Xander woke up from the weird dream and sighed. He called Clint. "I had a vision dream and it's weird. Because I saw zombies coming out of a SHIELD plane and pushing Nick Fury out of his seat so he could take it over. No, not rotting or anything. Impeccable suit and tie, pretty emotionless, I saw a graveyard inside the plane and Grant Ward." He rubbed his eyes. "I don't know, Clint. This is the first one I've had. Thanks. Let me know if it's a type of vision like the slayers have." He hung up and laid back down. He was exhausted but it happened. They'd had some stupid battles in the last few days thanks to the slayers being removed for their own safety. And he had one coming up with Buffy later that day. He deserved to go back to bed for a few more hours.
Clint hung up and looked up things in the SHIELD files that had been released. He stared. "Oh hell no," he said. "Friday, I need Nat. Now. And possibly Rogers." A few minutes later someone knocked on his apartment door and walked in. "No Nat?" he asked Stark. "Or Rogers?"
"Out for a jog so it'll be about an hour. What happened? You look scared yet pissed off."
Clint pointed at his computer. "Xander called in about a dream vision he had. Zombies coming out of a SHIELD plane and taking over for Fury. He said he saw Grant Ward there, who we know is HYDRA."
Stark grimaced. "I looked him up for Natasha."
"He's on a team with someone else Coulson trained, two geeks, a newbie agent, and Coulson." Clint stared at him.
"Is he a zombie?"
"I...." Clint handed over his laptop. "I don't know and I need to go scream and rant a tiny bit."
Stark nodded. "I'll look into it."
"The newbie agent was a hacker," he warned.
"Great. We'll see." He went to the lab to look those things up. Someone was trying to stop him from finding them but pity, they weren't that good. He pulled up the full files by the time Natasha walked in blotting her sweat with Steve behind her. "Harris has dream visions too." He got out of the way.
Natasha read over what he found, scowling. "That's interesting."
"Is he alive?" Steve asked quietly and calmly.
Steve nodded. "Interesting." He looked at Stark. "Any ideas yet?"
"Inviting him here by evil means?" Stark suggested. "I think we all want ideas. Clint's doing something to blow off stress, Natasha."
She nodded. "I should join in." She walked off. "Give us enough time to get dressed before you drag him here."
"I can do that," Steve agreed. He looked at Stark. "How?"
"I don't know. Kidnaping?"
"He'll know it's us if we show up."
"Poker contacts?" he suggested with a smug look. "Or Pepper and her little scaley friend?"
Steve considered it. "They might hurt Pepper. Too bad we don't have magic."
Willow appeared, grimacing. Stark decided that something around Steve was now a summoning object or serious coincidence, but you didn't believe about those sort of ideas around the Council. "Buffy's ex is showing up later and she kicked me out of Cleveland so she can take out Angel herself. She won't even let Xander help."
"I doubt that'll happen that way," Stark said dryly. "Can you summon someone for us? We thought he had been killed."
She shrugged. "I can but it might hurt them a tiny bit. It's not harmful magic."
Stark smiled and pointed. "We need him. We thought he was dead and SHIELD was hiding our oversight agent from us."
She read it over, nodding. "I know about Skye. I helped her learn how to use her skills." She typed in something and found the guy then scried. It was easier than hacking into security cameras. "Hmm, two ladies with him."
Stark looked then pointed. "That's Barton's ex-wife."
"Cool. Then she probably won't mind." She watched until they were mostly alone. Then she cast the yanking spell. Both of them screamed but disappeared and appeared in the lab. Willow smiled. "Sorry if it hurt a tiny bit. At least I didn't just summon you the easy way and make you fly all that way, possibly into buildings. That would've been bad." She looked at Stark. "Can you talk sense into Buffy?"
"No. She's probably thinking he'll take her out and whatever's done with. From what Harris found, Angel's really looking to take him out because he warped the calling." She winced. "You can always go redo the soul spell. That should take out whatever's holding him as a pawn, right?"
Her face lit up and she squealed as she pounced him to hug. "Thank you! Keep Xander up here. He doesn't like Angel and Angel was jealous of him so he'll probably want to hurt Xander." She disappeared.
The brunette woman licked her lips. "That was Council stuff."
"That was Rosenburg of the Council," Stark said with a smirk. "By the way, they used to want to take you and Romanoff to start an older slayer line. Thankfully they died."
She nodded. "That would've been bad. Mr. Stark. Captain."
Steve had his arms crossed over his chest, staring at Coulson. "How?" he asked. "The last we heard you were dead."
"He used some shady technology to bring me back and wipe my memories of it," Phil Coulson said quietly. "How did you find out?"
"Harris has visions and saw you as a zombie," Stark said dryly. "He told Barton since he's helped guard the slayers a few times." Phil winced. "So....we should probably talk. Especially since his vision showed you shoving Fury out of his seat to take over."
"I am the director now," he agreed. "I need to call May so she doesn't try to rescue us."
Natasha and Clint both walked in, staring at him. "May? Really? You chose that one instead of letting us know?" he demanded.
"Fury put together the team with her helping," Coulson said. "I found that out later, Clint. I thought you'd be told or hear it somehow."
"Well, didn't," he said dryly. He stared at his ex-wife. "I'm going to beat you to death."
She blew a kiss. "I only joined up with him after the fall of SHIELD, Clint. No one was going to approach any of the Avengers members because we're in a hell of our own making at the moment. You guys have to handle bigger things than this."
"I believe we have some enemies in common," Natasha said. "We have heard from Fury and Hill both. Repeatedly." Coulson nodded once, not looking pleased. "We are not happy."
"I'm not happy he didn't tell you," he admitted, staring at his agents. "We have to tell May not to attempt a rescue."
Clint snorted. "Let her come here," he sneered.
"She put the team together to figure out what the side effects of the treatments I went through did, Clint. She was to watch me for abnormalities. Which led us to inhumans."
Stark considered that. "We work with a few different mutants."
"Not exactly the same," Coulson said. "Inhumans are created or activated."
"That's a good thing to know," Steve said. "The way I was?"
"No, there's some smoke and it does it," Bobbi Morse said. She looked around, pulling out a stool to sit on. "Can we at least tell Skye?"
"No," Natasha said. "Because I wish to talk to her first." Coulson sighed, staring at her. She stared back. "Things are getting out of hand and we need to reassess our strategies."
"Before the next Council thing takes out all of us," Clint finished. "They're not all that pretty."
"Why are Avengers answering to those?" Bobbi asked.
"It's that or watch a group of teenage girls save our asses," Stark said dryly. "Are you going to do that? Plenty of SHIELD has."
"No, but those aren't the same sort of battles."
"Yeah, they are," Clint said. "And we'd rather save our own asses than let a group of teenage girls do it for us. They need the backup so we do when they need it for huge things. And occasionally watch over them because of asshole humans." She winced but nodded at that. He looked at Natasha. "Do you?"
"Yes, I do." She strolled off. "Captain?" She looked back at him. "Would you like to help?"
"I..." He looked at Clint. "I think I'll have plenty of time to get answers after Clint has." He followed her to change so they could go to wherever. Natasha got a location from Willow. It wasn't that far away. They walked into the new 'headquarters', which was a warehouse. He looked around then at her. "It looks like a lair."
"It does," she agreed. She strolled on, finding the hidden door. She had to rig the elevator but came off and hit someone standing there with a gun. "Good afternoon, Lance."
"Natasha," he said, holding his bleeding nose. His eyes went wide when he saw who was behind her. "Oh, dear god," he muttered. "Captain, I can have someone come meet you."
Natasha looked at him, smiling slightly. "I'm sure we can make our own appointments. Clint is currently talking to the present director." He winced and walked the other direction. She headed toward the offices. Most SHIELD bases were built along the same design. They ran into the labs and someone came out to stop her. "You must be Skye," she said dryly.
"And you're the Black Widow and Captain America." Steve smiled and nodded. "You...probably shouldn't be here."
"That's interesting since we took our former handler to chat with him. Do go screaming to Melinda, Skye. We will be speaking with her in a moment."
"Um...she's...I think she's going after him."
"I doubt that will work. I doubt she can get into Stark."
Skye winced. "I thought it was magic that stole him."
"It was, we asked Willow for a favor," Steve said.
"Oh," she said, nodding slightly. "That's bad."
"Yes, but we don't intend to let little girls save our asses for us," he quipped. "We're not that sort of people." He stared at her. "Who's in charge with him gone?"
"I'll..." She pointed at the lab. "Let me call May." She went to do that. The door was locked, though it wouldn't keep them safe when they had the fight they were looking for. Melinda stomped back in and Steve got out of the way when Natasha attacked her. He kept anyone else from joining in.
"It took me nearly two years to figure out what sort of octopus Harris saw when he met Ward," Natasha said during the battle. "We can talk about that later."
"We're not HYDRA," she vowed.
Natasha stared at her. "Good. It means I don't have to kill you today."
"How did you find out?"
"Harris has visions."
"We need to remove him."
"Only if you want to harm the slayers," Steve said. "And we'd have to stop you. The girls need him and others to help them." She threw a dagger at him. He caught it and threw it back, making her scream as it went into her shoulder. "I'm not the nice fairy. I believe in justice, not in hiding things to destroy the world." He popped another agent in the jaw, making him fall down unconscious. "Pity. I'm used to agents who can spar."
Natasha snorted. "Not all of them can but most of these agents were the best of SHIELD. It's a shame they fell down a rather large hole." May attacked her again so she fought back harder, harming her.
Someone came up and shot into the ceiling. "I really don't want to shoot heros, but I sure will. Get off May. Where's Coulson?"
Natasha stared at him. "You will not." He pointed the gun at her. Steve's gun was already out and shot the guy in the stomach. "Even without him you wouldn't have. It's always in the eyes." She sneered at May. "We're going to be talking. After all, we've seen Fury a great many times recently. This shadow agency doesn't befit them or us." She hauled May up, making her shriek at the new pain. "Good. Gather everyone and let's go. We will be sorting this out quickly."
"You can't do that. Fury put Coulson in charge," Skye said.
Natasha looked at her. "You poor child. I debriefed with Nick Fury yesterday." She winced. "So apparently you're a shadow of SHIELD. The ones that tried to close down SHIELD are presently suffering greatly."
"Outside Ross," Steve said. "I'm about to handle that problem."
Natasha smiled. "Many would appreciate that."
"Yes we would. Before he got Pepat."
"I cannot believe they named the dragon after Pepper and myself."
He grinned. "You can't get much stronger women, Natasha."
"Point. I am flattered." She shook May. "Let's go." Their backup team from SHIELD rushed in to gather everyone to go question them. She walked May out. "We're going to Avengers tower," she noted. He grabbed Skye to bring with them.
The two geeks came out to stop him so he got them down and cuffed. "Natasha?"
"Yes. They can come as well. They were on the same team." They headed together. The SHIELD agents gathered the rest to bring back to the SHIELD office building. Someone would have an answer. May tried to struggle but Steve's arm held her in place. It slightly choked her too but oh well.
Stark looked up as people were walked into their meeting room. "Barton's still yelling." He sat up, looking at the geeks. "I know you two." They stared at him. He smirked. "You do know that the President finally stuck up for SHIELD when it got remade under Fury?"
"We were told to continue because that was a mirage," Skye defended. "Who're you?"
"Tony Stark, little girl." She glared and pulled up power. Behind her, Thor growled. She looked and flinched, getting away from him. "He hates people who misuse their gifts." He looked at his teammates. "These other two?"
"Melinda May, who had Coulson as her handler," Natasha said, shoving her into a seat. "And Skye, his newest trainee." She pointed and the young girl sat down. Xander walked in and stared at someone then laid a spell on her. "Harris?"
"Anti-misuse. This way she can't cause harm without a good reason. I won't bind her to not cause any harm, that could get her dead, but I'll be damned if we have two Rosenburgs running around."
"I'm nothing like her!" she shouted, hopping up. "How would you know anyway."
"I'm the guy who's taking the slayers out of battles," he shot back. She sneered. He hit her, knocking her into a wall. "I was also there after you and yours attacked a six-year-old's house for her being born a slayer, bitchy. Not a mutant like you thought, but a baby slayer and you killed her family on her. Congrats. Really. Now, get up and let's talk like adults. I'm assuming you're one." She got up and tried to attack him so he nearly killed her. "That's for Missy's family and her. She's now catatonic because of your stupid actions. Congrats. You nearly killed innocent kids beyond the ones you did actually kill." Melinda stood up. Xander's wand came back out and slammed her into the wall of windows.
"Sit down, slut." He glared at her. "I know exactly who you are and how you got info on one of the good ex's I have because he was giving slayers weapons that they needed for battles. Did it feel good to get a decorated hero put in jail for helping save your asses?" Skye tried to get up so Xander stomped on her. "No, don't move. You don't have the worth to stand in front of me and say shit, little girl. You're worthless and pointless. I *refuse* to have their own type of people harm them." He glared at her.
"By the way, yeah I know who you are. I knew your dad. He was psychotic but at least he'd never touch a baby slayer. He doesn't want to die of it." Melinda tried to get up and Xander pulled his axe. "C'mon, bitch." She backed off, hands up. Xander shot her this time, making her drop the knife she was trying to pull. He looked at her, sneering. "We'll be talking. You can gladly give up your life to take the place that little girl would've taken when she was eighteen. At least then you'll have some meaning to your life." He looked at Skye, making her back away from him. He looked at Steve, then tossed over a USB keydrive. "They've been covering it up. It wasn't HYDRA like they said it was."
