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Old Ones 48: Future Old Ones Doing Weird Things.

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Future Old Ones Doing Weird Things.





Clint looked at his brother across the table. The judge at the top of the table did not look amused in the least. "No, I didn't want to carry on the bad family name so my son's last name is Summers, from his mother's family. Natasha and I both agreed that Dawn's last name was the best liked due to many things, and we like Joyce."

His brother glared. "That's not right. Are you sure he's yours?"

"Even with all the attempts by the people who are paying you to get new superheros started, I'm sure. We checked since they had given her some fertility meds a few times." Barney Barton glared at him. Clint stared back, looking unconcerned. "Beyond that, I'm not sure how you'd like visitation with your nephew when you're wanted on two federal charges, including homicide and making terroristic threats." The judge spluttered. "How did you get bail anyway?"

"The judge decided there wasn't a reason," Barney said smugly.

"Oh, they went through the one they're blackmailing then. We, and SHIELD, know about him."

"No one thinks SHIELD is a real agency."

The judge stared at him. "While I saw the movie with my teenage daughter, I've presided over two other SHIELD agents' divorces, Mr. Barton. I'm well aware that they're real." He looked at Clint, who smiled. "The actor who played you was good."

"I talked to him a few times after that when he needed to know how I'd handle something." He looked at his brother. "Beyond that, you're not getting near my son. My wife would send him to another realm so damn fast. We have tight ties to Asgard, including her niece."

"Biological niece?" the judge asked.

"Yes. Her former sister's daughter. They were mostly raised on Asgard and one's up there with her husband most of the time. The other two are going back and forth to be with Atlantis and will be back with them to start college. That first one went through Sword Sister training and all that as well. We're exceedingly proud of all three of the kids."

"That's wonderful. Was that a joint decision?"

"No, the kids decided that they wanted to help Atlantis when she got displaced. One of them felt more comfortable up there. Her twin likes it down here more. Sean, their brother, is working on his warrior geek ratio split. He's learned a lot from both sides and he's trying to decide which side he wants to fall on. Some day I can see Sean taking my spot without being part of SHIELD. He's an excellent shot."

"Interesting," the judge agreed. He looked at Barney. "Why do you want custody of your nephew?"

"They're living in an illegal relationship. There's three different marriage certificates that were filed."

"Not by us," Clint admitted. "Natasha did that. I'm only legally married to Dawn outside of those few countries. Frankly, two of them it's legal for me to have multiple wives because they're Islamic countries." Barney glared. "Beyond that, your bosses want the kid, not you. You have less patience than I do, Barney. An active, squealing, happy baby like Philip would drive you nuts within hours. He only stops moving when he's asleep and that's barely four hours at a time." Barney shuddered. "Your bosses won't get my kid in any manner or method. I know they were behind two attempts to kidnap Dawn when she was pregnant with him." He slid down that file to the judge. It was marked 'classified' on the front. "Director Rogers said I could show you, Your Honor."

"That's good." He read through it, grimacing. "They are the ones paying his legal fees."

Clint nodded. "We're aware. Frankly, I'm letting him hang himself because it's keeping my wife from handling it herself while she's in a really shitty mood from the morning sickness."

"What, she going to *magic* us?" Barney sneered.

"Not that one." He grinned. Barney went pale. "Dawn's not supposed to be doing heavy magic or else you'd already be destroyed. Dawn's been told that she's not allowed to destroy you like she did that castle." He grinned more brightly. "Dawn's really unhappy with morning sickness but the new meds are wonderful." Barney slumped down a bit, shifting away from Clint.

"Is she able to handle her own self defense?" the judge asked. "I remember reading reports on the attacks last time."

"She won't have to do it on her own this time, Your Honor. If the known plot for this spring happens, she'll be out of harm's way taking long-distance shots. We're hoping that idiot who showed up during the parade's death stopped it cold."

"I hope so too. I remember the last one." He grimaced. "If not, can you give us some warning?"

"We know what month it'll happen in if it does happen," he offered. "We know it'll be in April and she's due in late July or early August." The judge gave him an odd look. "Her last OB is in Nicaragua."

"So she's picking a new one?"

"Yup."

"Wonderful. I hope she finds a good one."

"We think she will." He crossed his feet and looked at his brother. "If he wasn't being an asshole I would've had lunch with him and maybe the son if I felt it was safe. Then again, he did put a sleeping gas canister on my house's air pump." He slid down that report. "He paid hard for that stunt, didn't he?" He stared at him.

"I can still press charges."

"You go right ahead," Clint said with a grin. "You can do it twice even."

Thor stomped in and slammed the door. "Noble Clint, your wives were worried that you had no backup since you would not allow them to come."

"I didn't think Barney wanted to be set on fire by Natasha, Thor, but sure, I could use it." Thor sat down. "This is my nephew-in-law. He married one of the nieces."

"That's a good family," the judge agreed, smiling at him. "Lord Thor." Thor nodded politely back. "Have you met Agent Barton's brother?"

"I have not." He stared at him. "I have heard from my wife's complaints that you are not really like the noble Clint."

"No, I'm not like him," Barney sneered. "I'm not a do-gooder sort."

Clint shrugged. "I'm a master assassin first and foremost," he said dryly. "Not exactly the do-gooder sort myself." Thor looked at him. "I am."

"I knew of such. You have still taken out many threats to humanity in such manners. That is just as noble as we do in battles." Clint grinned and patted him on the shoulder. "The ladies looked ill? Should I keep my wife from them?"

"No, they've got morning sickness, Thor."

He frowned. "What is that?"

"They're in the sick part of the pregnancy."

"Oh!" He blinked a few times and smiled. "She will be over the moon."

"I know Artemis is looking forward to giving you a few sons," Clint said with a grin for him.

Thor smiled. "I too look forward to it. She will make strong children for me to play with until they're old enough for me to train."

"We hope all the kids in the family are strong and healthy." Thor smiled at that. He looked at his brother again. "Even if you were, Philip would probably destroy your entire group of morons. He may be an infant but he's got really smart backup already from the Stark kids. Who.....well, I'm fairly certain Callia can design things to destroy you. If not, her aunt can. Or her dad." He smirked. "Tony used to be *really* good at it too."

"He doesn't do weapons anymore," Barney said smugly.

Clint laughed. "He does for the Avengers." Barney stiffened. "Beyond that, threatening his kid? Do you think he won't go back there within milliseconds of finding out? Or hell, ask Xander what he has in his armory to update?"

"I have not seen my nephew's armory," Thor realized. "He has it well hidden."

"Yup, but Dawn knows where it is," Clint assured him. "They coo over the weapons sometimes."

"That is a good hobby for one who is wanted such as she is," Thor decided.

Xander appeared and hugged Clint. "I'll show you the next time you come over." He stared at Barney. "Want to come spar?"

"Nope."

"Pity."

"Don't," the judge ordered patiently. "We will not harm him. He is going through the legal system with a pitiful reason but it is nothing to warrant you using him as a training aid for whatever trainees you have there, Lord Xander."

Xander grinned at him. "Who said I'd let the trainees play with him? Phil and I need something to spar against."

"Not really an acceptable solution while he has a petition in front of the courts," the judge said.

"Sure, I can wait." He grinned and disappeared after hugging his uncle.

"He hugs well," Thor said. "I have no idea who taught him that."

Clint smirked. "We were being protected by Hades for a bit before that dinner and had one of his ex's show up like a missionary asking us if we knew Xander." Thor burst out laughing, shaking his head. "Yeah, I think it was one of them, Thor. We were told they have a whole section to themselves."

"That might be a good idea with what my nephew used to date," he agreed. "I will have to look in on that." He looked at Barney. "What would you do with a child anyway? You have no home, no farm to provide for them or a job to buy what they need since you cannot grow it. You have no way of training any special gifts the child may have in the future."

"We can train him," Barney assured him.

"No, you can't," Clint said. His phone beeped so he looked at it, grinning. He answered and put it back in his pocket. The judge coughed. "The results of a raid the trainees went on earlier. I'm supposed to be overseeing it but I traded missions with someone." He looked at his brother again. "You'd never get any sort of training done. Philip hardly listens to us. He'll only eat for Natasha. He'll only wear clothes when she makes him. The only thing that he'll let you do for him is play music and then he'd probably take your head off when you quit playing." Barney was still glaring. Clint stared back. "Really. My son is the product of both his parents' stubbornness. And Dawn's really a bitch when she's stubborn."

Thor nodded quickly. "I have seen her out-stubborn a few groups in the past." Clint looked at him. "The one that kept wanting her during her last pregnancy. You did not get told that she had been captured for a whole day but they had all been pouty when they gave her back because they decided they didn't want to sacrifice her to their wanted demon after all?"

"No, I hadn't. I'll have to ask." He smirked a bit. Thor grinned. "When?"

"Just before you came back from that first assignment."

"Ah. That's good to know." He sent a thought at Dawn, who admitted she had made them all pout. He shook his head.

"You're not telepathic," Barney snorted.

"Just with the wives." He smirked evilly. "Romania taught us all some new tricks." Barney went very pale. "Then again, it got Dawn to use the training Xander and Spike had given her a bit more often. She used to be a lot sweeter. She hadn't had to kill anyone before then. Then she had to do it again and again and again." Barney shuddered. "Yeah, just like she nearly killed your dumb ass. She was feeling merciful by the way. She was willing to give you a chance. Next time... nope."

"A protective mother is the fiercest thing in nature," Thor agreed.

"How did she shoot him?" the judge asked.

"He and his buddies broke into the house while we were asleep. We woke up to them being in the living room with our son, who decided he was going to get naked and pretend to be a cat with ours."

"I still can't believe you have cats," Barney sneered.

"No, Natasha got given a kitten recently as a sign of respect and Loki was hers too. Then again, she had spent about a year as a cat." Thor stared at him oddly. "Rosenburg to keep her execution from being carried out."

"Hmm," Thor said, nodding then shaking his head quickly. "I have heard of her misdeeds. It is good that her last act was to return to the side of good in that epic battle in Sunnydale."

"Willow?" Barney asked. "She's not *bad* but she's got no style."

"She died in the Battle of Sunnydale," Clint said. "How is she back?"

Barney shrugged. "Don't know."

"We'll figure that out." He sent a text message to Dawn and a prayer at Xander and Coulson.

Xander reappeared. "Excuse me, someone resurrected Willow Rosenburg again?" Barney was staring at him. He realized he was in full aura mode but yay. "Let's go talk about that. That's an apocalypse in the making." He brought him with him to the Halls to talk about it and look that up. What he saw did not amuse him. "Phil!" He appeared so Xander pointed. "See that wrongness? That's the key to starting the First Evil prophecies." He brought the book from the library to show him.

