Oops, Problems Again.
Xander had a weird feeling so he wandered off, going to see what it was. On the way he annoyed one of the poker circuit but oh well. Xander grunted at him as he chewed on his piece of jerky, nodding a bit at him too.
"Harris, you're not allowed down there," the demon complained.
"Feels like Sunnydale," he said between bites. He found the opening easily enough. It looked different, the rest of the wall looked weird but that part looked recently built of newer bricks. He walked in and nodded at the demons in there. "Feels like Sunnydale." He walked past them to the shrine area and then off to the side. He stared at the trunk, picking the lock open while his jerky was between his teeth. He looked inside then groaned. "Shit." The demons staring from the doorway flinched back. Xander took out the jerky to tear off another bite, looking at the demons. "Guys, did you hide this from Sunnydale?"
"It came from London," one said.
"No, it came from Sunnydale." He held up a trophy. "That holds Amy Madison's mom." They all groaned, they had heard about Rat Amy's problems. Xander looked at the rest of the trunk, grimacing. "Hey, my missing t-shirt." He pulled it out and looked at a shoe. "The one Buffy lost in that mudhole." He leaned back to look at them. "Is it a groupie?"
"Could be," one agreed. "Is it dangerous?"
"Buffy threw out her remaining shoe." He put that back. Two more things shone out at him. One was Willow's journal. One was a necklace. Xander dug and found something else of his, then came out. "Okay." He closed the trunk, walking back to the gathering area. "I need my old t-shirt back, guys. I'm really down on clothes." He put it over his shoulder. "This one holds Amy's mom, who was a witch in all meanings of the word. If you heard about Buffy joining the Sunnydale High cheer team, that's her problems." A few grimaced, staring at the trophy. "These two will get you beaten if she finds out. One's a huge magical spike that was just resting inside the other one, which is Willow's journal." He looked at one demon. "Since she's no longer meowing...." Willow appeared, making Xander wince. "We had groupies, Willow." He tossed her the journal."
"Oh, thanks. I felt heavy magic around you."
Xander stared at her. "I can usually handle magical things. Really. But look, Amy's mom." He held up the trophy.
She whined and took it, disappearing again.
Xander grinned. "You're welcome for the saving," he said quietly, getting some nods. "Anyone have any idea who that belonged to?" he asked with a point at the pendant.
"It's a protection one," one said with a shrug. "Could've come out of the Gem of Amara's stash."
"Spike cleared out most of the pretty stuff. Then Angel broke the gem." That got a mass groan. "He was *tempted*."
A few nodded and looked up to pray for patience. Xander grinned. "Hunter, do you really need to break that up?"
"Yeah. Because she would've shown up to kill you guys for her journal. That's her one from high school that started before she got into magic." That got another mass groan. "And I really do need my t-shirt back. I'm down to two shirts somehow."
"You could shop."
"Yeah, no," Xander said, shaking his head quickly. "Not likely. Buffy made me shop with her. I don't really like that stores and malls exist." That got a nod from everyone. "So let me put the protection amulet somewhere safer and my shirt back into my closet. If you find out we have a groupie, let us know. I have some pictures I can make copies of. Including of Buffy in a face mask." They let him go with the amulet and his t-shirt. He was near his target's office so he went there. He grinned as he walked in. "Hey."
"Problems?" she asked, looking up at him. She looked exhausted.
"Slightly but two big ones that're going to come for you. We safe to talk here?"
"Yeah." She nodded, sitting back. "How bad since you only see apocalypse battles."
"No, no visions. Intel from the poker circuit. He was trying to recruit someone to help him get you."
"Him?" she asked.
"Him from the park him, Jessica."
"Oh!" She grimaced. "Did he succeed and if so how are they hurt?"
"He did not. The whole community is really mad about telepaths." He grinned. "They hate them more than they hate things that would eat them."
"So they won't be trying to kidnap or harm me to hand me over?"
"Mostly not. A few might for the cash but they're mostly the sort you can hit really hard." He handed over a book he carried in his back pocket. "That's a classification manual." He grinned. "And the books on how to shield your mind are in too. You never showed up for them but they're all up here now." She grinned at him. "Second, there's a small problem down there. There's some shit stirrers trying the local poker circuit. They've been trying to stomp them. They'll handle it but there'll be some major hurt feelings first. They tried to stir up things against the slayers but one of the locals pointed out that the slayers had saved two healers clinics from the bigots." The pendant he carried tried to fly over to her. He looked at it. "I have no idea what you're for outside of protection. I just found it in a Sunnydale groupie's trunk."
She took it to look at. "It feels warm. And I can kinda hear...something."
Xander pulled his wand to check it, nodding at it. "Yeah, it's got a trapped being to protect a young woman from slimy guys." He blinked a few times then grinned. "That's damn handy and my usual form of coincidence." She handed it back with an evil smirk. "Seriously. I just ran into a stash from a slayer groupie. It was in there."
She shook her head. "That's so weird."
"Yeah but it comes in handy in my life." He grinned. "So anyway, you're warned and all that. If you need help, yell our way. We're in the summer slowdowns right now so we're all on training and bored time." She nodded, smirking a tiny bit. "Of course, me saying that will probably draw something here," he said dryly. "Come get those books soon? I can tell you that they will help you block out nightmares. I've used that meditation myself many times."
"Who says I have nightmares?" she quipped, giving him a dirty look.
"The royal family's worth of luggage on your cheeks," he said dryly. "I live in a house full of young women, Jessica. If my girls had that sort of luggage needing carried I'd drug them into a nap." He stared at her. "Or teach them that meditation and let them go practice and nap. There's even one that can mimic sleep. It's not quite as good but it's handy when you need a real rest and can't do it." He yawned. "Sorry. I need my own nap. I'm officially out for coffee." He grinned. "So show up someday soon?"
"I guess I can look over the books. It can only help."
"Yeah, sometimes you find some of the most helpful things in the weirdest ideas. I found a superhero bolt hole under a chinese food place that's so nasty it must be using cats that were drowned in the river."
"Seriously?" she asked.
He nodded. "Seriously." He grinned. "Not all that clean either so he was living there. No dust but spandex thrown everywhere like he couldn't find what he wanted to wear. I left him a card for Andrew and a cleaning service run by mutants. Andrew can help him find a good superhero outfit."
She laughed. "That's bad."
"Yeah but he's that sort of geek." He winked. "Let me know if you need my help. I'm bored and all I have to do is jog or workout until the next problem pops up." He shrugged. "Have a happier day." He left, going to pick up coffee then go home. That pendant could go in his safe.
She shook her head but sent messages to her friends so they could be wary of the poker circuit. Every time she saw Xander things were weird but nice. For some reason she wasn't worried about him around her.
Xander hummed as he picked the lock, then stood up and opened the door, walking inside. "Slayer society," he yelled. "I'm here because your artifact was giving my girls migraines!" A few people upstairs ran. "I don't care if you are cult members to your artifact, stop it before I have to call slayers here." He traced the feeling, finding the right spot. He looked at the statue on the shrine. "You're loud. Do you mind?" It growled at him. Xander smacked it on the head. "Stop it." The statue moved away from him.
The staring officers all backed away slowly. "Mr. Harris, is that thing dangerous?" one asked.
"It's more holding people in thrall and it has bad ideas. You might want to go free the hostages upstairs. That's why I called you guys when the girls reported this cult trying to gather them to serve." He looked back. The statue lunged at him so Xander caught it and threw it against the floor as hard as he could. "You're not as good as a lion," he told the groaning statue. "You don't even have a tail. Only things with tails can pounce." He stomped it on the head. The statue set up a wail. "Go stop them before they kill themselves," he ordered. The officers rushed off to stop the cult members from harming themselves or others.
Xander grinned at the statue. "There's *thousands* of slayers," he said dryly. "Of many ages. You'll never get them all. You'll never be able to taint the slayer spirit. So just stop," he sneered. The statue went still. Xander took the statue outside, setting it on fire on the sidewalk. He grinned and waved at the neighbors. "They had a possessed statue gathering a cult," he called. "Officers are handling it." The neighbors just gave him funny looks. Xander stomped on the remains of the statue to make sure it was all broken up.
The trapped demon popped up with a laugh. "Now I'll have you, Hunter," it sneered. "You're not as good as a slayer but you'll do for now."
Xander cut off his head. "Really? You so sure about that? You can't annoy me nearly as much as the slayers do. I live in a house full of teenage girls. You're pathetic next to that." He stomped a few more times then set the demon on fire. It burned quickly so that was nice since it stunk. "Wow, couldn't get a bath inside your statue?" he complained. "I'll have to remember that if I get trapped as a genie." He waved at the cops pulling up. "The other officers are inside, guys." A few ran that way. One of them stared at him. Xander grinned at her. "The possessed artifact was making a cult and keeping sex slaves. Mostly kidnaped ones."
"That's good to know. What are you burning?"
"The statue and then the demon that had been trapped." He grinned. "It's dead now."
"Good. Who're you?"
"Harris, your local watcher." He pulled out his wallet and handed over a card. "Just call if you need us. Half the time the slayers have my phone because they're out of minutes on theirs."
She blinked a few times. "What?"
"They're teenage girls. All at least sixteen if they're in training but eighteen for patrol clearance."
"Oh, okay. Got it. Teenage girls need more phone minutes." She tucked the card into her shirt pocket. "Do we have a statement from you, Mr. Harris?"
"No. I called in you guys because the slayers had run into this cult. The demon was giving them headaches."
"How did the officers get in?"
"I picked the locks. So if they really wanted to do a lot of paperwork they could get me for B&E but I don't think they want to do that. You can go ask. I'll make sure this burns out. If not, I live up the street." He pointed.
She walked over to talk to the officers inside. They agreed they could charge the guy but probably weren't going to. She came back out. "You're really lucky, Mr. Harris."
"Thanks, ma'am." He finished watching the fire burn out. One of the slayers strolled up the street, handing him a bottle of water. "Thanks, Macy."
"Welcome, Xander. I'm in for the extensive axe training I could use."
"Sure." He grinned at her. "My special axe really likes you already." She grinned and they went back to the house to practice.
The officer looked up, saying a short, loud prayer that she wasn't like that guy. She went in to handle her people. They'd have to do some extra paperwork for the demonic cult members and the hostages they had. She just hoped the news didn't get hold of this incident.
The slayer looked up at the large, scary looking demon. Which was holding a teddy bear and sobbing pitifully. "What happened?" she asked, moving closer. "Are you okay?"
He shook his head. "No. My wife is horrible."
"I'm sorry. I know every relationship has problems. Even Slayer Penny fights with her guy over stuff." She patted him on the arm. "Can I help in any way? Talk to her or something?"
"She wanted me to bring home something and I couldn't." He pouted at her. "She might like you."
She grinned. "I am likeable and as a girl I can talk to other girls about things."
He nodded, calling down his wife. She showed up scowling at him. "This is one of the slayers, dear. She was worried I was too upset about our fight."
"You're the one that didn't bring home the sacrifice," the demonic wife complained. She looked at the slayer. "You're not Buffy."
"No, there's a lot of us now. I'm Slayer Kinesa."
"That's sweet, dear." She patted her on the head. "You shouldn't baby men like him. He's horrible."
"Every relationship has problems. Even Slayer Penny has some fights with her guy. Though I think most of hers are the baby. Can I help him find you whatever?"
"I think you probably could," she agreed, smiling at her. "You're a smart girl."
