Xander woke up, blinking at Natasha since she was sitting on his feet. He shifted them to give her room. "Problems?"
"Slight ones." She got comfortable, staring at him. "There
are a few things that showed you never really worked in a team.
Including that you keep telling your handler to quit talking to you."
"I get distracted."
"Which is another thing, though I know most of yours needs to be cured
via caffeine or other substances that calm you down. That alone
would usually keep you out of the field." He shrugged. "I
know, right now we have no choice and you're used to being in charge of a
battle, not doing things the way we do."
"You're doing an admirable job of it but it is frustrating you both."
"I can do it on my own and just check in."
"That's not the way we do things. You have a handler because he watches your back."
"And I appreciate that but I still get distracted by check-ins and all that stuff."
"Which he understands. Working with you is different than working
with us because we've been trained in how to work with a handler in the
field and you were not. We were amiss in not giving you that
"Can't I just do it on my own?"
"No. Because then you will not make it back sometime." She stared at him. "If we could let you, we would."
Xander groaned and made himself sit up. "I get that. I
really do get that and that I'm frustrating Phil and maybe I'm breaking
him so you guys can't work together in the future."
"No, he works with each of us how we need to do it. For right now,
you and he are going to go over field work." She smiled
slightly. "By yourselves up on the mountain. You're going to
figure out how to work things together."
"Tomorrow. Once you're out of here, have had a shower and a meal, all that."
He nodded. "I can see the point."
"Good." She patted him on the foot. "Then we will see what
happens later." She got off the bed and strolled off.
He sat there and sulked. She was right, he sucked at this.
The general fighting, inspiring troops, all that he could do. The
field work he could handle. It was having a partner and working
with him that was going to drive him nuts. "Maybe I'm just keeping
him warm for them," he sighed quietly. He rubbed his side and got
out of bed.
"Get back in there," the automated nurse said.
"Going to the bathroom."
"Fine. You have three minutes or I will hunt you down and drag you back here."
"Yup." If she could find him. He apparated from the bathroom up to his room to put on something other than pajamas.
"You're not keeping him warm for us," Clint said. Xander winced
and flinched. He got up to come over and stare at him.
"Really, you're not. He likes working with you most of the time."
"I just don't get the whole partner thing."
"I know. He knows. That's why you get the delightful trip up the mountain in the rain."
"The rain?" Xander demanded.
"Yup." He grinned. "Didn't know that at first but Rodney got
gleeful when he looked up the weather predictions through Thor."
He stared at him. "You won't break him. I promise you
won't. You're not going to break either. You've got to learn
how to handle having someone there for you though. It's important
and it saves your life. Small groups are great because you each
do your own thing and then come back. That doesn't work for what
we do in the field though." Xander nodded, looking down.
Clint patted him on the arm. "You'll manage it." They heard
the robotic nurse and Clint winced. "Hide really hard."
Xander pulled on clothes and headed off to hide in the bunker. The
nurse didn't get to go down there. Tony had programmed it that
way so he had a place to hide.
Stark looked at his gaggle of gossiping, babbling geeks. "So who were they?"
"Didn't get anything other than suicidal fuckheads," Greg quipped.
"Is that an official diagnosis?" Spenser teased with a smirk.
Rodney shook his head. "Analyzing the bomb leads back to a project
your father was working while on the Manhattan Project. It was to
update what they already had to a higher standard as it came out.
That was his second generation bomb, updated for modern materials and
Phil walked in. "My first year at SHIELD we took down a group that
was going to try to enforce peace through nuclear weapons." He
uploaded the file he had lifted while he was in the infirmary.
They read it and nodded as a group. "It appears to the be the
"Great, hippies with plans and not enough pot," Rodney said. "We should send them some nice Cuban marijuana."
"The first time we dosed their drug stash so they all hallucinated,"
Phil said blandly. "It helped us capture them without incident or
them setting off the bomb they were polishing."
"Because bombs should be shiny before you set them off," Tony quipped. "What idiots."
"Idiots with nuclear bomb plans," Spenser reminded him. "Did you two get an arm of it or the head of it?"
"An arm. The head is over in Asia. Somewhere in outer
Thailand." He pulled up that information. "That's the only
name we could find in common. Her husband was one of the original
group and now she's a major supporter of the second."
"I'm building my husband's dream for him?" Spenser guessed. Phil
shrugged. "We can do a workup on her, see if we can find anything
"Please." They nodded, moving to handle things in their
areas. He stopped Rodney. "Don't pick on him for the
injury," he said quietly.
"I'd never do that."
"You were and he heard you." He stared at him. "All that
'archers apparently can't duck' thing got heard." Rodney grimaced
and glared in the direction that Xander was hiding. "He's got to
learn to trust, not just openly slide open his doors to everyone, which
will never happen."
"I'm not the nicest of people. He knew that from before."
"He knows but you're still considered family to him." Rodney
grimaced, glaring in that direction again then at him. "I know
getting close isn't your strong suit either, Rodney, but if you push at
him he'll huff off this time. So can we please calm down the
ranting to push people away?"
"Thank you." He smiled and patted him on the head. "You need a haircut."
"I'll deal with it later."
"Thank you." He walked off. Xander was probably already out
in the woods. He knew more about camping than Phil did, even if he
pretended not to. He had them set up in one of the unnatural
caves out there. It was deep enough to serve as a tent and hiding
spot in case someone needed shelter while they were in the woods.
He found a convenient boulder set up, because the designer of this area
decided it might need a firepit and a sitting area around it.
Xander had started a fire and erected some camouflage netting above
them. Phil turned his headset to listening only and looked at
him. "First, you're not getting humored. I don't humor
anyone. I pulled your father out of the field for six months when
he felt I was humoring him."
Xander looked at him. "You are."
"I'm not. I don't put up with anything like that. I don't usually have the patience for it."
"They said tomorrow. You should be spending time with Ianto today."
"It's best we hash this out like adults before you start to sulk and
deage." Xander glared. "So let's go over the expectations I
have. Field agents work differently than lone wolf tactics or even
small group combat. Which is the way you were trained." He
gathered pebbles. "You're used to working as an autonomous
group." He laid them out in a circle. "One leader, the rest
who have assigned jobs, and if necessary you can switch leads in the
field if one area becomes critical. Probably a team of mostly
lead-capable people, maybe a green one now and then."
He laid out more pebbles, this time in a pyramid. "Field agents
work like this, though there's a firm line here," he said with a point
at a gap he left between levels. "That is the admin and the field
level. In the field, I'm the highest you'll hear from unless
something's seriously wrong or they pinged the assignment as needing
personal attention. I'm more likely to hear than you are. So
my job is to watch over a team like you're used to running as the field
commander." He looked at him. "Including orders."
"I don't mind the orders most of the time."
"Which I appreciate because your father hates them." He smiled
slightly. "You're not Hawkeye and I know that, Xander. If
only because he used to fight to get to use his bow and you do better
with guns and other weapons than he does." Xander nodded, slumping
in on himself some. "I'm not comparing you two. Each field
agent has their own skills, talents, and personality quirks. I
have to be adaptive to deal with any of you I'm assigned. Frankly,
you're the usual sort of green agent we'd be used to. Your father
drove everyone batty not being able to work with field handlers for the
most part." Xander looked at him. "He has so many handlers
that refused to deal with him SHIELD nearly had him set somewhere safe
until he could be useful."
"So that's why you got him?"
"We had worked well together before they tried to make him branch
out. Then he came back to me. I sanded his edges down until
there were a few he could work with but wouldn't fully trust."
"I understand that very well."
Phil stared at him. "You've been in full wars as a junior
officer. There's no way you could start at a high rank."
Xander nodded. "Well, this is like me being in charge of the field
command tent and you're in charge of a unit. How did you manage
"Hardly very well. Most of them hated me like hell. A few of
them tried to have me killed, but then I proved my usefulness over and
"Which you have here. We all appreciate you for the tons of things
you do every day. From nagging and encouraging Natasha with her
retraining to helping Ianto take care of the others, to handling things
that aren't your duty because you made them your duty. Like that
woman in Berlin that you saved from her boyfriend."
"Shitbags like that deserve it."
"They do," he agreed. He had noticed the deflection technique in
the past. "We have to find a way that works for us in the field so
you can trust me to give you necessary information and we handle things
Xander looked at him. "There really isn't all that much with taking out targets."
"No, there's not, but soon we'll have to move you to regular ops.
Which would mean we'd be in closer contact and working together."
"Which would be closer to what I was used to before," Xander pointed at
the circle of stones. "Where you'd do the intel gathering or
whatever and we'd handle it."
Phil nodded. "We can run a few simulations in the holodeck that
Rodney hates to admit they built one night on a sugar high."
Xander relaxed and nodded. "We'll try that. You might excel
at being the bait but that's not always the job," he reminded him.
"I know. Sometimes it's information gathering and sometimes it's other things. I did a bit of this in a few wars."
Phil smiled. "I figured you had." He ruffled his hair. "You need a trim too."
"I'll get one the next time we're out and about." He waved a hand. "Do we have to camp?"
"Not if you don't want to. We do have to work out a few problems, including your ADHD problems."
"Sometimes I grew out of it, sometimes I don't," he admitted. "I'm used to more training to deal with it when I don't."
"I can help you train."
"You can't use a sword or an axe."
"No I cannot," he agreed. "You've been training Natasha to spar against."
"I have but she's still too young."
"That's still too young. We're not dying as young as we used to so I revised my 'adult' status up."
Phil smiled. "She's already come and asked to start going on missions."
"I remember her sort of mission from what I read in comics in another
realm." He looked at him. "She's definitely too young for
"She is," he agreed. "She did have skills other than that."
"Right now, we could use her in that sort and I don't want that." He sighed. "If we have to I can."
"Are you sure?"
"No," he admitted. "I've done it before. Totally been the
concubine that assassinated the idiots in the past. I hated it,
but I did it. A few of them I might've actually liked."
"We can test responses for that too. SHIELD had methods of testing
agents to see where their skills lay for field work." He smirked a
bit. "The fact you got Maria Hill to blush as a little kid speaks
well of your skills." Xander smirked back. "Let's work out
the rest so we can have dinner at the house." He nodded.
They went over how to do certain things, like how to make Xander listen
to him in the field when he was overly focused.
He had the same focus that Rodney had when he was building
something. No one could interrupt it at times. It had proven
to be an asset before but Phil could see where it would become a
liability. There were a few other quirks they had to get used
to. Then they needed to find a way for Xander to work off some of
that excess energy. Maybe Stark had an idea about that.
Natasha sat down on the free rock, staring at them. "I'm not that young, Xander."
Xander looked at her. "You're fifteen and look thirteen. How many pedophiles do we run into?"
She nodded. "That may be. I do have other skills."
"Which I want you to finish perfecting before we do more than letting
you break into things or shoot people," Xander said. "Do you
really think you're ready?"
"No," she said. "Some of that can only come back in the field however. Playacting reactions is not the same."
"That's why we have the holographic suite," Phil said. "Even
though both Starks hate to admit it's there." He held up a
hand. "Not until you're at least sixteen. There's no way I
want the attention of traveling with a young woman of your age will
bring us. You're too young to really want to travel on your own as
a cover. Also, we'll be heading for Asia soon and your speciality
has always been Europe, Natasha."
"It has. Will things matter that much at sixteen?"
"That depends, can you look like you're eighteen and traveling after you graduate?" Xander quipped.
"I can almost do so now."
"It would draw less attention if you did look old enough to be legal,"
Phil said. "Xander can pass and is only a few months too
young. For young women you know the risks are greater."
"So you'll back us up," Xander said. She nodded. "Then we'll
figure out how to split Phil if we have to be on different
"We have both worked alone," she told him.
He nodded. "Yeah, but you're the sort that men kidnap to
own. I'm not." He gave her a look. "Not that I won't
kill them all if they try and it's not planned."
She smiled. "I would kill them myself if possible." He
grinned back. She looked at Phil. "I can arrange that."
"Good. Though you're right, we need more people to watch over us."
She shrugged. "If we must, we can trust certain members of SHIELD potentially during things."
He nodded. "We can. Sitwell. Hill." Xander shook
his head. "She's been in the field, Xander. She moved her
"And now she' the head bitch of the pack. I've never met an amazon
queen that didn't have issues about other women in the field."
"She doesn't usually," Phil said. "Now and then she hates what the field involves."
"We all do," Natasha said.
Xander nodded. "Sometimes, yeah, but I've seen worse."
Natasha reached over to pat him. "We all have."
Xander looked at her. "We had to bust a guy smuggling kids the
other day." She winced. "They just happened to appear when I
was dealing with a gun runner."
"Damn," she said in Russian. Phil nodded. "Did we stop their chain?"
"Yes," Phil said. "I took down the higher ups while Xander got the children free and somewhere safer."
"I took them to the red light district in town. Pros know the
damage they had been through and there's always groups down there to
help them. Most of the adults wouldn't want the kids to be taken
that way either. Only one tried to sneer at them. The others
beat her ass and helped me get the kids to the group that got runaways
off the streets. The nuns heard where they had been saved from and
promised to protect them."
"Which was a good idea," Phil said. "You couldn't involve officers
at that time without compromising my position and it let them get help
before the scary officers that would want to deport them stepped in."
Xander smiled. "Thanks."
"You're welcome. I'm happy you got the gun runner anyway.
You managed to get back on target on your own and managed to help me out
when I ran into extra people because they were about to have a
sale." Natasha shuddered. "The police then did not like
things." He smirked at the kids. "We'll handle it."
They nodded and settled in to make contingency plans in case they were
trapped in the field.
Xander would send them off and take it himself and that wasn't
allowed. He was too used to being the one in charge. His
style was more 'inspiring hope through making new myths' than John's of
leadership inspiration. Evan had that same sort John did and the
others paid attention to it. Ianto's was a bolstering the heros
sort of giving hope. Rodney's was giving hope through snark and
new tech that could change lives. Stark's too.
Greg and Spenser were apparently the same sort as Ianto with a bit more
openness now and then to provide their surroundings with it.
Jeremy lived hope and breathed hope. Toni did too. People
were drawn to them for the hope they sweated out. Dean's was a
quiet 'one bad thing at a time taken down' giving hope. It was
bordering on the mythical version that Xander did but it also was a bit
more of the quiet hero sort that the former officers used.
Dean and Xander also shared the trait that they took people in to be
like family to them but they never let them see it. Never let them
see the vulnerabilities that they had or that they were the ones that
could hurt them. Xander could take torture but a fight with Dean,
Rodney, or Evan would send him off to hide for weeks if he could.
That's how they had ended up in Latvia actually. There had been a
fight and Xander had stomped off to find something to deal with.
Rodney summoned John since he hadn't come when he had asked a few times. "I need yeti fur."
"Why?" he demanded. "And I was in the middle of handling something, McKay."
"Because there's going to be another huge attack soon," he said
bluntly. John nodded he knew that. "There's no way you two
and maybe Anthony can handle it."
"How much?" he sighed. Rodney handed over the potion. "You, Dean, Evan?"
"Ianto has some mild magic."
"So enough for five just in case." He handed it back. "Got the rest?"
"I could use some new sparrow's eggs and thyme roots."
"Got it." He disappeared. He went back to his job.
He'd gather those things later. His father popped in to stare at
him. "What?" he asked. "Not enough mischief?"
"No, Ares is pissed off," Strife offered. "What're you doing?"
"I know about you, kid." John grinned. "Handle it my way and
duck the leather dude. What did the not-kids need?"
"About a pound of yeti fur, some sparrow eggs, and some thyme root."
"I can do that. You handle these idiots." He disappeared to
get the things. It was an interesting plan and it was definitely
causing higher ups strife, even if it was helping the majority of the
people in the long run.
Rodney walked into the iron man lab, looking up. "JARVIS?" he asked quietly.
"There's going to be a need for one of us in the suit soon."
"I would suggest that Evan would do better than you would," the AI
said. "He has the fighting and flying capabilities that you do
"Agreed. I'm not meant to be a real hero, just the backup support."
"You have done it often enough," JARVIS noted. "I can start work
on one. I'll need some height and weight calculations done."
Rodney found the picture that was in his wallet. He carried it
from life to life. He put it on a scanner bed so he could look at
it. "Hmm. His last life?"
"The one before. His last one he was female."
"I'll consider the implication of that for a next generation in the
suit. I can manufacture the basic materials but I cannot make an
arc reactor." Rodney got into a file he had sealed everyone, even
the computer, out of. JARVIS read it and made a humming
noise. "Interesting. Yes, I can do that, though it will be
vulnerable to being hit."
"Shield it on his thigh," Rodney said. "He's used to a thigh
holster from his military service." He sat down, sketching
it. "Put it here, shield it heavily with the same stuff that you'd
use for the arc reactor's shielding."
"I can do that. I have an email for the elder Stark from Captain Rogers. It just came in."
"He's in his room."
"I was aware."
Rodney smirked. "Smartass now too?" he joked.
"Quite. Look at who programmed me." He put up specs.
"I'll make it a bit larger in case he ends up taller. It's easy
enough to cut down some but adding on a new inch or so would be
"Agreed." He left him to it, taking the picture to look at.
It went back into his wallet and his wallet got sent to Caledin
again. He got the package of goods and looked it over. "It
needs to be fresh yeti fur."
Strife appeared. "Only the dark gray are older and that'll help with the
secondary step." He handed over his formula, getting an evil
smirk. "Good boy." He disappeared. Ares was
bellowing. "What?" he demanded when he appeared. "We got a
redemption kid in our midst, as *my* son, and you expected him not to
deal with shit?" he demanded. "He and that other one are handling
all of everyone, not just us." He glared. "Creeps me out
badly but yay." He disappeared. His son had style, he had
class, but he hadn't been powerful before outside of magic so he wasn't
used to using it to handle things.
Anthony looked at his latest creation, nodding at it. He cooled it
off, making sure it was stable. He took it out to test on a
tree. The crossbow had the same range as Xander's bow. It
wasn't some space age polymer, but it was an ancient design
remade. It was heavier than Xander was used to, that might be a
liability. He tested it again and nodded. Maybe he'd find a
way to make it so it was lighter. He looked at his father in this
life, getting a nod of appreciation. "I'm taking it to Alexander."
"Agreed. Stay down there if you want, Anthony. I know the world is calling."
"Thank you." He disappeared. He appeared behind the table,
looking down at his fellow redemption child. "I found the specs
for your old weapon." Thor moaned and reached for it.