Phil looked and nodded. "Done." He took it to tell Joyce, who would probably cry a bit. "We have an issue." He put down the book open to the prophecy.

Steve read it and nodded slowly. "Yours?"

"Willow's. She's working with Barney Barton's group."

"We were going to raid them," Joyce said quietly, taking it to look at. "Hell no. We don't need fewer slayers. They don't deserve that." They shared a look. "Steve?"

"We were going to raid. Go. Today if possible. Make sure the resurrection is canceled." Phil nodded, taking the book to handle that. "I hope we're in time," he said quietly.

"Me too." She gave his wrist a squeeze. "Let me go warn Bruce." He nodded, tapping out a text to Tony and Pepper too. They'd call Cleveland as well, to check on the girls. Thankfully, the displaced heros were all down there and had protected the girls and agents.

***

Xander called his people together. "We have a problem."

"Is that why we have a bad guy in a cage?" John guessed, pointing at where Barney was hanging in a large bird cage from the ceiling.

"He's working with Willow."

"Willow?" Roque demanded. "Rosenburg?" He glared at the bad guy, who was nodding. "Whose bright fucking idea was that?" he demanded.

"No clue," Xander admitted. "Phil's leading a raid. The bad news is that I looked and she's got that wrongness. She came back wrong."

"The First Evil prophecies," John said then shuddered. "I'm going with Phil."

"Ditto," Roque said. "My whole damn team's backing them up." Xander smiled and nodded. "I'm not going to make you kill her again. Go ask Hades how she got out?" Xander went to do that. "John, just you?"

"Yup. Coulson?" He appeared. "We're helping to make sure of it."

"We just found a weird thing. Two children that seem to look a lot like Loki and Ares." He put up a mirror to show them.

"I'll be damned. They're chaosing the bad guys," Roque said with a mean grin. "Good!" He looked at his boss. "How soon?"

"One hour." He took Barney's communications gear from him after blocking it. "Or ten minutes. How soon can you get there?"

"Now." He turned. "Losers, pack it up and let's go!" he ordered. "We've got evil shits trying to destroy the universe again by taking in powerful kids."

"Hell to the fuck no," Jensen said firmly. "We only need extra ammo." Clay was getting it with Pooch. He took his and they went with Phil. Who got all their people to the appointed spot thanks to Stark's beaming satellite. John appeared. Roque got a few extra knives and appeared. They rushed the compound, which was a partial trap but Phil could tell where she had stashed them and opened the sub-realm to stop it while Roque got the doomsday device. Stark beamed out to help with that.

"I don't usually swear but fuck this shit," Stark growled as he finished disarming the bomb. He stomped off. "Willow Goddamn Rosenburg."

She sneered. "You've already lost."

"No, he hasn't," Alana said as she appeared with her Valkyries. "Not by a long shot." Willow shrieked but there were four gods on site. And they'd all had enough of her.

***

Clint's phone beeped. "Your Honor, my brother's been taken captive so he couldn't warn that SHIELD was going to take down the problem." He looked at him. "I have to go too. I'm being summoned." He and Thor got beamed out to go with the strike team.

The judge huffed. "They're more strange than the movie said."

***

Xander appeared in Hades' realm, finding everyone asleep. "Hades? 'Sephone?" he called. No answer. He called down the next one who'd know. "Hermes?" He appeared. "What happened?"

"We have no idea, Xander. Not like Hades invites us down for dinner."

"Why didn't someone tell me?" he demanded calmly.

"Why would we?"

Xander stared at him. "Because him being knocked out this way let a soul be resurrected wrong." Hermes' eyes went wide. "We're presently making sure the First Evil isn't starting to get free." He looked around, not seeing the disgust that was quickly hidden. Xander stared at him. "How about this." He chained him up and smiled. "I felt that. You don't have a chaos god parent without learning to always watch your back." He felt around and zapped Hades into waking. He heard the bellow. "It's worse than you think!" he called. Hades appeared, sword in hand. "I just knocked you back awake. Someone took Willow up wrong."

Hades searched, shaking his head. "She's still there, Xander." Xander showed him. Hades stared then shuddered. "She's a conduit to the First Evil already. Check the seal?" Xander put up a mirror of Sunnydale. There was a faint glow. You could barely see it. Hades grimaced. "She's already starting to come out." He looked at Hermes, who was sneering. "He's under someone's influence."

"Got any good guesses or is it them?"

Hades checked him. "It's them." He went to get Hera and Gaia. They were in charge. They came back to free Hermes and asked him what had happened.

"Someone let the First Evil out," Xander said simply when the shouting started. They stared at him. "Willow Rosenburg's the conduit." They checked where she was and Gaia screamed, heading there. Xander, Hermes, Hera, and Hades went after her. Xander sent a shout at Phil to warn him so the SHIELD agents were out of the way when Gaia appeared and started to blast at Willow. "How do we seal her in?" Xander called to Hera, who had the prophecy.

"Seven slayers have to bleed on the seal, Xander."

"We have four." He shouted that at Alana, who took off to get the scythe and activate a few more to bring to the battle. Faith showed up thanks to Dawn beaming her, with Connor beside her. They rushed in. Xander stopped them and took them to Sunnydale. Alana sent the Cleveland slayers there with their backup agents. Alana appeared and Xander activated the next few with the help of the slayer spirit because she realized how bad it was. Alana had the Valkyries gather them to bring them to her. They were all teenagers. All trained though. This was going to suck.

***

Phil looked over at the battle going on. It was not pretty. He was firing on the guards to give the other agents a space to move into. "Barton, take point of C team," he ordered. "Get us a clear path. Take Stark." He nodded and turned to move his team there and take Stark with him. "Send the Hulk to Sunnydale. She left a metric ton of warriors there to guard her seal." Tony got him beamed off. Phil took one team. Clay had taken over another one that had the senior agent fall. He saw the main contingent appear and nodded. "Some of them need to be in Sunnydale," he called to Captain America.

"We sent six teams to back them up," he noted. He stared. "So that's her?"

"Her body. Part of her soul. The rest is still in Hades' realm." Steve Rogers nodded and led his people into battle. Bucky appeared with a few others and they dove in with Cap's teams. Phil's team made sure that no one got out of the portal that shouldn't. He spotted the two children and blipped down to grab them. He could tell who they were and that they were suppressed. He ended the spells around them, letting Loki and Ares regrow. "Here or Sunnydale?" he asked.

"Sunnydale," Ares said, gathering his warriors and heading there. Loki helped their side in the battle on that site. He was not pleased and it was not a good day.

***

Xander looked up as the Hulk appeared. "Hey."

"Hulk's seen this place," he sneered.

"This time it's worse than the purple guy. Strong god, Hulk." He pointed. "The girls have to get to that to bleed on it."

"Hulk smash!" he growled as he charged forward.

"Slayers, follow the Hulk." They rushed after him. The agents, and warriors when they showed up, helped by giving them a safe corridor to run in. He had no idea what these super warriors were called outside of annoying to kill but he was going to kill as many as he could. The Valkyries were gathering any warriors that were falling. Xander blasted a few of the vamps away from the seal to help the Hulk reach it. The girls ran around him to cut their hands and put it on the seal. The super warriors screamed in pain. "Where's the seventh?" Xander demanded. One of the Valkyries pointed behind her. "Shit!"

Buffy appeared and bled onto the seal. It glowed. "I may not be fully counted as one."

Xander gave it a second's thought and then changed one of the female warriors with them. She glowed for a minute when he tossed her the scythe. She used it to cut her hand to bleed on the seal. The seal burst into flames and they ran out to try to survive. The Hulk came out last carrying one of the slayers. Buffy was carrying one too. Xander checked and went back in for one of the warriors that was alive and not going to be able to make it. The rest were the dead. The seal sucked in just as he walked out. He made sure they didn't get sucked in and handed him to one of the Valkyries. "He should live."

Alana checked and nodded. "Right to the healers," she ordered. She looked at Buffy. "I'll take you in a few."

"I can wait. I needed to help." She looked around. "When they told me I was needed, I had no idea why."

"The First Evil," Xander said.

"I read that book. It takes a resurrection."

"Which was Willow."

Buffy stared at him. "Our Willow?" Xander nodded once. One of the Valkyries was tying a bandage over his arm, which was cut pretty badly. "Fuck no!" She looked around. "Can Dawn take me?"

"Nope. She's preggers."

"Good!" She grinned. "I need a niece." She looked around again. "What's going to happen?"

"The ones who had this plan are doomed," Xander said bluntly. "And possibly she's going with them since she's bound to them." He went to the other battle, still bleeding sluggishly while his self healing gifts worked. "Enough," he snarled quietly, exerting his true powers.

"I should have done that during the War of the Titans," Gaia said, brushing back some sweaty hair. She looked around at all the frozen people, including Phil. "There?"

"Seal's restored." He moved up to look at Willow then restarted just them. "No, you won't win."

"You're weak and puny," she sneered. He waved a hand behind him. She blinked. "You can't defeat me."

"The seal's redone." He stared at her. "Willow, she's evil. True evil. They're using you because they think you're lesser."

"She's not in here," the First Evil said smugly.

"You'd think you would've done some research, bitch. Especially since I've been possessed before." She shrieked but stopped mid-casting. Willow took over. He stared at her. "She's going to kill everyone, Wills. They're using you. Same as before. Athena and Hecate are using you as a battery and a weak pawn to play with."

She shook. "I... I love them."

"Yeah, and they only love the power. That's why Athena's tried to kill Dawn and Joyce." Willow whimpered, looking at her hands. "It's your body and your choice."

"Child," Gaia said, moving forward. "I forgive you for what they had you do, what they told you was right when in fact they were wrong." She laid a hand on her cheek. "I forgive you, Willow." Willow nodded, blinking at her, eyes wet.

The First took back over. "How sweet," she sneered. Xander stabbed her. She shrieked but Willow took back over. Gaia sent her the spell she'd need to dissolve herself and them. She did it and the First went to ashes in front of them with a scream of rage. Hecate and Athena fell at the same time, going to ashes.

Hades stared at them since he had been battling them. "I think that's proper." He blew and scattered them to the four winds. Xander sent some to another plane so they couldn't be fully reformed. Hades nodded his thanks and went to check on his wife.

