Xander was grabbed from behind and shoved into a wall. "You've been tracking me."
Xander turned his head to look at him. "When asked."
"You're so full of shit," Xander said, laughing. "Me? HYDRA? I've beaten a few of their idiots but I'm not in any way related to them. I'm tolerant, liberal, and fight in battles to save humanity." He shoved the guy, getting free enough to turn around. "I got asked to find you a few times by Steve Rogers. I have a metal finding affinity. He asked me if I could spot your special arm." The guy growled and moved to hit him. Xander's axe flew up into his hand. "Do try. I can make it so I can't track you again." The man gave him an odd look. Xander grinned. "I'm Xander. I work with the slayers. I helped rebuild the Council so it's good for the slayers. I was the guy helping them in Africa and then up here in New York. If you piss me off I'm going to sic all the slayers on you. You don't want to be their new shopping buddy, do you?"
Bucky snorted and backed off. "You're not a threat."
Xander laughed. "You'd be shocked but not to you." Someone yelled and rushed at them. "No! Leave him alone! He's confused!"
The demon stopped. "He's not a threat?"
"No, if he was a threat I'd tell Mila and a few other minis." He grinned. "They'd have fun with a new friend."
The demon shuddered. "That's evil, Harris. Go find a lover. You're going to warp the girls until they appreciate evil ideas."
Xander hugged him. "Thanks, Mortimer." He grinned. "And for trying to protect me."
"Penny would sob on me if you got hurt before she gave birth."
"Probably true." Mortimer walked off shaking his head but texting others.
Xander looked at the very confused man. "That's Mortimer. I play kitten poker with him and I helped his wife conceive by reading dirty books in their language onto tape."
Bucky stared at him. "How did that help?"
"They didn't have porn."
"Oh," he said weakly. Suddenly his head was hurting in a different way. "Why are you tracking me?"
"Steve Rogers asked. Don't you do things when he asks?"
"I..." He rubbed his forehead. "Yeah, I used to. I think."
"Hmm. So yeah, not like I refuse that. The girls won't take him hostage to make him help them shop." Bucky glared at him and stomped off. "He wanted to check on you."
"No, he can't. So quit."
"Nope, sorry," Xander said, shooting him with a tranq dart. "I'm not that nice. I owe the guy a few favors." He walked over and picked him up, grunting as he carried him off. "Dude, lay off the snack cakes. Eat real food so you can get back in shape. Even I can't live on snack cakes." He carried the guy into the slayer house. Kara hopped up to help him. "Call Rogers?"
"Yup." Bucky was moaning. "He doesn't sound happy."
"He's been running away."
"Oh, one of them." She dialed the number she had for Clint. "Xander got the metal armed guy here at the house. Darted." She hung up.
Up in the tower, Clint climbed off his couch and went to the common room. "Where's Steve?" he bellowed.
"Out," Natasha called from the kitchen.
"Harris found Barnes. He's got him darted at the slayer house."
"I'll tell him so he can save Barnes from the slayers treating him as a shopping buddy." She called him. "Xander darted Barnes and is about to let the slayers at the house have him." She hung up and went back to making her sandwich.
Back closer to the slayer house, Steve hung up and looked at Sam. He had lapped him a few times already on their jog. "Xander found Bucky. They're at the slayer house."
"I'll catch up to you," he promised. Steve grinned and ran off. Sam jogged off. He couldn't catch Steve at a full run. He was mortal and he understood that. He was okay with that. Plus Steve might have some sniffly moments he wanted to miss so the poor guy wasn't embarrassed.
Steve knocked on the slayer's house door before walking in. "Xander?" he called.
"Kara gave him to Miffy," Xander called from the bathroom. He leaned out. "I'm putting in another bathroom to save the girls stress. She's got him up in her room to show him her stuffed animals." He pointed.
"Thanks." He smiled. "Even if it's mean."
"Mortimer, a poker buddy, tried to save me from him, but he said I was mean too. I probably am. My ex's are nowhere near here and seem to be mad at me for some reason." He went back to fixing up that bathroom. "I should paint you blue so the girls have something new to complain about that's not shoes."
Steve jogged up the stairs, finding Miffy's room. He could hear Bucky starting to come around. He knocked. Miffy squeaked. "Miffy? It's Steve Rogers."
She flung open the door, staring up at him once she had hugged his hips. "Hi, Mr. Captain!" She grinned. "Kara said I could show him my weapons and my stuffed friends and then my new dress because I need one. I'm graduating kindergarten next week!"
"Congratulations," he said, smiling down at her. "That's a great step." He walked her in there, sitting on the bed beside Bucky. "We can look at your stuff." She squealed and grabbed her dress to show them. He looked at Bucky. "She's a mini slayer. They need lots of fun. I do some great big brother moments with the girls since I found out about them." She came back. "That's a pretty dress but you should wear the blue shoes," he said with a point.
She looked then sat down to put them on, looking at herself. "I can do that. Hair up?"
"I don't know. Are you going to be wearing a hat?" She nodded, showing it to him. It was on a special pillow next to her special princess wand. "Hmm." He put it onto her head. "Ponytail? Maybe a low one?"
"Hair rules for graduation say loose," Xander called. "Teach her to curl her bangs, someone. And it'll rain so wear the blue sneakers."
"Yes, Xander," she called, putting those on instead. "That's kinda cute." She beamed, turning around with her arms out. "Good?"
"Very cute." She beamed and nodded, running off to change again. He checked Bucky over to make sure he was all right and coming out of the dart easily. The glaring was already starting but Bucky could withstand some cuteness.
She came back to hang things up again. She pulled out her drawer of weapons, showing them off. "I got my official practice sword and daggers last week as a present," she said with a grin. "They're not sharp but they're cute. They're twinkly and shiny. Like jewelry only practical."
"They're very pretty," Steve agreed. "I didn't think you'd be old enough for a sword yet but I'm sure you'll be great with it, Miffy."
"Thank you, Mr. Captain Sir." She hugged him again then pulled over her stuffed friends. "I have six now. My mommy's stuff got searched by Faith and she found my original my mommy bought me before the mean people got her."
Steve looked her over carefully, smiling. "She looks like a strong friend, Miffy. She'll be good for you for years."
"I think so too and she's special." She cuddled her. "Do you know Xander's looking for my dad? I know he left and all that but I don't know why."
"I'm sure he was just scared. Maybe Xander can help him get over that. You could write letters to him," Steve said. "When Xander finds him he can give them to him so he gets to know you. Maybe one a month or so?"
"I can do that," she agreed. "That's a great idea."
"I got it from Sam. He'll be here soon. We were jogging when I got told he found Bucky for me. I had him as a friend since I was a little boy. He used to help me get into trouble and fights, and stick up for people."
"Wow. I have a few friends but that's a really long time. Much more than twenty."
"It is, yeah," Steve agreed, ruffling her hair. "I hope you get someone like Bucky someday soon, Miffy. You deserve great friends."
"Thank you." She hugged him again then climbed up to hug Bucky. "Maybe you'll come back?" she asked him. He grunted. "You can tell me once you're not drugged. Xander was mean to drug you but sometimes he does mean things for good reasons that help people. He's like that. He's our big brother. He makes sure we do homework and we don't wear skirts like Miss Buffy. He makes sure we have shoes that are cute enough but we can still wear comfortably, and he makes sure we learn things we like to learn. He even helps the girls that want to take more than self defense lessons because they're important. I'm not sure if I'll be that sort of slayer or not," she told Bucky. "It's really important but really hard."
"You have years before you can decide that," Steve said. "You have at least eight years before you even have to start thinking about it." He patted her on the back. "It'll be okay."
Xander came rushing up. "Go to the safe room and take her with you. Now." He rushed off. "Kara, incoming! Military!" She got the others over there. Steve got Bucky and Miffy, with her stuffed friends and new dress. It was important to her. The older girls brought weapons. Only one other mini was there and Kara grabbed her and her stuffed friend and comfy cuddle blanket. Xander locked them in there and went to stop the attack. They fired some sort of rocket into the house and the shields held.
Within minutes, NYPD was responding. The military was trying to take over but the officers were mad. They fired another rocket into the house. Xander winced as the shields didn't fully hold. Thankfully not too much damage. Xander grabbed something and headed to the door. "Listen, jackasses." They fired on him and Xander fired back. "I'm not the nice fairy." They rushed toward him so Xander had to fight. Sam joined him to help. "Sam, the girls are safe. Get the ones from school."
"You're gonna be fine."
"I might be under arrest." He hit one of the officers that tried to hit him. "No, I don't think so." A few more people came running. They stopped the military guys and the officers by knockout gas. Xander coughed, backing off a few steps.
Sam knocked on the door of the safe room. "Ladies, it's me," he called before opening it so they wouldn't be paranoid. "Steve, he's got half a gang trying the house," he said quietly as he locked the door again. He checked on Bucky, who shoved him off with a scowl. "Go. I've got the girls."
"Thanks. Bucky, can you help him? These guys are nasty and want to take out the girls for being born." Bucky scowled at him but nodded. "Thanks." He hurried out, letting Sam lock the door again.
Steve came down. Xander shook his head. "No! Go, watch them! They're too young to deal with this." He pointed again with a glare while he coughed. Steve nodded, going to grab some weapons. Xander huffed, staring at the guys who had used the knockout gas. "Thanks." He coughed again. "Really."
