."  He looked around.  "Where are they building?"

"It's the holy week," one told him.  "We're all peaceful."  Xander grinned at him for that thoughtfulness.  "We heard your brother married?"

"Mom tried *really* hard to marry him off to Diana, who she thought was Artemis.  We had a weasel stomping sort of talk with Mom."  He looked back.  "Dawn, can you summon the 8 ball?"  She nodded and brought it, letting him come get it.  He stared at it.  "Anything going on tonight we have to handle?"  He shook it and looked at the answer of 'probably but keep them from making Dawn too loud so they don't bust in on her'.  "Aww.  If you make her squeal too hard, they'll come try to get you for it, Barton."

"They'd be over an acre away and they do not have a wiretapping or other listening device warrant," Natasha said, sending an email at the local office.

"This is going to suck until it's completed," Clint said.  "I can't make you squeal or anything too loud."

She swatted back at him.  "Yes you can.  I'll shoot them if they try to interrupt my naked squealing time with either of you."  She leaned back to get a kiss then sat back up with a grin for the staring demons.  "What?"  They sighed and mostly folded.  Dawn took a card on the next round and chuckled.  The other demon folded.  "Thanks, guys."  She pulled over the money.  "Tell me if we change currencies."

"That's next hand, when the big guy gets here," one said.  "We don't play with him either.  We'd hate to be bankrupt."

"Me too," Dawn agreed.  He stomped in halfway through their hand and Dawn won that one.  Then they went to talk to a few demons about this spring.

"Afraid of playing with me?" the demon taunted with an evil smirk.

"I don't like your chosen currency.  Too big of a gap on the translation to human money.  So I'll sit here and look adorable while Xander's playing for a few hands."  The demon huffed.  She smiled.  "I've had someone try to cheat me before."

"I heard.  Could you make that potion for us?"

"I gave the court two huge jugs.  Don't they have any left?  If not, I can."

"Thank you, Key."

"I have a name," she reminded him.

"Sorry, Summers....."  He stared at the ones around her.  "When did you marry?"

"Years ago."  She smiled.  "You should see our son Philip."  He moaned and shook his head.  She grinned.  "Have fun playing."

"Yup."  He sighed and sat down at his usual table.  A flash above the table that wasn't visible to anyone at it said that the currency had just changed.  "So that's how that flash happens."

Xander looked and nodded.  "You have to be at least ten feet away to see it though.  Which really is unfair."

"Poker's all about luck anyway," one demon quipped.  He lost and ended up pulling off his ear to toss onto the table.  "I'm out.  The wife will kill me, guys."  He trudged off to get a drink for his way home.

"I'd have to ask Phil but I might buy that ear," Xander said, sending a thought to Phil, who was doing paperwork.  Phil wondered why so Xander told him what it was used for and how much they usually went for.  Phil sighed and reminded him they did have separate accounts and that he'd straighten up Xander's so his wasn't just the temple's funds, that some of it was his.  Xander grinned and paid for the ear, petting it so he could go home and make pretty explosive snot bombs with it.  He knew Phil would give him that look again but oh well.

Dawn grinned at Clint.  "You need to have him teach you how to make that explosive snot bomb."

"Explosive snot bomb?" he asked, smiling at her.  "Is it useful at work?"

"That's how I took out that dictator in Central America that had me captured.  I did apologize for taking that one demon's ear without his permission though.  That's why I detoured to that bar on the way back to the hotel."

"Yeah, I want to know how that works," Clint decided.

"Dictator?" Xander countered, looking at her.

"Wannabe dictator," Dawn said.

"Drug lord who wanted to be king," Natasha said.  "Another time we lost track of her for a few hours."  Dawn nodded with a grin. 

Xander just shook his head.  "You guys need a pretty leash set.  I'll see if I can ask the jewelry creating Xanders to make you one.  But yeah, I'll teach you how to do that, Barton."

"Thanks, Xander."  He put an arm around Dawn's shoulders.  "You never told him?"

"Um, no.  I didn't even tell Mom."

"Your mom would've worried.  I thought you would've told Xander about that and the cliff thing and maybe even the tree thing to make him look at you in awe."  She elbowed him.  He grinned.  "Payback for making your mother nag me."

"I didn't make Mom nag you.  You earned that one.  I didn't even mention it to Mom."

"Phil did," Xander quipped.  He looked over.  "Cliff thing and tree thing?"

"Kinda had to play flying squirrel to get away from the cannibals trying to cook me?" she offered.  "Had to jump a small ravine to catch the bridge on the other side."

"She made it too," Clint said.  "We were flying in to help her."  Xander moaned, shaking his head.  "The tree thing?  She found a living, cannibal tree and had to fight it from the inside.  We had *no* idea where she was.  Same day by the way."

Xander nodded.  "I know that tree.  How did you guys get there?"

"Dawn was going through a market and pulling me along," Natasha said.  "Clint was following looking amused at her enthusiasm.  When I saw what she wanted me to see, I got happy too.  Then Clint grabbed onto my arm to keep me from touching the pretty purple diamond looking crystal."

"I knew they had made another access key.  I should go smash it," Xander said.

"Too late," Clint said.  "I blew the fucker up in the middle of the market when we got back."  Xander smiled at him for that.  "Then I got to nag for *hours* about touching magical pretty things."

"And we got in a nice 'didn't you yell at us about that' about a week later with the dragon's egg," Dawn quipped with a grin for him.  He stroked over her hair.  "At least you didn't bring it home."

"You know, that's how they find out who's a great curse breaker to be," Xander quipped.  "They find impossible shit to handle."

"Well, if we end up in a Harry Potter world, we'll contract out with the bank," Dawn quipped with a grin.  "I'm sure that other Xander can give us tips."

"Probably, yeah."

"There's a Xander that's a cursebreaker?" Clint asked.

Xander grinned at him.  "Dumass.  Huge booknerd too.  Likes to go on library jobs because he has all the books he finds copied.  Has a great castle up on the northern most leyline point."

"I know that castle," Dawn said.  "You guys couldn't see it."  She looked at Natasha.

"It probably houses another sorcerer."

"It's empty here," Xander said.  "Or a shadow of Dumass' house.  He said there's an emergency shadow copy floating around but he thinks it switches realms every few days."

Clint shook his head.  "Even the thought of that theory hurts my brain."

"Yeah, mine too," Dawn agreed.  "But if we have, can we name him the God of Magic for the new house?"

Xander nodded.  "I might do that."   He shook his head quickly.  "He'd have to bring his Draco snuggly consort though."

One of the demons at his table looked at him.  "You've met other versions of yourself?"

"They hold a convention yearly," Dawn quipped with a grin.  "I had to go one year to get help with a potion problem."

The demons in the room stared at the trio then at Xander.  "Seriously?" the high one in the room asked.

Xander smiled and nodded.  "Lavelle wanted to hold a convention for all of us.  He talked the three GHS us into hosting.  We take over a small made realm for it.  It's really neat.  Some of them bring up their spouses or boyfriends.  A few have kids they bring up.  A lot of us don't have kids.  I have to bring Phil this year.  Last year he was on assignment and couldn't go."  He put down two cards and the dealer gave him two.  He grinned.  "Thanks."  The others in the room folded and went to the bar to have a migraine.  "C'mon!  It's not like it's that bad.  I mean, we did get to share some information, like when one's realm got turned partially into a D&D world.  That's how Barton got his cold arrows.  They use them against fire breathing dragons in Hawaii."

"I do like those and they mean less bikini times sometimes," Clint said happily.

Dawn looked at him.  "We need some beach time."

He looked at her.  "No way in hell are we going to a public beach so I have to beat off little college guys who think you're hot, Dawn.  Find us a private beach and I'll go with you."

She kissed him.  "Of course you will, or lurk and watch."

"That is also possible."  He cuddled her.   Xander was snickering.  "It's very relaxing watching her brush people off her ass on the beach."

"It is," Natasha agreed.  "We get to appreciate the view and her in action."  Dawn blushed but kissed her.  A few of the demons moaned.  Natasha looked over.  "She has done hotter than that in the past."  Two officers walked in.  "I think they followed you."

"Probably," Clint said.  "Problems, guys?"

"Sir, is this a legal gambling establishment?" one asked.  Xander pointed at the demons.  They looked.  "Never mind.  We don't need to know."  He walked out and reported it was a demonic poker hall.  That meant they weren't going to touch it and their target wasn't playing poker, he was cuddling with his wife.

Clint kissed her on the head.  "That's going to get really annoying."

"Yup."  Dawn grinned.  "And I doubt it's legal to harass you that way."

"I don't know.  I'll ask."  He settled in.  "So, snot bomb, Xander?"  Xander showed him via air drawing how to create one.  He studied it.  "How much range does it have?  Hers had about a room this size's."

"For that sort of range you need to open the aperture wider.  It'll mushroom up and spread like a fountain."  He adjusted that.  Dawn added her version underneath.  "Oooh, fiery snot bomb.  Cool, Dawn."

"Thank you.  He deserved it."  She grinned.

"Write that down for me," Clint ordered to his wife.  She smiled and nodded she would.  He looked at Xander.  "Are there manuals?"

"No but Phil just said we're all sitting down this weekend to learn those."

"Can't.  Meeting with the people in Brazil Thursday.  I won't be back until Sunday," Dawn said.

Clint moaned.  "We can do it next weekend, Xander?"

"Sure."  He grinned.  "Going to bring the kid?"

"Yup.  Or else he'll complain a lot."

"He and Chris will fuss at each other like last time," Dawn quipped with a smile.

"Uh-huh."  Clint kissed her and smiled.  "You don't get to go to Brazil without a bodyguard.  Just in case someone wants to snatch you again."

She rolled her eyes.  "I guess.  Clear it with Pepper."

"I can do that."  He watched as the demons came back.  Dawn watched what tables got which currency.  She went to join one that moved to american dollars.  "Dawn, that flashed to Bullion?"

"No, I'm not betting gold," she sighed, going back to her seat.  She passed Natasha what she had won, letting her tuck it into her pocket.  Xander came over to talk to the few demons around them about this spring and what had been heard.  Faith came in and they made room for her by Dawn sliding onto Natasha's lap to cuddle her.  She grinned at the dirty look.  "I'm making room for Faith and you didn't get to be cuddly."

"I'm not usually cuddly in public."  Faith slid into the empty seat with a sigh.  "Bad night?"

"Long night.  Huge amount of vamps downtown doing the whole exercising in the park thing.  LAPD said to please remove them."

Xander looked over.  "Need my help?"

"Nope.  Though they're a bit mean."

Dawn nodded.  "I can see that.  Need my help?"

"Nah.  Flame throwers."

Dawn hugged her.  "Good job."  She went back to being cuddly.  The demons were paying more attention to them than they were their hands.  A few were swearing when they lost games.  Even the non-breeders were staring slightly.  Which amused Clint and Natasha to no end.  "So, Xander, do I need to concentrate my powers on some higher entity this spring?"

"Yes and he's an idiot dick."

"Sure, I'll show up in something flashy," Dawn offered.  "Twinkly or not?"

"Show up in your niece's armor and some jewels.  He'll stare at you instead of giving orders," Xander offered.

"Hell.  No," Clint said firmly.  "Or the formal armor we saw."