Stark cleared his throat. "When was this?"
"Last year. Until a few days ago we heard it was HYDRA." Steve winced. "Then someone gave me photos. I only got up to look at them when I realized I had seen bitchy there," he said with a point at Skye. "In that vision."
Clint walked in and looked then at Xander. "They did something to one of the baby mutants or a baby slayer?"
"Baby slayer. I just found out a few days ago that Missy's attack wasn't HYDRA."
Clint grimaced, glaring at them. "Then they deserve to die." He looked at him again. "Buffy's facing Angel later and didn't want you to go."
"We think he'll be after you," Steve said.
Xander looked at him. "I fought him off when he was without his soul and Buffy was in the hospital due to a weaponized flu back in high school. I got injured but I'll be damned. I told him one day he'd die and I'd be there. I missed the last two so I should be at this one." He looked at the guy behind them. "Hmm, not exactly the same as the zombie I saw you as in the vision."
"What did they do?"
"Took out the family and nearly the baby slayer for being born. She's six. They killed her whole family down to her family's cat. One of them gutted it because it probably attacked them. They tried to kill her but the fireman heard her sobbing on her mother's mutilated body and got her out of the fire they set to try to cover it up." Coulson winced. "I thought it was HYDRA until a few days ago but someone sent me pictures. I only realized it after another hour of sleep after I had the vision showing you being alive." The senior agent winced. "So I don't care if they live. They can die just like the assholes in Egypt can. Preferably soon, before I have to fight another battle that could save their asses too." He walked off. "Let me go to Buffy's side to help her. At least guys like Angel aren't pretending not to be evil." He apparated off.
"Stark," Steve said, tossing the USB to him. He ran it in the meeting system. It was full film of what had happened.
Coulson stared at it. "I did not authorize that," he said, looking at Melinda.
"They're foul," she said. "They're going to take out SHIELD and humanity."
"I doubt that little girl or their cat would," Clint said. "Though I can see why you're such a bitch about strong women." He looked at his ex, who was shaking her head. "You?"
"Before I joined the team," she said. "You know I would've stopped them taking out kids, Clint."
Skye sat up. "We knew they were passing intel," she said. "They were part of HYDRA."
"No, they weren't," Stark said. He called up the information on them. "Her father left HYDRA when his daughter was shown to be a potential slayer. They let him because he was a foot soldier and they didn't want to face the old Council." He looked at Steve.
"The old Council was foul," he agreed. "They probably could've taken out her father and others who would've kept the slayer from being taken. It wouldn't be the first one. Xander was compiling a list of those for someone."
"You don't believe that," Melinda sneered.
Steve looked at her. "I saw the records. I helped him do some of the research. He wasn't going to let the girls do it so they wouldn't get upset. Thankfully the new Council isn't like that. They don't treat the girls like slaves anymore."
"They have turned their duty into something mostly tolerable," Natasha agreed. "It's no longer anywhere near as horrifying as it used to be. Now they have choices. It no longer reminds me of those who raised me. Or else I would've helped remake them somehow."
"You would've had help," Clint said. "I wouldn't have stood for that either." He looked at Melinda then at Natasha. "You need some water?"
"Please. We still have some things to talk about."
"Fury's on his way over. He's livid," he warned, heading to the kitchen to get her and Steve some water. He came back to find Nick Fury throwing a fit. He handed over the bottles before sitting down. He looked at the file on the screen then enlarged it so it hung over the table. "So, is he right?" he asked Stark.
"Yeah. From the footage, it's unaltered. I'd need the originals to make sure but as far as I can tell it's not altered." He looked at Skye, who was crying, then at May, who was bleeding on his floor. He looked at Fury again. "This is what you wanted to deal with? I'm not ever going to turn my suits over to them. I may not ever make another AI after the problems the last one tried to start, but I doubt they'll be acceptable in any way to our team."
"If they killed that whole family because that little girl was born a potential slayer, then I doubt they're qualified to be considered human," Steve said. He sat down. He pushed out Natasha's chair for her. She nodded slightly before sitting down. He looked at Fury. "So, you didn't tell us?"
"It's not like I could blurt out 'oh by the way I saved Coulson's life'," he said dryly. "I had plans of him showing up after a problem, when you were all too tired to kill him."
"No, I'm not ever that tired," Clint said dryly. "Even after huge battles I can always fire one more arrow."
"Or fire one more bullet," Steve agreed. "As long as I have some left."
"Fine, I knew it wasn't going to go well," Fury said. "What happened to them?" Clint pointed at the file on the virtual screen. Fury stared at it. "And.... That's nasty but the father had been HYDRA."
"Who had been shoved out of HYDRA because they didn't want to go against the old Council when his daughter showed up being a potential," Natasha said dryly.
"That sucks, and is a bad thing, but she's one girl." Then suddenly the ceiling overtop of him, and only overtop of him, caved in and the wires wrapped around him to electrocute him.
Natasha looked up. "Willow, please leave him living," she called. "We will deal with him ourselves for that incident." The wires quit trying to kill him. "Thank you." She stared at the director. "No, one child is not expendable. By any definition. Especially not one that some day could be the only reason humanity survives. Though any child being taken out with such prejudice is wrong."
"Yes it is," Stark agreed, staring at Coulson.
"I was not aware of that mission," he said, looking at Skye. "Who ordered that one?"
"Melinda heard he was HYDRA."
"How many others have there been?" he demanded.
"Pull up the profile, Skye."
"It's not in the system. I went looking." She looked at him. "I wasn't there for that one and this time I was only outside watching. You know she didn't consider me able to be an agent then."
Coulson scowled, crossing his arms over his chest. "I see." He looked at Melinda then at Stark. "You?" he asked with a hand wave.
"Harris. Rightfully so. I nearly pulled out pompoms."
"Good. It's good he's that supportive of the slayers. Things clearly aren't what we know about them either."
"Some of us have worked with the girls a few times," Clint said dryly. Natasha nodded her head slightly.
Coulson looked at her. "Are they good to them?"
"Much better now. I applaud how they're treating the young women and the choices they're given. If they were like the old one I would've already helped them remake it."
"Good," he agreed. "I'd like briefed on that."
"As far as we know you're still a zombie," Clint told him. "Because we've been answering to Fury."
"We were supposed to stay hidden so we could finish taking down HYDRA, Clint." Clint stared at him. He frowned as something ran in and climbed up Clint's leg to hide under his shirt and purr at him. "What is that?"
"One of the mini slayers thought we needed something cuddly for after bad days," Stark said dryly. "So she mailed Pepat there to Barton at SHIELD."
"She's a sweet little dragon," Steve agreed. "She okay? Scared?" he asked, looking over at Clint's stomach.
"Happy. She's got kitty tail again," Clint said, petting her through his t-shirt. She steamed him. "And hungry. FRIDAY, do we have anything made up for her?"
"It's in the microwave, Agent Barton. Thor will bring it down once it's warmed," the AI said.
"Thanks." He looked down at her. "Let the big guy warm it for you." She snuggled in and purred at him so he petted her again.
Thor walked in, pausing at the sights in front of him. "Son of Coul," he said quietly.
"Fury revived me with a lot of torturing medical procedures, Thor. He was supposed to tell you all."
"That is foul," Thor said.
"Yes but I didn't have a choice in the matter. He made me forget most of it." He huffed and put his arms down. "I didn't want him to do that, Thor. For now I'm leading a team and the undercover part of SHIELD."
"Hmm. That is not a good idea." He put the meat down on the table. Clint slid it down. The dragon popped up to sit on the table so she could eat. "Stark, she has learned what the atrium is for. I caught her using it earlier. The botanists were not amused but then again her excrement is toxic."
"That's good to know. Maybe we'll make bags of flaming dragon shit to throw on HYDRA," he said dryly. "I'll help them find plants she can't kill." Thor nodded. "Sit, Thor. We're talking about this as a team."
Thor sat down, staring at the man he used to admire for his loyalty. "Why did we not know?"
"Fury had plans of telling us after a battle so we wouldn't send him back to the afterlife," Clint said.
"And those who look to be begging for mercy?"
"We have no mercy for what they did," Steve said quietly. "Coulson said he didn't know."
"I did not know they harmed that family," Coulson said, staring at him. "I would not allow that. I'm all for HYDRA going down but not that way, especially not for someone so minor as a former foot soldier."
Thor nodded. "He speaks the truth." He looked at that file. He pointed and Steve nodded. "That is truly foul. Even more than necromancy."
Stark shut the file, staring at Coulson. "So, what's going to happen?"
"I have no idea," Coulson admitted. "I've heard rumors of you and Captain Rogers having a battle?"
"We've kept it at civil sniping," Steve said. "We definitely do not agree on things but now's not a good time for that argument to be cleared up. With the slayers in hiding due to idiots, we've got bigger problems going on. No matter what some people in the government are going to try to pull on us to split the team."
"I saw that report about the slayers," Coulson admitted. "I'm glad many of us could back them up. I haven't had the people I could do that with."
"Very few of them could live through a battle," Natasha said. "Even we've limped away from them." Clint and Steve both nodded.
Stark grimaced. "We've still got to find them more people to help Harris. Before it's just him and Giles handling all the girls."
"We sent a few agents," Hill said as she walked in and over her boss's body. "They've done good so far, getting most of the old liners causing problems out of the way. Frankly, the one who was HYDRA is more concerned about the girls managing to win than anyone else seems to be. He's very worried about what would happen if demons took over the world." She sat down. "We can arrange for you to work with Coulson if you choose."
"You knew," Natasha said.
"It was coded level seven, Natasha. I couldn't tell you but I was certain you would've heard things, especially when the regular SHIELD fell. Now they're on as our undercover and problem solving unit, which Coulson is the director of and actually of all of SHIELD. Fury handed it over when he had to disappear and pretend to be dead."
"Someone should have told us that, especially since we had to talk to SHIELD a few times," Stark said.
"I thought he would have, Stark. I have no control over Nick Fury and his plots." They all nodded at that. The dragon stared at her over her bowl of food. "I saw pictures of you, Pepat. You're very cute." It steamed at her. "I'd never hurt you. I don't hurt beasts unless I have to." She let the dragon sniff her hand. The dragon nudged her so she petted it. "You eat. You need to eat so you're bigger." The dragon dug back in with a hum of pleasure while Clint petted her. She looked at Coulson then at Stark and Rogers. Then back at Coulson. "Are you going to start taking their reports or should I arrange for debriefs to be here?"
"I would leave that up to them," Coulson said. "I won't upset them by forcing my attention on them. We know they're not fully part of SHIELD."
Stark stared at him then at Steve, who shrugged. "We have no idea," Steve said. "Right now we're still horrified about what they did."
"I agree, that file is nasty and I'd like to end that problem," she said, glaring at Melinda May. "We should get her treatment so she can stand trial."
Coulson nodded. "Yes we should. I'd like to talk to the rest of my team first. My geeks?"
"In the next room," Agent Hill told him. "I made sure they're fine before I came in. They're worried and a bit scared but tough." She leaned back. "Patricks, let his geeks in." That agent nodded and leaned into that room to summon them. They stomped in. "Before you say a word, Fury never told them. The last they knew he had been killed by Loki during the pre-battle of Manhattan." One of them huffed. "Also, May and Skye have caused a huge problem that got them beaten by someone from the Council."
"Them?" one sneered.
"They've reformatted," Natasha said firmly. "They are not the old Council. The girls are treated well and given choices about their lives."
"They still force them to fight," she said firmly.
"No, they can choose not to patrol," Clint said. "Plenty of the girls retired to a normal life after college. They're forced to learn how to protect themselves but they're not forced into battles or patrol. I've worked with the guy who came from the Sunnydale team. He's looked everywhere to try to get the girls uncalled and they can't. They're very good to the girls now."
"They're still slaves to them!" she complained with a point.
"No they're not," Thor said. "Those who have families stay with them and train at home. I asked. Perhaps you should." She glared at him. He stared back. "You could talk to them. We have all talked to some of the slayers and they adore Clint like a proper brother."
"They're still children," the guy said.
"Children aren't allowed more than self defense lessons," Natasha said. "I made sure they weren't anywhere near what they used to be. I would know a bad system when I see one." He stepped back. "I have made sure that the girls are given choices, are well treated, and mostly nagged about their clothes and homework." She stared at them. "You can talk to the older girls when they come back from their safe spot."
"They're in hiding?" Fitz demanded.
"Yes, because there were problems that were going to kill them," Clint said. "Normal human problems." He slumped, shaking his head. "The guy who runs the local house got them to safety in a place that's not even on this realm."
"I've asked about that residence and it is quite the spell," Thor said.
Xander reappeared holding his side. "Angel's down." He flopped down. "Buffy's sobbing and glaring at me. Willow's glaring at me. Again. But it's stopped. Now all we need is Homeland to be cleaned up and the other idiots." He looked around then at Stark. "You rang? Or summoned?"
"We were talking about how the Council had changed."
"It changed a lot and we all got *real* happy when the old Council got blown up," Xander told the new people. "I nearly did a happy dance when those assholes who put a price on my seventeen-year-old self's head got blown up by the First Evil's minions."
"From what I've learned, I should go back and wish them a fond voyage to hell," Stark agreed. "Maybe even hand them a bottle of ice water so they can be laughed at for trying to save themselves."
