Family of Old Ones, New and Old.
Tony walked up to Natasha at HQ and yanked a few hairs, making her turn
and scowl. "Checking to make sure they only got Dawn." She
groaned but nodded. He went to run it in the labs there.
Bruce was there and he missed his science buddy. He grabbed a
testing bottle and put it under the machine then looked at Bruce.
"Someone changed the birth control shots at the tower's infirmary to a
cocktail of fertility drugs."
"Does that mean I'm getting grandchildren?" he asked, looking over with a slight grin.
"Don't think so. Dr. Pigalli told Barton to buy the really thick condoms."
"I'm sure they have some somewhere." He got back to work but he was smiling. "Bored?"
"Yup. I made JARVIS and Atlantis those little rolling modem boxes
and they're presently in the lab chatting. It's almost too sugary
"Remember to brush your teeth after each sugary treat," Joyce said as
she walked in and hugged Tony then her husband. "Lunch?"
"Later, dear. Let me let Tony vent a bit." He smiled.
"Are we going out to dinner tonight?" She blushed but
nodded. He took a kiss and grinned. "Good. Go borrow
something from Dawn?" She giggled but swatted him before walking
out. He looked at Tony, who was staring at him. "I figured
you wanted help," he said quietly.
"I do. I have no idea how it got there. Dr. Pigalli can't
figure out how it got there. I have to find out who did it and I
can't have JARVIS do some of the hacking because they're chatting."
"I think it's sweet that they're in gooey minded crushy love," Bruce
teased with a smirk. "Atlantis and JARVIS both deserve the best
AI's they can find to be their lovers."
"They do, yeah, but he was writing poetry. Or finding her poetry
examples to compare against earlier. Callia was helping by reading
some of it for him."
Tony nodded. "Definitely." The machine beeped and he pulled
out the results. "None in Natasha's hair," he said.
"That's an indication it's not the one from last time."
"So not the Russians probably." They got to work finding it and
while they were looking papers mysteriously appeared on the table.
They looked them over. "England," Tony said.
"Charming. We should have tea with them." They shifted their
looking and Tony was working on a side project to find something to
remove fertility medicine from a body quickly. They found out who
had done it. About a minute later, Maria Hill walked in.
"You're late," Bruce teased.
"My line was busy so Coulson had to try twice." She looked at the
information. "No way in hell they're getting to knock her
up. Barton and Romanoff said that's their jobs."
"I'm wondering if the choker can do that," Tony said, calling
Dawn. "It's me. England. Can the choker work well
enough to make someone fully male? Like if you guys were playing
she could knock you up?" He listened. "Huh. Okay, good
to know. Thanks." He hung up. Hill pinched him when
he didn't immediately give over information. He smirked.
"She's not sure. No one's ever tried it that way but the original
one did get pregnant thanks to a fertility spell that Janus put on his
choker. Which is in the safe as well." He stared at her.
She smiled. "Thank you." She left, going to assign people to
investigate that group in England. Romanoff took it but she took
it back. "You're personally involved."
"Fine." She stared at her. "I'll be kept informed?"
"Yes you will. Dawn as well." Natasha smirked. "She's at work. Stark's in the labs."
"I figured as much." She went down there, walking in and blatantly looking at the test result.
"None in your hair from any of it, even though you come to the infirmary
for shots," Tony said, looking at her. "So not your former bosses
"That is very good to know," she said. She looked at Bruce. "Joyce looks sad?"
"She's got a scan next week. She's had a few side effects from the
medicine that are worrying her. Things like forgetfulness and a
bit of appetite loss."
"That's understandable. We think Buffy will be going soon."
"Why?" Tony asked. "Did Dawn do a telling spell or something?"
"No, when she was about to have Sean, Dawn started to mysteriously
lactate. It stopped a few days after she delivered him. She
thinks it's the Key offering to take over for what the Slayer
inheritance won't let her sister do. Last night, she was lactating
"Okay," Tony said, calling down there. "Buffy, Tony Stark.
Dawn thinks you're going to go soon. So make any prep things
today. Probably within days." He looked at Natasha, who
nodded. "No, she's lactating. Yeah, like last time. So
I'd be careful and maybe have a check up. Today. Good
luck." He hung up. "Thank you. Hylal will go full on
grief if he loses his other girls," he said quietly.
"As would the mother." She left, going to talk to Dawn. Who
was calling her sister to talk about that. She realized Buffy was
starting into labor again and sent her to the ER immediately.
Natasha sighed and nodded when Dawn said they might have to go down that
weekend instead of going somewhere nicer. They could visit the
hellmouth for a few days.
Clint could get in plenty of bow practice shooting vampires.
Buffy called up Joyce that night, sniffling and crying. "Mom?"
"Buffy, what's wrong?" she asked. "Is everyone all right?"
"They came too early. They just took the twins to NICU." She blew her nose. "Hylal is following them."
"We'll be down this weekend, Buffy. Dawn and I both."
"Thanks, Mom. I could use a hug. So could Hylal."
"We'll be there and help with Sean too."
She sighed. "I forgot about him. I think he's here.
Sean?" They heard the giggle and she sighed. "I totally
"Buffy, you just delivered your twins a month early," she said.
"You had a better excuse for forgetting where he was than the guy that
left the kid in the car when he went to work." She laughed but it
sounded tired. "I'll be down as soon as I can, dear. You try
to rest. Snuggle Sean and Hylal." She hung up and looked at
"I have nothing important to do," he said, feeding her a bite of dessert.
She smiled and texted Maria and Fury. She got back a 'go' from
Fury. She smiled at the well wishes from Tara and Maria.
"Tonight if we can book a flight. If not, definitely tomorrow
morning." She texted Dawn, who sent back a confirmation email from
a travel site. "Tonight," he said. They finished dessert,
went home to pack, and then made the flight. It was only an hour
and a half to Cleveland. Joyce was tense the whole time but he
could understand that. He was too.
Clint walked up to an agent he tolerated on Friday afternoon. "Want to watch the family pussy?" he asked.
The agent, who knew that Clint Barton was a horrible asshole and he
occasionally made dirty puns, quirked up an eyebrow. "Sure, which
woman are you willing to hand over?" He got handed the cat.
"Oh, that one."
"Buffy delivered early so we're going to Cleveland for the weekend." He handed over a bag of supplies.
"Sure, I'll Loki sit," he said, petting the cat. He'd heard rumors
about him. The cat looked up at him. "Your humans have to
visit their littermates." He walked off petting the cat.
Fury passed him in the hallway. "Another socialite get caught doing stupid things?" he asked.
"No, sir. It's the Barton family cat. They're going to Cleveland for the weekend."
Fury shook his head. "Don't let it run around."
"I'll try really hard, sir." He got the cat to the office he
shared. His officemate sneezed but leaned down to pet the
cat. Who huffed but allowed the proper worship. He closed
the door and checked the bag. "That's Loki Barton."
"He's adorable. I heard Captain Rogers found him on the fire escape."
"Clearly they like him." He got some water for the cat to lap at
and put out a handful of food on the rug. The disposable litterbox
got put down too. The cat arched up into the petting hand then
hopped up onto the desk and from there onto the filing cabinets, then
onto the light fixture. Then from there to the other filing
cabinets that were blocked by the other desk. He turned around and
laid down to watch them work. Both agents stared at him.
"No wonder they called you by his name."
The first agent nodded. "I've heard rumors that it stared a
lot. There's others that said it was trying to make Stark's new
almost-daughter his willing slave too." He settled in to get to
work. His fellow agent did the same thing and they could put up
with the cat staring at them for a while.
Dawn walked into Buffy's hospital room and picked up Sean with a groan. "You're so huge," she told him.
He hugged her. "Aut aut!"
"Yup, it's Auntie Dawn." She kissed him on the head. "Did
Grandma bring you today?" He babbled and patted her then smiled at
Clint and reached for him.
Clint took him. "You are huge, Sean." He let the baby pat
and babble at him, grinning at him. "You're a good boy."
Sean beamed and patted him harder then blew kisses at Natasha while
giggling. She smiled and patted him on the head. He grabbed
her hand to cuddle but stayed with Clint. "You have excellent
taste," he told the baby.
"He does," Buffy agreed, staring at them. "Mom's coming back in a
while so we can go home and come back to visit the twins."
"Sure," Dawn agreed. "Let's go check on them." Buffy grinned
and got the nurse to call up there. The nurse stared at her
oddly. "Buffy's my sister and her first child, Callia, was born
nearly two months early. I've been in a NICU before." The
nurse nodded, taking them up there. She smiled at Hylal, giving
him a hug. "Hey."
"They will be fine," he said firmly.
She checked and nodded. "They should be. This one's a bit
weaker but I'm pretty sure they can cure that, Hylal." He relaxed
and nodded. "I'll ask Xander if he can look up healing spells, or
Tara and the coven." He nodded. She patted him. "Hey,
nieces," she cooed, smoothing down their blankets. "Such pretty
little girls, and almost normal sized." Hylal laughed. "It's
all good, girls. You'll be strong, active little girls who run
your brother over all the time."
Clint kept the baby from diving down. "You can look but can't
touch, Sean." He looked at him then at the babies, pointing and
grunting. Hylal took him so he could pet his sister on the hand,
making the baby grin. "You're very gentle."
"He's a good big brother," Dawn assured him, smiling at Clint.
"Callia will go nuts asking questions since she started out in one of
these at UCLA."
"Her mother had another early term pregnancy?" the nurse watching them asked.
"Um, no. Buffy had gotten kidnaped and the person was taking
Callia out nearly two months early. It was the same people who
knocked her up though. She got rescued as they were prepping her
for the c-section and had given her enough of the drugs to put her into
labor that couldn't be stopped."
"Oh, that's sad. Is she all right?"
"She's just wonderful. A warped little genius but she's
great." Dawn smiled. "I've hung out with her a lot since her
daddy has custody due to Mom's job." She patted the baby that
Sean wasn't. "There we go. Is she bleeding?"
The nurse slowly shook her head. "Why would you think that?"
Dawn pulled her over and flashed what she was feeling over.
"Oh! You're her."
Dawn smiled. "I am. Buffy's my big sister. Is there anything we can do?"
"We might need some blood to transfuse. Let me get the doctor in here to look at her, Miss Summers."
"Thanks. Though, it's Mrs but it's all good." Hylal looked at her. "I'm not hiding it this weekend."
He smiled. "Good. It does your relationship good not to hide such
things." He handed her Sean. Who wanted Clint again.
He took the baby and it was better. The doctor came in.
"This is my sister-in-law Dawn. She noticed an issue."
"So the nurse said." Dawn showed him. "Hmm. We can
check that easily enough." He got the hand-held ultrasound machine
and used it. "There is a small perforation. It looks like
it never sealed. We can keep track of that. I'm not seeing
any bleeding but we'll be keeping a closer eye on that as well."
He looked at her. "Are you allowed to donate blood?"
"Yes, I am. I'm O-negative."
"We need some of yours."
"Granted," she said, taking off her jacket and rolling up her
sleeve. The nurse got what she needed and took it to store.
"Take more if you need it. We're on vacation this weekend."
The doctor smiled. "We'll call if we need more." Dawn
nodded, smiling at him. "The nurse said she had another preterm?"
"Due to kidnaping. She's fine. Callia's a little
sweetheart. Genius all the way and one highly overprotective big
"Wonderful. How early?"
"Nearly two full months. She was in UCLA at the time."
"Even better. So you know the precautions." Dawn nodded. "We've explained them to your sister."
"Buffy hates to hear depressing stuff. She gets enough of it in her job."
"I understand fully. Take the dad and big brother home for a while. They could all use some rest."
"I can do that." She looked at Hylal. "C'mon. Buffy's getting to go home today."
"They can't come?" he asked.
"Nope, sorry," Dawn said, squeezing his hand. "They need the
special care for at least a few more days, maybe even a few weeks.
You can come back and visit most of the time, but you still need to
take care of yourself and Buffy, big guy. Mom's coming to watch
Hylal ran a hand over his bound hair. "I understand. I will shower, eat, and get some rest then return."
"That's what we want and expect," the nurse said with a smile for
him. "At least one leaving a day so you can do all that."
"Aye, it does me no good to wear myself out." He let Dawn walk him
out, nodding at Natasha. "You are most lucky to have Dawn."
"We are," she agreed, patting him on the arm. "It will be fine and the babies will be fine."
He smiled. "I hope so. I could not take another loss like that."
Dawn gave his arm a squeeze. "If we can we'll make sure they'll be
happy, healthy little hellions who dick tease the same way I do."
He looked at her. "Mayhap I'll bring them home so they wear proper
clothes and tempt men to imagine things instead of tempting them to
She smiled. "Some day they'll have someone who wants to touch them to."
"Yes but I'll make sure they're well threatened first." He walked
into Buffy's room, picking her up to hug her. "Diana has a small
problem with her stomach that Dawn found."
"Small perf," Dawn said. "The docs found it, they're watching it. Not like she's on food anyway."
Buffy nodded. "We can handle that." She smiled. "Sean, you look very comfy."
Sean beamed and patted Clint. "Mine!"
"For this weekend I can be yours," Clint promised. Sean cuddled in
again, falling asleep on his shoulder. Buffy grinned. "Your
"I called when we got here and she said she's on her way over to watch
Artemis and Diana while we get Buffy and everyone home," Dawn
said. Buffy grinned and nodded, getting a nurse to sign her
out. They got the family home and settled into bed. Sean
curled up next to his mother to help her nap. Hylal showered then
laid down on Sean's other side to do the same thing.
He wrapped them both in his arms and pulled them against him. Dawn
tucked them in. "I'll go make a dinner that can be eaten cold,
guys." Buffy smiled and yawned. Dawn went down to do that
and do some cleaning too. Not like anyone had really cared about
cleaning the house. Clint shot a mouse, making Buffy call.
"Just a mouse."
Dawn kissed each of her spouses and grinned. "Let's make them
dinner?" They nodded and did that then went to sit in their room
and check in with Phil, Tony, and Callia, who was demanding pictures.
Callia walked into her father's lab, staring at him. "Daddy, we need to have Sean."
"Why?" he asked, looking at her. "He's okay."
"New sissies are sick like I was when I was born. Sean's not going
to get any mommy time while they're taking care of her in the
hospital. We can do that. I can help Sean."
He considered it. "Your nanny might mind."