"Harris, are you being a problem?" the guy said smugly.
Xander stared at him. "No. I'm protecting the girls."
"That's a problem to many."
"They can eat me like the one who tried to torture me last time can. What pathetic little toads they are." That one glared. "I don't care but you're not getting near the slayers." They rushed him and he fought back. He was groggy but not that bad.
Steve came back with weapons. "The girls are locked in. Bucky's awake and protecting them," he said. "Are they HYDRA?"
"No. That's a Homeland agent, Rogers." He pointed. "That's one of Finn's former team."
"Oh, them," he said with a grimace.
"Good, we'll get more samples we need."
Xander stared. "Not likely." They rushed again.
"You don't really have rights, Harris. You're a mutant. We're rescinding them all."
Xander sliced the guy's throat. "Really? You'd be shocked. If not, then I can't be charged with killing you either. That's the law you're trying to push through." More officers showed up. "They decided the slayers were prey again, guys."
"Great," one of them complained. "Any weapons?" Xander pointed at the damaged parts. "Grenades?"
"Some sort of low powered rockets," Xander said, leaning on the doorway. "This one used knockout gas so they didn't have to deal with them. He's one that's pushing through the law that said protection laws only apply to humans. By the wording that means that mutants aren't covered by *any* laws, including murder ones." He grinned. "So I can kill his ass and just walk over him by his thinking."
"Seriously?" Steve asked. Xander nodded. He coughed again. "You good?"
"Yeah, I'm fine. I have a cold." He straightened up again, staring at the newest officer showing up. "Oh, look, it's the NYPD's version of that guy. Thanks for making sure all New York laws don't apply to any mutant. It makes it a lot easier for me to protect the slayers as I need to." The man winced. "That's the way you worded it. Congrats, dude. You just made your city the prime location for all future battles because they can't be held responsible." He started to cough again.
Steve held him up, leading him to a couch. "Sit." He walked back there. "I got here to talk to someone and they attacked," he told the officers. "We have the slayers in a safe room with protection."
"Who're you?" one of the officers asked.
"Do I need to be holding the shield?" Steve joked.
"Oh!" He blinked. "Captain." He nodded. "You're here to talk to Harris?"
"Actually no. I mentor a few of the younger slayers here."
"That's nice of you, sir," another officer agreed. "Harris is mouthy. Can you teach him to calm down?"
"No. Because if he hadn't protected the girls I would've taken them all out myself. Nothing should ever come after little girls." Xander moaned, holding his head. "Vision?"
"Yeah. Someone's going to gas the school. I saw Miffy, Elia, and Hannah's funerals." He sat up, still holding his head, coughing. "If that one comes true I'm killing everyone involved."
Steve tipped his head up. "How did they hurt the girls?"
"They gassed the whole school." Xander blinked at him. "They all go to the alternative prep school up the street."
"When? Did you know when?"
"She was wearing her graduation dress," he said quietly. "It fit just like it does now."
"Fuck," Steve said. "No. That won't happen. Guys, he had a vision about someone attacking one of the schools. The one Miffy, Elia, and Hannah go to."
One of the officers nodded, calling that in. "When?"
"Relatively soon. Xander, did you see a date?" He shook his head. "We'll see if a healer can check your chest."
"We can get him to an ER," one of the officers said.
"Most of the ER's won't treat mutants," Xander said between coughs. "Even a tiny one like mine."
"Crap," one of them muttered. "Speaking of, the big, metal guy is stomping this way."
"That's Slayer Kara's boyfriend," Steve said. "Let him in." He stomped in. "They're in the safe, Colossus."
"Safe?" he asked.
"Very safe. Please go help them?" He nodded, going that way. "He's been very good helping the minis," Steve told them.
"That's sweet of him and the slayers need good boyfriends," that officer agreed. "Him being one of the fighting guys would probably help." He finished taking notes while they cleaned up the problems. A young woman came trotting up. "One of the slayers, miss?"
"No, a witch," she said, sliding around them. "Xander." He flapped a hand. "Damn it." She lifted him. "C'mon, we're going to the healers."
"Can't," he said. "Gotta be here. I'll go later."
He glared at her. "Eliana, I'll be fine until the threat's done with. I was in a battle with malaria. I can do it now with a cold."
She scowled. "Don't make me tell my mother. You know how she feels about stubborn things." He shrugged and sat down again. She looked at Steve then sighed. She called her mother. "Mom, it's me. I'm at the slayer house. Xander's sounding like he's getting pneumonia but the house is under threat so he won't leave. Can you? Please. Thank you, Mom." She hung up. "She'll drive you." She looked at the officers. "Can I curse them to bad things yet?"
"Bad Wicca," Xander warned. "Three fold rule."
She looked at him. "Not if it's just." He shot her a glare. "I'm not approaching the bad side but they deserve it before they kill people."
"Fine." She flapped a hand, staring at the officers instead, smiling at one. "Will this threat keep going? If so I need to restore the protections sooner than I should."
"We hope not. The only one that's not here is HYDRA."
Xander looked over at him. "Don't tempt them. I've beaten a few." He went back to coughing.
Eliana came over to help him. He waved her off. She swatted him a few times until he gave in. "Stubborn ass. Don't you tell me what to do. You're not my big brother and if I feel like fussing over you, you'd better *learn*." He groaned. She smirked. "Keep it up, I'm going to tell the *whole* bulletin board, Xander. We'll see what the minis do to help you feel better." He groaned but laid back down. "Good boy. You're finally learning to be a man instead of a whiny boy around me." Her mother stomped in. "Here, Mom." She got out of the way. "He just realized I'm going to fuss."
"I can take him to the nearer healer."
Xander shook his head. "He won't see mutants. I can find my way to the Bronx." Eliana's mom stared at him. "The ones here in this borough are still stubborn and won't see mutants."
She groaned. "That's so wrong."
"Yeah but there's bigots in all races," Eliana said. "We get Klan members, they get guys like that." Someone tried to fire on the house again. Eliana snapped and waved at them. A wave of fire came out to burn them to a crisp. "No! Bad doggy human! Make me tell a Rosenburg!" Xander groaned, shaking his head.
Willow appeared, hair already blowing in a wind no one else felt. "What did you do, Eliana?"
"Burned the asshole who just tried to kill all of us," she said dryly. "The girls are in a safe room. They fired a rocket at the house, again. They gassed the house and Xander's coughing like he's got pneumonia. Isn't that what I'm supposed to do?"
Willow nodded. "Yes you are." She stomped out there.
Xander pointed. "Go stop her. Before she takes out innocents." Steve went to help her. Eliana went to help. Xander collapsed backwards again. "I have a cold. They had knockout gas."
Eliana's mother nodded. "I've seen it before when I was in the Navy." She helped him up and helped him to her car. "We're going to a healer's," she noted. "Don't let them or Rosenburg destroy the girls or the house." She got in to drive.
Steve looked at Willow. "Please don't hurt the officers," he said quietly.
"I'm not! I'm not evil! Even if a few of them are!" She turned and zapped someone trying to sneak in. "No! Bad snake." It changed down. "You can be a mini slayer pet. All of you are going to be pets. Hannah will adore that. She needs more critters to pet."
Steve looked at her. "Xander had a vision about Hannah's school being attacked and her being one of the ones that died," he told her quietly. "We need to work on that next."
Willow stared at him. Then she looked up. She sighed. "I wish that we had some way to tell the people who wanted to hurt the slayers. Some sort of sign or symbol on their visible body parts."
"Wish granted," a tiny little voice called. "D'Hoffryn's going to shit."
Willow summoned them. "Xander was nearly killed protecting them."
"D'Hoffryn said that sort of protecting is harmful."
"No it's not." She cast something and the wish was altered so the meaning behind 'harmed' was defined better than trying to keep them from dating bad boys or girls. The wish demon moaned, looking at her pitifully. She stared back. "Yay." It disappeared.
Steve poked Willow on the mark on her head. "I think it read your anger at Kennedy," he said quietly. He walked off. Outside, the officers, who were mostly all marked, were having a fit. Willow versus the NYPD. That was going to be messy and they needed backup. Coulson showed up before he could text Stark.
"Enough!" he ordered. "Willow, no." He stared at her. "We can handle them. Go make sure the girls are all right." She scowled at him. He stared at her. "I like that it's a large 'J' for jackass but still, young lady. We'll handle this attack and you can handle later ones. Where's Xander? I expected him to be out here with his axe."
"He's coughing so my mom took him to a healer," Eliana said. "Who're you?"
"Director Coulson of SHIELD."
She blinked. "Wow, the asshole suit patrol. You do exist. It's amazing," she said sarcastically. She looked at Willow. "Can't you make a wish that they can't do it again? That those sort have to ignore the slayers or can't touch them?"
"No. I don't have any other owed wishes. I haven't been playing kitten poker."
Eliana nodded. "We'll see what we can work up for protection spells. Even the chaos sort are mad about these ones."
"Ethan would probably help. I'll ask him later."
Coulson looked at her. "As long as it's not dangerous to everyone else please." She rolled her eyes but stomped off. "Where are the girls?" he asked.
"Safe," Eliana said. "From all this shit."
"Thank you. Is the safe room better than it was a few days ago?"
"Yeah, Xander finished it."
Steve leaned out. "Sam's up there with Bucky," he said quietly. Coulson's eyes went wide. "He's fine. I checked before I left him up there."