Anthony smiled. "His old weapon, Thor." He handed it to
Xander. "It should give you the same range but it's heavier than
Xander looked it over. "You did. I remember this thing. It was ironwood and it kept breaking."
"That's iron and it won't break. Even if you use it to block
something." He patted him on the head. "I'm down here for a
"Great," John said as he appeared. "I could use help." He took him with him.
Xander looked it over, letting Clint take it to look over, then
Tony. "The extra power behind the string is the two tension wheels
in the handle." He pointed at them.
Tony nodded. "That's a pretty simple solution to get that higher
tension you'd need to reach the range of the regular long bow."
Clint nodded. "We can test it later."
"Sure." They finished eating and took it to the range to work
with. It was heavy. It was very heavy. Xander could
get used to the weight. Aluminum would be too light and it'd
break, which was what happened to most of the prototypes. Even the
kevlar impregnated version. Anything that had the strength to
flex yet hold that string would break if it was less weighty than
iron. So maybe they'd keep that part iron and the rest would get
changed. Clint could barely hold it up it was so heavy.
Xander needed a wrist rest for now but he knew how to strengthen his
wrists for it.
Tony went to work on the plans to see if he could upgrade it to
something lighter. He saw the manufacturing system working and
looked up. "JARVIS, what are you making?"
"A suit for whichever of you ends up nearly an adult first, sir."
"Oh, great. Do we have plans?"
"I have no idea. I'm hoping so."
"Fine. Tell me the next time Rodney has plans please?"
"Thank you." He pulled up pictures of the bow and made plans from
it, doing virtual tests on various metals. Around dawn he got a
bit loopy headed and started using mythical things. Thor's hammer
would still break. Cap's shield.... Would work for a few
months probably. He switched to that metal mix, finding a better
version that was stronger and nearly indestructible.
"You have an email from him," JARVIS said.
"Open it for me." He read it and smiled, typing one back to
him. He sent it to Bruce so he could answer too. Then to
Phil. They missed Steve but he had been guarding Pepper and the
others for him.
Natasha walked up to Xander before they got ready to go on another
mission. "The science sorts are predicting a battle within two
"I heard," he said with a grimace, dropping his image projector into the
bag he was packing. He looked at her. "You think you're
ready to help?"
"Honestly, probably not but I will be."
He nodded. "We'll probably need it. Make sure you don't get
too injured, Natasha. We don't want to have to rescue you from
"I'll do my best. Will you two be able to handle this assignment?"
"Probably." He grinned. "It's not going to be that hard and
this is closer to what I'm used to." She nodded and left.
"Tell Rodney whatever crackhead plan he has needs to be done with by the
"I will." She smiled and went to talk to them. "Xander said
to have whatever crackhead plan you're doing done by the projected
"It will be," he assured her with a smirk. "I'll have it done a
few days before then." She nodded and left for the training
center. He went back to his stirring.
Clint strolled in. "Do I have magic?"
"Not that I can tell." He tossed over his wand. "Try it
somewhere not on the cauldron." Clint concentrated and a bit of
sparks went off but nothing else. "Huh," Rodney said, staring at
him. "Interesting. Evan?" Evan leaned in a minute
later. "He showed a tiny bit of magic." Evan sat them in a
corner and led him through the same exercise Xander had taught him to
access wandless magic. It turned out he had just enough to maybe
light a candle. Rodney looked over. "We'll have a bit
extra. We'll see if it works on him or not," he decided. He
went back to his stirring in new yeti fur. The potion recipe had
said this one wouldn't age them as far but it would lead to a healthier
one because they wouldn't have time to be too skinny. They could
accept that as long as they were closer to adults.
Phil and Xander came home from the mission happier. They had
worked together better this time. He was appreciating Xander's
skills on that sort of mission better than he was on sniping ones.
They found Stark pissed as hell and pounding on a door. "What
happened?" he asked.
"Rodney had a crackhead moment!" Tony complained.
"He does now and then," Xander agreed. "So?"
"They made an aging potion for some of you."
"It only works if you have magic, Stark. I can give you
magic...." Tony shuddered as he walked off. "Guys?
We're back," he called.
Ianto opened the door, looking about fourteen. "We're seeing how old we are." They got let in.
Rodney did the telling spell. "I'm fifteen." The others did
it and nodded, and they did it on Clint and Ianto for them.
"You're fifteen, Ianto, and, Clint, you're about twelve."
"Okay," he agreed. "I can handle that."
"For now, you're the second line," Phil ordered. "Unless we have
another invasion scenario." Clint grimaced but nodded.
"Thank you." He looked at the others. "What plan is this
"Our next battle is coming up soon we think," Rodney said. "This way it's not two demigods, Xander, and you."
"That might be helpful," Xander agreed. "But you forgot Natasha for emergency situations."
"I did," Rodney agreed. "While I'm not *hero* material by any
means I can definitely help." They all nodded. "Ianto would
make a good field person to back Phil up."
"I'm taking over the Iron Man suit," Evan said quietly. Phil
smiled at him. "Dean's stolen his dad's hammer plus done regular
range time. So we're set for the upcoming battles."
"I want you all in heavy training starting today," Xander ordered.
"We need to make sure aiming skills stayed, that you have the stamina
for a battle, and that you're not going to fall out of the sky,
Evan." He nodded. Clint nodded too. "Let me unpack and
we'll go use the holosuite with Natasha?" They nodded and went
Tony stopped Rodney. "How are you planning on using the suit?" he demanded quietly.
"I'm not, Evan is." Tony gaped. "I don't have the skills for
it even if I do have the technical know-how. I'm not a warrior
and I know that about myself. I can handle holding a doorway or an
emergency but I'm not a warrior. Beyond that, I made a mini
blended cell like we had been working on." He took him to look
over that suit. JARVIS was measuring Evan so he could trim a few
places to make it fit the best. He opened the panel.
"Totally exchangeable if we need it to be. No one else has any
idea how to make this because ZPM research hasn't even been thought of
on this plane yet." He looked at Tony, who was looking over the
schematics. "I had JARVIS create it like your last updated one and
changed the power source."
"No, it's good, great maybe," Tony said. "We need better shielding
around it. Everyone will expect it to be a weapon so it'll get
"I figured it'd be less vulnerable there," Rodney admitted. "On his back he wouldn't be able to switch it out himself."
"No, he wouldn't." He stared at the slowly rotating
schematic. "I'll work on updating that. It'll do for
now." He looked at Evan. "I know you know how to fly."
Evan smirked and nodded. "It's a lot more weapons work."
"I was USAF, Tony. I've used futuristic weapons at the SGC and on
Atlantis. It'll go. Then we'll fix any inadequacies after
the upcoming one."
"Agreed. You need to train. It's heavy."
"It's got micro servos and a few other upgrades," Rodney said.
"Including a new metal mix that would be lighter but stronger." He
pulled that up.
Tony nodded. "I like that metal mix. Too bad it won't work for Xander's crossbow."
"The only thing that would is probably if he sacrificed an evil that was
going against him and then did special rites on a bone," Rodney
said. "I looked at supernatural and other sources." Tony
stared at him so he pulled that up. "That's on his original
one. They found parts of it in Turkey recently. I realized
it when I saw his current one."
Tony nodded slowly. "Okay." They got back to work on the
suit while Evan went to train. He had to make sure he was good
enough for this time, and then he'd work up to being full time good
SHIELD troops got to the battle in Virginia about a half-hour after the
Stark team. A few of them stared at Iron Man. "No way in
hell is that Stark," Fury complained.
One of the agents stared. "No, sir, that's a pilot. They're
using standard vectors." Fury gaped in horror then at the suit.
Evan landed and put up his visor. "Not like Rodney can." He
put it back down and got back into the battle. "You can join us
anytime, people," he called sarcastically.
Xander ducked, rolled, and jumped over a few shots at him but managed to
fire off two pretty crossbow shots at the robotic idiots firing at
him. "No one gets to make Dr. Who jokes for months," he
"Pity," Ianto said where he was taking aim and firing calmly on the
robots. "I know I have a few somewhere." He and Phil were
working together to try to get the back lines thinned out so they could
help Natasha get the main computer source with the geeks.
Fury tapped into their communications. "Hill, help Romanoff take
down the geeks. Squad six, move to help the sniping team.
The rest of you, fall in and break things." They rushed forward to
start shooting at things with the teenage heros. The two Barton
kids were really good at what they did. Though Evan needed more
suit training time, which he was sure Stark could get him.
Xander was using some sort of crossbow that was really odd and looked
like it weighed a ton, not a usual Stark methodology. Dean was
shooting but he had his father's hammer on his arm and used it on
occasion when they needed a bigger strike to hit a group of
robots. That was really weird. He couldn't imagine an
Asgardian using a gun. The two demigods he had been told about
were off on one edge taking out that one so nothing got free of the
Phil and Ianto were taking care of the other side whenever a robot tried
to sneak off that way. The ship that had brought them went up in a
fireball thanks to Hill. Romanoff got the geeks and she turned
off the robots. Suddenly, the battle was done. Fury looked
around. "Nice work," he noted over the comm system. The
whole Stark team left in a flash of light. "Damn it!"
"It seems they got some sort of teleporting beam to work," Hill said. "Romanoff took the computer, sir."
"That's fine. Any geeks she left alive for questioning?" She
shook her head. "Pity. Gather these up, we'll rip them
apart to figure them out." They got them gathered and taken back
to the hell carrier. He'd email Coulson later to see what his
little not-SHIELD group was going to do next.
Phil sat at the table after everyone had gotten medical checks and
Xander's sore wrist had been iced. He looked at the group.
"All right, let's go over the critique of it. Since this is new to
some of you, I'd expect you had some concerns about your own skills."
Evan nodded. "I need more suit training time."
"You did and I can teach you," Tony assured him. "Including
running sims based on old things I've done. I keep records from
all of mine so JARVIS should be able to handle that."
"Based on the power usage, we'll have to go with the more compact,
powerful cell than that one," Rodney said. "That one was a light
usage one. I'd suggest we move that to a generator," he told Tony,
who nodded that was reasonable. "He needs more time flying in it
to get used to it."
"We can do that too," Tony assured him.
"I need more strength training in my wrist," Xander said quietly.
"They found parts of your old one," Rodney said.
"I felt. If I had an enemy to sacrifice and take the bones of to make it better I would."
"Eww," Tony said.
Xander shrugged. "Magical enhancement means it was stronger than steel but a lot lighter."
Rodney nodded. "I figure it was. We can't find another metal
that'll work the same. If it flexes it's too light and if it
doesn't flex it's not useful."
"I know." He grinned. "You guys are great but not totally
perfect yet." They smirked at him. "Natasha, I saw you get
"Two of the robots were talking about their plan to take certain people hostage." She passed down what she had heard.
"That's good to know," Phil agreed as he read it over. "I'll send that to Agent Hill later."
"I already have."
"Even better." He smiled. "Overall good work but you're too light to do some of what you were trying to do."
"That will come with age and more training," she noted.
He nodded. "I know. Just an observation for future things."
She smiled. "I'm working on it."
"Good. We're going to pair you and Ianto up for field work once I
get him trained in how to be a field agent." She nodded. The
others looked confused. "It would look strange if I took her
around Europe, but not if she's with someone her own age, traveling
around together." They nodded they understood that.
"At the very least they'd think you were lovers skipping around," Tony agreed. "Clint, how was yours?"
"My bow needs to be recalibrated. I was working on it all morning
to fix it so it worked with my present strength and weight. I
could've managed or used Xander's bow if I had to jump in."
"Good," Phil agreed. "Make sure of it this week." Clint
nodded. "Dean, you looked like you couldn't decide which one to
use a few times."
"The hammer's heavy as shit, dude. Thor said that happened when
you were worthy but not the one it chose. He and his hammer are
having a powwow about that." Phil nodded. "But I need more
range time. I wasn't a marksman before but I was always good
enough to hit what needed to be hit. Now I need to be a marksman."
"And a costume," Xander quipped.
"I don't like his hat. I'll wear one of the battle uniforms," Dean offered with a smirk at Tony.
"We'll make sure you get one made," Tony said. "With growing
room." Dean swatted him but he smirked. "You'll probably all
"Probably," Natasha agreed. "Ianto also needs range and hand-to-hand time."
"You two aren't going out together for a year anyway," Xander reminded
her. "Not until you're closer to legal and look like it."
She tipped her head slightly. "That's a concern, yes. I will
help Phil train him." Phil smiled slightly and nodded.
Ianto grinned and nodded. "Anything else we need to discuss?"
"You need things," Xander said bluntly, staring at her. "You've
outgrown some things. Want to go talk to Pepper about girl
clothes?" She winced but nodded she would. "Thanks!
Nearly got distracted earlier by the bounciness."
"Me as well. I definitely need things that I can work in." She looked at Phil.
"I'm sure we can handle getting you to her," he promised. "Captain
Rogers is still guarding her." Natasha smiled and nodded.
"Xander, you've hit a final growth spurt too."
"I know. I've got some stuff stored and the next time we go out
I'll get some shopping in." Phil nodded, they had figured out how
to do that early on in their partnership. He looked at
Clint. "Take my old bow if you want." Clint smirked and
nodded. "Tony, we need more arrows. Crossbows take smaller
ones than a full bow."
"I know, Xander. I'm working on them to make them optimal."
Xander nodded and grinned. "And lighter so you're carrying less
"I need to cushion my grip too. My hand got sweaty earlier."
"We can do that," Rodney assured him. "Gun grip it?" Xander
nodded. "I remember which ones you used to prefer so we'll handle
"We've got another one in the works," Tony said. "By hand since
JARVIS can't construct most of it the same way." Xander got up to
hug him. "Sit down, Xander." He smirked at him. "Get
more candy when you go out next time."
"Can," Xander agreed with a grin. "I say we let Pepper and Steve show up after they help Natasha shop."
Phil smirked a tiny bit. "It's mean to make her shop for all of you boys."
"Most of us still wear jeans and t-shirts," Dean quipped. "Outside
Spenser and Greg. Them and their uptight shirts." He shook
"We can handle it," Tony assured him. "Pepper will call a personal
shopper, who'll take our measurements shopping for us with our list of
needs." He made himself a note for that. "Anything else we
need beyond candy?" Rodney added in a site for his special candy
needs. "I can do that." He made a note next to it about what
she needed to avoid. "Any nagging from SHIELD?"
"Probably tomorrow," Phil said, checking his email. "All
right. We rest tonight, rest tomorrow. Go back to
training. Xander, I don't have any targets waiting on you to
"Cool. I could use the wrist work time." They nodded and got
up to go to their various rooms/hiding spots/labs. Clint and
Natasha got to work together. He needed it and so did she.
Even if he did come out looking like she had tortured him he was happy
Fury looked at his people for the post-battle review. "That sucked
ass," he decided. They all groaned. "We had kids there,
people, and apparently they thought we were being pouty." He
looked around. "Hill?"
"We blew the ship as soon as we got to it, sir. The snipers were
doing a good job taking down our pathway once they spotted us."
"That was them," one of the sniper team said. "We weren't in place
by then. Romanoff looked good." He shifted to lean on the
table. "Is she coming back?"
"Not right now," Fury admitted. He looked around again. "Any other problems we saw?"
"The Barton kids are mean," one of them said. Hill snickered but
nodded. "The one in the suit needed more suit work training and
the other one.... he's scary."
"Xander is very scary," Hill agreed. "Still flirts too." She
looked at the boss. "We need to coordinate better about
threats. We hadn't heard that they thought there might be one
soon. We also need to know how their children suddenly got older."
"I'll add that to my email order for a report," Fury said. "Any other critiques we saw?"
"Our response time," Hill said. "Frankly, we were too far away,
sir, and if it had been on the west coast we'd have been screwed."
Fury nodded. "I've been considering that problem."
One of the junior agents raised his hand. "The one with Thor's hammer."
"Dean Odinson," Hill noted.
"Okay, his son Dean? He's either not real experienced with the
hammer or it didn't like him overly much. Each time he tried to
use it, he had to take a few seconds and I've never seen Thor need that
much time. He was more comfortable with the pump action than an
automatic weapon as well. It showed when he had to switch due to
lack of bullets."
Fury nodded, making those notes. "Not sure why. I'd never
imagine Thor's kids got weapons training but I'm guessing they trained
with the others under Barton's teaching."
"Clint Barton wouldn't be the one to teach guns, sir," that junior agent said.
"No, but his son would," Hill said. "Xander Barton is scarily
efficient with guns but not real great with a regular bow. He's
spot on but it frustrates him. Seeing him today with that special,
heavy looking crossbow showed why. It had nice range though."
Fury nodded. "I was wondering about that. That wasn't
Stark's usual style for weapons." He made a note about that as
well. "We also have to find out if Coulson is running his own
She nodded. "He is."
Fury grimaced. "I don't like the thought of the kids being in the
field, even at eighteen. However they are eighteen."
"I'd have said sixteen," one of the senior agents noted. "There's a
maturity that eighteen-year-olds have in their faces that those kids,
outside Xander Barton, didn't have. Him I'd say was almost
"I'll ask Romanoff to talk to me, sir," Hill said. "She's probably
got to do some shopping with the way her clothes looked like she was
about to outgrow them. She'd most likely ask Pepper Potts to help
"Ask Captain Rogers to arrange it," he said. "We all know he's
been keeping people off her." She nodded, making that note.
"Any other notes to be made?"
"Can we set up a west coast office?" the senior agent asked.
"I'm not sure yet," Fury admitted. "I'm looking into it."
They nodded. "Dismissed." He and Hill shared a look.
"He's doing better than I would've expected."
"Barton's taken down some seriously scary jackasses that I'd say were our job anyway, sir."
"He has, and he's still bouncy."
"Some kids never outgrow the ADHD." She shrugged and walked off to
call Captain Rogers. Fury sent the email order once he made it to
Phil and Ianto met up with his father at that same bar a few nights
later, letting J hit the shielding device for them. "Dad,
J glared. "Don't start. Is my son one of the ones that sprouted suddenly?"
"Only those with magic gifts would respond to the potion," Ianto said, taking off the image inducer.
K smiled. "You look a lot like your mother but I can see hints of
the family's strong chin, grandson." Ianto smiled and put it back
on before anyone noticed. "So, battle," he told his son, who
nodded. "Why were you doing sniper duty?"
"I didn't feel comfortable in the field at that time so I was helping where I could. I am a very good shot, Dad."
"You are. What about the Bartons?"
"Clint's only twelve. The potion only worked partway on him."