Xander appeared and threw his axe at them, killing the wife. "Kinesa, move!" She scurried out of the way. "I don't think you're going to get any slayer as a sacrifice." The husband was sobbing over his wife. He looked at her. "He wanted you to sacrifice."
"Ewww. I'm helpful but not into that." She pushed her hair back. "Can we send them home?"
"No," Xander said, shaking his head. "Which sucks." The husband hopped up to kill him. Xander stared back. "I don't care," he noted. "You were trying to grab a slayer to sacrifice. Not going to happen."
"You're evil," he sneered.
"No, I'm a Xander. We're unique," he quipped back. The husband put his teddybear on his wife's chest then lunged at Xander. He and Kinesa fought it off and killed it. He sighed, looking at her. She rolled her eyes but got a clean up team there to send them back. Tara came with them, pouting at the demons. "Kinesa was being helpful because he was holding a teddybear. They were going to sacrifice her."
Kinesa winced. "I mentioned Penny fighting with her guy and that she's pregnant." Xander looked at her. "I'll warn Penny and Brad." She sighed, doing that for him as she walked off. Xander looked at the clean up team, shrugging. They nodded back. "He was crying on his bear."
"That would get a lot of girls and young women," Tara said. "I would've tried to help too." She pushed her hair back and helped get the tarp around the bodies so they could send them off. Xander watched and helped lift them but that was the guy he was.
Kinesa started the video chat. "I nearly got caught by a dirty trick," she told the other slayers. A few groaned and Faith grimaced. "One of the older species was crying on his teddy bear about his wife being mean. She showed up and Xander showed up to tell me they were talking me into being a sacrifice. Thankfully he showed up in time. I did mention Penny, and that she's with spawn, but I warned her right afterward."
Faith nodded once. "That sucks. What was it?"
"It was like a cousin to Henry, there at the bar in Cleveland, but he was more tan than grungy gray and he had slightly shorter hair."
"Okay, so maybe the same species," Faith decided, making notes. "We can have the library team look it up." She looked up at her. "You good?"
"I'm okay but I know I'm not the only one. Kennedy told me they had one like it."
Kennedy nodded. "Two of my local minis had a demon trying to talk them into sacrificing themselves to save a nest. One girl's mother showed up to nag the demon because the girls were late walking home from school."
"Wonderful," Faith complained. "They good, Kennedy?"
"Yeah, they're fine. They were wanted to be first food. We went over what the demons were trying to do with the girls and their families. I think it's a bad thing they moved from blunt force to psychological manipulation to get us."
"It is," Faith said. "Giles!" He walked into view. "The girls have been talked into sacrificing themselves." She let him have the notes she made.
Giles read them over, grimacing. "Kennedy, I got the report about your two minis. Are they all right?"
"They're good," she said. "I talked to them and their families."
"Good. Excellent in fact. Kinesa, is the other one yours?"
"Yeah. He was crying on his teddybear, Giles. He had a supposed fight with his wife. Xander showed up to save me."
"I almost expected him to show up here," Kennedy quipped.
Giles frowned. "We're getting more people to do some of the same jobs that Xander does, ladies." They grinned at him. "We'll see what we can do. Any other incidences like this one?"
"No," Kinesa said. "Our reports are pretty boring this month. Xander sent them last night."
"I'll get them from my secretary then. Thank you for the warning, Kinesa. Have a good talk, ladies." He walked off reading things. He went to the library. "We have two things to discuss," he announced. "First, is this demon the same as Henry at the local bar?" He handed over the notes.
They looked him up and one of the research watchers nodded. "It appears so, just a different color but they're noted as being color coded by clans. What's the other problem?"
"We need more field watchers. Xander's doing half of everything again."
"He's not still employed," another one said.
"Yes he is," Giles said firmly. "He's the watcher in New York. He's also still doing a lot of the paperwork for the girls in Africa and the Middle East."
"He's not being paid," one said dryly. "That's very altruistic of him."
"No, I had them stop that fight against Xander being employed," Giles said dryly. "He was never fired."
"He looks bad on us," one sneered.
"I don't care," Giles said firmly. "Unless you're going to go into the field? We have six houses that could use a watcher in charge." The man shuddered, shaking his head quickly. "I see. I fear I have to go looking for the rest of this plot." He walked off. They tried to stop him but the two new agent/trainee watchers in the house stopped that attempt to kill him. "Thank you," Giles told them. "Apparently they're reacting against Xander again. They were most displeased I found out." He glared at them then at the agents. "Get us more field watchers please. Must pass a background check and Xander staring at them."
"Sure," one agreed with a grin. "I know some agents that fled from HYDRA who could help."
"I have to ask him if they've finally quit bothering his slayers," Giles admitted, walking off to head to the offices. "Let me make myself clear," he announced. "Xander Harris is still employed with us, he never left his employment, and I'm tired of this fit throwing about him." A few laughed. "You are expendable," he noted. They quit laughing. Giles took off his glasses to stare at them. "I would rather have seven more Xanders than I would all of you at the moment."
"You're harboring that dangerous being because you saw him in Sunnydale," one accused.
Giles looked at him. "Xander is still human, Perkins."
"No he's not. He doesn't read as human at all. Egypt said so."
"Egypt had no idea what they were talking about," Giles said firmly. "They were more against him for his slight mutation."
"Another thing proving he's not human," Perkins sneered.
"You have a good life somewhere else," Giles said firmly, staring him down.
"My family's been Council longer than yours has, Rupert."
"Yes but we don't operate on that theory anymore. We go on ability, not birthright." He smirked. "I can hire bad agents who can do your job better. Do have a good life as we'll be taking your paperwork for the State Department as well as you're no longer employed." He looked at the others. Perkins tried to attack him. Giles fought him off and nearly killed him.
Willow walked in and froze everyone. "Problems, Giles?"
"Yes, quite. They're in a fit to get Xander out of the Council. Still."
She grimaced. "I'd like to see him doing something safe but I know he won't quit," she said. "He should. He's injured."
Giles looked at her. "It's not like being blind in that eye made him weak, Willow. Otherwise he wouldn't have been in all the battles."
"But he got really hurt last time," she complained.
"Yes, because he didn't sleep for days while helping the slayers and then didn't get to eat for a few days." She shrank back. He stared her down. "Your childish fit isn't wanted any more than theirs is, Willow." She nodded, looking down. "Please escort all these sort out of the building and make sure they can't come back. Apparently I have to hire an accountant to fix wherever they diverted Xander's paycheck to."
"He's living off what Anya left him," she snorted.
Giles looked at her. "I believe he's been living off his insurance and some artifacts he's found over the years. Including some cursed buried treasure." She shuddered. "He should not have to. He should be able to set aside funds for a retirement fund for when you drive him off." He walked off, going to the accounting desks to find those accounts. The agents came to get those former watchers too. "I'm checking to see what they did with Xander's paycheck," he noted as he looked. "It appears they diverted it to an account."
Willow got him out of the way to look. "This is the account number."
An agent came over to look and called someone he trusted not to be HYDRA. They could do an audit for Giles plus they probably knew some good agents who might like to help the slayers.
Giles smirked at him. "They'll have to train with Xander. You know his visions will pop up about anyone too bad."
"Good," that agent agreed as he typed. "We'd like to do that same thing." He looked at Giles. "We'd all like something like that to weed out the future bad agents."
"I have no idea if anyone else has that same sort of gift. I'll have to ask him." He went to his office to call Xander to see what else had been going on in the wrong manner. "I really must fix all these problems before we fall apart again." His phone rang as he walked in, making him smile. "Xander," he answered. "Yes, I did just fire a good many of them for being against you for being one of us. You're not being paid? I've got to fix that, my boy." He settled into his seat to talk to his favorite field watcher.
Clint Barton showed up at the New York slayer house that night, finding the girls and Xander preparing for patrol. "Guys, what's going on with the main house? It's been covered in agents all day."
Kara rolled her eyes but smiled at him. "The rest of the old liners complained that Xander's still employed."
"They did things like not pay me," Xander said. "Giles stated his opinion so they tried to attack him. The two former HYDRA agents he just hired helped and got in people to do an audit since Giles said my paychecks went to an account overseas somewhere."
"You can't really be former HYDRA," Clint said casually.
Xander shrugged. "They don't want to hurt the girls, want to help them train for apocalypse battles, and swore on their lives with a binding oath that they would not be harming the slayers in any manner or making them slaves."
"Yeah, that's probably safe enough," Clint agreed. "Will that oath kill them?"
"Yeah, they'll suddenly have a cut that'll bleed out," Kara said with a grin. "It's very handy."
"I nearly made some other boyfriends swear the same sort of oath because they were jackasses," Xander quipped. "Thankfully all but one of those couples broke up and I warned him I'd be there if he ever hurt her. He's presently paranoid. Her local peaceful community warned him about their fighting over him wanting spawn and she didn't."
Clint grinned. "That's good to know. We need to do that for new SHIELD agents." Xander laughed but nodded. "Okay. Let's go. I'm your shadow tonight. The other teams are off today so I've had a boring day watching you guys nap."
"I'd rather have someone here to watch the girls," Xander said. "I can usually handle whatever happens on patrol." He groaned and held his head. "Ow. Oh. Shit." He took off his crossbow and got his gun, looking at Kara. "Go find Bethy. Her dad's in trouble." She ran to call her. He looked at Clint. Who grinned back. "Watch the girls," Xander said quietly. "The old liners that got fired are showing up to kill the girls, especially Kara for supposedly being tainted by her mutant boyfriend, and they'll try to kill Penny's kid too."
"Yeah, I can make those calls and get Natasha here."
Xander shook his head. "They won't stop because of her."
"She's tougher than she looks."
"They're going to gas the house, Clint. Kara, warn your boyfriend to stay home."
"We're meeting him on patrol, Xander," she said patiently.
"The old liners are coming."
"Fuck them then," she said, cracking Penny up. She told her that. "Penny and Brad are going to the bar. Bethy's going to join us so she can help save her dad, with Diana helping, and the girls are going to fall back to the safe room you just barely finished."
"They need to bring chairs and food," Xander said. "Plus I need to install the air filter."
Clint called that in, getting a few agents there to help the girls. Natasha showed up afterward. "The old liners are coming, Natasha."
"Charming. I'll watch the girls."
"They'll hate you just as much," Kara told her. "Because you're a woman. They're not exactly into female empowerment and any woman who can beat them is to be subjugated as a slave to the Council. Or they'll figure you're a bigger slayer and kill you too."
Natasha smirked a tiny bit. "I do not let anyone do that around me, Kara."
"They stole out of the armory," Xander said. "Including some of the smoke grenades I made." Natasha stared at him oddly. He grinned. "I found the stuff online."
"I would like to see that," she said.
"Ask Macy and Mya. I've shown them both as I was building them."
"I can do so. Go on patrol. We can handle it and I will have a good team with me."
"They want that lady with the staffs too," Xander said. "I keep seeing a songbird." Clint slammed his fist into the door before walking off calling someone. "They think she's got slayer talents too," Xander said, looking at Natasha. "They think they can rebuild using you guys and if not, they're going to kill them because they're just like that. That's why we didn't pout when the old Council died. They actually had that idea before but couldn't capture one of you. It was you two and some other lady who had skills."
Natasha grimaced but nodded. "Charming. Thankfully they never managed it, though I would have expected Clint to burn them to the ground if they had caught myself or Bobbi. I have it. Go on patrol, Xander." He nodded. "Then we'll talk about those grenades later."