Xander grinned. "Half of them probably had some sort of soul deal so they didn't make it that far. They were the sort to have soul contracts and then try to kill others with them." He looked at the geeks. "I do everything I can to protect those girls. I nurture them, I fuss over them, I'm an excellent big brother to them, I nag about homework and dates, I make sure they don't go anywhere looking like sluts. I've nearly lost my life multiple times by protecting the girls. Some day I probably will die protecting some of the girls. Hell, I had to fight an eight-armed being in Africa who wanted to buy one of my slayers and beat it over three days. Thankfully her mother knew how to stitch injuries and a missionary doc was nearby to help.
"I don't know what you've heard about the *new* Council but it's probably wrong and from those sort who hate that they're girls saving their asses. The same sort who try to bomb the houses and kill the girls for daring to have been chosen before they were born and can't hand the gift back." The two geeks slumped, shaking their heads. "I'm more than willing to talk about how the *new* Council works. I won't put up with bitchiness around the girls. They get enough of that from heretics who don't think the slayers should be around but then whine when they get told to protect themselves."
"Those sort all need a life on another planet," Steve said.
"Those sort would not be welcome on Asgard as they are not warriors, nor are they worthy," Thor said.
"No, they're not worthy of anyone on Asgard," Xander said. "Even Hel's too good for their sort." Thor nodded, staring at his side. "I'm fine. It's just a scratch."
"Just a scratch that's bleeding a lot," Natasha said. "We have an infirmary."
Xander looked at her. "I've already been warned by one of the nurses that I'm not welcome there thanks to my mutation. I'll stitch it in a few minutes."
"You...do your own stitches?" Coulson asked.
"Yeah. I've done them since I learned how at seven. Willow's mom's textbooks were really good about teaching me things." He looked at his side and shrugged. "It's undercut so not even a huge scar." He pressed against it again. "It'll close up in a bit anyway."
Stark stared at him. "Which nurse?"
"It's in my email. I don't have my phone on me. Buffy stomped on it while she was throwing a fit about her exes being the evil this time instead of mine being mildly evil overall."
Stark nodded. "We can get into your email, Harris." It wasn't that hard, he used a public email company, and found it, grimacing. "She is one of the surgical nurses. I'm going to fire that woman." He looked at him. "At least go clean it up."
"I'll clean up anything like sweat I dripped, Stark. Leaving body fluids is not only gross but dangerous if someone with magic gets hold of it." Stark pointed so he did the polite thing and went to the attached bathroom to get some paper towels to make sure the area was cleaned up.
"I'm not worried about that. I'm worried about you dying from blood loss," Stark called after him. "I'm not a petty socialite, Harris." He looked at Steve. "He's a lot like you."
"He's more like Clint," Bobbi said quietly from her seat in the corner.
"I've helped him with the girls a lot," Clint said with a smirk. "Harris, let me see it. I can do stitches too and that's an awkward angle." He put the dragon on the table and followed him to check on him. "Shit, that's nasty."
"It's fine," Xander said.
"Shut up. It's not. I'm not a slayer, I know you're not normal."
Xander looked at him. "Don't make me sniffly, Barton! I don't need emo time and the girls will pick on me when someone tells them."
Clint hit him on the arm. "Don't get sniffly." He got the first aid kit from the living room and came back to help him. Xander was cleaning up a lot of spilled blood, which made it look nicer.
FRIDAY cleared her throat. "Agent Barton, I do believe that's too bad to be stitched. It appears it cut into the musculature underneath the skin and may have actually cut one of his ribs slightly. He should get an ultrasound."
"The nurses down there hate me," Xander said. "Even before they meet me. But thanks, Lady of the Ceiling. I'll have a healer look at it later, dear."
"You're welcome, Mr. Harris."
Stark leaned in. "Is she right, Barton?"
"Could be. Not sure."
"If so it'll still heal," Xander said. "It'll take a few extra days."
"Take him to our infirmary and make sure no one says a thing. Tell me who does so I can have them replaced. Pepper would hate that attitude." Clint nodded, taking Xander down there by dragging him. Stark came back, looking at Natasha.
"I will talk to some of the older slayers about how they treat him," she agreed.
"That could help a lot." They settled in to talk to Coulson to see if they could get along with him. None of them would trust him ever again, but they might be able to let him do debriefs.
Coulson came back from Cleveland looking displeased. He went back to Avengers tower to talk to them. "We have official relations with the Council?"
"No, some of us work with the girls," Tony said. "We've helped them with battles. Also, it was a really bad day for Buffy if she screamed at you." He went back to his tablet.
"Did we not think to put that in any reports?" Coulson demanded.
Tony stared at him again. "No, most of us go talk to the local girls or Xander when we want to talk to the Council. Buffy's had a huge problem come back from her ex's. They stopped it earlier this week. Xander runs the local house and does a lot of the other things as well. Besides, we don't usually need to talk to Mr. Giles. He's a research guy and doesn't brief people before battles when we're about to have one."
Coulson stared at him, hands now in his pockets. "Mr. Giles is still around? Buffy said he's gone."
Stark called Harris. "It's us. Coulson just got back from Cleveland. Your head guy is gone?"
"He's in LA talking to Gunn's people to try to discourage them from hunting," Xander said dryly from the phone. "Willow spelled him again. I've sent something to stop that spell but it'll probably be at least a day. Buffy called up complaining about how can we work with such rude, annoying assholes so I'm guessing he set them off."
"I was trying to stay polite," Coulson said.
"Buffy just lost her first love again. She's not in a mood for anyone and screamed at me earlier too. Frankly, most agents don't deal with Buffy, Giles, or Willow. Buffy's perfected her airhead act to drive agents off. Giles is usually too busy dealing with the old liners, and Willow's...well...Willow."
"Hey!" a female voice said on that side.
"No one wants to work with you, Willow, especially not agents."
"We don't need their help," she sneered.
"Then you got fight the battles we don't have enough people for. I've done my share." She shrieked and they heard something that sounded like lightening. "Wow, what a bitch," Xander said. "Do you want to be a cat again?" Another loud clapping noise. Then Xander grunted and she screamed in pain. "Be damned if I'm going to allow you to try to kill my ass, Willow Rosenburg. You know what, you go to the coven." Another sound of clapping. "Sorry you had to hear that but Willow's being a cunt again. She's definitely her mother's daughter. Let me call the coven so they don't try to attack me again. If the zombie agent wants to talk to me, it'll be the day after tomorrow.
"We have a fight tomorrow again. We shouldn't need you guys though." He hung up. He called the coven's head bitch in charge. "It's Xander. She tried to attack me again. Once again I've got to find some healers or a succuba to take the energy she shot at me out of my body," he said dryly. "No, she's there somewhere. She's a baby goat this time but she's there somewhere." He listened to her complain. "It's not my job to fix bitchy little witches with bad problems," he said dryly. "You have fun with her." He hung up. Then he went to take a shower to try to weed the excess energy out by masturbation.
Stark put his phone back in his pocket. "It's a bad day at the Council." He called Buffy instead of leaving his phone up. "Summers, Stark. I was just talking to Xander when Willow showed up there to attack him again. No, he said he was calling the coven but we heard him do something when she attacked him. No, she started it. It hurt enough it made him grunt too." He listened. "Exactly. Also, what did Coulson do earlier? Yeah, him. He's the director. No, we don't follow his orders, Summers. He's in charge of agents, not Avengers, and he's not going to keep agents from stepping in to help. Though he could probably help with the dirty Homeland agents that came after the girls." He listened.
"That's fine. In two days good? Xander said we're having a small attack tomorrow but not large enough to need us." He nodded. "That's fine. You can come up here. You could use a day off and Cleveland probably won't fall in. Also, Xander said that he sent something to Giles to unspell him again. That's a good time for us, yeah. I'll see you then." He hung up and put his phone back again. "Two, day after tomorrow." He went back to his tablet.
"We jump into battles?"
Stark stared at him. "Did you want to form a resistance against our new demonic overlord? If not, you're welcome that we won as Harris said. He also usually points out that some of the most bitter need to start saving themselves. There won't always be a few hundred slayers in the world or him." Coulson winced. "They allow anyone to jump into battles as long as they don't hurt the girls and don't try to capture them later. Harris even invited HYDRA to a battle because we needed more people to respond."
Coulson grimaced. "I've seen a few of those recently."
"Dirty Homeland agents?"
"Ask Hill. She's got the files on that former project and they joined with whatever Summers' ex was doing until he died earlier. That's why most of the slayers are in hiding."
"Interesting. I'll find her. Thank you, Mr. Stark. Two pm?" Stark nodded without looking up. "Thank you." He went to find his friend. "Maria? Dirty Homeland agents?" She handed over the reports on all that. He flipped through them. "Seriously?"
"This prior project?"
"No one is willing to watch any of those testing tapes. Even the ones that are borderline psychotic and more than willing to kill everyone won't watch them." Coulson grimaced but nodded once. "It's that bad and I wouldn't let the slayers out of hiding until they're gone either."
"Wonderful. We're meeting with Miss Summers and probably Mr. Harris at two the day after tomorrow."
"I'll have them shown up so they don't get shit from the security teams. They hate Harris. They think demons are coming to kill him. That it's dragging the team down."
"Wonderful. Thank you." She nodded. He went back to his base to straighten things out. Fury had come out of the closet and put down the law with everyone. He walked into the meeting's end. "Thank you, Nick."
"You have fun?" he asked with a smirk.
"Summers is having a very bad day."
"We don't deal with Summers. She's an airhead on purpose. It's not worth the stress. We deal with Giles or Harris."
"I'm meeting with him and Summers in two days." He looked around. "I want a report on all the battles the SHIELD agents have helped with so we can work out a formal agreement for future ones." A few people nodded. "Also, I'd like a background on Summers and Harris."
"Good luck there," Fury joked, smirking at him. "We can't find out all he did in Africa and half the stuff that's out there on him was gotten to by Rosenburg. For all we know he is secretly Asgardian like the analysis team thinks he is."
Phil took a deep breath but nodded. "Anything you can tell me to help?"
"He's got a small mutation, lets him find metal things," Fury said. "He sees a picture when he gets hit with it, and he's been hit in the middle of a battle so told someone off." Phil grimaced but nodded. "He's fought some huge battles that we never heard about. Usually with very little trained backup. Sometimes with some local militaries or militias. He's got past lovers who aren't nice but usually will help the slayers when they need weapons or help." He drank some coffee. "The only one I've never figured out was Harris. He's somewhere between Barton and Stark without the technology.
"He's survived torture, more than once as we found out last year. You won't do more than piss him off if you try anything against him or the slayers. He'll defend them to shattering this agency again and he'll watch it burn like he was Nero as he put it." He stared at his protege. "Harris doesn't do debriefs, he sends one of the fluffier slayers to do it. The girls all consider him normal, and that normal guys helping are good for their sanity, but some don't respect him for it. He's got poker contacts that will save a slayer. Including from us once." Phil slumped, staring at him. "I don't fuck with Harris. Stark tried once and Harris shot him down, told him to take midol, and then went back to the pre-battle briefing." He finished his coffee.
"Is it true we can't find all the battles?" one of the agents asked.
"We can't. We have film of half of them because it was in his safety deposit box when we went looking, at his instigation, at the reason behind those dirty Homeland agents. He forgot those were in there too. I've talked to a lot of generals in that area. They hate that the boy's gone and not protecting them. They handed over film to battles that show some that we have film on were worse than we thought." He shrugged. "The ones in Egypt apologized for their idiots. We still have agents in the US who want to extradite him back there to be tortured some more. Even without a reason or them wanting him back. Some day I expect to hear that he's been kidnaped by them and someone's going to have to save him from their torture chamber."
Coulson nodded once. "Can we stop them as well?"
"If we denude the government of idiots," Fury said dryly. "It's says something when HYDRA has the boy as 'do not touch' because they don't want to lose to demons either. Apparently those agents aren't as smart as the HYDRA ones."
"Great," Phil said. "Does he know that?"
"He's broke into one of their labs to save some artifacts that called out to him," Fury said. "Someone look up the battle during the convergence." The agents found it and put it up for them. "Notice him there." Coulson watched it, his mouth opening at one point. Harris had held Thor's hammer and handed it back without a problem. "That axe is slightly sentient as well," Fury said at the end. "It likes a few of the girls a whole lot. I've seen it move on its own."
"Great," Phil said, looking at him. "I'll gladly set up an agreement for later battles." He looked at his agents. Then at his former boss. "We'll figure it out. Will you be at that meeting?"
"I'm working on the epidemic of stupid," he said dryly. "Before we have to find a way to rescue Harris." He left it to Coulson. He could run an agency. He'd been doing a better job than Fury had his first year.
Coulson looked at his people. "I still need those files. I need a new threat index."
"Is May coming back?" one of them asked.
"Not at the moment. She's going to be standing trial for taking out a family for no reason and nearly killing everyone in it." They mostly winced. "I got the files on the second one and she's going to be joined by someone. They're already there." He walked off. "I'll be in the office."
The agents got what they needed to do and let Coulson deal with the bigger problems. That was his job as the director.
Buffy walked up to Xander the day of the meeting and slapped him. "For Giles."
"I only sent him something to unspell him again," he told her. "Then I had to deal with Willow."
"Don't make me hit you over her too," she sneered.
"Don't even try. She started it, yet again." She took a swing at him so he pushed her against a wall and kicked her in the butt. "You deserve a lot of those over this shit fit."
"You killed Angel!"
"Gee, why would I end a threat to the slayers?" he asked dryly, glaring at her. "Something that started a plan to blow a bunch of the girls up for existing. Are we now the evil in their lives?"