"Colossus went up there when he got here."
"That's even better. I know he'll help the girls calm down. He's used to helping them stay calm during these events." Coulson looked at the officers. "What can we do to help you make sure this won't happen again?"
"Make them all stop even if it does take a witch," one said.
"Granted," Willow called. She looked around. "Why are there weapons in the living room!"
"They're Xander's and he was cleaning them," Steve said. "The girls were playing upstairs."
"Oh. Never mind. It's a Xander thing I'll never understand because I'm not him or a guy."
Eliana leaned into the house. "You keep putting him down and one of his buddies is going to get mad at you again. You know what happened last time."
Willow snorted, scowling at her. "It's fine."
"It's not fine. You keep trying to destroy Xander. Maybe that's why you have that 'jackass' mark." She went back out there. She looked at Coulson. "What do we do about her?" she asked quietly.
"We let Xander handle her and we protest when she puts him down. And if we end up pets we make sure we have tags so we don't end up in the pound like the last one she did that to." Eliana turned green and heaved. "The witch that volunteered there found her. I meant to talk to her about that." His face went blank and he looked around. "Who did this?"
"You just got hit with a memory spell," Eliana said. "I'm not that good. Tara, help?" she called. Tara appeared and stared at Coulson then removed the spells, glaring inside. "Can you help us figure out a protection for the girls?"
"Of course. Ethan and I have been working on one with the younger members of the coven plus some other chaos mages." She smiled. "Xander?"
"Coughing. My mom took him to a healer."
"Good. Thank her for me if I don't see her."
"Of course. You're a witch we look up to. We need a good role model." She looked at the ranting witch. "Yo, the slayers ate all the veggies last night and he was going shopping today. Tone it down! Not everyone's a vegan!" She looked at Tara again. "Can we convince her to go against HYDRA? We can PPV it."
"Putting that sort of battle on pay per view wouldn't work. It'd take too long." Tara stomped in there. "Willow, stop it! You're supposed to be a role model and you're making an tiny little kitty butt of yourself!" She huffed and disappeared. Tara walked back outside. "Sorry."
Coulson nodded. "Some young women are loud." He looked at the agents. "Let's clean this up." His agents showed up finally to take out the bad idiots. "Let us know about Xander's health."
"I can do that," Eliana agreed. "Thank you." Someone came stomping their way. "Oooh, metal sexy." Stark snorted, staring at her. "I'm a good witch. Notice I'm not wearing the big ol' 'J' mark that Willow created. We're pretty sure it's for jackass."
"Is she wearing it?" Stark asked.
"Yup," she said dryly. "Tara's a goddess who drove the evil one off."
"That's a good thing," Stark agreed. "Evil needs to be fought on all levels." She walked off giggling, hurrying to her mother's car to help Xander out. Stark watched him be walked inside. "He injured?"
"Sick and then they used knockout gas around him," Steve said as he came out. "The girls are braiding Bucky's hair." Stark burst out laughing, walking off again. "Stark, serious things. Vision about an attack at a school." Stark stared at him, putting up his face shield. "The alternative one a few of the girls go to."
"Like hell that'll happen. Them, HYDRA, or another threat?"
"He didn't see. He saw the funerals."
"No, it won't happen. We can divert that one." He walked off again. "Coulson, let me know what I can do to help beyond stopping that guy there." He went to stomp on the guy with the piece of artillery. "Are you surrendering that to the slayers?" he asked dryly.
"Xander wanted to see it to see if it's useable for later battles. Is he not here?"
"He's sick," Stark said. "They just brought him back." He pointed. The guy carried it inside while Steve watched him. Xander moaned and petted the weapon, looking it over. When Xander said he could use it, the guy gave him the map to the stash he had found. Xander paid him and the guy hurried off.
Coulson walked in. "Can we bust that for you?"
"No. You scare those sort. They came to me."
"Would you take an agent with you?"
"One I could trust."
"I'll see if they're busy later."
"Later is patrol time," Xander said, sitting up. "I have to go with the girls so they're protected."
Steve looked at him then at Stark. Then up and back at Xander. "Do they need to patrol tonight?" He knew any other argument was a failed, futile thing with Xander. Xander would be going with the girls on patrol to help protect them unless he was restrained in a hospital bed.
"Yeah, unfortunately they spotted a growing vampire force being made. So we've got a lot of staking tonight."
"Then later's probably a better option before someone finds it," Steve agreed. "Will they need more help?"
Xander looked at him. "It's four of us and me. We should be okay. We're getting a lot of them coming up."
"Sure. Call, Harris."
"Of course." He looked around. "Is he in a closet?"
"He's not going to hurt the girls." Steve stared at him.
"No but they'll hurt him. I know my girls."
"Sam said they were braiding his hair and he was huffy but fine."
Xander relaxed. "Cool. Can we let them out? The bathroom's very tiny up there and I know women. They'll want to have more than one soon. It's that week."
"Stark, we good?" he called.
"Yeah. Eliana and I were talking about protection spell ideas. They're all cleaned up and the PD is leaving now."
"Thanks. Let me go let the girls out." He jogged up the stairs and over to the other building, letting them out. Xander had coded him into the system in case it was a huge problem. "Ladies, it's all okay now. Eliana's outside with Stark. Xander's on the couch with his cough. He's just back from the healer for his cold." The girls all gave him that scary 'mom' look before they rushed down to check on their Xander. He grinned at Sam. "More than a few and Willow marked a lot of people who hate slayers enough to hurt them. She's got one too but it's probably about her ex-girlfriend Kennedy."
"I talked to Kennedy after the last battle. Girl's grown up since they dated. She probably wouldn't cheat now." He looked at Bucky, who had pretty braids. "You good?"
"I'm fine. The danger? HYDRA?"
"In this case, maybe one was. There were three waves of attacks, with artillery." He looked at Sam. "Xander's got patrol tonight and then they're cleaning out a weapons cache someone found."
"With him being sick?" They went downstairs. The girls were nagging Xander. "Ladies, you're women, be persuasive instead of nagging. Guys run from nagging."
"Yes we do," Xander agreed. "And I do have to go on patrol tonight. We've got that growing army we have to handle." They all groaned. "Then I'll go find the new weapons." They sighed and settled in to make sure he was all right. Miffy was petting Xander's special axe for him so it wasn't lonely. Steve took a picture of her, making her grin. "Ladies, thank you for taking good care of Mr. James for Mr. Steve."
"He's cute and a warrior. It's a fun and great thing to find," one of the older girls said with a smirk at Bucky.
"It'll be a while before he dates," Steve said quickly.
"And don't pounce him," Sam ordered. "He might react wrong. He's just off a lot of bad problems."
"We understand about that," Miffy said. "We can't run and pounce a few of the big slayers and Mr. Xander either." She grinned up at Bucky. "Are you going to the tower?"
"For now," Steve agreed, looking at Bucky.
He looked at him. "That's a bad idea."
Stark walked in, his helmet off. He stared at Barnes. "There'll be problems but we'll see how it's handled." He looked at Steve, who winced a bit but nodded. "For now, he can stay with you. I know you two have plenty of camp overs back in the day." He looked at Xander. "That's not working, Harris. It's got a broken area." He pointed.
Xander shifted it to look at. "I can fix that with a soldiering iron, right?"
"Probably but it'll leave that area open to be hit again."
"I can cover the area with duct tape. I do it a lot with some of the stuff we win." He looked at him. "I have a pile of stuff I need to fix anyway."
"Duct tape?" Stark asked. He was not going to look horrified. He wasn't. He wasn't going to show how horrified he was at that method of patch jobbing artillery.
"Yeah, it works well enough for battles. Not like you can repeatedly fire these babies."
Miffy hopped up to bounce around him, cuddling the axe. "Mr. Xander fixes a lot of weapons. Including swords and daggers and pretty crossbows."
"I learned back in Sunnydale."
"Not like Buffy could," Kara agreed, smiling at her boyfriend. "You do okay with that too."
"I try but my fingers are too big."
Xander looked at him. "We like you even if you couldn't do anything but sit somewhere and look shiny, Piotr." The boy grinned at him. He looked at Stark. "I didn't figure I should find scrap metal pieces to weld over those sort of areas."
"No that might cause problems," Stark agreed. "I thought your armory was empty?"
"Mostly. I have the fixing vault I have to work on. I was going to do that today. The fixed and/or working one is nearly empty." He got up with a groan. "We can go see but you'd never fit through the door in that."
"I can look from the doorway," Stark said dryly. Steve and Sam followed. The girls talked to Bucky about his knives. They all liked weapons. They went back to the armory and the room across the hall that most everyone thought was a storage closet. It was, just for broken things.
Xander had to move a few broken swords out of the way and then a broken crossbow. "Those are harder fixes. I need to carve a whole new support beam for the crossbow. Giles likes the older ones and they are easier to fix." He touched something on the table and suddenly things that were shelves now looked like cases for artillery. Xander checked them and let Stark see a few. "More duct tape to cover and soldiering. And two that have no shooty parts but we have a launcher."
Stark looked and moaned, shaking his head. "Do you guys get a lot of stuff that doesn't work?" Sam asked.
"Yeah. Poker circuit usually means stuff stored instead of off-world arms dealers. Theirs almost always work. They're handling things that are going off-world but are bought from down here. Or sometimes stolen I guess. It was easier in Africa. I'd go do a raid of some group that had things I needed or asked a regional military for the few huge things."