"Then she's not a good woman," she said simply, staring at him. "Family is very important."
"It is." He picked her up to cuddle her. "We can watch Sean for a few weeks if his mom will allow it."
She leaned down to grab his cellphone and called. "Auntie Dawn, Sean's coming to spend time with me."
"I'll ask Buffy for you when she wakes up," Clint said. "Right now she's finally resting and so is Hylal."
"That way she can concentrate on the new sissies and Sean doesn't get forgotten."
"She's not forgetting about him," Dawn said. "She's still taking care of Sean, Callia."
"So?" she snorted. "It's better if Sean comes up here. That
way she can concentrate on helping new sissies. Auntie Pepper said
that Daddy didn't leave hospital hardly at all when I was in there."
"He didn't," Dawn agreed. "When he wasn't there, I was. I'll ask your mom when she wakes up."
"Thank you. Send my kissies and lovies."
"I will," Dawn promised. "Have a good night, Callia." She hung up.
Callia looked at her father. "Sean needs lovies in case they get more sick," she said quietly.
"I'm pretty sure they're going to be okay. The doctors are very
good and if they can't, we'll move them up here or to LA, where you
She smiled. "That could be nice." She snuggled into his shoulder. "Why is Uncle Steve not here?"
"He's at work, sweetheart. Sometimes that means he's got to go out of town."
She pulled her head back up to look at him. "If he's getting into
battles without you, I'm going to kick Nick Fury on the ankle and make
him sorry." She put her head back down and snuggled in. "We
need to bring Liz back too."
"You see Liz every day when she comes in with Pepper," he said patiently.
"That's up to Pepper."
"Again, so?" He poked her. She kissed him on the neck.
"We need them, Daddy. They make us happy and sane."
"They do." He gave her a squeeze. "Want put down?"
"Hell no!" She wiggled free and ran off.
"No swearing," he warned.
She cackled then grinned at him from the door. "I'm going to work
on an automatic cradle that will make the twins feel special." She
ran off to the garage to look at the cars. They gave her great
Tony smiled. His daughter was so great. She came up with a
rocket-powered, self rocking cradle system that she wanted him to see a
few hours later. He called down Pepper and Liz to help him break a
few ideas down. She needed gentle correction and he wasn't the
best at that. Any more than Rodney was really.
Pepper looked it over. "It's a bit strong, Callia. You need
it to rock gently and almost no motion, not huge motions like rockets
would do. Think about it like hot air balloons, a small jet of air
to move it, not a huge one to throw it against a wall." She
pointed. "And it needs to be longer."
Callia looked then at her father. "I would've suggested jets like submarines use to turn. Tiny bubbles of air."
She frowned. "Can you do that on land?"
Tony nodded, mocking one up on the projection so she could see.
"Like that." He set it in motion and she gaped in awe. He
grinned. "Now, longer and a bit wider would help, and that would
depend on how much air was released."
"Huh. I didn't think about that."
"Force always has to be considered," Tony said. "Because you have
to be able to counteract the force or you run into inertia, which says
that anything in motion will keep going until it hits a wall too hard."
"Okay," she said, nodding. She looked at her design, taking the
eraser from her father to rework that. "How much force would it
"Go get the bassinet and see how much of a push it takes," Pepper
said. "I have Liz so you can't hurt her." She ran up to the
office to look at that. She smiled at Tony. "How's Buffy's
two new ones?"
"Mostly okay. A bit ill. Callia demanded we have Sean."
"That's very sweet of her."
"It is," he agreed, grinning. "If Buffy will okay it, I don't mind."
"Good." Callia came running back and redesigned it to have a hand
that gave a nudge thanks to an air-pressure system. It worked
better and kept the bassinet from tipping over. Tony had JARVIS
put the first one in production so she could test the prototype.
"You two have fun testing the prototype, guys. Liz and I are going
home. I'll check on it tomorrow, Callia."
"Okay, Auntie." She kissed her and Liz. "Nighty night,
Lizzy." She ran over to get it out of the machine from JARVIS then
came to get a baby doll to test it with. She ran the first one
and had some help adjusting the pressure lines since the doll went
flying. The next one was better. "It makes farty noises."
"I've seen one that's like the swings we got your aunt. It makes clicking ones. Yours is quieter."
She grinned. "Good. Still too strong?"
"Probably, yes." They adjusted it down so it barely moved the
cradle, just enough to rock it. She did a happy dance. He
smiled and had to burst her bubble. "Now we have to look to see if
it's practical to make. Because if it costs too much, people
won't buy it."
She pouted. "Really?" He nodded. "How do we do that?"
"We figure up the material costs," he said, pulling her into his lap to
go over that side of the family business. Pepper was better at it
but Callia had learned some of this from her aunt. He showed her
how to look up parts and materials so she could add up how much each one
cost to make then showed her how to figure up the manpower costs to
make something. It was actually pretty inexpensive. "We'll
show it off at the meeting tomorrow," he told her, smiling. "See
if they have any ideas about it, and if they do we'll work on that."
"Cool!" She hugged him. "Thank you, Daddy."
"You're welcome. It's great that you like to invent too."
She grinned. "I told MB about the nail polish idea and about
having girl clothes that don't hurt since she said bras hurt a
lot. Andrew agreed that they needed to make girl clothes that
didn't hurt and were still supportive. I don't know why."
He smiled. "I do and they could. Women would love for them
to be more comfortable." She grinned. He carried her into
the bedroom so she could go to bed. "Do your pets. You
nearly forgot." She got down to clean the litter boxes and feed
them, refilling water bottles while brushing her teeth. Then she
climbed back into bed and snuggled in. He settled in beside her to
read to her because she still liked him to. You had to cherish
these moments while they were still little.
Dawn walked in Monday with Sean and his bag. "Sorry I'm a bit
late. There were stupid humans at the airport who mobbed the two
Avengers." Tony shuddered. "Not even reporters. Normal
people. One wanted her to get a jumper down."
"That's not who I'd want to talk me down but I'm sure she could do it. Hi, Sean." He took him to hold.
"Hi!" He beamed at the others in the room. "Hi!"
"Hi," one said with a smile and a wave. "Are you adopting, Miss Summers?"
"No, this is my sister's first child. Her twins were born premmie so we're watching him."
"Aww, that's sweet of you."
"I'm watching him. He's my baby brother," Callia said dryly.
"Though he is sweet. He used to nibble on my fingers all the
time." She smiled. "Sit, Auntie." She sat down.
"Is it my turn yet?"
"It's your turn," one of them said. "That way we can talk about
whatever you came up with." Callia ran out and pushed the cradle
in there. "That's pretty but wicker for a baby basket?"
"It's only for the demonstration," Tony told her. "The machine
part is separate." Callia turned it on and put in a babydoll,
letting it rock. "It's her first full design on her own."
"Babies need rocked to be comforting." She let them come see
it. "I wanted it to be rocket powered at first but Daddy and I
talked about force and how the baby would hit a wall really hard if I
did that. Then Auntie Pepper suggested an air system and Daddy
agreed. We can sell the units to put onto any cradle already
made." She showed them how it went together. "This is
adjustable so you can make it a harder swing or not."
"That might get too hard," Dawn said.
Callia smiled. "Then you move the little level thingy down."
"It wouldn't be that hard to draw a line for the suggested rates," one of them said.
"What about a foot pump system?" Tony asked. "Where you pump it a
few times to add the air instead of using a compressor or something?"
Callia looked at him. "Would it last long enough?"
"Babies really only need to be rocked for a few minutes until they go to
sleep," he said. "So we probably could." She sat beside her
brother in his lap to work on that.
"There's an upcoming show with baby things," one of the board
said. "I think she should go look there, see if it's something
people would like, and then we'll see what happens."
Tony smiled. "I wasn't aware there was one."
"Pittsburgh," Dawn said. "We're showing off the new radio gear for surveillance and baby monitors."
"We can go to that for one day," he said, looking at Callia, who beamed
back and nodded. "Good. Thanks, guys. Go put it in my
lab so we can work on the foot pedal idea later." She nodded,
taking Sean with a groan. "He can stay," he said.
"I want to cuddle my brother." She let him help her push, mostly
he was just grinning at her but that was okay. Dawn followed and
that was even better.
Tony smiled. "She did design a nice rocket powered one first." He put up that design.
"She's adorable," one of the board said, shaking his head. "Clearly a chip off the old block, Tony."
"Thanks." He grinned. "What other things are we showing off and trying to sell?" he asked Pepper.
She pulled up that list to let them see everything that was going on
soon. Including sales numbers. "That one program being fixed
has meant that the tablet sales are stronger again," Pepper said.
"I still don't like obsolete programs but people seem to cling to that
one." Tony shrugged. "It wasn't that hard to fix.
Their program's a piece of crap though."
"Fortunately the patch is readily available and easily to install,"
Pepper said with a grin. "It won't affect anything else?"
"It does not work against one program," Tony admitted. "That's a
media player that's not set up to work on a tablet anyway, though I've
heard a few geeks like it. They definitely don't have a version
that will work on the Starkpad."
"That's good and we can keep track of that," Pepper decided. The
board members nodded they liked that and the other things were went
over. Callia came running in crying. "What happened?" Pepper
Dawn strolled in with Sean. "The nanny had a fit."
"Why?" Tony asked.
"The mice got out and tried to cuddle her. She stomped one. I
pointed out she knew Callia had pet mice and she got huffy. She
got so huffy she ran off before I turned her into a mouse."
Tony winced. "I'm sorry, Callia, I have no idea why she did that."
She nodded, snuggling into his chest. He soothed her, looking at
Dawn. "We seem to have bad luck with them."
"Her, I think it was drugs. The last set were actually part of one
of the sympathetic churches to the one I'm suing." Pepper
winced. "There's a sermon where they stood up and told everyone
how immoral I am." That got a nod of understanding. "So,
anyway...." She looked at Tony. "I'm not sure how they got
"Roomba likes to play with them," Callia sniffled, looking at her.
"It's possible they were playing." She looked at her father.
"We'll bury that one." She nodded and put her head back down. "Dawn?"
"Finding a tiny box." She handed over Sean, who went to babble at
Pepper and hug her. "He has great taste already." She left
them alone, going to find that tiny box, pick up the remains, and seal
it shut, then find somewhere for the burial. Maybe at the new
building's lot across the street. It still had more dirt than they
did at the tower. She checked and went to find the missing mouse, which
Roomba did have in the lab with the boys. "Guys, need Swiss
there." They handed it back with a grin. "Find us a decent
"Gladly," MB said with a grin. "She yell about the mice playing with Roomba?"
"One tried to cuddle so she stomped it. We're burying Cheddar
later." They nodded they'd help. "Thanks, guys." She
took the mouse back up there and put him back in the cage, making sure
it was going to be okay. She grabbed her jacket and went across
the street to talk to the foreman of the construction site.
"Hey." He jumped and turned to look at her. She
smiled. "We need a tiny spot for a pet mouse burial later
tonight," she said.
"We have a few areas we can do that in. Need the hole dug?"
"I think we can do that. Leave us a shovel?"
"I can do that." He smiled. "Old age?"
"Some women do freak even at the pet mice." She smiled and patted
him on the arm before going back across the street. He assigned
one of his people to dig a hole in the garden area that they'd be
putting in behind the building. They wouldn't have to concrete
over it there.
Just about quitting time, the Starks came over together, with Sean and
Pepper, and Dawn carrying Liz in a snuggler. "Do we need a
preacher?" Callia asked her father.
"Not for a mouse burial. If it was a dog or a cat maybe but not a mouse or a smaller animal."
"If Carrot gets hurt and dies, does he get one?"
"Yeah, we'll get one for Carrot." She smiled and patted the box,
looking sad. Tony nodded at the worker, who pointed at the
hole. "Thanks, guys."
"Thank you," Callia said, giving them a sad smile and a wave. They
interred the box and Tony covered it. Dawn and she put a rock
with a cheese painted on it overtop of it. They had done that
after the meeting to calm down. Tony made sure it was seated well
then they went back to the tower for dinner. The guys all smiled
at the touching gesture. They had thought Stark was an asshole
with grand ideas on a tight schedule. Turned out he was a dad
too. They all decided the small rock marker was a nice touch and
they'd make sure it stayed there. They went home to share that
story with their families that night.
Natasha came off the elevator a few days later at Stark, having to pause
so the kids didn't run her over. "Good morning, John, Melissa,
Carrot, Callia, and Sean."
"Hi!" Sean called, smiling and waving. "Chase!"
"Yes, you are."
"You're supposed to do that in the gym," Dawn called as she walked up the hall after them.
"Going!" Callia promised, taking them down there.
Dawn looked at Natasha. "Yeah, it's one of those days."
"I figured it might be." She smiled. "Are you all right? You had nightmares."
"I did. It's that church thing again." Natasha stared at
her. "That they had taken me hostage and no one liked that.
They had judges in their pockets and things. They said I wrote a
note saying I was coming down there, and no matter how many times I
protested I don't hand-write most things, and proved it wasn't my
handwriting, I was still trapped until I finally had to lose my temper
and blast the whole goddamn courthouse." Natasha shivered.
"Though the judge they had that was one of them kept saying that the
marriage wasn't legal since it wasn't done in the US and that ours
wasn't legal at all."
Natasha sighed. "Your worries come out in strange ways."
"They do. Which is why I let you guys sleep."
Natasha gave her a hug. "It'll be fine." Tony came up the
hall shaking his head. "Are they destroying the gym?"
"Yup. Happy's really amused that Sean pounces. Apparently he
got one of the guards." He went down on the elevator, still
shaking his head.
Dawn grinned. "We need a new nanny."
"If I knew one I would've already suggested her." She stroked her cheek with a smile. "Lunch?"
"I would adore lunch. I'm not due for it for another half-hour though."
"That is fine. I can go talk to Pepper." Dawn grinned and
got back to work while Natasha walked in to talk to Pepper and
Liz. "The children are destroying the gym."
"That's a good place for them to wreck." She smiled. "It's okay, I'm just feeding her."
Natasha shrugged. "It's a natural thing and it's not like I
haven't seen breasts before, Pepper. How are things going
here?" She settled in on the couch.
"It's not bad. Liz hasn't had any problems. Most of the
people in the building coo at her whenever they see her. A few
think she's a germ factory. One of the nurses thinks she's so
adorable she's decided she wants to get pregnant."