She glared. "He wasn't going to and he's not a thing."
"Vampires aren't human any more. So what do you call them?" He stared at her. "I could add more to that but I'm trying to be less of an asshole at the moment." She huffed off. He waved at her back. Then he looked up and sighed. "Why oh why haven't I quit yet?" he muttered. "I can go play in unique places finding a lot of nifty things that shouldn't be in anyone's hands and find plenty of flirty people while doing it. And I'd probably make more." He dodged the bird crap that was trying to hit him. "Oh, that reason, yeah." He walked inside the tower, nodding at Hill. "Summers stomped this way?" he asked dryly.
"I ended Angel before he blew up a bunch of the slayers, including her. She's mad."
"Sometimes you have to have those sort of emotions," she said. She led him up to the meeting room. "Here we are. Need anything? Or you, Miss Summers?"
Xander looked at her. "Can we get some water?" he asked with a smile. "She's dehydrated."
"I am not," she complained.
"Your lips are cracking," Xander said. "You're either suffering from the flu again or you're dehydrated." He stared at her. "Could you please drink some water just in case?" She glared but did gulp some water. He sat down across from her. She kicked him. He glared. "I'm not in the mood, Buffy," he warned quietly. "I had to deal with a bunch of shit you started last night among the peaceful community. A few asked me if you were suicidal and if you'd let yourself serve as a sacrifice instead of one of the younger ones he nearly created. Thankfully they're still off-realm."
"When are they getting back?"
"When the bad Homeland agents are gone," he said. "Because I had to pull another bomb off the local house earlier today. NYPD is really pissed off with the agents who did it. We have security cameras. The ones in Cleveland aren't all that happy either with the way I had to call them to get the poison gas canisters off your house's a/c unit."
She winced. "I didn't know that."
"Yeah," he said. "I also got Dawn out of trouble since someone at her college found out she's got magic thanks to them attacking her for being your sister. They were going to rip her apart to see how magic looks in a body." She winced, sipping her water. "She's safe now too. Unhappy, but safe."
"Welcome. I do look out for the slayers, even the cranky ones," he said dryly. "Even you." She nodded, slumping some. "Is Giles unspelled again?"
"Yes and had no idea why he was going to LA to nag Gunn. He's on his way here for this, or to check in tonight."
"That's cool." He heard an alarm, grimacing. "Hill?" he called. "Is that like the last time I heard one of those and ended up in a cell in Egypt?"
"Yes," she called. "Disappear, Harris."
"I can't send you and me," he muttered, sending Buffy away. Xander barely managed to turn and was starting to apparate off when he was hit in the chest. His last thought of the moment was 'shit'.
Xander blinked at the guy who woke him up. "Who the fuck are you?" he demanded. "And why do you have me in chains?"
"You're a blight to humanity, mutant."
"Gee, that's why I've saved it a few times," he said dryly. "I need to quit doing that apparently."
"No one wants you around." He was shocked with a pain stick. "Don't worry, your death will have meaning."
Xander stared at him. "You've got a hell of an uphill climb to get there, boy. You won't make it that far."
"Going to call other mutants?"
Xander smirked. "You're not worthy of my demonic poker buddies coming to eat you. You'd give them indigestion." He was hit again and refused to show much of a reaction. "Yay. I've had worse than this on a date." The guy started to hit him but Xander could live through a lot worse. He had before. At the end he laughed and nodded. "Well, you're worse than a drunk parent at that. Pathetic, really." They stomped off, vowing to come back later. Xander considered it, looking up at the chains. No obvious lock for spells. He couldn't feel his wand. It was probably broken. They had some sort of anti-magic field going. He could get past that. All he needed was some concentration. Of course they had noise going on to distract him but he'd meditated under worse conditions.
By the time they came back, he was out of there. He was back in his old stomping grounds and he was pissed as hell at humanity. Some of them really needed to grow the hell up. Or die, he was willing to let them die. He laughed when he remembered DC was going to fall in another two days time. He needed to be near a tv to see that. He looked around then went to find a problem he could solve so he could find some weapons and cash. There were plenty of them in that area.
In New York, Buffy woke up and groaned, holding her head. "Where am I?" she demanded.
"You're in an ER, miss. Do you know your name?"
She looked at the nurse. "Buffy Anne Summers. Senior slayer. I was at a meeting with agents when alarms started." She sat up, looking at herself. "Why am I in here?"
"You collapsed in a mall."
"Where's Xander? And my phone? I need to check on them."
"Calm down or we're going to have to sedate you."
She glared at the nurse. "I'm fine. I'm going now. Where is my phone?"
"The officer that brought you in put it into an inventory bag for you. We're not sure you're an American."
"I live in Cleveland. I was born in LA," she said dryly. She hopped off the bed and realized one of her ankles was attached to the bed. She broke the chain and stared at the nurse. "I need my things please." The nurse backed away slowly. Another officer came in. "I'm going."
"Miss, you were unconscious."
"I don't give a damn!" she said loudly. "Give me my damn phone and let me out of here. I'm not staying at whatever sort of hellhole this is." They tried to get her to calm down until the guy with the tranq dart showed up. She caught that and broke it. She sneered. "You're not a hospital. I want my things now." They backed away from her. She pushed through them and found her bag on the desk, heading out. She was already calling as she walked.
"Stark, it's Summers. I have no idea where I am or where Xander is. Well, I'm in some sort of hospital like facility and they just tried to tranq dart me." She ducked one being fired at her back. "Slayers are immune to most of those," she called. "Please, Stark. Thank you. One more flight it says on the stairs." She looked. "Window says three." She looked then broke the window and jumped out. It wasn't a pretty landing but it worked and guards weren't near there yet. "I'm outside." She looked up and waved. "Wilson!" He flew down and grabbed her. "Thank you! Where's Xander?"
"No clue yet," he admitted. He flew her back to the tower and let her down gently. "You good?"
"Yeah, mostly. Bit pissed off. What was that place? Psych ward?"
"No, research institute," Stark said as he walked out there to look at her. "We can get that chain off. We've already diverted the 'escaped mental patient' call on you. Harris is missing, not sure where but the local community is going on a whining thing."
"That's a mourning whine," she said when he played the sound. "Oh, god, no. WILLOW!" She appeared with Tara. "They're doing a mourning chant about Xander. Where is he? Can we still get to him?"
Tara looked toward the south then shook her head. "He's awake and working on getting free. He's in Virginia." She took Buffy's arms, looking at her. "He'll be rescued, you know that. I wasn't able to get him out of Egypt but I can now."
Buffy swallowed. "Please."
Willow frowned, looking that way. "He's gone. He just disappeared. I can't touch him but he's alive and mad."
Buffy swallowed again, nodding slightly. "We need to save him."
"We can do that," Stark said. "Let's get you to our infirmary to make sure they didn't drug you." She nodded, letting Tara take her down there. Stark looked at Wilson. "Thanks."
"Not a problem. I'm going to go watch that building. That stinks in the extreme and I'm not allowing that to go on." He took off again to go watch that building.
Stark went down to the infirmary. One of the nurses was sneering so Stark pulled her away and shoved her into a closet, locking her in there. "She's saved the world more than the team has. Don't be down on her for it. We'd all hate that."
Steve rushed in. "What happened? I wasn't here for the meeting."
"Some of those dirty agents who hate slayers and Harris attacked the meeting," Stark said. "Coulson's team got them down from the other side. Harris sent her off."
"They said I collapsed in a mall," Buffy said. "I don't remember more than being sent off." She pushed her hair back. "Was I in a mall?"
"No," Stark said. "You appeared in Times Square." She grimaced but nodded, looking at Willow. "You two rest for a few minutes. Let us figure things out. Maybe we can find Harris easily enough. The demon communities are connected." He left, going to the demon poker hall he knew about. "People," he said as he walked in. "We've saved Buffy and Harris managed to escape. We need to know where so we can protect him."
One of the demons stared at him. "He is not dead?"
"No. We can't find him fully," Stark said. "Or at least Tara can't. We know he's alive and mad."
"He would go back to a few places," the bartender said, leaning on the bar. "Who're you?"
"Tony Stark. Buffy's in Avengers tower."
"We'll stop the keening," the bartender said. "If we hear we'll tell her or you, Mr. Stark."
"Tell anyone on the team please. We have no idea who those people were. Yet."
"They've taken others to torture," one of the demons said. "A few of the young mutants in the area have disappeared. Many of us flash back to the Initiative mess."
"If they restarted that, I'll kick them from life myself," Tony said. "We don't let that shit happen to anyone." The demon smiled and relaxed. "Let us know where we can help. Or if you have information on that group restarting."
"Talk to the tired one," the bartender said. "The one that Harris flirts with. She's been keeping track."
"I can do that. Thank you." Stark put down money. "Buy a round on me." He left, going to find his way to Hell's Kitchen. He found the office and it was empty. So he went to a nearby bar that looked well populated. He found his teammate instead. "Barton." He looked up, staring at him. "Few huge problems. We've saved Summers. Harris escaped the agents trying to torture him. Jones knows who the people trying to restart the Initiative mess are, and they're the ones that had Summers."
"I can find her," Clint agreed. "Let me call. Harris?"
"Escaped, Tara can't find him. She said he's mad."
"I'd be unhappy too," Clint agreed. He called someone. "It's Barton. I need to find Jones badly. Please. Thanks. Yeah, I'm here with Stark. Thanks." He hung up. "Sit. It'll be about an hour." Stark sent a text message to Steve but sat down and accepted a beer. "What happened? I wasn't there for the meeting so I didn't beat the living fuck out of the zombie. Any of them." He finished his beer.
"Agents attacked the building. Coulson's team got them down from the backside but they made it to the meeting room. Harris sent Summers off and was going himself but they shot him with a jacketed dosing node."
"Summers got away from a research group uptown." Clint glared. "They were pretending to be psych." He sipped his beer. "She made it out a window while Falcon was out and about so he picked her up. She's in our infirmary and we need another nurse. Willow and Tara are with her."
"Great," he said. "That's just...great. The same agents that tried to send him back to Egypt to be tortured and killed?"
"Yeah, three of them behind that in the attack."
"So we think Harris was probably tortured again."
"Probably. He managed to escape somehow. No one knows where he is."
Clint looked at someone across the bar. "Where's Xander?" he called.
"Lower Africa where one of his girls used to live by," a female called, holding her head. "He's not real healthy but he just took down a people seller to get weapons and cash." She looked over. "I hate the headache from my talent, Barton. You know that."
"Yeah but I know he needs help. Is he injured?"
"Yeah. He's not fully in his mind either."
"Good to know," Stark said. "Thank you, miss."
"Welcome, Stark." She sipped her drink, using it to take a few pills.
A woman stomped in. "What's happened now?" she demanded.
Clint looked at her. "You're not Jessica."
"We need some of the stuff she knows," Stark said. "Because she's been tracking the people who think that mutants and demons are legos to break apart and rebuild." He finished his beer. "They took two of the Council people earlier, including Xander."
"The one who flirts with her," Clint explained. She winced. "We need to stop those sort. Can you find out for us?"
"I can take you to her." She led them to her apartment, where Jessica was asleep on the couch. "Hey!" she yelled from the doorway. Jessica groaned but sat up. "Huge problems."
"The torturing fuckers took Xander," Clint said. "And Buffy."
Jessica blinked at him. "That research base uptown?"
"She escaped from there. He's escaped from the one in Virginia they had him in and he's somewhere in Africa."
She winced. "That's going to get messy. There's a huge price out on his head by that sort." She swung her legs around. "Hey, Stark."
"Hey. Summers is in the tower's infirmary."
"That's a good, safe place," she said. She pulled up information for him. "Here."
Stark looked at her then wrote down three names. "They work better than whiskey," he said quietly. She glared. He stared back. "Been there, done that. Works better and won't cause a habit but turns off your mind." She took them and put it into her shoes. He looked at the information. "That's sick."
"Yeah, they are," she agreed. "Some people have managed to get some of their victims out of there and to a healer. We've been trying to stop them. Even the higher end mutants aren't happy. Usually they'd ignore the little guys but not this time."
"I can get help tearing them up," Clint said. "The agents?"
"All over everywhere," she said. "All agencies have someone there. I couldn't spot anyone who was there pretending to be like them either."
He nodded. "Thanks. If you hear about Xander, let us know? Or these guys before we bring them down?"
"I can do that. Good luck."
"Thanks," Stark said. "Let us know if you guys need help with mildly huge things, Jones. We're all bored."
She smirked. "I can try to do that."
"Thanks," Clint said, nodding at Jessica's friend. They left, going back to the tower. They could call in help for this situation. Even Coulson would help.
They found a young girl waiting for them in the meeting room, just staring outside swinging her feet back and forth. She looked at Stark then at Clint. "The big slayers described you really good, Mr. Clint."
"Hi. Which one are you?"
"Mya. Xander used to spend a lot of time working with me when I was at home because I was at a good age to be taken or hurt." She stared at him.
"Is he down near where you used to live?" Stark asked.
She nodded. "A few countries over. Mommy got a letter from the mean people saying that we had to go home to be killed." She slid it over to Clint.
He read it. "We'll see if we can fix this."
"I came to see Xander but he's not there because of other mean people. They suck huge bitter berries."
"Yes they do," Coulson said as he walked in. "I'll see what I can do about that, Slayer Mya."