"I'd have asked for more than the few you did," Steve said.
Xander shrugged. "Guns don't always work. Even their militaries don't run on swords anymore."
"Point." He looked at a few things. "What's wrong with this one?"
"Nothing for it to fire," Xander said. He grinned. "I'm hoping the stuff tonight will have some stuff to round ours out. If we can get there before anyone else." Stark nodded that was a good idea. "I should go this afternoon. The girls are going to be doing girl things at the mall with someone guarding them. Penny needs new shirts so she's going to tease Brad with trying flirty things on. The girls asked to come along so they had someone they could run to." His phone rang. "Harris?" He listened, frowning. "That's weird. No, I have no idea why some people have a huge J on their foreheads."
"Willow cast a wish to mark people who'd hurt or have hurt slayers," Steve said. "It caught her because she had that problem with Kennedy."
Xander shook his head with a sigh. "I just heard about it but I'm told Willow cast a wish to mark people who want to hurt slayers. So the J's probably for Jackhole. She doesn't like to swear. Thanks for letting me know. I wonder if we can do that with HYDRA people." He hung up with a sigh then looked up and groaned. "The president has one. That was a reporter."
Steve winced, looking at Stark. He was looking up footage, showing it off. "Yeah, that's the mark," Steve agreed. He looked at him. "She had to rearrange it because originally harming the slayers would've caught you for protecting them from boys."
"A few of the girls think that's a bad thing," Xander agreed dryly. "But I hate having to go rescue them from dates. A few didn't want rescued but their boyfriends of the moment got to be arrested. One was picking up a sugar daddy and she's fifteen. He's still mad but Kennedy's father made fun of him for it."
Stark shook his head. "I heard about that." He looked at Harris. "Anything you can't fix, ask me."
"I can do that." He grinned. "I know I don't know everything about anything. I know how to solder because I had to learn."
"That's a good reason to learn," Stark assured him. "I might not make weapons anymore but you guys need things often enough that I'll help you fix things. If they're destroyed for good reasons it's all the better."
"Cool!" He smiled. "Thanks, Mr. Stark."
"Welcome, Xander. Let me go back to the tower. Oh, the goat helped bite General Ross."
"Awww, that special thing. That's so cute of it. The girls would like that story." Stark walked off, pausing to tell the girls that. They went on a mass squeal. Steve winced at the noise. Xander grinned. "That's why I didn't follow. I need that hearing." He laughed and left with Sam, Xander following once he had locked things up.
Steve showed up for patrol that night, using the new compact crossbow someone had built him to help.
Bucky scowled at them. "Why aren't you shooting them?"
Xander looked back between swings with a sword. "Wooden bullets don't work as well because the heart's a really tiny target and it doesn't work as well as a crossbow bolt that can stay there. Or beheading works on most vampire species."
"Talk to the originating demon over vampires," Kara quipped. She got knocked backwards and dropped her sword so she kicked the vampire back, then hopped up to kick him in the head, knocking it off. "Gotta love dead things having weaker skin," she said, picking back up her sword to get back to it.
"Sometimes," Xander said. "Sometimes not." They finished off the small group and he sighed, dusting himself off. He looked around. "Two cowering?" he said with a point.
"They're peaceful," Colossus said. "I told them to hide there, Xander."
"Okay, that's great." He smiled. "I'm sorry you guys had to see that." The girls helped them out and one of them escorted them to a safe location. Xander looked at Steve. "Bored?"
"Partially looted. They left all the broken stuff." He shrugged. "All stuff I can probably fix though." He grinned at the lady behind Steve. "Yes, Miss?"
"Mr. Harris?" He nodded. "I'm with the Times."
"You know we hate reporters."
"I know but I need a statement about something that would probably affect your girls. That new law about mutants?"
Xander snorted, smirking at her. "Ma'am, I am one. I have a tiny mutation that means I can find earrings and keys." She smiled more brightly. "That law states that mutants are not only not protected by any laws, it means we're not going to be held responsible by *any* laws." She blinked. "That second page, third paragraph where it's laying out the restrictions? It's in there. According to that paragraph, there's no laws in any part of the state that apply to us. So we can have huge battles here in town and no one can say a *thing* or sue us or anything." He grinned. "The Council is outside that. The girls are mystically chosen, not holding a mutation to make them slayers. A few of the slayers are mutants as well and they're getting specialized training on top of the regular self defense, but unless I missed where it specifically mentioned slayers it doesn't apply to us."
She pulled up a copy of that bill to read. "Can I get a copy of that so I can help fight it?" Steve asked politely.
She blinked. "Yes, sir. Who're you?"
Xander grinned. "The girls in this house are rich with mentors who know the jobs. Including Mr. Rogers and his buddy." She blinked and moaned. "A few of the Avengers have helped mentor the girls."
"They're great girls and need support for their appointed duty," Steve said with a grin for her. "They're really sweet girls. Even if they do like to tie up people and do their hair on them. They got Hawkeye that way once and he just sighed and let them. We all think they're mostly really sweet girls. Who now and then have girlish tempers and fights." He pointed.
Xander looked back at them. "Quit picking on Kara for having a boyfriend. You guys can date if you ever look at someone that's not a shithead." They sighed but nodded. "Kara, go ahead and cuddle. We'll keep going in a few." She nodded, smiling at her boyfriend. They flopped down on a bench to cuddle.
"She's dating an X-Man," the reporter said.
Xander smiled and nodded. "She is. They were penpals before they got together. He's been a great help too. When we had to hit England for six weeks he came along. It's great that there's another guy in the house sometimes. Otherwise I'd be nuts from all the girlish things."
The reporter blinked at him. "There's no other men in the house?"
Xander shook his head. "Every now and then Penny and her husband show up. She's a retired slayer."
"Wow. Doesn't someone worry about funny stuff?"
"Everyone knows I'd never touch one of the girls, Miss. They're like my sisters. Why would I want to touch that? Really."
"Oh. Sorry. I know some parents would worry."
"Most of the girls with parents live with their parents."
"I had forgotten about that." She reread that paragraph. "That does remove you from all rules and regulations, doesn't it?"
He grinned and nodded. "Yup, sure does. I know that's probably not what the bigoted assholes who wrote that law meant but they did a fine job of it." He smirked. "Frankly, I'd like to see that sort come do the job. Because they're not one I'm really looking forward to saving and if they show up at a battle, they're on their own."
She winced. "The mayor was at the last battle."
"And I made sure the girls didn't go anywhere near the asshole," Xander agreed. "Because he sneers at little girls for being born. Yet, he's *very* pro life, unless they're born with a mutation."
"I..." She cleared her throat. "Yes, he has stated that in the past, hasn't he." Xander nodded. "Well." She sighed. "What are the mutant communities going to do about this?"
"You ask like I speak for them. I only speak for myself and sometimes the girls. Frankly, I stay out of both sides of the community because neither one was protecting the younger mutants or those without battle skills. Not one single foster family got found, or an orphanage, nothing like that. Until the peaceful community stepped in to help. I've pointed this out as well."
She winced. "That's a good point. Thank you, Mr. Harris. Are you going to fight this in court?"
"It actually makes my job easier. This means if I find someone summoning a demon I can hurt them a lot instead of waiting on the NYPD to help. Though if it means that they don't answer someone trying to hurt the girls or the house, that means I get to end that group myself."
She shivered. "I get that. Thanks, I'll point out this bad side as well. I don't think anyone realized that." She hurried off. There were more vampires coming anyway. She heard a few crossbows going off so they were probably gone before she got to her car. Her editor was not looking for this story but it was a huge one.
Steve looked at Xander. "Militant?" he asked dryly.
"About some things." He grinned. "The girls deserve it instead of the guys earlier." He coughed and spit. "All right, ladies. We're supposed to be at the cemetery by now." They groaned but they hiked off to find that group of vampires.
Steve looked at Bucky. "That's one reason why I help mentor. The girls need support."
"They need better weapons."
"They don't work."
"Damn." He followed Steve, still scowling. The first time he had to stake a vampire it was weird. "No blood," he said, looking at his dusty hand. Then at the pile of dust. "That's so weird." He saved one of the girls by moving her, making her shriek but he got that one and she yelled but oh well. She staked more and glared at him. Steve could tell him later about how to handle that problem.
Stark woke up in the morning to a shove, glaring at her. "This is not a habit I like," he complained.
She handed over the paper. "The backlash against that anti-mutant protection bill just blew up." She walked off.
He read the headline of 'mutants no longer covered by laws thanks to the mayor' and winced. He read it, groaning at that part. "Oh, damn it. Who did that?" he called.
"Harris mentioned it," Steve said, leaning into the living room where Tony had fallen asleep. "The reporter getting his statement on it about the slayers didn't realize it was there either. I read it, it does remove all mutants from being responsible for breaking any law with the way it was written. He also noted that no mutant could be sued for battles." He went back to the kitchen. "I'm making breakfast if you want some."
"Please." He followed, rereading the article. "Any of the bigger mutant names make a comment?"
"One agreed with Harris that the mayor was only 'pro life' when it wasn't about mutants. He's said that a few times." Steve looked at him. "Xander can be downright militant about the girls."
"Yes he can," Clint said as he joined them. "In the right way. That way they're protected." He took the paper to read, grimacing. "Too bad it doesn't cover me since it's retroactive to the battle with Loki." He put it down and took some coffee before walking off. "I helped him pick that area clean, and two more we found down there. Someone's going to be mad their stash was broken into but yay."