"I find them damn handy. I can put holy water in some too; makes it a lot easier during battles." She smiled, patting him on the cheek. He and Kara walked out, him putting back on his crossbow.
Clint looked at him. "Move the gun or the bow, it'll get in the way of drawing the gun." Xander looked and did, getting a nod. "Bobbi's my ex."
"The old Council was going to start an older slayer line with one of the three of them," Xander said. "We found that when we were cleaning the old building. The other lady's good but I don't know who she was and they didn't have more than a description."
Clint nodded. "I would've killed them all and had a cheery bonfire to roast marshmallows on their bodies if they had managed it." Xander grinned at him. "C'mon, we'll hit patrol so Kara has some flirty time."
"We're meeting Bethy and Diana first," she told him. "With Piotr." Xander nodded. "Bethy's dad is in trouble."
"Okay," Clint agreed. They went to that park first. At least it was mostly an open area. Bethy and Diana ran over at nearly human speed. Piotr followed, looking amused. The girls found their father, because Bethy had slipped a tracking device on him during her hugging and pouncing times, and dove in to help him against the guys trying him.
Xander fired into the air. "Hi." He grinned. "Slayer society. Quit bothering people in my city please." They attacked them. Kara got moved out of the way by her boyfriend. Xander waved him off. "Guard the girls, Piotr. I've got this."
"I can help," he said.
Xander looked over. "The old Council people are going to try to kill Kara for dating you. Then the rest of the girls. Giles fired them all earlier for having plot diarrhea." Clint stifled a laugh but Xander shot two of the attackers in the leg then another one. Diana pounced that one and bit, she had super sharp teeth. Bethy tripped another one and beat him over the head with her favorite baseball bat. "Normally we don't let you girls handle anything."
"Shut up," Diana said. "We're kidnaping Dad." He blinked at her. She grinned and waved. "I'm Diana, Dad." One of the attacking mutants tried to hit her but Bethy hit his arm with her bat. Xander killed him for it. "Thanks, Mr. Xander."
"You two take your dad somewhere safer." He pointed. "Now please. That's the only reason you're here." They ran over to him and got him free while Xander and Kara fought off the other guys.
Clint helped but he was being bothered by two vampires. He staked one and Kara threw a stake, getting the other one. "Thanks, Kara."
"Welcome." Piotr got the girls out of the way of harm with their father, taking them to the car he was borrowing. Kara smiled at his butt, ducking a hit at her head. "Hey! I need boyfriend appreciating time. He's even teaching me art stuff." She punched that one, using her full slayer strength. That guy went flying into a tree and dented it. "I must be getting weak. Usually you'd have broken it." She ducked one hit by Xander but he was getting the guy behind her and she staked another one that looked like he was partially a tree. He died and the other one went down with a scream. She flipped back her hair, looking up at Xander. "They were rude."
"Very rude," Xander agreed. He looked around. "Don't touch him. Bethy will go spastic and firebomb your little clubhouse. If she can't, I'm pretty sure she can talk some demons into helping her." They walked off together, Xander using his crossbow to get a vampire that had jumped out to eat an officer rushing their way. "One of the mini's fathers was being jumped so we showed up to help." They went to the car. He was fussing at the girls for helping and glared at Xander. "They're going to evacuate you somewhere safer, like with your sister." He waved at her since she was running over. "He's okay. The girls got him free and evacuated. You can help the girls evacuate all of them if you want."
She stared at the girls. "You're too young!" she shouted.
Bethy shrugged. "We just found him. We're not going to let him go for a while yet, Auntie. Oh, this is Diana. Di, this is Auntie Wanda. She's got neat powers kinda like yours and she's got cool clothes too."
"That's so cool," the other little girl said with a grin, hugging her aunt. "I'm happy to have aunties. I only have a dad right now and he's grumpy. Plus drunk because my last problem drove my last stepmother off again." She grimaced. "Did you guys have that?"
"We didn't have parents around all that often," Wanda told her. "But I will talk to him if you wish."
She beamed. "Cool! Can you teach me how to do hair stuff? I can't figure out how to do anything like a good looking ponytail. I always get it messy."
"I can. Someone showed me recently so I can help." She looked at her brother. "Coming?"
"I probably should so I can remind the girls that they have sense."
Bethy looked at him. "Some day I'll be out there saving the world from assholes too, Dad. Beating a few now gives me better practice."
"Don't make me kick you in the ass," Xander said with a grin. "You knew your only job was to get him free and out of there. Not to beat at people."
"So?" She shrugged. "They were bad and one was watching my house earlier. He's lucky I didn't stuff his tailpipe with an apple so it'd explode or whatever that does. Marty didn't tell me what happened when he did that to his big brother the doucebag." Xander cleared his throat. "He is!"
Diana nodded. "He is. He tried to get some older lady to take his baby brother from the house. Thankfully I was over playing and the lady got scared of me so ran off."
"Do we know who she was?" Clint asked. "He can turn her in to get her arrested."
"She had on a pretty blue coat," Diana said.
Bethy looked at him. "She was military. It was her uniform. She had that air of scientist because she looked like a geek."
"I'll kill them if they restarted the Initiative project," Xander vowed. "I'll kill every goddamn last one of them."
Bethy's eyes went wide. "Is that the one that did Mr. Spike's chip?" Xander nodded. "Oh, shit, they're after mutants." She looked at her aunt.
"We can warn others," she promised calmly and quietly. She looked at Clint.
"Take 'em to the tower. Stark hates little kids because he'd have to share his toys or robots but it'll be okay. He can get medical there too if he needs it, plus someone can ask the girls about that lady." She nodded, taking them with her. He looked at Xander. "Do you have anything on them? Natasha's got an open feed and said no one has any notes on that project."
Xander grinned. "It was under Sunnydale, done by the Army, mostly Rangers and torturing science geeks, and yeah, I do. It's in my safety deposit box in LA."
"We can have someone grab it," Clint promised with a grin. "We'd hate it if they started something like that again."
Xander laid a hand on Clint's arm. "Don't watch the testing files. It's so bad even horror flicks can't go there in that sort of detail. I helped stop a few and I still can't watch them, even after Ghana."
"Got it," he said, adding that note. "She'll let an analysis team do it. That's their job and they can have the nightmares while giving us a report."
"Cool. Okay, we ready, Kara?" She was kissing her boyfriend by sitting on the roof of the car so she was at the right height for his transformed self. He rolled his eyes but he and Clint walked off together. "Make sure she's safe and join us when you're done," he called back. He and Clint shared a grin. "This is the most time I've had around guys who were nearly my own age since high school."
Clint shook his head. "Teenage girls would drive me nuts sometimes too," he promised, patting Xander on the back. They went back to their patrol. "Don't we need to be about six blocks away?"
"Yeah but I doubt we'll be able to use the car for at least an hour. They haven't seen each other since after the last battle."
Clint nodded. It had been just over a week, which was a long time for teenagers in love. "Probably true then." They could walk the six blocks to handle problems. The lovebirds would remember they were on patrol after some nookie time.
Natasha accepted the envelope from the agent that had been in LA. "Thank you. The report?"
"Analysis said, and I quote, I'm not fucking watching any more of that and we all cheered at the battle that took that nasty little group down." He grimaced. "The section head out in LA watched one of the testing tapes and got so sick they're still testing him to make sure he's not pregnant."
"Great," Natasha said. "Are they down?"
"We could not track it. They tried very hard to cover it up but it'll take some hacking of the Pentagon. Two higher minions are still around that are well known. Both of them work for General Ross."
"Pity for them when we find them," she said. "Any other notes?"
"We glanced at the other files in there. We copied most of them." He held up the carrier. She took it with a tiny little smirk. "He's insane. We all think he's insane and he needs Thor's cape, ma'am. He's the sort of superhero that they write comic books about."
"Sometimes he is but he works with the slayers. They need him to do that."
"We all decided to set up an altar to him because he's got to be Asgardian. No one else does the insane things he does. Also, one of our agents is a minor hacker and he found all the films of him fighting online. Have fun and make sure medical doesn't find you puking, ma'am. They're all desperately trying to find a pregnancy so they can do something to the baby." He walked off sipping out of a bottle of pepto.
She carried the tapes back to her apartment in Avengers Tower to look them over. She blinked at one of them. "That is not a good idea," she muttered as she watched. Then suddenly there were huge amounts of demons and no slayers. "Where were...." No, there were the slayers, who were complaining that he had called for something simple. So Xander had waved and got out of the way. The slayers looked. Then they shrieked and tried to get away. Xander grinned at them and pointed, saying a quiet 'shall we'.
The girls stomped on the tiny demons but it was like they didn't die and could climb up on each other to join together. "What is that?" she demanded quietly, looking around. Clint was watching the slayers today. So she got the next best thing, Maria Hill. She summoned her to watch that with her. "An agent in LA took initiative to find all the battles Harris had in Africa."
Maria pulled over a chair and sat down, letting Natasha rewind it. She frowned. "Why...." Natasha held up a hand. It went on and Maria Hill nodded once. "What the hell?" she demanded.
"That's what I was wondering." They shared a look. "Let me enlarge this." It was displayed on a virtual screen. They got to hear Xander ordering to keep them from combining because he didn't have any grenades to stop the mega demon they'd create. Unfortunately two did manage it and the girls groaned about facing the two larger demons. They killed it, and it was messy. The slayers and Xander all had many cuts and bite marks. Xander got the girls medical from the army that had been helping but he went to handle his own and the girls didn't complain. One said to leave it alone. If they knew about his injuries they'd nag him. The agents shared a look then got back to the various battles. They were...horrified and impressed. Natasha finally looked at her. "That agent said that they're convinced Harris is Asgardian and they've set up an altar to him."
"If I find SHIELD or my agents doing that sort of thing I'm getting them mental help," Maria Hill vowed.
Natasha smirked at her. "The senior slayer thinks he's normal."
"Not with that he's not!" She pointed at the last scene of the last battle. "How did we get these?"
"He's concerned that a certain project was restarted." She inserted the information 1 disc and let it run. They stared at the blunt facts on that project. Natasha started something marked 'testing tape 1'. They stared at it, grimacing at what they saw. "Two of the known members are part of Ross's group," Natasha said quietly. Maria Hill was holding down the vomit. Then they started to do organ testing and both women reached to turn it off as fast as they could.
"I'm going to look into that," Hill said once she was sure she wasn't going to vomit. "Don't tell Rogers. He'll have a fit."
"I want to as well," she admitted. "I know torturers who aren't that evil." She sipped some water.
Hill nodded. "If they're still around, they're gone. Do we need to find more on them?"
She handed over both dvd carriers. "That's all he had on them."
"I'll..." She looked at them. "Let me look. I might bring in Stark."
She nodded. "It would definitely make him quit baiting the young one like he thinks he's normal."
"I heard about that. Harris was bluntly mean. Stark was sneering about him all night." She took them down to the lab, knocking before walking in. "We have to talk."
"Why?" he asked, turning to look at her. "Avengers problems or security problems?"
"I need to make sure we have all the information. The LA team only has minor hackers." She put the dvd carrier for the other battles on the table. "Someone took initiative to find the various battles Harris had in Africa." He took them to put one of them into the drive. He watched it with her. Stark was growling. Hill looked at him. "This was one of the nicer ones."
Stark stared at her. "How bad does it get?"