"Thank you." She grinned. "If Xander's going to be going near my old home, he had stuff stored there that Mommy said we couldn't move but it was for emergencies." She looked at Clint. "I'm not sure which way he's going though."
"We can figure that out," he promised. "Xander's talked about you a few times, especially about teaching you stuff, including book stuff." She beamed and nodded. "Buffy's in the infirmary if you wanted to see her too."
"No thanks. Mom sent me to talk to Xander about the mean people's letter. Miss Buffy doesn't always appreciate those of us who're still tiny."
"That happens when you have to worry about too many things," Coulson said. He called Maria Hill, who came up to get the letter and go call people. "Thank you."
"It's a travesty that they're trying the minis." She looked at Mya. "Were you here in the US?"
"I usually am but I decided to take a year of school in England. Kennedy's kinda dumb and shallow but the school's really good. Plus it's safer."
"It definitely is," Clint agreed. "We'll figure it out, Mya." She grinned. Willow walked in and the mini slayer got up and kicked her as hard as she could on the shin, making Willow yelp. Then she did it to the other side. "Mya," he chided.
She grinned up at Willow. "You hurt the Xander and we all depend on him. Not like *you* train us in anything beyond patience. My mother said you need help." She looked up at the redheaded woman clearing her throat, opening up her mouth and moaning. "You're a slayer icon," she said, giving her a hug. "Have you met Xander yet?"
"I have and worked with him with the local girls," she said, smiling down at her. "Which one are you?"
"Mya. I had to bring up papers from the mean people." She grinned up at her.
"Xander's told me about you. He was very proud of your grades." The little girl grinned at her. "Buffy's downstairs if you wanted to check on her."
"No thanks. She doesn't understand how hard it is for us tiny ones."
"Bethy's back," Wanda called from up the hallway. "She made someone send her back because her father got injured." She smiled at the little girl. "Have you met my niece Bethy? She's a mini slayer as well."
Mya beamed and nodded. "We talk online a lot. She's super cool and she's right, you wear neato clothes, Miss Wanda."
She smiled. "Come, you two can play." She took her to her apartment so the girls could squeal and play while nagging Pietro about getting injured. She came back with a grin. "Pietro's injury will heal very fast." She sat down. "What mean people?"
"The same sort of agents that tortured Buffy and Xander," Coulson said, looking back at Maria Hill since she was stomping up the hallway. "They're going to ignore it?"
"According to immigration, they didn't send that letter. I've faxed it over and they're looking into it before I send Nick Fury's ghost to bother them over the mini slayers." She smirked a tiny bit. "Is the little one with Buffy?"
"Bethy saw her father injured and had a witch send her back," Wanda said. "They're squealing at each other and over his injuries."
Maria smiled. "That's nearly evil, Wanda. Good job." She walked off. "Let me know what I can do to help. We just had someone try to breach the loading bay door." She jogged off to handle that. It had to be a bad thing with how many high priority targets were in the building.
Buffy limped in and sat down with a sigh. "I heard one of the minis is here?"
"She's in my apartment squealing with Bethy," Wanda said.
"She's a local mini," Clint told her. "Her niece as well. She had a witch send her back because her father got injured."
Buffy frowned. "Will that endanger the rest?"
"No. Xander said that where they're staying is out of this realm most of the time."
"Oh, okay. I don't know anything about that stuff. That's magic and it's weird. It's Willow and Tara stuff and I'm not even sure why Xander can do it suddenly but it's weird."
"It's real protective," Clint assured her. He handed over the information that they had gotten from Jessica. "This is all we know so far." They all looked it over. Coulson stepped out to make calls to get agents in to help. "We know from Mya that Xander tripped some sort of notice she had near her old house. Apparently he had some sort of stash near there for emergencies and he's going to raid it."
"So he's back in Africa," Willow said. "I can summon him."
"No you can't," Clint said. "You could kill him." She frowned but settled in to pout. "We have to stop these groups, not only for the slayers but for the rest of everyone. They've taken some of the peaceful community and some of the mutants."
"Were they the same ones that had me?" Buffy asked. Stark nodded. "I'm all for shutting them down."
"Are they like the Initiative?" Willow asked.
"It may have some of the same people," Stark said. Hill stomped back in. "Bad?"
"Very but solved." She looked at the notes, projecting them instead. "These two," she said with a point. "Are working with General Ross and are very hard to capture."
Willow waved a hand. "I can scry and capture. We all want the Initiative people to die."
Buffy nodded. "We hoped they had died when we stopped them before." She shifted, looking at Stark. "Any other good news? Do we know where they are? Is one of them building another super half-demon weapon we have to do mystical things to defeat? It'll be weird doing that spell again but I guess we can once we get Xander back."
"A few of the people are at a university we're acquainted with," Maria Hill told her. "As far as I know they'd be the ones trying that. We've noted to their university that they're unethical and doing illegal experimentation by genocide. They're investigating it."
Buffy grimaced. "UC Sunnydale would've just went 'eeeh' and shrugged," she said.
"In the real world, universities would get all their funding cut so they'd hate to have that sort of notice. It'd mean shutting down for good," Stark said with a grin. "They all live on their funding."
"Adams shut down when the demon died," Buffy said. "But they went out with a lot of press attention."
Stark blinked, sitting up. "That was in Sunnydale?"
Buffy nodded. "Cordy and I snuck off to a kegger and nearly got sacrificed to the demon. We killed it though."
Stark nodded. "You lived a really weird life, Summers."
She grinned. "A very long one for a slayer too." She looked around. "Where's my sister?"
"Safe, and not even we can find her," Clint said. "Xander and some contacts had her hidden." She slumped but nodded.
"We need to find a unicorn to see if Dawn can still pet her," Willow complained. "She's going wild in college."
Stark looked at her. "Not all girls wait until they're married, Rosenburg. Did you?" She blushed but shook her head. "Dawn's an adult woman. She's allowed to make her own decisions."
"From what I saw on the different sites, Dawn got attacked by people who hated she was Buffy's sister and had to use magic to save herself, which got some higher demons to help her move to safety," Coulson said. "Xander was told where. It was a favor to him and Dawn both to help her."
Willow grimaced. "She's still going wild. She's only nineteen."
Buffy looked at her. "I was seventeen, you were seventeen."
"And look at the messes we made!" she said firmly, staring at her friend.
Tara walked in and stared down at Willow. "Quit. You don't make decisions for anyone but yourself," she said quietly. She looked at Clint, handing over the sealed note. "The contact of Xander's wasn't sure what good Dawn would do until she nearly killed him for laughing at her for being upset. He said she proved she was Xander's sibling instead." She looked at Clint, smiling some. "He got into a magical storehouse as well. We think he's going to be stopping an upcoming problem."
Natasha winced. "DC."
"I'm all for Xander's idea, they need to save themselves," Buffy said quietly. "I can't make myself care if those sort die. Mommy would be horrified but they don't deserve to be saved."
"There's a lot of people in DC who aren't with them," Coulson said.
She nodded. "I hope they can run. Xander said he had the same feeling after getting freed in Egypt. He was torn about helping but they hadn't wanted him to. They proved it."
Coulson nodded. "I can see that point. It's a valid one. I think you're exhausted and right now isn't a good time to make any sort of decision."
"I'm not taking on a demonic army by myself," she said simply. "Or an ascension. If the other slayers were here, it'd be by volunteer anyway." She looked at Wanda. "The girls shouldn't see the battles. The ascension is freak worthy and causes nightmares. I still have nightmares about the last one I saw."
"I don't think Bethy or her friend need to see any sort of battles. It's not healthy for children to know about such things. It means they're not children any longer," Wanda said. Buffy smiled and nodded. "What is an ascension?"
"A human who's done magic to turn into a giant demon," Willow said. "It's a huge worm." She looked at the agents. "Any idea which version he did?"
"The head comes off, even if it's three hundred feet long," Natasha told her. "We can get the army to help."
"Remember to have someone check for eaten people," Willow quipped. "We knew who the old mayor ate when he changed."
"We cheered at one of them," Buffy said. "He was a mean little troll sort."
"We saw that on the film," Clint said.
She smiled at him. "He really needed to be eaten years before. He was the mayor's lackey anyway."
"He was a bullying troll," Willow agreed. "He gave me a detention once for showing up ten minutes early for class. It was before school breakfast was served but I wasn't there for that anyway. That was Xander."
"Not like his parents probably cooked," Buffy said. "At least the school cook didn't get to poison him too when she tried to get everyone."
Willow nodded. "That was a good save."
Clint shook his head. "Who was trying to poison the school?" he asked.
"One of the lunch ladies," Willow said with a grin. "Buffy got infected by an aspect of a demon and went telepathic. She heard her thinking about poisoning the lunch. That was probably the only time the principal acted to help or protect the students."
Buffy nodded. "He couldn't have covered that up."
"Did you learn how to shield your thoughts?" Wanda asked. "I can't tell that you're a telepath."
"No, I took the potion to remove the aspect before it drove me nuts," Buffy said.
"There weren't too many mutants in Sunnydale," Willow said. "The power drove them nuts too."
Buffy looked at her then at Wanda. "A few did get eaten faster. Something about powerful blood and vampires thinking they're like candy bars." She looked at Stark, eyes wide. He grinned.
"Rosenburg, have you heard from your parents? One of them was going to speak at a conference one of my admin people were going to but had to cancel."
"No, I'm not talking to them even if they did try to contact me. They apparently hate me for some reason." She was getting mad now.
"At least you had parents who could raise you," Wanda said quietly. "Many don't." She looked at Clint. She could feel the power gathering and this one was more unstable than she was. He winked at her so she relaxed her shielding and automatic attack spell.
"Growing up in the system sucked," he agreed. Willow calmed down again. Buffy grinned slightly at him for calming Willow down. "Did you guys see the exhibit at UCLA on Sunnydale?"
"Yeah, it was done by someone who really liked the former mayor," Buffy said. "So much wrong. It idolized the asshole and everything."
"I guess the ignoring it problem from Sunnydale followed them," Willow agreed. "Or it's why so much of LA is braindead."
Stark laughed, nodding. "It could be. There's a lot of that in LA."
"I wrote a paper on how the socialite dog epidemic was a sign of alien takeovers in college. The professor said it was a great reason behind it," Willow said dryly. Stark burst out in louder laughs, nodding. "I got an A," she told Clint with a grin.
"That's so weird, but that's a good explanation when you think about it. Some of them need something on their level to talk to." She grinned. He looked at Coulson. "DC's battle is when?"
He checked his phone. "Two days." He looked up. "Is the team responding?"
"I'd like to say let the agents do it," Clint said. He looked at Stark then at Wanda, who wasn't going to look at Stark. "Do you want to help fight an invasion and then a giant demon worm?"
"I'm not sure how useful I would be," Wanda said. "I will try if we need us to. Pietro would say the same thing."
Sam Wilson walked in. "I talked to some of the guys I worked with at the VA. The military is going to try to respond. Even against orders." Stark nodded, smirking at him. "Rogers wants to go help."
"If he can, go for it," Buffy said. "I'm not. I'm sorry but I'm not."
Sam nodded, patting her on the shoulder. "You're battle tired, Summers. I've been there myself and it's reasonable."
"They tried to torture me and Xander. They tried to blow up my minis. They can save themselves," she said.
Sam nodded. "That's reasonable. We'll see if we can clean up that mess at the same time or at least reasonably soon so the minis can go home." She smiled and nodded, leaning on his hand. He petted her hair. "It'll go. Should I warn someone about Xander showing up?"
"No," Tara said. "I doubt he would. Now, if there's something near where he is? That's going to suck." Willow stared at her oddly. "It happens down there too. They had two in Africa. He instructed with one and helped with the other." Buffy whined, shaking her head. "They needed the help."
"That wasn't on anything I found from down there," Willow complained. "How do you know?"
"I looked at his report site." Tara looked at Clint. "The coven's willing to help with the situation in DC but not if those same agents come after us."
"We'll do what we can to protect you," Coulson promised. She smiled and nodded.
Willow was glaring. "He made things up, Tara. There's no way he did some of those things. He's just a guy! There was no other invasion or anything!"
Stark pulled up the film for her to see. "Really?"
She started to splutter and choke. "That has to be photoshopped!"
"Not like Xander does computer stuff," Buffy said. "Which is all I know about photoshop outside of cute animal pictures you find online." She tipped her head, watching it. "Wow, that's nasty. Who are the guys pretending to be helpful?"
"Regional military," Clint said.
Coulson stared. "I hadn't seen that one."
"That one's hidden online," Stark said. "Their country is using it as training material for new military people." He pulled up the remarks file for it.
Coulson read them over, nodding. "That all makes sense of what a general should do the next time." He watched it, grimacing. "I would've called in air support."
"Their planes aren't that precise," Natasha said. "Not bad with what he had. He probably could've flanked people more tightly but I doubt the regional military listened to him and the generals are all having fit on the sidelines by the tanks." The tanks finally came into play when Xander yelled at one of the generals. That helped and only two soldiers went down. Xander got a shrapnel injury from a piece of bone it looked like but they solved it then the portal got ended. She looked at Tara, who smiled. "That was you."
"It was me. Portals usually have to be ended by magic. At that time most of the coven hated Xander for being a mutant. That was only eight months after he left for Africa."
Buffy looked around Willow at her. "Have they fixed that?"
"After Egypt," she agreed. "Especially after the convergence."
Buffy nodded. "That's good. It's nice they're finally nicer to Xander. I know a few times they refused to help him or evacuate him with some of the minis that needed it. And a few times they basically sent him back to wherever without medical treatment after battles."