"I like her formal armor," Dawn admitted.  "The slightly slouchy chainmail top was lined in silk for comfort.  The cleavage area had just enough room to slightly fold for emphasis," she told Faith with a grin.  "Then like their usual skirts only in chainmail.  The sides came about four inches down her thigh and the front and back panel were longer and over a woven tabard sort of piece of fabric."  Faith shivered.  "Knee high boots I didn't like so much but we got her some with heels she could fight in."  She smiled.  "Buffy would've *loved* that outfit."  She found her wallet and showed her a picture.  "That's her every day and her formal is behind it."  She pulled it out to show her.

"Wow.  Fantasy girl armor.  Bet geeks love that."

"Thor helped design them," Xander said dryly.

"Figures."  She handed them back.  "That's very hot."  Dawn grinned as she put it back.  "How's she doing?"

"Eloped with Thor.  Spike, wanna see?"  He came over to look.  She hadn't known vampires could sweat with the lower body temperature.  He walked back to smoke another cigarette.

"Thor?  Big blond guy?" Faith demanded.  Dawn smiled and nodded.  "Huh.  Guess they'll have blond babies then."

"Some year.  Buffy so cooed."

"Wonderful."  She shook her head quickly.  "Any of Sean so I can clear my mind of the dirty girl thoughts?"  Clint showed her the one he had.  It was Sean working out with Ronon on the pier shirtless one Asgardian morning.  Faith moaned.  "That'll work to clear out the bad girl thoughts and give me whole new ones.  Thanks, Barton."  She got up.  "Let me handle things."  She walked off, going back to the hotel as fast as she could to pounce her boyfriend.  He groaned when she pounced.  "The kids," she said between kisses.  "Damn!"  He helped her up to their room.

Gunn looked at Connor.  "Guess they're at the poker hall."  Connor nodded, grabbing his jacket so they could go talk to them too.


Dawn looked up as a SWAT team moved in, starting to put up a smoke screen.  "No," Clint said, grabbing her hand.  "Those are officers, not more of the bigots, Dawn.  Sorry, guys, but the poker hall just got attacked by anti-demon idiots."  He pointed at where they were knocked out.

The head of the team looked around then nodded.  "Efficient.  How?  That smoke stuff?"

"Sleeping spell," Dawn said.  "Xander and Natasha got the demons out of here before they got injured."

"That's fine."  He and his team checked them then looked around.  One table meowed at him.  He stared.  "Someone left their pet."

Dawn looked then shrugged.  "That table's kittens only, guys."  They stared at her.  "Demons play kitten poker.  It lets the flesh and blood eaters do it without eating people."

"Eww," one said, then shook his head.

"Well, yeah," Dawn agreed.  "But kittens or homeless people?"

"Cats," the team agreed.  They got the people cuffed with plastic cuffs and the leader walked over.  So did another one.

Clint stared at him.  "I heard I had a near twin in the local PD."  The guy smirked and took a swing at him.  Clint grabbed his arm and used it to force him down with an evil smirk.  "Thanks.  I haven't sparred in a few days."

"We can do that tomorrow.  I scheduled it," Dawn quipped.  "You, me, Stark, Natasha, Cap, and Bucky."  She looked at the head of the team.  "I used the most non-lethal yet fastest method I could.  I didn't shoot any of them."

"We like that."  He smiled.  "Demon poker halls are still illegal."

"Well, technically, City Council ignores the peaceful demon community.  There's a law on the books that says that the Council is going to ignore them as long as they do stay peaceful and out of sight."

"That's a good point, they haven't rescinded it yet," a higher official said as he walked in.  He walked over the bodies.  "Knockout gas?"

"Sleep spell.  Same effect, lasts about thirty, forty minutes on most people.  No chance of side effects."

"Wonderful."  He smirked at them.  "Gamble.  Barton."  Clint grinned at him.  "We want to see if you two are related."

"I think someone was more than willing to run the DNA for us," Clint admitted.  He let his near-twin up.  "Like bows?"

"No.  I like guns."

"So do I," Clint agreed.  "But I love my bow."  He grinned.  Gamble smirked back.  "If you're not against it, I'll gladly let them run the DNA at Stark."

"I can do that."  He looked at the higher up.  "Sir, this hall?"

"Looks deserted.  Do we have to take the cat to someone?"

Dawn shrugged.  "That's a kittens only table.  Nat?"  She came back.  "Someone forgot their bet."  She pointed.

"He's adorable but our cat would terrorize him."  She looked back there.  "Finish that hand to claim that bet before it goes to the pound."  They ran out to do that.  The one that won snuck out and headed home with it.  She smiled at the official.  "We made sure none of the peacefully playing citizens were bothered."

"That's fine, ma'am.  You're...."

"Agent Romanoff, SHIELD."

The higher up nodded.  "I've heard some of your agents aren't idiots like the ones we get who come to help from the FBI at times."

"Some are, some aren't.  I did the safe list for the local team," Dawn said, sitting back down.  "Sorry, sore."

"That's fine, ma'am."  He looked around.  "They might want to move this somewhere less well known.  They used MySpace to gather their mob of pitiful beings."  He looked at Natasha, who got the bartender out so they could talk about that.

Dawn looked at Clint.  "We should go repossess the son anyway," she said quietly.  "Talsa's probably getting pouted at."

"Possibly.  Unless she fed his oncoming cookie addiction."

Xander appeared, nodding.  "She did.  He's happily napping with a mouth covered in chocolate.  Phil's staring at him."  He grinned at the SWAT team.  "Hey, guys.  Are we going to see you this spring?"  They all nodded.  "Great.  We'll need all the help we can get unless the idiot leader gets stupid and goes for Dawn."

"I can be twinkly if you want," she offered.

"Hell.  No," Clint told her.  "Your chainmail is fully covering, Dawn."  She smiled at him.  He shook his head.  Natasha came out to kiss them both.  "Let us go home."  He looked at the higher up, who waved a hand.  "Thanks."  He helped Dawn up, tucking her under his arm.  "C'mon."

"There's a few of those anti-talent people outside," one of the officers by the door said.  "You might want to guard her better, sir."

"She's the more dangerous one," Clint said.  "I'm good with a few things.  Nat's good with a few things.  Dawn's good with more things."

"Please be non-lethal unless you have to be," the official said.  "Guys, help them to their car."  They went out to shoo off the humans causing problems.  Two got past them to attack Dawn and Clint.  Dawn gusted one back while Clint got his gun.  Dawn kicked the other one back, making him scream as his ribs broke.  Then she broke his arm to get his gun. 

"That's non-lethal," the lead officer said in awe.

Dawn handed over the gun with a smile.  "I try to be as gentle as I can but I was trained to take out any targets that were trying to harm myself or those I'm protecting."  She grinned at them.  "Shoo.  Now."  They backed up.  "I can sleep spell you guys too.  Or mice you."  They ran.  A few tried to come back to attack as they got to the truck but Natasha slammed one's forehead into the side of the bed.  The other ran off sobbing.  "Thanks," Dawn called with a smile and a wave.  "The offer to protect yourselves this spring stands."  She got into the driver's seat.

"My turn," Natasha ordered.  Dawn got into the back. 

Clint got back there with her.  Natasha looked at them.  Clint smiled.  "It's her turn up front."

"It is."  Dawn got up there and they drove off, going home.  Phil brought his namesake back when they walked in, handing him over.  Clint took him to change and clean up so he could finish his sleep.  Nat and Dawn went to bed to cuddle and maybe grope a bit.


Dawn walked into Andrew and Jonathan's lab, grinning at them.  Jonathan grabbed the table.  Andrew subtly reached behind him for a weapon.  "I'm looking for help, guys."

"That grin means that it's probably a wicked thing," Andrew said.  "MB said I'm not allowed to be wicked."

"Ditto from Patty," Jonathan agreed.

"I'm going as an anime or fantasy warrior for the halloween party.  Who better to help me find the perfect image to base the costume on than some of our bigger geeks?"  Andrew whimpered, shaking his head.  "That means you can find one for MB, 'Drew."

"She's got hers picked out."  He stared at her.  "What's the limit on trashy?  Because some of them are...explicit."

"Tastefully showing just enough."

"Sure, we'll start looking," Jonathan said.  "We have a huge collection of them on our home system."  Andrew nodded that was true.  She hugged them, made them some iced tea in their pitcher, and took their reports before going on.  He and Andrew shared a look.  "I'd love to see her in some of the World of Warcraft or Final Fantasy armor."

"Clint wouldn't want her too exposed."

"True.  There's a few that're more covering on top."  They settled in to look at what they had on their home systems.  Patty would go if Dawn was.  And hey, it'd definitely top the evil empress look from a few years back.


Andrew walked up to Clint, walking him off down a side hall.  "Dawn's having us help her look up pictures for her halloween costume."

"I haven't heard a thing about that," he admitted.  "How bad?"  He felt that 'slutty, playful Dawn' feeling coming on.  It usually came with a headache, a backache, and a really hungry aftermath.

"Fantasy warrior woman?"

"Some of those are chainmail bikinis and overly large phallic swords."  Andrew grinned and nodded.  "It has to cover her breasts almost completely, can have cleavage but not much else.  Has to be more than a bikini bottom and tasteful if possible.  There's going to be a lot of people there in Tony's social circles.  If you'd blush at seeing her in it, she can't wear it."

"I blush at her in her blue suit, Clint."

"She does look nice in it.  Nothing that would get people to start praying or going 'oh my god, I want that'."

"So like that movie with the vampires and the hot chick?"

Clint considered it.  "I've only seen pictures.  Run them by me first?"  He nodded, handing him a USB keydrive.  "Thanks, 'Drew."

"She had that grin that made me reach for weapons because it was going to be evil, Clint."  He walked off.  "We have more for her but those were the most trashy."

"Great."  He went down to Tony's lab to pull his spare tablet over so he could go over the files.

Tony looked over.  "Has to be more covering than that but I would suggest you distract her, Barton."

"She asked Andrew and Jonathan to help her find the right picture.  I'm setting the bottom limit."  He flicked through the pictures, grimacing.  His wife, so getting it.  He shared a few with Natasha.  She wondered when he started to like fantasy artwork with trashy armor.  He told her why and she moaned out loud in the meeting she was in.  Fortunately Fury and Phil were in there so they understood.  The other moron, not as much.  Clint erased all the ones that gave him ideas about Dawn wearing them for him.  Some things had to be private.  Though a few he made a new category of that for her.  That way she'd get one done for just their enjoyment.  Tony erased more of them on him.  "How trashy is the lowest level?"

"Bikini top and covering bottom."  Clint showed him one and he nodded.  "She'd look really nice but no.  I doubt she'd go that trashy to that event.  We taught her better than that."  He went back to work.  "Make it something you wouldn't be ashamed to see her wearing at the mall, Barton."

"I'm trying."  He had found three he didn't mind.  Six he'd like to see in private, but not in public.  He took the keydrive back to Andrew.  "Has to be seen in public in it."  He walked off shaking his head.  Sometimes his wife worried him a lot.  He clearly needed to fix that filthy mind and he was tired.


Dawn walked an envelope into Tony's office since he was in there.  He opened it and stared at it, then burst out laughing.  "If we have to pay you a grant to do such an in-depth exploration of your husband's penis, something's seriously wrong in your life," he said with a smirk at her.

"No, I have one of those.  It's called vacation time, Tony.  That's from the research grant people.  Someone filed for that.  They thought you'd want to answer that one in person.  That and the one from someone else who wanted to study cherry skins."