Phil looked around. "Clean them up, people. They leave here in handcuffs or they don't leave." The agents rushed forward to get the bad guys down and out." Clint got a few that were trying to escape. Cap's shield knocked down a few and beheaded one demon that showed up when someone wanted to sell themselves. Xander snapped and sent power out to stun the fighting ones. They all fell down. Phil looked at him. "Xander?"

"It's done."

Phil walked over to look at his injuries, staring at him. "Captain?"

"Take him to medical, Agent Coulson." He nodded and took Xander with him, with a long stop somewhere for Xander to grieve and cry without having to be seen.

Roque looked around. "You pissed off the protector of humanity before a possible apocalypse. Aren't you stupid?" He and his team disappeared. The other gods left. Alana and her Valkyries showed up to take the worthy with them.

Steve looked at the mass of bodies and new inmates. He shook his head. "This shouldn't have happened."

Thor walked over. "The message I got when I got here stated that the ones responsible knocked out the few that could have stopped them."

Steve looked at him. "Is there some way to make sure that they can't go unpunished?"

"If their shades still exist, Hades can add on punishments, or the Council of Gods can."

"Can you ask them to check?"

"I can and will if Xander does not." Steve nodded. "I must see that the seal is reformed."

Loki strolled over. "It is. Ares was there, Thor. His warriors created a wedge corridor for the newly called slayers."

Thor nodded. "Thank you, Brother."

"The valkyries are busy today. We should let them work."

"Aye, we should. Alana?" She looked over. "Need thee help?"

"No, Thor. We have our duties to attend to and we are well versed in it." He nodded and walked off with Loki and Steve. They found Joyce organizing the on-site medical area for everyone else. The agents were mostly looking amazed that Joyce could handle this stuff.

Joyce looked at one that asked her. She smiled. "You forget, I had a daughter that was a slayer and Dawn."

He nodded. "We underestimate you."

She smiled. "Good." He let her lay him down so they could stitch his side back together.

"Sometimes I forget that too," Steve told him, patting him on the shoulder. "Let me do rounds." He started with Bucky. Bucky was his best friend and everyone knew that. "You okay?"

"Nope."

Steve stared at him. "Stitches?"

"Mental. I was just in a war against an evil thing that it took Gods to cure. Even evil gods helped."

Steve nodded. "Blew my mind the first time too. Xander was deaged for the one in New York and still helped."

"I'm insane and should be checking myself into a hospital bed."

"Welcome to being an Avenger," Clint quipped from where he was being stitched by Dawn. "You have to be mentally flexible to save the world in SHIELD. That's why the trainees have tests that have questions like 'if a chicken crosses a road, how many monkeys hold up score cards for the car accident it causes'."

"You only pass into senior agent training if you can find an answer for it and justify it," Phil agreed. He was getting some bandaging materials. "Finding an answer means you're worthy of SHIELD. Being confused or not answering means you're suited for the CIA or NSA, depending on your technology skills."

"I'm quite glad I got directly recruited instead of having to go through that," Natasha said from where she was helping bandage.

One of the younger female agents looked at her. "Were you and Summers in Sunnydale?"

"We are unsuitable for combat outside of long distance firing," she admitted, staring at her.

"You are?" she demanded, staring at her stomach. Natasha gave her a pointed look. "Wow, the best kept secret in SHIELD must be that Barton is the MAN."

"Yes I am," Clint quipped with a grin for her. "Though, that's assuming that Dawn didn't do it to them both. Which.... not this time but it could happen."

"I'll keep that in mind, Barton." She sat up, holding her new bandage over her stitches. "I hope it's easy, healthy, and doesn't have colic when it comes out, Agent Romanoff. You're a braver woman than I am. I've made sure I never have to go there or through that sort of pain." She got up and walked off, wincing.

"No spreading that please," Dawn quipped as she wrapped a bandage over the stitches she had done. "Before we have more incidences like last time."

"Not a problem. I run from the press like they're hellhounds," that agent quipped with a wave back at her.

"Hellhounds can be pretty funny," Dawn said, grinning at the agent staring at her. "One keeps following Spike like he's his personal deity and is going to open the gates to Alpo Heaven for him."

The agent shuddered. "I met him when he went to Dallas to eat someone."

Dawn grinned. "He used to babysit me. I learned a lot from Spike. And Xander."

"Great," he agreed, getting up once she was done so someone else could have the medical treatment. He went to stare at the battlefield with the other walking agents. "I say we get really drunk and then write our reports."

"Write it during the hangover, I'll expect them by Monday," Joyce called.

"Yes, ma'am," they called back. Stark called someone to get them beamed back to HQ so they could clean up, change clothes, and then hit a bar. New York City's bars were going to have a good night tonight since it was SHIELD policy that no more than three agents could be in the same bar at the same time. Apparently there had been a situation once with too many agents knocked out and no one to rescue them or something.

***

Hades looked at the Council of Gods. "I want them charged," he said bluntly. "Today."

"They are dissipated."

"Parts of their souls are still there." He summoned them and put them in front of the Council. "For not only interfering with another kingdom's running by knocking out all of us in charge, but also for forcing other gods to aid their insane plan and for nearly destroying all of the world."

"We are gods," Athena sneered.

Hades looked at her. "No, you were a Goddess, Athena. Now you're nothing." She tried to hit him but he hit her with some power and she screamed, shrinking away from him. "What? Did Xander's former lovers get you?" he sneered with an evil smirk. Persephone had been in a *very* bad mood when she had delivered the three souls there. "Also I charge them with making my wife miscarry."

The six seated Council members, all from different pantheons, nodded in unison. "That is another serious charge," one agreed. "Especially as that should not be possible for a Goddess without serious problems from her mind."

"No, they took it to raise their power levels," Hades said.

"That's more serious than them making her miscarry," the head God noted quietly. He looked at the two goddesses and the mortal soul. "How is she involved?" Hades showed them. Then what had happened during the battle. The Council conferred and nodded. "We are not over mortal souls, even those bound to a God's," the head decided. "But we still feel she should be somewhat punished, even though she was used. As is, Hades, she is still yours to punish."

"I thank you," Hades agreed.

"The two former goddesses will have a full trial. We cannot condone them acting against humanity in such a way. Did Alexander not feel it?"

"No. They had her cloaked. She wasn't near the seal at all. It was cloaked as well."

"Then they planned it." She looked at the others then at him. "Where is he?"

"Being healed by his mate. He had to help Willow end it. They had been best friends since his last mortal childhood."

"That is a weakness that no *true* god would allow," Hecate sneered.

"And yet, you two bound yourself to a mortal soul," Hades snapped back. "Shut up." She flinched back because he could still hurt her until the Court took over control of her shade.

"Yes, we believe she should," the head God said. "We will hold them until the full trial, Hades, but we are not taking control of them. They are under your aegis until the trial."

"I can have guards come help," he promised, summoning some. "These shades are going under full trial. Guard them as they're ours until that point." They nodded and moved to put the shades back into confining jars. "Let me check on Xander," he said quietly, taking Willow home to toss her back among Xander's former lovers. They would rip her apart for hurting him but Hades didn't really care. He found Xander and Phil sitting on a hillside in Asgard's coldest part, which made him shiver from the wind. He sat down on Xander's free side. "She's been placed with your former paramours," he said quietly. "Hecate and Athena are going under full trial."

Xander nodded. "Have them throw a dinner or whatever if they want or need to."

"I showed them why you didn't realize when they asked."

Xander looked at him. "Did I?"

"If you had, you would've ended it long ago," Hades reminded him.

Xander nodded. "I hoped I wasn't ignoring it because it was Willow."

"No, you wouldn't and Phil would've sensed that and called you on it, Xander."

"I would have," Phil agreed.

Xander hugged Phil against him. "Thanks." He looked at Hades. "'Sephone?"

"Not great. She had been pregnant," he said quietly. Xander growled low and softly. "We'll heal." He patted him on the head, making his hair lay down. "Go get warm. Before you get sick." He went home to warm up and talk to his wife. She needed to grieve and be held.

Xander looked at Phil. "If you had subconsciously realized I would've too," Phil reminded him.

Xander nodded, leaning against his side. "I know. Thank you for reminding me."

"You're welcome. If I could have, I would've gotten to her myself."

"I know. That's what's so great about you." He sneezed. "Let's go home?" Phil got them home and into bed with hot teas. He got Asclepias up there to check the injuries he had healed.

The healer looked at him. "How did you catch a cold?"

"We were sitting on a hillside," Phil admitted. "Xander needed some quiet."

"Great." He dosed them both for that and made sure of the injuries. They would be fine, even if Xander was upset. He went back to helping Hermes calm down. Hermes had been horrified at his actions while under compulsion and was trying to right his own mind.

Xander sneezed again but finished his tea and curled up against Phil's side to rest. Even if he couldn't sleep he needed rest. Phil slid down to hold him once he had finished his own tea. He knew Xander needed the comfort and that's what he was there for as his husband.

***

Dawn looked up that night from cuddling Natasha when Clint came in. "Hug?" she offered, raising an arm up.

He slid in on her free side to hug her. "I'm sorry, I know she was a friend."

She shrugged. "She had issues. I'm sorry you guys had to fight with her."

"Better us than you getting hurt again," he said quietly, giving her a squeeze. He reached over to pat Natasha's stomach since she was asleep. If she had been awake she might've tried to swat him for it. Instead, she moaned and stretched against Dawn's side. "Relax, we're all good." They nodded and Dawn cuddled him. "Who has the baby?" Dawn grimaced and pointed at where he was napping in the middle of the shelf that held the stereo setup. He had Tsarina held tightly against his chin but she didn't seem to mind too much. She was taking a bath instead of fighting him. Clint looked around, spotting Loki cat, who was of course staring at them. He patted the couch and Loki hopped down to cuddle them. Tsarina lapped the baby's fingers then nipped at one, making him let go. She stretched on her way over to lay on Natasha's side. "Why don't you two curl up with Dawn?"

"Our son is brilliant," Dawn said dryly.

"I knew that. You two have made him a really smart little guy," he shot back with a smile.

"No, I mean he looked at me earlier, while holding Loki cat, and called me Mama Pet."

Clint snickered. "So because we stroke you, pet you, cuddle with you like the cats, you're the human pet?"

"I think so."

"That makes much sense," Natasha said, petting the cat that had woken her by jumping onto her chest. "She is not our pet, Tsarina. She is the wife. That's a different sort of pet." She tipped her head back, getting a kiss. "Though I do agree, he is brilliant." She took a kiss from Clint when he leaned over. She smiled and petted the cats then handed them to Dawn, who petted them. They meowed at her and she grinned, teasing them a bit. They enjoyed that. Especially Loki cat.