"Pity. You could use him from what I've heard about yours and Xander's missions."
"Xander and I have had a few squabbles but he's used to doing it by
himself or with a team that each has their own job, like a special
forces team. Our last one went better when we did it as a team
"Good. You could use the ones I gave you, junior."
Phil smirked a bit. "I didn't want anyone to think Stark made them, Dad."
"That's one reason," Ianto said. "The other is that SHIELD would
try to confiscate them for testing." He pulled out his phone and
got into the photos, handing them to J with a grin. "Yours."
"Thanks." He looked through the pictures. If something
happened, he wanted to be able to tell which ones were the kids and
which ones were the bad guys.
K nodded. "They would."
"Which was my other reason for taking a picking off spot," Phil agreed.
"Was that McKay in the suit?" K asked.
Phil quirked an eyebrow up. "Who got into those files?"
"Me. I erased them on you too." Phil nodded that was
fine. "I know you had it shielded against your old bosses, no pun
intended, but that's a bit weird."
"Evan was in the suit. Rodney says he's technical backup."
"Some geeks are geeks, some are warrior geeks," J quipped, handing the phone back with a grin for Ianto. "He good?"
"He hates that he's being made to take chemistry but otherwise he's fine."
"Good." He looked at Phil. "The kids need anything?"
"They swear up and down they need candy."
"We do," Ianto quipped with a smirk for his grandfather. "Rodney
can't have anything with citrus or citric acid or peanuts."
"I'll remember that." He looked at his son. "Any injuries?"
"No. Not really. A sore wrist, a few bruises. One graze on Dean from a laser."
"Good. That one needs more training."
"It wasn't really his prior training, Dad."
"I understand that. Want me to ask someone who trains our rookies?"
"That won't help him. Dean needs basic training, not advanced," J said. "He has advanced."
"We're working on it," Ianto said. "I never got that sort of
training either, even though I was expected to act as a field agent."
J nodded. "Not quite the same thing as a battle though. That's basic military stuff."
"I'm former military myself," Phil said. "I'm going over it with
them." That got a nod. "Though most of them would be
expected to handle agent things over field battles, outside the major
things. If I can't, I can ask Captain Rogers to do that."
"He'd know," K agreed with a slight smile. "When's our next one?"
"We're predicting a higher than average chance right before Thanksgiving
but we're not sure," Ianto said. "This one was a few days earlier
than we had anticipated."
"Villains never do it on your schedule. It's all about their
egos," J said. "They can pop up any time. While you guys had
that one, we had a mini one here in town we handled." Phil shook
his head with a sigh. "Yeah, exactly. Good timing on their
K nodded. "Not that hard to solve though." He looked at
Phil. "How about their extended education into stranger weapons
"They're doing fine with some of that. Rodney handles those a lot more than Stark does."
"So they'll manage it and train the others," J agreed. "Because
there's no telling what would happen if he was knocked out just when you
"Xander probably, maybe John or Tony Stark."
That got a nod from Ianto. "I'm not skilled with that sort of thing."
"You need to learn the basics, just in case," Phil told him.
"I understand why. I'm trying."
"I know you can't be perfect with everything, son." He patted him
on the back and looked at his father again. "Beyond that, things
are about normal. Have you found anything else about that lab?"
"Yes. Including that SHIELD took in their store of eggs. All
the sperm was destroyed somehow by a power surge Antonia did but not
"Any fertilized?" Phil asked.
"I'll have them check."
"You sure you want him to know?" K asked.
"I need to know if any others are mine."
"Good point." He smirked. "If so maybe I'll get a granddaughter."
"Maybe not," Phil said smugly.
"Fine. I'd like someone to spoil."
"You can have a few," Ianto said happily. Phil nudged him and shook his head. "He can't?"
"He can," Phil assured him. "He's more likely to have a clone and it becoming female would probably confuse everyone."
"It would, including me," J agreed.
"I think I'd be even more freaked out," K assured him. He looked at his son. "Anything else to note?"
"We need more coffee," Ianto said. "We're going to run out
again. Our grocery list is incredibly dumb but that's what people
will eat. Even if I would prefer that they ate better."
Phil nodded. "Me as well. Especially since Xander was using
twinkie theater to tell Stark about a mission recently. Tony
wasn't sure if he should be upset by being treated like a kid or if he
was amused because Xander enjoyed it."
"I think he decided on fondly intolerant, which is why you two went on
your last mission," Ianto quipped. "Xander doesn't handle personal
fighting very well."
"I had a talk with him," Phil promised. "I'm hoping it sank in."
"Probably not," Ianto admitted. "Rodney was complaining about childish things too."
"Those two need a personality implant," J complained.
"They have them, they're just ... everything with them has to be
intellectual or scientific. Even Bruce doesn't have that much of a
bias. He liked the twinkie theater explanation."
"Bruce mostly keeps to himself and tends to be taking the time to enjoy
the childhood parts," Phil said. "Rodney doesn't. Stark
thinks it gives him another twelve years to design things before he has
to split his attention again."
"Not if he and Bruce get into another fight," Ianto said dryly.
Phil shook his head. "I have no idea why he prompted that one on
purpose. Maybe he'll become a bit emo for a few years."
K shook his head quickly. "Not what I'd want to see." He
looked at J then at Ianto. "When are you coming in to shop?"
"Pepper's got everyone's measurements and ages, plus when their last
growth spurt was, so she can talk to a personal shopper. Me,
personally, I'm picking up more coffee."
Phil nodded. "We need it before Stark and Rodney get into it again over the pot being empty."
"Is Stark perhaps not handling this transition well?" K asked his son.
"He's not. He's not good with forced changes to his routine unless they piss him off."
"Some people can't handle big changes all at once," J said, pointing at
K. Phil smiled when his father swatted his partner.
"We really should get you two an anniversary present soon. Is it your third or fourth?"
K looked at him. "Don't pick up his thing, kiddo." He patted
him on the head. "Go rest, boys." They left, going back to
the hotel. He looked at J. "You think someone's going to
compromise them?" J nodded, glancing at the booth behind
them. K got up and flashed her then they walked out. J
followed, checking to see who it was. She was a minor SHIELD
agent. He called in to have her picked up because she looked a bit
drunk and loopy. They got into the car and drove off.
A few days later, John appeared in the SHIELD infirmary with an
explosive burst of power. "Epi pen, now, damn it!" The nurse
flinched but handed one over. "His airway's compromised and you
didn't do a god damn thing about it!" He stuck him.
"Another! It usually takes two or three!" She handed them
over and ran for her superior. He heard the call for security and
didn't really care. "Intubate before you can't," he ordered the
"We had no idea it was....." John hit him so hard his flying took
out most of an outer wall of the infirmary. John glared at the
"Yes, sir, I need an intubation kit!" he called. One was handed
over and he intubated Rodney then stuck an oxygen unit on it.
Rodney's blood pressure started to calm down and his heart rate
too. "The agent that was told he had a slight allergy wasn't told
that it was that bad, sir."
"You don't use someone's allergies against them," John sneered
back. "That's a really good way to kill people, as you nearly did
this time." He turned when he heard Fury, blasting him back across
the hall. "If this was your god damned plan, I'm going to kill
your ass in ways that will make Ares purr at the blood I spill."
"I only wanted to talk to him. I invited him to talk and did not
tell anyone to pick him up," Fury said from his pile of rubble. He
sat up. "He refused and I sent another one. It was not my
idea and I did not tell them to use his food allergies against him."
"I told him to be picked up but not that way," Maria Hill noted.
John blasted her too and she moaned as she made a new pile of rubble
from the same wall. "At least you don't discriminate because I'm a
"Fuck no, I never discriminate about bitches who do things." He
glared at them. "Stay the fuck away from Rodney. Before I
destroy this pretty ship of yours." He took Rodney with him back
to the island. The robo nurse hooked up their oxygen unit
immediately. "They set off his allergy to citrus."
"We have some in the bathroom cleaner. I'll make sure he does not use that one," the robonurse said.
"Thank you." He went to find Stark, who was arguing with JARVIS
about him being able to go for a fly. "Right now we need you and
Banner in the infirmary. SHIELD just tried to capture Rodney using
his allergy. I had to hit him with the three epi pens myself and
order the intubation after I knocked a doctor through a
wall." Tony and Bruce ran up there. He growled and
looked at Xander. "I hit her."
"Claims he didn't order him picked up."
"It could have been up to the field agent how they handled that but it
was very unwise of them," Natasha said, laying a hand on his arm.
He stared at her. "Incapacitating to pick them up subtly has been
done by all of us," she said quietly. "If they did not know how
severe it was, which was a strategic bit of information to withhold,
then they were only idiots for not handling the situation they had
caused. The doctors as well."
"I still hit him."
"Good. We'll shoot him later."
John smirked. "That's not a bad idea."
"Let us. We need some work." She patted his arm. "Go
sit vigil on your best friend." He nodded, going back up
there. She looked at Xander, who stared back. "Do not.
They'll be expecting it."
"I wouldn't dare take Tony's fun away from him," he said dryly.
"But if I find that agent they're going to wish they had committed
"Acceptable." She walked off to tell the others. Including Pepper.
Xander went to the gym to think really bad thoughts and ideas. He
knew John could hear some of them, it was his area of godhood.
Maybe he'd have a use for them somewhere.
Clint walked up to Evan that night, staring at him. "Can we make
another batch of the potion? That way I'm able to help and we can
all spare Xander some work?"
He shrugged. "I'm not a genius in there, Clint. You can ask Rodney when he's awake."
"I didn't want to stress him out."
"Don't know," he admitted, writing Sam at Torchwood. Their
cross-realm email pickup was a great thing. Even though it said
that it couldn't go through. He called him. Line was
disconnected. "Something huge just happened. Owen?" He
appeared, looking not happy. "Did something happen?"
"Things go so out of hand, bloody moron just sank the hub using a small
nuke," he said grimly. Clint shuddered. "What's wrong?"
"Is there a restriction on using that aging potion twice or anything
like that? Clint only got halfway and wanted to join the rest of
He shook his head. "Not that I saw on the scroll. I'll
ask." He left. He came back. "Sam's with Teaboy
anyway." He disappeared again. He knew who to ask.
Some of the demons in the market were his sort of slimy instead of the
traditional sort. They weren't half bad.
They went up to find Ianto holding his mate. "Hey," Evan said.
"It sucks," Jack said.
"It does," Ianto said.
"You need help?" Evan asked. Jack shook his head. "Want Dean?"
"No, he'll pick on me." He sighed. "I've got it."
"Okay." They left them alone. Whatever had happened, Jack
had made something so bad he was now mentally cursing himself so he
needed his mate for a while. They stopped Dean and walked him
off. "He said he didn't want you for a bit, Dean."
"Fine." They walked off together talking about the aging
potion. Luna had been great in potions but Dean was ignoring most
of that life. He could do it if he needed to. They needed
ingredients so they checked Rodney's rooms. He had most of
it. Yeti fur had to be freshly gathered. They snuck
off to do that then back to work on the potion together. A scroll
appeared next to Evan in Owen's precise handwriting. They nodded,
taking that into account. They could handle it.
Evan even remembered the time stop spells they had developed back then
so they could speed up a room. Rodney hated messing with time so
he never used it but they had all liked it for homework overloads when
they had been procrastinating due to doing something more
important. Like flying.
Clint came out the next morning aching like hell but older. He was
seventeen now. Natasha had tried it and had found a tiny bit of
magic within her that made her go up to the same age. They went to
check in with Coulson, Clint still rubbing his sore shoulder.
Phil stared at them. "Bone aches, Barton?" He nodded.
"Hot tub, both of you." He stared at them. "That was
"It was necessary. Now we're able to take some of the stress
off." They went to find their bathing suits then hit the hot
tub. Xander was in it working on a leg cramp. "Hey,
kid." He slid in and moaned in pleasure. "That's better."
"You did a second dose?" Clint nodded. Natasha smiled and
nodded. "Huh. Well, at least it gave you two a few
years." He shifted to make better room for them to stretch
out. "Bone and muscle aches are normal."
Natasha sighed as she got in. "That is nice." She turned up
the heat, getting swatted by Clint. "We both need it." She
looked at Xander. "What did you do?"
"Fell off the ropes course again. Acrobatic I am not."
"Not everyone can be," Clint agreed. "You need to focus on what
you can do and what skills you have, not letting people try to talk you
into training to be me."
"Tell that to the fussy ones."
"I'll yell at Rodney later," Clint promised. He stretched out so
he could warm his back muscles up, moaning in pleasure. "How long
do the aches last?"
"Few days if you're lucky."
"I can handle that. Nat, we have to stretch later."
"We can help each other with that." She was stretching out
too. Xander smiled and let them have the tub to themselves.
She looked at him. "Now what?"
"Now.... We do what we do."
She nodded. "They were going to train Ianto to be a field handler for me."
"I'll take Phil and let Xander work with Ianto. That way they sand down each other's corners."
"That might work well, though there will be problems because someone will assume they're together."
Phil and Ianto walked out together, talking. "He's nowhere near
ready to handle field agent duties." He smirked at them. "So
you still have me, all three of you." They nodded. "Evan
wanted to do some of his own with the other older children." Clint
shook his head. "Just field agent, not assassin or sniper
"That I might allow but I don't want him in SHIELD."
"They won't be," Phil promised. "He and Xander could
probably handle some of them together if they needed to." That got
a nod by both former adult spies. "We'll handle it." He let
them soak, taking Ianto to go over how to handle field
emergencies. He hoped he'd never have one but he knew how things
went wrong all too often.
Xander managed to get time away during his last mission. He had
told Phil he was going to Caledin but the others hadn't heard
probably. Sometimes he felt like Buffy and Willow had cursed
him. It seemed to be replaying again. But Phil was happier
to have Clint and Natasha back as field agents again so it was a good
thing. Ianto needed to see the city so Xander had brought
him. Xander and Ianto got off the plane separately and Xander
watched how he handled it.
A few of the demons at the small airport were staring in awe at
Ianto. Who was either unaware or ignoring it beautifully.
Good. Xander followed, waving and scowling at one who stared and
nearly bowed. That demon backed off. Xander got a text
message with the hotel reservations for them. That helped
too. Though it was a hard hike to the city from there in the
morning. They'd make it though.
The hotel was nice enough. Not high class, there wasn't anything
that high class in this part of Turkey. Xander stretched out on
his bed, getting comfortable for a few hours. He needed to sleep
off some jetlag anyway. He was rudely woken by someone pounding on
the door before busting in. Xander stared at them.
"Yes? Can I help you?"
"Your kind are not welcome here," one of the officers sneered.
"I'm human, not demon." He pulled a knife to cut his thumb, showing them. "Really."
"Yet you plan to go to the demon city tomorrow," he sneered.
Xander snorted, sitting up. "Guys, I'm still not a demon.
I've been human for a very long time." They shot at him and he
teleported in time, grabbing Ianto and taking him out of harm's way
too. He had no idea who had told them but yay. They got
their bags once the hit squad had left. They hated magic users
just as much. They left that night instead. Though Ianto did
send a message to Phil that they were okay. Ianto had gotten them
a jeep, which was great. It'd get them all but inside the city's
shields. So about fifty miles of hiking. There was a tavern
there to park at because there had been others that had to travel into
the city. The tavern looked destroyed but Xander shrugged and
opened the door to look inside. "Hey."
The bartender looked over from sweeping. "The humans are getting bitchy again," he said with a Russian accent.
"Yeah, we saw that when they tried to shoot us last night, dude. Leaving the jeep here."
"That's fine. They can't really get through the shields without magic."
Xander grinned. "Maybe someday they'll get their own redemption children."
The bartender shuddered. "We heard we got some sent to this realm
from the next one over." Xander smirked evilly, standing up more
fully. "Oh, shite."
Xander laughed. "I get that a lot. Heading to the temple
actually." He winked and strolled off. "C'mon. Fifty
miles of sand."
"Must we walk?"
"Yeah, no mechanicals inside the shield until we get to the city.
So unless you can summon horses or camels...." Xander waved a
hand. "It's not that long of a hike. Few hours.
There's plenty of rest stops on the way." Ianto nodded and took
off his suit jacket to put into his suitcase in the car. They
hiked off together, talking about the city. There were some
area-specific rules within parts of the city. You never wanted to
piss off the demons that lived in an area, even Xander didn't.
Ianto walked into the city first so he could stare around. Xander
had been paused by a tiny demon that was complaining loudly about him
being in that realm. Xander stared down at him. "Did you
want humanity to end?" he asked finally.
"No," the demon squeaked.
"Then quit." He grinned. "Beyond that, my mate's on this
realm." The demon whined. He smirked. "Yeah, a
lot." He walked in, grabbing Ianto's arm to walk him away from the
veiled demons. "Leave the nice assassin nuns alone, Ianto.
Sorry, ladies. It's his first turn."
One stared at him. "Xander Harris." He smirked evilly. "There is still a contract out on your original realm."
He shrugged. "Here I'm still the same redemption child I was
then." They moaned. "This is Ianto. It's his first
turn and he's Sam's mate." Ianto smiled and nodded politely.
The assassins wailed and stomped off. "The Great Ones will not
like that! Sam must still fulfil his destiny," one complained
"You do realize that Sam's flipped to the life of Jack Harkness, right?"
Xander quipped. That got a bigger wail and more attention.
"Hey, we got pulled to that realm, guys. We weren't there until
Dumbledore had a plan. Yell at him." More demons stomped off
complaining about how Redemption Children were being warped by
mortals. Xander looked at Ianto and shrugged. "Could be
worse. I've had a few that they hated even more than this one
because I had to be the concubine assassin. Didn't really like
them myself at those times." The listening demons shuddered.
Xander grinned. "They found my mate. Whoever determines
those things is cranked. They put me with someone like
Rodney." They walked off and Xander made a hand motion.
"Silence for ten blocks," he mouthed, getting a nod. They walked
off together, Ianto carefully glancing around but not making eye
contact. He had been told this whole area had the hatcheries and
nurseries so the area was total silence to make sure the kids weren't
upset. Xander motioned when they had to change streets and he
followed. Caledin was an ancient city with mud-brick and regular
brick buildings. Or he assumed it was something like native style
of adobe bricks and covering. It looked slightly like it.
They finally got out of the quiet area, they knew they were out of it
because there was a really loud street market.