He looked at that one, nodding.  "Yeah, I want to answer those.  Thanks, needed the laugh.  Oh, halloween party since I've heard."  She grinned.  That smile usually made Pepper need a drink.  "Something your wife wouldn't mind you seen in if you were wearing it at a mall in the middle of the afternoon."

"That takes half my fun," she complained.

"Yeah, it does."  He smiled.  She grinned and left.  "Don't you have a few days of vacation time coming up?"

"For his preliminary hearing."

"Never mind," he complained.  "Maybe they'll get some pre-trial stress relief."  He took those two to Pepper so she could giggle.  Pepper was looking at fantasy armor to.  He blinked.  "Are we all going in fantasy armor?  Because I can shine my suit."

"If you want," she said with a grin.  She took the requests and burst out laughing.  "Oh, dear."  She looked over as Clint leaned down at Dawn's desk to kiss her.  "Aww," she cooed.

He grinned at her.  "I'm reminding her to bring dinner home tonight.  I'm going to go home and take a nap so I have some energy when she gets there."  He strolled off.  Dawn was cackling.

"She was thinking trashy fantasy armor for the halloween party, Pepper," he said with an evil smirk.

"I was thinking about going as Xena but I think I'm a bit too old for that."

"Go as Aphrodite," Dawn called.

"That's a bit more scandalous," Pepper complained.  Tony had to look that up and he blushed.  "See?  Not at my age."  He let her see.  "No, the one from tv's Hercules show, Tony."  He adjusted that search and showed her.  She smiled and nodded.

Tony stared at it then at her.  "Yes, you are."  He walked off to show Steve.  "Bucky, the halloween party is mandatory for all Stark employees.  That day we do dress up, that night we host a huge party."  He looked at Steve, showing him the picture.  Steve's mouth opened then he shook his head with a sigh.  "For Pepper, not me."

"I was hoping it wasn't yours," he said, staring at him.  "I think it's a bit risque for Pepper's usual taste."

"She was thinking Xena but she thinks she's too old."

Steve shook his head.  "Never saw that show."

"I have," Bucky said with a slight snicker.  "Pepper would make a great Aphrodite, Stark.  The pink bikini and see-through cover up would go great on her.  Pretty crown in her hair?"

Xander appeared, handing Tony something.  "Aphrodite said she needs to change her style.  She found hairs and cellulite this morning."  He disappeared with a head shake.

Tony looked and grinned, taking it to Pepper.  "Aphrodite said you could borrow something."

She looked at it then at him.  "I'm not in shape for this, Tony."

"Yes you are, Pep.  Trust me."  He winked and strolled off.

"Dawn, how did you talk me into going as a fantasy woman?"

"It's a good theme?  We are women that make many men create fantasies."

"I guess."  She took it to try on.  She did look hot.  But at her age....  Then again, she looked hot.  She paged Steve.  He'd give her an honest opinion.  "Steve, I need an honest opinion."  She walked out in it.

Steve had been accompanied by Bucky.  Steve quickly shut the office doors.  "If you weren't taken, Miss Potts, you'd find yourself taken," Bucky said with a hot blush.  He wasn't going to stare.

Steve blinked at her.  "Um..."  He cleared his throat.  "Bucky, can I have a moment?"

"Sure, Stevie."  He patted him on the back as he walked past him.  "Lucky bastard."

"Yeah, I am."  He locked the office doors and walked over to kiss her.  "At home, not in public," he moaned into the kiss.  "I'd have to pounce and that would probably embarrass us both."  He walked her to the couch and she was more than happy to go along with his pouncing.

Dawn stopped Tony, shaking her head.  "She tried it on.  Steve's pouncing."

"I can help," Tony complained.

"Let them have some pouncing time, boss, then go help."

He leered.  "That's a great idea."  He checked his email and the cameras in there.  Yeah, they were definitely pouncing.  Steve was growling.  He finally popped the lock and walked in there, relocking the door so he could help Steve pounce her.  Or she could help him pounce Steve.  One of those.

Dawn smiled and rearranged his schedule.  "Dr. Philipina, Stark's running just a bit behind.  No, talk about the halloween party.  Give him a half-hour?  Thank you."  She hung up and made that change to the schedule.  Stark would appreciate the extra twenty minutes and clean up time.


Dawn smiled at her chosen seamstress.  "Halloween."

"What were you thinking about going as?"  Dawn showed her the pictures she had chosen.  "Hmm.  Interesting."

"I'm going as a fantasy warrior woman.  That's for the daytime."

"Are you planning on wearing it later for battles?"

"No.  Leather in battles gets sweaty and you swim in it.  It's also too heavy.  There's a special bulletproof thingy that I'm working on getting made for this spring.  They have to heat seal the seams and all that."

"Sounds interesting.  I'd love to see it when you get it done."  She smiled.  "These aren't that hard.  Are you putting these over a skin-colored bodysuit?"

"No.  I'm going to be sticking them on.  The bikini bottom will be going over one for comfort."  She nodded.  "As a backup and for playtime, the husband liked those."  That got a giggle from the older woman.  She grinned.  "I deserve to be pounced that way."

"You certainly do.  Anything you wanted to add?"

"I'll need knife holders sewn on the daytime one.  I have a shoulder harness and one for a sword on my back.  On the nighttime one I'll be carrying a few things over my back.  If that's not going to make it in time I have this one," she said.  "I was going to ask to add blood red wings.  That one looks more like a bodysuit sort of thing."

"I can do that on a clear one and the fabric stripes and spears can be covering.  Wings?  Big ones?"

"Graceful, matches the blood red, feathers I was thinking but not *hugely* huge."

"I can do that."  She smiled.  "That way you have three choices for that night?"

Dawn grinned.  "That'd be fine.  It'd probably get me pounced anyway."  The seamstress drew up the contract for those pieces.  The trashier ones were easy enough to do.  They were basically body harnesses with decoration.  The one with the wings was a lot like a Wonder Woman costume only mostly in dark, gothic red with gold trim and a gladiator style skirt.  The purple one was basically a long corset like what showgirls used to wear with a short skirt in purple leather with fancy, stylized arm guards.  The jeweled ones without the bodysuit they discussed colors and how to stick them on - double sided tape or spirit gum, or as the last resort magic.  They agreed they could do that and Dawn could find some boots to go with the emeralds crystals it would look like were growing out of her skin in designs.  Not all that hard and she could do them all within a month.


Clint smiled as Dawn walked in.  "Where were you?  You're late."

"Seamstress for the halloween outfits."  She kissed him with a grin.  "Thank you for helping the boys."

"Welcome."  He stared at her.  "What did you decide on?"

"The hip huggers and sports top picture for the daytime, the one with all the weapons and sunglasses.   I can wear those trashy six inch heel black leather boots with them.  For that night, I'll have three choices."  She smiled and kissed him.  "Then we'll see.  Natasha can use one maybe."

"What am I going as?" he asked with a grin.

She  smirked back.  "Some sort of fantasy warrior?  It'll mean you can find those leather pants from Helsinki again."  She went into the kitchen.

"Dinner's right here," Clint called.

"I'm getting us drinks."  She came out with water to kiss him and settle in beside him to eat.  "Natasha?"

"Getting Grandma with Philip.  Her plane was delayed and Bruce couldn't stand the airport anymore."

"That's fine.  She can cuddle later."

Clint stared at her.  "I'm going to be taking all the bad idea plans out of your head, Dawn."  Dawn chuckled.  It nearly made him shiver.  That was a bad sign.  He had a lot of work to do.  They could eat dinner later, after he was done."  He pulled her into his lap.  The fork she had been eating from got tossed onto the plate, and he missed for once, but he was busy doing other things.  Dawn's ear got teased as he stripped off the extra layers she was wearing.  Finally she was down to a bra and panties.  That was what he needed.  She banished his clothes on him.  That was even better.  Thankfully her panties moved easily because he needed in her.  Right then.  Right there.  He didn't care if his son and Joyce walked in on them in the next few minutes.


An hour or so later, Joyce walked into the house first and paused.  "I think someone started the celebration without us.  Let me put Philip down for you, Natasha."  She took the baby but he wiggled away from her and got down to look at the food.  He picked up the fork from the floor to suck on with a grin.

"That's right, that's a fork and you eat off it, son," Natasha said, taking him from the table.  She showed Joyce her room.  They put Philip down, even though he fussed.   Then she came out, pulling down her hair.  "Could we not make it to the bedroom?"

"No," Clint moaned.  "Nat, she's teasing me."

"She likes that and you taught her you like that behavior," she said dryly.  Dawn pulled her down to kiss her.  She moaned into it.  "Your mother and son just saw you having sex."

"Mom knows I have a lot of sex," Dawn said with a grin.  "And the son doesn't care yet."  She went back to it.  Clint was teasing her.  "Nat, he won't speed up!"

Natasha sighed and settled beside them to help them both get off.  It was good for them.  Bruce knocked and came in, then blushed and paused.  "Um, Joyce?" he asked.  Natasha pointed.  "Thanks."  He ran that way.  She was reading on the bed.  "You made a very pretty daughter but I did not want to see that much of her."

"Me either."  She took a kiss and smiled.  "Though it is a great idea."

"Not tired from the flight?" he asked, stripping off his t-shirt.

"No, I napped most of it."  He grinned and it was good and loud for them too.

Clint pulled back to pant.  "She is where you got the loudness from."  He kissed Dawn again, working harder and faster.  Dawn was still in happy, slutty wife land.  Natasha saved him by pulling Dawn off and taking her to their bed.  Clint gulped both bottles of water and ate his whole plate on the way in there.  He swallowed the last bite and put down the fork and plate on the hallway table.  He walked in there.  "Let me brush my teeth."

"You'll clean up anything you left," Dawn said, teasing herself while teasing Natasha's nipples.

Clint moaned and dug in again.  It was dirty in this trench tonight but he'd win this war.

Even if it killed them both.


Joyce smiled at breakfast as Philip got carried out by Natasha.  "Good morning, Philip, Natasha."  She smiled at the baby and waved.  "Morning."  He yawned but grinned and let her hold him to cuddle.  He fell back asleep on her shoulder.  "That's fine.  You need your sleep."

"He just started to walk," Natasha said quietly.

"That's wonderful."  She looked at him.  Then at her daughter-in-law.  "Dawn and Clint?"

"Barely got to sleep an hour ago."

Joyce giggled like a schoolgirl.  "That's wonderful."  Natasha shook her head.  "Yes it is.  It's a great thing in any marriage."  She sat down with the baby still on her shoulder, sipping her coffee.  "Sit and eat, Natasha.  I'm good and Bruce will be out of the shower soon."

She made them all breakfast.  Bruce came out looking smug.  "Dawn's up."

"They only got to sleep an hour ago," Joyce said.

"I heard."  He grinned.  "Clint actually missed when he threw something at me."  Natasha paused then went in to check him.  "He's fine, just tired."

"He's not fine."  She tested.  "Clint, you're going to the infirmary."

"They can't save me either," he moaned.

Natasha made him look at her.  "You're running a fever."

Dawn tested then nodded.  "You are."  She got up and limped into the shower.  Clint looked smug but she had wrecked his back just as much.  She came out showered and wrapped in a towel.  Natasha helped Clint in there while Dawn got dressed and laid out clothes for the rest of them.  Dawn was dressed by the time he got out.  "Okay, I'm driving."

"Like hell," Natasha said in Russian.  "You're exhausted."  She took Clint out.  "Joyce, he's running a fever."