"Horrifying. The LA team decided to set up an altar to him and asked if he was Asgardian."
Stark snorted but groaned at the battle's end. Then he stiffened, staring at the end of the battle. "Why isn't he going to medical?" he demanded.
"Because he doesn't trust many to do it for him," she said. "Both because of his mutation and because the slayers complain if he's injured." She handed over the second carrier. "Don't run that until you're sure no one can see it. There's a classified project that the team in Sunnydale ended. Harris is worried that they restarted. Which is how we got the films he had saved down and hidden. We were looking at this group."
He took it to run the disc marked '1' and read up on the program. "That's. Foul," he growled. He looked at her.
"We're worried they restarted. Two of them work for General Ross."
"Fuck no!" he said.
She smirked at him. "That's why I came to you. We need to know if it's restarted."
Stark nodded. "The other tapes?"
"Don't watch them, Stark. It's so gross even Romanoff and I got sick. We also agreed that Rogers would probably be very ...upset with his army if he saw those."
"I'm about to hate them too."
"It gets worse," she assured him. He frowned but put in the next tape. It took about a minute and a half before he was throwing up in his trash can. "I warned you." She turned it off, looking around so he had some dignity left.
He stood up, going to his sink to rinse out his mouth. He came back to stare at her. "If I find them, I'm ending them with Rogers."
"I don't think that's a conflict," she admitted.
She smiled. "I did warn you."
"You did and I'm stubborn that way. Think HYDRA is doing this too?"
"I think even HYDRA would be disgusted by them, Stark. At least they seem to want to do that sort of thing for science instead of for fun."
"I find them, they're gone," Stark promised.
"Let us know. Thank you for looking into both matters." She left, going to her office to make a report.
Stark settled in to seethe and watch the other battle videos. Harris was wacky but dangerous. Rogers and Banner walked in when he paged them. "We got two things," he said, turning to look at them. "Battle videos of Harris' other battles. And a project that needs to go down if they climbed out of their ashes. We know some have, they're working for Ross." Banner growled. Stark smirked. "So. Much. Worse, Brucie."
"How bad?" Rogers asked. "Could they be HYDRA?"
"Hill thinks HYDRA would be upset about what they did." Stark pointed. "Battle in Guinea." They watched it, Steve reaching over to rewind it. They watched and Bruce grimaced.
Rogers tipped his head to the side. "I'm guessing that's a wacky idea as he put it?" Stark nodded. "It seems to have worked. Why isn't he going to medical?"
"Because they'd kill him for having a mutation," Bruce said quietly, looking at Stark.
"That and apparently the slayers complain that he's normal," Stark said.
"If that's normal, I'll be damned," Bruce said.
"That explains a lot though," Steve said. He blinked, watching the next one automatically start. "What?" he demanded, staring at it.
Stark flapped a hand. "Just wait ten minutes." They watched as things fell into place. Then Steve stood up suddenly and his mouth opened. "Two more minutes," Stark warned. Then the battle started for real. All hell broke loose. Harris had weapons. The diversion was ended. The bad demons died and nearly Harris too. That time they carried him off the field and to medical but they released him a few hours later so he could sneak off. "The next time he worked with them, they made someone else work with him," Stark said quietly.
"Great," Steve said, staring at it. A new tape started but Stark stopped it. "Is that a battle?"
"No, that's that project," Stark said. He looked at him. "It's gross enough that Hill and Romanoff threw up. I threw up."
Steve stared at him. "Do we need to know to find them?"
"I hope not. I can't watch the other ones," Stark said.
Bruce took them to look over. "That bad?"
"Two work with Ross and they're probably really bored since he only minorly tortures. HYDRA minorly tortures compared to these guys." Steve's teeth ground together. Stark let the film run. He and Bruce got out of the way of thrown things. It was a virtual screen so that was safe. Stark barely saved his robot from being thrown but then Steve was pacing and swearing. Stark shut the film off, staring at him.
"That's why we're making sure they're not coming back," Bruce said. He was trying to control himself. "I...." Stark got out of his way so he walked off.
"Who?" Steve demanded quietly.
Stark looked at him. "Rangers and science geeks."
"The hell my army did that," he said, staring at Stark. Who pulled up the payroll file Harris had. Steve looked, growling. "I'll destroy them myself."
"Us, buddy, us. Before they try it on HYDRA too and they have to run to us to protect them."
Steve looked at him. "Find them, let me know?"
"Gladly. Some of it we might be able to stop more subtly. Some...not as much probably. Work on figuring out how to stop Ross. He's got two of them among his soldiers. Some are in Homeland."
"I can do that." He stomped off to find those people and make sure they didn't wear the same uniform he had. That was not *his* army.
Stark calmed himself because having Captain America blowing his stack was a scary thing.
Stark showed up where the patrol was that night, staring at the slayers and Harris. "Harris, got a few?"
"Sure, what's up?" He strolled over.
"Where's the remaining groups?"
"Soldier or scientist?"
"Both. Rogers blew his stack. Nearly threw my robot."
Harris blinked at him then grinned. "Two are in SHIELD so he can throw them if he wants." Stark stared at him. "The scientists have a few that went to their own labs without support. A few are working in colleges. One's at Culver teaching."
"Hell no," Stark said. "I'll talk to Bruce about that."
"They've got worse hiding in there, Stark. He's bad, but there's others with less ethics there."
"I can talk to people about that too," he said. "The soldiers?"
"Three hunting teams through the UN. Two groups that are privately funded," he said with a smirk. "One by your rival."
"Oh, fuck no. Not that psycho."
"I ran into and stopped them in the lower parts of Africa. Half the time they were working against dealers and slavers. Half the time they're taking down native shaman and things because Patrick is stupid about that sort of thing. How is his heir?"
"Just as stupid but too young to run things himself," Stark said. "You?"
"No, poker debt. I let him go eat him." He grinned. Stark shuddered. "He deserved it. There were a ton of things that you never heard. If I hadn't, it would've caused a huge power war to take his stuff over. It saved the locals."
"I can understand that. The rest of the soldiers?"
"Mostly in Homeland. I'm not sure what they do but I think they're holding them in reserve until they need to take down a dictator. Most of them will now work on the slayer principle of 'there's peaceful ones and we don't bother them' but otherwise they're all screwed if I see them."
Stark nodded once. "Are they reforming?"
"The science corps? Yes. Probably. They're probably recruiting new scientists from the ones they're training. Can we stop them? I got warned against going against them by a group of agents. They promised I'd end up in jail." He shrugged. "I can only stop them if they're out and about doing the wrong thing."
Stark nodded. "I can look into those." He stared at him for a second. "How did you hide those battles?"
Xander waved at the complaining slayers. "I think you can see why." He grinned a bit. "They still think I'm normal."
"Not if they saw some of those."
"If we saw those we'd bitch him out," Penny said dryly as she joined them. "Xander's our normal guy and the normal guy is for our sanity and common sense." Xander gave her a hug. "Brad's stupid."
"You're being a teenage girl," Xander shot back with an evil look. "He's already called. You're being a bitchy girl like Kennedy. He had horrible nightmares of you coming in mimicking Kennedy. Stop it and grow up."
She rolled her eyes. "Fine." She went to talk to the slayers. "The guys at the bars want to see some of you guys. They need to flirt to cheer them up."
"Yeah and two of them down there are rapists," Xander said dryly. "You girls can go after patrol as long as someone's there to help you if you get into trouble." He looked at them. "One of them's known to drug drinks."
"Okay, big brother," the girls all complained.
Stark looked at them. "I wouldn't let you around that sort at all, even with the advanced strength and stuff. It's not that hard to drug a drink and it'll catch even you girls." He looked at Harris. "Will someone there watch them for you?"
"No but I could use a drink anyway." The girls laughed. "Patrol," he reminded them. "There's no patrol tomorrow night if we get them all tonight." They ran off with Penny. "She's not to be fighting!" he yelled after them. "Or else I'm telling Willow!" They all guarded Penny a lot better. He grinned at Stark. "Yeah, they're teenage girls." He sighed. "Let me go help them. I could use a drink anyway. I haven't had a date in months." He followed them to handle the bigger problems. The girls had a lot of 'eww' things about a few species.
Stark walked off shaking his head. He ran into Clint, who punched him on the arm. "You heard?"
"Yeah. Nat told me."
"We're working on it."
"Good. Let me know when I can help."
"They're going to the mercenary bar to flirt."
"Charming. I can help him watch the girls." He trotted to catch up to the slayers. He fired on one of the demons bothering the girls.
Clint walked into the bar first. "Weasel, beer me and pull up something for Harris please." He put money on the bar.
Weasel winced. "The girls?" he mouthed. Clint nodded but grinned. "Sure, we have the pool still going." He pointed up at the board. Xander walked the girls in, including Penny.
"Awww, he brought whores," one of the drunk guys said.
Penny slammed his face into his mug of beer, breaking the mug. "I'm not a whore. Brad doesn't need to pay his wife for his time. It's so good I should pay him. And you're not going to get to pay any of my sister slayers either." The guy came up to hit her so she kicked him over. "Don't touch me. You're not worthy to touch me or my kiddo." She strolled over to the bar. "Is Brad done pouting?"
"No," he said, handing her a soda. "Not hardly. He went to find Vanessa to see if she could figure out what your problem was."
"I'm a girl according to Xander."
"All teenage girls have those moments. Most of them grow out of it," Xander quipped. "You will before you become a mom. Being a mom takes too much energy to be a bitch." The guy Penny had hurt roared, coming at him. Xander turned with his axe in his hand. "Yes?" The guy stared at the axe, backing off slowly. Xander grinned. "Don't touch the slayers. I get mad," he said politely. "Me getting mad would be bad," he said more quietly. "It'd scare the girls. They'd keep me from dating and I'm already on a dry spell. Unless you were rushing me to blow me? I'd like that." He grinned.
"No," he complained. "I'm not gay."
"Pity. With some cleaning up you'd make a good boyfriend for a hunter."
"No thanks." He ran off.
"Hey!" Wade complained. He walked in. "Weasel, give me a blow job," he called over the slayers' heads. "And not like that, Harris. I've got Vanessa. My dance card's full."
"That's fine. We'd cancel each other out in bed anyway," Xander quipped, sipping his lite beer. "Two bouncy people would wear each other out too soon for funsies."
"True. Vanessa's all the bouncy I can handle." He looked around, staring at one guy from behind his mask. "Hmm, the drug queen's here."
"Isn't he in a penthouse uptown?" Xander quipped. "Living off the results of his selling sprees."
"I know a few of those," Clint said dryly.
"Me too. They tried to date me but I'm not into drugs," Xander said dryly. "Thankfully I took out one of them. Oh, you might tell your female other half that those were only *half* the battles in Africa. The rest there's no tapes."
Clint grinned. "Good to know, kid, thanks."
"Welcome." He grinned. "I forgot I had those in there when I pointed someone toward that project we shut down." He took another drink. "If that's a pill dissolving in your drink, Kara, I get to beat the living fuck out of someone and then hand them to your boyfriend."
She looked at her drink then at Weasel, holding it up. "I did not put that in there," he said, taking it back. He sipped a tiny bit and nodded, spitting it out. "Roofies."
Xander put the beer down and grinned at the guys. "Really? Does that mean I get to be the shiny knight for my slayers?" The guy who had tried to drug her ran for his life. Xander looked after him. "I'm telling my ex. You work for him and he adores the slayers," he called after him. He pulled out his phone to send a text message. "His second will tell him sometime soon." He put his phone back.