Natasha smiled. "That's probably a good thing for the world."
"We think so. She's a really nice lady so she'll probably be a
good mom." She shifted Liz so she could do up that side of the
nursing bra and switch her over. Liz made pouty faces for that
mistreatment but she was happier when she got the other side.
"Other than that, everything's been calm. How are Buffy's twins?"
"They're growing alarmingly fast according to the hospital staff.
They got the records from Sean's birth and said that he was a bit huge
and pudgy but the girls will get to go home soon. The surgery for
her open intestine went well. She's fully healed from it.
Her pediatrician loves the twins, calls them sweet and less cranky than
Sean was." Pepper grinned. "Other than that it's mostly
fine. No major health scares. They're above weight but they
want them to get closer to what Sean was when he was born. They
think the girls would've been about nine pounds each."
"Sean was fourteen?" Pepper asked. Natasha smiled and
nodded. "I can't even imagine. Liz was only six and a half
"Buffy is a strong woman. Thankfully she had the twins by
c-section." Pepper nodded, smiling at the doorway since Tony was
there with Sean. "Did he pounce?"
"A lot. The guard's groaning that Sean killed his back but he
thinks the guard is a half demon. Dawn's talking to him and it'll
be fine." He put the baby down and let him walk over to hug
Natasha, then he walked over to stare at Liz. "She's eating,
Sean. Let her."
"Me no," he said, looking at Tony and shaking his head.
"No, you got a bottle. Your mom couldn't breastfeed. Your
sisters are too." He grinned and patted Liz on the foot, which
made her flinch and fuss but she went back to eating and was
happier. "C'mon, we'll go get lunch ready for the other
kids." Sean ran back to help him with that. He loved to help
in the kitchen.
Dawn smiled and waved. "I'll see you in a few, Sean." She
went back to taking notes. "No, Callia's little brother," she
said. "Buffy just had twins so Callia's babysitting her
brother." She made another note about what the reporter asked and
answered her. It finally got finished and she said a polite 'thank
you' then hung up. She walked the notes into Pepper's office to
give to her. "Woman's Day."
She read it over. "Pretty standard. They didn't ask about me or Liz?"
"They thought you were still on maternity leave but I quipped and said
you and she were here and having the time of your lives teaching Liz how
to be a CEO." She smiled. "They did ask if we had a
lactation room. I said as far as I knew, we didn't have one
because no one had asked. That you just used your office.
That if someone asked, we had a few places we could turn into one easily
"We do at the Malibu lab." She smiled. "The ladies there
decorated it and everything." Dawn grinned back. "Okay,
here, take her." She took Liz while Pepper cleaned herself up and
did back up her nursing bra. Dawn burped Liz like a pro and it was
better. Liz took a nap. Dawn and Natasha went to
lunch. Pepper got back to work and called in the interview she had
scheduled for today. No one was stressing her out at the moment,
which she appreciated.
Halfway through lunch, Dawn's phone beeped. She looked then held
it up for her wife to see. Natasha finished her lunch with a few
bites, took a kiss, and hurried off to change for whatever was going
on. They all kept spare uniforms here at the tower. Dawn
finished and cleaned up, going back up to her desk to see what was going
on. It turned out a demon coming out of the Hudson. She
stared at it, then sent a picture at Buffy, who told her to ask Spike
and to send her son back soon. Dawn asked Spike, who told her what
it was. She relayed that to the team and it got killed within a
few minutes. She also left a note for Tony that Buffy wanted Sean
back soon so to call her.
Tony walked up to Steve at HQ later. "We're going to Cleveland for
four days to drop Sean back at home, let Buffy visit with Callia, and
then to Pittsburgh for a day to look over the baby fair so Callia can
see if her idea has merit for sales."
Steve smiled. "Want a guard to go to Cleveland with you?"
"I should be fine. I'll bring the portable suit with me." He grinned. "Sean's sorry he pounced you."
"He's a strong little boy but he didn't hurt me. I love the little guy."
"Me too," Tony admitted. "So does his sister and Melissa."
He walked off smiling. "Fury, I'm going to be gone for the rest of
the week starting tomorrow," he called into the office. "Hold all
emergencies off." He looked at Maria. "We're going to try
to keep Melissa from going with us to hand Sean back."
She winced. "I'll try to keep her at home tonight."
"Sean's been beaming at her all day long. She's been his personal
teddy bear, his hair petter, and she's made more fuss over him than his
sister does. Callia is very confused why she's got such a crush on
her baby brother."
"He's adorable," Maria said with a smile. "Absolutely adorable."
"He is, yeah." He walked off. "Later."
"Have fun in Cleveland."
"I'll try not to." He went back down to the car and got taken
home. Callia was pouting when he got up to the penthouse.
"We're all going to see your new sisters."
"Oh, I thought I was staying."
"No, you're not staying. How are you going to talk to people about your idea on the way home if you're here?"
"I didn't think about that. Melissa is going to pout."
"She is but I warned Agent Hill."
"Auntie Maria is nice that way." She hugged him with a grin. "He's napping. Can we go play with the cars?"
"We can't leave him up here all by himself. That's not how you babysit. Little kids don't get alone time."
"Has work to do."
"Can we bring him?"
"If it won't wake him up." He went to pick Sean up and bring him
down to the lab so they could tinker with a car. Sean slept
through the moving and being put onto a rolling board. That would
be his fun later while he and Callia tinkered.
When Sean woke up he nearly squeaked at the robots watching over him
then flipped over and realized he was on a moving toy thing. That
got some fun until he spotted his uncle and sister's feet. He
rolled over to them, looking at them under the car. "Needs goats?"
"It has horses to power it," Callia said. "Come see, Sean.
We like cars and you should too." He crawled under there with them
and she told him about the parts, with her father's help. He knew
tons about cars. Sean was in awe of cars, even though he thought
they needed goats. It was cute and she thought her baby brother
was adorable. So did her father with the way he was chuckling.
Tony walked into the slayer house and heard screaming, wincing.
"Let's stay down here while I go talk to your mom," he told his
daughter, closing the door and heading up there. She was throwing a
fit at a tiny demon standing there. He cleared his throat.
The demon stared at him. "His name is probably not
Rumplestilskin," he offered.
"No, he's not here for that. He's here to piss me the fuck off," Buffy assured the demon. "Really, you are."
"We simply wanted to know that you would not be at the next apocalypse
battle, slayer. That it was a good idea if you retired."
Tony picked it up by the back of his shirt. "Retirement's such a
dirty word, especially for warriors. I'll probably never retire
until have to." The demon moaned. "By the way, I'm Tony
Stark, better known as Iron Man." The demon wailed and puffed up
until he exploded. "So, anyway, both the kids are downstairs."
She smiled, starting to cry. "Thank you."
She waved a hand. "It's just stress and leftover hormones."
"Pepper's having the same thing, Buffy. C'mon, you can hug
Sean. He likes it and he can tell you how he wants cars to be goat
powered instead of horse powered."
She blew her nose and wiped her face off. "I don't want him to see me this way. He worries."
"Yeah, he does." He helped her up and down there. Callia and Sean both pounced her.
Callia stared at her. "Are my sissies okay?"
"They're just fine and they get to come home tomorrow." She
cuddled them. "It's just stress. Demons are being stupid."
"They can do that," she agreed. "Some of them taunted Auntie
Natasha the other day. They were not happy when she shot them."
"She let you see that?" Tony asked.
"No." She grinned. "I'm sneaky that way." She pulled
Sean into her lap. "We'll both hold him. He was a good
boy. Most of the time."
"I'm glad he was such a good boy." She cuddled them both.
Hylal came in with grocery bags. "Looks who's back, Hylal."
He beamed and picked up both children to hug. "Callia and
Sean. Welcome." They grinned and cuddled back. "Help
me put up groceries." He looked at Buffy. "Again?" She
nodded. "I will stomp them for you."
"I need to do the stomping myself to prove that I'm still good enough."
"Then we will do it together." He patted her on the head.
"We will go get the babies in a few minutes." She smiled and
nodded, going to clean up. He and the kids put up the food and
Tony could babysit for an hour while they picked up the twins from the
hospital. When they got back, they had food waiting and the
kids were staring out the windows. They ran outside to help.
"Inside," Hylal said patiently. "It's cold and you can't carry
them yet, Callia." She nodded, taking Sean back inside no matter
how much he fussed. The twins got brought in. Sean was
instantly on the floor between their carriers and glared at anyone who
dared to touch his sisters.
Callia leaned down next to his ear. "They have to eat, Sean.
That means Mommy or Daddy Hylal has to feed them," she hissed. He
pouted but nodded, pushing Diana toward one parent and Artemis toward
the other one. Tony was watching and grinning.
Buffy smiled. "Thanks, Tony."
"Not a problem. She enjoyed it and Melissa enjoyed being able to
attach herself to his side again. They even teamed up to pounce
Steve in the gym."
She laughed. "They're good kids." She patted Sean on the
head. "Come help me?" He climbed up with a happy grin and
helped her by patting the baby while she ate. "Good Sean."
"Not kitty," he said.
"No, you're not the kitty," she said, kissing him on the head. "You're a good big brother." He beamed and nodded.
"He's a good little brother too. He was very helpful when my former nanny stepped on one of my mousie friends, Mommy."
"That's sweet of him. Did we fire her?" she asked Tony.
"She stomped off before I could. The agency we got her through drug tested her and fired her."
"Ah!" She smiled and nodded. "Good idea." She hugged
Callia, tucking her between her and Hylal. "There, now we can all
"You can cuddle in bed with us, Mommy. We can't smoosh babies. They're too big."
She laughed. "We can do that later." Callia settled in to
tell them what she had been learning and how she and Sean had helped
Jonathan create something, and about her new creation she was working
on. She told them about the cradle system too. Tony had it
with them so she got to set it up and show it off. They enjoyed
that and the babies cooed.
Before they left, Tony looked at Buffy. "You have to update paperwork," he said quietly.
She grimaced. "I know. I keep thinking about that and then I
freeze up and mentally reboot until I remember it again." She
sighed, looking at him. "I...." She looked at the playing
kids then at him again. "Dawn gets them."
"Then that needs to be in writing," he assured her. "Because of our jobs...."
"Alana said I'd be welcome in Valhalla, which means Hylal could move with me."
"Yup, that's great and all that."
She nodded. "I know. I'll do that tomorrow, Tony.
Especially with the demons trying to discourage me from things."
She patted him on the arm. "Thank you for the fussing."
"You needed it." He stared at her. "Remember to send your mom and Bruce pictures?"
"I filmed last night's game and sent it." She grinned. "Mom's email back called them adorably perky."
He laughed. "They were, yeah." He patted her again. "Callia?"
"Do we have to go, Daddy?"
"If you want to go to Pittsburgh to talk to people about your cradle
idea, yes." She nodded and sighed, hugging everyone. He made
sure the prototype was in the car for her and she got her bag. He
smiled at Hylal. "Call if you need her to come perky people to
"I will." He smiled at Buffy. "We have decided three is enough."
Buffy nodded. "Three is more than enough."
"The family has enough kids until Auntie Dawn has some," Callia agreed
with a grin. "We have more Summers girls and that's always good
for the world." She hugged her Mommy. "I'm going to write
"I'll be watching for it."
Callia smiled and pounced her father. "Let's go talk to people about my ideas."
"Okay. Later, guys. Bye, Sean."
Sean smiled and waved. "Laters." They all smiled at him. His sister had taught him that word.
Tony carried Callia out to the rental car, making sure she was in her
booster seat before getting in to drive. The SHIELD agents were
watching from their front porch but that was fine. They were hyper
protective of Buffy and they all liked that idea.
Dawn looked up as her attorney showed up. "What's up?"
"Buffy's amending her custody forms in case she should die. We need you to sign more forms."
She looked them over and signed them. "I expected that I'd get the
twins too," she said with a sad smile. "Thank you."
"You're welcome. The church is wanting to talk settlement."
She got into her phone and the site that they uploaded sermons onto,
showing him the newest one, which was vile enough that people had
complained from inside the church. He winced. "Okay."
"No. Not with the expressed desire to fist me and how it'd stretch me before they gang raped me."
"The judge hasn't seen that yet."
"When am I due in again?"
"Next week." He handed over the information sheet. "Wear what you would for an important meeting."
"Pepper can help me pick something out." He nodded and left, going
back to his office. She was having doubts about him being on her
side in all this. Hell, maybe she'd talk to Xander to see if she
could pull a satellite out of orbit and hit the church with it.
She decided not to think those thoughts before someone overheard and did
it for her. Because that would probably get her blamed
somehow. Even though she couldn't do that on her own.
Loki looked up from smoothing out his nails and grinned. "That's
true, you cannot do that," he said quietly, going back to his sanding
job. "I couldn't do that on my own either. Though it's a
worthwhile idea." The guard in there with him gave him an odd
look. "Dawn was just thinking about whether or not making
something fall on that church would be a bad thing." He got into
that week's sermon. He had been paying attention to it. Even
the guard looked disgusted. "I believe they went much too far
"Let me talk to a few of the agents, sir." He took down the address and asked to see their supervisor.
Loki smirked. That might get them stopped sooner so everyone could quit being tense.
That night, Stark stomped back in, smoking armor still on. He stared at Dawn. "Did you do that?" he asked.
"Pull that down onto that church."
"I can't pull a satellite down, Tony. I'm good but not Godly. I'm not that strong."
He paused. "No, it was an asteroid."
"Which I still couldn't catch and move the trajectory far enough. Unless it was naturally over that area?"
"No, it was meant to hit Texas."
"Then I guess I'm glad someone saved part of Texas but it wasn't
me." He sighed in relief. "You thought I would?" He
stared at her. "Well, yeah, I had a thought about a satellite but I
can't do that either."
"Fine. Make sure no one thinks you did."
"I'll make a statement on my lj page." She got into it to craft
one, letting him see it. He nodded, stomping off to take off his
armor. She uploaded it after spell checking it. It
really wasn't her. She texted Xander who said that most of them
couldn't do that either and he hadn't heard about a gathering to pull an
asteroid storm over that church. She relaxed and got back to
answering responses. She called a reporter. "Tony told me."