"I can drive her and Philip in later," Bruce said.  "Feel better, Clint."

"Yeah, I will.  I probably just need some sleep, Doc."  They got him out to the car, he could stretch across the backseat once the carseat was out of the way.  Natasha did drive.  She cut nearly ten minutes off the trip with how well she drove.

Dawn walked Clint into the infirmary.  "Doc, he's running a fever."

"We're not an ER, Miss Summers."

Dawn looked up and sighed.  "JARVIS, can you please call Dr. Pigalli?  Clint's got a pretty good fever and his aim's off."

"She's coming out in ten minutes," he reported a second later.  "Are you feeling all right?"

"I'm fine.  Tired but it's not because of that.  Tell the boss we're down here?"

"I have.  He's still mumbling over coffee so he sent back a 'get well soon'.  Here she is."  The other doctor appeared and took over from Dawn.  Clint got laid on a bed and tested.

"We're not an ER," the other doctor said.

"Yes we are.  For people here, especially the SHIELD members, we are," Doc told him.  "We got Dawn though smallpox a few months back when it got sent here."  She tested Clint's blood while she checked him for anything.  "This looks familiar."

Dawn was staring at him.  "Doc, check it against all ours?"  She got blinked at.  "This looks really familiar.  It looks like how I felt."  She grimaced and ran that test.

"If we're checking against the family's accumulated diseases we've been exposed to, run a DNA check," Natasha said quietly.  "It would be hard to get yours, Dawn, but not Xander's version."

"True."  Doc nodded and sent that to genetics for them.

A few hours later, Clint was being kept cool and having his forehead soothed by a cool cloth when an irate geneticist stomped in.  "What is that strange genome!" he demanded.  "No human has that!"

"Mermaid," Natasha said.  "They exposed Alexander to it back when he was in Sunnydale during an incident."  The geneticist stared at her, mouth open, making squeaky noises.  She nodded.  "Is it changing much?"

"No.  Not in the least.  We can weed it out so it won't.  It looks like it's focused inside a muscle.  That's where the infection is sitting," Doc said.  Natasha nodded at that.  "Whatever they did, it's either not the right blood type and it's caused that blockage, which probably saved him, or it's something else in his blood.  You'd have to ask him or Coulson."

"Philip Coulson!" Dawn yelled from the doorway.  "Here, now, Mister!"   Doc had sent her to handle minor things and then come back after she had vented.  Coulson appeared, looking startled.  "Someone injected my husband with your husband's blood."

"What?" he demanded, looking at the doctors.  They showed him.  "That is Xander's mermaid taint.  Doctor Reynaldo has that," he told the geneticist, who ran off to call him.  "Clint's the wrong blood type for Xander."  Doc sighed.  "How bad?"

"We can remove a lot of it with some filtering and with the lump in his thigh."  She pointed.

"Go for it, we trust you," Dawn said, looking at Natasha, who nodded she agreed.  "How many treatments of dialysis?"

"Maybe three or four.  It's not going to be permanent as far as I can tell, Dawn," Doc said calmly.  "Go prep the surgical suite," she told the nurse, who nodded and went to do that for her.  "Coulson, I need to know exactly what your husband has."

"We're not sure.  Xander won't let anyone take his blood."

"But SHIELD's infirmary treated his foot the other day when it got cut," Natasha said quietly.  Phil looked at her then disappeared.  "We should probably warn Fury."

"Nope," Dawn said.  "I want to know who had this horrible idea.  Because killing is too good for their ass."  She stomped off to tell Stark.  "Someone injected Clint with Xander's blood." 

Tony paused in his flirting to stare at her.  "Xander wouldn't even let me run a sample," Tony said quietly.  "Or Bruce."

"He cut his foot the other day sparring with Phil.  Someone had thrown a piece of broken necklace onto the mats while fighting."

Tony took a calming breath.  "That's not good."

"He's having some muscle that's infected removed."  Bruce got up and went down there to help.  "Doc's doing it, Stepdad."

"That's fine.  They could always use another hand."

Dawn looked at him.  "We told Phil."

"I'll help Coulson find out who."  Dawn smiled weakly and went back to the infirmary to wait.  "Because you deserve the right to fuck them up," he said quietly, looking at Pepper.

"If so, I don't want you back at SHIELD's HQ, the hell carrier, none of it, Tony," Pepper said.

"No, I don't either."  He looked at Steve.  Who nodded he'd stay with Pepper and the kids.  "Thanks."  He took kisses and left.

Pepper sighed, looking at Steve.  "I don't know what's going on over there."

"I think it's the same infection that's in the Board," he admitted.  "I'm not sure who's above that since you said Loki got pissed off at their last thing."

"Could be."  She considered it.  "JARVIS, tell us when Clint's out of surgery."

"It won't be a long one.  He'll have a while to heal from what I'm seeing."

"We can cover for him," Steve promised.  He got up.  "Let me tell Bucky."  She nodded.  Security came to hover near the office since Dawn wasn't at her desk.  He found Bucky being mobbed by the kids.  "I need you to do the fill-in spot like we talked about."

Bucky looked up at him.  "Who got injured?"

"Clint.  It was a plot."

Callia hopped up.  "It was a what?" she demanded.  "I'm going to help Auntie kill someone!"

"Sit," Steve ordered with a point.  She huffed and started to stomp off but he caught her and picked her up to look at her.  "That's our job, not your job.  We can do it better than most people, princess."  She snorted, glaring at him.  "Your job is like Dawn's.  You're the last line of defense in front of your siblings.  We're ahead of you on that list but if they make it through us, you're to protect your siblings and yourself.  That's it.  We adults have each other covered."

She nodded once.  "I can do that.  Call Sean?  They have healing stuff up there."

John appeared with a machine in his hand.  "Healing wands you mean?"  He smiled.  "Infirmary?"

"Next building, third floor," Steve said with a smile.  "Thank you."

"Welcome.  Xander just threw an explosive fit with the infirmary there.  The people who were trying to pull strings planned it from getting him injured on."  He moved himself to where Dawn was, smiling at her.  He walked in and let the nurse help him scrub in, bringing the machine closer.  "This is a healing wand, Doctor Pigalli."

"I've heard of those."  She finished sucking out the infected nastiness.  "Can you now?"

He tested it.  "I think so."  He got Doctor Keller, letting her come to help.  He didn't fully understand the readings.

"Doctor Pigalli, I'm Doctor Keller, head Doctor on Atlantis."  She nodded at her.  "I'm also a trauma surgeon."  Doc grinned at her for that.  "Let's see what confused John."  She read it and nodded.  "You have some infection left."  They excised it together and got it out of there then she used the healing wand.  "That's good."  They relaxed when it was healing better.  John frowned, going to talk to the mini Stark.  He brought back something.  "What's that?"

"She said it's a wound sealer."

"I've seen the testing on that," Doc said, taking it to work on the edges of the wound.  She'd leave a spot for drainage.  It did heal the muscles and the skin.  They all relaxed.  The removed stuff was very little.  The filtering was already going.  Clint would be fine.

Dawn's temper....  Well, she had a spouse to calm down.


Dawn appeared in New York an hour after Clint got out.  He had blinked at them and went back to sleep.  "Guys?"  They turned to stare at her.  "How's it going?"

"The new idea is great but too thin.  It can rip too easily for armed combat."

"I can put a vest over it."  They smiled.  She pulled up a picture and they moaned.  They could make it from the armor-grade stuff easily enough.  The machine started to work from her measurements.  She came over.  "Good?"

"Great actually, Dawn."  They helped her into it to test the fit.  It was snug but moved with her.  It was comfortable but not too warm.  It wasn't heavy, bulky, or upsetting.  Though it was fitted wrong around her armpits.  Her tailor got called in to fix that part and they adjusted the pattern for the vest based on what he did.  Dawn kissed them all on the cheek and went home.  She'd be back in a few days for that.

Natasha looked at her.  "Where were you?"

"Checking on something in New York."  She took a kiss.  "Want something to drink?"

"I could use lunch."  Dawn nodded, going to get it for her.  She watched her go.  "That was a lie," she called after her.  Dawn just shot back a grin.  "Oh, dear."  She looked at Clint.  Dawn came back with a simple, soothing lunch for them.  "What were you checking on?"

"My new outfit for under my chainmail."  She sipped her broth, staring at her wife.  "I'll need one."

"You will," she agreed.  "Your last one was plain spandex."  She dug in.  That made much sense and the thread of 'lie' meant that it was a bit more than that.  Bucky leaned in.  "He's fine and out, Bucky."

"That's great.  Callia's finally not vowing death for whoever did that."

Dawn snorted and waved a hand.  "That's my job."  She smiled.  Then she sipped more broth.  Clint moaned and woke up, holding his head.  "Hey."

"Ow.  What?"

"Someone stuck you with Xander's blood," Dawn said, getting up to help him sit up.  She maneuvered the bed for him.  "I got some broth."  He nodded, letting her hand him the half-mug.  He drank it and Natasha's.  "I would've gotten you some but if I had you wouldn't have woken up until tonight."

"Probably," he agreed, licking his lips.  "Okay."  He looked at his leg, which was bandaged.  Then at Bucky.  "We all okay?"

"Only you got stuck."

"We're all fine," Natasha said.  Dawn helped her up and over to him.  "I'm fine, Dawn."

"Your leg's been cramping from sitting too long."  She smiled at Clint.  "You'll be okay.  Just a bit of physical rehab."

He nodded.  "That's good.  Why does my arm hurt?"  He looked at it.  It had a huge bruise.  "Bad IV?"

"Dialysis," Dawn said.  Clint stared at her.  "Mermaid taint."  He let out a muttered swear.

"Basically," Natasha said with a smile.  "They say it'll only be a few treatments."

"That's fine.  As long as it's not permanent."  They shook their heads.  "Good."  He looked at Bucky.  "The kids and them?"

"Callia's barely quit swearing vengeance."

"Hug her.  That stops her aunt's moments of that."

"Steve tried that."  Clint waved a hand and Bucky called for her to come down.  She ran in and Bucky helped her onto the bed.  "You be gentle," he warned.

"I know!"  She made 'shooing' motions.  "Go, shoo.  My uncle."  She snuggled in.  "Are you all right, Uncle Clint?" she cooed, cuddling him.  "You have to be okay.  No one else could teach me fun things like you do."

He cuddled her.  "I'm fine as far as I've been told."  She grinned and calmed down, nearly falling asleep on him.  "Thank you for worrying so much, Callia."  She mumbled something.  He grinned and kissed her on the head.  "I think you're neat too."  He let Bucky take her.  Dawn kissed him on the cheek.  "Thanks."  He kissed her then Natasha.  "Doc?"  She came out of the office from talking with the other one.  "How long am I hopping for?"

"Probably about a month, until it heals and you get some rehab to make sure the muscles weren't damaged or the nerves."  He nodded.  "Your bloodwork after dialysis came out great.  We'll take it on a case-by-case basis.  You'll get one more and we'll see if you need more."  They all nodded at that.  "The wrong blood type meant that it caused a holy infected mess in there.  No stressing it too much, Barton."

"I won't, Doc."  She smiled at him for that sense and went back to the office.  "Home?"


"Okay."  He kissed them.  "Can we have the sprout's birthday tomorrow?"

"Mom said we are," Dawn agreed with a grin.  "She said Saturday actually."  Clint grinned.  That'd give him an extra day of being home.  She took another kiss.  "Let me handle things and you two cuddle.  It's her turn."  She winked and strolled off.