"Working?" Stark called after him.
"Nope. Not mostly but probably fixable he thinks."
"Good." Stark picked up the paper to look over. "We hear anything from anyone we work with?"
"I called Logan last night after we got in. He groaned and said he hadn't realized that but it'd definitely cause some stress. He said he'd note it over breakfast." Steve leaned on the counter, sipping his coffee as the eggs cooked. "He thought that the first test would be some mutant kid stealing food."
"Probably. Would killing them be covered?" Steve shook his head. "Damn."
"No that was one of the provisions made. We're no longer protected under any law like the domestic violence laws or anything like that."
"We?" Stark demanded.
"I am counted as one. One of the last paragraphs stated that enhanced humans are counted as mutants. They were probably writing it to include the slayers but the way it's written I'm included, Nat's included, Bucky's included. Bruce is included."
"Has he seen this?"
"No. Not that I'm aware."
"Is he in his lab?"
"Meditating. I left a note saying I was making breakfast near him."
"Okay." Stark pulled up an internet copy of the bill to read over. He hadn't been paying it any real attention but he knew Pepper had been. He texted her and she sent back a 'yes, it does say that' and a summary of all the stupid in it. When Bruce came up, Tony handed him both things and took the plate from Steve. "Thanks."
"Welcome." He looked at Bruce. "Xander pointed out to a reporter last night that the bill has some serious flaws beyond being full of hate. Including that both of us are now included as mutants."
Bruce frowned. "What?"
"Last page," Stark said, handing over his phone with that summary pulled up.
Bruce sat down to read them, then the paper, then the bill. "That's so wrong. Though, that means no one gets compensation if I have to destroy something during a battle." He looked up. "The only one not included in this is Stark and Clint."
"Yup," Steve said.
"He was a bit pouty about that," Stark said dryly. "It's also retroactive to the battle with Loki so some insurance companies can sue for their payments back. Any sign that they're challenging it?"
"There's one already filed," Steve said. "Probably won't be heard for at least a year."
"Is Harris safe?" Natasha asked. "I can just see one of those stupid bigots sneering at him for having one drop of mutant blood and that they should kill him to save the girls. Then him scaring her by noting he could kill her whole family and not be held responsible."
"Did he?" Stark asked.
"On the slayer grocery shopping trip. She's sobbing to Fox News."
"They're slime anyway," Steve said. "He's right though."
"He also noted if someone took him out, they'd have to save themselves from demon menaces. He suggested we might not be able to answer for our own safety so she should probably get her kids into sword lessons soon. Apparently one of the slayers was wearing a body camera because this sort of thing happens and they want proof to give to lawyers." She poured herself some coffee. "By the film she looked the child with the stupid woman over and told her to try a certain type of martial arts. It'd help her better at her weight class and size." Steve winced. "She sent in the tape to them and others to prove who started it."
Clint came back. "They're holding an emergency meeting at City Hall."
"Going," Steve promised. "Let me go get pretty." He looked at the others.
"Pepper's going," Stark said, sending that text message to her. She vowed she'd pick him up. "She'll pick you up in ten minutes, Rogers."
"That's fine." He went to change and do his hair, managing to get there just before Pepper pulled up. "Just us?"
"So far. Tony may come later." She drove them off. "This is so stupid."
"No one realized that until Xander told a reporter last night during patrol." She winced. "Otherwise it would've come out during someone's trial."
"Probably," she agreed. "This is going to be so messy."
"Probably." He grinned at her. "At least everyone wants it rescinded now. Which was probably Xander's intention."
"Probably." They parked and got out, heading inside to talk to the idiots in charge.
On the way out, Xander appeared once then looked up. He groaned and disappeared, then came back a few minutes later to pounce Steve Rogers to the ground just as a gunshot went off.
"Xander," he said, moving him off him. "Shit, you're hit. Pepper, I need help." She moved to help him. "He got me out of the way of the sniper." Another shot but the sniper fell off the roof. "Please tell me that was an agent," he muttered as he held pressure. "Xander, c'mon. The girls need you."
Xander blinked at him. "I hate visions. I'm going to kill the damn PTB." He passed back out.
Stark pulled up. "Get him in," he ordered. They carried him down and Pepper ran for her car while Steve held the injury on the way back to the tower. "This is going to be super messy now. Giles is livid."
"Good! I can't say I'm much happier." They pulled into the tower and Steve got him out and upstairs. "People." They rushed over to take him. "I've kept pressure until in the elevator. He's passed out."
"We can handle this," one of the doctors agreed. They got him to surgery so they could fix the bullet wound.
Steve went to clean up and come back to wait. On the way he ran into Clint, who was zipping his battle vest. "Xander's in surgery."
"I'm going to guard the girls with Wilson." He grimaced. "Let me know, one way or another. They'll be crying."
"He had a vision that showed Miffy's school being attacked. Her, Hannah, and Elia all had funerals," he said quietly.
Clint's face hardened. "I'd kill everyone." He went down to borrow a car. He found SHIELD agents there. "The girls safe?"
"Crying," one of them said. "Slayer Penny and her husband are there."
Clint nodded, going inside. "Ladies, he's at our infirmary. They'll tell us as soon as they know." He hugged Miffy. She was a favorite mini of the local area. "It'll be okay." She shook her head. "It will be because a lot of people like Xander. Whoever hired that guy to hit Steve won't make it very long." She looked up at him. "He dove in front of Rogers. He was wearing a bulletproof vest but it hit right on top of it. The sniper's already dead." They nodded and cuddled in. He looked at Penny. "You shouldn't be so stressed," he said quietly.
"Yeah but I'm not going to be able to not be stressed," she said dryly. "This shit's going to stress me out."
"They're going to call me as soon as they know anything." She nodded, relaxing against Brad's side. "We should probably get you girls somewhere safer."
"Why were they trying to hit Mr. Captain?" Miffy demanded, staring up at him. Her eyes were still wet. Clint wiped off her cheeks. "He's not a bad man."
"There's people who hate us for being stronger and saving people. Just like they do you girls for saving them. One of them was going after Steve. It looks like Xander had a vision. He probably couldn't get to the sniper to stop them so he tried to save Steve by knocking him out of the way." She slumped. "If I find whoever started that, I'll make sure they're very sorry, Princess." He sat down and let her cuddle. "It'll be okay. We'll make it as okay as we can make it. Even if he's got a long time to heal, it'll be okay." She nodded, resting against his shoulder. He looked at the other girls. "Has anyone talked to Giles?"
"Once," she said. "He told us to hide inside. Kara's out though. We can't get her."
"Is she with Piotr?" The girls all nodded. "Then one should have their phone."
"If they're making out they turn them off," Penny said. "I used to."
"Okay, so we put a call out," Clint said, calling someone. "It's Barton. Someone needs to find the Slayer Kara and her boyfriend. Harris just took a bullet for Rogers at City Hall. He's in surgery and the girls are all at the house. Her phone's off," he said when that was asked. "She's with her boyfriend." He nodded. "Thanks." He hung up. "They'll find her." They others nodded, cuddling together. Willow appeared. "Not right now, Rosenburg. The girls need to rest."
She glared. "I'm moving them to Cleveland."
"No you're not," Penny said. "That's even more dangerous. All the bigots in the world are there camping on the house's doorstep. At least here we have a safe area. The one down there you disabled to make it your practice room." Willow glared and huffed but left. She looked at her spouse, who kissed her. "You can make sure she can't come supposedly help while I'm in labor, right?"
"She won't get near you or the baby," he promised. She relaxed again. "We need to check the safe room, Barton. I'm sure Xander stocked stuff but I have no idea what or if it's been used."
"Only some of the bottled water," one of the other girls said. "He even stocked tampons."
"That's a thoughtful guy. Most of us would stock necessary things and forget about that," Clint quipped, making a few of the girls giggle. His phone beeped. He shifted to pull it out. "Kara's been found. She was in a mall and Piotr's in another shop. They're hurrying back here." The girls all nodded. "Guys," he called. "Kara's on her way back with her guy."
"We'll make sure they get here," one of the agents agreed. He leaned in. "Coulson ordered no patrol until this is solved, ladies."
"Pity but there's a vampire menace making more to start an army," Macy told him.
He winced. "I'll call that in." He pulled back to make note of that. He said he'd send agents to handle it for the girls. He leaned in again. "LA has the same sort of rule started."
"Connor's not a mutant," Penny said. "Gunn's a normal guy and so is his gang as far as I know."
"Connor's considered enhanced because of his parents," Clint said. "It's in his SHIELD file."
She winced. "He's going to hate that."
"I hate that," Clint said. "We realized earlier that the only two not covered by that was me and Stark."
The agent stared at him. "That's a good point. You're not an enhanced human," he realized. He called that tidbit in and Coulson actually said a swear word over the comms. He leaned in again. "Um, sir, your handler just said 'fuck'."
"Over the comms? Did he spill burning hot coffee on himself again?" he joked. "That got a damn the last time."
"No. I noted what you reported and he said fuck."
"Well, someone's going to pay," he said dryly. He sent that text to Natasha, who put the tower into lockdown. "Avengers tower is in lockdown," he reported.