She listened. "No, I can't do that. I'm strong but that
would take someone stronger than even Alexander or Loki to do. I
checked, Alexander said that he didn't. I know I couldn't. I
can't even help steady a helicopter when it's trying to fall. I
tried a few weeks back during that incident and I stopped some of the
wobbling until someone else got there to help but that's something that
sent me to the infirmary with a migraine for doing it." He
mentioned that lawsuit.
"I have no idea. No one's said anything to me about it. No
one's mentioned anything to me about it. I didn't ask a wish demon
to do it. I'm good but not Godly. So yeah, maybe theirs got
mad at them. No clue. Thanks." She hung up and leaned
back in her chair, shaking her head. She had an idea. There
were very few people who could build something that might divert an
asteroid. It was clear Stark hadn't. Callia couldn't
yet. She had some favorite, semi-evil geeks who might have.
Not that she'd ever ask.
She didn't want to know.
Bruce walked out of the house the next morning to find reporters.
"What?" he demanded. "I've barely had coffee because I'm going to a
"Dr. Banner, how much force would it take to move an asteroid that was going to hit Texas?"
He considered it and pulled out his pad. Tony had to leave last
night's meeting over an asteroid. Clearly something had
happened. "Over a kiloton just to shift the orbit." He
looked at them. "Before you ask, Dawn's not that strong. No
witch we know of is that strong. As far as I know, no one's making
a beam to do that either. Where did this happen?"
"That church in Georgia," one of the reporters said.
"Then maybe it was divine retribution for their filth and obedience to
anything but their book of faith." He put his hands in his
pockets. "Anything else, people? I won't have you bothering
Joyce. She's got tests later." They left. "Thank
you." He got a cab and called Tony on the way over. "What
happened?" Tony told him. "Any idea who?" He
nodded. "Huh. Thanks. On my way." He hung up and
leaned his head back. He'd be back to take Joyce to the hospital
Andrew and Jonathan walked up to Tony and Bruce. "It was not us," Jonathan said bluntly.
"Not that we don't have plans for a beam like that, but we've had them since tenth grade," Andrew admitted.
Tony stared at them. "Really?" They nodded. "I wasn't
going to ask." Because if he knew he'd have to say something
"Dawn said the same thing when we told her." They shrugged. "We were more than thinking about it."
"So was Dawn," Bruce admitted. He smiled. "Thank you, boys."
They grinned back. "Does Joyce need help?"
"She's going in for follow up scans."
"If you need us to make up something to eat tumors, you let us know,"
Jonathan said. "If we can't, Rodney might be able to." They
left them to eat and plot in peace.
"They were on my list," Tony admitted.
"Mine too." They shared a look. "Warren?"
"Could be. There's a few geeks up there that could do the
calculations necessary." He ate a bite of muffin. "Which is
probably a bad thing. It might mean they've taken over the
"I'm pretty sure at least one of them is up there for ideas of mind
control," Bruce said, eating some of his eggs. "How are the
"Good. Dawn got an email last night with pictures. They've
been sucking on Sean's fingers for him and it's making him a happy
boy." He grinned. "Buffy updated her will to make sure all
the kids come to Dawn."
"Good. Joyce would love them but she's gotten tired a lot
recently." Tony paused in his chewing to stare at him. "I
think it's a side effect."
"If so, we'll find her something else to take."
"She might be able to go off them totally. We'd all like that."
"We would. Dawn's still deathly worried. She was napping in
the break room yesterday and had a nightmare about that. She said
she's having at least one a week about Joyce getting sick again."
He nodded. "It's a worry we all have." He stuffed his mouth. "I might disappear again if it does."
"The girls will need you, big guy."
"I know. They'll help hold me sane too." He sighed and dug in again. "It sucks to even contemplate."
"Yeah but if we don't, we're ignoring reality and neither of us are that
sort of scientist. The same as I have to update my will soon
too. I don't have Liz in it and she's the same as if she's
mine. Even though the DNA test came out without any sort of
"Huh. Wonder if it'd be the same father as Dawn's."
"Maybe. We can't find that out." He shrugged and dug in again.
Phil heard the talk between the boys, Tony, and Bruce. He
went up there, finding Warren looking a bit smug in his bed.
Warren shrugged a bit. "Only we should get to threaten her for
fussing over us," he said quietly. "She's a bitch but not even the
world's biggest bitch deserves that."
Phil smiled. "She's not nagging as much these days. Clint's wearing it out of her."
He smiled. "Don't worry, we leave the staff mostly alone."
"Good. Because if you patients take over permanently, it's a super
max like setting for you after here. There's that place in
Colorado." Warren shuddered. "Be more subtle."
He nodded. "We can do that." Phil left. Warren
sighed. "I want his powers. I wonder if you can strip powers
from a God." He pulled over some paper to work on that
idea. He could steal brain power from the other geeks. He
had done that once when one annoyed him. When the nurse came in he
dutifully took his medicine that was now sugar pills. They had
manipulated the staff that far. It let them work on their dreams
without the fuzzy minded feeling blocking their great thoughts.
Now the facility was like a geek frat house instead of a hospital; even
though the guards on the doors had guns so they couldn't go out for
pizza. It helped them all a lot with their ideas.
Phil walked into Fury's office. "The Massachusetts facility is compromised."
"Why?" Fury demanded. "That was them?" Phil nodded. "You sure?"
"Very. Warren Meers said they mostly leave the staff alone but not
even a fussy bitch like Dawn deserved them. I have someone
hacking into their records." That agent got paged and came in with
answers. "All on placebo doses," he noted, handing that
over. "I warned they were going to Colorado if they did anything
"At the one in Switzerland for the rest of this month."
"Have a guest admin show up." He handed it back. "Just in
case he's compromised too." Phil nodded, making a call to a
program that had some very decent therapists. Then to the head of
that facility so he was aware there were problems. They got one of
the people from the Colorado facility to come oversee things for a few
days. Medicines suddenly got adjusted and put back. The
whole facility stayed in quiet lockdown and the machine was found,
dismantled, and shipped to SHIELD. So was the rest of the tech
they had stored in the basement. Including some that was based
from demon tech.
Fury walked up to Coulson a few days later, shaking his head. "Find me a way to deal with demon tech being down here."
"Have you read the series by Alexian Harris, sir?"
"Xander in another realm." He popped off and came back with the
first book from Dawn's shelves. "This is actually mostly factual
about how another Xander in another realm handled things."
He took it to look at the back cover. "They did what?" he demanded.
"It apparently worked fairly well."
He walked off reading it. Maybe it was a decent idea. Of
course, they'd have to put it under his heading. They had already
nationalized the slayers. This could only help them more.
Dawn smiled at the reporter that came off the elevator. "Pepper's
going to be just a moment. She had to run to talk to Mr. Stark."
"I'm surprised they let you still work here," the reporter said.
Dawn looked at her. "I had nothing to do with that asteroid.
Sorry. I'm not that powerful. Alexander's not that
powerful. Do you really think that a bunch of Gods got together to
pull it onto them for me?" The reporter huffed.
"She's right. We do know who did it," Tony said as he walked
Pepper and Liz up the hall. "Dawn, why do I have a summons to see a
"I have no idea. It did not pass my desk," she admitted. She
took it to look up and smiled. "It's about the bimbo."
"Which bimbo?" Pepper asked. "He knows so many."
"The one we caught during that incident." She showed Tony.
"Why does he want to talk to me?" Tony complained.
"No idea." Dawn smiled at the reporter. "As I said, I had
nothing to do with that asteroid. I'm sorry anyone but that
minister lost his life, but I can't be sorry about the man who kept
talking about raping me dying." The reporter shuddered.
"Trust me, if I had done it, there would be no collateral damage."
Tony swatted her. "Hey! I did learn that."
"You did, but still. Come on." She frowned but grabbed her
jacket and bag, tucking her tablet and phone into it and following him
to the garage. "Let Pepper talk to her. Clearly she's like
that one from that other church."
"I have no problem with people having their own beliefs until one of
them tries to hurt me," Dawn said bluntly and loudly enough to be
heard. "Then I'm all for holding up a stop sign and protecting
"Are you going to drop the suit?"
"Yeah, the judge said there's no more reason for it to go forward and
ended it in my favor without a judgement." She shrugged.
"It's fine as long as they quit talking about kidnaping and raping me."
He gave her a hug around the shoulders. "It bothered us too.
Barton did many more range exercises each Monday than he had to."
She smiled. "I know." They got into one of the sports cars
and he sped down to the federal court building. "You think this is
a plot by Fury?"
"Yup. He's been ducking calls again."
"Well, rubber ducks fuck him. Because no one else would and they
couldn't catch anything he might've picked up on sexpionage missions in
his younger days." Tony snickered. "Sorry, in a bit of a
"Good. I have the feeling I might need you to beat the bimbo into better behavior."
"If she's staying, she's not allowed near Jonathan and Andrew. I will teach MB and Patty how to shoot a gun."
"Go for it. They could probably use it when they break out in evil overlord plans again."
"Maybe. I can't believe Warren did that for me."
"He said only scientists like him, like the ones you fussed over, should
be able to take you out. They were unworthy of your fussing."
"Yes they were."
Tony grinned at her. "Just think, some day you'll have to tell Liz about all this so she gets the lesson early on."
"Some day I'm going to set Liz up with a really nice guy who reminds me
of Phil or Clint, just about when she's fifteen so they can finish
growing up together." He cackled, shaking his head.
"Seriously!" She heard Clint complain about that thought and
reminded him who Liz was. He decided he'd help her look.
"Clint said he'd help me interview her future spouse."
"Good. It might help." He pulled into the parking garage and
took the ticket stub, then found a parking spot. They walked
inside together, ignoring the two reporters shouting stupid things at
"Is she under arrest, Mr. Stark?" someone shouted.
Dawn finally snapped and turned to look at her. "Why would I be under arrest?"
"I had not a damn thing to do with that, bitch! Do you think I'm
powerful enough to move a heavenly body out of orbit? Because I'm
not. I'm powerful enough to hold a shield over a building when the
heros are banging into it, and then I'll collapse with a migraine for a
few days. I don't know *where* you got your ideas on what witches
can do, but *damn*!" The reporter slunk down and stepped
back. "We know who did it. They're already in custody.
It's not like SHIELD's going to suddenly pop up and go 'we got 'em'
like the NYPD. They're *covert* for the most part. Do I need
to define that for you?"
"No, ma'am," she said, taking another step back.
"Then let's not bring this back up again. All right? As is,
I've had a few moments when I needed therapy over what that minister
said about me. I'm not happy anyone's dead, but I'm not real sad
that minister is gone. The others.... I'm sorry the group
that did that got them too. I'm sure they would've gotten fed up
with his shit sometime. Now, any more questions?"
"When are you and your boyfriend going to have kids?" she asked hesitantly.
"Some year. We have it tentatively planned for some year.
When I do, I'll tell those who should know and the rest of you can
wonder like you do about anyone else. Because I'm not the
announcing it in the paper sort. Someone might want me more then
and try to kidnap my pretty ass again. Anything else?"
"Um, no," she said, backing farther away.
"Thank you." She looked at the other one. "Yes, I'm a bit
pissed off. I hate being accused of things I didn't do."
"You are pretty today."
She smirked. "I'm pretty most days. It's called
confidence." She walked off. "C'mon, let's see why we got
summoned, boss. I'm tired of playing with her."
"I enjoyed it," he assured her, following her. "Left, Dawn."
She went into the office to see where that judge was. She got a
room number and Tony found it, walking off with her, still
smiling. "That was so hot."
"Thank you." She grinned. "Natasha's moaning and Clint said
if they try to track him down about when I'm getting pregnant I'm not
having sex for the rest of the month."
"That's only two days and doesn't he have a mission coming up?"
"No. He's off for a few days." She looked at him. "He's staring at a hospital."
"Good. I heard about that letter idiocy."
Dawn nodded. "Mom had a word with them." Tony cackled.
"Oh, yeah. She got asked if she was pregnant too." They
found the judge's chambers and she held open the door. "There you
go, Mr. Stark."
"Thank you, Miss Summers." He walked in. Tony handed over
the summons letter. The clerk alerted the judge and they were
taken back to the office. "You wanted to see me, Your Honor?"
"I do, Mr. Stark. Your...spouse?"
"Oh, that's fine." She sat down and pulled out her tablet to turn
on and make sure she could pull up whatever was needed. "It was
asked of me to release someone into your custody until she could be
gotten to trial."
"If this is about the bimbo assassin, no thank you."
The judge winced. "I wouldn't put it that way."
Dawn looked at him. "She taught her dogs to sit in Feng Shui
patterns so she'd have good karma for shooting her friends," Dawn
said. "What would you call her, Your Honor?"
"You've met her?"
"I'm the one that captured her during an incident I was being magical backup for."
"Oh, that's interesting."
"With where she was aiming it looked like she was going to try to kill me."
"That's bad." The judge relaxed and considered Tony Stark.
"I think you can keep her in check and frustrate her to no end."
"I think my daughter and Pepper's newborn daughter would have a problem
with that. I also think that I spend ninety percent of my day in a
lab and that bimbo could not do that."
"Good point. You could set up a containment area so she was given some liberties."
"Sure, I can find a tower to seal her in," Dawn agreed, looking those
up. "There's one in Maine. One exit. Town's over
twenty miles away. We can put a guard on the door, rotating every
six of course, and have them let in food deliveries and the necessities,
Tony." She looked at her tablet again. "Or there's one just
below LA so she can pick up the rest of her dogs."
"I like that idea," he agreed. "Give her enough of a satellite
dish so she can get E! so she can see what parties she's missing?"
"Sounds reasonable to me," Dawn agreed. "Plus safer for the kids in the family."
"True." He looked at the judge. "We can set that up for you and bill SHIELD for making it my job."
The judge winced. "That wasn't what her lawyer was hoping for."
"To be blunt, Your Honor, I'd never even stoop low enough to screw her. Why would I want to be her father figure?"
"You've been where she is."
"Yes and I grew up. Actually, I was never that bad when I was
partying every night. I still held down a job, ran a company, and
designed a lot of really hot weapons. Even if I was drinking and
The judge sighed. "We think it would be for the best." He pushed a button. "Send her in please."
Dawn rolled her eyes at the complaining about the orange jumpsuit and
how it didn't make her look good. She looked back there.
"Shut up. Did no one ever tell you that being loud gets you the
wrong sort of attention?"
"Why is she here?" she demanded.
"Um, huh," Dawn said, staring at her. "Because I'm Stark's
personal assistant and you'd have to deal with me more than him?"