Clint looked at her.  "It's your turn to be worn out," he said once Dawn was done.

"I enjoy her in slutty, bad idea moods."  She did climb up to sit next to him on the bed.  She'd never cuddle in public unless it was part of an operation.  He rested against her side anyway.  She ran her fingers through his hair.  "We'll manage it."  He nodded.  "You had a very high fever.  Did you not realize it?"

"I was already sweating."  Doc laughed.  "Sorry, Doc, but Dawn's been in a slutty, bad idea land sort of mental place."

"We all like her in those around the office.  It means that things get arranged in a social way."

"She arranged parties?" Natasha guessed.

"Things for the interns and other staff.  Special viewing parties for the geeks."

"Aww," they said together.  They hadn't heard about those.


Dawn handed MB the list.  "Arrange those in proper series order please.  Viewing party's next weekend.  The DVD's are already ordered and in the mail."  She walked past her.  "Patty, you're in charge of the _Time Warp_ during the halloween lunch."

"Okay," Patty agreed happily.  "I love the _Time Warp_ dance."

MB looked at it.  "She even included the movies.  Wow."  She settled in with her best friend to go over the order they should go in.  The guys came over to hug them and help.   "Dawn's arranging things."

"Clint's in the infirmary," Andrew said.  "Someone stuck him with Xander's blood."

"Didn't Xander have like smallpox or something?" Patty asked quietly, glancing around.

"They're testing to see if the antibodies got passed over," Jonathan said with a grimace.  "We don't think they did."  That got a nod.

"We'll handle it if they do come."  They finished the arranging and getting it back to Dawn.  Patty told the chemists about the dance during the halloween lunch.  They all smiled because Dawn did fun things for them.


Clint came home and flopped down on the couch, his crutches going beside him.  Philip stared from where Grandma was feeding him.  "Hey, kiddo.  Missed me?"

"Horribly," Joyce said.  "Finish your lunch and you can see Daddy."  Philip wiggled until she had to let him down.  He ran over to Clint and got pulled up to cuddle him.  Joyce smiled.  "He's good."

"I can feed him."

"He's supposed to eat at the table."

"We don't," Clint admitted.  "Usually."  She rolled her eyes.  "We do make him sit down and eat though.  Wherever we're eating."

"That's good."  She came out to sit in the chair.  "Philip, food?"  He looked at her, grinning and waving.  "I know, you missed Daddy."  She held up the bowl.  "Lunch?"  He got down and came over to sit in front of her on the table to eat.  She smiled when he looked back at Daddy.  "He's not moving for hours, Philip."  She finished feeding him and wiped his mouth off.  "Good boy.  Thank you.  Go cuddle."  He ran back to pounce Clint, helping him nap.  Joyce smiled, arranging things in the house for later.  The girls would be home soon.  Natasha got home first, she heard the truck.  She came in with the bag from the pharmacy.  "Long wait?" she teased.

"Slightly."  Joyce hugged her and Natasha froze.

Joyce smiled at her.  "You're my daughter-in-law and we hug, dear.  It's not an attempt to kill you or cuddle you that way."  Natasha relaxed and Joyce patted her on the cheek.  "I should kill the people that taught you hugs were evil."  She walked off.

Natasha looked over at Clint, but he was asleep.  Natasha let it rest in her mind for now.  Joyce had never grabbed her to hug her before.  It felt nice.  Motherly.  Which was very strange to her.  She put Clint's medicines on the table next to him.  "They have childproof caps," she said when Joyce came back from the bathroom.

"That's fine.  He'll probably use them to make noise.  Babies love noise.  I almost thought Buffy was going to be musically inclined with how many times she woke me up out of a sound sleep by banging pots."

"Callia gets up at least twice a night as well," she said.

"It's the 'rounds' as Faith calls them.  You get up to check your perimeter and your tribe."

"Ah."  She settled in to wait.  Philip woke up from his nap first and squealed at Daddy when he spotted him.  Clint moaned and cuddled him.  Philip babbled baby noise at him until Clint blinked at him.  Then he crawled up to slobber on his nose.  "That's a very good kiss, son.  We'll have to teach you how to do it without drool," Natasha said with a grin for them.

"He'll learn soon," Clint promised.  He cuddled him.  "I have to go potty, kiddo.  Wanna help?  That way you learn how big boys do it, no matter what your mom wants."  He grimaced as he sat up.  He spotted the bottles and took his antibiotic and pain pill.  "Thanks, Nat."

"Welcome.  Dawn will be home soon."

"Dawn has other things to worry about beyond me.  Let her worry about the kids and Pepper."  He grabbed his crutches and stood up, letting Philip down.  "Follow me."  He hopped.  "Don't get underneath them, Philip.  It'd hurt if I stepped on you."  They went to the bathroom together.  Philip came out giggling.  "I know, I look different," he was telling him as they came back.  "That's because your mommy and cousin Callia won on the circumcision thing."  He sat down and put his foot back up on the coffee table.  Philip pouted so he pulled him up next to him.  Still pouting.  "What?  I don't read your mind like I do your mom's."

Natasha got his guitar and brought it back.  Philip beamed at her and babbled, trying to take it to cuddle.  Daddy took it and made sure it was in tune before playing.  Philip curled up against his thigh, letting the guitar rest behind his head.  Daddy didn't mind and it was comfy.

"Come cuddle me," Joyce said, taking him.  "That way you can listen to it."  Philip didn't mind being cuddled by her or Natasha while Daddy played.  When Mommy got home, he minded the cuddling but she just sighed and took him with her to change.

"Yes, it's me again and you do have to spend time with me, son."

Natasha looked at Joyce.  "She still claims he has a favorite."

Clint nodded.  "He does.  A lot."  He went back to playing.  Philip came running back out without his shirt.  "Why are you half-naked?"

"Mommy was going to make him take a bath," Dawn called, coming out in shorts and a t-shirt.  "Bath, son?"  He pointed at his father and grunted.  "Sure, we'll sit down and let Daddy play us pretty things."  She got the other end of the couch and let him watch Clint play.  Philip stared at Daddy.  He was doing neat things.

"I think that's the same look Callia used to give her father in the lab," Joyce said with a grin.

"It is," Dawn said with a smile.  "Means we get to give him music lessons though."

"Stark needs to put music lessons in for all the kids," Clint said as he played.  He finally put his guitar up, even though his son pouted.  He patted his lap.  Philip crawled over and cuddled.  "I love you too, little guy.  We'll teach you how to play sometime."

"I'd like to watch him learn," Dawn agreed with a grin for Clint, who smiled back.  "Mom, Bruce will be home at about eight.  What'm I doing for dinner since Philip's dinner is tomorrow?"

"I picked up his cake earlier but it's in the fridge."  She considered it.  "Pasta?"

"You'll have a mooch," Clint and Natasha said.

"That's fine.  We can fix bowties or something big so he can't choke."  She and Dawn got up to look at what was in there.  It was pretty easy to pull out some chopped up meat and make noodles.  Dawn even had a stir fry sauce she liked.  It was good and Philip came over to see what they were doing.  Mommy showed him and he liked that.   Clint and Natasha shared a look and grin.  They'd cure Dawn's braless needs later.


Dawn showed up ten minutes late.  Tony looked out at her.  "Sorry, boss."

"Traffic?" he quipped.  "Since you pulled in twenty minutes ago?"

"No, picking up the new outfit for under the chainmail this spring."

He sighed.  "From the special group?"

"Yup.  More comfy and armor-like for the battle this spring."

"Not a bad thing," he said.  She grinned.  "Going to show us?"

"Nope."  She hung it up and got into her chair to log in and start handling the mundane things she did every day.  Tony was still staring.  "You'll see it soon, boss."

"Uh-huh."  He walked off.  It was a practical thing and they could use Dawn as a tester model.  He came back.  "Halloween costume?"

She smiled.  "It'll be good but tastefully inappropriate, like the evil empress one was."

He groaned, going back into the office.  He still had nasty thoughts about Pepper in that outfit.


Dawn was on her way to the car a few days alter when the alarms started.  "Shit," she muttered, tossing her purse into her trunk and putting in her earpiece. "It's Summers, what happened?"  She listened.  She growled.  "Who?"  She nodded.  "Handling it.  Give me ten.  Stall."  She flashed to the locker room and pulled out something to put on.  She pulled out a few hidden weapons too, making them expand.  She flashed up there and took a good stance.  "Yo, brother-in-law, let MB and her baby go."  He laughed.  She shot him with an arrow, making him gasp and hold his chest.  She stared him down.  "Hi, nice to meet you, Barney."  She moved closer, using her handgun to shoot his two 'friends'.  "Welcome to Stark International.  Thank you for visiting us today."  MB was trying to laugh and cry at the same time.  "MB, did they have anyone else?" 

She shook her head.  "They got us heading to the park."  She wiped her cheeks off.  "Thanks, Dawn."

"It's what I do."

MB noticed the outfit.  "Is that going under your chainmail?"

Dawn grinned.  "It is, yeah."  She looked over when Phil appeared with Hill hanging on his arm.  "I think it's about time my brother-in-law and I had a talk.  Can you handle the other two?"

"I think that's your spouses' job," Maria said.

"They've had a talk."  She grabbed Barney, making him whine because the arrow in his abdomen moved.  "Be right back.  Caro, go find Daddy."  She ran off with a squeal.  MB smiled and chased after her.  She took him to Xander's temple, tossing him down.  "I need a ring."

Xander looked her over.  "I like that."  She put on her new leather/armor vest.  "I like that even better.  Covers up the panty line.  Have a sparring ring, Dawn."

Dawn grinned and hauled him out there.  She pulled the arrow and healed it, mostly.  She tossed the arrow back at her hairthing she had taken off as she dragged him.  "So, let's get to know the older members of the family."

"You're not shit, little girl."  He took a swing.  She cleaned his clock.  He landed on the ground so many times he was dust colored within a few minutes.  "You're using magic, aren't you?"

"I don't need magic, dumbass.  I'm fairly well trained in my own right."  She smiled.  "Are you going to get up again to prove the inferiority that clearly missed Clint?  I know the second baby got all *good* genes in the family but you keep seeing it like a fated sentence."  He got up with a yell and lunged at her.  She jump-kicked him in the jaw, then let her other foot hit him as she spun.  He landed and started to cry.  She stared down at him, smoothing down her vest. 

"Better?"  She smiled. "I'm barely breaking a sweat and I'm wearing leather.  So yeah, I was right, all the good genes hit Clint.  Pity you got all the pathetic," she said sarcastically.  She kicked him over onto his back.  "If you wanna be a super villain you gotta be worthy.  Since I'm the baseline to beat to become an Avenger, you're not worthy.  You can't even beat a girl.  How do you expect to beat your brother or Iron Man?  Or hell, Hulk.  Stepdad would rip your head off and use it as a baseball against others."  Barney was frantically pushing something on his side.  "Xander, I think he has a 'come help me' switch."

"Yeah, he does."  He let them in.  "Hi."  He smirked.

"Who're you?" one demanded.

Dawn called her bow and shot them all.  "Hi, welcome to Alexander's temple.  I'm Dawn, this idiot's sister-in-law.  Thankfully, we're better than you'll ever be.  Because I'm the baseline to be an Avenger and you're too pathetic to even make the cut to try me in sparring."  One rushed at her.  She dodged one hit, kicked one, then flipped and dropped her bow to shoot him.  He died.  "You have a better day," she said as he died, staring down at him.  "Don't fuck with my family."  She looked at Barney.  "MB and her daughter are like a sister to me."