Clint took a kiss. "Want me to make dinner?"

"I made a salad to go with the Chinese I picked up on the way back from the office after the battle," Dawn said.

He grinned. "I love that." He went to get them food. Natasha turned a bit green but he handed her the bottle of dressing, which helped. Clint ate a bite then the ladies ate dinner. He had no idea why Natasha had picked up Dawn's morning sickness issues but it was probably safer. Pregnancy made you do many weird things and Clint would never mention it if she didn't. Mostly because Natasha would try to kick his ass.

***

Dawn walked into the tea shop one of the coven that her niece was working with ran. She sighed, looking at her. "I need a good OB suggestion."

"Why?" she snorted. "Not needing something flashy?"

"No, I need someone decent. Natasha's is a bit like a drill instructor. My last one is handling pregnant women in Honduras."

The witch shook her head. "You do draw attention to those with the gifts."

"Sure, make people quit trying to kidnap my ass," she said dryly. "Then I'd quit doing it as often outside of apocalypse battles."

"You could do more earth-centered things," she said smartly.

"I love my job. I love what I do all day. My bosses know about my unique gifts. Plus I get to play with my niece most days if I want to." The woman grimaced. "Not all of us who have the gifts need to use them for our careers. I use mine plenty of times as a guardian."

"I suppose that's true, though I doubt the Goddess would like it."

Dawn snorted. "The only one I care about's opinion is Xander and Phil."

She frowned. "Who?"

"Alexander? And his mate Phil? Both over the protection of humanity?"

"Oh." She found a book next to her. Dawn pulled a better one from her shelves to hand over. She looked that up and sighed. "It seems you picked the right one to follow then, Miss Summers." She handed the book back. "There's very few OB's out here that work with us and most of them are the gentle earth mother sort."

"I don't mind that. I'm not due until next summer, and I'll probably be back in New York by then, but I still need an OB to watch over me. I have a birthing center there that I liked last time. They were really nice, didn't tell me to quit swearing." The older woman smirked at her for that. "My spouses were off hunting bad guys while I was in labor. Hell yes I swore." She laughed at her. "A lot. And turned some bad guys trying to attack into toads." She smiled. "But I need one out here to watch over and do the prenatal vitamins and do the routine things."

"There's a few who wouldn't mind. Do we know anything about the child?"

"I'm pretty sure it's a girl and she's going to be active. It missed Philip, but this one I'm pretty sure is going to have a gift."

She wrote down a name and number. "She's a midwife but she can do the prenatal vitamins and all that for you." She handed it over.

"Thank you." Dawn got some tea and smiled. "Pepper's birthday is in three weeks."

"If she's pregnant, she can't have that version of the peppermint." She got her one that was safe. Dawn grinned and they made up a nice basket for Pepper so Dawn could buy it and take it back to the office. The elder witch shook her head. "The young have forgotten the older traditions." She wrote an email to that member of the coven that she had referred Dawn to her. That way she was warned she'd have a super powerful person as a patient soon. That would possibly mean some press attention.

***

Dawn looked in the office at a funny feeling. Pepper was grimacing but drinking some tea. "Is that the stuff I got you?" she asked, walking in there. "I can get you something else if you don't like it."

"It tastes odd today."

Dawn took it to sniff. "That's not the tea I got you. That's .... That's not safe." She called the NY clinic. "Doc, who's in ours today? Pepper just drank some tea that's poisonous." She nodded. "Please." She hung up and called an ambulance. "We have the nosy one down there," she explained. "Someone switched my boss's regular tea with a poisonous one. I need an ambulance at the main office for Stark International please. She's pregnant as well." She hung up when they said they'd send one. "C'mon, Pep." She helped her up, grabbing her purse. "Insurance cards?"

"Dresser." Dawn ran off to get them and got back there while the paramedics were loading her. Pepper waved Dawn in so she climbed in with her, taking the cards. "How did it get changed?"

"I don't know," Dawn admitted. "I only bought you pregnancy-safe teas and that's outright poisonous." She looked at the paramedic with them. "I smelled a toadstool-like fungus and some nightshade."

"You deal in herbs?"

"I do sometimes." She grinned. "And I know how to brew poisons."

"Oh, so that's how you knew. Will it cause her to miscarry?"

"And die probably. I'm *so* going to find out who did it and beat them to death." She helped Pepper onto her side because the medicine they gave her was making her start to vomit. She called someone. "It's me, it's important. Pepper's on her way to the ER. Someone switched her tea to something harmful. Please grab the bag. Thanks, Mom." She hung up. "She'll get it to Steve and have it run for fingerprints and stuff, Pepper." Pepper nodded, heaving again. Dawn helped until they got to the ER. They wouldn't let her go back with her.

***

Tony walked into the police station to get Dawn. He was let into the interrogation room with the officer. "Fingerprints," he said, handing them over.

"Someone at SHIELD?" Dawn guessed.

"Yup. Hates Steve is in control. Figured even if it wasn't his he'd be upset. Which, yeah, he took it out on the guy then handed him over." Dawn smirked. "Good job. She'll be home tomorrow after some monitoring."

"Good. Did they manage to save the baby?"

"Yup." Dawn got helped up. "You done accusing her?"

"She's the only one who knew poisons around your CEO," the officer defended.

"Yeah, we like that." He smiled. "It means she can identify them when they show up or use them when we need her to for SHIELD."

"Now and then I make one to throw on bad demons attacking too," Dawn admitted. She put up her hair and smiled. "I don't blame you, I was the easiest suspect there was. Especially when I told the paramedic what it was." She shook his hand. "Though, your growling act? You're not real good. The growl's too high pitched to be really scary." She walked off with Tony talking about Pepper. "Anything I need to do?"

"Pepper's tea stash is being gone over by one of the chemists who has a sister that does tea things. He thinks only one other one got tampered with."

"I went to one of the local earth mother stores for pregnancy-safe ones, boss."

"I know. You'd never hurt Pepper or yourself." They walked out into press people. "Guys, must you?"

Dawn smiled. "Someone who hated Pepper's relationship did it, people. I was just an easy target because I told them what was in the poison by smell." They got out of their way but followed them to the car. She smiled. "You borrowed my car?"

"Yeah, I'm taking you home. Happy will pick me up in a few." He smirked. "I wanted to road test it again anyway." He got in and Dawn got into the passenger's side. They took off.

The press waited on an officer to come out so they could yell questions at them. Finally the captain came out and told them to go away so they yelled questions at him. He glared. "No, she was not under arrest. It's natural to suspect the person who told you what the poison was by smell." He walked off.

That gave the reporters nothing new but it meant that they could spin a new story. Maybe Dawn was more dangerous than her spouses thought. Or maybe just more dangerous than they were.

***

Dawn walked in and hugged Clint and Natasha, taking a kiss from the baby who was babbling at the Mommy. "Hi."

Clint grinned. "Good work helping her, Princess." He looked at Tony. "Eating dinner with us, Stark?"

"Nope. I figure you guys are going to want to pat the baby and stuff. I'm waiting on Happy."

Dawn walked him in and handed him some water with a smile. "Not like you haven't heard them talking to the baby before, boss."

"Good point." He smirked and took Philip to cuddle since he was reaching for him. Philip gave them all a smug look and cuddled in. He fell asleep a few minutes later. "Wow, I'm good. I need that skill on Chris sometimes."

Dawn carefully took him back to put into bed. "His favorite's Steve."

"I know. It kinda sucks that my kid likes someone better." He looked at Natasha. "How's he doing on that?"

"He still refuses to eat for her at times." Happy pulled in so Tony left with a grin. Dawn came back out and got another round of kisses. "Are you all right?"

"I'm good." She cuddled her. "Clint?" He stared at her. "Is that a 'supper's going to be late' look or a 'I'll let you eat it off my abs' look?"

He smiled. "It's soup so you can't eat it off me." He let them eat and then took the girls in to talk to the babies. Which made both mommies happy.

***

Dawn pulled into her parking spot the next morning and got out, watching the reporters watch her. "What, people? We have stuff to do today."

"How do you know poisons?" one yelled. "How good are you at them?"

"I'm fairly good at them. I learned them because I was having to separate healing spells from them in a mixed book someone wrote." They groaned. "Sometimes healing spells are handy, guys. Anything else?" They huffed off. She smiled and went inside. "Geeze, just make me seem more dangerous than I am," she complained when she ran into Steve in the hallway.

He laughed. "We all know you're very dangerous at times, Dawn."

She nodded. "But I don't usually want to be around here." She walked into the office after logging in. "Hey, boss."

"Why didn't you take her to our infirmary?"

"The new doc. Plus we don't have what we'd need down there to make her vomit it back up safely. He's cleaned the whole closet. I've started a restock list through Doctor Pigalli."

"Fuck," he muttered.

"He still thinks he's here to send people on. It would've taken longer to go down there and get him to call one after we had another argument. So I called Doc first and asked her, then called an ambulance."

"No, that was the right thing. We've talked to him about that."

"He sent Patty on when she started to spot and just needed some quiet resting time."

"Great." She got the list and brought it back. "When did she see it?"

"Two weeks ago when she was out to do a last check of Clint's thigh."

"We need someone skilled in trauma."

"We need a GP skilled in trauma," Dawn corrected. "We don't usually need a surgeon and when we do, it's usually things like deep stitches, which they could do. We don't need a specialty team, not like SHIELD does. Ours are burns and cuts, sometimes explosions, instead of combat injuries."

"Good point. They ask you about the poisons?"

"Yup, told them the truth too. I learned by separating out healing spells from them in a mixed book Rosenburg did."

"Wow. Why ...." Dawn shrugged. "Good point, who knows with her."

"She was good until she got addicted," Dawn sighed, shaking her head. "Now we know more about why she got so far into her addiction."

"Yeah, we do." He stared at her. "You okay?"

"I lost her a long time ago, Tony. The friend and big sister sort she was left us before she destroyed Sunnydale. That was just a wrongly pulled back golem of her."

"Good. Need to talk? Pep's in bed."

"No, I'm good." She smiled. "We cuddled and talked about it after the battle. Thanks though."

"Not a problem. Go do assistant things. I have no idea what half of these papers are."

Dawn looked and took half of them back. "Not right or ours." She told him what the remaining folders and stacks of paper were. He grinned and got to work while she took the others to hand to Steve since they were SHIELD things, then got back to work.