She shuddered. "Suck it, bitch. I'm worth twice what you
are. I work because I'd go stupid if I didn't. I like and
enjoy having a brain I use daily. Now, sit down and shut
up!" She sat down and hid behind her lawyer. "Thank
you!" She looked at the staring judge. "Guys like Stark have
people like me to handle things for him, Your Honor. I wouldn't
put up with it in my six-year-old niece. I'm sure as hell not
going to put up with it in my face from a twenty-one-year-old bimbo
who's only claim to fame is shooting some of her friends, having way too
many little yappy dogs to talk to, and having two sex tapes on the
internet. Can't she go to a club fed prison?"
"She'll be going to one if she's found guilty," he said. He
shifted. "We set bail very high but she did manage to put up the
money for it."
"She has a boyfriend," Tony offered.
"Who, from the tabloids, only likes her because she kills people," Dawn said quietly.
"Really?" he asked her. She pulled it up and showed him. He
scanned it and grimaced. "Eww." He handed it back.
"I'm all for that tower idea. I'm sure she can afford it if she
could afford bail. With the charges against her, it's not
like she'll make it out of prison in time to pass on her questionable
genetics to a spawn so she won't have to worry about leaving an
The judge grimaced. "We would rather have her somewhere safer and
more monitored than a jail. She's been found to be disruptive
because of her celebrity status." Dawn gave him odd look but tried
not to snort out loud. "Normally I would not consider it but
three different agencies have decided to push this plan, Mr. Stark."
"I'm still not letting her into my tower, Your Honor. I don't want
my daughter to learn a single thing from her. I definitely don't
want her near Pepper's newborn daughter. Or even my assistant,
who's old enough and good enough to beat her to death if she tries
anything against either child."
"That's up to you. You can set her up in whatever monitored
situation you want as long as it is humane, she has the necessities of
life, and it's not against the Geneva Conventions. Preferably
within the local area instead of in Maine."
Tony blinked at him. "So I can find her a hole, lock her in it,
make sure she gets regular food shipments, and make sure she can't get
"Within reasonable limits. Nothing harsher than she would get in a
Federal Super Max style prison. Which means one hour of sunlight a
day or a window."
"I can find a slum." He looked at Dawn, who was looking. She
held up her tablet. "That might work," he decided. "Guards
through Stark, though I'm billing her estate and all three agencies for
this." He looked at the judge. "I'm not really thrilled with
this idea. She's not my problem."
"It's felt that you're about the only one who could do such a
duty. That your heroic nature would extend to saving people from
"I can save people from her. Dawn, gun?" She unhid it and
handed it over. He smiled at the judge. "She will be put
down if she steps out of bounds. I don't play." He checked
the load then fired on her. He handed the gun back. "Thank
you for having tranquilizers."
"I figured someone might need one," she said dryly. It got
rehidden. The judge was gaping. She stared back. "I've
been kidnaped over a hundred times since I was fifteen, Your
Honor. I'm always ready for anything." He shivered.
She looked at Tony. "That new defense net that Lab 12 was working
"That's not a bad idea," he agreed. He looked at her lawyer.
"No visitors. If you want to talk to her, you call me and I'll
have you escorted in and out. No friends, no family, nothing but
letters. No access to a computer. Very basic cable
package. Food deliveries once a week to make sure she can eat; it
will be healthy things instead of slop, chips, cookies, candy, or
chocolate. There will be guards beyond the sensor net around her
apartment. They will be told to shoot her non-fatally if possible
and if not go for it." The lawyer shuddered. "I don't play
these games. If she was my daughter she'd have been disowned when
she started to follow me into the party life." He stared him
down. "Take it or leave it. Only offer you're getting from
"The agencies could use her now and then."
"No, they can't," Tony said. "She's a pathetic shot. She's
pathetic at what she can do skill wise. No. She's staying in
there and not going anywhere. If she's having a medical
emergency, the tower has an infirmary."
He licked his lips. "We'd like the agencies to be able to use her."
"No. Dawn." She got up and followed him out. "Have a
good day, Your Honor." He walked her out, letting them validate
the parking stub on the way out. He even stopped at the coffee
cart to get them both something. He got in to drive. "I
can't believe Fury did that to me."
"Want me to start a 'fuck you' letter, boss?"
"No, I can deliver that one in person." He started the car and
sipped his coffee as he pulled out and headed out of the garage.
He paid the toll and headed uptown. "Want to visit your mother?"
"Of course I do. I love my mother. You know that." She
smiled and sipped her coffee, tapping out a message to Pepper.
She stared. "Ooooh. Pepper's swearing." She sent
over the rest of what had happened. Pepper sent back to tell
Stark to call her. "She said call her, boss. Call Pepper,"
she ordered the On Star system.
"Calling Pepper," it said in a pleasant female voice.
"Tony, they wanted what?" Pepper demanded.
"Exactly. I'm going to beat the shit out of Fury then I'll be back."
"Not only did they want him to play daddy to her, they wanted her able
to go work for the agencies that were trying to set this up," Dawn
said. "He was pushed into a sealed apartment setup but they didn't
"Screw them!" Pepper said shrilly, making both people in the car wince. "Hell no!"
"Pepper, calm down. When they didn't agree to the very harsh terms I set I walked," Tony said.
"I don't care! How dare they try to make you responsible for the harlot! She's not your family!"
"The judge said I'd understand where she was since I used to party. I pointed out I held down a job and partied."
"Yes you did, for the most part," Pepper said. "Where are you two going?"
"HQ," Dawn said.
"Come pick me up."
"Sure," Dawn agreed. "I can watch Liz for a bit." She hung up and looked at him. "Thanks for the lunch, boss."
He smirked. "Eat real food before you lose weight again." He
got them back to the tower relatively easily and Dawn switched with
Pepper, taking Liz from her as they did so. Dawn went up to the
office to babysit while Pepper went with Tony. Tony smiled at
her. "I'm going to punch him in the nose."
"I can get behind that. That would destroy the company to be known
for that." She was getting more and more mad as all the bad
things that could come from that incident came to her mind. By the
time they got to HQ, she got out first and led the way up there.
She found Fury in the Admin area and punched him. "How dare you
sic the bimbo harlot on Tony! Do you know what that would do the
company and us? I doubt I want that slut anywhere near my
daughters! Callia might pick up bad manners or worse, VD she
spread onto a chair, from her!" She slapped him this time and he
tried to duck but she was really pissed off and a mother now. She
followed him until someone tried to pull her off him. "Do not
touch me!" she ordered. "I will have Dawn kill your dumb
ass!" The agent backed away, nodding. "How dare you!"
Tony looked at Fury. "Ditto. They didn't like the harsh
rules I set down so it's a failed plot anyway, Fury. Have fun with
her." He gently steered Pepper off. "You need some hitting
work. You have a different strength on your left side." He
noticed Joyce was sniffly. "Please tell me you're not going back
to the hospital."
"No, I'm not. They found a dark spot but it's not a tumor.
They think it's a minor blood clot or something and they're treating it
with different medicine. But I'm off all the stuff that was
killing my memory."
He grinned. "Good! Come see Callia tonight?"
"Tomorrow. Bruce and I have dinner tonight, Tony."
"Sure. Call at least?"
"If I'm not busy. After all, we're old, not dead, dear."
He grinned. "Good! It gives me hope when I'm in my
seventies!" She swatted him but she was happier. "C'mon,
Pepper. I'll buy you and Dawn both salads since she called coffee
"That girl," she sighed, shaking her head. "Did someone else ask her?"
"She totally ran that reporter back away from her and nearly into
begging," Tony said, walking her off. "Then the reporter asked
Pepper chuckled. "They do that now and then." They got onto
the elevator and she stared at Fury until the doors closed. "Maybe
you should bring all the Avengers home to the tower so you're not under
"We're about halfway there," he admitted. "We can talk about it with Steve later."
"Good." She patted him on the hand. "We can all have
dinner?" He smiled and nodded. "Even better. I haven't
seen Callia yet today."
"She's been under the Audi all morning to avoid history and
english." Pepper cackled. "Yeah, just like me." They
got off and he let her into the car then walked around to get in and
Upstairs, Maria Hill got an ice pack from the medical kit up there,
crushing it to activate it. "Here, sir. She swings a mean
left hook. Must've been training for anti-kidnaping events
again." She went back to her desk.
"At least it wasn't Summers. She would've shot me," he muttered,
going to his office. He had the sudden urge to duck and did in
time to have the arrow narrowly miss his ear. He glared at the
ceiling, finding not who he expected. "Since when do you use a
"Since we crosstrained. Not much else to do in Paraguay in the
late eighties." She smirked slightly at him. "I do not like
beings like that supposed assassin being around. They give the
real ones of us a bad name." She strolled off. Clint got his
backup bow back and he was still smiling. He pushed a button that
he'd had for months. In the main office, dye packs went off
Joyce got up and ran away from the cloud. "I can't afford to
replace anything for the next six months so let me get away from the
Maria Hill stared in there. "Sir? Are you all right? Should I
call medical?" She was doing that as soon as he didn't answer or
swear at anyone. Medical teams showed up to check on the director,
helping him out of there. He was now Barney purple from head to
foot. Everything in the office was purple. The walls around
the doorway were purple from the cloud of dye. Fury was in
shock. "Take him please," Maria ordered. "I'll set someone
to investigate how that happened, sir."
He looked at her. "I'm pretty sure I know who did it. Banish
them and all the other Avengers to the tower until we need them again."
"Yes, sir." She called that in. "Coulson too, sir?"
"Definitely since he didn't hear and stop him." He let himself be
led down there. Banner was on the elevator with some papers.
He paused to stare at him. "Even you. Go. Away."
"I can take my research to the tinkering lab." He handed over the
papers. "Here, the minimal reports." He got off on his
floor, going to his lab. "People, Fury banished all the Avengers
back to Stark Tower." They smiled and got things set up to go with
him. He called Tony. "I'm bringing my two lab
assistants." He hung up and they left together. Natasha and
Clint had taken one of the agency SUV's with Coulson in the back.
With the boxes they had, they had quickly packed everything. By
the time they got over there, Steve was there waiting. "Purple,
Barton?" Banner finally had to demand. "He'll know it was you."
"It wasn't me. Dawn set 'em." He grinned. "Just in case of attack or a break in."
Steve groaned and shook his head. "That's so bad." They went
up together. Bruce got his assistants set up in his lab and they
were more than happy to be in there. He went up to talk to Tony
and flirt with Liz. The baby loved him. Steve was nagging
Dawn, who was shrugging.
"That way no one else could break in, Steve. Unstarch the
thong. I did not set off the dye bombs. And if he was only
mildly purple they didn't all go off."
"I disabled the ones on the bridge area," Natasha said with a smile. "Agent Hill would have killed you."
"Tara likes purple too," Dawn said with a smile.
Clint gave her a hug. "Thanks." He waved at the baby. "Hey, Lizzy."
"She's hungry but Mom's at lunch. We don't have any bottles."
"That's a problem when you're breastfeeding," Bruce agreed, taking
her to cuddle. She fussed at him for it. "I'm sorry I can't
feed you but I'm not gifted with that skill, sweetheart. Calm
down please? Mom will be back soon to feed you."
Clint was staring at Dawn. "Hell. No," she said quietly.
"What?" Steve demanded.
"When Buffy's near delivering I end up lactating a bit," Dawn said
dryly, staring at him. "We have no idea why. Thankfully
she's had her tubes tied because it's not really a comfortable sensation
when you can't do anything with it or it'll keep going." He
blushed and walked off moaning and shaking his head. "Callia's
under the Audi."
"I'll pull her out and make her do homework," he promised.
Bruce smiled. "The Key?"
"We think so since Buffy never produced a drop of milk thanks to the
slayer inheritance." She shifted. "It's bad enough Sean
nearly found out."
Clint nodded. "They hurt too." He took Liz, who
belched. "Thanks, kiddo. Wanna maybe come play with
me?" He walked her into the office. "C'mon. Thor's
going to be here soon and you know he'll fuss at you."
Dawn sent a text at Pepper about bottles. She got told there was
one in the mini fridge. She went to check. "We're
saved." She put the bottle together and carefully put the baggy
into the shell then put the nipple on. She let Clint have it to
feed her. He and Bruce had a lot of fun fussing over her.
Dawn went back to her desk and settled in to finish the paperwork.
She knew the other tower was nearly done so she grabbed her
jacket. "Be right back," she called into the office. She
walked over to the foreman, smiling at him.
"No, thankfully not. Wondering how it was going?"
"We're ninety percent done with the structure but about a month and a half until people can move in."
"Okay, that's good to know. Thank you." She shook his hand
and went back to make a note of that for everyone. Phil was at her
desk so he had to move. "Go help the boys?"
"They're being mugged by their girlfriends," he said with a grin. "Are you all right?"
"Good." He patted her on the arm. "We'll figure it out."
"Most of you can work from home and the gym there," she said with a grin.
"We can, but we can show up here for sparring practice." He gave her a look.
"I haven't needed to but we do every other day, Phil."
"Good." He left her to get back to work, taking Liz to feed
her. "I remember doing this to the twins," he told her.
"They were always hungry." She patted him. He smiled.
"I like you too, Liz." He settled in to feed her. She slowly
fell asleep and that was great for him. Even if he did have to
change her diaper. He was used to it.
Two hours later, Dawn was typing out a text to Pepper. //Do you want us to get her some formula and bottles?//
A minute later she got back //You know she's not doing formula.//
Dawn rolled her eyes. //Your choice right now is formula or me
doing a spell to lactate and feeding her myself. Which do you
The response took about five minutes. //Not.//
Dawn snickered. A few more minutes passed and then a text from
each of them. //We don't mind if your spouses don't,// Tony sent.
//Formula's good. Get a good kind, I'll reimburse you, Dawn.//
//Sure,// she sent back. "Someone get her some formula?"
Natasha and Clint's phones both rang with a text. "Stark said you could feed her if we allowed it," Clint said.
"Pepper said formula." Phil was snickering from his seat with
Callia. He was getting her to do her homework by reading it to the
"News people said formula is bad," Callia said.
"Talk to Pepper, dear." She went to the corner pharmacy to find
some. When she got there, the shelf had a nicely printed note that
said the formula had been recalled due to a contamination. She
took a picture and sent it to Pepper. She got back a
splutter. Then she got a 'damn it' text. It took two minutes
for the rest to come in. She nodded, going back to the
tower. "Okay," she said as she walked in. "All local formula
has been recalled due to contamination of some sort."