"She's a geek," Barney sneered with a slur.

"So's Iron Man.  And look what he could do with just a pile of junk in a cave in Afghanistan.   You'll never make that level."  She checked her clip then put it back in.  "I have two left."  She looked at the 'heros' then at Barney.  "I'll let you pick which one lives."  His eyes went wide.  She strolled over.  "You fucked with my family.  Some of us consider family more important than anything.  You, technically, are Clint's family, which makes you mine.  I guess you're this family's bad apple," she said bluntly.  "Every family has one I'm told."  She stared down at him.  "Which one did you not want to mourn?"


"Dawn," Clint called.  "Put the scary bitch back please."

Dawn glanced back, smiling at him.  "Why?"

"He's mine."

"I'm not going to kill him.  I should since he had MB and Caro hostage."  She looked down at him.  "Aren't you so lucky today."  He moved back away from her.  "Did you have a choice?  If not, I have knives and they don't run out of bullets."  He was starting to cry.  "You sure that's your answer?"  He shook his head frantically.  "Xander?"

"They're defeated.  They might cause later problems.  I think we should eliminate them to solve future problems."

Phil appeared.  "No.  That's SHIELD's job."

Dawn looked at him.  "He came to Stark to take hostages, not SHIELD, Phil."

"Still, we're taking over now."

"I can handle it."

"I know," Phil assured her.  "You and Xander both handle things very well when you have to.  Right now, this is now my scene to clean up."  She grimaced.  "If they make it out of custody, you can have them then because SHIELD has failed.  You can be the sword of retribution."

Dawn and Xander shared a look then Dawn looked at Clint.  He nodded.  "That works for me."  She nodded, grabbing her stuff and heading back to change and check on Caro and MB.  Clint leaned on his crutches.  "Every now and then I forget that Dawn's actually really fucking mean when she has to be and someone threatens the family," he told his brother.  "You can thank the Romanians for that."  Xander smirked.  "And him."  He pointed at Xander.  He looked at him.  "I hate it when she has to fall that far."

"Sometimes she's gotta because no one else is there," Xander said.  "Stark's guards would've ended up hurting the hostages."

"True."  He looked at his brother again.  "Are you done now?" 

Barney flopped backward, holding his stomach.  "You taught her how to use a bow?"

"She already knew how to use a crossbow.  She grew up hunting vampires with her family.  Her sister was a slayer, Barney.  She knows more morally questionable people than I do as an agent and from the circus.  Hell, one of her favorite sitters used to be a vampire that was named a Scourge of Europe."

"Angelus?" Barney asked.

"Spike."  Clint grinned.  "He's not a bad sitter.  She trusts him with her nieces and nephews."  Barney slumped.  "The bad things we saw, she laughs at.  You just made her go back to that dark spot.  You're damn lucky you're alive."

"She's dark," he sneered.  "She'll turn on you."

"Some day Natasha's going to kill me.  I'll take it at that time."  Barney gaped.  Clint stared back.  "Que sera sera."  He let Xander take him back to wherever Dawn was.  Dawn was finishing her changing back.  Clint slammed her locker and stared at her.  "Did we maybe slip?" he asked, staring at her.

"Yes I did.  He was threatening a child that was under two years old who he had no reason to even have hostage."  Clint shivered at the iciness in her voice.  "You're damn lucky I left him living then."

"I am."  He sat down next to her.  "Need to talk?"

"Nope.  I felt it was justified."

"It was.  Telling him to pick which two friends to mourn...not so much."

She shrugged.  "I could've just killed them."

"It probably would've been kinder, Dawn."

She looked at him.  "Sorry."

"No, don't be.  I would've tortured his ass too."  He took a kiss and smiled.  "That outfit goes in the closet.  In the locking closet."

"It's for under my chainmail."

"I don't care!"  He smiled.  "You're backup."

"And you're limping, sweetheart."  She smiled.  "Which means the backup team has to front a player."  He gaped.  "Just like when you're on assignment.  Bucky's great at being Cap's backup.  I can fill in for either of you two."

Clint considered that.  "I get that but no.   Not this time.  Sniper duty only."

"I'm not pregnant."

"So?"  He grinned.  "I want you unbruised."  He kissed one.  She healed them.  "And none of that to hide it from us either.  We want to know these things.   We're just as possessive and protective over you as you are of the rest of the pack."  He took a kiss and stared her in the eyes.  "Unless it is critically necessary, your backup spot is in my sniper spot.  Got it?"  She nodded, sighing at the end.  "Bucky does a good job pretending to be Natasha.  He helped train her."  She slumped, looking at her hands.  "No, you're not going to have to fight about it.  Just....  Send up a warning shout.  Take the high spot that I'd usually take unless you have to get down and dirty like I would, and you're my backup on the team."  She looked at him.  "Not Nat's.  Bucky's hers or Cap's.  You're *my* backup player."  She nodded, hugging him.  He cuddled her back.  "Thank you for leaving Barney living," he said quietly.

"It's his only chance and if he comes after Philip, I'll make it a nice funeral."

He gave her a squeeze.  "I'll kill him myself for that, Dawn.  If I had been here, I would've saved Caro and MB for you."  Andrew stomped in.  "If I had been here I would've done it for her."

"How would you use a bow and crutches?"

Clint shrugged.  "I've limped through assignments before."

Andrew snorted, taking Dawn to hug.  "Thank you."

"Welcome, 'Drew.  Are they okay?"

"Caro thought it was a play.  Mommy told her that."  He let himself shake and let Dawn calm him down.  "Why did they do that?"

"They were in the most open spot," Clint said.  "One of them was my idiot asshole brother."

"Is that like Thor and Loki's thing?" he asked.

"I used to idolize him and I'm the younger one," Clint said.

"He got all the great DNA.  All the bad got worn out," Dawn said.

"Hey," Clint said.

She smiled at him.  "It did.  You're more handsome, you're better, you're more athletic, you're better built because when he lunged at me he was pitiful in more than one measurement."  Clint shook his head.  Andrew was laughing and gave her a squeeze then left.  She helped Clint up, handing him his crutches.  "I'll be there in two.  I need to do my hair."

"Leave it down.  I'm putting down the top on the way home."  She shrugged and took her bundle of clothes with her.  "I want to look at that vest later."

"The guys working on the new uniforms made it.  When I get pregnant again, I'm going to switch to vests like this full time."

"Sure, it looked nice on you."  They avoided Stark having a fit by the office.  Dawn got her purse out of the trunk and got in to drive them home.  He turned up the music, put down the top, and they were off before Stark saw her.


Tony was waiting the next morning when they came in.  "I'm in for x-rays," Clint quipped with a grin.

"That's fine.  Miss Summers, may we have a word?"

She looked at him.  "Does that mean I should clean out my desk?"

He glared at her.  "Shut up!"  He pointed.  "Office, now!"

"No, she's not," Clint said, getting between them.  "She did what we trained her to do, Stark."  He stared him down.  "Dawn's our backup.  Did you expect her not to rescue part of her pack?"  Tony glared at him.  "Going a bit darker afterward wasn't a great thing but it was handled.  That's what I want her to do, Tony," he said more quietly.  "I want her to be my backup on the team, not Nat's.  That's exactly what I would've done."

"We have security teams."

"Who couldn't have handled it without hurting MB or Caro," Clint said.  "Any gun play that didn't silently take them down would've endangered her and the baby.  Dawn wasn't totally silent but they were a bit freaked out I bet."  He blinked and stared at him.  "That's how I would've played it.  That's probably how Nat would've played it.  Cap would've jumped between them and used his shield to cover them then knock them flat."

"It's my job and my people," Stark said.

"Then make getting into the suit faster," Clint said dryly.  "Because it apparently didn't happen fast enough yesterday.  Sometimes a sniper is the best thing there is during a situation."

"It is," he said.  "I'd like her to not fight as much."

"Me too," Clint agreed.  "Unfortunately, someone had a *brilliant* idea."  Tony snorted.   "Until I'm not hopping, we need someone to take the up-high sniper spot.  Which Dawn does well."

"She doesn't do the tactics you do."

"None of us have taught her tactics and Coulson probably does it with her."  Dawn nodded that usually had happened.  "Sometimes you do what you gotta do."

"The DA is pissed off," Stark said.

Dawn snorted.  "There wasn't time to get a tactical team here.  They would've killed MB and Caro.  And if they push it, MB's suing his ass," Dawn said.  "Period.  I've had fucking enough of that man."

"Really?" a male voice said.

Dawn looked at the officer.  "Could you have actually gotten here in time to save the baby and her mother?" she asked Gamble.

"Local tactical team would've taken at least ten minutes just to make it to the gates," he admitted.  "If not fifteen or twenty."  Tony shuddered.  "We think she did the right job."

Dawn smiled.  "Thank you."  She looked at Tony.  "If you're that mad...."

"Shut up, Dawn," he ordered.  She huffed and rolled her eyes.  He looked at Gamble.  "We're doing the DNA swabs in a few minutes."  He looked at the couple.  "Next time, warn me you're handling it, Dawn."

"Boss, you weren't even on site," Dawn reminded him.  "I was on the security channel when I noted I was coming."

He grimaced.  "I wasn't."  He looked at her.  "Like when you were pregnant, backup is way up high and out of touch."

"Unless it has to be different, it is," she agreed.

"Good!  Steve nearly had a heart attack."

She sighed.  "What did he expect me to do?  Steal his shield?  I don't know how to use a shield.  A sword, a crossbow, a regular bow, guns, artillery, my hands and feet, knives, all sorts of shit, but not a shield.  I'm sorry I pissed you two off."  She walked off. "I'll go pick up your antibiotic, Clint."

"Dawn, no," Tony said, following her to the car.  "No.  No, you're to leaving to pout.  Not at all.  Go talk to Pepper."

"I'm not going to be bitched at like I'm fucking seventeen-years-old again!" she said hotly.  "To quote some hoochie thing at the club a few months back 'I'm grown'.  I have more than enough judgement and experience to make the call of when I'm the best thing to handle a situation.  I took *how* many years of defense classes?"

"That was to protect you."

"And others," she said bluntly.  "Because I'm well aware that people take others to get me sometimes."

"I've seen that."  Tony stared at her.  "You're still the backup."

"And you were *where*?" she asked, waving a hand, the other going to her hip.  "You, Steve, Bucky?  No one else was on the security channel when I heard the alarms start."

He grimace.  "We were out."

"Great!"  She nodded, staring at him.  "That meant I was here to handle it and I was the best trained on site to handle it!  I don't know why in the hell people bitch at me when I handle things that I can handle and should handle.  I'm more than the damn magic or my skills at typing."  She walked off.  "I'll be back after I calm down."

"Dawn," Tony said.  "Let's talk since we're all being adults."  She flipped him off.  "Now."

"Boss, I'm going to take a swing at you in a minute," she said, turning to look at him.  He gaped.  "Seriously.  You haven't treated me like a brainless bimbo since I proved I wasn't one when you put me into a real school."  She stared at him.  "Why do I want to go back to being treated like a braindead bimbo?  Do I look like the bimbo assassin bitch?"

"You dress better."  She glared.  "Not what I meant."