"Thanks, sir." He went to tell that to his controlling agent. They had all figured out he was probably HYDRA but apparently they wanted to protect the slayers too. When bigots showed up they all got arrested and SHIELD wasn't that nice to them about it.
Steve leaned on the bedside railing, staring at the guy on the bed. "Next time, warn me," he said quietly. "I would've taken another way out. I know it was only a few seconds but still, Xander." He patted him on the arm. Xander shifted. "No, you rest. You're safe. You're in the tower," he promised. "If they come here, they're getting my shield up their asses." Xander fell back deeper again. He went to talk to the nurses. "When can his slayers come check on him?"
"Tomorrow. We've already called to tell them that. A few have snuck in but fallen asleep." She pointed at them.
Steve smiled at them then at her. "One's Wanda's niece."
"That's great." She looked at the girls then at him. "He'll be safe. We're all trained for defense of our patients, Captain."
"Thank you." He walked off, stroking over Bethy's hair. She blinked at him. "Xander's still asleep. You should go to bed."
"No I shouldn't. There were mean doctors here the last time he got injured. We have to protect him from them. He'd do it for us." She got up and went back in there to curl up next to Xander so she could protect him. Her half-sister Diana came in to help. They called the other siblings and they all agreed they could sneak this way to come help them guard the Xander.
Steve went up to talk to Wanda. "They're both guarding Xander by sleeping on him," he said quietly when she opened the door. "Diana too."
She nodded. "I'll get them in a bit, once they're asleep. They're sweet to guard him."
"Bethy noted that the last time he got injured there was a doctor who hated him."
She nodded. "There was. I'll make sure they don't harm him."
"It's probably helping him. No one ever fusses over him. He does a lot over the girls but they don't get to fuss over him." He went up to the meeting room. The others had moved to the living room so he joined them. "Xander's stable. Bethy and Diana are napping on him to guard him." He sat down. "Anything happening beyond a lot of loud reporters?"
"A ton of loud reporters, including a few wondering who was trying to kill you," Stark said. Steve nodded once. "A few wondering why he didn't hit the sniper. They ran it with a hired former agent and figured out Harris couldn't have gotten to him. At least he popped out to get his vest then came back." Steve relaxed, nodding again. "Buffy's went on the tv to vow that if she found whoever had hurt Xander she was going to feed them to the hellmouth. She'd go to jail for the very messy murder. A few of the slayers backed her up and all the slayers are inside tonight if possible."
"On a worse note, sixteen agents went to handle the rest of that vampire army," Natasha said. "Three needed to have stakes implanted before they raised, another five or six are in body bags and the rest are all injured. They tried to use a wooden bullet." Steve shook his head. "Coulson reported a few of the local demonic overlord's people saved them and got the army for them. Clint's staying with the girls tonight. He's upping their safe room. He found the longer term safe room area and was stocking it as well. It has more beds and a larger bathroom."
"Dr. McCoy suggested we move Xander to the school. I told them no," Stark said. "Because I knew very well he and the Professor don't get along because of high handed issues on Xavier's part." He sat up. "When someone noted earlier that slayers aren't mutants, or enhanced humans, they're mystically chosen, someone tried to push through a rider for that law. Some people were stupid enough to push for it."
Natasha shook her head. "I doubt that will keep them in office later."
"A few rednecks have come out to say it's not right that mutants and little girls are protecting them so they're going to start protecting themselves. They proved it by going after a few goth kids," Stark said with an evil smirk. "And got arrested for killing five of the six. One was a mutant and they can't charge them for it. They nearly got lynched in the jail."
"I was hoping they'd wait until after the trial. It would give a legal precedent," Natasha said. "They'll need one to stop the law's effects. Being able to point at a case of 'we're not charging them for killing someone' is going to be more effective than them saying it could happen. Especially with a very mad parent involved." She shrugged at Steve's scowl. "She admitted her husband had plans of doing the same thing but she had stopped him and his abusive ideas. So that was two ways the law had failed her family."
"Not one peep in the press from Xavier," Stark said. "Magneto sent out something saying he was appalled that humans were that stupid. That hopefully this would prove to all mutant kind that they couldn't trust the humans and shouldn't work to protect them. Press people are screaming about that one as well, more than the fact that nothing's come out of Xavier or any other team. I've got a press conference called for tomorrow morning for us. Pepper's making it."
Steve nodded once. "Okay. Will she be okay?"
"She's got bulletproof shields going up around her," he assured him. "See through but there."
"Good," Natasha said. "I'll be going with her just in case."
"She suggested that," Tony said with a grin for her. "Should we send anything to the girls tonight? I sent pizzas. I doubted Clint could cook that much."
"They probably appreciated that," Steve said.
Wanda came off the elevator. "When did Pietro's children multiply? There's eight now."
Natasha blinked, staring at her. "He was quite busy."
"I don't know when," Wanda said. "But apparently." She sat down with a huff. "Can we help?"
"We hope so," Tony said. "We're all figuring this out. Pepper's making a statement tomorrow. Are the kids protecting Xander?" She nodded. "Is Pietro down there?"
"He snuck out to talk to the others he knows."
"Get him back here so he can meet them. Maybe he'll buy better condoms," Sam said dryly from his seat. "Boy must super speed there to break them too." Wanda burst out laughing but was blushing. "Eight, wow."
"For men it's easier," Natasha reminded him. "They only need a few moments."
"Yes but if we don't find him a better brand soon, he'll have twenty or more kids soon."
Natasha considered it. "He is that fast there too probably." Wanda was bursting out in new giggles. "There needs to be male pills or something."
"Vasectomies are easy," Stark said. "Usually reversible. Done within an hour in an office procedure and guys can be doing more fun things a few hours later. I know a guy who was playing basketball three hours later."
"Whole lot faster than the same procedure on women," Natasha said. "Perhaps we should start suggesting that as teenagers?" She looked at Stark.
"I had mine done at twenty," he said dryly. "Haven't had it reversed yet. Thankfully with some of the bimbos I used to date." He finished his current drink. "You and your brother are more than welcome to hide here in the tower, Wanda. We check all deliveries coming in for anything harmful so they can't poison your fruit if you order some through green grocer or another site. We scan for poisons and explosives." She nodded, not quite looking him in the face. "You can order your brother a t-shirt that's for a better band too. That way it's to a band that people actually like to listen to."
"He picked it out," she said. "The kids?"
"As long as I don't have them in the lab, they're safe too until their parents start to worry," Stark told her.
"Thank you," she said quietly, going back down there. She stared. "Now I know you're multiplying yourselves. There weren't twins before." The twins grinned at her. "Where did you come from?"
"New Jersey. We were coming earlier," one said.
"We were late because the trains are usually late," the other agreed.
She tucked them in. "Let Xander sleep. He's injured." They all nodded and snuggled in together. "We can get you a bed for just you children." They all shook their heads. "All right. Pietro will be back soon." She walked off to call him. "Your children are multiplying." She hung up.
In a forest outside of town, Pietro looked at his phone then put it back. "My sister is weird. He looked at Sabertooth. "She said my children are multiplying."
"I agree with the first kid. You need better condoms," he said dryly.
He scowled at him. "Some of them I never knew their mothers."
"That figures." He looked around. "That one be all right? He was mouthy but good."
"He should be fine. I think that's where the children are. I know someone's watching over the slayers in the local house."
"Why can't they go home?"
"They don't have homes anymore. The ones that took out the old Council took out their families if they had them. Apparently the old Council used to take them from their families. They stopped that now."
"Good!" He looked around. "I can smell you."
"That's why I lit the cigar," Logan said dryly as he joined them. "The twins showed up, Pietro. We have someone watching the tower."
"I have twins?" he demanded. "Did I actually meet their mother? A few of the others I hadn't."
"We think so since she's got your face tattooed on her ass," Logan said dryly. "She's in New Jersey." The kid shook his head quickly. "We've counted twelve sneaking in."
"Twelve?" he squeaked. "No! Five. Six," he said with a scowl. "I forgot Morgan. She has a gift that makes her be ignored."
"We saw," Logan agreed. "Twelve." Pietro groaned, shaking his head.
"At least none of those groups were involved," Sabertooth complained. Logan handed over a manila envelope. "Another one?"
"On the groups they stopped and yeah, there's one that could show up anytime. He just wants death. He was dating her so he's trying to give her presents."
He blinked a few times. "He dated Death? As in Grim Reaper?"
"Female personification," Pietro said. "I listened to the information briefing." He looked at Logan. "Who made the other children?"
"Their mothers." He grinned. "Bethy's mother stopped her sister from selling her used condoms." Pietro made a slight whining noise as he shook his head. "Thankfully no one in a government agency bought it." He looked at Sabertooth. "Did you see the paper?"
"And laughed myself sick."
"Whole bunch of younger mutants got attacked today because of it," Logan said.
"I was helping set up a community center as a shelter earlier," Pietro agreed. "They won't go after the demons protecting them."
"Not many want to go against the demonic mafia," Logan agreed. "They're not that nice. They don't stop at kneecaps."
"I didn't know they ran that one."
"The bruisers? They're on loan from them. The group that owns that community center is one of the poker hall owners."
"I've met a few of those. They seem decent." He rubbed his neck. "What are we doing?"
"Right now, we're waiting," Logan said. "Because we're not sure how long this shit storm is going to last. Thank your boss for the comment in the press," he told Sabertooth.
"Why hasn't yours?" Logan shrugged. "It's just hurting things."