"Warehouse," Natasha said, looking it up. "It was on the
news. They had a gas leak that got into the boxes." Dawn
shuddered. "So what are we doing? Picking up from Pepper?"
"They're in Atlantic City," she said dryly. She looked at her
spouses. Who sighed. "Okay. We're going to one of the
suites for now." Phil handed over the baby. "Thank
you." Dawn switched the phones to her cellphone and they went to
feed the baby together. Dawn had witnessed it enough. She
could do a spell to restart the lactation for a while. She hoped
it stopped sometime soon. They settled in on the bed and let Liz
inhale all she wanted from her.
Natasha was getting that mushy look. Clint was stroking over her
stomach since she was feeding her on her side instead. When she
had to flip them over to get the other side, Natasha helped her and
Clint soothed the baby. Liz got burped and she was a happy
baby. Natasha took her back to Phil then came back to find Clint
kissing her. Natasha got behind her to tease her as well. "That
didn't go too badly," Dawn moaned.
"Not at all," Natasha agreed. "I've never seen that up
close." She nibbled on her shoulder. Clint was teasing the
sensitive nipple. "She should be dry."
"Mostly," he agreed, licking over a spot. He made a face.
"That's strange." He shrugged and cuddled her better, making her a
Phil looked at the baby. "Of course they left the diaper for me." Liz was making that bad face at them.
"Wow, she doesn't usually turn that purple," Callia said.
"Most kids don't unless it's going to be explosive and nasty."
They went up to penthouse because she'd probably need a bath after she
was done. She definitely needed new clothes and a spot on the rug
cleaned because it escaped the holding capacity of her diaper.
"Eww," Callia said. But she got the stuff that she used to clean
up after her pets when they hit the rug. Phil was giving her a
bath. The rug was probably the less nasty job so Callia was happy
to be helpful. "The last time I pooped like that I had eaten ten
limes," she complained.
Phil leaned out. "What?"
"I said the last time I pooped like that I had eaten ten limes."
"I remember hearing about that." He went back to scrubbing the
baby free of crap. "You poor thing," he told her. "I hope
that wasn't from Dawn." She pooped in the water and cooed.
He got her out and cleaned up then diapered. He texted Pepper, who
said she had the runs all day. Phil took her to the
infirmary. "Dr. Pigalli, do we have any baby strength Immodium?"
"Probably. I told Pepper it should clear up today."
"She just went everywhere. I started to look for the explosive
device." She started to crap again and he put her on something
that could be cleaned up easier than his suit. "See?"
"Let me get her that medicine. Where is Pepper?"
"Dawn said Atlantic City with Stark."
"Did Pepper start to express finally?"
"There's a formula recall."
"Dawn had the same reaction to the twins being born that she did with Sean."
"Spell to renew it?"
"I'm pretty sure, yes."
"Good!" She smiled. "She'll make a fantastic mother some
year in the future." She dosed the baby and helped him clean her
up again. No one person deserved to clean up that sort of mess
twice in a row. "Get her some water too."
"I can do that." He carried her off to get her some water to
drink. She wasn't thirsty so it got put down beside him.
Callia got her homework and went back to it for Liz's amusement.
It was nearly midnight by the time Stark and Pepper got home.
Callia was down in bed. Liz was in her bed. "Dawn fed her
just an hour ago," he said quietly. "Callia went down at nine when
she decided it was time."
"She usually sets her own unless we have something planned," Tony agreed. "Dawn okay?"
"She remembered to end the spell," he said. Phil stood up.
"We had the doctor give her some medicine since it was so bad I thought
there was an explosive device." Pepper smiled and hugged
him. "The twins never had it that badly." He smiled.
"We'll be back tomorrow to see what we're doing." Tony
nodded. "Dawn's down in one of the suites."
"That's fine," Tony promised. Phil left them alone. He kissed Pepper on the cheek. "Nap?"
"Please. I'm sorry I forgot."
"It's all right. They clearly didn't mind and it's not hurting her
any. Either of them. She could've done formula for the
night if we had any on hand." He got her into his bed and cuddled
up with Steve in the center since he was asleep too. That was a
nice surprise and made Tony a happy boy.
"Not tonight," Pepper said.
"I know." He gave her hand a squeeze. They got to sleep for
about an hour before Liz woke up everyone wailing that she was
starving. Tony got up to grab her so Pepper could feed her.
She was more than happy to have Mom back. Steve could blush at
being used to prop the baby up for her snack. Tony laid there and
watched them, smiling at them.
Clint came back from the bathroom and laid down next to his women. "I say we table the discussion of kids for two years."
They stared at him. "Two years?" Natasha asked.
"Two years puts us at about five years of Avenger duties. That
gives Dawn time to get stuff worked out to make sure her family's
fine." Dawn nodded that was true, it was likely Buffy might die
within the next few years." He kissed them both. "That gives
us time to save up some money too, Nat."
"It does, though I have some saved for when I get too old and injured to work any longer."
"I have a tiny bit," Clint admitted. "Not that much."
Dawn stroked his stomach. "You can borrow my investment guy."
"He hates me for being yours."
"Really? That sucks." She took a kiss and smiled. "Two years?"
"Two years. Unless it happens accidentally then we'll cheer and have parties."
Dawn stared at him. "You think you're going to be too old?"
"I think by then we're probably both going to be seriously injured at
least once," he said, staring at her. "I think it'd be better if
we don't react to that." He stroked over Dawn's stomach.
"Just two years?"
"I can agree to two years," she promised then kissed him. He
grinned. "But you've got to store some in case you die on me."
"Getting done," he assured her. "Coulson told me where he went;
you two are the only ones on that donation and it's not on SHIELD's
insurance so they can't claim it on you like they could the last stuff."
"Then that's an idea I can get behind," Dawn promised.
"I can agree to that," Natasha said. "We'll talk about it again in two years."
Clint leaned over to kiss her. "Thanks."
"You're most welcome." She smiled. "Though we do need to
make sure no one doses either of us with fertility drugs again," she
told Dawn, who rolled over to kiss her. She moaned and grabbed
onto her hips. "Not here, Dawn. We're guests."
Clint laughed. "Half the time these rooms are used after parties
for all the sex." He pulled them against him to kiss them
both. "But we can do that tomorrow since we're off." He
winked. Dawn smirked back. "We didn't get the cat back."
"Yes we did. He's been on the bookshelf hating on you for having
him cat sat. He and I cuddle most mornings after you two leave for
"That's sweet." He kissed her again then Natasha.
"We are still guests," Natasha said firmly. They smiled and
snuggled her between them. It made her relax and fall
asleep. Dawn and Clint shared a look and Dawn winked before
snuggling into Natasha so she could sleep too.
Tony knocked in the morning, getting Clint up. He stared at him. "Dawn's already at her desk."
"Sorry. Long night?"
Tony smirked. "I doubt it. None of the squealing or
screaming sensors went off, Barton. Meeting in about twenty about
us staying here." He walked off happier.
Natasha sat up and pushed back her hair. "I want first shower."
"We can share."
"We only have twenty minutes," she said dryly, staring at him. "Us
sharing a shower usually takes at least an hour." She walked into
the bathroom. He shrugged and pulled out clothes for both of them
from their emergency bags then went in to get the end of the shower
with her. She handed him the shampoo as she finished rinsing off
and got out. "That is not what I'm wearing today," she complained,
getting something different. Then the outfit changed with a flash
of light. She looked up toward the office. "Or that."
She did put on a shirt that was a bit more flirty since that's what
they wanted her to wear. She went to get coffee then up to the
office once her hair was pulled back. Dawn grinned at her.
"I could wear something normal."
"No you can't." She took a kiss and smirked. "They're
already in there." She nodded, walking in sipping her
coffee. Clint came off the elevator with his cup. She
pointed with a grin. He mugged her for a kiss and got some coffee
then went into the meeting. She followed, making sure the phones
were forwarded to her cellphone.
Tony grinned. "Dawn, how's the other building going?"
"Month and a half before anything's move in ready. I asked yesterday."
"Fury should be normal colored again by then," Bruce joked.
"Not likely. I used the new dye packs that they were developing
for banks." She grinned. "It doesn't come out." Tony
shivered. "That way no one could break into his desk again."
"Keep that innocence," Tony quipped. "So, we have the building and
the gym there." The people nodded. "That leaves the range
here and the other gyms here."
"Or there's the Montrose gym," Dawn said, digging out something from his
desk and handing it over. "They invited all of you to work out
there. They're exclusive and do have a firing range."
Tony looked them up and nodded. "Okay." He passed that around.
"I demand to see Tony Stark," a shrill female voice shouted at the outer assistants.
Dawn sighed and went to see who that was. "You are?" she demanded.
"You're nothing," she sneered.
"I'm his personal assistant and if you don't give me a damn good reason
I'm throwing you off the building." The woman gasped. "You
have two seconds since he's in a meeting."
"A *meeting*?" she sneered. "With you?"
"No, with the Avengers." She stared at her. "Going,
going...." She waved a hand. "Gone. Security to the
admin area," she said. Guards came off the elevator. "Have a
good day and thank you for visiting Stark Tower, Ma'am." She
"I'll talk to him or I'll sue you!" she shouted.
Dawn looked at her. "You'd have to have a reason to sue. As
you aren't giving a reason for you to see him at all, I'm going to say
most judges won't give you any credit at all. Especially since all
public areas in the building are taped by security. Now, what did
you want to see him about?"
"He's keeping my daughter in jail."
"Why?" she asked. "Because frankly I don't think he knows you."
Tony walked out and looked at her. "That's the bimbo's mother." The woman sneered at him for that announcement.
"Oh! Well, then *you're* keeping her in jail, Mrs. Shandy.
It's not Tony's job to do your job that you've already failed at.
He's not a relation to her and has no obligation to take her in or help
her in any manner. Frankly, the company doesn't need that sort of
bad publicity. If you want her out so much, take her home with
you. Now, anything else?" she asked with a perky smile.
"They were going to give her to him!"
"I don't want her," Tony said. "My assistant is right. I
have no desire to be anywhere near your daughter for any reason.
My company doesn't need her here either. See, we do *work*
here. I set down rules that I would be her nanny for and they
didn't like them. Pity. Now, please have a good day."
He walked back in there. "Dawn."
"Coming." She stared at her. "Do have a good day and thank
you for visiting Stark Tower, Mrs. Shandy." She huffed off.
Dawn pointed. The guards grinned and escorted her out. She
looked at the two outer assistants. "We good?" They nodded.
"Okay. We're figuring out what to do while Fury's purple."
She went back in there and shut the doors. "Thank you, Goddess,
for my mother having sense!" she said to the ceiling. "I can only
hope that I never turn into one of them."
"Pepper would've straightened you out or you would've went to a boarding school," Tony assured her.
She smiled. "Good. It might've straightened me out, though
with my luck I would've went to hers." She sat down again.
"What's wrong with her school?" Steve asked.
"That's where they taught her to be a craptastic assassin who misses a lot," Dawn told him.
"Oh, charming." He looked at Tony. "He's considering having her confined."
"She did it so no one could break into his files again," Tony
said. "Because it happens a lot. She mined some of our
archives with the same dye packs."
"Beyond that, I set it off," Clint said, sipping his coffee. She
got up to make more for them, earning smiles. "Thanks, Short
"Welcome, Archer boy."
"You guys are so mushy," Bruce said with a smile.
"Yes, but we're good at it," Dawn quipped with a grin. She sat
down once it was started, letting Tony pour his own. "No creamer
"That's fine," he said, sipping it. "You got me Kona?"
"No, I made my spouses Kona from the stash in my desk. You're just lucky they're willing to share."
"Yup, guess I am." He grinned and shook his head. "Okay, options, people?"
"We need our own jet," Clint said. "All that."
"They stole from us anyway," Tony said. "The hell carrier too."
Natasha sighed. "They did." He stared at her. "Fine, I did." She sipped her coffee.
"I'm more worried that they got other weapons," Steve said. "For that Phase 2 stuff."
"They have," Tony said. "More than I'm comfortable with but I can't really sue them."
"Those I did not steal for them," Natasha said.
"We found their leak into the system a few months back," Tony
said. "We know that wasn't you." He looked around.
"So, we're just hanging out for training? Unless something huge
"We all have things we can catch up on," Phil said. Everyone
nodded. "I'll keep track through Agent Hill. I think she's
quit cackling by now." He got up. "Have a good day,
people." He left, going back to get a few more files. He ran
into the director, not showing how amused he was by the purple.
"Sir, she said it was to keep people out of your files," he said when he
got growled at. "You have had a few gotten into and she was being
helpful. Those of us with ID cards wouldn't set it off."
"I thought I had mine on me."
"I think you left it at home because the security team called in an attempted breach."
"I forgot." He walked off still grumpy but not wanting to have
Dawn thrown into a prison overseas. So that was a good
thing. He wouldn't tell him it might not wear off for
months. He went back to the spare office at the tower to do some
work, much happier for the day.
Clint was staring at the kid in the hospital again. He had done
this a few times. He finally manned up and went over there.
He walked in and got a better look at the action figure
collection. "I didn't know they made sets of us, just from the
movie actors." The kid was gaping in awe. "Hey."
"No, that was some PR person at SHIELD." He sat on the foot of the
kid's bed. "Not me. It took me a few days to hear but once I
did, I realized you needed to have a visit, get some encouragement, all
"Because archers always fight," the boy said.
"That's right, we do." He grinned and got comfortable. "Who makes the ones that look like us?"
"There's a shop locally that makes them. They don't get her hair
right and Thor's really too blond." He reached over to grab
them. Clint looked at them, smiling at them. "The movie ones
"Dawn's really liking the guy they picked to play me."
"Pretty brunette in the chainmail?"
"Wow. You know her really well?"
"Kinda since we're together."
"I thought you and her," he said, pointing at the mini Natasha.
Clint winced. "That's kinda complicated and I'd have to ask your mom to explain that to you. Okay?"
"I get that. Sometimes adults have things like that."
"Some day you will."
The kid shook his head. "Probably not."
"Is that defeat I hear?" he asked, staring at him.
"They said it's a real small chance," he said quietly.