"Those were usually to places where people mystically appearing freaked and upset the locals," Tara said. "Witchcraft down there is highly hated and they like to burn us at stakes. Xander saved a lot of them whenever he found one starting and spread how witches, the real ones not the ones they usually decided were, could help protect them. He put us on the same level as shaman. The local religious folk screamed a lot but then demons showed up and Xander proved them wrong. So some areas leave us alone now as long as we're doing good things."
Willow looked at her. "Why would he do that?"
"Because it's wrong to watch people being burned at the stake and not help," Clint said. She glared at him. "Didn't he help when you three were on a stake?"
"Where he could," Buffy agreed. "I still think he got possessed by some action star."
"He's got some movie worthy moments during battles," Stark agreed. "Walking through a cloud of smoke and the like, just a bit bloodied with a few cuts somewhere."
"Eww, I don't want to think about that stuff," Buffy said. "To me, Xander's always my normal guy because it helps by reminding me why I still do this job."
"You know that bothers him, right?" Clint asked quietly.
Buffy stared at him. "I don't care. It's for my sanity, not his. All the girls need normal people to remind them why they train and get up and do things like patrol."
"And yet, it makes things attack him because they think he's weaker," Natasha said.
Buffy grimaced. "I'm really sorry about that but even if he became a god he's my normal guy so I have a reason to get up and train or fight. I don't have Mom anymore. Dawn's cut herself off for her own protection. I need the reason to fight."
Natasha nodded. "I've been in that spot. Sometimes we all need reasons."
"Maybe if you find a real boyfriend it'll help," Tara said diplomatically.
Buffy smiled at her. "I doubt that's going to happen with the way my ex's turn evil at an alarming rate."
"You just need the right guy," Clint said. "Have you liked any of the mercenaries he set you up with?"
"A few were really nice but only for playing." She shrugged. "Maybe I'll find one before I die again. Probably right before I die again because the Powers are assholes that way."
"These Powers?" Wanda asked.
"They're the higher celestial beings who pick slayers and use us as chess pieces," Willow said. "We're not real fond of them and they hate Xander."
Buffy nodded. "They really hate Xander for making their plans work without the prophecy or death at the end."
Wanda looked at Natasha, who shrugged. "I've asked Thor. He said they're higher beings who are universal but not listened to by many because they have plots."
"They're all for *balance*," Buffy said. "Not winning or saving humanity."
Tara grimaced but nodded. "They hate that I survived Warren going nuts. I got that in a few dream quest visions." She looked at Wanda. "They prompted some of the old liners to take out some of the extra slayers about a year ago. They managed to get five or so but we stopped the rest of them."
"Xander and I had an unholy fit of stomping on them whenever that sort come near any of the girls," Clint said smugly. "If they hate me I'm doing my job right."
Tara smiled and nodded. "You're very good at it too. You saved a few of the future coven members the other night."
"The mini witches in the park? They were cute playing with the spectral kitty."
Tara laughed but nodded. "They're adorable and protective. They could probably use a lot of that sort of thing."
"Are there no boys who do magic?" Wanda asked.
"It's expected that guys who do magic do less simple, homey magic and go toward higher levels. It's the same sort of thought that used to say women didn't need an education," Tara said blandly. "Personally I mentor a few boys who can only use simple magic. The highers in the coven roll their eyes but it's better to keep them safe by teaching them control and how to use their gifts for the right reasons. They can try to corrupt them to sorcery later."
Wanda nodded. "That is weird."
"It's the old patriarchal problems coming back," Willow said. "The same as those sort hate any people of any color doing magic."
Tara scowled. "Not now we don't. Some may still but bigots are everywhere, Willow. Your mother proves that."
"I know," she sighed. "That sucks huge. I expect my mother to start wearing a white sheet soon."
Buffy patted her on the arm. "At least you know my mom was great and liked you more than yours."
"True, your mom was great and made great cocoa."
Tara nodded. "She did." She looked at Wanda, smiling at her. "There's some meditational journals that could help if you're having surges of energy or want to learn how to get a deeper level connection with your powers. I used them and it gave me a lot more confidence in my magic and in my life. I used to stutter at everyone."
Wanda smiled. "It may help. Thank you."
Coulson cleared his throat. "Miss Maclay, may I have a moment after this meeting?"
She looked at him. "You can speak now if it's important."
"Your background check pulled up a flag on your file thanks to your parents."
She glared. "Are they dead?"
"No. They declared you missing and part of a cult."
"That's better than when they were trying to convince her she was a demon," Willow muttered and shifted. "I can burn their house down," she said more loudly when Tara glared at her. "Not a problem."
"Two problems," Coulson said. "She has a little sister." Tara winced. "They're homeschooling her."
"Probably because no one will notice the bruises," Tara said dryly. "And the other?"
"Your father's department is standing behind him."
"They did when he killed my mother too," she said quietly. "Said it was such a shame she died so young of something like exhaustion." She got up. "Excuse me, I need some air." She walked off. Willow got up to follow her. "Thanks."
"You need a hug." She cuddled her. She scowled at the cocky looking, silver haired guy strolling up the hall. "She just got bad news, buddy. Don't flirt with her."
"I'm not," he said, backing away. "Sorry. Just being polite." He went into the meeting area, pointing. "Huge problem?"
"Her parents were shitbags," Clint said bluntly. "Who need to be taken out. They're looking for her again."
"Ah. That's a good reason to need a cuddle in the hallway." He looked at his sister. "I put the girls down. They're hugging."
"It's been a rough year for the minis," Buffy said quietly. "With the last battle and now this threat, it's been too huge and I'm so making a wish to make it stop." She looked up. "You keep it up and none of them will save anyone ever again. I'll let Xander take them to another realm for good."
Whistler appeared, shaking his head. "Not our idea, Summers."
She stared at him. "They keep bothering my minis and I'm coming up there with Xander."
Whistler appeared to the rest of the room. "Don't even think about it. They'll kill you. Horribly kill you."
Buffy shrugged. "Been there twice now. So?" She stared at him. "They can't come up with worse than that?"
"They can have you eaten so you don't have an afterlife."
Buffy nodded. "Then they'd have to deal with Mom." She smirked. "Cordelia could use her pompoms again."
Cordelia appeared looking at her nails then at Buffy. She shook her head. "They said you're safe for three more battles. Then if you retire they'll kill you for warping the slayer line."
"That was Xander, not her," Willow called.
Cordelia glared up the hallway then at Buffy. "Don't mention Xander around them. They get this eye twitch that sends people screaming for mercy."
Buffy grinned. "Xander has real magic now."
"I heard. They were horrified and went on a drinking binge. That whole new universe they created is really trippy." She grinned. "They consider Xander the Book of Non-Conformity and you're a happy reader, plus prophet of it, Summers. They're trying to get Xander right now. By the way, they thought his wand was a weak stake."
"He's in Africa," Clint said.
"Cool." She looked at him then grinned. "Help him when he finds the guy that had the PTB's plans. He'll need it unless you all want to live on the pack principle." She looked at Summers again. "Dawn's fine. She basically took out the bad guy watching her and is sitting on his chest doing her nails while being irritated at his desire to train her into a dangerous woman. She's pointed out that's not why she's being protected. She freaked him out greatly by summoning a drink." Buffy rolled her eyes.
"Dawn's going to be safer because there's higher beings coming soon," she said, staring at Stark. "Big. Purple. Guy. Ask the mighty hammer guy." She looked at Buffy. "You, ask him if he knows any warriors down here?" She gave her a pointed look then left. She popped in to where Xander was resting. "They thought your wand was a stake, Harris." She got pulled back by the Powers. "Did you want her to lose to the purple guy?" she demanded. They glared but made her go sit down for a bit. She'd had many time outs because of her sharing issues. It hurt her to sit out but it was better for everyone.
Whistler looked up then at Summers. "They hate it when she does that and punishes her."
"Sometimes you gotta do the naughty thing to protect people," Buffy said simply. "I got grounded plenty for sneaking out for patrol." Whistler rolled his eyes but left. "Those are the PTB's messengers. Cordelia was one of my slayerettes in high school. Xander dated her for a bit too. The other's Whistler. He shows up to tell you that things are getting super crappy and you're screwed. I've promised a few times I was going to use his ribs as a hat."
"That's good to know," Wanda said. "They appear to all slayers?"
"Only when we're boned," she said, grimacing at their empty spot. "They're there to tell us we're boned and we should find a comfy position." She sighed. "Then again, the PTB do things like decree I'm going to die but Xander did CPR." She looked at the younger woman. "They don't really think ahead but plan ahead and then don't pay attention. I got a slayer dream of us all riding horses into battle a few days back. It wasn't the first, but they don't realize cars exist or airplanes. They're like the old liners of the former Council but they make power plays to call things into being so we have to fight so they can win bets."
Willow walked back in with Tara. "We have a pact among some of the slayers to show up where they are to beat them to death with a shoe when they die."
"You all accept death easily," Wanda said.
Buffy nodded. "I'm the longest lasting slayer to date. They used to last maybe two years if they were lucky. I've been doing this since I was fifteen. Hopefully your niece will beat my record and have fewer battles." She looked at Willow. "Some of the girls joked about the ritual to not let them go to their graduation ceremonies."
"It may superstitious but I feel better knowing that they're not facing a battle during a happy time," Willow said. She sat down with Tara on Pietro's other side now since he had taken her seat.
Coulson looked at them. "I've seen your graduation's film, ladies. Very impressive." Buffy smiled at him and nodded some. "Did your town ever clean it up?"
"Yeah. They rebuilt the new high school on the same spot so they had to. Xander said the clean up team burned any found icky pieces every night."
"Mostly they were Sunnydale natives but they didn't think anything about it beyond the fact that the mayor had died in a gas explosion that caused hallucinations," Willow said with a shrug. Some days I miss that ignoring problem. It'd be a lot easier and safer for the girls if everywhere had it." Tara cleared her throat. Willow poured her some water with a grin. "I'd never try to mimic it, Tara. I have no idea what caused it or if it's even magical. I couldn't figure that out when Sunnydale was still standing."
Buffy nodded. "It would make things a bit nicer as long as there wasn't a bad guy in charge again."
"We found his records and cleaned them up," Coulson said. "While I know Mr. Harris sometimes buys arms for the girls I did have his cleaned especially since it listed him as an arms dealer."
Buffy grinned. "He's really good with them too. He got me a rocket launcher once."
"Buffy, not a story to tell," Clint said firmly. "I heard through the grapevine. Don't."
"Oh, okay. Why?"
"It'll get you all in trouble," he said, staring at her. "Like prison trouble."
"Fine." She waved a hand. "Though it was cute it was his best date in high school."
"We're trying to find him someone better now," Natasha said dryly. "Some of his ex's are very interesting but useful to the slayers. Unfortunately none of them want permanent things, which would help Xander settle down some."
"I can't imagine Harris as a daddy," Stark said.
"He's not fertile," Clint said, staring at Willow. "Something about a spell done before the prom because Anya asked?"
"I didn't want him to knock her up! They'd be horrible little kids and ruin his life!"
Buffy looked at her then sighed. "Can you reverse it?"
"It's been way too long," she said. "Xander doesn't care."
"You might ask him that," Clint said. "He calmed himself down about it recently." She scowled at him. He grinned back. "I'd hope you weren't going to do that to anyone else?"
"Only if I'm asked. Andrew asked me for a contraceptive charm once and I gave him that one. I don't think he used it though. He said it was for Jonathan."
Buffy groaned, shaking her head. She took Willow's phone to send a text message to Andrew. He sent back that he knew about it but hadn't used it. It looked way too strong. She sent back a 'good, we'd miss you'. She handed Willow her phone back. She pushed her hair back again. "So, battle coming up I don't want to deal with?"
"Two," Stark agreed. "He thinks the ascension's nearly at the same time."
"Great. Blow off the head. Don't hit the portals with higher weapons. We learned those the hard way."
Stark smiled. "We'll do what we can and you can advise from the sidelines, Summers." She smiled and nodded. "Go back to the infirmary to rest for now. You could probably still use a nap and a meal." She nodded, going that way. Willow went with her, shooting a pouty look at Tara when she didn't follow.
"I'm doing the coven's planning for it," she said. Willow slumped but followed her buddy to her bed. She waited until they were gone to sigh, shaking her head and rubbing her forehead. "Sorry about the old laundry."
"It happens," Stark promised. "We all have old laundry, Tara." She smiled. "Here, this is where we know the first battle will be. The ascension, we have no clue. We'll answer to it when it slithers into the sunlight." She nodded, taking that with her. He stared at Wanda. "Willow has an addiction to her magic," he said quietly. "Sometimes it blinds her views. That and her mother's a book writing psychologist."
Sam looked at him. "She's from those Rosenburgs?" Everyone else nodded. "I didn't know they had kids. I had to read one of their books in my classes and got disgusted with the whole idea behind the badly written book."
"Her mother's anti mutant, gay, and anything that doesn't agree with her world view," Natasha said. "I had to read all of them for her profile in the SHIELD system. I went to philosophy to straighten my thinking back out. Was the one you read on child raising?"
"Post-battle or life changing resettling."
"Ah, that piece of drivel," Natasha said with a nod. "There's worse. She focused more on how to raise genius children." She pointed at the doorway. "With her very own test subject."
"I'm glad I planned on working with adults," Sam said. "I got to miss all those. When are we briefing about the battle?"