Steve looked at the papers and groaned. He had forgotten he had left them on Pepper's desk last night. He hated paperwork. He really needed to let Joyce handle them while he went on a mission or something.

***

Dawn got to meet with her OB midwife for the first time the next week, smiling and shaking her hand when the nurse was let into the room she was in. "Good afternoon."

"Miss Summers." She looked at her. "I didn't know you followed the traditional ways."

"Slightly. I'm not a Wicca follower for the most part. I do know that since Tara's on the east coast, she'll be helping with the baby's birth. As I did with hers. But she is active. Very active. I woke up this morning to my stomach glowing."

"Your....specialness?"

Dawn nodded. "I'm pretty sure she's inheriting some of the Key, yup."

"That's fine." She came in to look her over. "How earth-centered are you?"

"Maybe thirty percent of the time. I don't do a lot of healing. I do a lot of protecting. I do help my niece learn the healing stuff that she's going over."

"I've heard about Callia. They say she's got a good hand with some things."

Dawn smiled. "Especially engineering things."

"It's always good to find your place."

Dawn grinned. "I love my job. I really do. I'd like fewer huge battles in my life but I love my job."

The midwife smiled. "That's a great thing in life." She checked her vitals. "You seem healthy enough."

"Usually. I get some funny morning sickness things, mostly due to the poisonings we had last time. Which somehow Natasha's picked up." She frowned but let it clear up. The nurse stared at her. "Because I got poisoned a few times last time, the morning sickness turned into I'd throw up anything that I didn't see made or was made by someone I absolutely trusted. Like Clint cooking."

"Hmm. So it warped psychologically?"

"Then again, I had poisoned apple juice for about two months on and off."

"Ow. Are you foreseing that this time?"

"Possibly. No one's had any visions. I'm kinda glad I don't have as many visions anymore. A wish demon wanted to grant them to someone so I let her take my gifts for it and fall back to mostly dream visions or emergencies instead of every huge thing gong on visions."

"Someone wished for them?" She looked confused.

"Xander and I figured they had a bad thing happen and wanted them in case something huge was going to happen again."

"That makes sense. So you kept some but not all?" Dawn nodded with a grin. "That's probably handy."

"Visions, as we're finding out, can cause massive brain changes. Cordelia died of hers," she said more quietly. "Before mine got taken, I was showing a substantial change as well." The nurse shuddered. "Someone at Stark is trying to find a good post-vision med to help beyond migraine meds and adrenaline."

"Adrenaline?"

"Or an epi pen. It seems to help the rush and then crash that you get during and afterward."

"I did not know that." She made that note to herself. "I have a few friends who have them sometimes."

"We end up in the infirmary under our doc's care but the local one doesn't understand that he's a full clinic and not an emergency bandaging station."

"I've seen those before. Including yours." She smiled. "He worked in an ER I'm affiliated with." She came over to listen to her stomach, then pulled out her hand-held ultrasound wand to check the heartbeat. "Good rhythm."

"We're pretty sure she's a single," Dawn said. "When I had a bit of spotting, the ER did an ultrasound to make sure of things and she was a single then."

"That's good. Your first was?"

"Well..... Slight time fixing issue meant that I didn't get given the fertility meds I had before then so I went from a twin to a single with Philip." The nurse stared at her. Dawn ran a hand through her hair. "There was huge shit and Hera let Clint fix it so they wouldn't all be destroyed. It meant that the people who used to subtly dose me with fertility meds now and then couldn't then."

"Huh. You live a very weird life."

"Sometimes." She grinned. "But usually it's just office stuff and fussing over the geeks."

"Which can be very nurturing." Dawn grinned. "You're how far?"

"Got pregnant after the Stark Halloween party I think."

"Okay." She made note of that. "You're sure?"

"They were too tired for sex for the next week. We were all kinda sore afterwards too."

The nurse laughed. "Is your wife pregnant as well?"

"Yup, but she's going to an OB that's kinda....like a drill sergeant."

"I know a few of those."

"My last one was really supportive and I adore her but she's in Honduras."

"That's a great thing but kinda sad."

"My first attempt with Philip, we loved his partner, he did a lot of SHIELD's pregnancies and pills, but his partner didn't like my faith, thought I was a bit too subby, and tried to have me arrested as a threat to myself and others." The nurse shook her head. "Yeah. It was why we switched." She grinned. "I just need someone to do the routine things, make sure I get my prenatal vitamins and all that. I'll probably be back in New York after the spring battle so I have a birthing center there I adore. They were great."

"That's good. Do you have one picked for when you go back?"

"Doctor Pigalli, our head doc on the east coast, is picking me one." She smiled. "She picked my last one."

"That's good." She patted her on the hand. "What about your diet instead of vitamins?"

Dawn slowly shook her head. "I'm not getting enough calcium. I hate milk. Clint's a great cook and I'm pretty decent, and so's Natasha, but they eat like agents, for high energy needs."

"That figures. We can do that. What were you taking?" Dawn held up a photocopy of a label. "That's pretty standard and the standard dosage. Did she have any concerns with your last pregnancy?"

"Not really. Now and then I had a few stressed days. She was worried because we had a few attacks. She was really worried because of the poisoning things. Which, me too. And Doc out there. So far no one's tried to attack us for me being pregnant or tried to poison anyone but Pepper because they hated Cap."

The nurse smiled. "That's fine then. No worries about your blood pressure? Blood sugar?"

"No, not often. There's been days, ya know?"

The doctor nodded. "I've had them too. That's why I went to nursing school from being a bank teller." Dawn smiled. "So far you're looking good. Try to meditate away any stress. It could help and you could probably even touch the baby."

"I'm hoping she's going to be pretty normal. I helped with one magically active baby that came out as a ball of glow." The nurse shivered. "Pretty powerful, yeah. But she's already learning."

"Good!"

Dawn grinned. "Tara and her coven on the east coast are great with the mini witches around the family and friends."

"I've heard they were nice women." She patted her on the knee. "Try for a slightly balanced diet. Though, shoes?"

"Tiny, narrow feet. I can't find shoes."

"There are people who custom make them."

"They're really expensive and I'm too practical to spend a grand on a pair of shoes."

"Good point."

"Later on in my last pregnancy I switched to ballet shoes."

"Those have to be comfortable." She smiled and wrote out her prescription for the vitamins. "There you go. See me in a month."

"Yup, thanks." Dawn hugged her and went to make the appointment then head back to work.

The nurse smiled and made her notes. "She's a nice girl. You'd expect her to be harder with all that you see her in battles."

***

Clint was at the music store, getting Callia something, when he got found by reporters. "I'm only picking up for Callia's music lessons," he said, sounding tired as he walked past them. He hated reporters. The shop clerk smiled. He grinned back. "Always," he complained quietly. He paid and took the bag, walking back out into the ambush. "What?"

"Dawn's having an easier pregnancy this time, Agent Barton?" one asked with a happy, beaming smile.

"Yeah, it's a lot easier since no one's tried to poison or kill her this time." They all stared at him. He shrugged. "We've been very protective this time."

"How's Pepper Potts doing?" another asked, trying to push forward.

"She's fine. The kids are all staring at her stomach. Liz remembers when she was carrying Chris so she's cooing at it. Chris is scowling a lot more because it means there's not as much lap room for him. Callia's happy because it means her siblings quit trying to steal her hair bows from her hair and things like that. It also lets her work on things without everyone hovering over her."

"How is that new half-brother you found in the LAPD doing since he got fired?" another asked.

"I haven't talked to him in days. We're not that chatty sort of people. Dawn might've, ask her."

"Is Agent Romanoff pregnant as well?" one of them asked with a grin. "We saw her out at lunch the other day with that new person on Stark's staff that we don't know yet and she looked a bit squeamish about tunafish subs."

"Ask Natasha. I'm not giving out anything I'm not allowed to, guys. Natasha would gut me and then do something mean to me before she killed me if I gave out any information on her."

"Who is that new staff guy?" another reporter asked. "Is he a guard or something?"

"That's Agent Barnes. He's a backup Avenger and Natasha knew him when she was younger. He's been in a few bad places over the years so we're helping him readjust and the kids think he's great because he can read to them. We trust him even if Philip needs some help." Most of the reporters went 'aww' at that. He grinned. "Anything else? I've got to get this back to Callia. She snapped a string."

"What's she learning how to play?"

"She's got a few choices. This is for her upright bass." He walked around them, going to the truck so he could head back. He made sure to check it for anything before he got in. Which was a good thing when he found a device. "Huh." He tossed the strings into the front seat and got down to look at it, undoing the slight bomb. He came out holding it. "Someone call someone beyond Stark for me? This close might still set it off."

"Already called," two chirped in unison.

"Is that a bomb?" one asked, moving closer.

Clint stared at her. "Yes, it is. Move back before it goes boom and makes you bits and pieces." Her eyes went wide and she slowly backed off. "Thanks." Cruisers showed up. "Guys, I took it off the truck when I saw it was totally freefloating on the magnets. Do we have a bomb box?"

"Sir?" one asked, hand on his gun. "Who're you?"

"Agent Clint Barton, SHIELD." He stared at him. "This is my truck."

"Oh. Okay. So you pulled the bomb off without waiting on bomb squad?"

"Yup. It was only attached to magnets. It looks like a remote detonator so I broke the antenna."

"Sure," that officer agreed. The others were calling in for bomb boxes. The SWAT truck got there. Clint held up the bomb. "That, sir."

The captain walked over. "Magnets?"

"Yup. I checked, no wires or anything. Broke the antenna. Don't have on gloves, sorry."

"That's okay. We have yours on file in case I'm sure. If not, we can come get them." They took the bomb and carefully put it into a lead box. "That was still fucking dumb."

Clint grinned. "Sometimes special agents are special for multiple reasons."

"Clearly your's is *special* in that bad way. What would your wife say?"

"That she's going to kill them. A lot. Then again, she's just starting into mood swings."

"Thanks for the warning," one of the guys quipped. "The other one?"

"Natasha said I'm not allowed to give any information out no matter what, guys. Though, yeah, wasn't in a happy mood this morning. Her shirt shrank in the wash or something."

The captain gave him a pointed look. "Should we hear about any anti-kidnaping or other procedures you've set up? Some of us looked up what happened when Summers was pregnant before."

"We've only had one attempt. The compound's a bit more tight than the building in New York is." That got a nod. His phone beeped so he looked at the text message. "Why?" he muttered, texting that. He got another as he was typing so canceled the message to look at it. "Fuck." He got into the truck. "Let me go help with that. Dawn said Agent Barnes left you guys a mess at the Subway by the compound, guys." He closed the truck door and drove off, shaking his head because only a pregnant Dawn got those sort of issues.