"Then let's just call today my day off this week," she said calmly.  "Because it's probably a good idea."  She disappeared.

Tony sighed, looking at Clint.  He shrugged.  "I'll calm her down later.  I know what you were trying to do."  He shifted on his crutches.  "Though your dad did tell her she was adorably perky and young the other day.  Apparently he doesn't consider experience."  He stared at him.  Then up.  Natasha said she'd calm her down.  She was tinkering with weapons in the garage with Philip.  "At least she's at home teaching Philip how to disarm bombs."  He hopped inside.  "C'mon, Mini-Me.  We'll go take cheek swabs."

"Why am I the mini me?" Gamble demanded.  "And how did she disappear that way?"  He followed.

"You're younger," Clint said with an evil smirk.  "And that was magic.  Dawn's pretty strong in that and other skills.  That whole fight was because Dawn had to prove once again that she had training."  They hopped into the infirmary.  "Hey, Doc?"  The local one came out.  "You said to come in today for scans."

"I thought we made you an appointment at the local hospital."

"Doc, none of the SHIELD agents, none of the Stark people go to the regular hospital," Clint said.  "There's too much risk of our injuries getting magnified when people try to take us or take us out."  Tony stomped in.  "Are we not doing the scans here?"

"Doctor Pigalli said you were.  You know we do all the scans and things for everyone here, Barton."

"That's what I thought."

Tony glared at the doctor.  "Don't start.  It's a shitty day today."

Clint looked at him.  "I'm staying out of it until I explain to her what you meant."  He grinned at the nurse.  "We're also doing a DNA swab to see if we're related."  It was the same nurse that had cut Dawn's hair and had kept sedating her but oh well.  Dr. Pigalli came out with a bagel in her mouth while she put on her jacket.  "Hey, Doc."

"Clint."  She looked at the other one.  "Mini Clint."  He glared.  "DNA?" she guessed.

"Please, and scans," he said dryly.

"I can do that and send the results to Dawn."

"Tomorrow, Doc.  She's off today."  He hopped up onto the scanner's bed, letting her do his leg.   She got the swabs to take Clint's then Gamble's.

"I'll call you tomorrow with results."  She smiled.  "Unless you want me to push them and wake you up tonight around ten?"

"No, I'm off today so I'm going to sleep and get a bit drunk."  She smiled and took his card.  "Thank you."

"Not a problem.  We like Clint.  I'm sure we'd like you too."  She grinned.  "As long as you're not as bad of a patient as he is."

"I probably am," he admitted, grinning back.

She patted him on the cheek.  "For those, I have a taser."  Gamble laughed all the way out to his car.  She looked at Stark.  "Since when does she take days off?"

"She stomped off.  I tried to nag her about yesterday."

She smacked him on the forehead with the palm of her hand, saying something in Elven.  "Idiot," she finished.  He glared.  She stared back.  "What did you expect her to do, cry?  You've seen Dawn handle *how* many things?"

"I could've."

"You weren't here.  Even you deserve some time off, Stark," Clint reminded him.

"I do.  Fine.  I'll be out later to talk to her."

"I'll talk to her.  You two talk tomorrow.  That way she doesn't have to wear Nat out tonight.  Joyce is already blushing since she walked in on me and Dawn before I got sick."

Tony shook his head.  "I've seen too much of that thanks to the security protocols."  He walked off.

Dr. Pigalli smiled at Clint.  "You can't ride her and she can't ride you until your thigh's healed, Barton."

"I know, Doc.  It'd hurt like a bitch."  She nodded.  "That leaves oral sex though."  He grinned.

"Which is a great thing.  My spouse is very good at it too."  She smiled.  "Give me a few hours.  I'll call."

"Yup.  Can I drive?"  She laughed.  "Dawn left the car here."


"Sure, I'll spend billions on the cab back home."

"We have a car service on call."  She called them and sent him home.  She sent an email to Pepper about that and looked at the other doctor.  "Let's talk."  She pushed him into the office to talk to him about how things were run at Stark.  Clearly someone had misconceptions.  The same as that nurse did and she thought she had fired her.


Joyce walked into the tinkering garage.  "There's days I wonder if they made you of Xander."  Dawn grinned at her but went back to what she had been wiring.  "Want to talk?  Pepper called and said you had a blow up at your boss."

"He treated me like I'm a dumbass bimbo," she said, looking at her mother.  "And I'm not.  I'm well aware of when I can and should handle things."

"You are, though I hate that you do."  She sipped her tea.

"If I hadn't, MB or Caro could be dead right now."

"Which is why I only worry when you do the right thing."  Dawn relaxed.   "Doesn't mean it's not a parent's job to worry."

"There's worry and then there's 'how dare you fix that situation' nagging.  I seem to hear a lot of that."

"Sometimes guys are like that."

"Pepper just scowls until I feel bad for saving people."

"I'd be doing the same while making you clean the house."  Dawn grinned at her.  "You've said a lot that they were like your parents at times."  She sipped her tea.

Dawn nodded.  "I have.  Still doesn't mean I deserve that level of bitching."

"Ladies don't swear."

"I hardly ever approach ladyhood, Mom.  Womanhood I have down.  Lady-like behavior isn't really my first or second language."

"I should probably blame that on seeing the hell your sister went through."  Dawn stared at her.  "I know.  You weren't exactly a young lady at home either.  I let you get away with a lot."  Dawn grinned.  "I suppose it kept you alive during all that you've been through."  Dawn came over to hug her.  "I've done the best I could."

"You did great!  Even when you had to phone it in, you did great, Mom.  Quit stressing.  Philip's going to have more manners than I ever did."

She smiled.  "Good.  Though you swearing in front of him will mean he'll swear."  She gave her a pointed look.  "Are you nearly done tinkering?"

"No, I'm fixing something that I won in a poker game the other night.  It'll take me about an hour."  She looked back at Philip, who was snoring in a deck chair they had in there for sitting needs.  "How did I make something that innocent?"

"All kids, even you, were born innocent," she reminded her.  "It's what their parents expose them to and what they see around them that ruins that.  Yours will grow up just as strong as his other parents and you are without being as hurt as Xander is."

Dawn nodded.  "Yeah, he will.  He'll never be as hurt as Xander or Clint were when they were little."  Joyce hugged her.  She grinned at her.  "They'll probably come to nag later."

"I'll help if I can.  Though, be more subtle, Dawn.  Wear a mask or something so no one knows it's you."  She went back to the living room to catch up some trashy news programs.  A few minutes later Dawn swore loudly.  "Did it bite you?" she called.

"Yes."  Philip came out sniffling and hugged her.  "Cuddle him, Mom."

"I can do that."  She cuddled the baby, smiling at him.  "You're a very good little boy, Philip.  You're Grammy's only young baby.  At least until you get a sister."  She helped by explaining what was going on with the news.  "You don't want a girl like that one.  She's a trashy ho.  They'll never make good wives."  He laughed.  "I know, some day you'll try to run away from a good girl.  We'll help you figure it out."  He grinned at her.  She smiled back.  "You're such an angel, Philip.  I'll miss you when you're here and I'm back in New York.  You'll have to learn how to call me sometimes."  Dawn came out pulling the scarf off her hair.  "Done?"

"Yup.  It's ready in case we need it this spring."  She picked her son up to stare at him.  "Wanna help mommy take a shower?  You can babble at the bubbles because you need one."

"Dawn, he's too old to shower with you."

"He is not!  He's barely a year old, Mom."

"He is.  If it was a little girl."

"He's going to be in the bathroom with me for the next few years too."

"Good point."  She shrugged.  "Try to keep him out of the shower."  Dawn grinned, taking him in there, babbling at each other.  She settled in to watch the news.  She heard Clint's guitar make a noise and snuck back there to look.  She pulled her phone out to capture it on video.  Philip was staring intently at the strings while trying to make them move like daddy did with his fingers.  He was plucking at them so they'd make pretty noise.  Every now and then he'd pat the fret board.  He grinned each time he made it make noise.  He noticed her and grinned, waving with his free hand while he tried to pluck them.  "That's very good, grandson.  Your daddy will be so proud," she said quietly.

Dawn leaned out of the bathroom, staring at him.  "Great job, son.  Show Daddy when he gets back."  She went back to her shower.  He squealed and ran after her to chase her bubbles.  He slipped and fell but got up before they could help him.  Not a single cry for it.  Joyce smiled and sent the film to the family.


Bruce smiled as he watched it, rerunning it for Tony.  "Awww," Pepper cooed.  "That's so cool!  Philip is so smart sometimes."

"Liz could play music from more than her butt if you taught her," Callia said.

Tony looked at her.  "Farting isn't music, Callia.  You're all getting music lessons this spring."  She grinned at that.  He watched the video on his tablet.  "He's good."

"He's very good," Steve agreed.  "That's why Liz keeps squealing for him."

Bucky nodded.  "I like the little guy.  He stares through you like you're an idiot when you do something stupid, just like his mother."

The others at the table nodded.  They had seen his mother and him do that.


Fury looked at the video.  "I doubt she meant to send that to me," he said.  He watched it anyway, smiling.  "Barton's kid's going to be talented.  Hill."  She came in to watch it over his shoulder, smiling at it.  "He's good."

"Got good hand strength too," she agreed.  She smiled and went back to her desk.  That was adorable and her kids needed music lessons some year soon.

Phil came off the elevator, looking at her.  "They hate music.  John won't even dance when it's on at the temple."  Maria grimaced.  "What about riding lessons as a joint big present for them?"

Maria smiled.  "The older two would adore that."  He smirked back.  "I think we can clear that with Tara.  Though she didn't answer her phone last night."

"She had dinner with one of the other witches in the coven."

"She had a date?" Maria asked, turning stiff and suddenly not calm.

"I don't think it was a date.  Tara said it wasn't a date when John asked if it was."

Maria relaxed.  "I'm trying."

"You still haven't made it to visit," he pointed out.  "Outside the one in LA."  She slumped.  "It takes work and commitment, Maria.  You have to make room in everything else.  Being a parent, especially a working parent, is a full time job juggling everything."

She nodded.  "I'll go over for dinner tonight."

"We were going to have dinner tonight.  It can be a group dinner.  I'll tell her."  He patted her on the arm.  "Maybe you should have an assistant."  He walked off, leaving her to think about it.

She sat down behind her desk to consider things.  She did go home every night to turn on her new monitor array so she could watch her family on the hidden cameras.  Though a few had been turned off recently.  Tara hated them.  She understood why.  Maybe she should manufacture something so she had to stay on the couch for a few days?  Though that would mean she'd have to get home long before dinner time.  Which had been her problem.  She was very attached to her job and it came first.  Which was the wrong priority when you had kids.  Howard Stark faded into view.  "Problems at Stark?" she asked professionally, pushing the thoughts aside.

"You and I are a lot alike, Agent Hill.  Though you never drank, never brought home bimbos, never turned your genius wife into an alcoholic who had no desire to use her brain, we're a lot alike where it counts."  He stared at her.  "Thankfully my son made surrogate parents and hired Pepper for the other one until he grew up enough to deserve her."

"It's not like that," she hissed.

"I never really wanted to do that either.  It just happened.  Science grew more important.  Searching for Captain Rogers.  Breaking the stress I gave myself with something easy and who didn't ask me about things.  Or want to come to the lab to do some work."