"Is that an ex that we'd appreciate for the weapons and some training time or one of the ones we'd hate because they were just walking dicks?" Kara asked.
"Probably a bit of both," Xander admitted. "Kennedy thought he was a good date for me."
"Never mind. She has *horrible* taste in lovers," Macy quipped. "Tragic really." She sipped her drink, smiling at the bartender. "We need to find some boyfriends for us and Xander. His lady friends are all deadly and usually kinda mean. His boyfriends are usually nicer at least." She went to turn on some music so the girls could chill and dance a bit. Xander swatted one of them for sexy dancing so they quit that and just got happy with the mercenaries who thought they were cute. One girl almost got drugged again but Clint growled and Deadpool shot the guy in the nuts.
Xander looked over. "Thanks, guys. The girls need more big brothers and watchers."
"Not a chance," Deadpool quipped. "I can't handle bouncy girls all the time. Vanessa's enough for me." The girls hugged him then Clint then went back to talking to the other guys. They'd snub that guy unless Kennedy or Buffy wanted him. With their bad taste in guys they might like someone like that.
Xander read his text message and growled. "I'm going to kill them," he said quietly.
Deadpool took the phone to look at. "What's this one's story?"
Clint took it to look at. "Shit." He called Natasha to tell her that.
"Ladies," Xander called. They looked at him. "Riley and his wife just showed up to take Buffy to dinner like she's their third." The whole group growled. "Yeah. Ideas?"
"Willow?" Kara asked, sounding hopeful.
"She might appreciate it," Xander said, sending Willow a warning and Giles too. Then he sent one to Spike. "Warning Spike too, just in case." He looked up. "Any good ideas?" He heard a shriek and looked up. "Wow, Willow's really pissed off." She appeared, panting hard. He handed over his mug of lite beer. "Bud?"
She gulped it, then slapped it onto the bartop. "Riley said that the Powers are coming after all of us."
"Yeah, that thing with the star one or whatever? That's Angel and Riley was part of that the last I heard. Which means he's probably going to try to blow up the main house."
Willow stared at him. "Seriously?" He nodded. She growled and disappeared, going to stop that problem in an easy way.
"Guess she'll have a new cat to pet," Kara quipped, gulping her drink. The girls all got more drinks and went back to having fun.
Clint called the agent watching over the minis at the house. He got a report back and that the girls were already in the safe room because someone had thrown a brick through a window. He looked at Xander. "Brick through a window?"
"The security system told me that. Mya's already called Faith to warn her." He grimaced. "We'll figure it out. The Powers That Be want fewer slayers." He looked around. "Where's Penny?" They all stared then shrugged. "Guys, who saw Penny last?"
"She headed back to the bathroom," Weasel said with a point. "Most of us would never hurt the girls."
"I'm not worried about you guys. I'm worried about Angel's present group to thin out the number of slayers. It's their bid to get the girls back in control." Xander pulled his wand to find her, popping out to save her from the guys snatching her. She was barely breathing and that was a bad thing. Xander concentrated and went back by three minutes, stopping them from taking her from the bathroom. She still got knocked out but not as badly. Then he merged with himself when he ran to find her. Xander got her back into the bar and laid her down. "Someone call Brad for me please?" He walked off again to finish off those imbeciles. He wanted to know who they worked for. Clint followed. "I can do it."
"I don't care. We need to know anyway. I haven't gotten to punch anyone in days."
"Isn't that too close range for you?" Deadpool joked.
Clint flipped him off. "I can fight closer, thanks anyway."
Xander looked at the guys he had knocked out. Two were missing. "Guys, two walked." They went to find them. "Clint, go watch the girls please," he said quietly. "They'll trust you." He nodded, going to do that. Xander stared at them. "Guys, let's talk like men." A few tried to get away from him but he was really mad now. This wasn't going to happen up here. The US was supposed to be less full of assholes with ideas about slayers. If he had to make sure of it, so be it.
Clint walked the shopping cart full of unconscious idiots into SHIELD's base, waving at the guards. "Director go home?"
"No, Agent Barton. Who're they?"
"SHIELD agents who just fucked up greatly." He hit the elevator button and took them upstairs to the office. He walked the cart in, shoving them at the desk. "We have people who want to take out the slayers for being too strong, sir."
"They the only ones?" Fury asked, looking at them. "Nice work."
"Harris had me guarding the girls." He looked at him. "They're the two that survived without the hospital. They could use a medic but oh well. We can still question these ones." Fury smirked. "Xander's going to bail himself out of jail later." He walked off. "Want me to get Natasha?"
"I'll call her in a minute." He looked those two up and hummed. "Huh. Really stupid people." He called in the local DA's office to have them drop the charges against Xander. He'd talk to him later about getting the girls more safety. Since there were dirty agents involved they'd probably have to move the girls.
Xander walked out of the house the next morning after a sleepless night of a meeting full of yelling. He cleared his throat. "Reporters around?" he asked the agent watching the house dryly.
"Up the street, sir. There's a celebutant at Starbucks."
"Good." Xander strolled that way. "Yo, reporters!" he called. "The Council has a statement to make." A few looked at him. One of them hissed and moved closer with her camera. Xander smiled. "Due to the rash of dirty Homeland Security agents who wanted to take out the slayers for protecting everyone, and some higher beings with ideas that meant they attacked the girls last night, including a pregnant one who was off rotation, the girls are being moved from this country to a fallback position."
The reporter gasped. The others were suddenly paying attention to what he was saying. Xander stared at her. She pointed. He looked. "In a minute, Bobby." He looked at her again. "Last night I had to harm six agents who were trying to kidnap a pregnant slayer, who is married and retired now. By the fit throwing with the rest of the Council, they should all be lucky they're not furry today. I'm all for beating their asses. I will if I have to." He smiled. "So the girls won't be available for the assholes who protest at the houses because we saved their asses again. They won't be available for the agents who were trying to take them to do illegal testing on them."
He held up a folder. "From the house full of injured slayers. They reported it last night after beating the living fuck out of one agent who tried it." The reporter shuddered. "So you guys are pretty well on your own. I'll be here to help the city stay safe but the girls are going to be safe somewhere else. Somewhere far away from shopping unfortunately but they'll be safe from all the problems. Which I would suggest start to save themselves. I'm only one guy and I can't be everywhere." He looked at the demon. "Problems?"
"The girls are upset."
"The girls nearly got killed last night by people like General Ross and some agents who are dirty as hell but following a higher up's plan to kill most of them so the rest can be controlled easier."
Bobby the demon grimaced. "That Star one?"
"Yeah, him. Better known as the possessed former lover of one of the slayers."
"That figures," Bobby complained. "Anything we can do?"
"Just stay safe, Bobby. I have no doubt something will try to hurt everyone since the slayers are going to safety. Even the minis that we can get to go are going."
"Are they going to England?" the reporter asked. "We know they're used to the slayers."
Xander looked at her and smiled. "No comment on where they're going. Though we do have British agents we do trust and they'll be able to talk to those of us not in hiding if something happens."
"What about if we get another emergency here in town?"
Xander waved a hand over his body. "I'm still here." She shuddered. "If that's not good enough, there's agents all over this town." He shrugged. "I'm not letting the girls risk themselves for assholes like this."
"I wouldn't either," she admitted. "Thank you. Can we know about the dirty agents?"
Xander smiled. "No but I'm pretty sure someone else can." He handed them to Bobby. "To Johnny?"
"I can do that. He's in an agency himself," he told the reporter. "He's honest." He disappeared with that packet of intel. That demon was already growling but took it to look over and find those ones. "Harris is in an unholy mood."
"I pity the ones that would attack him or the girls," he said. "Unholy mood or not." He looked up. "What started this?"
"The Finns took Buffy to dinner last night and someone tried to kidnap Slayer Penny."
"Oooh," Johnny said with a wince. "That's going to be nasty. She's pregnant."
"Xander warped time to save her and the baby."
"Good! We'll try to keep things down for him. Let me know anything else you find out, Bobby."
"I will. Good hunting." He left, going to warn the city's overlord and others. They were screwed if something happened. Xander was going to destroy things worse than a Hulk would. Xander was proving it by having mountain dew and cookies for breakfast. That poor city was so screwed.
Stark got woken up by a shove, blinking at the woman staring down at him. "Emergency?" he asked. He made himself sit up. She reran the news report, then stared at him. "Fuck," he said, getting up and grabbing clothes to pull on. He hurried down to his lab. "Friday, where are the slayers going?" he said.
"Their location is covered by both magic and technological means. They have asked for privacy if someone did spot a slayer or they'd have to move everyone again. The next time their location would be more covered by magic and possibly out of touch with reality."
Stark grimaced. "Are all the local minis gone?"
"Two haven't left. One is upstairs in her aunt's room however."
He nodded, heading up there at a jog. It was only a few flights. He pounded on the door before storming in. "I know I promised I wouldn't come into your apartment but it's important, Wanda. They're moving all the mini and full slayers out of the US for their own safety." He stared at her then at the kids then back at her.
"I can call Xander," she said. Stark turned on the tv and changed the channel, letting her watch it. She winced. "That is bad. I'll call Xander. Her mother's still in traction." She called Xander. "It's Wanda....please. Thank you, Xander. Who will be here? Dawn is... that's fine. Please. She's sleeping. I'll wake her up and get her cleaned up." She hung up. "Thank you, Stark."
"Welcome. I hope they're okay. If you want, you can go with her to help guard the girls."
"I may," she agreed. He nodded and left them. She got up to poke her nieces. "They're evacuating the slayers," she said quietly.
"Another battle?" Bethy whined.
"No. Bad agents." She let Bethy see the tv, watching her growl and snarl. "Get cleaned up and dressed. Dawn is coming soon. I will try to join you later to help you protect the girls." Bethy hugged her before running for the bathroom. "You two rest. It's going to be a long day." They nodded, sitting up to hug Bethy when she came back. She grabbed her bag, packing it then gave them extra hugs just in case. She ran out to cuddle her father since he was on the couch then back to finish repacking.
Dawn appeared, sipping her coffee. "We're not in a huge hurry, sprout, so get more hugs. It could be weeks this time." She smiled. "Hi, I'm Dawn," she said, holding out a hand. "Buffy's little sister."
Wanda smiled. "Then you know how hard it can be." She shook her hand. "This is my brother Pietro."
"I do." She smiled and shook Pietro's held up hand. "She'll be safe. The whole coven and others are calling in all sorts of debts to make sure of it. Hell, the three hell lords that owe me poker debts are helping protect the girls. My sister's pouting about her exes but that's just her taste in guys." She hugged Bethy when she came out. "Got it all?" She nodded, looking up at her. "Get another set of hugs. We've got five minutes. I expected to have to pull you out of a shower." She got more hugs and settled in against Dawn again. Dawn texted and they disappeared together.
Wanda looked at her brother. "They are very protective."
"It's a good thing," he agreed quietly. "Though I don't like that they're endangering my child." He sat up. "Have you talked to anyone?"
"I'll call someone to see if we can get help." He grabbed his phone to start making calls, starting with Logan. He knew about the girls. "It's Pietro." He listened. "Dawn just evacuated her. The rest are already out of the area I think." He nodded. "She said that they're all calling in poker debts. She has hell lords that are owing her so she's called in those debts. Thank you. If I hear, you shall." He hung up and looked at his sister, who was trying to get a call to be answered. "Are they upstairs?"