Clint tipped his chin up. "Real small chance was me and my brother
running away to the circus together, getting in, getting real skills,
and me ending up at SHIELD. That was less than a one percent
chance. Are yours better?"
"Then archers never give up." He stared at him. "Got
it?" The kid smiled and nodded. "Good." He patted him
on the foot again. "I nearly came earlier but you were kinda
"I saw you watching from the office across the street."
"One time you were napping. The other one the nurses were fussing. I wasn't going to interrupt."
"Please interrupt. Sometimes they fuss and fuss until I want to hide."
"Dawn does that to the geeks at Stark." The boy giggled. "So, what else do you like to do?"
"I want to be an archer in the olympics when I get older."
"That's a really high goal. Ever handled a bow?"
"I have a nerf bow."
"They're cool. I use them on the trainees at SHIELD
sometimes. We need better trainees. Ours have been loud and
not at all subtle." He pulled his bag around and pulled out his
bow, snapping it open. "That's my bow." The boy looked awed,
cradling it carefully on his lap to look it over. "It's got
interior tension controls so it's like a compound bow without all the
extra stuff that they have." He shifted to cross his feet in front
of him, showing him all the parts and letting him handle it.
"Some day, you'll make a team. It takes a lot of practice.
Every day sort of practice."
Clint smiled at the nurse coming in. "Hey."
"I did come. Dawn heard that SHIELD had turned it down without
asking me and asked me." He looked at his fan. "Dawn's mom
was in one of the centers across town."
"Wow. What did she have?"
"Brain tumor. Thankfully she got better. Now she's Director
Fury's assistant. She fought it for just over two years." He
looked at the kid. "She had it go and then come back almost
"Ow." He rubbed his head. "I'm glad mine's just in my
liver. They say livers heal and brain tumors are the worst to
"They can be. But I'm pretty sure you're fighting just like she
did." He nodded. "Then that's what's important. That
you try your best, no matter what the odds are. Even when the
backup's too far away."
"I can do that."
"I know you can. You made it this far so you're doing a great
job." He smiled. Someone in the other side of the pod was
screaming at a nurse so he pulled out a nerf crossbow and got her,
making her yelp. He grinned at the nurse as he put it back.
"They probably don't need the stress." He looked at the kid, who
was giggling. Clint winked and handed him something. "Dawn
got that for you. That's to the speciality comic store down on
Grant. She said there's two hundred on there for you, and five for
the other kids on the floor. She wanted you to pick out stuff for
them." He looked awed. Clint smiled. "In there is
also her work address so you can write me there."
"You're welcome, Bob." The kid giggled. "I got confused, didn't I? Sometimes I do not remember names."
"No, you didn't. It's pretty cool."
Clint smiled. "I try really hard. You can't be a hero if you
aren't at least a little bit cool." The boy nodded.
Clint took off his sunglasses and put them on the kid's head.
"You'll need those for when you start practicing for that olympic
team. They're specially sun shielded so you don't get
glare." The boy bounced some. His mom came in and
stopped. "Dawn said she made the person who turned you down on me
"It's not a problem. I understand bad odds and how to fight
against them." He ruffled the kid's hair. "You write me
whenever you want."
"I can do that."
"Cool. I'll see if I can get Stark to visit someone that wants it
too. Dawn said she's talked to him about it in the past but no one
"Think he could bring the suit?"
"He has a portable version," he admitted with a grin. "It's in a briefcase and wraps around him."
"That's really cool."
"Yeah, it is. Tony spoils us horribly. He's tweaked my bow a
lot so it's got perfect balance and the grip's going to stay in my hand
no matter how much I'm sweating. He's made me new arrow tips
too. Including a few that make it real cold now and then."
"I remember it doing that," the mother said with a smile.
Clint grinned. "We got the formula from another realm that had a
dragon invasion. They're meant to kill the fire breathing kind."
"That's sweet," Bob said. Clint pulled out a few arrows with
regular tips to show him them. The kid got one to keep. He
was nearly sobbing in joy.
Clint patted him again. "You'll write?"
"I can do that."
"Good boy. I'll let you and your mom talk about how to get the
books for the other kids and your part of it." He winked as he
stood up, taking his bow back to snap closed. "If we don't have to
save the world I'll try to be back early next month."
"I'll try to be here."
"Remember, we never give up."
"No, we don't. Archers never give up." He cuddled his mom. "Thank you."
"You're welcome, Bob. It's important that you guys know that we're
here for more than the saving stuff." He smiled and left.
Bob looked at his mother. "His girlfriend is the lady in the
chainmail but he said it's a complicated adult thing about the pretty
redheaded lady, Mom."
"I bet it is. What books?" He showed her and told her what
Clint had said. "We can arrange that." She cuddled
him. He fell asleep with the arrow under his hand and the
sunglasses beside his bed. Her baby was so happy.
Clint walked into Tony's lab, pausing to hug Dawn. She cuddled back. "He's got like twenty percent."
"Mom had ten," she said quietly. He nodded, giving her a squeeze.
Tony looked over. "The Make A Wish kid?" Clint nodded. "That's tough."
"He's five," Clint said.
"That sucks harder," Dawn agreed. She let him calm himself down
all he wanted. He finally pulled back. "You going to see him
"I said I'd come back next month if we weren't saving the earth." He looked at Tony. "Did any of them talk to you?"
"One in LA did. I went to visit her. She was a teenager and
flirting hard." Pepper came in with Liz in her stomach snuggler.
"We could probably arrange something so the kids could ask you questions," Dawn offered.
Tony stared at her. "We'll see. I'm not sure if I could
handle a full group of kids. Even healthy kids. My own kid
scares me, Dawn."
"I know." She patted him on the arm. "Maybe?"
"We'll see." She nodded. "I might be talked into a donation."
"We're already donating some pads to the local children's cancer
centers," Pepper said with a grin. "We can show up to hand them
"That I can see," he decided. She kissed him for that.
Dawn looked at Clint. "Thankfully I won't have to do that to Callia when it's her turn to run the company."
He laughed and squeezed her. "No you won't." He cuddled
her. Natasha strolled in and got one from him too. "They
make action figures of us, Nat. Not the movie us but the real us."
"Bob said that a speciality shop in town makes them."
"Huh." She smiled. "We'll get you a set."
"We can do that," Dawn agreed. "Did you give him the gift card?"
"I did. I told him what you wanted him to do and let him pick. It won't go down, right?"
"No!" She snorted and waved a hand. "We paid cash for it and
the manager helped me pick out which card to give you." She
"Cool." He pulled her closer to hug.
Bruce walked in. "Went to see the kid?" he asked. Clint nodded. "That's tough."
"It's hard seeing the ones in the same ward as Mom," Dawn agreed.
"Joyce and I are giving them some toys this weekend," he told Dawn, who
beamed at him. "She thinks she can give them some extra hope since
she was there."
"She probably could," Clint agreed. "Bob had all the new comics
that had come out. He had both sets of action figures. He
said he wants to be an olympic archer."
"Then we all hope he makes it," Bruce said, patting him on the arm with a
grin. "Can I have Dawn? Our lab is hopelessly messed up."
"Yup. Sure, Doc."
"Thanks." He walked her off. "I have no idea how we lost everything."
"I have an idea." She walked him upstairs to the lab above
his. "People, are you erasing others' data again?" she
asked. They groaned. "Just be aware that Dr. Banner's back
in residence so any future ones, warn them." They nodded.
"Thank you." She walked him back down there. She reloaded
their backup that automatically saved each night and found the other
stuff he was missing.
Dawn woke up panting, staring around her bedroom. She got up to
find something, checking on her mother. That was bad. She
called over there, which ensured a grumpy stepfather but Bruce would
forgive her. She walked into the study and shut the door so she
wouldn't wake anyone up and told him what she had seen and what the
health telltale said. He promised he'd take her to the ER
immediately if he could wake her up. Dawn told him she had put a
copy of Callia crying on his phone as an emergency wake up. He had
to use it and Joyce got up, very grumpy, but agreed to go since the
health telltale was so dark.
Dawn hung up and tipped her head back, staring at the cat that was in
there on her bookshelves. "Didn't I say to get off that one?" she
asked him. "Move, Loki." He hopped down and made it seem
like it was his idea to come give her some attention instead of curling
around the pretty vase Natasha had found her on their travels. She
sat there petting him until Bruce called about an hour later.
They had found more than a blood clot but it wasn't a tumor. It
was definitely a medicine caused problem. There was some
swelling. They had caught it in time and Joyce was being
admitted. Dawn sighed in relief. She could come down but he
said not to. He'd see her tomorrow to give her an update.
She agreed and hung up, hugging the cat even if he did complain.
She went back to bed with the cat.
"Do we need to go to the ER with her?" Clint asked quietly.
"Bruce took her. They said the new medicine for that blood clot
caused swelling. She's been admitted and we can see her
tomorrow." She snuggled into his side, the cat hopping up to sit
on their pillows and clean Clint's hair. They squeezed her between
them. "I just want all the bad health stuff to go away."
"We do too," Natasha assured her. Clint nodded, shifting to hold
her better. The cat huffed but still washed his hair.
Clint looked up at him. "I like you too, Loki." He tried to
pet him but the cat ran off. "Okay. You do that." Dawn
giggled but pulled Natasha overtop of her back and they both rested on
Clint's chest. He looked at Natasha. She nodded she'd check
in the morning. They fell back asleep, even if the cat did wake
Clint up when he came back to finish giving him a bath.
Xander woke up in a sweaty mess, looking around the room. He took a
calming breath, then another one. He looked, Phil was still
mostly asleep. Xander got up and went to the bathroom to rinse his
face off, running a handful of water through his hair as well. He
stared in the mirror and decided that however he had seen Dawn's dream,
that was going to happen his way instead. He turned around and
found Phil there. "Dawn's dream."
"What was it?"
"Dawn got called from a meeting because her telltale on her mom went
off. Joyce had collapsed at work. The infirmary at HQ tried
to keep them apart but Dawn shot one of those idiots in the side.
She took Joyce and I had to help her because someone was screwing with
things. Namely Athena. Athena and I had a discussion at the
edge of the void where she was screaming for mercy, even though that was
not the mood I was in."
Phil hugged him. "We'll talk to her tomorrow." Xander
nodded. "If she knows we realize maybe it'll mean she'll turn
herself over to Zeus or something so you only have to hurt her a lot."
"Maybe." He sighed, cuddling Phil. "Are the kids okay?"
"They're fine. Didn't wake up at all." Xander nodded, just being held for now.
"If she was hurting Joyce there's going to be a blood vendetta," he said quietly.
"I'll support you in whatever you choose to do, Xander. You know that."
"I know." He gave him a squeeze. "Bed?"
"Definitely. It's nearly four." They got back into
bed. Melissa ran in a few minutes later and climbed in with
them. John was making hurt, pouty noises. "In here," Phil
called quietly. John ran in and pounced, hugging Xander's back so
they could go back to sleep. "Remember, sleeping with us is a
treat, not an every night thing."
"Tara thinks they're a bit empathic."
"I think they are too. Not as much as Callia is but enough that
they pick up the bigger things. That's why they're both hugging
you." He grinned. Xander smiled back and patted both
kids. They were quickly asleep so Phil put them back into their
own beds. Then he came back to hug Xander himself.
He finally understood why Dawn sometimes jealously hoarded people.
Dawn went back to the tower after visiting her mother over lunch,
walking into the office. "Expect some crying," she said quietly.
"Why?" Pepper asked. "Is Joyce not okay? Should we have a talk with Callia to prep her for the funeral?"
"Damn I hope not. Xander appeared and had someone fix what Athena
did." She took a calming breath. "I have no idea why Athena
hates me so damn much." Pepper winced. "No, she's seen
sense. Xander nearly killed her. He brought her bloody,
mangled body to apologize to Mom. No, we're going to have Callia
crying for other reasons. Buffy said she can't do this
anymore. She can't stress over Mom, the girls, all that."
"They're going to Asgard for a while?" Dawn nodded. "Ooh, Callia's going to wail about her siblings."
"Xander and Phil said they'd get her up there for visitation whenever
she wanted but basically, yup." She sat down. "I'm kinda
pissed at her for running and leaving it all to me."
"I can see both sides but I'd be upset too," Pepper assured her. "Is your mom going to be okay?"
"Yeah, Athena fixed it. Apollo and his son showed up to help her
fix it when Xander made Athena beg for mercy from Mom too. Bruce
had to take a walk really fast." Pepper nodded. Someone
hugged her and she looked back. "Hey, Phil."
"Joyce's swelling is fully gone. The clot is gone. She's perfectly healthy."
"And in payment we're losing Buffy," she said quietly.
"She's not lost, she's just moving."
"To another realm."
"You can still see her. So can Callia. Beyond that, she'll be back
some day. They don't allow booty skirts up there and she can't
really shop." He gave her another squeeze. "It'll be okay."
"I need to hear that."
"I know." He let her go. "Callia's on her way down. I can hear her singing."
Pepper nodded. "We can tell her once Tony gets here."
"I think he's in an interview."
Dawn got up. "Let me go tell him we need him."
"Sit. He has his phone on," Pepper said, texting him what was
going on. Tony sent back a 'give me ten' and a growl. Callia
came rushing in and Pepper pulled her up to hug.
"Is Grandma not okay? I heard she was in the hospital."
"They fixed it. It's just been a long morning, sprout," Dawn said.
"Okay." She cuddled her almost stepmommy. She was good at it. She looked around.
"Liz is the bassinet in the closet," Pepper assured her. "Let her
sleep." Callia yawned and nodded, snuggling in better. Clint
and Natasha came in, followed by a confused looking Steve. Tony
came in last not looking happy. "Callia, honey, we have to talk to
you about something and we don't want you to get too upset, all right?"
"Your mom and Hylal are taking the twins to Asgard for a bit," Tony
said, looking down at her. "Sean's going to be with
Grandma." Steve and Dawn both looked at him. "That's what
Buffy said Joyce said was going to happen." Dawn nodded,
swallowing hard. Clint and Natasha both patted her. "That
means you have to go a bit farther to visit your mom but Uncle Phil or
Uncle Xander can get you up there."
She blinked at him. "Grandma might need her."
"We can get her back down here just like we can get you up there," Phil said. "How is Sean taking that decision?"
"I'm not certain," Tony admitted. "I know Buffy sounded like she wanted to cry."