Xander laughed at one seller who tried to sell them some sort of demon
part. "Do I need one of those?" he asked with a smile. "I
have a few stored in the temple." The seller blinked at him, his
eye stalks bending down to get a better look at him. Suddenly the
market disappeared. "It travels around the city," he told Ianto
with a grin. "It's full of pickpockets and people selling things
that you really don't want to know about."
"No, that's on the back wall of the city." They finally made it to
the temple and walked in, Xander sighing in relief. "Finally."
Owen stomped in a few minutes later. "I was getting breakfast," he
complained. "You made them move ten blocks this time, Xander."
Xander shrugged. "Didn't want pickpocketed this time." Ianto
smiled at Owen before hitting him in the face. "Awwww, special
bonding things." He went to the storage closet.
"I put them in the back room," Owen said. "I had no need to see that much demon porn but I did unpack that box."
"Thanks. Sanda's a bit picky and really wants me to have more fun." He walked that way.
"Xander!" Sanda's voice called.
Xander walked out to the doorway, staring over at his ghost. "What? You left Draco again?"
"Only for a few days. He's making his heir." They grinned at each other. "Go use the demon porn."
"Eww and my mate, he's like Rodney. I'm not sure if he *likes* sex."
Sanda let out a whine. "Damn!"
"Yeah. Someone's cranked!" He grinned. "I'm seeing
what else you packed. Do I still have stuff in your
closets?" He noticed a few demons staring and looked at
them. "We got sent to handle the massive shit."
"Clearly," one said, bowing to them. "We heard of another with you?"
"Ianto. He's Sam's mate." He grinned. "It's his first go-round with us."
"Will Sam fulfill that prophecy?"
Xander snickered. "Hell no. Sam's presently running Torchwood."
"He is the Great Slutty One?"
"Yeah, and Dean picks on him a lot about that. So no, I
doubt Sam's going to take part of any prophecy anytime soon. Might
ask him when he finally gets sent here." They walked off
sobbing. "Sorry." He smiled and waved at their backs, then
looked at his buddy again. "So, Sanda...." He leaned on the
doorway. "What else do I have in there?"
"Your old armor and a few things," he said, mirroring his position. "When are you going to get your stuff out of there?"
"If I do, it'll probably crumble your temple."
"Maybe. Never checked." He shrugged and grinned. "Did you mean to panic your current pack?"
"We told them we were heading here. Ianto, call them. Sanda said they're panicking."
"I can do that," he agreed, pulling out his phone. "Do we get cell reception?"
"In the kitchen," Owen said with a point. "Too many mystical
things out here block it." Ianto nodded, walking that way to call
Phil. Owen walked over to Xander, looking over at Sanda.
"Wondered what you looked like thanks to that porn."
Sanda smiled and waved. "I'm magnificent."
"You've been spending *way* too much time with Draco," Xander
quipped. He stood up. "Let me get the few books I've been
meaning to grab. Sanda, is my backup bow over there?"
"Yes." Xander walked over to get it, making Sanda shiver as he
walked in. "You're right, the temple might crumble if you get
everything out of there."
Xander smiled at him. "That's because you're anchored in that last
realm too." They shared a look. "I'll try to behave, Mom."
"Do that, please, and get laid, Xander. You're tense and
uptight." Xander smirked. "Even if it's not your mate.
Because checking on him, you're right, they're cranked. Highly
cranked." He shook his head and faded out to check on Draco and
his new heir creation.
Xander found his older crossbow, bringing it back over there with him
and his quiver when he found it hanging up in the doorway.
"Thanks." He smiled at the demons staring at the temples. He
shrugged. "Needed a backup. Anthony rebuilt my
original." He walked into his temple and shut the doors. "Be
out later." The demons out there started to pray. Xander
leaned back out. "Guys, quit, before I take my shiny Barton bow
out. Really." They stared and backed away slowly. He
grinned. "Yeah, I'm there." He waved. "Gotta talk to
our admin." They fled. Xander shut the door again and went
to his altar, which he still was confused about why he needed one.
Then he shrugged and cleaned it off, redoing it. Owen had gotten
fussy and put plaid things on it. He went back to the kitchen to
get some lunch. "Redid the altar, Owen."
"I heard the tinkling of breaking bronze things," he said dryly. "I only put them on there when I'm cleaning."
Xander shrugged. "There's supposed to be a cleaning spell on the
temple so I don't come home to dust." Owen snickered. "Have
you checked on theirs yet?"
"I can't get through the gateway. Being formerly dead isn't good enough."
Xander nodded. "I've had that feeling a few times." He got a sandwich and looked at Ianto. "Huge shit?"
"Phil was worrying a lot." He stared at him. "He got our last message and had your father freaking out."
"We're fine." He grinned. "Want to see the gateway and the
Old City?" Owen shivered. "The rest of you have temple
"No thanks. Rodney said it was filled with porn."
"Could be. I was a bit sick the last time I was there." He
finished his sandwich and gathered his crossbow and quiver, then the few
books in a backpack Owen gave him. He led Ianto to the gateway so
they could look over there. Xander pointed out things.
Ianto stared at a tree with strange fruit and Xander took his hand to
lead him across. They picked some of the fruit for Bruce to
replant, sending it at him. Then a few other things. The Old
City was silent because they were the only ones alive there.
Xander showed him a few other things and their temple, which did have
Sam's present porn collection in it. Ianto touched a few that
looked like him but pushed it out of his mind. He had time to wait
on Sam. A long time to wait on Sam. Xander led him back and
they headed out of the city. They ran into Clint and Natasha.
Phil got the first message from Ianto and growled. "They're going to Caledin."
"No way in hell I want them in Turkey," Clint complained.
"Xander is experienced and it's like his homeland," Natasha reminded him. "They will not have problems."
"Yes they will," Phil said. "There's a lot of demons that would
like to see Xander fail and finally die." She looked at him.
"We talked with Owen. There's a group of humans who would love to
destroy the city if it wasn't for the shields on it."
"I'd assume most major human settlements near demon communities would do
that," she said. "They don't seem to be able to coexist
"They don't," Clint agreed. "They've been trying to destroy it though."
She shook her head. "They have shields and protections."
"If they have to, one of the kids can open whatever gateway is there,"
Phil said. "Owen said it was possible." He scratched behind
his ear for a second then put his hand back down. "We're between
missions, which is why they went."
"We still shouldn't let them go alone," Owen said.
"Fine," Natasha sighed. "I do not mind Turkey." They packed
up and headed for the tiny airport the boys had gotten off at. It
was a three-plane trip but two of them were comfortable and the other
was a small jet instead of one of the older prop planes. The
airport was pleasant enough.
A demon came over to Phil, walking him off. "Watcher of the Children, it is not safe here," he said quietly.
"Which is why we're going to protect the children," Phil said. "How do we get there?"
"I will have my cousin take you as far as we can go." Phil smiled
slightly and nodded. "There is still a hike at the end. No
mechanical devices will work in the Outer Lands."
"I understand. We've all done desert work."
"Thank you." He called someone and they showed up. "This is
the Watcher of the Children and the parents of two of them."
"I can take them. The humans are getting agitated again."
She nodded at them. "Follow me please." They did and Natasha
covered her hair before they left the airport. The demon
smiled. "Thank you. It would draw attention to us."
"I have visited the cities here many times," she said in flawless Arabic.
The demon giggled. "That's a great thing. They hold many
pretty things and many dangerous things." She got them into her
car and had the driver take them out. "Are you going to rescue the
"Do they need rescued?" Clint asked in Arabic. They all spoke it.
"There are demons that would be most upset that they were there at the
temple but they should be able to handle most things. There are
rules in certain areas however. Including one on the way there
that is total silence. The children are grown there."
"We can respect that. I'm fairly glad we got the children we have
after they had potty trained and didn't have colic," Phil said.
She smiled. "Those that hatch don't have that problem, thankfully. They come out being mouthy."
"We saw a lot of that," Clint said dryly. "Xander's my son this
life." She cackled and patted him on the hand. "We had to
keep locking him out of the armory." He shook his head. "Is
the city large?"
"Fairly so. We have been there since humans reascended." She
smiled. "It is a holy city for us. Which is why humans hate
it." She shrugged. "They do that at times. We rebuild
if we must and go on. With some retaliation for them getting near
the nurseries if we must."
"We would also destroy anyone who hurt the children," Natasha agreed. "Even though only Evan is mine."
The demon grinned. "He's adorable."
"He tries," Clint said. "A lot. Usually because his mate's
around. John's at least a decent guy. I can stand him being
my son-in-law." The demon gaped. He grinned. "We're
told that most of the placements were Xander's doing. Outside
"It makes much sense. Alexander is never exactly where you would
expect him to be yet always in the right place." They nodded they
had seen that. It didn't take that long to get to the
tavern. They parked and she pointed. "We hike that way."
"Thank you," Clint said, refilling his water bottle from the well out
there. He looked at her. "Are you coming with us or should
we go by ourselves?"
She smiled. "It's a fairly easy path. Well worn.
There's many resting areas." They nodded and paid her then left
together. It was a good hike. As promised there were wells
in shaded areas on the way there. They weren't pushing themselves
by any means. They came to the gateway and walked through.
It looked like any other ancient city, like Marakesh, only a bit less
painted. There were loud markets with people selling odd
They ran into Xander and Ianto on the way through the first
marketplace. "Guys, did you think about the locals throwing fits?"
Clint asked quietly.
"Unless you let them into the shields, they can't get in here," Xander
said. He looked behind them. "Guardians, are there serious
problems with the humans? I can open the gateway to more beings."
"No," one of them said. "Though it is strange that so many get here."
Xander smiled. "I had to get some stuff from my temple."
The guardians blinked. "Redemption child," the second one said, bowing to him.
Xander patted him on the shoulder. "This is Ianto. He's one
of our newer ones. These are some of the parents this time."
He nodded at them. "It is good that you have nurtured him so he's
only slightly insane. There's many songs and poems that speak of
the Warrior Child's warped brain."
Xander grinned. "Sometimes. Sometimes it's what's
needed." He looked around. "They tried to bomb?" The
guardians nodded. "Then we'll move things. I'm sure Owen
will only complain for a few weeks." They went back to the
temple. "Owen, they're going to try to bomb things again."
"I've got most everything packed," he admitted. "Will that gateway open?"
"Yes." Xander wrote out how to open it. "Goat's blood can be refrigerated."
"Xander, come get the stuff out of my temple," Sanda called. "That way it can quit anchoring the gateway so hard."
Xander walked over there. "You sure, Sanda?"
"It'll send the temple back to the original realm. Which is
fine. Draco doesn't need me as much now." Xander grinned and
they got all his stuff packed into a box that Sanda made bottomless for
him. Xander had to come back for his old armor and a few
swords. Then the temple crumbled into dust and faded out.
Xander got things into a present he had kinda borrowed from another
Xander during the convention.
They had a Tardis box that wasn't a full, real Tardis. Just a
'blipping around the same area, bigger inside than out' large box.
That worked well and Owen got everything in there. Xander looked
at the special scroll tied with a plaid ribbon, putting it where he was
sure to find it immediately. The three 'adults' watched but helped
move things. Natasha was moaning at the box. Xander
grinned. "It's a temporary one. Won't go time and space,
just around the planet it's on. It's mostly for storage. The
other Xander had it in his Tardis wardrobe for emergencies."
Owen shook his head. "That one was a bit....nicer than you," he
said. Xander smirked evilly. "Fine." They got the rest
of everything packed, including Owen's things. They took it back
to the island. Xander's temple crumbled and sent itself back to
the original realm. That let the gateway be opened if necessary
and he had a backup temple in the Old City they could put things
in. A few things got left on the Island then they went to the Old
City. Natasha sighed in wonder. The hanging gardens weren't
step-gardens, they were literally hanging by magic. The trees were
in full bloom year round.
She paused to stare at the instruments in a shop that were playing
themselves and sounded fantastic, even after all this time. Xander
and Owen both looked at the gateway, then ran for it to open it.
Xander used his own blood instead of goat's blood but that was
fine. Owen was being a doctor and getting people through the
gateway. Xander opened it and it lit up. Everyone shuffled
through and took up their old spots like nothing had happened. It
was like they had never had to leave. There was no arguing or
anything. Those that had ancestral ties had their areas and the
rest took up a spot.
Xander got the last few through the gateway, checking over the
city. There were a few stragglers and the nursery area. He
looked at the guardians, giving them a pointed order about them.
They went to put extra protections around the area. Owen got the
last few injured over. Xander primed the spell to reopen the
gateway and walked off shaking his head. "Owen, going back to the
rest of the world."
"Have fun with that." He waved, getting back to bandaging an injury.
"Thanks, we probably will." He jogged back to the temple.
Clint had found his old crossbow to look over. "That one was made
in pre-Hellenistic Greece," he said.
"It's a nice copy of the one that you have. Will it work?"
"It doesn't have the tension wheels so not the range. But it's
sleek and it does work at a good range for shorter things." He
showed him using a target on the wall. Spiders didn't need to be
in his temple anyway.
Clint nodded. "Sweet." He grinned. "We going back to the rest of the world?"
"Yeah. We might need to." He smirked and looked around, then
took a few things with them. Ianto and Phil could leave the
normal way, by the back wall's gateway that led to Athens. The
magic for that gave him a headache. He, Natasha, and Clint
appeared in Rome and split up. Xander went to visit a few places
to tell them what had happened. Clint and Natasha found them a
place to rest and talk for the night. Xander found a *friend* for
the night. Ianto and Phil got there the next morning and were
looking calm and unruffled in the extreme by the time Xander stumbled
Ianto looked Xander over. "Were they good?"
"They weren't bad," he admitted with a grin. "But a bit
mean. Thankfully I didn't like their ideas of knife play during
sex so they got it the normal way and had to pout about not stabbing
me." He went to shower.
Clint looked at Natasha. "Are you hiding a younger sister somewhere? Or brother?"
"Not that I was aware of." She blinked a few times. "It does
sound like it though." They'd talk to Xander when he came out of
Xander appeared in Pepper's office, making her yelp. He
grinned. "Sorry." He looked at Steve, who was relaxing
again. "So, anyway." He handed over the letters. "From
the mini Starks. Who are pouting about magic yet again." He
looked at Steve and tossed over a letter. "Via Phil from
Fury." He looked at her. "Tony said they've been bothering
"A few times." She smiled. "Steve's been great about helping me."
"I'm here so Steve can have a vacation on the island." He sat
down. "You have plane reservations in two hours." Steve
grinned and went to pack so he could make it to the airport in
time. He looked at Pepper. "This way whoever needed a report
can get one."
"I'm sure she is." Agent Hill stomped in so he lobbed a USB keydrive at her. "Reports?"
"Barton." She stared at him. "Why are you here?"
"It's not fair that Steve doesn't get a few vacation days here and there."
"Oh. No attack?"
"Not that I've heard outside the humans getting mad that demons are older again." She looked confused. "In Turkey."
"Oh." She walked off. "I'll submit these for Coulson."
"Thanks." He looked at Pepper again, making her sigh in
pleasure. "All you have to do is ask. We're heroic sorts so
we can save pretty young things that need it." She blushed and
threw a pen at him but got back to work. He pulled out his
e-reader to read something waiting on the next huge thing to
happen. It probably would be soon anyway.
Coulson got the meeting email and showed up with the others. They
were in a beautiful park in Belarus. Ianto was getting more field
handler training time with Natasha and Clint. That way Xander
couldn't warp him to his odd ideas as Natasha had put it.
Fury sat down, looking at his agent, who was munching on cheetos. "How did you find those in Belarus?"
"International marketing ploy to make others eat orange cheese," Clint said with a slight smirk.
"How did you get older so fast?"
"Potion. Only works on those with magic. Natasha and I have
barely enough that it gave us a few years. Which was nicer than
going from four to sixteen. Still hurt like a bitch though."
He ate another bite. "They're getting drinks."
"That's fine." He looked at Natasha, finding her reading and watching over them. "Your son's a bit weird."
Clint shrugged but grinned. "Evan's mostly a good boy, Fury."
"He slept with two assassins yesterday. They quit trying to take out Potts and have claimed him as their own."
"Huh. He's not supposed to be getting attached when he
plays. He promised me he wouldn't," Clint said dryly. "But
yeah, only the deadly and dangerous pretty ones like him. Male or
female?" He finished his chips and tossed out the bag.
Clint shrugged. "That's cool." Phil and Ianto came back with
Hill. "Thanks." He took his water. "Xander found
assassins going after Pepper."
"I heard," Coulson admitted. "He reported that they were fun and
very nice to him." He sat down. "I reminded him he wasn't
allowed to bring them home or get attached. We might have to get
them from wherever they kidnaped him to." He looked at Fury.
"Is there an upcoming problem, sir?"
"No," he said, looking at Ianto. "Clearly yours." Coulson
smiled and nodded. "Wonderful." He looked at him.
"Anything else to declare?"
"Not at the moment. Things are going well. We're handling
things. The Starks are building things. Bruce is planting
some new samples we sent him from Caledin."
Fury shook his head. "The next attack?"
"Projective analysis predicts about four more months," Ianto said.
"Good to know," Hill said. "Any idea where?"
"We're thinking in the south, one of the cities that's not Atlanta. They could rule that one out almost totally."
"We can alert people there to be listening," she decided, sending that
note to their predictive people. She looked at them. "That
mission in Israel?"
"It was necessary. They were starting to build a new germ lab,"
Phil said, handing over a USB key drive. "That's what we took off
them. Same group as with the bomb." He sipped his bottled
Hill ran it, nodding at what she saw. "Fine. Thank
you." She looked at them. "Any other updated field
"Not at the moment," Clint said. "We're doing the job, those of us
that're old enough. Which is pissing Stark off, because he
doesn't have any magic to do that with." He grinned.
"Rodney hates it mostly," Ianto said. "He hates when magic gets in
his science." They settled in to go over future targets and
problems going on. Since they were a mini-SHIELD branch for most
John appeared in front of Xander's cell bed, staring at him. "Why
can't you stay out of trouble? I'm having flashbacks here,
"I was not with them when they went to assassinate the prime minister
guy. I was tied up back at the hotel room. They haven't
asked me anything, they're trying to figure out what to do with me since
they told the nice assassins they'd never see me again.
Apparently the wailing fit was loud from what the guards taunted.
Of course, when he offered me special privileges for *favors* I turned
him down as being dickless and not worthy of my excellence. That
the assassins weren't *bad* at it but better than average and that's as
low as I ever went."
John blinked at him. "Are you high?"
"I don't know unless they put it in the water." He shrugged.