***

Dawn walked Natasha into the OB midwife's shop. They were having a lamaze class so Dawn got them into a corner to follow along. The midwife looked at her. "Someone just tried to steal her. So we're going to learn how to meditate away stress."

"That's always a great thing," the OB said with a smile. "Welcome, Natasha. I'm Dawn's OB midwife." She shook her hand and gave her a pillow to sit on. Then one to Dawn. "There, get comfortable, calm down, let's start some meditative breathing for you two. These ones are closer to their due dates and Dawn's a bit further out." Natasha nodded, calming herself. Dawn was doing the same, holding her hand. The midwife smiled at the others. "Dawn's having a beautiful girl she thinks." They all smiled and got back to the breathing exercises to help them with the pain they'd be going through.

Natasha watched. Dawn hadn't done much of that last time but it looked handy. She calmed herself and let herself fall into a gentle, upper level meditative calming down. She'd be able to handle it immediately if someone broke in but otherwise it was good. She didn't realize she was letting herself fall deeper, nearly into a sleep state. At least until someone sat against her knees and rubbed her stomach and arms for her. She blinked. Clint grinned. "Bucky handled it," she said quietly.

"I know." He went back to helping. "They said this'll help when the baby's being pushed out."

"It feels nice now." Dawn grinned. "We should have attended lamaze classes, not watched it online last time." Dawn smirked. "Come, we will help each other."

"He gets you, you get mine." She nodded. "Then we'll learn in case something happens and Clint ends up pregnant thanks to a nosy goddess sort."

Clint snorted. "I'm so glad that I don't have Roque's mother." They arranged themselves.

The midwife came over. "They can?"

"Roque's mom is an African fertility goddess," Clint said with a grin for her. "Yeah, she's trying very hard to get one from his very male mate."

"They're on the IUD system to make sure it won't happen," Dawn quipped.

"Wow. I didn't even think about that."

"There's been a potion and spell that's really hard that's been floating around for years," Dawn said. "Xander's book collection has a few mentions of it and I found it in Willow's diary. She was thinking about using it on Xander."

The midwife shuddered. "That poor man." They went back to it and she gave Clint some quiet orders, getting a nod and him shifting some to help ease the strain on his arms and knees. Dawn grinned and giggled, wiggling away from Natasha's fingers. "Laughter during pushing is a good thing. You don't hurt as much if you're laughing."

"Hell, last time we begged the nurse to give Dawn more drugs," Clint quipped. "She *shared*."

Dawn smirked. "Yay?"

He kissed her then Natasha. They got back into it then the breathing exercises. Natasha was even calm and smiling by the end of the class. Clint thanked the nurse and they walked out to the truck, where Bucky was waiting. "Barnes, if I'm absent, it's you, Stark, or Coulson who's helping them through the delivery process. You're the only three we'd trust with them being vulnerable and naked during it. So bone up on lamaze stuff." He got the ladies into the truck. Then he walked around to drive.

"No thanks."

"Yay," Dawn said with a grin and a blown kiss for him. "Last time there was an attack on the birthing center I was in and they were chasing bad guys all over the city. I had to summon Benji and Fury both to try to find them. And Stark but he had to handle things."

Bucky shuddered. "If you go into labor, I'll take their places and send them back." He walked off shaking his head. He sent a complaining text to Steve. He'd understand and sympathize. They could make good plans to make sure neither scary lady went into labor on her own this time. Even if he had to go kill a lot of bad guys this time. He got back to the compound. Steve looked out from the office. "Got any ideas?"

"They'll need a good guard. There's been a tiny bit of talk about taking her daughter. They can always train her to be as good as her mothers and then breed from her later. Last time, most of us were out of contact for most of the day due to the attack on our meeting."

"She just threatened to make me sit with her and that I should learn lamaze stuff," Bucky complained.

"Yeah, that's a great idea," Stark agreed with a grin. "If we're off handling Avengers things, you're about the only guard since Dawn would probably be in labor with Pepper and so would Natasha. We'd need at least one of the guards there to protect the kids."

Bucky stared at him then said something rude in Russian before stomping off. "I don't want to see the supposed miracle of birth!"

"Why not? It's kinda gross but they're naked and it comes out of their panty-covered parts," Callia quipped as he stomped past her. "I saw Chris being born and it was gross but like a movie gross."

He glared at her. "I'll train some people to handle it."

She grinned. "Good idea!" She hugged him. "Because I don't to watch the next one being born either. I don't need to see babies until I have my own." She skipped off.

Bucky moaned, calling Coulson to see if he help him make plans for the birth. With their luck, all three would go into labor at the same time. Steve would be beside Pepper, even if there was an emergency going on. Clint would have to handle things to protect his women. That would mean Bucky would have to see that disgusting stuff. Which he really didn't want to do. He didn't mind naked, sweaty women but he wasn't into naked, sweaty, pushing out a baby women.

***

Phil looked at his phone since he was in a trainers meeting. He smiled. "Barton just informed Barnes he's the backup security detail for when the three of them go into labor."

Maria paused to consider it. "Potts is pregnant too." Phil smiled and nodded. "I heard rumors about the others.... Yeah, you'll need one. Work one up with him, Coulson, and hand it to me later."

"I can do that."

"If the new baby Barton's going to have luck like her mom and Liz did, then we'll have something bigger than a celebutante bimbo witch attacking the city," another of the trainers quipped.

"Liz's Dawn luck moment wasn't exactly the same."

The trainer looked at him. "Some of us got the file to stomp on the plans going on."

"No comment," he ordered, staring at her.

"I'd never do that, Coulson."

"Thank you." He smiled. "And don't let your husband, who gave out my phone number, do so either?"

"Nope, he's not allowed since he got fired for that." She gave him a pointed look. He stared back. "They'll be fine."

"We hope," Maria agreed. "Dawn's already had one moment so far."

"Barnes said that someone tried to capture Agent Romanoff at the Subway they were eating at," Phil said. Maria Hill stared at him. He nodded once.

"Interesting," Maria agreed. "Because of....."

"The obvious he thinks."

"Huh. Look at the security arrangements Barton already has for those three women."

"She is?" another trainer demanded. Phil stared at her, face unreadable. "I mean, Natasha is?" Maria blinked at her. "Wow, so we've got two security needs people plus Potts. I thought we were moving two agents out there due to Dawn being pregnant."

"We're not moving anyone yet," Phil said.

She pulled up the orders. "Two of mine got sent."

They looked at it and Maria got them recalled to the building by force. "That was not signed off on." She called Steve, sending him those orders in his email. He could handle it.

Ten minutes later, Phil's phone went off. "The Avengers are assembling. Let me go handle that." He left, going to the LA compound to see what was going on. Captain America was stomping around in a hissy fit worthy of a teenage girl. Bucky was quietly cleaning his weapons. Stark had an extra suit being stashed in case. Barton was walking out wearing his wife's holding necklaces, all of them. "This looks like it's a bad thing."

"Very, and related to why they tried Natasha, sir," Clint said with an icy smile. He let him see the information they had gotten.

Phil lost all sense of calmness and any regard for fair play. He made sure he had weapons as well. Bucky was staring at him. "I was a field agent first, and a Marine before then, Barnes."

"Wonderful."

Dawn walked out with the office first aid kit, which barely closed so she had clearly restocked it. She took a kiss from Clint and gave Phil and Tony a hug. She patted Steve on the shoulder because he'd never take a hug when he was in uniform. She patted Bucky on the head. "Okay, you guys be safe. Be careful. If they so much as graze you I'm going to get to have my first official mood swing." She smiled. "Blow someone up for Natasha. She's feeling a bit blood thirsty today." She took another kiss from Clint then walked out.

Tony looked at Coulson. "Her first mood swing was yesterday when she cried because they only had jell-o in the caf."

"Thankfully I had stocked some Ben and Jerry's at home," Clint quipped with a grin. He settled in. "Am I flying us?"

"Rhodey's almost here," Tony said. "He's flying us. That way you can rest." That got a nod and Colonel Rhodes walked in, letting the suit-take off system in there take off his too. "Good, we're all here." They closed the door of the quin jet and took off once Rhodey had gotten into the pilot's seat.

Someone was going to be very sorry they wanted Natasha's kid.

And then they'd die.

***

Pepper looked at the other two pregnant women, who were being guarded in the office with her by Happy and a few of the compound guards outside the doorway. "We have to work out a few plans of our own, ladies." Dawn smiled at her. "I know you'll go on leave as late as possible and work from home for part of it. So will I. Natasha?"

"I don't plan on taking leave until it is absolutely necessary," Natasha said. She realized she couldn't cross her feet like normal and stared at her stomach then looked at them. "I plan on taking minimal leave afterward until I'm back in shape."

"By SHIELD rules, you have ten weeks to make it over the obstacle course in at least eighty-percent of trainee time," Dawn said. "You have a full six months to make it over in regulation time." She pulled that information packet up and sent it to a virtual screen near Natasha's seat on the couch.

Natasha read it over and nodded. "I got most of that but that is good to know." She closed that screen and looked at Dawn. "I know last time was irregular and you were planning on only taking the last month off." Dawn smiled and nodded. "This time?"

"We need a housekeeper this time," Dawn admitted. "Neither of us is going to feel like handling anything. Much less vacuuming up kid messes."

"Hmm. Philip may be in potty training then," she realized. Dawn snorted shaking her head. "I know he could do so sooner."

"Not likely. He won't have the small muscle control by then," Pepper said. She pulled up potty training information for them. Dawn grinned at her. "I know you helped with Callia's. She seriously wanted out of diapers. Your son just wants to be naked."

"Often," Dawn quipped. She read it over. "We used the bribe and pouting about it method with Callia."

"We did," Pepper agreed.

Natasha looked at them. "Philip will be motivated. It will mean he can run around in his father's t-shirt more often."

Dawn nodded. "Sometimes. He's still gotta wear big boy panties."

"Good point, though I would not let Clint hear you call them panties."

"I found some pretty ones in boy colors with superheros, and ruffles the other day," Dawn said with a grin. She pulled up a picture of them. "I sent them to Clint but didn't get an answer."

Natasha looked at the tiny red Iron Man boys underwear - it had the y-front so it had to be male underwear - that did indeed have ruffles on the butt. Iron Man was on the y-front part. She nearly whimpered. "I had wondered why he went to get cookies before he banged his head into the wall. Are they perhaps in our son's drawers?"