"Ditto," Dawn sighed. Bruce walked in. "Hey, Stepdad."
"Buffy's agreed with Joyce that Sean's a very modern little boy and
they'd have visitation." He smiled at Dawn. "She said she
didn't want to make you do it because you have a life thingy as she put
it." Dawn shook her head with a sigh. "So you'll get to see a
lot more of Sean, Callia."
"Hylal thinks that going to Asgard for a few years will help them get
stronger faster." He looked at her. "You can still
visit. We'll figure out ways of getting letters up there."
She nodded. "Okay. So no more emails?"
"No, no more emails. There's no computers on Asgard," Phil said.
"That sucks," she complained.
"There's no electric on Asgard," Dawn told her. "Or malls. You know she'll be back soon."
Callia nodded. "Mommy likes to shop. She'll hate not having
malls." Tony smiled, picking her up to hold her. "Why Sean
not come to us?"
"Your mom didn't want to overload your dad since you guys have Liz."
"That's stupid," Callia complained. "I can help Sean and Liz."
"Your grandmother is going to take care of him," Bruce said, staring at
her. "Since her doctor wants her to take some time off, she'll
have time to do that."
"Grandma's been sick. She doesn't have the energy to chase Sean around like I do," Callia said, looking at her father.
"I agree and we'll be doing a lot of babysitting for her." He looked at Bruce. "How much time off?"
"About four weeks. I called Fury and let them talk. He
agreed, Joyce's health is the most important thing. She can work
from home he said." He rolled his eyes. Dawn smiled.
"I'm sure Sean will be super helpful."
"He likes to file," Callia said with a smile. "He's learning his letters with it."
"He is," Dawn agreed. "You were teaching him very well with your
school work, Callia." Callia beamed and wiggled some. She
looked at Bruce. "I have a spare room and a cat that loves him."
"We know. If we can't handle it because of your mom's health we'll
let you take him or Callia have him." He stroked over her
hair. "She'll be okay."
"She'd better be okay. Or else that blood feud won't be ended."
"I can agree with that," he promised, smiling at her. "Calm
down." She nodded, leaning into her spouse's hands. "So
that's how things stand right now."
Xander appeared, taking Callia to hold. "Your brother is going to
be so damn spoiled your mom's going to fuss about it." She grinned
at him. "For now, just know that your mommy loves you but she
thinks it'll be better for the twins."
"Lies still feel tingly in my head," she told him.
"Okay, and she thinks someone's going to attack the family again and she
can't handle that." Tony winced. He stared at her.
"Sometimes you have to deal with things."
"I know." She hugged him. "I'd better get visitation all I want and as many letters as I want."
"I'll have the Valkyries going up there drop one off. If they're mad at her, we'll handle it."
"Okay." She looked at her father. "Can I be mad at her?"
"Yup," Dawn agreed. "I am." She sighed and took her to
cuddle. "We'll figure it out. We Summers women know how to
do things the best ever and handle even the most difficult thing with
poise and grace. We'll remind her of that when she's calmed down."
"Good!" She hugged her then went back to her father, letting him pick her up. "I want Sean most of the time."
"You can have him a lot. When he's a bit older you can help him
start learning his letters and numbers so he can go to school."
She nodded. "I can do that. I'm very good at it. I'm helping Melissa and John too."
"You are," he agreed, smiling. "You're very good at helping them learn things, Callia, and I'm proud of you for it."
"We can go tinker." He walked her off, punching Xander on the arm.
"She could tell the lie."
"I know. Still."
"Not like I'm used to kids," Xander mumbled. Phil stroked over his
arm. He relaxed, looking at Dawn. "Want to go yell at
"It won't make anyone feel better and it might make Hylal feel miserable."
"It might, yeah." He gave her a pat on the head. "You do
that poise3 and grace thing well, Dawnie. She's proud of you for
only losing your shit in private."
Dawn smiled. "Yeah, I think I want to have a screaming kid
fit. It won't do any good though and I'd just end up more tired
later on." Clint stroked over her hair. She looked at
Bruce. "The couch in my study pulls out. The spare rooms all
"That's fine, Dawn. We'll handle it. I like Sean. He's
a smart little boy and he'll follow me into science some day." He
smiled. She grinned back. "It'll be okay." He left
the family to talk. He wanted to have a losing his shit fit too
but he knew that was a really bad idea with the Other Guy. Maybe
he'd see if Rodney needed tinkering time.
Dawn looked at Pepper.
Pepper shook her head. "We'll handle it." She nodded. "Go take ten, Dawn."
"Yeah, I could use ten." She got up and pulled her spouses with her to the admin break area so she could get a cuddle.
Xander and Phil shook their heads. "Joyce had such a yell at her,"
Xander said quietly. "The nurses thought she was going to have a
"I'd do the same thing," Pepper admitted. "Buffy's been fighting a long time and she could probably use a break."
"That's the only thing that got her ass saved," Xander said.
"That and she kept saying she couldn't stand to stay and watch her
mother die," Phil agreed. He stroked Xander's back. "The
Valkyries might snub her?"
"She gave up her duty."
"Warriors retire all the time."
"They do," Xander agreed. "I'm not sure how they'll handle
her. Hylal is having wobbly thoughts. Shit, that means I
have to tell Faith and possibly use the scythe to activate another
slayer." He went to LA, staring at the team who were eating
breakfast. "Might wanna put it down," he told them.
Faith dropped her fork. "I got a sobbing call from B. Couldn't understand anything. Her mom sick again?"
"Yes and no. Got that solved. Buffy decided she needs a
longer time off. She and Hylal are going to Asgard for a few
"The sprout's going to hate that," Faith said, staring at him.
"We can get her there for visitation. Though, yeah, Callia's a bit pissed off at her too."
"I can understand needing to escape the emo stuff," Faith said more calmly. Xander nodded she was right.
"So now what?" Gunn asked.
"There's a few options. One of them is the scythe. Which
will call another slayer." Faith shivered. "There's a
decision to be made about which one of you is where."
She looked at Connor then at Gunn. "It won't call the sprout, right?" she asked.
"No. The few I feel the strongest spirit around are all late teens. All overseas."
She inhaled then let it out. "Call another one." He
nodded. "I..." She looked at her friends. With Connor
and Gunn, she had what Buffy had from Xander and Willow. "I'm
staying here, X. So set them there?"
"I can do that." He kissed her on the head. "Call."
She nodded she would. He went to Cleveland, taking the scythe from
the mantle. The agents were all looking really pissed off.
He looked at them. "Pain happens, people." They
nodded. Buffy came down the stairs. Xander concentrated on
the scythe, feeling the spell. He tapped some power to add to the
spell. The slayer spirit flowed up and out to him, understanding
what he needed. She took more power and activated three. He
noted which ones they were as they flashed into power. He put the
scythe back on the mantle and bowed to it. "Thank you." He
wrote down cities and names. "Today. Before they get
attacked." They called that in as they headed for the airport with
other agents who had served in Cleveland. He looked at Buffy.
"I'd take Sean too if Mom wouldn't scream at me."
"Do you blame her?" he asked quietly.
"No. I... I just can't do it anymore, Xander. I can't.
I can't handle another round of Mom being sick or someone wanting
something and trying to attack her. I can't handle all this and
being a mom and being with Hylal. I need to be a mom and with
"I get that. Your daughter's highly pissed off but we'll work out a
way to get letters and visitation to you." She nodded,
swallowing. "I...." He closed his mouth. "One of the
new ones will be coming here. Faith wants to stay in LA."
"She does good there." She looked at him, silently begging him to understand. "When they're older....."
"Yup, that's fine." She relaxed and nodded. Hylal came
down. "I'll come formally ask for a decision in a year, Midgard
time, Hylal. The standard time difference is two weeks to a mortal
"I can accept that. If the twins were more healthy I would have chosen differently."
"I understand better than most. You both have battle burnout and
you have responsibilities that you've taken on. She deserves
maternity leave." Buffy nodded. "You have a mortal
year. Then we'll make you both retire if you wish it."
"Agreed. Thank you, Alexander."
Xander clasped his hand. "I never want to hear anything happened to her, you, or those kids," he warned. "At all."
Buffy nodded, hugging him. "It won't. I'll be back when
they're healthy and older, Xander." She pulled back. "I can
bring Sean. He's my son. Callia's mine but she's more her
dad's daughter. I've always had Sean with me."
"That's between you and your mom. I'm not going to tell Joyce that. She'll kick my ass."
"Yeah, Mom will." She sighed. "Let me call her." She
did that. "Mom, I'm bringing Sean with me. Xander gave us a
mortal year. He said it's two weeks up there to a mortal night
here." Hylal stroked her back. "Thanks, Mom. No, we'll
be fine. You can come visit too I'm sure." She
smiled. "Thanks, Mom. I... Yeah, I do.
Thanks. Love you. Be safe?" She hung up and turned to
hug her husband, sobbing on him. Xander disappeared. He'd
tell Callia she'd see her baby brother in a year and he'd be older.
Hylal soothed her. It'd be fine and she needed the time to be a
mother and experience things other than battles. He had done the
same when his first son was born. Thankfully Xander understood.
John appeared from taking them home. "His sons are throwing a
party that he's home for so long." Callia stared at him.
"Me, Uncle Roque, Uncle Xander, or Uncle Phil can get you up there,
Callia." She nodded. "Including to see Sean."
"Uncle Xander told me. I still don't understand."
He squatted down beside her. "Sometimes, adults have to step back
from their duties to realize why they do things. Like sometimes
you have to go look at great things that other geniuses have done to
realize that you're adding onto the legacy?" She nodded she did
that. "Well, your mom has to be a mom for a bit instead of being a
slayer. She's had too many battles and being a mom for a bit will
make her remember why she's a slayer that's lasted so long. It's
not that she wanted to give it up but she had to so she could go on
She nodded. "Then who's going to do her job?"
"Xander activated another slayer."
"Was that the pinchy feeling I got earlier?"
He tested and smiled at her. "It was. That's the slayer spirit calling one of the older future slayers to the duty."
"Okay. I'll listen for that."
"Don't you worry about that. Your time for that job is not anytime
soon. Unless something huge like the purple guy in Sunnydale
happens, you don't have to worry about slayers in front of you."
She nodded, giving him a hug. "Just think, when he gets back
Sean's going to be about your age."
"Two weeks per night here," he said with a smile. "So he's going to be older."
"So about every lunar month he's going to be a year older," Tony said. "Wow."
"That's going to be weird," she complained.
"Yeah but helpful. Your sisters are going to get older too."
"I'm supposed to be the oldest not the youngest."
"You'll figure it out," he promised, making her smile. He kissed
her on the head. "His family is really happy to have them
home. They're spoiling them rotten with a great dinner."
"Mommy could use some food. She was skinny again."
"She does that sometimes." He winked and stood up. He hugged Joyce. "It'll be okay."
"I hope so."
"I'm sure it'll be okay or Xander will go up and kill something."
"True, and I'll cheer him on." She smiled. "Thank you, John."
"You're welcome." He left, going back to the city. Ronon was a bit pouty. He stared at him. "Problems?"
"I'll miss Sean following me around when he visits."
"Me too, big guy. If he wasn't so blond he could've been your son."
"Most warriors would be proud to have a son like him." He grinned. "The boy was a huge flirt too."
"Yeah, just like his aunt." Ronon walked off snickering.
John went to his office to work out some thoughts in his journal.
He'd miss Sean following him around too.
Xander came back from Valhalla, finding his father waiting. "What?"
"You asked Fenrir to watch over the children?" he asked.
"And Garnet's wolf pack."
His father shook his head. "They'll grow as they should up there."
"I know." He smirked evilly. "In a year they'll be old
enough to train." Alana stomped in. "Don't start today."
"She needed the time?" she demanded.
"Yes. She's been a warrior since she was fifteen. She's my
mortal age." She shuddered. "She needs the time to be a
"Fine. I can understand that."
"I gave her a mortal year."
"With the time switch they'll be old enough to train."
"Yes, they will be." He smiled. "The girls are going to be
aggressively blonde little hellions and Sean's going to train with Ronon
when they come back. He's already asked."
Alana patted him on the arm. "Tis a grand plan." She walked off shaking her head.
Xander looked at his father. "The new three?"
"They're here. One of the agents is dented." Xander rolled
his eyes. "Fine. We'll manage the fall out." He
left. His son had just gotten some very strong protectors that
would be the right age to train before the next huge battle. That
way if anyone fell they'd have replacements being trained. His son
had learned how to plan and plot somewhere. He was nearly proud
of his son.
Xander smirked at the ceiling. "It was all her doing, not mine, Dad." He waved. Phil appeared. "Hi."
"Hi." He pulled him closer. "We'll make the most of the hand
we're dealt. We need to talk to the new slayers tomorrow."
Xander nodded, taking a kiss. "Bed?"
"Kids?" he guessed. "Tonight's the coven picnic." Phil
moaned and opened up the door so he could grab the kids. "Have
fun, ladies," Xander quipped, stopping Tara to bless her stomach.
She blushed but Xander shrugged. "We're going to fuss this
time." He walked Melissa off. "Come on. We have to
make dinner since Talsa hasn't yet." She squealed loudly and ran
for his kitchen. John was right behind her and getting into the
fridge once he reached it.
Tara and Maria walked out together, picnic basket over Tara's arm.
They had something planned for tonight, including some sperm in a cool
sack inside it. They had a revel to get to.
Phil looked up that night. He had a light sensing tether on
Tara. And on Maria. He blinked. "Huh." Xander
blinked at him. "Tara's pregnant by Maria thanks to Lavelle's
choker, and Maria's now pregnant by me." Xander rolled over to hug
him. "We'll love them all anyway." Xander smiled and
snuggled. He scooted closer and took a kiss. The kids were
fast asleep. So was everyone else in the building except the
cat. It was slowly sneaking over to lick Natasha's hair for
her. He took a kiss and flipped over to cuddle. "Think we
can be really quiet?"
Xander put up a noise deflection shield on the doorway. "I think they won't hear if we're not and you scream loudly."
"I don't scream in bed, Xander," he said. He knew it was a
challenge. Xander smirked evilly and went to elemental form to
tease him. Phil moaned and grabbed onto the bed. "Okay,
maybe I will tonight." He heard the warm chuckle in his head and
went to elemental form too. It was less tormenting that way.
The no external noises was a bonus too.
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