"Won't kill me. The floaty, happy feeling is okay too. I
needed a day of not worrying about shit."
John nodded slowly. "You're high."
"Probably," Xander said with a grin. "Yay. How's the rest of them?"
"Nowhere near here. Haven't heard yet either."
"Fuck him with a rubber duck because I won't." He grinned and disappeared.
John smirked. "You did that the last time I had to talk to you
about your dating habits getting you throw in a jail cell." He
disappeared, stunning the guards that had been watching. They
could figure it out on their own. He checked, Xander had went to a
club and was getting flirted with by a SHIELD agent. He sent that
at Xander, who quipped and said his father was too. The agent
fled for her life. Xander shrugged and went to dance with the
biggest jackass in there because he was being so loud and ruining the
happy mood for everyone. The guy was panting within minutes and
blew Xander so he was even happier but the guy got caught doing it and
dragged out by the bouncers.
Xander grinned and zipped himself up, going back onto the floor. He needed a happy night off.
Natasha hung up her phone, staring at it. "Xander's at Devil's Brew."
Clint flipped over from his spot on his stomach watching tv in their hotel room to look at her. "He's what where?"
"He's at Devil's Brew. He just got Bartemus busted for prostitution."
"Uh-huh," Clint said slowly. "Why is he there?"
"Apparently he went there after John found him being high in a jail
cell," Ianto said from behind his book. "His new special friends
went to assassinate some prime minister and had left him tied up in
their motel room so the officers threw him in one until they could
figure out what part of the assassination plot he was in. John
showed up to nag so Xander left after agreeing he was probably a bit
high." He turned the page. "Is Devil's Brew an underground
or a demon club?"
"It's full of high powered, little morals people in various businesses,
including Wall Street types," Clint said. He looked at
Natasha. "He's still young enough to spank, right?"
"Perhaps. I probably could if you can't," she said.
Phil shook his head. "He'll be fine and we'll send him a 'come to
us' message in the next few hours. Once he's down. Then we
can discuss his motivations rationally for a few days."
"At the top of our lungs, right?" Clint asked, sounding pleased.
"If you must," Phil agreed.
"I must. I really, *really* must," Clint assured him. He
flipped back over to go back to his tv show. He and his son had to
have a talk soon about his taste in lovers. He wasn't so sure
that he and Stark would ever make it to doing anything together.
Stark wasn't that sort of dangerous. He sent a text at Evan, who
told him he had heard and Rodney was cackling because he had won the bet
among them about Xander's next attempted mating. Stark was
staring at a wall thinking heavy thoughts. Evan agreed, Stark
wasn't mean enough for Xander this life.
Xander popped in with a frothy, fruity drink and a hot dog. He
grinned, taking a bite of the hot dog as he walked off. He found
where the others were waiting and settled in beside Ianto, handing him
something. "For you."
He looked at the key drive then at Xander. "You did reports?
How charming. Would that explain what you were given?"
"I think truth serum. It tends to make me giggly." He ate
another bite of his hotdog. "But yeah, those are copies of the
Phil took them to run, blinking at what he saw. He looked over at Xander. "Did you do it on purpose?"
"Nope. Just happy coincidence." He grinned and finished his
hot dog then slurped his fruity drink. "How was you guys' night
"A lot less interesting than yours." He went over them and sighed,
sending them in an email to Hill. "How and why did you get the
SHIELD Europe head and three of his minions arrested for underage
sex?" Natasha and Clint both winced.
"I was at the brothel of choice and their playmate of the moment was
screaming to leave her alone. Being the hero stud I am, I saved
her and called the cops on the whole house. Right after I stole
back my fees from her and everyone else. I had paid for a
perfectly legal, adult female one. I had no idea she had illegal
ones. I didn't know that anything was illegal in Amsterdam's red
light district. Proved me wrong." He took another sip.
"The other few were just happy coinky-dink too." He got up and
walked off. "I'm going to ride the tilt-a-whirl."
"Son, let's have a daddy to son talk first," Clint said, following him.
Natasha shook her head quickly, taking the tablet pc to look at the reports.
"I thought only John was a chaos god this go-round," Ianto said blandly.
Phil patted him on the back. "A handler's job is to mitigate the wrong chaos and urge those trends into the right form."
Ianto looked at him. "I'm not screwing Xander, Dad.
Really. I'm not tough enough to be his." Natasha nodded,
still reading. Though you could almost hear a tiny whimpering
sound coming from her direction. It was either her or a really
pitiful, muffled, begging purse dog that had been dropped off.
Ianto looked, no dropped off purse or dog. So it must be
her. He took the tablet from her limp hand to look over.
"Oh, wonderful. He had a bit of him when he was in his life as
Harry too." He kept looking. "He may have mitigated our next
problem event too. It appears they got arrested for trying to
sell an officer drugs and Xander to keep himself out of trouble."
He showed Phil. "Wasn't that him?"
"It was," he agreed. He read over Xander's attached
statement. Apparently Xander had 'bopped into him' while looking
for a milkshake after having that brothel in Amsterdam closed
down. He was wondering if his father would like to train Xander
for a bit. Perhaps he could channel that chaotic urge into
something more useful. Natasha suddenly shook herself and went to
get a lemonade. Phil slightly smiled at her back. He also
sent those reports to Spenser so he could put them into the predictive
Clint walked Xander back, talking to him about how bad the bad girls and
boys were for him. Xander was giggling. There was one all
the SHIELD agents knew on sight trailing behind Xander moping.
Clint sat Xander down and pointed. "Stay." He turned and
punched the other guy. "Get off my son's ass." The guy
blinked at him. He smirked. "Need me to be holding the bow
to identify me?"
"No," he said, backing away slowly and clearly. Natasha got him
from behind with her taser. "That's not fair! I only wanted
the sweet cherry there."
Xander looked at his drink then at the guy. "It's strawberry and
if you meant the other meaning, it's been a while since that applied to
me," he finished blandly. "Dad said I can't date you. Or
sleep with you. Sorry but you're upsetting the staring
kids." He got up and huffed off. "Have fun and if I catch up
to you in England who knows what'll happen." Xander smiled and
waved at his back.
"An explosive arrow to the brain. That's what'll happen to him," Clint said firmly. "Have better taste than that!"
"He looked like fun!"
"No, he's not. At all. Let's go have a talk somewhere kids
can't get warped, kiddo." He walked him off. The others
followed. They wanted to hear this talk and possibly inject some
sense into Xander too.
Tony was staring at his lab's wall when Rodney walked in. He had
been doing this now for four hours and even Pepper had no idea how to
break him out of it. Rodney stood between him and the wall,
getting frowned at for interrupting him. "What is that troubling?"
"Is Xander that free and easy? And I'm not really suited to being with Xander by what his tastes have shown lately."
"Xander's all for stress relief when he needs it. The last few
days were aberrant behavior for him, mostly due to the drugs they gave
him in that prison. Truth serum makes him giggly and fun loving,"
he finished blandly. "As for being deadly enough for Xander?
I have no idea. You may be."
"He's not like me."
"Neither is Pepper."
"True," he said. He considered her against Xander. She won
in almost every single category. "I don't think whoever decided we
were mates is right."
"It might not be this life," Rodney said. "It could be the next time you go around."
Tony slowly shook his head. "I don't want to do like you guys are."
Rodney sighed. "Even then, you can still be reincarnated. It
blew my mind but I was assured that people did come back around
again. The good colonel said he'd met many people that had come
back around a few times."
Tony shrugged but grimaced. "I still think they're cranked and
that means a lot longer of Xander being alone. I like the kid but I
don't think we're suitable."
"You never know and you have years to figure that out." Tony
glared. "Not my fault you don't have magic. If I had my way
*I* wouldn't have magic." He walked off to get back to his current
project. "You forgot to eat today."
"I thought I was the dad," Tony joked.
"Well, now I'm older," Rodney shot back with an evil smirk. "Go
get something to eat before I tell Pepper. You can even wait on
Rogers since he'll be here in about ten minutes." Tony went to
greet him and get a sandwich. Rodney shook his head. A few
of them had wondered the same thing about Xander and Tony working things
out. Xander wasn't exactly Mr. Science and Tony wasn't Mr.
Weapons. The two didn't always go together very well.
John heard the prayer from Rodney and went to look. "Hey, guys?"
he asked the Fates. They stared at him. "Question. Who
decides whose mate is who?"
"Aphrodite," Lachesis said. "Why?"
"We think someone cranked it with one of the redemption kids."
"Who? We can see if there's a mated line," Clotho said.
"Xander." They stared. "The Warrior Child."
They found him and blinked. "That's an unholy mess."
John came over to look. "I don't think even my dad can do
that." They shook their heads he couldn't. They slowly and
carefully got the knot unraveled without affecting too many outside
lives. They sighed in pleasure when the base lines were back in
place and the few knots were where lines intersected. "So, is his
mate still the same?"
Clotho traced it, shrugging. "I think he has one. It's not someone bad or mean."
"Xander only really gets deadly and dangerous sorts drawn to him."
They groaned. "Lady Aphrodite, can I see you for a minute
please?" he called. She appeared in a shower of sparkles.
"Do you have about five to answer a question I'm getting prayers about?"
"Sure, Jonny. What's wrong?" She smoothed out his hair.
"Xander. The Warrior Child." She glared. He stared
back. "He was my son a few lives ago. You have him mated to a
super geek that lives and breathes science. Xander only draws
dangerous people like assassins and the like. That's not really
going to be a good match. Unless you know something I don't know
about our head redemption child?"
"I was asked."
"Yeah." He pointed. "It's going to be hell. Xander's
been alone a *very* long time. He was the first redemption
child. Sanda got elevated after him." She stared.
"That was four realms and millennia ago. Do you really think he
deserves that sort of fucking hell in his life?"
"Maybe the people who asked think that it'll mean he'll calm down."
"Um, no. Xander doesn't change that much. For that matter,
Xander's already lost hope once and got sent Anyanka to cure it."
He created a mirror to show her the greatest hits of Xander, then one of
She shook her head. "That isn't who I picked."
"That's who the mate tingle hit."
She looked around, frowning. "No, it should be this one."
John looked then at her. "That's my mate, Evan." She
groaned. "Who asked? That way I can go kick their asses for
giving you bad intel?"
"D'Hoffryn?" She smiled and nodded. "I'm so killing
him. And hey, Xander took his place in the last realm for a while
so he can do it again." She gasped and went back over Xander's
life. John stared at her. "Can we maybe fix this?
Because *wrong* just doesn't cut it at this point. If Xander's
that miserable, we've all failed and humanity's really doomed.
He's the head guy for a reason. He's also the one doing most of
the hero stuff."
She huffed. "I'll look into it, John."
"Thank you, Lady Aphrodite. Let me go kill a head demon." He
smiled at the Fates. "Thanks, ladies." They smiled and
waved at him. He went to find a sword and his boss. The
Fates stared at Aphrodite.
"Do you see where his line sits on a critical juncture? Without it, the web fails," Clotho said with a point.
"He's having plenty of fun," she defended.
They sighed. "Humanity is doomed," they announced. "Due to
love." Aphrodite huffed and left. Hera showed up. They
showed her. She called Gaia, who went to spank Aphrodite for her
stupidity. Really, she had let someone influence her judgement?
Cupid appeared. "Okay, so who do I have to hit to fix this snarl?"
"We do not know," the Fates said together. Cupid slumped, shaking
his head. "We can't pick a lifemate for him. If we did, it
would be someone in his immediate family. I doubt they'd like
Clotho sighed, looking at one line. "It might fit very well but he's Jonathan's mate."
Cupid looked at the various lines, touching them gently. "Someone planned *wrong*."
John reappeared with the original plans. "This is what we planned."
"This one has him going to a scientist as their kid," Cupid said.
"Yeah, D'Hoffryn was going to do that and then someone pointed out
Xander hated science. Didn't like it or doing math. That was
Rodney's job, not Xander's."
"Yeah, I get that. Did he ascend?"
"Someone moved him out of the way before he could," John said
dryly. The Fates looked at the present reality and then their
web. They groaned. They had to reweave a whole section due
to demonic intervention. John hugged them. "Please give him
someone good? He deserves it. He's been alone a very long
time and he does more than the rest of us combined sometimes."
Lachesis patted him on the cheek. "We'll try, John. Go be a
naughty boy like your father would want." He grinned and went to
talk to Xander. They looked at Gaia and Hera. "We'll
need a new anchoring point to undo all this work without destroying
"You'll have it," Gaia promised. They created one to anchor the
web before more unwove itself. The rest got undone and rewoven.
John appeared in front of Xander. "Our head jackass is incredibly petty and stupid."
"Are you having a Rodney moment?" Xander quipped. He didn't look like he could tell a joke right now but he tried.
"No, I just talked to a Love goddess, the Fates, Gaia, Hera, and then I
found a sword to go after D'Hoffryn with." Xander stared at
him. "It was at *his* urging that things got screwed up and they
still had you as Tony's son."
"Yup." He leaned against the building next to him. "Why are we in an alley?"
"I'm hiding from the nagging. It's like having Buffy and Willow
all over again," he huffed. "I'm going to go shoot things.
It'll make me feel better."
"I've got shit I've gotta handle. Come help me." Xander nodded, going with him.
Phil, who had heard, winced. That was bad on a few levels.
He went to talk to Clint and Natasha about their nagging. It
wasn't going to change anything and it did upset Xander. Which
they didn't need. Frankly they'd have to find him soon before he
got into trouble.
Ianto looked over. "You do realize that Xander is a millennia old
being who has been in almost every single war on four planes of
existence?" he asked calmly when Phil spit out that he'd get into
trouble without them watching over him. "I'm fairly certain that
you can attribute at least one carrying on of humanity as a whole to him
and his past service. Frankly, you treat him like he's retarded
sometimes and it's rather irksome having to watch it." He stared
at them. "Xander is not a child. He hasn't been a child
since people were grunting in caves and barely figuring out how to plant
things." Natasha slumped into a chair. "I may be new at
this but even I know when there's great experience out there."
"He said we're treating him like Buffy and Willow," Phil said.
"Yes, I've heard they decided he was *normal* for keeping up with them
without any magic or any real skills because he was hindered by a
hellmouth energy infection at the time," he said blandly. His
accent was coming back out too. "And yet, he helped that slayer
win everything so that reality went on. Even though he lost all
hope himself there and should have gotten one of us." Clint
winced. "You've just upset him in ways that usually send him out
on a mission from the island so he doesn't have to get into a screaming
match. Are you all children suddenly? Because sometimes it
seems like it."
"He doesn't do things the way we were trained," Natasha said.
"Great. Unfortunately he's had more training than you ever
will. He's the sort that militaries sent out on unwinnable
missions that would end the war, not expecting him to come back until he
did with the mission accomplished and passed out at their feet from his
injuries. There's a reason they named him the Warrior Child I
Phil nodded. "We've seen that. What we do isn't like what he did in wars, Ianto."
"So? You're still treating him like a crawling, whining babe at
times. Do you think he doesn't realize that dangerous people want
him? That he's never attracted someone nice in his life?
That half the time the people who want him should be targets of someone
like you? When he got pulled in as Harry, he didn't stress over
having some madman out to kill him. He knew how to handle that
part of the problem." Clint nodded once, looking grim. "And
yet, you've treated him like you treat me, who admittedly was a
different type of agent in my last life. I may not have had to
kill but I did handle emergencies fairly well. Even the ones that
Xander accidentally stumbled into and solved on us. Used to drive
us nuts when we answered a new rift incident and found Xander cleaning
it up because it happened in front of him."
"We're trying to get him to work in the framework we've established," Phil said.
"That's wonderful but I doubt even if Xander was on his own that he
would've been a SHIELD agent. Perhaps a problem solving
assassin. He's said he's done that in the past." Natasha's
head lifted. "Yes, I believe that title was probably capitalized
or had some sort of special meaning I missed. That's not my
forte." He looked at his father and Clint again. "Did you
think that Xander was going to be able to change *generations* of
training to fit into something that's frankly not his forte and never
"It takes steady patience, which he does not have. It takes being
able to sit still for hours, which he cannot. The field agent
things he does are a bit more normal for him and he handles them better
but he's still struggling because that's not how he was trained to
handle things. Even when you show him, it doesn't work. I
have the feeling if you sent him on missions like she used to get," he
said with a point at Natasha. "He'd know how to do them
"I've seen that in the past," Phil said. "I've moved him to an area he's more comfortable in."
Ianto sighed. "Which is why he takes breaks every few days from
you. You're still upsetting him with all these new rules, that no
one actually follows by your former reports. There's all these
things that are trying to push him into a tiny SHIELD mold when he
should've been more freelance and out handling things that needed it as
it went. If you gave him a way to drift, handing him some names
now and then, he'd probably manage to get a lot more done. That's
more his style of handling things. He's used to showing up,
getting it done, moving on, and leaving a myth behind him. Not
silence, not steady patience, none of it. Xander's more used to
going out to tease the warlord to end him than to shooting him from
another building. He's used to being a one-man team with an
occasional check in for a new priority list."
"Which doesn't work with how SHIELD does it or my father's agency," Phil agreed. "I've tried."
"And yet, today you treated him like a virgin who's never had a single
bit of dick in his life," he said blandly. "Who had no idea who he
was sleeping with or that they might be bad sorts. Which is not
Xander. Xander could probably write a fairly long encyclopedia
about all the sex he's gotten. Then about their crimes."
Clint shuddered. "You may not like it but that is who is drawn to
him. That's who flirts with him, that's who comes onto him in the
bar or drugs his drinks in the club. Whoever had the *brilliant*
idea that he should be with Stark should be shot."
"He should be," John agreed as he appeared. "It would've meant he
didn't escape me when I had a sword. It would've only
incapacitated him since you have to cut off his horns to kill him but it
could've helped." He had a cut over one eye and was holding a
paper towel to it. "You're right. Xander asked me to please
get his things so he can take a vacation and do what he needs to
do. There's whole villages of people dying that need his help and
his influence." He stared at Phil. "And yes, I will freeze
you all and get it for him."
Ianto got up to get him the first aid kit. "Warlords?"
"Drug dealers," he complained. "I was chaosing them into fighting
each other until they decided to hold a contest to see who could torture
the villagers the best. Then Xander stepped in and ended them
all. By hand." Clint shivered. "Yeah. But that's
Xander for you," he said with fake cheer and a fake grin.
"We so screwed up with him," Clint said. "Any idea if I did the same sort of hell to Evan?"