"No, but I did find out that they made daddy and baby sets so the set of them are in Clint's for both of them so Philip can enjoy matching. Because kids love to match with their parents." She beamed. "That's why he squeals when you both wear purple for Clint."

"Ah." Natasha sighed but nodded. "Clint will hopefully be amused."

"He should be. We'll have Philip hand them to him. That way Philip can be happy that they match."

"You need a nap," Pepper complained. Dawn just smirked at her. "Though, I need those for Chris. Tony will be just tickled," she said with an evil grin.

Natasha looked at them. "Is it the hormone surges that make us like that?"

"No, we just like seeing Tony and Clint speechless," Dawn said with a mean smirk. "It's cute."

"Probably, though I haven't seen it very often." She shook her head quickly to banish the picture. Dawn put up another one. It was Hulk underwear with the same ruffles. They were Hulk green with him on both hips. "At least no child can point out that he's smashing things with his penis," Natasha decided. "Send that to your mother?"

"Already have. She's getting Bruce a set so he can help by matching with Philip too."

So it wasn't the hormones, it was a Dawn-infection that caused that mood. Good to know. "What about regular white ones?"

"Our son?" Dawn snorted. "Will he wear anything that plain?"

"Well, perhaps not," Natasha realized then sighed. "He really must learn better clothing habits."

"We're going shopping next week for him. Most of his clothes are too tight again." She smiled. "You can help."

"I do not shop."

"Fine. Pepper?"

"The kids all need some," she complained. "Even the big one."

Dawn grinned. "She can help."

"Good point." They made plans on when to go and where. The kids would behave for them and the auntie coming. "Natasha, can you come to help ride herd?"

"I can," she decided. "If I am not doing things at the office." Dawn grinned. "You can subtly help me pick up some larger shirts at the same time."

"I know a great store for that and it'll look like I'm buying them for me, dear."

"That would be good." She shifted and winced.

"Expansion pain," Dawn said.

"Okay." She looked at her stomach. "We'll do a scan next doctors' visit to see what you may be."

Pepper smiled. "Dawn?"

"Pretty sure it's a girl and I'm pretty sure she will. If not, I'll arrange it with Doc in New York. She likes to do the ultrasounds."

"She does," Pepper agreed, smiling back. "She loved doing our last ones." Dawn nodded. Their local doctor huffed in to complain about that. Pepper told him off for thinking he was in charge and he stomped off again. Pepper looked at Dawn, who pulled up a list and sent it to her tablet. "Made with....."

"Doc Shivs helped."

"Great." She smiled. "I like him." She went over it. A few had notes like 'didn't like to handle big things but was a good GP in the office' and other interesting side notes. It led to three choices that sounded nice. "When can we interview?"

"You have them set up for two days from now," Dawn said. "Also, the infirmary restock order got looked over by both Docs in New York and they were horrified that he did away with some necessary things for lab accidents."

"Great," she muttered. Dawn pulled that list up then the amended list. "Who did the inventory?"

"Shivs came out to do it. I made sure he got dinner." Dawn smiled. "He nearly threw someone out a window. Including that nurse that Pigalli fired."

"Why is she still down there then?" Pepper asked.

"No idea," Dawn admitted. "I asked HR and they said she had been fired. They said they talked to her and she keeps coming back."

Pepper nodded. "No." She shook her head. "I'll deal with that later." She made a note. Then sighed. "I see intern applications are being looked over?"

"The application itself to make sure we don't need any changes." Dawn pulled that up for her. "I haven't done much but fix last year's typos."

Pepper looked it over, looking at the 'cut' sections at the bottom of the file that could be added back in. "When did we take out the references?"

"Two years ago," Dawn said.

"Why?"

"A lot of good ones couldn't come up with any?"

"I'll talk to Tony." She copied that onto her tablet and put it aside for later. "Any idea on names?"

"We were going to do the same thing we did after Philip's ultrasound. Though I've gotten a few suggestions. One of the entertainment papers is running a 'give us name ideas' sort of contest and the ones that send in the winning one, meaning the ones we use, get subscriptions."

Pepper sighed. "Already?"

"Yup." She pulled it up so they could see it. "A few are sweet sounding."

"They included Russian ones," Natasha said quietly, staring at the list of suggested names.

"They figured that we went with a partially Russian name for Philip." She smiled. "I like the sound of Raisa."

"I do like that one and Idella," she said with a smile. "My sister was named Idella." Dawn got up to hug her. She patted her. "I will think on it."

"I like Ryann," Pepper admitted. "And it's easily changed for a boy."

"I see a lot of Irish and Celtic mythology names," Natasha said. "I see Klavdiya, which is Russian for Claudia. That's interesting. Not sure if I'd want a daughter with that name."

"I'm wondering if we can answer back to some of those. I'd never let my kid be Dilbert, in any meaning of the word," Pepper said. Dawn grinned. Natasha looked confused. "It's a cartoon."

"Oh."

"He's a frustrated office drone that has incompetent morons above him," Dawn said with a grin.

"I remember those days," Natasha said dryly, cracking the other two up. "I unfortunately see Xena."

Dawn nodded. "Us too." They sighed and shook their heads. "Xanthia's pretty or Alexia. Since he's named after Phil, we should recognize Xander somewhere."

"We may," she agreed. They paged down. "There are the Slavic and Baltic mythology names," Natasha said dryly. "Any others?"

"There's a group related to Xander's name and there's a Russian group," Dawn offered, finding those groups of suggested names.

"I like that one, Maeve," Pepper said, making a note of it.

"Euphemia?" Dawn asked.

"Means 'to speak well' in Ancient Greek," Natasha said after looking it up. "It's unusual. It has comments but half of them think it sounds like a type of cancer."

"Not really," Pepper said, frowning a tiny bit but letting it clear up. "There's always Alexandra. It seems almost universal."

Xander appeared shaking his head then disappeared quickly before Dawn could swat him.

"Alexia or Alexina," Dawn said. "We really need a way to weed down their list on them." She wrote that at the editor. It was hard to read the individual words in the piled on list they had. "Nat, if you don't want to use Idella, would you be upset if I did?"

She shook her head. "I would not mind." She smiled. "Alexia Idella?"

"Alexina Idella. That way it doesn't rhyme as much."

"That's pretty," Pepper agreed. "I've got three names: Maeve, Ravenna, and Ryann."

"I like Raisa and Xanthia, but not together," Natasha admitted. "I had not considered this before."

"Last name?" Pepper asked. "Yours, hers, his?"

"Summers," Natasha said. "We agreed on that long ago, even if Dawn has offered hyphenated names or some such." She winced and moved again. Dawn came over to help by rubbing her sides for her. "Thank you, Dawn. That is very helpful."

She took a kiss in payment and grinned at her wife. "I know."

"How did you do lamaze last time?"

"I didn't get many classes in but I dragged Benji with me. He was a bit creeped out."

"I would be as well. He's very soft spoken when he wants to be. He's probably very calm."

"Nope, saw the film and nearly passed out. Walked out babbling at someone on his phone." Dawn smirked evilly. "But he was good to have around when I needed him."

"We should see if he's not busy later on." She pulled her down beside her. Which helped since someone shot in a window. The guards went running.

Dawn stood up and carefully walked over, looking out there. "I'm going to fuck you up in ways that will make the Goddess cry!" she shouted. "You'd better run!" The guards caught him running from her. "Huh. One of the coworkers we didn't get, Nat."

Natasha shook her head. "You are not allowed to turn people into hedgehogs for the next few months, Dawn."

"Yay? I have knives and a gun on me."

"Good!" Pepper agreed.

Natasha smiled. "Only those?"

"I don't want to carry any of the poisons in case one breaks on me." She sat down again. Natasha gave her a pointed look. "I didn't think you'd want to be seen cuddling me when people got here for him." Natasha snorted. Dawn grinned and moved to sit beside her again.

"We love that you two are still mushy," Pepper said. She suddenly turned green and went to puke in the attached bathroom. "Sorry," she called.

"We've both done a lot of that," Dawn quipped. A SHIELD agent stomped in scowling. "Pepper's heaving up lunch."

"Why did they shoot at you?" he asked his superior officer. He'd ignore Dawn.

"We did not question him. I can if you wish." He went pale and shook his head. "All I know is that he shot a very low caliber gun into the window." She pointed at the mess and the bullet on the carpet. "He is pathetic in many ways."

He gathered the bullet and walked off to ask the guy that and nag him for using such a low caliber round.

Happy was watching how the agents did it, frowning at one of the guards. Then at the agent. "Why are you nagging him about using such a low caliber round? We're all pretty thankful that he did since it meant he didn't hit anyone in the office."

The agent glared at him. "Because it's demoralizing him."

Happy snorted, looking at the wanna-be hero that had worked with Clint's brother. "The girls are always going to be better than you. Hell, Callia and Liz Stark are both better bad guys than you'll ever be because they know what true evil is and enjoy it sometimes." The guy spat at him. Happy smirked. "Get up and try that."

"We're taking him into custody," the agent said.

"Then he'd be in handcuffs," one of the agents getting out of the truck said. "You wouldn't be nagging him about using low caliber rounds."

"We're really pleased he did," Happy said. "You're...."

"Agent Simmons, FBI."

"Welcome to Stark International," Happy said with a smile. "Whichever one he shot at is in the office, Agent Simmons." He looked at the idiot. "Which one were you shooting at?"

"Barney doesn't want a new niece," he sneered.

"Then you would've had to shoot twice," Happy said with an evil smirk. "Because they're both pregnant." The guy's eyes went wide. He looked beside him since he felt something brushing against his arm. "He's pouty."

Dawn nodded. "That's a sad thing."

"You're not Dawn."

"No, I'm not." She changed into Discord. "Alexander just heard." She grinned an icy little smile at him. "He's not pleased and neither is Loki. Apparently he's going to be a godparent again and is looking forward to make them sweet little fluffy girls instead of ball busting bitches like their mothers." She cracked her knuckles. "You want to tell me all about your idea, right?" The idiot was shaking his head. "Of course you do. It's me or the first time mother with mood swings. Which would you prefer?" The guy started to cry. "Awww, I love that request." She hauled him up one handed and walked off with him. "I'll give him back in a minute."

"Ma'am, if he's in custody we can't really let you torture him," Agent Simmons said.

She smirked. "I'm the Goddess Discord, mortal. But I like that you have balls."

"I'd like to keep them attached, ma'am, but if he's been read his rights, he's still ours."