"Probably in the shower." He grinned, speeding off once he had his sneakers on. She went to make breakfast with the other two girls. They needed good food. Less than Bethy did because she ate more than most boys did. After seeing how much the super soldier upstairs ate, she understood why her niece needed more food than most teenage boys did.
Pietro broke into an apartment and was leaning on the bathroom door before the guy in the shower realized more than there was suddenly a breeze. He looked out at him. "The slayers are all evacuated from the US. There's dirty agents and others. Stark woke us up to tell us. They just came to get Beth to safety."
"Fuck," Steve Rogers muttered. "Give me ten minutes. Is it on the tv?"
"Yes. All over the news."
"Okay, we'll meet in a few minutes. Let me rinse off and put on pants." Pietro ran off again. Steve finished his shower and got dressed, coming down to the meeting room. "What happened?" Stark pulled up the news reports while passing over a cup of coffee. "That sucks. Do we know who? HYDRA?" He took a drink and added some sugar.
"No," Stark said. "The few HYDRA agents we're tracking all went into a panic. That means most of the US is covered by Harris. Buffy's still in Cleveland but it's her exes being the problems. They probably don't want her tracked to the other girls." He pulled up the email he had gotten in response to his. "Kara sent it when I asked."
Steve read it over, sipping his coffee. "This star kissed one?"
"Her ex Angel, who died in the LA invasion." Stark looked at him. "They might do something since the slayers aren't around right now."
"That's a huge worry," Steve agreed. "Can those agents work against the Council?"
"Most everything's still in England. Including most of the funds and the ownership of the buildings. They're listed as a British national company."
"Even better. What, beyond the obvious, are we doing?"
"I'm calling Harris later to meet. I'm sure others are too."
Steve nodded. "Tell me when. Let's go over demon battles just in case. Do we have an identification manual?"
"It's on the coffee table in front of the main tv in the common room," Stark said. "The spy twins have been using it."
Steve nodded, walking off. He grabbed that on his way to find food. This was going to be a bad month or so. At least they were in the summer slowdown period.
Xander walked into a coffee shop, smiling at the two people at the back table. "Good, you guys saw too. I was going to drop in later just in case." He put something in front of Jessica. "They're hiding like hell but in your area of the city. They have hiding strategies but that's on those rabble rousers. Just in case they try to come after you." He smiled and shook the other guy's hand. "I'm Xander."
"Hi. I've heard about you. What happened?"
"A plot by the higher powers over the slayers and some agents who're dirtier than HYDRA. They want less slayers so they can put them back under their thumbs. Back when they were slaves to the Council. Which we won't allow. They'll probably try to take me out soon but they're not going to win. I'm not that nice." He grinned. "Just watch out for your areas of the city. There's been a few rabble rousing assholes trying to stir up the younger demons in the peaceful community to rise up."
"I can do that," he agreed. "How do you know?"
Xander smirked. "I'm just like that. People like to tell me things." He looked over as the door opened. He winked at Jessica. "You sure I can't flirt, ma'am?"
"No, I'm not into flirty guys. They're annoying and usually creepy."
"Pity." He strolled over to Stark, who looked then groaned. Xander grinned. "So."
"Safe. In a house that's partially out of this realm."
"Good," Steve Rogers said. "Can we help?"
"Yeah, they're going to attack here and LA both because they know we can't be in both places now." He grimaced. "Probably within a week. Give us time to get worn out from the paranoia. I can handle LA if I have to and Connor definitely can since he's stationed there. Gunn's got more people now than he did when the gang was the main protection in LA."
"Gang?" Steve asked.
"Oh, no told you. Yeah, Gunn out on LA's team, he runs a homeless shelter. He's been on the streets since he was a teenager. When vampires went after their group, he formed a vampire hunting street gang that protects their shelter and a few other important areas. Connor is Angel's son. He and Gunn have been handling LA with a few slayers. He could do it without the slayer; I checked last night during the mass screaming at each other event."
"So, we're down to you guys and us," Stark said. "Here."
"And pretty well everywhere but LA and Cleveland. Chicago has a retired slayer that refused to move. She's in the PD and she said they can protect her. There's two in the army, one in the Marines, which we hate considering they keep trying to get her to donate tissue samples. We're all hoping she doesn't reup when she's due next year." He ran a hand through his hair. "I've handled bigger without a lot of help but then I had people who'd call me for problems. Here in the US I don't. In Africa, even if they hated that I had a small mutation or that I was a white guy or that I know about real magic, they'd call because they didn't want to die. Here....they'll complain then whine when we don't save them." He looked at Steve. "I know SHIELD's about at the stage of useless."
"Pretty much but they do have agents here and there," Steve said. "We can get Fury to help us with that."
"Right about now, even HYDRA's welcome to jump in and save their own asses. Until they attack me and then I'll go on a blood rampage and destroy them." He grinned. "I just have to use my old axe. My new one doesn't like that and went with most of the girls." Stark gave him an odd look. "It's sentient like Mjolnir and really likes Kara and Penny. We evacuated her too. Plus Brad and any other significant others that might be around and in danger or useful."
"I can see why," Stark agreed. "That's a good plan. How hard is it to get to where they are?"
"It's not fully in this realm. It switches every few days. There's only one realm where it's not empty and I sent him a message so he's warned in case a bunch of bouncy girls show up to take his house elves so they make them lunch."
Stark shook his head quickly. "I don't even want to know." Xander grinned. "Have you slept?"
"No. I haven't. It's going to be a few days before I collapse though. Don't worry, I've seen more than my fair share of bad things. I know how to pace myself."
"You still need consistent rest," Steve warned.
"I'm okay right now. This time I'm not injured like last time and I'm eating more often. The slayers aren't stealing off my plate."
"It figures they would," Stark said. "You've done a good job keeping them all teenage girls. Are the ones elsewhere out of their areas?"
"Kennedy's still got her house. Most of the ones in Europe are safe enough. They mostly have agents who will have a hell no fit to protect their girls. Outside France, and they'll just scowl and order someone to take them out so they quit being so noticeable. There's been a Russian stalker at the one in Germany but I'm pretty sure it's someone ex-girlfriend. I'm pretty sure she won't let anyone get her girlfriend but her." He ran a hand over his hair. "The slayers in the Middle East got evacuated last year. Most of the ones in Africa were about to change out again. A few of the native ones wanted to go back. The Asian slayers are all underneath someone who's a hardass about their safety but isn't the sort of dick that the old Council was to them. He's horrified when they tie him up so they can have a sleepover. They've got a lot more orphans over there and half the time he can't get into a few countries."
"I doubt they'd let them into China or North Korea," Steve agreed.
"China has a native slayer and they demanded her back after LA's battle," Xander said. "She's there but we made sure her parents are in Canada." He grinned. "We also had a talk with the embassy about how slayers were neutral beings who only went after harmful demons and that was up to her good sense, not to some middle government manager. That slayers could not harm humans. And that if they tried to harm her one of us would have her stolen and whoever had harmed her would be eaten by a demon. Faith made her feelings known when they got fussy." He smirked. "She put it into plain, simple english and made sure they understood that one of us would come steal Cho Ahn again."
"Did they try?" Stark asked.
"Yeah, once. Then Cho Ahn got a kidnaped vacation to Singapore." Xander snickered. "The main watcher over there used her to train some of the older girls that were slacking. Cho Ahn got saved and made it to Sunnydale. They were most impressed with their native daughter and figured out what went wrong when that demon ate the guy who was supposedly overseeing her and others who had summoned him. They're not doing that anymore."
Steve shook his head with a groan. "I can't even imagine."
"Actually, looking back through the history, your team ran into a slayer that was fighting really hard and helped her," Xander said, smirking at him. "She had been captured but was getting free. You raiding that base meant she could do that and beat the living shit out of HYDRA trying to figure out why she was so strong and strange things like demons were coming after her. Especially after she used some to eat the assholes. She had been German and raised near the border with Russia. She was not happy."
"I'm glad I could help her," Steve said. "What happened to her?"
"She got a full set of broken ribs so her watcher killed her because it would've left her vulnerable for too long. The next one was in Egypt and got killed within days. The one after that was in Cuba."
"They did that?" Steve asked.
"That's why we didn't mind when the Bringers blew up the old Council."
"Yeah, I don't mind if they died too," Stark said. "Wow."
Xander nodded. "That's why we changed it."
"Yup. So can you guys let me know if there's a problem?"
"Yeah, we can do that, kid," Stark agreed.
"I'm nearly thirty. Can you at least treat me like a teenager, Stark?"
"Yeah, I can do that. Go to your room and catch a nap," he said dryly with a smirk.
Xander grinned back. "I've got to get in touch with some exes to make sure they'll tell me if stuff starts to happen. Being in bed during that might be a good idea." He looked at Steve. "Let me know if you hear anything. I know things can just appear suddenly." He nodded back at Jessica. "Stay safe, okay? We need more strong women who can kick ass." He left, going home to call his ex's.
Stark looked back at her. "If you hear stuff, let us know, Jones."
"I can do that," she said quietly. "Barton?"
"In the tower. Did they bring Kara's boyfriend?"
"They brought his whole team. Just in case they came after him too. The old liners tried," she said. She got up to walk over. "The old liners wanted to take Kara out for being tainted of all things."
"Being with a guy?"
"Being with a mutant. Being with a guy would've gotten Penny dead. They were justifying each one differently for paperwork."
Stark winced. "They're in jail, right?"
"Mostly up here. They tried to attack last night and Xander got his stress out on him."
"Wonderful," Steve agreed. "Let us know if you hear about any out and about. I don't like their type."
"I can do that. Have fun with the big problems, guys."
"Yay, another possible invasion," Stark said sarcastically. "Just what we need." She laughed but went back to talking to Matt. The two upper level heros went back to talk to their teammates. Thor was still mad about them going after young women who dared to save themselves. Jane was getting him calmed down and Darcy was telling him about what had been going on politically. He had ideas on how to solve it with his hammer. Which Steve was all for letting happen.
Stark slapped the table. "Let's start coming up with ideas in case we get invaded or something. The girls are as safe as they can make them. Harris is already talking to his ex's about how to get hold of him if necessary. He's spread the news about some upstarts trying to rile the local peaceful community. We need to worry about bigger things. Also if we hear about the mercenaries acting up?" he asked, looking at Barton.
"They love the girls. Most of them adore the girls and would protect them if they needed them to. Most of them wouldn't even ask for money unless it's one of the slayers that's uppity like Kennedy or Buffy. A few of the guys will be pouting about the girls not picking on them for a few days."
"That's good," Steve agreed. "The girls are sweet."
"One of the slayers married a merc. She set a good example. The other ones go in to tease the guys and finally relax because they know it's mostly safe. The other night there was a guy who tried to drug drinks but otherwise they're safe there. The girls were dancing in the corner with a few of the younger mercs and teasing some of the other ones. Plus winning shopping money by arm wrestling with the new guys who didn't know better." He grinned. "You don't get more protective than some of those guys."
"Good," Stark agreed. "Will they call you if something starts?"
"Yup. I already passed back that information to a lot of the underground in the city. They'll gladly call. They'll scream as loud as they can too."
Natasha nodded. "I talked to a bartender at a bar frequented by retired agents. They said the same thing. Though the slayers have only been in there once. That was hunting someone who had weapons contacts about needing some things for the foreign slayers."