"I think he wants things to calm down or to go to a bigger source."
"He should have denounced it before it started," Sabertooth said.
"I don't think he heard about it until it got signed. Almost no coverage until then. Then everyone started to protest it." Logan shrugged. "I don't play politics. I would've brought someone to stomp on them if I did. I'll note it though." He smirked a tiny bit. "We're over here, Summers." Buffy stomped over. "Your girls are safe. We have some in the community watching the house. SHIELD has agents there and Barton's inside with the girls to protect them. They all trust him because he shows up to do big brother things too." She relaxed but nodded. "Harris is in the Avengers infirmary."
"My children are protecting him by having a sleepover in his room," Pietro said.
"Thank them for me. How dare he get that hurt!"
"He was protecting Rogers."
"So! Xander shouldn't be that hurt!"
"We're all working on it," Logan told her. "It's bigger than them aiming for Rogers and Harris saving him. The town's about to shake apart."
"Is it going to be safe for the girls?"
"We're hoping all the bigots are dying off," Pietro told her. "Many have."
"Lots got arrested recently, doesn't seem to have helped," Buffy said.
"Chill," Logan said. "Your girls are protected better than most kids in this city, Summers." He stared her down. "They've got half of everyone watching over them. Some of them have come out to ask the agents to go watch over the demon and mutant kids schools. They're very socially aware. Miffy was sobbing on someone earlier that her best friend might be in danger." She slumped but nodded. "We're working on it. Your girls are safe. The local house can protect itself."
"It still needs an adult and they ran Willow off earlier."
Logan nodded. "Because she came in growling."
"Xander doesn't let them get to know her."
Logan stared at her. "I think they've seen enough of her," he shot back. She grimaced but nodded. "They've all seen the recent things, not the history you have with her before her addiction."
"Fine. I still need to be there to help the girls. They're my slayers. I'll figure out how to get them to school and stuff safely or they can do lessons at home."
"Miffy's graduating kindergarten in a few days," Logan said. "She's really excited about it. Rogers said she showed off her new dress and everything."
Buffy smiled. "That's what I want for all of them. To be that innocent and to have that sort of freedom to appreciate things. Most of them do, outside of things like this."
"We're doing good keeping them out of it. The older girls know what's going on but Miffy just knows Xander got hurt protecting Rogers."
"Good. Thanks. I guess I'll head back there."
"Escorted," Logan ordered. He whistled and pointed. "Escort Buffy to the slayers please."
The demon looked at her. "Slayer Buffy. A few are at the bar to get information and the rest are home. We will make sure you get to your girls."
"Thanks, guys. We're really worried that they'll hurt my minis." She looked at Logan. "Let me know next time? I could've had them evacuated or put some of the new trainee watchers up here under Xander. They're agents, and a few are bad ones, but they still want to protect the girls." She walked off with the two guards. They were from a species she knew in Cleveland so they had something to talk about while they walked.
Logan looked at Pietro. "Tell Rogers that HYDRA is actually trying to protect the slayers for some reason."
"I can do that. It's really weird."
"It is," Logan agreed. "A bit worrying too. Harris has said a few times that he's against them and their ideas but it's nice they're protecting the girls for him. They're probably just as militant about their safety too."
"I'm hoping the kid gets to rest. I've seen him get up while injured before and go handle things," Sabertooth said. The other two stared at him. He smirked. "I've seen him working a few times. That's why I didn't fight him too much when he brought the mouthy kid."
Pietro shook his head. "That figures." His phone beeped with a picture. "That's a lot of children. Surely they can't be mine." He hoped. He hoped *very* hard.
Deadpool walked up to them and handed over a baby carrier. "The mom got attacked."
"She a mutant?" Logan asked, looking at the tiny kid.
"One that Harris was tracking. Not only a mini slayer but a mutant." He looked at Pietro, who shook his head. "Look her up." He walked off with a head shake. "We've got most of the town's kids safe if they don't have a home."
"Thanks," Logan called. "Who's her mom?"
"Brenda Pourson. She was HYDRA." He shot a look at Pietro, who groaned and shook his head again. Deadpool grinned, you could see it behind the mask. "Have fun. She's loud." He disappeared and they heard a motorcycle take off a few minutes later.
"He must've stolen it," Logan complained. He looked at the kid again then called someone. "Brenda Pourson," he said in greeting. "Yes, her." He listened, then handed the phone to Pietro, taking the kid before he dropped her.
"Who was that woman?" he demanded. The agent on the other side repeated what he saw. "Then why was I handed her daughter? Oh, one of them. Is there many of those? I seem to have a growing team of children. Ah! All but three of them were implanted by someone. Only three by HYDRA."
"How many did they do?" Sabertooth asked.
"Thirteen now," Logan said, looking at the kid. "So three-quarters were implanted by the Mom buying your sperm or HYDRA?" Pietro grimaced but nodded. "You need to fix that. Before you have hundreds of kids."
"If I find where HYDRA has my seed stored, I'll make sure they can't use it again." He took the kid back and handed back the phone.
Logan listened. "Please. Thank you." He hung up. "They'll tell me if they hear where it is."
"Thank you." He looked at her. "Let me go make my sister scream at me." He carried her off, taking her back to the tower. First, he went to find Rogers, who was in the tv room watching the news. He sat down and put the kid on the couch between them. "HYDRA has my seed."
Steve looked at him. Then at the kid. "She's cute."
"She's number thirteen and nine or ten of the mothers have been implanted by themselves or HYDRA."
Steve grinned a bit. "Thirteen. Really?" Pietro glared. He patted him on the arm. "At least you didn't have to get pregnant." He picked the baby up, making her yawn at him. "Why are you visiting?"
"Her mother was HYDRA. Deadpool brought her to me." He settled in to sulk. "How do I do this?"
"For now, I'd think getting her some formula and diapers. Babies need them both. Often." The younger guy groaned. "JARVIS?"
"I've ordered some and other baby supplies," the AI said. "They'll be delivered in about two hours, Pietro." He looked up and nodded, then went back to staring at his daughter. "That mother does have a spouse on file. I have no idea if he's HYDRA or not. I've noted that to the agent in charge of her accident. Someone ran her off the road."
"Why?" Steve asked.
"No one's sure yet, Captain. She's hungry."
"They didn't bring me anything for her and I don't think she can eat food," Pietro said.
"We have a few things in the emergency supplies," the AI said. "I'll have a robot bring it up."
"Thank you," Pietro said. "Is my sister up?"
"Yes. She's worried about you."
"Can you tell her that HYDRA was one of the reason I have so many children so I don't have to hear the fit?" he asked.
"I can and have. She's throwing a tantrum. Let me block her apartment from energy leaks." Pietro got up and sped off to go stop her. The AI laughed. "She just threw energy at him and threw him across the hall."
"I'd be pissed if HYDRA was making me kids too," Steve said, smiling at the baby. "You're adorable. Even if you're making a nasty face at me." The robot came up with the bag of baby supplies. "Thanks," he told the robot. It rolled off. Steve watched the baby sigh in pleasure then grin. "Feel better?" he joked. "Is Pietro coming back?"
Wanda stomped out, staring at the baby. "She's tiny."
"She got made by HYDRA," he said, handing her off and the bag of supplies. "She got happy."
"I do not know what to do with these things," she said dryly. "I've never had one or been around children."
The AI cleared his throat. "I've asked Natasha to come help, Wanda. She does know about such things."
"Go undercover twice as a nanny and you do learn," she said as she joined them. She sniffed the baby and took it to the bathroom with the bag of supplies. "Where did this one come from?"
"HYDRA," Steve said. "We need to find where they're storing genetic material to spare Pietro from having enough kids to fill a full baseball team."
She leaned out of the bathroom. "How many are there?"
"She's thirteen," Steve said.
"Thirteen!" Wanda demanded.
"Thirteen?" Natasha said less in a less panicky voice. "HYDRA was busy."
"Not all were HYDRA," Steve said.
"Some of the mothers wanted superhero kids," Wanda said dryly, flopping down with a huff. "We really must make sure they can't make more. I cannot keep track of that many birthdays for cards."
Steve patted her on the arm. "We'll find their stash of genetic materials and destroy them." Pietro limped in. "Anything about her we don't know?"
"She's a mutant."
"And a future slayer," Natasha said, coming out with a clean, mostly naked baby. "She had dirt under her clothes." She handed her to her father. The baby squealed and bounced in his arms so he sat down. "Vasectomy," she said bluntly, staring at him. "Then it won't matter if your condom breaks."
"That would be a problem."
"Two hours in a doctor's office," she said. "Two stitches. Local anesthesia. Few hours of healing and an ice pack. Or more children."
"I haven't touched anyone in two years," he complained.
"Yes but you will some day," Wanda complained back. "We really must end HYDRA's store of seed. Or at least his seed."
Natasha nodded. "We need to destroy that whole lab before more end up with children. Like Steve."
"I'd normally marry the girl I knocked up but not if she's done by HYDRA," Steve said. He waved at the happy baby, getting another squeal and her bouncing some more. Her father groaned when she stepped in the wrong spot.
"That's about as painful as the vasectomy will be," Natasha said. "We can schedule it next week if you want."
He scowled. "No. I can make my own appointments." He looked at her. "Someday you'll have kids."
"I'm not dating anyone," she said. "And it'd take longer for me to make you nieces or nephews." He rolled his eyes. She took the baby, making the happy baby lean forward to suck on her cheek. "That's very sweet, dear."