"No, Evan's good. He's a bit frustrated right now because the
growth spurt means his aim is off. Xander's frustrated for whole
new reasons. So let's let him do what he planned on doing in the
first place since his plans would've worked best if they hadn't been
interrupted, and we'll all move on from there. Okay?"
"I'd still like to be able to keep in contact with him," Clint said, staring at him.
"Speaking as his former father, give him a few weeks. Casually run
into him, buy him dinner. Do not nag. And ask him how
things have been going." Clint nodded, handing over Xander's
crossbows and bag. "Thanks. We're going to be in Central or
South America a lot for the next few months to handle shit Ares
isn't." He disappeared again.
Clint looked at Natasha. "At least I didn't ruin him."
"I doubt you could," Ianto said, staring at him. "What would you want right now?"
"Space. Probably to hide better."
"Xander's not really a hider. He'll go take care of things to work
out his bad mood. When he couldn't, he'd do puzzles or work out
instead of going to sit and think or something."
"Good point." He calmed himself and texted Evan to make sure he
was all right. He did treat Xander differently, mostly to try to
change him because he knew what sort of bleak future he'd probably have
when SHIELD forced him into being one of them. "So, Central
America?" he asked once he put his phone up.
"We have one job over here that Fury asked us to handle," Phil said. "Then we can do South America."
"That'll work. Shorter plane trip," Clint said. Phil nodded,
patting him on the arm as he walked around him to get the mission
profile folder. Clint looked at Natasha, who shrugged slightly.
"You can help, right?"
"Of course. I even know a few people who could keep his attention for weeks."
"Xander doesn't go out hunting lovers, they hunt him," Phil said.
"Unless he's hitting stress relief. Even then he usually lets them
pick him unless he's paying for it." He looked over as he handed
them the folder. "Then he's shown a preference for dark blonds."
"Good to know," Natasha said, pulling out her phone to text
someone. Relating the incidence of the assassins and the
other things got her interested. She told him who he was and where
he was, and that he was legal. She was more than happy to go test
him and play with him. She had wanted a new playmate.
"Barb?" Clint asked.
Clint shivered. "If dangerous ones like him, she should think he's the best kitten ever."
"I've never seen him purr but I have heard him bark," Phil said,
cracking Clint up. "Yes, I gave an order over the comm, then I
threatened him with a leash if he didn't listen."
Clint nodded. "We've been going about Xander all wrong for this whole time."
"You started out good then you got panicky," Ianto said, shifting to put
his feet up. His father knocked them off. "I'm keeping the
wind from the people trying to open the door from blowing things
away." He put his feet back up.
Clint took the easy path and opened the door. "What? I'm
trying to talk about my son's major malfunction about dating evil
shits. Do you mind?" He slammed the door in the SWAT team's
face. Phil shook his head, pressing his lips together so he
wouldn't say anything. Natasha did the easy thing and sent a gas
grenade out there. They packed and left in a hurry, Ianto dropping
his chewing gum onto a guy's really ugly mustache. Or at least he
hoped it was a guy with that handlebar mustache. His father gave
him a pointed look. "Mustaches are disgusting. They get in
the way when you kiss." Phil rolled his eyes but let it go.
"You don't attract deadly things, right?" Clint asked him as they got into a cab.
"No, apparently I only attract things that shouldn't have happened and Jack Harkness."
"Things that shouldn't have happened?" Natasha asked, giving the driver a destination in the local dialect.
"Let's just say, I couldn't let go at one point in time and it nearly
let a horrible thing out into the city. But I loved her."
Phil hugged him. "If you want to talk about her, we will."
"I'd rather not. Though now I know why Jack understood, even though he was upset and disappointed."
"Most of us have had one we've loved and lost," Phil said quietly.
"When you're ready to talk about it, we will." Ianto smiled at
him for that. "For now, we're going to the airport?" Natasha
nodded. Phil handed over the file. They got to know their
target very well on the way there. Ianto would get some good
handling experience in again and it'd work. They'd worry about
Xander sometime soon. When he was ready to be worried about.
Castiel showed up a week later, looking at the young man in the
chains. "I really do not like being your guardian angel. It
seems like a lot of work."
Xander looked up at him. "Then don't."
"I could help you get free." Xander looked up and undid the cuffs. "I can help you make it out of here."
Xander snorted. "I don't need help, Cas. Go hover over Dean?"
"He's worried about you and sent me to help you."
Xander sighed, looking at him. "Let me guess, he's got Buffy syndrome again?"
"Not exactly. He heard you were here." He waved a hand around. "And worried we'd lose you."
"I'd just reincarnate in the bloodline." Castiel blinked. "The big guy's still trapped with Sam."
"I hadn't thought of that. Well, perhaps your next one will go in a
more standard fashion. And there's people coming."
"Yeah, they swore up and down they were coming back with a car
battery." He shrugged. "Whatever." He pulled up
magic and cast the killing curse. "Wandless magic, it's a killer,"
he quipped, walking over them. He stared at the scooter battery
and the guy that was mostly dead. It had only clipped his
arm. "I thought you said a car battery. That one's not going
to do anything but tickle and I'm not into that. So yay!"
He grinned and walked over him. "Cas, I'm going to loot
because they have my wallet somewhere in this house."
"I think it's in the office," Cas said, following him. He pointed. "That way."
Xander pointed. "Weapons locker."
"Do you need more weapons?"
Xander looked at him oddly. "How long have you known me?"
"I forgot that you weren't Dean for a moment," he sighed. "Fine,
we'll get weapons." They went to get them, finding both of
Xander's crossbows. And his quivers, plus a few extra
arrows. That was a nice reparation. Then they went to the
office to loot. The computers got downloaded via the little thing
Rodney had made him to do that. The files in the cabinets got
magicked to Phil's office. Xander found his wallet finally in the
kitchen. They were trying to use it to make new ones.
Xander had to shoot a few more guards but they nicely had recently
gotten paid so they had money on them. That'd help him move on
easier. He walked out and the fire imp spell went off. The
house went up with a whoosh and a tinkling laugh from the imps. He
grinned at Cas. "I love fire imps. There's never any proof
of arson." He found the cars and hotwired one, getting into it and
driving off. Castiel could go back to Dean's side and nag him
some more about straying from the light's path. That was fun for
him he guessed. He'd hate it but Dean seemed to tolerate it.
He guessed that's what you did with a mate.
Castiel shook his head. "Xander really does need to calm
down. Though I do not want to be his guardian angel. Perhaps
"Hell no," a voice said without a body appearing. "I'll fall first, thank you!"
Castiel looked up. "Dramatic are we?" He went back to Dean's
side. Maybe between them they could figure out who should watch
Clint sat down next to Xander at the shitty dive bar they were in.
"Have I ever mentioned how weird it is to get calls from some of my
ex's, including one that I thought for sure was dead, about who my son
is dating?" Xander sighed, putting down his chips. "Not
commenting on it but can you please quit dating my ex's, son?"
Xander looked at him. "Got a handy list?"
"Yeah, I can pull one up. I know the one later would compare."
Xander shrugged. "When you've been around a few times, no one really stops to think about it."
"Yeah but I haven't so it's still a bit gross. It'd be like you sleeping with Natasha."
"I'd tap that in a heartbeat," Xander said dryly. "When you get to
be like me, you realize that bonds disappear when you move on."
Clint nodded. "I can see that. Though you still keep some or
you wouldn't let Rodney get to you." They shared a look.
"By the way, he's pouting and worried because you haven't even emailed."
"I've been busy." He ate a chip. Then he searched for more
broken ones. "Beyond that, he and Dean have both moved on.
Dean bluntly said I'm not his nephew anymore." He looked at
Clint. "Rodney's treating me like a really dumb lab geek at
times. He used to at least *try* to get me involved in his science
stuff, even if it never really clicked with me. He couldn't
understand how the only science I know is Star Trek."
"Some guys aren't book nerds. I'm not." He stole a chip. "Take tonight off?"
"I can take tomorrow night off."
"I've got to fly back to help Nat tomorrow morning."
Xander nodded. "If you want, you can help me."
"Like I said, an ex."
Xander glanced at his mark then at his father. "Really?"
Clint shrugged. "Sometimes it's easier." He ate another
chip. Xander handed him the few whole ones and ate the broken
ones. He had been focusing on eating the broken ones first
anyway. Clint grinned and got his own dinner. They could
find a booth and talk while Xander watched his target. Any
Barton was that good.
Clint looked around the current attack. Doombots.
Great! Simply marvelous! And they were short people!
He looked around. "Get him here!"
"I would but he's tied up," Phil called back. "Literally."
Xander appeared in a flash of magic, bow already aimed and firing.
"Thank you, Xander."
"Welcome." He grinned and waved at the human behind the
bots. "Morning." He shot an arrow he enhanced with some
magic at him, making it scream as it went through his armor.
"How dare you do that! No one touches me!" the idiot yelled.
"Yeah, well, I'm not a no one and gee, I guess I did touch you. Or
wasn't that you the other night when I was pretending to be a
stripper?" The man gasped and fell off his throne. Xander
smiled and waved. "At least you tipped really nice.
Thanks! Needed that for plane fare out of there, dude." He
fired more arrows and it was better. The idiot got up and stomped
over to Xander, who cooed and patted him on the cheek. "Are you
grumpy because no one can get to your dick through your armor?"
"Some of us don't need that sort of stimulation."
"Aww, did the accident rob you of that too?" The man behind the
mask gasped and backed up a step then took a swing at him. Xander
ducked and moved closer, casting a spell quietly at such close
range the guy couldn't avoid it. "Tingly," he said when the
electrical spike happened. "Is it good for you?" The guy in
the armor was screaming. "Sorry, did that hurt?"
He knocked him down and kicked him in the head, walking over him.
"I'd turn them off. You're making me waste time and energy that
could better be put into my sex life. There's tons of bad girls
and boys out there waiting on me and you're keeping me busy." He
stared down at him before blowing up another robot. "Though, this
is getting me sweaty and hot, so I'll need some *cooling down* time and
maybe even some stress relief. Hey, maybe I'll find those twin
assassins again." He grinned. "They were adorable and about
"Mind on the battle please?" Evan ordered. "Pretty please."
"No, the leather pants you're wearing aren't my taste, Xander."
Xander grinned and waved up at him. "Pity." The villain
tried to trip him by punching his ankle but Xander jumped and still made
his shot. His wand slipped from the holster and he hit the
villain with it, then hopped up onto his back since he was on his hands
and knees. "Thanks, needed a higher vantage point." His wand
got put up again as he loaded for the next set of shots. He took
them and eventually the bad guy turned off his robots. Then again,
he was sobbing hard. Xander hopped down and stroked over his
head, ending the control spell. "Thank you, you were fun."
Xander smiled. "Next time can we play with dragons?" He
smiled. "Have a better night, dude." He disappeared before
anyone could grab him.
Evan landed and pushed up the suit's visor. "Twin female assassins?"
"Welsh assassins," Phil said dryly. "Slightly cute. Have a high kill count."
"So just his type," Evan quipped with an evil smirk.
"Yes, I'd say so but the last I heard they were busy in England."
"Well, maybe he'll distract them." He looked at the villain.
"I hate when I feel sorry for them but Xander did him too hard. I
think he's broken." He put down his visor. "JARVIS, can I
come home now? I need a drink." He disappeared.
"Ditto," Clint said. "And hoping that he distracts those assassins tonight."
"Twins are very ambitious," Natasha joked.
Bruce looked over in his mini Hulk form. "Xander chatty, bad Xander."
"Sometimes, but sometimes he's just having fun," Clint said. Hulk
growled. Xander reappeared to give Hulk a hug, dodging the
attempts to hit him. Bruce finally gave up and let him.
"Hulk, you okay?" he asked once Xander was gone.
"Xander weird but hug nice. Needs real boyfriend or girlfriend." He stomped off. "Donuts."
"Get me a couple too," Clint called after him. They watched the
clean up team and he looked over at Coulson. "Well...."
"I'm wondering about the dragons remark and if we should worry," Tony
said over the headset. "Like that one place that suddenly got
"Probably," Clint said. He tapped his earpiece off. "We
going home now?" They got beamed back and Hulk handed him his two
donuts. "Thanks, Hulk." Natasha took one to nibble as she
walked off. Hulk smiled and handed him a third one. Clint
grinned and patted him on the arm. "Thanks, man." They went
through post-mission medical then went to their own rooms to calm down
however they do that. Though, Clint had an email from a contact
who was asking what sort of control wand that stick was and was the kid
aware that he had just used it on a world leader. Clint's answer
of 'it's an irreplaceable magical artifact' did not please them.
Xander appeared in London, smiling at the officer that caught him.
"What? I helped take down Doombots." He hid his weapons,
making the guy gasp and stare. Xander winked. "I'm that
fantastic, yes." He strolled off. Those two were around here
somewhere. He got pounced into an alley by one and kissed her,
making her moan and summon help from her twin. Who was very nice
to Xander too. She didn't want to spar but they needed a way out
of the area and he'd do nicely. He even had inherited some sort of
house upcountry when he had met the challenge. It was great of
him to help them escape.
Clint looked at his newest email that was flashing over his dinner
plate. He opened it and stared. Then looked at
Natasha. She leaned over to look and slumped, shaking her
head. "Coulson, he met Nadia's challenge and won her house."
He closed the email after a short 'thanks for letting me know where
he's hiding with the assassin sluts' reply.
"Nadia...." Phil said. "We've run into a few."
"Garden house lady," Clint said. Phil's eyes went wide and he
stared at him. Clint stuffed his mouth. "That's where
Phil called a contact in the UK. "Do you know about that
charming garden cottage with the challenge of only the rightful heir
could make it through the garden alive?" He ate a bite of corn
while waiting on an answer. "Well, the twins assassins were taken
that way by Barton's son. Yes, that one. No, he enjoys them
that way. He never picks them up but they always find him."
He ate another bite. "Yes, there. No, Xander inherited
it." He hung up on the spluttering. "They were looking for
them. They had taken out a few members of the House of Commons
that were crucial in a vote." He ate a bite of steak.
"So he didn't get there in time to distract them?" Natasha asked.
"Partially. Two were killed, the others under the death threat
were saved. Though, an officer is now under psychiatric exam for
spotting Xander appearing and him hiding his weapons. Xander did
nicely say he had just come from the battle though." He ate
another bite of steak.
Evan snickered, shaking his head. "Yeah, that's Xander after a battle."
Dean nodded. "Yup." He ate a bite of his own dinner.
"Do NOT remind me," Rodney warned. "We saw plenty of that behavior." He stuffed his mouth and chewed hard.
Tony looked at them. "Is this like 'work hard, play hard' for
assassins?" he asked Clint. Who nodded. "Do you all
gravitate toward women like that?"
"Nope," he said with a grin. "I like mine nicer than assassins
except for Nat." She hit him on the arm. "For her I seem to
like her mean." She swatted him again. "See?" He
grinned. She lunged with a dagger and he got out of the way by
flipping his chair backwards and onto his feet. "Sure, I can get
you another glass of tea." He took it and walked off to get some
from the pitcher waiting on the sideboard.
Natasha put back her dagger and took her glass. "Thank you, Barton."
"Welcome, Nat." She slapped him on the head this time. "Hey, watch the hair."
"You need a trim," Phil said. "It's getting too long if she's able to run more than her nails through it."
"Tell that to my sons please?" Clint asked, looking down at Evan.
"You are not a sixties or seventies rock star, son. You can't rock
a mop top or a mullet." Evan rolled his eyes but nodded he'd fix
it soon. "Thanks." He got back to his dinner.
"I'll remind Xander that he needs one later," Ianto said.
"Thank you, son," Phil said. "Write your grandfather too? He's been suspiciously quiet recently."
"I can do that." He finished up and pulled out his phone to send
both of those, with an added message asking Xander how the girls had
been. He put his phone up and got seconds.
The world leader/villain had been deported of all humiliating
things. He finally made it home to his castle and found something
sitting on his throne. "Why is there a dragon in here?" he
His assistant looked at him. "We thought you had them brought, sir."
"No, I did not. What is it doing on my chair!"
"It tried to bite people, we weren't going to move it without better
equipment, which is on the way in with Animal Control, sir."
The world leader stomped over and tipped his throne up, knocking the
dragon down. When it tried to bite him, it ran into armor.
He stared down at it. "What are you doing here?" It bleeted
at him. He sat down and it climbed in his lap, bleeting again as
it stared at his mask. "I do not believe you are a good pet.
Get. Down." Animal Control agents came stomping in wearing
protective gear like bomb squad techs wore. He pointed. They
used a long rope on a longer pole to capture it and then muzzle
it. That led to them finding out it was a fire
breather. As the Animal Control agents burned, the little dragon
hopped back up into his lap and bleeted at him. He stared at
it. "At least you don't purr and you're not a stereotypical
pet." He patted it hard but it curled up and snuffled his arms and
hands. He looked at his assistant. "Is this the only one?"
"No, sir. The whole country is full of dragons." She got out
of the way of the fire department people and their foam
canisters. "We did manage to lure the one that ended up inside the
Cathedral using a death row inmate. We did not watch while it ate
him." The villain snorted, patting his new companion
again. "There's reports of over three hundred of them within
our boundaries but none in neighboring countries. We have had
someone from Stark International say that they've talked to someone from
another realm and have an idea on how to kill them?"
"What are they wanting for it?"
"I did not ask that, I was waiting on your permission to respond. I
can send them a response email and we'll hopefully have it back by
tomorrow, sir." She crafted that and let him read it and send
it. She looked at the tiny dragon. "I'll have the cook send
up some raw meat for it, sir." She left because the little dragon
was giving her looks like her ex-boyfriend in college had. She did
not want to know why.
The villain patted the dragon again. "Perhaps there is a use to you after all."
Tony smirked as the email he expected earlier finally got to him.
"Aww, you had to wait until your leader got home to send that?" he
sneered at the email. He answered and it was an outrageous fee for
the two prototype weapons, both on arrow heads, to solve their dragon
problems. Fury knew and had laughed his ass off about it.
Fury had actually sent Xander chocolate for that. So now they
could all benefit.
Rodney shook his head at the gleefully chaotic Stark. Sometimes
you just had to break the system to prove you could he guessed.
When Tony got one asking why arrowheads, he went into a lengthy spiel
about how they wouldn't be used to hurt the humans by accident if they
had good archers, and they had produced a few that were lower olympic
quality so they had them stashed somewhere. Probably in a jail for
not winning but somewhere. He also noted that it wouldn't do any
structural damage to their monuments and historic buildings.