"Rogers is on his way down there to figure out where it's happening," Stark said with a sigh at the end. "We'll figure it out tomorrow before we fly down." Sam nodded. Natasha got up. "Wanda, do the girls need anything?"
"I'll ask them," she said quietly. "Thank you for the offer, Stark." She and her brother left.
Coulson looked at him. "We'll all figure it out, Stark. When you know where, let me know so I can put agents near there." He stood up. "Good luck." He left, going to brief his people. They weren't amused about demon battles but agreed with Buffy about people who complained about the slayers saving themselves.
Stark went back to his lab to check on the scanner that he had given Rogers to use. It was reading some portal interference already so it was coming sooner than they thought. Not a sunny afternoon the park after all it appeared.
Steve Rogers shook hands with the mutant that was coming up to him in the café. "Hey, Gambit."
"Logan said to come find you. He's grumpy today and isn't happy about what he's hearing. He complained he came back from Canada to all this."
"I'm not happy about what we got briefed on last night but I got a full email from Stark about it." He put down money and left after draining his coffee cup. They went back to the hotel Logan was at, Steve pulling up his emails on his phone. He handed it over. "It's real nasty."
Logan read through it, grimacing. "This group?"
"New or old?" Steve asked, sitting down to get comfortable. "Old got stopped by the Sunnydale team under their college. New...it's those agents who are after the girls."
"They're idiots," Logan said. "That's nasty though. Harris?"
"We heard he tripped a marker he laid in Africa. He managed to rescue himself. Buffy saved herself from their research facility. Sam said that they shut down once Buffy escaped but they were caught moving torture gear by the NYPD and stopped. They turned over their files to SHIELD and the FBI, because the FBI butted in. We're pretty sure they're going to cover up their sort's doings."
Logan looked at him. "Pretty sure they will," he agreed. He handed back the phone. "Harris?"
"Could possibly be healing torture wounds," Steve said. "No one's sure. I know the peaceful community went on a mass wailing of mourning over him until they heard he had escaped."
"That speaks of how good he is to them," Gambit said. "Boy seemed hard but nice to those who needed it."
"He's good to the girls," Steve said. "Clint helps some of them too. The one that showed up with fake immigration notices last night hugged Natasha for being a slayer icon." She smiled. "They do look up to her."
"She's like them," Logan said. "So this battle?"
"Slight case of a group trying to move here. All summoned by a few people with power who want more. They're going to try to set up a new temple to draw more people to them."
"So they sold themselves and now they don't want to pay so we have to clean it up," Logan said dryly.
"And one's doing an ascension during the eclipse last night. We're on the lookout for the huge demon worm." He grinned. "You have to take off the head. Last time they used air support in Africa and Buffy defeated one by blowing it up."
"Charming," Logan complained. "Any idea where it is?"
"Hasn't come into the open," Steve admitted. "Xander's slight vision during a meeting showed it'd show up near or around the time of the battle tomorrow."
"So it's eating to get stronger," Gambit said. "Nasty lunch that has to be."
"Yeah, I'm guessing there's some people who are going to be mad about why their relatives are missing." Steve grimaced. "I'm just glad I don't have to get their bodies to identify them. The government can have all that fun to themselves."
"Me too. That might dull my claws," Logan joked. "So we've got a small battle and assholes in charge. Are they coming for us?"
"Could be. I've ordered Clint to be on the lookout for those sort primarily. If they show up during either battle they're to be taken down and out if necessary. I'd like to question them before I shove my shield somewhere the sun will never shine. The minis need to get home to their families."
"I heard the girls sent a present," Logan said with a smirk.
"Yeah, one of the minis decided we needed something comforting to snuggle but a teddybear would get hurt by someone attacking the tower. She sent Clint a dragon egg that hatched. Pepat's a cute little hungry thing. Steams, little bit of fire, and loves meat with irish whiskey."
Logan shook his head quickly. "A dragon?"
Steve pulled up a picture for them to see. "Named after Pepper and Natasha."
"You can't get much stronger women then them," Logan agreed, staring at the cute picture. "That's so weird."
"It likes to rest on stomachs. There's pictures of most of us holding the little thing as it naps under our shirts. Stark joked and called it a pregnancy photo."
Logan shook his head again. "Cute."
"Very." Steve put his phone up. "I'm in the Excelsior."
"That's fine," Logan agreed. "It's better if we're not all in the same place. Is the dragon coming for the battle?"
"No. It's a baby, Logan. It's going to be babysat by the nursing staff. Possibly by Buffy because she's to the point where she's not saving the sort that kidnaped her."
"I wouldn't either," he agreed. He looked at Gambit. "Cajun, how many of the big slayers are here?"
"Three retired ones. Two military, one officer."
"Is one of those the Marine that Xander wanted to retire?" Steve asked.
"No. Both army."
"Maybe we can save that one too," he decided. "He said they've been trying to get samples."
Logan nodded. "Make a call."
"Maybe Coulson. He was a Marine."
"He's back?" Logan demanded.
"Yeah, Xander had a sleeping vision of him walking off a command plane from a zombie cemetery." He gave him a look. "He's in charge of SHIELD. Fury's a mirage to draw attention."
"Fuck," Logan muttered. "I hate that sort of plan. One-eye always gets too complicated."
"Xander beat two of his team really hard thanks to them taking out a baby slayer's family and nearly her. Coulson let them go to trial." Logan rolled his eyes and shook his head. "Yeah, it's been a charming month." He called Bobbi Morse. Her phone number had shown up with a few others in his phone overnight. Clint's ex was a pretty, smart, capable lady and he liked her more than Coulson at the moment. "Morse, Rogers. We have two of the three military slayers here in DC. Can you get the other one free of those who want to take samples from her in the Marines?" He grinned. "That'd be real helpful. Thanks, Miss Morse." He hung up. "She's already working on it. We have the added warning of Ross is in town."
"Fuck 'em," Logan said. "I won't put up with shit near me or them."
"Me either. Two of that earlier group are working for him too. A few are at Culver."
"Great," Logan sneered. "We can handle that." He stood up to get a drink, tossing Gambit some water and holding one up for Steve, getting a nod of thanks as he took it. "How big are we expecting?"
"Not huge. Not the size of the ones that have hit LA, London, or New York. The last I heard Xander described it as a temple of warrior asshole monks and a few higher priests plus maybe their gods."
Logan grimaced. "That's weird. Really weird."
"Weird was Chicago had a celebutante like hell goddess that moved there on her own to get away from her parents and get some freedom so she could do a reality show for their realm." Steve took a drink, grinning at Logan.
"Purse dog?" Gambit asked. "Gambit's seen those. They're dumb."
"Tiny purse lion. Shrunken to the size of a skunk."
Logan choked, shaking his head. "Does she have a reality show on this realm too?"
"Not yet. Has to be more interesting than some though since she can't just shop all the time. She's also a part-time ambassador."
"There's a realm of bimbos. Great," Logan said sarcastically. He took a long drink. "Will we need one of the other houses to step in?"
"I can ask the slayers if they'd like to suggest Kennedy come help. I know Tara said that the coven was going to do what they could."
"Kennedy's got a powerful dad," Logan said. "They won't touch her without him collapsing some banks."
"I'll let her know." They nodded. "So I'm guessing it's a ten-am stroll through that park for us."
"No one's sure," Steve admitted. "Xander said he didn't see any and rumors are mixed within the poker circuit."
"Okay. We can deal with that. I'll see you at breakfast."
"Call and I'll join you." He shook their hands, going to the hotel where the slayers were. He smiled at the one outside talking to someone. "Cynthia, may I have a moment?"
"Sure, Mr. Rogers." She grinned at the guy she was talking to then him. "He's an agent who's here to guard our backs."
"We've got plans in case the agents after the slayers show up." She grinned but nodded. "We had a few ideas. We're getting the one in the Marines to join you and Logan wanted to know if you were going to need someone like Kennedy, who wasn't going to be in as much danger."
"Logan?" she asked.
"Wolverine," the other agent said. "The guy with the claws."
"Oh, him! Kennedy's not a great fighter but she can help if she wants. I'm hoping three or four of us is going to be enough. I heard Amanda's had the flu recently so I'm not sure if she can show up or not. My commanders all said if she wanted to switch they'd process it for her but she hasn't answered back."
"Well, you guys can hopefully talk this weekend." She grinned and nodded. "Logan and I are meeting for breakfast tomorrow if you wanted to join us."
"I wouldn't mind. Slayers eat a lot. Most guys give us funny looks when we close out buffets. Any word on Xander?"
"He's in Africa. When he escaped those agents that's where he headed. Mya said so."
"Awww. We like Mya. She hates Willow and kicks her every change she gets."
"I heard she did when she walked into the meeting at Avengers tower." She grinned. "I know Buffy's still resting in the infirmary."
"None of us doubt Buffy's not going to come to this one. None of us would and we'd let people hang. We were all horrified that Xander was so broken he nearly helped defeat the one in Egypt when he got free but used it to get himself and the slayers responding free. We all agree, they can save themselves. Same as Saudi Arabia can for trying to put one of us to death for daring to be born."
He nodded. "I can agree with those reasons too. I'm not sure I could've lasted as long as Xander did in Egypt."
"Xander's just like that. He's stubborn. He proves it by still talking to Buffy and Willow." He grinned. "I have no doubt that Xander's found one of his ex's and is getting babied. He needs it. He hasn't been dating recently."
"I hope they're good to him and you girls."
"So do we." She grinned at the other agent. "Let me go get a snack. See you tomorrow, Mr. Rogers. You too, cutey."
Steve grinned. "I'll let him flirt with you, Cynthia. Everyone needs some fun before battles to ease their minds." He left her flirting and went to his own room.
She grinned. "He's sweet."
"Very. Plus he has great manners." He escorted her to her snack. She didn't see the drug he put in her drink but someone else did and got the asshole down before he had her picked up.
The mutant looked down at the guy. "Xander would kill you for that. I'm sure he will when he gets back." He called in some of his buddies. "I just rescued a slayer. Yes, here! Thank you." They came in to carry her to their hidden house. That way she was safer. They sent up information to a mutant who would dare to talk to the Great Clawed one. That way no one would worry she had been taken.
Steve looked around the battle. Then at his phone. "This was too easy," he said, checking the message. "This is not the battle that got seen in the visions," he read. "Damn it."
Sam Wilson looked over. "Then what was this?"
"An appetizer according to the email." He looked over. "Stark!" he yelled. "This wasn't the one in the vision!"
Stark shook his head. "Great. Thanks. I needed that happy thought. Anyone seen the demon worm?"
"I sense a higher demon," Wanda said with a point. "I don't know how close though."
A young woman appeared, looking up a street then at her. She waved her over and pointed. "That one?"
Wanda looked. "It's ugly."
"It's too small to be the one seen in the vision too."
Wanda stared at her. "There's more than one?"
"Yeah. I can sense two." She did a sensing spell on a map of the city. "Let me go into hiding before someone stupid shows up." She disappeared again. Wanda waved the team leaders over to see the map.
Stark looked then up the street. "That's almost cute against the bigger version." It preened. "Must've been female. It likes compliments. C'mon, pretty thing. Come to daddy Stark. I'm tasty." It flowed out but got stuck in between two buildings. "What's wrong? Gained a bit too much head?" He flew up and the worm got free enough to try to snap at him in the air. He fired on it and blew the head to pieces. "That's one down."
Wanda studied the map. "This one must be a few blocks away."
Steve nodded, waving Sam over. "You're a local. Where is that?"
He traced it. "By the VA I used to work in. About a block away from it." The light was wobbling. "Someone's fighting it?"
"Maybe." The light went out. Then it flowed back in dark red. "Or it just did something."
"We can go see," one of the slayers said as she walked over. "They said Cynthia's awake now. She'll come after some food." She looked, tracing things. "What's this point?"
"The other battle that was in the visions," Stark said.
"Great. So this was a warm up exercise?" They all nodded. "Wonderful! Kennedy, don't have the celebratory lattes yet," she called. "This wasn't the one in the vision! Or the demon worm!"
"Yay," she said sarcastically, taking a sip. "This is lunch, dear. Celebratory ones have liquor."
"Yes they do," Stark agreed. "Kahlua is great in coffee drinks." They looked around then at each other. "The other park's about two blocks away?"
"We can walk," Kennedy said. "It's safer. I've seen DC drivers and they're nuts more than New York ones were."
"It's the power rush," one of the other slayers quipped. "It goes to their lead feet." Sam laughed but nodded. "Two blocks?" They all hiked that way and found where the proto portal was starting. The girls sat down to wait, sipping their chosen drinks of waiting. The heros sent a few to watch over the demon worm. The slayers looked up when it suddenly got dark, smiling and waving at the demon worm trying to tower over them. It tried to come down on them but Stark was blasting it to death. The slayers got out of the way. "That's ickiness that won't come out of clothes," one of them complained. "I can't shop like Buffy so I can't destroy this shirt."
Steve grinned. "Not many young women can shop like Buffy."
Kennedy snorted, waving a hand in the air. "Please! I'm so much better at it. I've already upped the fashion sense of my whole house."
"Yeah, we heard the 'hussies on parade' comment after the last London battle," one quipped with a grin for her. "Apparently Londoners wanted longer skirts and less tight pants."
"Pity," Kennedy shot back with a glare. "They look good. They're not in Buffy skirts either."
"I still don't see how she could kick butt in a mini skirt," Steve said. "Not even wearing hose to cover things up." The girls all giggled but nodded at that. "She's a nice lady but she looks like she's club hunting sometimes."