Stark came up with Bruce, heading for the kitchen. "What's that?"
"HYDRA made Pietro kids," Steve said. "Some of the nine that got implanted were by them instead of the mom deciding to do it to themselves."
"Nine?" Stark demanded, staring at the twins.
"Thirteen total," Natasha said. "Some were done naturally."
Stark grabbed a counter before he fell. "We have got to find a way to make super hero capable condoms."
"Vasectomy," Natasha said.
"We need to make it a song," Bethy quipped as she snuck in. "Hi, Sarah!" Sarah squealed and waved. She waved back. "You're so good." She grinned at her aunt. "Someone told us about her so we barged in and told her mom we found out. She got huffy but we pointed out we were her half siblings. That we were nosy half siblings and we were going to make sure she was a good girl. Then I told her I was a mini slayer and I could look out for my future sister slayer too. She cried. We played with the baby a lot."
She took her to cuddle. "You're very sweet." Sarah babbled noise at her. "True, it's a hard life being so pretty and good. We all have to endure though. Wanna come meet Xander? He watches over all of us as a big brother." She carried her off. "Diana's down there too. So are all the other half siblings. They'll love you too, they all said they would."
She took her back to the infirmary. A nurse started to protest so she glared. "Sarah is my half sibling and a future slayer too. She needs to know Xander too." She carried her in there, climbing up on a chair to sit on the foot of the bed. "That's Xander. He takes care of all of us slayers, Sarah. That's Diana, you know her too." The baby patted Diana until she woke up.
"That weird probability thing is weirder than usual," Diana said, pulling the baby closer. "Come nap. You too, Bethy." They snuggled in around the baby. She was happy to be cuddled and nap.
Upstairs, Stark pulled up youtube and a video from a quick search, putting it on the main tv. It was an animated video of a song called the vasectomy song. Pietro groaned and covered his face but by the end he did giggle. Wanda patted him on the back. "We will find someone nice to do that for you, brother." He glared at her. She stared back. "Before we find more. Each time you leave for a few days, more show up."
"What's that video on the side bar?" Steve asked with a point. "They do it without a scalpel?"
"Yeah," Stark said. He let that one play. "It doesn't hurt. I had a valium, laid there in the chair. I felt a bit of tugging but no pain. The next day I was surfing. Ten days without sex or alcohol according to the doc, then a follow up to make sure you're not still blowing sperm." He let the video play.
Steve watched, mouth open. "Wow. That's not that hard."
Bruce shook his head. "Under a half hour unless they find a problem." He finished making sandwiches and came out, handing one to Tony before sitting down.
Pietro watched. "That doesn't look that bad."
"No, it doesn't," Wanda agreed.
"Women have a much more complicated procedure," Natasha said quietly.
Wanda patted her on the arm. "Some day I may want children. I will call to complain to you so you can tell me I'm being a baby."
"I can do that." She looked at Pietro. He was a bit pale but holding up well. "We can find you a good doctor." He slumped but nodded quickly.
"It'll be okay. You can take Steve with you if you want," Tony said. "They say to bring a friend to drive you home."
Steve looked at him. "Would super healing act against that?"
Bruce considered it while he chewed. "It might in your case but I'm not sure about in all self healing cases." He ate another bite.
"Ask Logan. He might know," Pietro said. "Let me go check on the children."
"They're napping," Stark said with a hand wave. He pulled up the video from the infirmary. All the kids were covering Xander and he was resting well. One of the nurses was in there checking his IV. Xander groaned. Natasha hopped up and ran down there to stop her. The nurse started to scream that the guy was evil for being a mutant and helping the slayers.
Bethy woke up and stood up to slug the nurse. "Some of us are perfect, thank you, bitch." She stared at her. The nurse tried to hit her so Bethy used her slayer strength to pounce and beat the nurse. Natasha pulled her off the woman and took her instead. "I can do it."
"I'm bigger so I can hit harder," she said, staring at her. "Guard Xander." She climbed back up, checking all the kids. She was the oldest, it was her job. Natasha looked at the other nurses, one going in there to make sure Xander was all right. She carried that nurse off to hand to an agent. "This one tried to take out Harris."
The agent looked at the nurse and nodded. "She's a stupid bitch then, isn't she. The whole demon community would go into a riot." He led her off. "Let's get you booked into our nice jail so you can have an ice pack."
"The law says we can kill their kind," she sneered.
"We're a federal agency, ma'am. Ours don't. You just tried to kill someone who's important to the security of the US." She struggled but he was used to worse.
Natasha went upstairs, going to the living room. "The HYDRA agent who was watching over the tower took her. Supposedly he was FBI." Steve sent that text message. "Bethy is all right."
Pietro looked at her. "She's fussy."
"Girls often are," Steve said. "Bucky's sister used to be a fusser too." He got up. "Let me go to bed. It's going to be a long day." He went to nap for a few hours. He had to back up Pepper during her news conference in the morning.
Xander woke up in the middle of the night, staring at the kids on him. "Did I spawn?" he asked quietly. He recognized a few, petting over their hairs. Sarah woke up and blinked at him. He grinned. "Morning, sweetheart. I can tell you'll be one of mine some day soon." He rubbed over her head. "Go back to sleepies, little one." He yawned. One of the kids shifted so he looked at her. "Diana," he said quietly, making her blink at him. "Why are you in my bed?"
"You got shotted," she said firmly. "So we're gonna fuss. You won't let the slayers but we will. Bethy agrees with me." She moved to kiss him on the tip of his nose.
"That's a great thing, Di-Di. You're a good girl." She grinned. "But shouldn't you guys be in a bed?"
"How can we fuss if we're not right here?" She stared at him. "You're silly from the injury, Xander. Go back to sleep." She tucked him in around the other kids and snuggled in again. "This is Sarah. She's the youngest of us and like Bethy."
"That's cool. Some day she'll have a lot of fun training to be a slayer and a mutant." Diana grinned. "I'll nap if you do." She put her head back down, staring at him. He petted over her hair, letting her sleep. He blinked at the nurse that looked in. He shrugged slightly.
"They were sure you needed fussed over," the nurse said quietly, coming to the door. "I need to check your vitals, Mr. Harris." He nodded, letting her come in to check him over but shook his head when she reached for the bandage. "I can do it so they can't see it," she said quietly, peeking underneath it then taping it back down. "You should go back to sleep. It's only four in the morning." He yawned and she smiled, going to make notes on his chart. It was sweet how the kids were protecting him. Even if he would probably rather fuss over others instead of being fussed over. Someone new came in. "Doctor," she said with a nod. He was their overnight guy.
"He wake up?" Xander flapped a hand in greeting. He scowled. "Your children?"
"No. A few are my future slayers. I have no idea where most of them came from." He looked them over. "But they all seem to have similar looking hair." The nurse nodded he was right. "Then Bethy brought them. That's good to know. Are their parents complaining?"
"Not yet," the nurse said.
The doctor scowled. "It can't be good for them."
Diana woke up to glare at him. "We're going to fuss over him the same way he fusses over the slayers. I'm sorry if *you* don't like it but yay."
"Calm down," Xander ordered quietly. "Before you wake the others." She huffed and put her head back down, stealing Sarah to cuddle. "Diana's really strongly opinionated."
The doctor grimaced. "Seeing your injuries would hurt their mental states."
"That's why I don't let them see those things," Xander said. "I'd never let them see injuries. They're kids."
"Fine," the doctor complained, taking the chart to look at. "Why are you awake already?"
"I have a higher metabolism," he said. "And I couldn't breathe very well for some strange reason," he said, staring at the kids on his chest. The nurse laughed.
The doctor scowled at him. "It's not funny."
"It is funny," Xander said. "They're apparently all siblings by their hairs." He counted them all and nodded. "Someone definitely needs better condoms," he decided. The nurse burst out giggling, nodding. "Wow." He looked at the doctor. "We both peeked at it the spot. It's clean, it's not huge, thank you."
"I didn't pull that bullet. The earlier doctors did a good job by the pictures." He looked at the young man. "So why do you rate a spot in here?"
Xander shrugged. "I'm kinda happy they did, but usually I go to one of the healers in town instead."
"I saw you're a mutant," he said with a grimace.
Xander stared at him. "I'm also the guy that backs up the slayers." The doctor walked off shuddering. He looked at the nurse.
"There's been a few of those today."
Xander nodded. "Yeah. I saw earlier." He sighed, looking at the kids. They weren't going to move and he needed to shift onto his side. "I usually sleep on my side."
"They'll complain about being near your butt," she said. "My kid does and she's five."
"I've met some of the mini future slayers and they're all like that, even at eight and nine." She smiled and nodded. "Can I go pee?"
"That's a good thing," she assured him. She came in to help him get free of the kids. "He's going potty. Does anyone else have to?" she asked with a smile. "I have a little girl that's five so I know how important that is." A few went to the bathroom she let them into while Xander cleaned up in the room's bathroom. They got put back into the bed. Xander climbed in on one side, laying on his side with his back to the railing, and let the kids take up the rest of the bed. The nurse smiled. "Nice."
"Thanks." She went to make notes in his chart again then checked on the others in there. A few agents had gotten beaten earlier while defending the tower so they were being watched over tonight too. She looked in there at the huge snore, smiling at Bethy's snoring and Xander shaking his head as he fell asleep.