Though he did put in a tiny warning about the cold arrow causing a
sudden cold snap for a few days. Had to give the people some
warning so they didn't freeze to death and the country didn't move to a
They wanted proof and offered free passage to the young upstart that had
found the bomb. He was an archer if the world leader remembered
right and not an agent. Tony emailed Xander, who said he'd go do
it tomorrow. Tony had them beamed to him and Xander got his own
passage there. Tony responded he'd be there tomorrow, he was
coming in through the airport, and hopefully he had gotten a haircut
after the battle. The world leader growled but Stark said he'd
recognize him. He might not *like* him anymore but he'd recognize
Rodney checked to see if he had any files uploaded on their special
server for missions. He found dozens of main files named after who
they had come from. He blinked at the extended list.
"Coulson?" he called. He came strolling in with his current cup of
coffee. Rodney pointed. "Xander's been doing more than
He looked. "A few of those were on our most wanted list.
Interesting." He took another sip. "Let me check my
office. I haven't recently. Please sort those and send
copies to SHIELD, Rodney." He walked off considering Xander's
recent bit of work. He could barely open his door for all the
files. He looked and sighed in displeasure. "Son, we need to
sort things out. Xander ran out of boxes."
Ianto looked over his arm. "I don't think he had any in the first
place. Let me get some." He grabbed some boxes they had in
storage and settled in to sort people's files into boxes. At least
most piles belonged to a single person, sometimes two, unless they
toppled over or got landed on top of. They'd need more
boxes. "JARVIS, do we have any more spare boxes?" he asked
"I'm afraid we don't. I can have Miss Potts get some for
us." He cleared his throat in the office, making her almost
flinch. "The children need some boxes for files, Miss Potts.
Are there any here?"
"A few," she said, looking it up. "I can order them some. File boxes?"
"Okay, it looks like they can be picked up in an hour. I'll send
someone to do that so you can bring them to them. Why do they need
"Xander's been clearing out some problems and has sent the files to Agent Coulson's office."
"Ah!" She nodded. "Wonderful." She smiled. "At least he's not just out there having a lot of sex."
"I don't believe that the reason for it has been picked up yet."
"It's because no one's paying attention. Including his parent."
"I'll advise them to ask Spenser or someone about it. Thank
you. Let me know when they're here by email and I'll grab
them." He went back to the house to do that.
Pepper smiled. Sometimes JARVIS was the only one that had sense in
Stark's compound. That might be a worrying trend but she had known Tony
for over a decade, she was used to his lack of sense.
Xander got off the plane, taking his special package of arrows from the
stewardess. "Thank thee," he said with a grin and a wink. He
walked off and found agents waiting on him. "He wanted me to test
these arrows Stark came up with?"
"That was you that found that bomb?" one of the agents asked politely.
Xander smiled and nodded. "Totally by accident."
"Interesting." He called that in but did escort Xander to where he
could test both sorts because two dragons were fighting over a dairy
farm. Xander loaded the arrows and looked. "That's fire,
that's ice," he said with a point. They nodded. "The ice
goes in the fire breather." He shot it and they were nearly
knocked off their feet by the wave of cold from the explosion in the
dragon's head. "And the fire goes in the ice dragons." He
fired that one and blinked. "Did Tony goof?" He looked at
the arrows. No, it was delayed. "Oh, a safety
measure." He grinned at them. "He didn't say that but I'll
let him know." He pulled out his phone to text. "Yes,
there's a two chamber system inside and once it's fired the air pressure
breaks the membrane. Once the two meet, boom."
"Even with a tiny failure rate due to lower flight tension that would
still be handy. And the fire one almost warmed up from the cold
one," the head agent said. He was an archer. "Who are you
anyway? We never got your name after that bomb thing."
Xander grinned. "I'm Xander Barton." The agent
whimpered. "Yeah, kinda. I prefer a crossbow to Dad's bows
but oh well." He shrugged and smiled. "Paying Tony or am I
taking my new friends home? I'm sure I can find good uses for
"No, I believe we will pay," the agent behind the camera said.
"He's already sending the money to Mr. Stark right now, sir."
Xander smiled and texted Tony that. He got one back and handed
over the box. "Should fit on any standard arrow shaft with a screw
end. Crossbow or long bow."
"How does your crossbow get that sort of range?" the archer agent
asked. Xander smiled and let him see it. "Where's the
tension?" Xander pointed at the two wheels peeking out.
"Wow. That's nice."
Xander took it back with a grin. "She's my baby." They
smiled back. "The only thing I'd change is taking a better
metal. We can't find a good, flexible mix that's strong enough."
"I bet. Thank you. Can we escort you back to the airport, sir?"
"I've got a flight to Germany later on. I wasn't sure how long
this was going to take." He checked his watch. "It doesn't
leave until almost six." He looked at the agent. "Then
again, I was thinking about calling up an almost kinda ex and talking to
"Almost, kinda ex?" the agent behind the camera asked. Their leader had asked.
Xander grinned. "We had some fun in the club. I heard he's
injured and pouty so I was going to make him feel better as only I
can. Because I'm fantastic at it."
"We'd like to ship people like that off if we don't have to get a
warrant for them," the head agent said after checking. "So we get
you two to the hotel there by the airport so you make it in time with
"Cool!" Xander smiled and texted him that. They had texted a
few times. He agreed he could meet him there and Xander let them
lead him back to the airport hotel. His 'friend' was there
waiting. They all groaned when they saw who it was. Xander
smirked and winked at them, leading his 'friend' off to handle his
injury. And some tension. The listening agents all had to be
awed by the way they came out later with his 'friend' healed and limply
happy. Xander was too. They got on the plane and it took
off without a single problem.
Tony had to reappear in New York for a business meeting and promptly got
pounced by the press as soon as he got out of the car from the
airport. "People, please!" he complained. "Long flight and I
didn't sleep on it. Can't I have some peace?"
"Nope," one quipped with a grin for him. "Mr. Stark, it's said
that you came up with something to help with global warming?"
"That came from another realm where they had a sudden magical
infestation of dragons. The ice arrowhead worked on the fire
breathers there. As somehow Latvia got infested we did offer them a
limited supply of them to take care of the problem that was eating
their humans and crops. It was a humanitarian sale and the US
government was aware of it."
"Does Hawkeye know his son's a slut?" one shouted.
Tony looked at her. "Yeah, we're all aware of the ones that like
to pounce his son. They hunt him, not the other way around.
We all moaned a lot about it actually."
"It's said he tested the arrows for them and then got a foreign agent out of there?"
Tony shrugged. "Have to ask him and good luck finding him.
The last I knew he was headed for a hellhole of humanity to brighten
their lives. Anything else? I have to check in with Pepper
and then go take a nap." They backed off and he walked inside with
Pepper smiled at him. "I saw on the security cameras. Did
you hear that they're holding meetings about him now?" Tony
snorted, putting his bag on the couch to kiss her on the cheek.
She pulled up the information Xander had sent with a giggle in the
Tony stared at it then sent it to Coulson. "He handles
Xander." She laughed and hugged him. He cuddled in.
"Rodney thought I was going into chaos mode."
"You were." He grinned. "But it made us a nice
profit." He nodded with a smirk. "Go rest." He went up
to the penthouse to stretch out for a bit. She sent an email to
Xander that Tony was safely there so he could quit watching. She
asked how the convention of Xander ex's had went and he had cackled
about showing up to pout at them for not liking him anymore.
Whatever drew them to him had created one hell of an orgy according to
him, and it had been a lot of fun. She shook her head but she was
smiling. Xander was a fun little guy.
D'Hoffryn woke up with the greatest headache he'd ever had. Even
dying the first time hadn't hurt his head this way. He blinked at
the man staring at him. "I don't know you."
"But I know of you, Lord D'Hoffryn," the slightly balding man in the
leather jacket said with a smirk. "Jack told us about you."
He hauled him up. "We'd like to talk to you about a few things."
"He went screaming for help?" the demon lord sneered.
"No, I just did what a smart man does and asked for some backup," Jack
said from his stool beside Ten. Nine was not a happy camper with
this idea anyway. He hadn't heard that Jack had been sent as a
redemption child to them and then given away by Ten. They'd had an
awful fight about it. "Personally, I'd let Xander come do it but
.... Well, some people want you to calm him down since you screwed
up so hard."
Ten looked at him. "How bad was it? I do remember meeting that one from the time vortex."
"No, our Xander is not like him. He's not a book geek, not a geek
at all, he's a weapons oriented warrior." Ten shivered. "He
makes some of the later warrior castes look *pacifist*. And yet,
D'Hoffryn tried to have him mated to one of the top science geeks
ever." The demon lord shuddered. "Xander's had such a strong
reaction that it's drawn an inordinate amount of the ones who like him
to hold a convention. Which he attended to make sure they weren't
unhappy with him. Which turned into an orgy that a lot of officers
would've broken up if they hadn't been fearing for their lives thanks
to most of the people in attendance being in the arms trade or an
assassin of some sort or another."
Nine considered it. "I've heard of another guy like that. Named Harry."
"That was Xander's last life and it was a plot," Jack said with a
grin. "Dumbledore *intentionally* pulled Xander to be his Warrior
for the Light." Jack smirked meanly. "Which then meant
Rodney McKay...." Both time lords shuddered. Jack knew why
but he'd never tell Rodney why. "Became Hermione. His second
redemption child life."
Nine and Ten shared a look. "Yes, I'd say he screwed up reality
too badly on that other realm," Ten decided, getting up to help Nine
have a chat with the demon lord who was screwing up their disorderly
time stream. They might never get it fixed or get another pretty
companion if he kept it up.
John faded in with Tony. "Hi. Colonel John Sheppard, former
military commander of Atlantis and now son of Strife in my new realm."
"Anthony, nephew of Thor and former Warrior for the Light." They
smiled. D'Hoffryn felt the urge to flee for the first time in
centuries. "I think we need to help with this talk."
"Is Atlantis in your current realm?" Jack asked.
"Yeah, she's in a further binary system instead of Pegasus. So no
wraith at least." Jack shuddered. John grinned. "Just
think, Xander's back in that mode again."
"We're going to have to give him a kid of his own soon."
"You can have Carson. He's still moping over Esme."
"No, not really going to be helpful in a world full of superheros," Tony said dryly.
"I tried to cure him before," D'Hoffryn said.
"Yeah, by sending him the nympho, money grubbing slut demon," John said
bluntly. "Did you really think Anyanka was going to *help* him
when he was surrounded by bitchy girls he almost gave up hope of
"You're smoking what?" Tony demanded. "Even Gibbs couldn't make a plan that damn bad!"
"Jethro Gibbs?" Nine asked. "Nice chap, met him over coffee once
while I was chatting with Abby." He smiled. "You were
"I was Tony DiNozzo in a lot of lives," he said happily.
"Ah. The smartly dressed one. Well, different now," he said, looking over his leathers and poet-style shirt.
"Yes, now I'm back to being a weapons smith." Nine shivered.
"Exactly. Though, it was handy in the old west when the team had
to come together to stop something huge from making a try."
"I still can't believe you were Buck," John said with a grin for
him. Tony swatted him on the head. "Hey, watch the hair."
Ten and Nine shared a look. "And they're protecting humanity," Ten said dryly.
"No, we back up the ones giving hope and protecting humanity," John said
smugly. "Xander's protecting humanity at the moment."
D'Hoffryn's eyes went wide. "Oh, yeah. Especially since the
whole kiddified thing? Oh, yeah." The demon started to
cry. His plans were doomed. He had doomed a whole
realm. Xander was going to kill him this time. Maybe these
ones could help him fix it. He hoped so. Before Xander
destroyed the world when he lost himself.
Clint had tracked down Xander because he was having even more risky
behavior than usual. He had taken a while but he knew why.
He walked in on his son having sex with two really badass ninja-style
assassins. "Guys, need my son." They flinched and he ducked
the thrown knives. "You can finish if you hurry up but I want my
kid for a bit please."
"Fine," one complained. It hadn't broken his mood in the
least. Xander seemed to exude 'screw me' vibes and he did enjoy it
a lot. When they were done and Xander was nearly asleep, they
kissed him and got dressed, heading past the father. "We didn't
mean to piss you off."
"You didn't. Xander's allowed to enjoy people as much as he
wants. I just wanted some kid time tonight." He grinned.
"He's really yours?" the other asked.
"Yeah, he's really mine. He's got a brother named Evan.
There was a lab thing." They shuddered. "The people over
SHIELD did it. We got told about it after they were born."
"Great," they agreed. "Congratulations." They put on their outfits and fled out the fire escape.
Clint walked in there, sliding down beside his son to hold him.
"Okay, so it took me a while because I'm not really people smart in the
"Don't you yell at me for putting myself down?" Xander asked quietly.
"Yup. You can yell back when you're back to an even, happier footing."
"You're not fine. You haven't had this much sex since Anya, which
is what tipped me off." He held Xander, even when he
wiggled. "Sorry, kiddo, but we need you to be better. Not
angry, not depressed and angry. Just being yourself, with hope."
"I have hope."
"Not exactly. Hope that the next life will be better isn't really hope as most of us see it."
"It's just all screwed up," he said quietly.
"Yeah, I realize that. We all realize that whoever set you and
Stark together was a fucking idiot." Xander nodded. "It's
wrecking his mind just as much because he's not worked on anything in
two weeks." Xander looked at him. "Neither have you."
"I have so. I turned in that drug lord last week. Well, his
people. He didn't make it out of the house when he tried to run."
"Do you not know of any easier ways of infiltrating them than getting captured?"
"I hadn't planned on it that time."
"You did plan on it other times?"
"They were pretty pathetic. I've had worse from dates getting frisky."
Clint gave him a squeeze. "We'll work on your infiltration tactics
so you have other options than their bedroom, their pool boy, or their
"I was a gardener once."
"Not much better." He cuddled his son until Xander calmed down and
went limp. Which was partially an act. He understood that,
he did the same thing. Sometimes Xander was so like him.
Only he never would've screwed the bad urges out. Shot them out,
practiced them out. Hell one time he had golfed them out because
he was golfing for an assignment, but not screwed them out. They
all got the bad urges out in different ways though and this was
his. It was more destructive than golf but more tiring too.
Fewer nightmares probably. He shifted and pulled Xander more
tightly against him. "Nap, kid."
Clint looked at him. "Either it wasn't that great, because usually
most people fall asleep afterward, or you have inhuman stamina and we
should get you a medical exam."
"Kinda.... I've always had great stamina. I usually don't fall asleep after sex. Haven't in years."
"Is that because they were still in your bed?"
"Maybe," Xander admitted.
"Want to go for that medical exam anyway? I know a few good underground docs."
"You're being careful, right?" Xander nodded, giving him a
look. "Good. Because I don't want to see you getting knocked
up." Xander snickered, elbowing him. "John showed up
earlier with that idea."
"I'd never carry it to term. I'd be a shittastic parent."
"No you won't. I'm not so you won't be." He gave him another
squeeze and pulled him closer again. "Quit wiggling."
"Yeah you are."
"No, I think that's the building." They looked at the window, that
was indeed moving. They got up and packed, and Xander dressed,
then left together. They made it outside when the real tremor
happened. Xander felt. "Shit, we're getting a heavier
one. People, there's more coming!" he shouted. "Get
somewhere safer!" People started to run but Xander grabbed Clint
and their things, taking him to somewhere he liked that was safe.
It was his only safe place. No one else could get in because it
was sealed by magic. Xander checked, he had both his bows and all
three quivers. Clint had his and the bag of clothes he kept with
him. Xander flopped down on the couch. "We're safe here."
"Good." He sat down beside him. "You okay?"
"Bit tense. I hate earthquakes. Never got used to them even while I was in Sunnydale."
Clint nudged him with his shoulder. "Go shower. We'll nap
here." Xander looked at him. "I can do that." Xander
nodded, going to shower and put on pajamas he kept here. Clint
pulled out his phone, which did not work for some reason. He found
the house phone and dialed Natasha's cell. "We're good, we got
out of there in time." He hung up and went to unmake the
bed. Someone female had clearly made it up because it was flowered
sheets and they were tucked in like mothers did on tv. Xander
came out in pajama pants. "Who decorated and cleaned?"
Xander stared. "No one should've been able to get in here."
He checked his security system. Nothing. No blips on his
shields. He concentrated, feeling the magic around the
house. He slumped. "Willow's ghost from the first realm."
"We can banish her, right? I'm not sure if I can shoot a ghost or not."
"Dean tried a few times."
"Dean's not bad at all this stuff," he said quietly. "He's not
used to it. His dad wouldn't let him read comics or anything fun
"I've seen other military fathers like that." He shrugged.
"We'll get used to Dean's oddness the same way we did mine."
Xander looked at him. "I am. I'm considered very weird by
most of SHIELD."
"That's not saying a lot considering most of them have pinching underwear by the looks on their faces."
"The uniforms make them ride up." He and Xander shared a grin. "Go ahead and sleep if you want to."
"I have someone I have to intercept tomorrow."
"To gather something or to make sure they don't make it to
something? Natasha's free right now." Xander looked at
him. "She can." Xander sighed and got up to get his tablet
so he could show him why and who. Clint cuddled him again
while he read, then sent it to Coulson. "I thought we got him last
"That's only happened once before."
"That's because we ran into them incidentally." He put the tablet
down and pulled Xander closer again. "C'mon. We can rest."
"I'm not sure if I can sleep like this," Xander admitted quietly.
"Of course you can. You have before." Xander nodded that was true
and he was tired. He yawned, making Clint yawn. They finally
fell asleep together, hoping that this worked for Xander. Xander
really needed his own hope back.
The ghost of Willow Rosenburg faded in. "Awww." Clint shot her. "Hey! I'm being nice, Mister Gunny boy."
Clint stared at her. "I'm going to have your soul ripped apart for upsetting him." She squeaked and faded.
"She's like that," Xander said dryly from his shoulder. "Though
she really should look up the definition of what a Gunny is."
"Probably yeah." He put the gun under the pillow and got comfortable again.
John appeared looking sweaty with Anthony behind him grinning.
They stared at Tony. "He has unasked for that favor and Lady
Aphrodite is very sorry she tried to screw up so damn hard with you
two. So you're no longer fated to mate to Xander." Tony
grinned. "He's back to not having one this life. We think
there's one next life however."
"With the way he's going that should be in a few weeks," Rodney
said. John stared at him. "He's back in that slutty 'come
cure me' mode. Clint took off to talk to him."