"Good," Steve agreed. "It's good that they help the girls too. It looks like the official sorts aren't."
"They aren't," Clint agreed. "Too many uptight bastards in the higher levels. Homeland's in a panic because they started off the emergency that could destroy the US."
"I hope it doesn't get that bad," Stark said. "Though we have an incident or two coming up in DC in about four months. Including an ascension."
"A what?" Thor demanded.
"An ascension." Stark pulled up that file to show him. "This was his graduation with the Slayer Buffy and the witch Rosenburg."
Thor stared. "That's rather nasty."
"That's totes nasty," Darcy agreed. "Who's doing that in DC?"
"No idea yet," Stark admitted. "Fury was looking."
"We can talk to him later. We'll need agents in other cities to report in emergencies," Steve said. "He's got to be swearing by now."
"I spent most of last night swearing," Clint said. "I'm the guy that got those old Council people arrested after Xander worked some stress out. They needed a few splints."
"They needed stretchers," Natasha said. "And I hope they need wills soon."
"We can all hope that their methods are done with," Thor said. "What can I do to help?"
"Be ready to jump in if something decides this is a good time to prove we're weak," Stark said. "Because it is."
Thor nodded. "Of course. I'll do whatever I need to."
"Good. If you feel like something's coming magically, let us know," Steve said. "None of us understand magic." Thor nodded. "All right, let's go to just below battle ready status. We're going to have a bad month but at least it's not spring."
Darcy smiled. "Spring may be their busy time but by their website it's going to be rabid around winter solstice this year. Something about a few higher demons showing back up to restart their cults."
"What a great holiday present that is," Steve said sarcastically. "Here?"
"They were taking placement offers for here, LA, and Brazil."
Stark shook his head with a sigh. "Great. Just...great."
"No, great was some of the girls volunteered to go to Brazil so they could have some bikini times," Darcy quipped. She smirked at his odd look. "Seriously. Including Buffy."
"They need shrinks worse than some agents do," Clint said. "Really." He nodded, looking at Thor, who looked confused. "Brazil would be in their summer during our winter, Thor."
"I understood that. Why would they volunteer to go to a battle to have bikini time?"
"Because they wanted some beach time," Natasha said. "That is overly optimistic of the battle's severity and a bit weird. It must be some sort of goal if they survive the battle."
"Usually the slayers go shoe shopping right before the bigger known battles," Darcy said. "According to the SHIELD files that got dumped, they tend to go bra and shoe shopping just before so they have the proper gear and something cute to wear afterward so they don't get as injured."
Clint looked at Natasha. "We need to be mentors."
"We do," she agreed. "With Hill if possible and possibly Pepper."
"At least Deadpool's girlfriend got them out of the habit of wearing heels to battles."
Natasha nodded. "They weren't practical with what they chose." She rubbed her forehead. "Buffy was in a mini skirt and a floppy shirt that nearly fell off her to tangle in her designer heels on a recent patrol."
"I like the local girls who think that wearing fancy shoes will get them torn up," Clint said. "They're more practical."
"She went out in what?" Steve asked, looking confused. Natasha pulled up a picture with a sigh. "How do you fight in that?"
Natasha let him see the fight footage. "Not as effectively as usual in her case."
Steve blinked then sighed. "They need more guys. Guys being around..."
"Would get them pounced," Clint interrupted. "They tried me a few times until I sparred with the girls. They're all good girls who really could use a good lover. Kara's grades have even went up."
"I'm glad he went with them," Stark said. "She could use the support. I'm pretty sure he'll let the younger girls cuddle him too if they're scared."
"Probably. Piotr is a nice guy," Steve said. "I like him more than most of the ones out there. Logan?"
"He's local," Clint said.
"That'll help a lot then," Steve agreed. "He's good with the battles." He looked around then at Natasha. "Bucky?"
"No sightings in three days."
"Could we encourage him to help the girls?"
"No clue," she admitted. "How would we get news to him?"
"No idea," he said. She nodded. "Okay, let me know what we need to handle. I'm heading to SHIELD later." They all nodded, going to their areas to fuss over things. They all had to calm down and get ready for anything that might come down on their heads. "Even Loki would be better than this," he muttered. "He couldn't even do this level of chaos."
Hill accepted the report from the slayer website from Natasha as she walked past her. She read the message thread, frowning. Until she had to burst out laughing. "They're volunteering for battles for bikini times?" she asked, looking up.
Natasha nodded. "Including Buffy."
Hill shook her head, walking off muttering. "I'll see if they'd like more female mentors."
"They could use clothing help too," Natasha called after her. Fury was giving her a funny look so she handed over that paper so he could read it. He groaned, rubbing his forehead. "We need to know about the one in DC in case this runs that long. Also about an information exchange as needed."
"I'm already building on that. Where did Harris stash them?"
"Nowhere easy to get to. He had another wacky idea that worked."
Fury grimaced. "As long as they're safe."
"Boyfriends were allowed along, especially the useful ones."
"Good!" He looked at her. "Seriously?" he asked with a point at the message thread. She nodded. "They need sense."
"Xander's response was a groan and he suggested they might not have time for beach time before or after the battle."
"Can't he stop that?"
"Buffy was one. Xander tries to inject reality without breaking their potential for happy thoughts."
"Wonderful!" He grimaced. "We're working on things. Who's got LA?"
"Connor and Gunn's vampire hunting street gang."
"We have a what now?" She smirked and nodded. "Interesting. Summers?"
"Buffy's in Cleveland. They're mostly her exes."
"I'll see if anyone we know might like to date her," he said blandly. She walked off. "We're being saved by teenage girls," Fury muttered. "Ones without sense who're fashionable." He shook his head, rubbing his forehead again. Measured against Summers, Harris looked pretty normal and average; even though he was pretty strange compared to normal people.
Clint Barton got the package, which was warm, delivered to him by an agent. "It was searched?"
"We were worried when it appeared out of nowhere and it was warm. It's clear but biological." He stared at him. "We're not sure who'd send you a warm egg, but would you know? It freaked out our mail people, Agent Barton."
"No clue," he admitted, looking at the label. "That's one of the slayers."
"That figures," he decided, calling that in as he walked off. It was clearly warm by magic as well. That also explained how it had just appeared in his mailbox.
Clint opened one end, looking at the pretty silver egg with a few blue speckles. He pulled it out carefully. It was starting to crack. "What're you? Hey, guys?" he called. "One of the slayers sent me an egg that's cracking." Stark came rushing in. "I have no idea what that is."
"That's too big to be a lizard of any sort I recognize," Stark said. He called Harris. "It's Stark. The girls mailed Barton an egg?" He listened, then winced. "Okay and we do... Of course we have warm meat we can feed it." Clint was staring at him. "Why.... oh, four years old. Okay, thank her for us. It was a sweet gift, Harris." He hung up. "One of the baby minis thought we'd need something to comfort snuggle and help us. It's a baby dragon. We're to feed it warm meat and something like whiskey or brandy."
Clint looked down as the egg hatched and started to bleet unhappily. "So why do we have a dragon?"
"We need something to help us and be a comfort snuggle according to her. Since a teddy bear would be in danger from the mean people, she sent us a comfort snuggle that could protect itself." He went to the kitchen to get meat and liquor to soak it in. He came out to find the thing crawling all over Clint's shoulders. He held up a piece of meat, letting it snap it up. "Yeah, you're hungry."
"I'm weirded out," Clint said. "But it was a sweet present."
"She was worried we'd all be upset. She only knew which one you and Natasha were because they look up to you." Stark let the dragon dive into the bowl to eat however much it wanted.
"Feed it by piece, Stark, or it'll puke." He picked up a few pieces to feed it. It settled on his lap to nibble. "I have no idea how to take care of a dragon. Does it get walked? Use a litter box? Do we have to get it kitten chow?" he asked. "Or just meat?"
"No clue. Harris is looking it up. He'll be here soon." They called in the others.
Steve came off the elevator. "Huge problems....what's that?"
"One of the baby minis thought we needed something to comfort snuggle," Clint said. "But teddy bears might get hurt by bad guys. She's four."
"So it's a what?" Steve asked, coming over to sit next to Clint. "Hi, sweetie." He fed it a piece of meat, getting steamed for it. "What are you?"
"It's a dragon," Thor said. "A hatchling." He sniffed the bowl of meat and went to get something to add into it. "Here, protein powder would mimic the bones it'd usually eat as well." The dragon didn't mind that being dusted on her meat. "It's adorable. Should grow to be about sixty feet long plus tail."
Clint looked up at him. "Does it get walked like a dog or use a litterbox like a cat?"
"I'm pretty sure dragons would go wherever they wanted to," Steve said. "It'd just blow fire or something on whoever stopped it." He fed it more meat. "You're adorable."
Natasha was staring then at Clint. "Did they send it here?"
He grinned at her. "SHIELD. They checked it because it appeared and was warm. Apparently they couldn't send it to you because they only knew our proper names."
She nodded. "It's a thoughtful gift but it's too small to not get harmed if we get attacked here." It climbed up Clint's arm to sniff at her, then sneezed smoke on the hand she held out for it to sniff. "It seems gentle enough." It sneezed again, this time with fire. "Or not." One of Stark's robots came rushing off the elevator with a fire extinguisher to put out the small smoldering spot. "Thank you." She petted it since it was bleeting at her. "Boy, girl?"
"No note," Clint said, looking at Thor. He could probably tell somehow.
He picked it up to look at its stomach then at its nose. "I believe you're a female." It purred and nuzzled him. "I like you too, little one." He handed it back to Clint. "It likes you. They do imprint. I'll call to see if we can find a book on how to care for her."
"Thanks," Stark said. He petted the poor little thing. "I'd hate to build it a fireproof room to keep it in. That'd be mean."
Clint nodded. "It would."
Xander came off the elevator with a book, handing it to Natasha. He picked up the dragon to look at it. "Tiny was very cute to send you." It snuggled into his arms. "I know, it's weird. You're chilly. It's really bright and loud here." Thor handed over some more meat with Natasha helping. "That's good for you." The dragon bleeted and climbed over him to get to Natasha, who caught her to feed. "She likes you." He grinned. "They tend to imprint on a mommy figure or nest mates."
"Where did she find a dragon down here?" Thor asked.
"They're somewhere that switches realms every few days." Xander grinned. "A mage in another realm set it up. One probably had dragons living there."
Thor nodded once. "Interesting." He let the dragon have more meat. "It's tiny."
"Her reasoning was baby things are cute, cuddly, and make most everyone go 'awww' so they feel better. This one could take care of herself as well." He looked around then at Stark. "At least with all this metal and contemporary aluminum everywhere it won't burn down the house."
"No, just the floors and the furniture," Stark said dryly, staring at him.
Xander grinned. "You can't really separate it from whoever it imprinted on. It could kill it."
"Shit," Natasha muttered. Xander laughed. "Seriously?"
"Yeah, seriously." He petted it. "It's supposed to be kinda cat like until it's bigger. It won't go into heat until it's an adult. Which is probably in about sixty years. My source said that their magic school has one living there and it likes squealy girls who let it slide down their tops to rest on their stomachs to listen to growling."
Natasha stared at him. "They do what?"
"They like busty young women who have growly guts." Xander shrugged. "That's what he said. He said they also build nests with precious things when they're about a year old."
"I can't imagine a dragon would be good with paintings and sculptures," Stark said.