"Dawn once said that this is my version of hell.  Having to watch my family do it better than I ever did and watching them screw up where I never would've allowed.  Maybe she's right.  We do make our own hells at times.  Living and dead."  He gave her a pointed look.  "Not like there's a sappy movie with ghosts and each time I check on your wife she's crying.  I can't stand to see women cry."  He faded out.

Maria looked at her empty desk.  "Sir, I'm going home early today."  Fury was in his doorway.

"About damn time, woman," he said, staring at her.  "I expected you to fix this shit months ago."  He went back to his desk.  "Drop the two last folders on Joyce's to me."  She did that and headed out.  Maybe Howard had finally found what had always pissed off the ones who knew him whenever he missed it.  Fury had known Stark for years.  Knew him for about ten years before he had died.  If he had known his son had needed a role model he probably would've stepped in so Stark would be more normal.


Dawn was at home, having a slight headache.  Her mother had flown home earlier with Bruce.  He had taken a light calming drug so he wouldn't get too irritated at the airport.  LAX was a bit less busy than La Guardia.  They also had fewer incompetent idiots in the TSA booths in her experience.  So she had no idea why she had a headache.  She dropped herself into a meditative state.  Something had to be wrong.  She felt along her magic lines.  Nothing wrong.  Nothing wrong with any of her links to others.  She checked the automatic updating spells on people.  Nothing. 

She came out and checked the physical health monitors.  That showed a problem.  Bruce's was fine.  Her mother's....  was showing a death soon.  She concentrated, sending her mind toward the flight path the plane would have to take.  She'd made the flight a few times, she knew which way they went on the non-stop route.  They were having problems.  She sent a thought at Natasha to call the local airport to alert them so they could pass that on.  She was trying.

Dawn found some shoes and a jacket, because it was colder where the plane was over.  She scried a spot nearby and went there.  Clean, national park land.  Plane with a smoking engine overhead.  She blew open her magic, waiting.  It was starting to lose altitude.  She felt her mom panic and grabbed on, putting up a cushion.  It slowed the descent so maybe the pilots could do an emergency landing more safely.

Someone appeared.  "I knew you would break out."

Dawn turned and hit him.  "My mother's on that goddess damned plane and they're going to crash.  Now either help or fucking leave!"

"It may be their time."

"That's funny, Hades said she had *years* yet."  He blanched.  "Help or leave me the fuck alone!"  He cast at her.  "Xander!  Help!"  He appeared and hit the guy.  She went back to helping the plane.  Too fast, too steep.  Clint was helping her.  She concentrated, pushing the nose up.  She went to her knees, holding onto it.  Her arms went around herself.

"Dawn, pull from me," Xander said, kneeling beside her.  "Pull from my magic and my powers."  She grabbed his hand when he put it around hers.  He concentrated, merging their powers.  The plane slowed again.  "Unlock the wheels.  It'll help."  She did that.  "Aim for an open area.  Like a road.  Not water."  She nodded, concentrating.  He called out to Phil and the others.  Roque went there to spot an area and help when they did crash.  John too.  Xander calmed his anger and fear.  This was not supposed to happen to Joyce.  He had to push it down.  He pushed more power at Dawn, letting her absorb it.  Letting her use it.  He felt a small spark get snuffed and winced but it had only been a few days old.  She had miscarried before. 

John was calling in orders to the local EMS people when he spotted where the plane was going to be landed.  It was going to overshoot it.  He grabbed onto the magic and Dawn had to let go.  She had passed out when he had grabbed on.  That was fine, he could land it.  It was rough.  It crashed into a few trees.  By then his nose was bleeding and he was about to pass out from the power.  "Roque."  He came over to steady him as he went to the ground.  Then he rushed off to help.  Clay had gotten there with Bia and the trainees to help.  John passed out, automatically sending himself to somewhere safe, somewhere home.  His city welcomed him back with an alarm and a medical team waiting on him.

Roque forced the door open and looked at the stunned stewardess.  "You're on the ground.  Get those who can move out."  She nodded, helping him up so he could deploy the slide.  Bia and the others got inside to help.  Roque headed to Banner.  "Doc?"

"I'm calm.  I'm okay.  Joyce is okay."  He squeezed her hand.  She whimpered.  "I knocked her out so she wouldn't...."  He shook his head.

"It's the right thing to do.  Let's get her out of here.  Some fresh air will help."  Bruce nodded, getting up and helping Joyce outside.  Bia had one of the war dogs sit with her since she was only knocked cold.  They all thought of Joyce as the head bitch of the pack so they watched over her.  Bruce had to be a doctor for a few minutes.

Bruce looked back as sirens started to be heard.  "People, we have fire teams coming.  Let's get more people out if they're mobile but slightly bent or broken."  They got more people out of the plane.  He nodded at the first fireman.  "The engine on the right side started to smoke about twenty minutes ago."

"You were damn lucky you made the clearing, sir."

"Doctor Banner."  He nodded, letting him handle the triage situation they had with the paramedics.  Though he kept looking at one.

"Sir, where is she on the list?" one paramedic asked.

Bruce went to check her.  Still out but breathing well.  He almost wished for some touch healing but she was fine.  "Make sure she stays stable.  I knocked her out so she wouldn't know."  They nodded.  "That's my wife."  That got another nod and they covered her.  They'd ignore the dogs standing guard over her.  A few had recognized them.

Bia came over to check on her.  "Bruce, she's got a blood clot."

He looked.  "Where?"

"In her arm so far."

"I need...."  He took a breath to calm himself.  "I need medicine for that."

"I'm taking her to Stark, Bruce.  Right to Pigalli," Bia said.

"Thank you."

"Not an issue.  We'd miss Joyce too."  She disappeared with her.  "Doc, she's got a blood clot that's about to move.  Bruce knocked her cold so she wouldn't know she was in a plane crash."

"Okay, where?" she asked, coming out to check on her.  "Good catch, Bia.  The plane?  Do they need more help?"

"They've got first responders and people.  I have to find Dawn.  I know she was making sure it wouldn't crash."  She disappeared.  She found Phil trying to separate Dawn and Xander.  She found an unconscious sorcerer.  She kicked him on the foot.  "What the fuck did you think you were doing?" she demanded.

"She was trying to change history."

"She's living in her correct moment.  You're out of your realm, idiot.  Go home.  Before I destroy you."

"I'm the Sorcerer Supreme of my realm," he said.

She snorted.  "I'm the Titan Bia, over Force."  She blasted him into a ghostly state and sent him home.  "Dumbass."

Phil nodded.  "That's why Xander knocked him out.  He was trying to stop Dawn.  Take her."  They gently separated them.  They were unconscious and holding onto each other.  Dawn's nose and one ear was bleeding.  That was a bad sign.  Xander was very pale and barely breathing.  His nose was bleeding too.  "Right to Stark."  She nodded, taking Dawn.  Her magic was burnt right now and wouldn't try to interfere with the transport.  Phil brought Xander, putting him onto a bed, focusing his power on him.  He had been too far away, checking on the hellmouth in Jordan, when he had felt the magic starting.  He had linked in to keep them from dying.  He looked up, realizing he was on Atlantis.  "He was on the same spell that John was.  He took the first part to slow the plane."

"They were preventing a plane crash?" Keller demanded.

"A jumbo jet actually," Phil said blandly.  "That Joyce Banner was on."  Keller shuddered.  "They caught the plane and John took it the last few miles to the clearing."

"Okay.  Let's get Xander scanned, people.  We know what he should look like when he's normal or in backlash."  They brought a scanner over.  Phil was feeding him energy.  "Is that helping?"

"Yes.  He might fade if I don't."

"Okay.  Stay out of the way."

"I am."  He shifted for the medical personnel.


Dr. Pigalli looked over as Bia appeared with Dawn.  "Shit!  What the hell!"

"Helping the plane not crash.  She took first, then Xander joined with her.  John ended the not-crash."

"Damn it!"  She tested.  "Anything huge I should know?"

"She just miscarried.  Less than two weeks along."

"Okay."  She got her into the CT first.  That was not a good bit of bleeding.  Brain was slightly swelling.  Heart beat was off.   Pulse was too slow.  Non-responsive.  She called Stark.  "Tell Barton and Romanoff to see if she's in her head somewhere."  She hung up and started an IV.  "If you're not a worthless lump, help me," she ordered.  The other doctor moved to help.  She missed her staff in New York.  "JARVIS, I need Shivs and I need my staff.  It should be closed for the day."

"The day shift is about to leave.  Give me two minutes.  Do they need anything?"

"I need a clot buster for Joyce.  I need anti-swelling for Dawn.  The whole backlash kit we have set up."

"As you wish, Doctor Pigalli."  The staff showed up with a few bottles of medicine and a tackle box of specific things.

"There would've been a plane crash.  Banner knocked Joyce out so she didn't have to see it.  She's got a clot in her arm, marked with the marker.  Dawn was helping land it."  They moved to help her.  Shivs took over Joyce's care.  She knew Dawn's care better.  Clint hopped in.  "Not right now."

"She's not in her head.  She's fully not there.  We think if she still had that forest she's back in that state.  Give us an hour."

"You may have it," she admitted.  He stared at her.  "That much magic created some swelling, Barton.  I'm not one to lie about it."

He nodded.  "We'll try, Doc."  He settled on another bed, concentrated on Natasha.  She linked in with him and he touched Dawn's mind.  She flinched on her bed.  He stroked to soothe her, telling her that she had managed it.  Joyce was in the bed beside her with something minor.  Asleep but not really injured.  Dawn started her automatic healing spell but he told her to have it stop.  She had major backlash.  She did and the swelling stopped.  That helped and she was kept unconscious for a while.


Bruce looked around.  "Where's my wife?"  No answer.  "Roque, where's Joyce?" he called.  No Roque.  He kept his temper, he really did.  He might be a bit green though.  He realized that and made himself calm down.  "Where did my wife go?" he asked a staring fireman.

"The tall brunette lady in the pink t-shirt took her, sir."

"Bia," one said.  "That was the Goddess Bia."  They stared at him.  He shrugged.  "I've seen them at the temple.  My grandfather's out there and he got sick a few months back."

"Thank you."  Bruce finished calming himself down.  He was still green.  He rubbed his forehead because it ached.

"Doctor Banner, you have a concussion," one of the paramedics said.  "We're going to take you to the ER if you think it's safe."

He looked at him, nodding slightly.  "It should be.  I'm just worried about Joyce and a bit out of sorts."

"You were in a plane crash, Doc, I'd be out of sorts too."  He led him to the ambulance.  "Doctor Banner has a concussion."

The paramedic nodded.  "Is the green something like gold poisoning?"

"No, it's my temper," he admitted.  "I'll calm down.  I'm trying, guys.  I won't Hulk out."

"My brother thinks you're really neat.  Then again, he's six and he likes to smash stuff too," the paramedic said calmly, helping him lie down.  "Once you're stable you can call around to find your wife, Doctor Banner."

"Bia took her so she's probably with Stark or on Atlantis."  He rubbed his head.

The paramedic checked his pulse.  "Doc, your pulse is up in the one-eighty range.  Can you meditate?"  He nodded.  "Wanna try?"

"I can do that.  Give me the two shots and start an IV with Ringers please."  The paramedic nodded and did that.  If it kept him calm, he'd go for it.  No matter who complained later.  The ER doctors said it was a good idea and they put him in the most quiet corner they had for now.


Xander blinked up at Phil.  "What happened?"

"You and Dawn helped save a planeload of people."

"Who're you?"

Phil sighed.  "Damn it."


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