"Sometimes you gotta be settled in yourself before other problems
happen," John said. "I've had that a few times. One of them
got us Xander." Rodney winced. "So, yeah, we can handle
it. Anything we need right now?" They all shook their heads
and went bak to dinner. "Cool. Then I'm stealing my mate."
"Let me eat," Evan said, shoveling in his food and taking John up to help him change clothes.
Anthony sat down at one of the empty spots, staring at Tony. "Well manage it however we do."
"Does that mean that our lines were disconnected and left hanging?"
Tony shrugged. "Not my area. I'm a God of the Forge."
Stark stared at him, fork halfway to his mouth. Tony smirked
back. "Yeah, well...." He looked at Thor, who was trying to
hide his face. "Your father is feeling better about you being so
young and says that at least this time you won't be fighting so hard
with your brother. I told him we had seen a few plots by Loki
stopped because Xander got pissed off at them." Thor nodded once
and stuffed his mouth. "Your mother vowed to send the next
Valkyrie down here with cookies." Thor smiled. "Other than
that, nothing's going on up there. There might be a later Valkyrie
rebellion but otherwise it's about normal."
"Thank thee," he said.
"Welcome, Uncle." He smiled at Spenser, who shivered. "Oh, so wonderful, yeah."
"I don't need to know unless it's going to be a huge bad thing."
"Not likely." The kids finished up and Tony got to hang out with his brethren for a while.
Xander got free of Clint because he had been warned there was a huge
thing coming. Something huge and demonic. So maybe he'd have
to handle it. It wasn't even the invasion in LA, though it looked
like it in downtown London. The Watchers Council hadn't sent
anyone to handle it. They were cowering. Xander was firing
on the demons and calling in for backup. Agent Hill said he was
smoking crack, it wasn't on any of the surveillance satellites.
Then John showed up. Xander looked at him. "Those are
He looked and nodded. "Shit, yes, that is." He called Evan
and went down to help defeat the demonic invasion going on. The
people were staring at them oddly but the demons were still marching
on. Evan and the team got there and took on the demons. Then
SHIELD got there. And stared stupidly at the demons.
Xander looked over at Agent Hill. "Do you think maybe you guys should do more than stand there?" he suggested loudly.
She nodded. "This wasn't showing up before."
"Unless they've done something to the satellites, and most demons aren't
that technological, or the people down there that don't really seem to
see them..... which would be magical and a lot of demons like that
plan....." She called in troops to clear the civilians giving them
odd looks. One of the agents accidentally stumbled over the
shielding device and broke it. Then the civilians ran.
Police showed up. Agents showed up to help. Watchers didn't
show up but yay. Xander was still going. They had to get
that portal closed. "John, I need a head's-up on the portal
maker," he called over their comm. "I'm not sure how they're doing
"Trying," he grunted.
Anthony showed up and jumped in, shaking his head. "Mother
fuckers," he muttered, making Dean grin at him. He finally made it
to the portal and looked. "Xander, it's mechanical too."
Xander considered it. "Blow it!"
"Its on the other side," he said.
"Yank it and blow it?"
"Can't. Non-permeable this direction."
Xander considered it, calling magic to blast the portal open. That
let Tony grab the machine and break it with a war hammer like
Thor's. The machine broke and the portal flashed out, knocking
most everyone down. Xander got up, holding his stomach but he had a
job to do. He kept firing until he couldn't because the blood
loss from the internal bleeding made him pass out.
Hill was the next one up and saw Xander wobbling, calling in to get him
some help while the second wave of officers and agents moved in to take
out the rest of the demons. She was holding her chest because the
flare of power had broken a few ribs. It had felt like she had
been hit by a semi in the chest.
Natasha looked around. "Xander!" she called. She scanned his
last location, no sign of him. An agent came toward her.
"Our archer! Find him!"
"He passed out, we're getting someone up onto that roof to gather him
for treatment," the agent said calmly. "Who're you with, Ducks?"
She looked at him. "SHIELD."
"Okay. Let's get everyone back to a hospital for treatment then
your people can come gather you." She nodded, wincing and holding
her side as she tried to move. "We noticed." He helped her
off. The others were in various states of trying to come
around. They got them evacuated. The archer that had managed
a few more shots was found passed out and taken to surgery as soon as
the helicopter landed. The agent took over control of the scene
and got it cleaned up. They had agents who had sounded American,
which was nice of them. They had an Iron Man that wasn't Stark,
but they had all seen why. Which meant that some of them were
probably kids. That made the agent in charge a bit pissed off that
an American agency had allowed kids.
He hoped someone knew how to get whoever was in the armor out. They couldn't, it was password sealed.
Coulson got beamed to the hospital, getting glared at by Fury.
"I'm just glad Xander spotted it through the shields," he said. He
walked over to look at the kids. He tapped the armor.
"JARVIS, it's Coulson. Let Evan out, he's injured."
"I've been keeping pressure on the two broken ribs and arm he has," the
AI said. He opened the suit up for the waiting nurses. "I've
got lights shining on them. His blood pressure is stable at the
moment and he's still unconscious. I don't know why."
"We'll figure it out," the nurse said, glancing at Coulson. "He's how old?"
"Seventeen and he volunteered," he sighed, looking at her. "Or
else I wouldn't have allowed it." She nodded, taking him off to be
x-rayed. He looked around, spotting the others. "Where's
"Surgery. The magic was drawn to him and made a mess of his chest
cavity," Fury said quietly. He patted his best agent on the back,
making Coulson look at him. "He did a brave yet stupid
thing. He's really a Barton." Coulson scowled, a full scowl
not one of his agent-half-expressions. "The Brits want a few
Coulson walked off to give it to them since Fury wasn't about to.
He found the agents hovering around Natasha, who was healing nicely
"Slightly. They won't tell me how Xander is."
"Fury said he's still in surgery." She said something rude in
Russian and Coulson nodded. "Could be." He looked at the
agents. "I'm Agent Coulson with SHIELD. The children are
under my protection while they finish growing up. The ones at the
battle were all volunteers who would've done it without permission if I
had said no. They're the children of the Avengers," he said more
quietly. "Or a few deaged ones," he said with a point at Natasha.
"That explains a lot," the agent in charge decided. "That archer?"
"Xander Barton. Hawkeye's son. Evan, in Iron Man's suit, is
his other son." He looked around, spotting Clint, who was on an IV
drip. He looked at the tags, four of them. "Keeping him
"He had a pretty bad reaction to the trauma and had some surgery," one
of the agents said. "Then he threw a fit so they knocked him
"He's worried about his kids," Coulson said with a nod. "I'm just glad we could get these two up closer to a normal age."
"Does your agency usually take in underage people?"
"Not usually but Hawkeye came to us at seventeen. The children are
being kept separate from SHIELD but a few have volunteered to take over
their parents' places. Xander being a notable one. They're
not part of SHIELD, but they're filling in."
"That makes a tiny bit of sense."
"If I had a way around it, I wouldn't have let them into the field," Coulson said. "I tried to talk them out of it."
That got a nod. "We understand that real well," one of the older
agents in the group admitted. "I've tried to talk each and every
recruitment class out of being agents. Only works part of the
time. Sometimes they feel they have the duty."
"Which the kids do," Phil agreed with a slight sigh at the end. He spotted Xander, walking over to him. "How is he?"
"Are you his parent, sir?" the nurse asked.
"No, his parent is Clint Barton," he said with a point at his bed.
"I'm Agent Barton's handler." She gaped. "How is he?"
"Fixed up but he's lost some blood. We've given him a lot and he
should be fine, just really nasty feeling for the next month or so."
"I'll try to make him rest. He's not the sort of guy to lay down
on the couch and whine," he said at her odd look. "I pulled him
from the field four different times over one broken wrist and he kept
"I know that sort. We'll keep him knocked out for a few days
then." She smiled. "Is his father...." Coulson pointed
"No. Long story but higher ups with an idea of future heros. Which was what we got when they got deaged."
"That's nasty. Americans do that?"
"No, the higher ups are international and over a few bad agencies."
"Ah, those sort. Okay." They got Xander into bed and hooked
back up to his IV and blood drip. "Let him nap, guys." They
walked off so he could nap. She checked the other post-surgical
people. Agent Hill was doing nicely. Her ribs had to be
wired back together. The other minor injuries were looking like
Coulson walked over to where Clint was trying to wake up.
"Xander's fine," he said quietly next to his ear. "Evan's back
with a few casts and he's fine too, Barton. Rest. They need
you to get better faster so you can nag the boys into resting."
Clint nodded and let himself fall back under the medicine's spell
again. He walked out to the meeting of agents. "Xander's
okay and they said it'd probably be a month."
Fury nodded. "We can do without them I hope. Our agents?"
"Agent Barton's back under sedation. Agent Romanoff's picking at
some of her stitches," he said with a point. "Agent Hill looks
like a mummy around her chest," he said, glancing around. "The
others look like they have minor broken and bruised places, Director."
"They look like they'll heal with a lot of bed rest. We do have
the infirmary on the island so I'll be moving most of them there once
they're discharged." The agents stared at him. He shrugged
slightly. "The kids are in a safety fall-back spot. We have
an infirmary staffed with non-human help at the moment. They might
be able to keep Xander in bed. Or Clint." He grimaced.
Fury laughed. "Last time we had Barton in the infirmary, he snuck
out and hid in the ceiling for ten days until he felt better.
Which still wasn't fully healed but enough for him."
"Last time I made Xander stay in the infirmary I had to take him out of
the field four times for a broken wrist," Coulson said dryly. "Did
you get the updated files he's sent us?"
"I have. Saved us a shitload of work by him dating." He
looked at the other agents. "You find out why the Council people
didn't show up?"
"They claimed they weren't slayers and therefore couldn't do it," one said.
Coulson snorted. "They're trained in combat tactics and swordwork at the very least if they're going to a slayer's side."
"We pointed that out. They said it wasn't their job. They
were to stay in the shadows. I'm pretty sure the higher ups are
going to nibble on them for tea." He smiled. "The kids?"
"They volunteered. They're all over sixteen. They're all
trained. Half the time they snuck off if we didn't go with them to
run field missions."
"Saw a few of those," the oldest agent admitted. He ran a hand
over his gray hair. "They're hell of kids." Coulson nodded
with a slight smile. "Drive you nuts probably." That got a
nod from Fury. "I'd have expected complaining parents."
"They're the kids of the Avengers that the higher ups had made in a
lab," Fury said dryly. "Their parents are either still shrunk or
"That was nasty business. That archer?"
"Which archer?" Coulson asked.
"The dark haired bastard who fought with the nurses. Seemed to think he was being captured by hostiles."
"Knowing Xander, he might've had a flashback," Fury said.
"Or he senses that one of the staff was half-demon or something," Coulson said. "He can sense them."
"Oh." He nodded. "That could be, yeah. He good?"
"They said a month and he would be."
"Good luck keeping him down." Coulson nodded and pointed at
Clint's bed. Which was empty. They checked. Clint had
walked his IV stand up to Xander's cubby to sit beside him. They
had nice arranged it so Evan was next to him so he was between the
boys. Natasha had moved herself up there to sit near Dean and
Ianto. Coulson looked, spotting Rodney beaming in with
Bruce. The agents watched Rodney have a meltdown on John, who was
up the row looking at his stitches. "Lovers?"
"Best friends. John's with Evan," Coulson said, heading that
way. "Rodney, I'm fairly certain that the rest of them need to
rest," he said firmly. "Bitch later."
"Fine. Whatever!" He looked around, spotting Xander. "What happened to him?"
"The same wave of magic that knocked us down got him," John said
sarcastically. "It pretty well turned his insides to mush."
He looked at Phil. "Can't you send Rodney home?"
Rodney huffed and glared at him. "I thought I might revive my old
habit of sitting beside your infirmary bed after you did something
blatantly stupidly heroic," he said coldly. "I see I'm not
John pulled him closer. "I still need you to do that, but not
right now at that level, Rodney. Xander's sedated.
Clint's sedated. Evan's sedated. Bitch later. When
we're awake to hear it?" Rodney grimaced but nodded, sitting down
next to him. "Thanks." He grinned and relaxed. "Anyone
taking bets on how long it takes Xander to escape this time?"
"No, we'll be keeping him sedated for a few days," Coulson assured
him. "Then we'll take bets." He looked at Ianto. "You
okay?" he asked quietly.
"I'm fine. Bit banged up but I've had worse, Da."
Phil patted his foot with a smile. "You did good." Ianto
smiled back and shifted to curl up on his side. Phil tucked him in
and went back to the meeting.
"Yours?" the agent in charge asked.
Phil nodded. "I've been letting him do handler things in the field
when we needed another hand. He's got a light touch." He
looked at the others then at Fury. "We'll bring the kids home once
they say we can and they're stable, sir."
"We can bring them to the hell carrier."
"No, sir. Because that would probably bother Xander. I don't
want him to freak out and try to teleport in his condition."
"Good point. Dr. Banner, how do you want to move them?"
"Stark's got our infirmary set up for most of them. The nurses
said they'll be able to leave tomorrow for the most part. Xander
might have a few extra days with a few of the agents unless they can
prove we have a good medical care facility set up. I'm having
Spenser send me film of it to prove it to them. Then we'll beam
them directly back and into beds. Yours, outside of Hill, can go
tonight to your infirmary, Director. She'll need the extra care
for a few days. Apparently the wave got stronger as it arched up
and they were the only ones up high."
"They were," Coulson agreed. "Thank you."
"Welcome." His phone beeped so he pulled a nurse aside to show her
what they had in the infirmary. They allowed everyone but Xander
to go home then. Not enough beds for him to have one.
Natasha protested but she'd get out in the morning to make room for him.
John looked at Clint since he was complaining. "I'll sit with him,
Clint." Clint glared at him. "I can stay." He still
"Go sit with your mate. I'll stay. They give out better drugs than SHIELD's infirmary."
The nurse smiled at John. "You're healing very fast so you could
probably be released tonight." She looked at Clint. "You
need to be in a bed."
"When they take the others back, I'll get the bed across from him."
"Fine." She smiled. "As long as you stay in it."
"Unless my son has nightmares, yeah." He grinned.
She blinked. "How...."
"Lab. I'm presently not my right age."
"I saw that nasty mess. Then you're an Avenger?"
"Hawkeye. This one and that one are my sons," he said with a point at Evan.
"I've already had the armor sent back," Bruce said, walking over.
"Ianto, you and Natasha are the first to go." He nodded, getting
up with a moan and grabbing his clothes. They got beamed
off. The live feed from his camera phone showed them in
"Thank you for fussing," Dean moaned as he sat up, holding his
side. He used to have an appendix there. He got beamed home
and put into bed.
"John, head to stare at Evan," Phil ordered. "Take Rodney with you
so he can hover over his friends." John nodded, going back via
the beaming satellite. "Barton, find a comfortable bed." He
climbed up into Ianto's bed to rest. He smiled at him.
"Thank you for being reasonable."
"If I'm not here, some of his dates may show up to baby him," Clint said
dryly. He got comfortable and stared at his son until he did
something to show he was waking up.
"We have him sedated," the nurse reminded him. "We have him on
better medicine than you're on, dear." She tucked Clint in and
smiled. "Dinner's in a bit. Want chicken or beef broth?"
"Beef please. If he's awake, he likes chicken more," he said quietly.
"I can do that." She patted his foot and walked off to check the
others. Coulson got their beaming satellite to move them to the
SHIELD infirmary. That left Hill and one other agent that had new
pins in his leg and was in traction. They'd bring him later after
they had some set up for him.
Phil came in to sit with Clint and Xander. Clint decided to move
to the bed beside Xander and Phil smiled, helping him get comfortable
again. He had a live feed into the infirmary at home.
Natasha showed up at dawn with food for their people and a suit bag for
Phil. "Here, change, eat, go sit with your son. I'll guard
them. I'm in good enough shape." Phil nodded, doing that so
he could go hover over his son. She settled in with her e-reader
and opened her latest book to read. Clint made an inquisitive
noise. "Bacon and egg biscuit." He groaned as he flipped
over to grab it.
"He shouldn't have something that solid yet," the nurse said.
Clint looked at her. "I'll eat it real slowly." He dug in,
glancing at Xander. Who was still sedated by the medicine tags on
his IV bag. Someone had a very liberal hand with the drugs in
Xander's case. "He better?"
"He's showing good signs. No sign of infection. He tried to
wake up a few times but the older gentleman helped him go back to
sleep." She smiled at him. "Want some tea?"
Clint smiled. "Please. Milk and sugar?" She nodded,
going to get him some. When she came back he took the mug.
"Thanks. Xander's a hard core caffeine addict in the
morning. Usually soda."
"We can handle that." She patted his foot again. "Rest and you can go home today."
"Not until my kid's out of here."
"That's fine. You can both go home as long as your infirmary is
set up to handle his care." She checked on the two agents who were
still there, both sedated to lower their complaining. Agent Hill
looked excellent and the other one looked like he wanted to pout like a
toddler. That was about usual for agents in their hospital though.
Clint finished breakfast and made himself sit up to watch his son some more. "Any sign of his dates?"
"Three. Coulson told them it'd be a month before he was allowed
off the couch so they left cards. We had an open feed on here for
him with Ianto." Natasha looked at him. "He was sleeping
with those two ninjas?"
"Yeah, I broke into their night with him." He finished his tea and put the mug aside.
"Interesting." She settled in. Clint got up and stretched
then laid back down. "They're setting up to deal with his more
serious injuries as soon as they can get Evan out of the bed. His
few internal bruises aren't bad and he's been grumpy all morning with
the AI nurse."
"That's what I'd do too," Clint said. "Or escape like Xander will
be when he gets up." She smiled at him for that. They
waited and watched while a few more of Xander's suitors snuck in to
check on him. Assassins were usually some of the least fussy
people on the planet, but Xander apparently brought that out in a lot of
them. He did in Clint and Natasha. Then again, he was
Clint's son and just like him.
Hopefully the next go-round would be easier on the kid and he'd finally
find a real, true, tossing him onto the bed to make him squeal often
mate. Until then, they guessed assassins would have to do.
Dean Odinson (thor's son)
Spenser and Greg Silvertongue (Loki's sons)
Xander and Evan Barton
Don - Antonia Odinson (Thor's daughter)
Ray K - Jeremy Fury (nick fury/agent j)
Tony - godly - Asgardian warrior's son.
John - godly - son of Strife.
Sam - still as Jack HarknessFrom: "readergirl1013"
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