"No, they like shiny things, Stark. Weapons, especially magical ones. Jewelry. Occasionally one male one will steal a maiden to cuddle."
"Thankfully none of us have that problem," Clint said. "I can't really be called a maiden. You, Thor?"
"I have seen maidens that were stolen. They're usually very ancient dragons who take decent care of them. Thankfully we're not compatible that way."
"That is a good thing, yes," Natasha said, watching the dragon yawn. It was pawing at her zipper. "No, you may not go down there. Sorry." It pouted at her. "You're pouting like a child."
"It is a child," Stark said, rubbing over his face. "So what do we do about the little darling?"
"If it's imprinted, it'll make itself sick from depression and die," Xander said. "It'll pick one or two favorite people to hang out with."
Clint nodded. "She sent it to me."
"The slayers have you two in a shrine," Xander said dryly. "You use the same sort of weapons they do and she's like a big slayer who handles things." He looked at Natasha. "Can you please gently talk some sense into some of the girls who volunteered for a battle for bikini time?"
"I've been trying," she admitted. The dragon huffed and climbed back to Thor, going down his shirt.
He looked down at it. "I don't have breasts but you're more than welcome to rest on me, ancient one." It steamed gently then fell asleep. Thor blinked, smiling at it. "It snores."
Clint grinned at Xander. "Is there a chaos god getting high or at least happy?"
"Well, in that one realm, all cursebreakers, like the one that opened my magic and taught me, are vowed to Loki. He's about the only one that can get down there. He also teaches the practical education class at one of the magic academies so he can mark all his future cursebreakers and teaches sex ed. Apparently it amuses him a lot."
Thor blinked, looking up then at him. "Am I not there? It seems that version of my brother would be sore minded."
"He called you the big, blond thing."
"There's a valkyrie on reserve status at the school too. Her mare's there and went into heat and everything."
Thor winced. "That poor maiden."
"They sent her to someone who can handle her in heat."
Thor nodded. "I can see how that would be a good idea." He looked down at the dragon again then at him. "How long before the imprint is worn out?"
"When it starts to nest, then it'll show off the nest to the human friends but won't be as clingy."
"Yeah, we can figure it out for a year," Stark decided, rubbing his head again. "Pepper's going to freak out."
"At least she's not the sort to steal maidens," Xander quipped.
"She's not one," Stark said.
"Stark, how many geeks in the labs are," Natasha said. Stark winced. "We'll do what we can to protect it."
"We can name it Steamy," Clint offered. Everyone glared at him. "I don't know what to name a dragon. You can't name it Spots or Bowser or something."
"Naming it after another sort of mythological being might make that other species mad," Steve said. "Then we might get them visiting too."
"I think the one at that school was named after someone's mom or aunt who was very dragonish," Xander said.
"None of our mothers were that bad," Stark said dryly. "I'd suggest we name it after Bruce but he'd probably beat me to death."
Natasha looked around then at him. "Is he in his lab?" Stark nodded. "I'm sure he'll be amused when they meet."
"Probably," Stark agreed. He blinked at Thor's stomach. "She really is snoring."
Thor nodded. "It tickles but is a great honor."
Xander grinned. "Have fun with her. I'll tell the slayer that it's a great gift but right now's not a great time for it so no one else sends presents." He left, giggling all the way out of the building.
Stark looked at Clint, who shrugged. "They sent it to my mailbox at SHIELD. The only thing I knew was an agent delivering it." Clint shrugged. "It's cute."
"They do tend to be protective of what's theirs," Thor said. "Even as adults." He sat down and put his feet up. The dragon quit snoring and steamed him a bit but got comfortable again.
Natasha walked off shaking her head. "I'll look up names for mythical beasts. There's got to be a list of them online from some game or another." She went to her room and settled in to laugh herself sick.
Stark looked at his phone when it beeped. "One of the older mini slayers suggested we name it 'eyepatch' after that growly man thing." He looked at them. Clint got up to go laugh in the bathroom.
Thor shook his head. "That's not a noble name for such as this tiny beast."
"When you figure it out, let us know," Stark said. "I'm going to program things so she can't get hurt in the labs if she wanders." He walked off, going to groan in his lab. This was already too long of a day. He sent the security tape to Pepper and let her handle it. She was good with pets. Or at least dogs.
Steve looked at Thor, handing over the bowl of meat and whiskey. "Let me know if I can help. I never had a pet."
"I can do that," Thor agreed. Steve went back to the gym to think and smile about having a pet. Even if it was a pet dragon. He paused to knock on Wanda's door. "One of the baby slayers delivered a pet to Clint's mailbox," he said quietly but he was smiling. "It's up on Thor's stomach. We're told they like to shirt dive. We don't have a name yet." He went to the gym.
She frowned but went up to look at it. "We have a pet?" she asked quietly.
Thor waved her over, moving his shirt. "It just hatched about an hour ago."
She blinked. "What is that?"
"It's a dragon," he said with a smile. "They're powerful creatures. This one's just a baby."
She nodded. "That's weird." She backed up a step when the thing blinked at her. "Hi," she told it. "Please don't eat me."
"She's too young and small to eat you, Wanda," Thor said patiently. "We're going to name her soon."
She nodded. "That's interesting."
"The young slayer wanted us to have something comforting to snuggle but couldn't be harmed if we're attacked here."
"I'm sure it would be able to protect itself some day." She took another step back. "Is it friendly?"
"Yes, quite." He waved her closer, grabbing her by the hand. "They do not usually bite unless you withhold food." He let her pet it. "It is very soft because it's so young. Eventually the scales will turn harder and sharper."
She nodded. "It's cute." She let it have some of the meat since it was smoking at her. It bleeted and purred as it ate a few pieces then snuggled up under the shirt again. She stepped back, staring at her. "That's really weird." She went to tell her brother about that. He'd be weirded out too. That was weird even for Stark. They didn't trust Stark but the fact that they had a baby dragon on premises as a pet made her feel weird.
Her brother scowled at her babbling about the baby dragon but went to check on it himself. He thought it was just his kids who got into weird things, not all the baby slayers.
Later that night, Bruce Banner looked down at his lap, nearly jumping out of his seat but it'd unseat the thing that was staring up at him and smoking. "Stark!" he bellowed.
The little thing bleeted and nudged his hand. It stared up at him. It looked around, nosing something on the table.
"Are you...hungry?" He handed over his leftover sandwich. It got a disgusted look but the little thing ate it. "I know, your kind probably don't eat sprouts and mayo." He frowned. "What are you? STARK!"
Tony leaned in a minute later. "What happened? I didn't hear an explosion."
"There's a thing. A tiny, hungry thing. It's staring at me like I'm going to nurse it."
Tony came in to pick the tiny thing up. "I have meat for you in my lab. You can come eat with me. Okay? This is Bruce, he has no idea what to do about your tiny dragon self."
"Dragon?" Bruce demanded, taking off his glasses to stare at him. "Dragon?"
"One of the mini slayers decided we needed something to cuddle when we're upset but it had to be able to protect itself so she found an egg, sent it to Barton, and we're still trying to decide what her name is." He walked her off, taking her to his lab so she could eat. "I have some yummy steak and it's got nicer irish whiskey this time since you're probably from somewhere in England," he told it as they walked. It was staring up at him. "Pepper said she thinks you're cute and she's going to be here tomorrow to meet you. We've really got to name you by then." He walked her into his lab and let her have the bowl of meat once it had been warmed in his microwave. The dragon groaned in happiness as she stuck her nose into the bowl and inhaled meat.
Bruce walked in, staring at Stark. Stark showed the security footage from earlier. Bruce stared then groaned and shook his head. At least until a tiny set of claws was moving up his arm. He looked at her. "You need some manners, young lady." He petted her. She bleeted and purred at him. He let her have the bowl of meat and liquor. She ate again, snuggling into his arms to be comfy and secure. He looked at Tony. "How do we deal with this?"
"In about a year she'll want to nest."
Bruce groaned, walking off shaking his head. He really needs a nap. Dragons aren't logical and he's going mad from the science. He got something to snack on and headed to his room. It had to be too much science on not enough food.
Stark looked at the dragon, shrugging some. "Bruce is a nice guy. He'll get used to you."
She slurped up more meat, looking smug.
"Was that a 'you're a good human slave'?" he asked her dryly. She slurped up more meat then climbed up his shirt to settle underneath it. He looked down his shirt at her. "Comfy?" he asked dryly. She yawned and napped. Yup, there was dragon snoring. He got back to work. The dragon was safely tucked into his shirt for now and would snore for a few more hours. Even if he did look pregnant by the looks Pepper gave him when she got in. He turned at her cleared throat, tugging his shirt out of his belt carefully and catching the dragon before she could fall. "This is Pepper," he told the cranky dragon. "She takes care of things and people. She's really good at petting too." He held her up. "She might even have a name for you."
"We should name her after me." She took the dragon to cuddle, looking down at it. It smoked and bleeted a few times. Tony handed over the bowl of meat. "Liquor?"
"She's cold blooded and the book said to," he defended. "She likes it."
She rolled her eyes but fed the dragon a few bites. It hummed happily then decided to yawn and try to find her growly parts. She squealed as the dragon wiggled underneath her suit jacket and button up shirt. Tony took back the bowl of meat and liquor to put back into the fridge. She looked down at it. "Is that normal?"
"Yeah. She's done it to me and Thor both. She went to wake Bruce up to steal his sandwich but he's got a headache."
"I can't say that I'm not a bit freaked out too," she admitted, sitting down carefully. She looked down again. "You're snoring?"
"She does that." He grinned. "The mini slayer was cute."
"She's very cute and I sent back a thank you note too." She held the dragon's bottom so it wouldn't slip down and claw her. She looked at her boyfriend. "So, what are we doing about this situation?"
"Barton's still trying to figure out if she needs litter trained or walked."
She shook her head with a sigh. "We'll figure it out today, Tony." She walked off, carefully cradling the dragon. A few people gave her odd looks. "The dragon."
One of the residence nurses stopped her. "Are you having a dragon, Miss Potts?"
Pepper undid her jacket and a few of the bottom buttons on her shirt. "One of the mini slayers sent her earlier."
"Awww." The dragon looked at her then snorted and curled up again. Pepper did back up her shirt. "Is it comfortable?"
"It climbed down there so it seems to be," Pepper said. "Tony said it did it to others."
"Okay. Um...should we find a vet?"
"Do you know too many that deal with dragons?"
"No, but I can find one that deals with lizards and exotic species. Just in case it gets hurt."
"That might be a good idea. The mini said that they needed something to snuggle that could protect itself."
The nurse nodded. "Sure. That's a good idea." She walked off. "Send it down later so we can cuddle it too. We'll adore that." Pepper smiled, going up to the common room. Thor was up again.
Thor patted the dragon. "I've asked Heimdal to send me books on how to care for a baby dragon."
"That's a great idea, Thor. One of the nurses is looking up vets who can handle her if she gets hurt. We need to name her."
"It was suggested that we name her after a strong woman," Thor said.
She smiled. "I'd adore the little thing being named after me." She headed into the kitchen. "It really needs liquor?"
"Apparently it helps keep her warm."
"Ah." She nodded. "Then we'll need to get her something good. Better than the rotgut stuff Tony was using earlier." She looked it up online while cuddling the baby. It was very comforting. The snoring was cute too. Thor smiled at her but went to make his poptarts.
They could handle this situation and the new pet very well.
Oops, Problems Again.