"Yes she does," Kennedy agreed. "I wear practical things to battles." She waved a hand at her designer shirt and jeans, plus expensive sneakers.
"The rest of us wear stuff that we can wash," Cynthia said as she joined them with her own coffee drink. "Not really expensive pants we might have to throw away." The demon worm lunged at her so she slugged it on the nose. It whined and ran away. "I hate it when the bad guys cry." She looked at the portal, shaking her head with a sigh. "This is going to suck. Hey, Claw Guy?" she called. A few of the mutants laughed at that name. He looked over so she pointed. "We've got picture vision. We're screwed."
He came to their position to look, staring at the ceremonial army. "I hope they're waving them off on a good trip."
Steve squatted down to look. "Yeah, that's going to be nasty. Stark, don't use all your weapons."
"I'm not," he called back. He finally destroyed the head and let it fall down. "Someone in an agency can open it up to see who it ate." He landed and looked. He groaned. "Now I see why it's a bad idea to sell yourself to a demon. They all come for your soul."
Steve glared at him. "I'm sure there's other bad consequences to it."
"Probably but that's not about to attack us." The portal was expanding. Tara and a few witches appeared. "Lots and lots of warriors, ladies."
"Tara, if you get hurt, we're hiding from your ex," Cynthia called.
Tara scowled. "She's not mine anymore, Cynthia. Are you all right?"
"I'm good. The nice guys who saved me had some hero worship but they were really sweet guys. They didn't even want smoochies for rescues." She looked over at her sister slayer. "Are you all right, Amanda?"
"No," she said. "But I'm being medically discharged."
"I can call my bosses."
She shook her head. "It'll be at least a year and I'm not sure I can go military later."
"They should honorably discharge you," Steve said. "From what I heard they more than screwed up."
She nodded. "Yes they did." She looked at herself then at her sister slayers. "I'll take the back line."
"Yes you will be," Kennedy said, staring at her stomach. "Do we get to threaten the boyfriend or was he a one-night stand?"
"No, he was a lab experiment I woke up after," she said bluntly. "And I destroyed that lab and everyone in there for it."
Kennedy hugged her. "If you need us, we're here. You're our sister slayer and we'll gladly help you. Just like we were nagging Penny." She smiled and nodded.
"You can sit out," Steve told her. "I don't want you endangered, Amanda."
"I can handle this. This'll be my last battle for a while. Then I'll figure things out."
Sam landed, looking at her. "Did any survivors get to trial?"
She snorted. "The commander overruled the judge, who also thought that there was no assault. Even though I didn't consent to be knocked up. At least the judge said that it being done medically wasn't covered. The commander just said it was a good idea. I got found not guilty of beating him and hanging him out his window because of it by the base's general, who agreed I could be discharged medically."
"That shit doesn't fly," Steve said. "Let us talk to some people."
"I've been talked to by a number of generals," she said dryly. "They don't care. They just want the kid."
"We want you," Steve said. "The kid's just something you'll have to decide about." She smiled and hugged him. "Sam's a counselor if you need to talk. He worked with the VA."
"I might later. Right now I'm just bitter."
"That's a good thing," Sam told her. "It's an important step of healing." She relaxed and he walked her off to talk to her.
Steve looked at the other girls. "If something like that happens, let us know and we'll see if we can help." They grinned at him. The portal belched and opened a bit more. "I know it's never the first belch, it's usually the third."
"Yup," Kennedy agreed. "Or fourth if they're playing mind games." They settled in to wait. She looked around. "Reporters," she said with a point.
"They can stay there or fight," Sam said. "We don't put up with them at battles unless they're fighting too." The slayer talking to him laughed. "I don't. They're in the way."
"Xander says they're willing targets. He suggested some of them were even wanting to be sacrificed on purpose to up their media profile." Sam laughed but nodded that could be true. Some reporters were all but begging to be sacrificed for ratings.
When the demons came across, they stood there, staring at the group there to stop them. A few priests stepped through and summoned people. "They are ours by rights of their deals with us," one of the slayers translated when the demons babbled. "We claim what is ours."
"Huge problem," Steve said. "They're supposed to be governing our people, not selling themselves. While we don't *want* to have to save them," he continued at the glares. "I guess we'll have to." Some others were showing up to complain that they had taken politicians. Steve looked at one. "They did the deals, boys."
"Shut up," one of the agents complained. "If they did, then that's their business."
"Until they have to pay up," Kennedy said. "Then we have to save their asses against our wills." One of the agents turned a gun on her. "You go right ahead, asshole. My father can collapse multiple countries' banks. Let's see how you like it when your retirement fund goes to pay for my flowers." The agent growled and lunged at her. Kennedy socked him in the jaw, sending him into the demons. "Real men don't hit women."
"No one in any relationship should hit whoever they're with," Steve corrected. "Though yes, real men don't hit women unless they're evil." He stared down at him. "We had manners in my day." The demons laughed but the senators weren't going to get led away. They had more agents there to help and a few 'conservative' blowhards there to complain.
Amanda handed one a megaphone. "Here, you talk to the guys they sold themselves to. They're causing me hell so I don't care if they go." She stared at him when he started to splutter and choke. "Be damned if I want to risk my ass to save people who sold themselves for power. If you want to do that, need my sword?" She held it out to him. He stomped off to yell at the politicians. Thankfully it was all being covered by reporters father away. She looked at them and shrugged. "I guess he thinks he can shout their houses down."
"He's not a wolf, he's a pig," Kennedy complained. Her phone rang. She frowned as she answered it. "Hi, Mommy." She smiled as she listened to her mother rant. "I know but they've been trying to capture us slayers to experiment on us. That's why I'm back from London for this battle. Yes, that is Captain America beside me. Captain, my mom would *really* love an autograph if you'd let her have one," she said with a grin. "*Major* fan," she mouthed.
"Sure, I don't mind, Kennedy," he said patiently.
"Cool, thanks." She listened to her father snatching the phone. "Hi, Dad. No, they're the sort that tried to export Xander back to Egypt so they could torture him some more for having a tiny mutation, he can find metal earrings basically. They pardoned him for that and escaping but they're still trying and they've been trying to capture us and the minis to experiment on us. So yeah, I don't care. If they shoot me, you break bad, Daddy. Then we'll let Xander clean it up." She kicked an agent in the jaw when he tried to grab her phone. "Huh? Sorry, I missed that part kicking a guy." She listened. "I did buy this new, Mom. It's brand new. They're good for battles. No, my last one got eaten by some acid shooting little balls of teeth and fur last week. I needed new sneakers too. Yeah, I upped the classiness of my house's and region's girls too. They will not wear Buffy skirts." She grinned, kicking another agent. "Hey, Amanda, watch out. They're the torturing sorts."
She turned and hit one with a needle who was trying to sneak up on her and Sam. "No thanks, already had to destroy some of you for knocking me up against my will. Fuck off." The demons were very amused at them. "Guys, we're putting on a show."
The two army slayers shrugged. "I'm all for calling in our teams," one of them said.
Cynthia nodded. "It'd save us some goo." She shot one of the demons. "No, you can't have them. We're not allowed to let you have them, even if it'd do humanity good to get rid of them, you can't have 'em."
Kennedy nodded. "Unfortunately. I'll call afterwards, Mom. Probably just some stitches. If agents get me, Xander's promised to come kill them. No, he had to escape from being tortured by agents the other day. Pity but we heard he's mad. I'm not sure if that's insane mad or not, Daddy. Frankly, I just want out of the way of the mess no matter which version mad he is. Yup, love you both. Let me go help this battle thing. Laters, lovies." She hung up and put her phone back in her pocket. Steve stared at her. She grinned. "My parents love me."
"Most parents do love their kids."
"My daddy fought off the old Council so I could be trained at home."
"Ah! I heard a few of you were." She grinned and nodded. "Good. Shall we? Ladies, can we finish this or should we take out those dirty agents for you?"
"Slayers can't kill humans," Amanda said. "Pity. I think these are a waste of sperm."
"Men can put out thousands of sperm a day but apparently these one's creating sperms were a whole other form of *winning*," Kennedy agreed dryly. One shrieked and attacked her. She beat him then walked over him, heading to the demons. "Sorry, they're rude and stupid. We're really not allowed to let you keep those ones." He babbled something. She looked back.
"No, we're not warrior slaves," Amanda called. "Just slayers and people panic when you make them pay up for their soul deals." The demon babbled so she joined Kennedy. "Sorry, but they'll make us fight for the idiots. They're already trying to kill us for being called as slayers." One laid a hand on her stomach and stared at her. She grimaced. "No, that was my commander's idea. I'm hoping he's still in jail but I know how the military works." She patted his flipper and he let her stomach go. "Can you gather them later?" The demon babbled about the right time to gather them. "Hey, if you want them that hard, they can come screw up your people the way they're trying to do here. They're very against helping people anyway." She shrugged. "We don't *want* to be here but we *have* to be here. We'd really rather have peace."
The demon talked to the priests. One babbled at them in another language. "Hey, this one I know," Kennedy said with a smile. She bowed properly, with one hand over her head. "I didn't take too many of the language lessons. I'm Slayer Kennedy, over the London house." The priest smiled and bowed back. She grinned. "We must fight for them. Even if I'd rather they all died for being so stupid and mean to humans, we *have* to fight to save them." The priests grumbled. "I know, I don't like it either. We're slayers and they'll try to kill us again if we don't. Then we'll never hear the end of the bitching and threats."
The priests agreed they could understand that but this was the only time that the portal could open. Amanda smiled at one warrior's suggestion. "Us having an honorable combat isn't a bad idea. Kennedy?"
"One-on-one honorable combat? We'd be thrilled. Which one are you choosing?" One of their warriors was summoned. She looked at Amanda. "Sit out."
"Yes, dear." She stepped back, laying a hand on her stomach. The warrior smiled at her stomach and patted it then stepped away from her, looking at Kennedy. "Cynthia, one of you better than me?"
"Yeah," one of the other girls said. "I am, Kennedy. I rank right behind Faith." She stepped forward, bowing properly. "I will take your challenge," she said quietly. They cleared the area and they faced off. She smiled at the warrior. "I'm a defender, not an attacker. You're not usually a harmful species." The warrior smirked and attacked. She fought him off to the point where he was injured, she was injured, and he was ready to collapse. "I don't want to kill you," she said. "That's not honorable to us." He scowled. She sighed, staring at him. "Kennedy?"
She looked at the priest. "We don't like to harm peaceful beings. Must she take him out?" The priests shook their heads and called the warrior off. They let three of the senators go. "Can we have the other?" she asked. They babbled something. She looked at Amanda because that was the lower language.
"He double sold himself," she said dryly. She looked at him. "Wow, aren't you stupid." The man flinched. "You sold yourself twice? How did you even do that! No one can do that!" The demon said something. She shrieked and hit the senator herself. "You sold your child's soul," she sneered. "I'm not saving your ass. You're worthless and horrendous. I can't even find the words to describe what sort of slimey fucker you are." She walked off. "I'm not saving that one."
Kennedy shook her head. "He hurt his child? We don't protect that sort." They backed off. The priests smiled and praised them then they pulled that one with them. A few agents tried to stop them but were knocked down and out. Kennedy and Amanda walked over to check her slayer. "You good?"
"Healing's normal," she said, looking at herself. "Could maybe use a few steristrips for a few minutes." They got her to a paramedic, all the girls together for safety reasons. Steve followed. She smiled at him. "We'll be okay, Captain."
"I'm going to make sure. It's wrong of them to come after you ladies." He helped her into the ambulance. Natasha came over to help. "Thank you."
"I'm glad it was solved so easily and wasn't a battle."
"Xander didn't see a battle, he saw a portal with a lot of warriors," Kennedy said dryly. "We were hoping we could live by the slayer rules about our brains." They all ducked at the sound of a gunshot. Kennedy groaned, leaning on the side of the ambulance. "I'm going to let my father fuck them up." Willow appeared. "Oh, goddess, go stop her!" The paramedics were helping her.
Steve jogged over, hauling Willow off. "Not right now, Rosenburg! It'll only cause more problems!" He gave her a shove. "Go help." She went to baby Kennedy. He glared at the agents. "I knew you were all dirty but really?" A few attacked him and he fought back. Stark landed from his spot watching to help. Sam landed to help too. The girls were evacuated by Natasha to a secure, agent friendly hospital. They could guard the slayers better there. Kennedy called her parents back to make sure they knew she was okay so far. The nurses scowled but oh well. Steve watched the ambulance go before hitting someone with his shield, knocking them across the field.
Xander appeared in a flash of light and they all heard the growl. "I warned you not to touch the girls." He cast a complicated spell, making the people scream and fall clutching their midsections. "Fuck with my slayers again, people. I dare you." He sighed, looking at Steve. "I believe I could use some support to finish taking down the mad scientist with ideas that tried to kidnap me to test his ideas of bringing everyone back to their nasty biological urges." He passed out.
Stark looked at his body. "Wow, what an entrance. I need to learn how to make entrances like that one."
"Yours usually have dancers," Sam Wilson complained, moving to check him. "He smells like chemicals and for some reason I'm itching." He scratched his arms. He looked down at himself. "I think someone was playing with pheromones instead of biological weapons."
A set of paramedics showed up in contamination gear. "We're going with him," Stark ordered. "We don't trust you people that conveniently appear."
Steve nodded, climbing on with Sam Wilson. They could guard each other while the rest of the team cleaned things up.