"He hasn't," Happy said. "The guy hasn't made one single move to put him into custody." He heard a scream and ran back to the office. There was a mouse on the floor. And a hedgehog. "Dawn?" he called.

"Bathroom," Pepper said with a point since she was standing on her desk. "The mouse wasn't her."

"Okay." He helped her down and around the rodents. "Agent Romanoff, should I take her to the ER?" he called, walking that way. "And who was he?"

"He was Barney's usual backup bully," Pepper huffed. Happy looked at her. "We got the files."

"That's fine, Pepper." She smiled. "Want helped to the apartment?"

"No. I'll go home with the ladies tonight. It's probably safer. The kids?"

"I can get them there." She nodded. He picked up the mouse by the tail to look at it. "Where did you come from?"

Natasha came out to look at him then at it. "It was thrown through the vents." She pointed. "The hedgehog was the one who threw it." She looked. "I believe it's ill."

"Me too." He called down to biology. "Someone threw a mouse we think is sick into the office." He hung up and handed over the hedgehog to Discord when she came in. "Dawn did it, ma'am."

She looked at it and grimaced. "Too cutesy."

"She used to use mice." A guy in a lab coat leaned in. Happy held up the mouse by the tail. "This one." He carried in a plastic cage and let Happy drop it in there. "I don't think it bit anyone."

"Okay. We can test it." He looked at it through the plastic. "You're right, it's sick with something."

Discord looked and nodded. "Looks like a plague."

"Shit, they're playing dirty," Happy complained. Dawn wobbled out. "Sit down. I'll get you home in a minute."

Dawn shook her head. "I need my OB. I'm not supposed to use heavy magic, Happy." She curled up in a chair, holding her stomach.

"Lady Discord, can you please tell Alexander so he can get us there? That way Happy can protect Pepper and the children," Natasha said quietly but politely.

Xander appeared. "Shit shit shit shit. 'SCLEP!" he yelled. He appeared eating some chicken. He pointed at the mouse. "Nearly dropped next to her." He pointed at the hedgehog. "By him."

Asclepias sent his food back to his plate and moved to look over Dawn's stomach. "Calm it down," he said quietly. "Here, do this," he ordered, showing her. She concentrated on that image. It made her tap into a different Key instead of trying to tap into the one in her new daughter. "You were using that one as your primary source and now you can't."

"I thought I hit the backside of them, not the front," Dawn mumbled.

"Maybe you were." She hugged him. He kissed her on the head. "Right now, she's a little upset because you got sick." He soothed the baby while checking her, nodding. "She's fine and I've put a shield around her so you can't tap into her magic by accident."

"Thank you. I didn't think I was," she said, staring at him.

He smiled. "It's fairly common. A lot of practioners do." He ruffled her hair. "Did the mouse touch you?" She shook her head. "Any of you?"

"No," Natasha said. "Pepper screamed and climbed up on the desk."

"That's always a good response to a mouse," he said with a smile for her. "It means it can't nibble." He checked her over. "You're fine as well." Someone shot at them again and Dawn instinctively stopped the bullet. Asclepias checked and nodded. "Now you're tapping into the others so it's safer." He patted her on the head, looking at Xander. "Another bout of 'they don't want a future Barton born?"

"No idea," Xander admitted, looking that way. "It was an agent though." It happened again and Xander blocked the shot from leaving the gun and burned the guy holding it. He shrugged at the scream. "He won't do it again."

"Don't do that in front of me, Xander. Please? You know I'm compelled to help them," the healing god complained. Xander waved and put out the fire. "Thank you." He patted him on the arm. "Go eat. You're starving." He looked at Natasha. "You too."

"When we get home," she promised.

"I'll make dinner," Dawn said, smiling at her.

"That would be appreciated." She kissed her. "You make dinner very well." She walked out to see which agent was now crispy. She stared at the agent who had come in to question them. "Pity your allegiance was found first." She stared down at him. He was gasping for breath and moaning. "Alexander was very nice to you. I would have roasted you much more slowly and only a bit at a time. That way no one would want to take a shot at what is mine ever again." She looked at the FBI agents but stepped on the gun the crispy agent was trying to pull up. "Lord Asclepias nicely asked Xander to put him out so he didn't have to take care of him."

"That was really nice of him," one of the FBI agents agreed with a smile. "Where are you hiding tonight, Agent Romanoff?"

"The house. With the children. Because I know no one is stupid enough to take a shot at the children." She looked at the two idiot agents then walked back inside.

Dawn cuddled her. "Happy's driving us in my car."

"The children?"

"Are coming with a guard team in the specially shielded van." Pepper walked in talking to Callia. "C'mon, mini Stark. We'll go make dinner once the kids are there."

"Okay." She looked at the hedgehog. "I have cats that will still hunt you." It squeaked and tried to get away. Discord strolled in to change him back and walk him off. Callia frowned and pointed.

"That's the Goddess Discord," Dawn said quietly. "Apparently she needed a new playmate."

"I thought I was mean." She shrugged. "Okay. Let's go eat. Chris is about to try to eat Philip again." Pepper snorted. "He was! He was chewing on his ear again."

"We'll fix that once we get home," Natasha assured her. Callia ran off. She helped Dawn up. "Let's go home. We can rest in the tub after the children are down. That way our son doesn't want to help." Dawn sniffled, hugging her. "What?" she asked patiently.

"You don't usually call Philip our son." She looked at her.

"He is our son, even if you bore him. The child clearly is confused that you're the pet mother but he is our son. Or else he would eat for you more often." Dawn laughed and gave her a squeeze but walked out with her to the car. They guarded Pepper on the way. The agents checked the car before they could get into it and it was good. Much nicer.

***

Tony stepped off the quin jet very early the next morning. He was the last one off. He saw the tense guards and nodded at them. "What happened?" He got a report handed to him and read it over, groaning and handing it to Steve. "Dawn and them?"

"Everyone's there, Mr. Stark. They're very safe and the FBI have helped guard them tonight until the clean up team from SHIELD can handle the other agents. Though, I'm not sure if the Lady Discord has handed hers back yet."

Steve shook his head. "If she hasn't, I'll see where she buried him so I can plant the rest there."

Tony kept him from moving. "Get two hours sleep, Steve, and then go stomp them flat," he said quietly, staring at him. "You're exhausted like the rest of us."

"I guess." He texted the main office, getting one from Maria Hill. "What are you doing in already?" he muttered, texting that back. He walked off calling her. "Our mission, what happened out here, or another emergency?" he asked bluntly as he walked. He listened, pausing a bit. "But we're good now?" He looked at Tony. "No, I fully planned on going to plant them somewhere as fertilizer, Agent Hill. But if you've had that done I'll take a nap and see you in a few hours to go over what happened and how." He listened to her. "That's good. Thank you. Now, go take a nap." He hung up, looking at Tony. "They also got the person that tried to wake Natasha up but got Dawn up instead."

"Why?" Tony asked, hands going into his pockets.

"Because they wanted her to come back home to work for them again."

Tony inhaled then slowly let it out, trying to calm himself. "They all good?"

"Didn't touch the kids or Pepper. Just woke Dawn up. Did you know Dawn had an axe that she has shrank under her pillow?"

"No, I did not," Tony admitted.

"Neither did Natasha apparently. Agent Hill said the call-in contained a lot of 'please put the axe down, Dawn' notes." They shared a look.

"Dawn needs ice cream."

"I'll pick some up on the way home," Clint said as he walked around them. "I'll make sure Pepper gets back tomorrow with the kids too."

"Thanks," Stark and Steve said. "Get someone to drive you."

"On it," one of the guards promised. "We're switching shifts in an hour anyway, sir. We can go early." He got him into one of the company cars and took him home.

Clint walked in and looked around. No mess. He walked into their bedroom. Slight smell of cleaning products. He went to check on the kids. Chris had kept Philip in the bed for a change. Philip was cuddled up against Chris and cooing in his sleep. Liz and Callia were sharing the other future nursery room. Pepper had the other spare room. Clint went back to his room, stripping off his t-shirt on the way. He stared at his wives, who were cuddled. Dawn was on top of Natasha, covering her so she was hidden and protected. He grinned, kissing Natasha.

She blinked and smiled at him, sending a happy thought over. "I'm fine," she mouthed.

"Good." Dawn flinched awake, staring at him. "You okay?"

"I'm okay. She's okay. I made sure of it."

"I'm happy you did." He kissed her. "Let's nap?"

She checked him over, helping him out of his jeans and shoes too. She touched the few bruises and cuts, healing them. He caught her hands. "Lord Asclepias made sure I wasn't using the same Key that went into the baby," she said quietly. "It's okay."

He let her heal them and laid down between his girls. They cuddled up to his sides. "This is a real hero's welcome," he teased. They smiled and kissed him, curling up so they could all go back to sleep. Clint wasn't battle tense and he was comfy to sleep on. He'd get a sit rep in the morning. He yawned, falling asleep with his ladies.

***

Dawn walked into her favorite goth shop, sighing at the owner/salesgirl. "I can't find anything." She had called ahead to make sure this visit was around closing time.

"Why?" She smiled. "How formal?"

"Everyday stuff." She pulled up a picture. "I found a site called Polyvore to look at clothing options. I went to a higher end shopping helper and he found some things but most of them were in the thousands for a single dress and you know I'm more sensible than that."

"You usually are." She looked over the selection Dawn had picked out. "Peplum shirts."

"The waist usually hits above where the bump would be so it'll be easier to hide it somewhat. There's a few that are knit, stretchy knit. A few that are more formal work clothes. I can't seem to find dresses that aren't like men's shirts, or look like I'm a Goth Lolita type of dress, or like I'm from the fifties."

"Hmm, front rouching instead of to the side."

"I couldn't find a good example of that at all," she admitted. "Maybe up to an empire looking bustline but I'm not sure. Those I can find in formal gowns but not in shorter. Plus I pulled out some tunics and I found that pair of leggings. I thought the Aztec patterns would look cute with that black shirt."

"It would." She looked them over then Dawn's present shape. "Just for you?" Dawn stared at her. "I saw her out for coffee." She smiled.

"Maybe not just for me. We're about the same size so it should be good."

"We can handle that. I know a few places to look and we can talk to your seamstress that you go to for tailoring things." She looked at her shoes, smiling at the ballet shoes. "Can't even find sandals?"

"I can't wear open toes or heels in the labs when I'm doing rounds."

"Yeah, that would suck." She took her to look at a few friends' shops. "No official shopper sort?"

"No, he wanted me to dress in D&G, which I don't mind usually but I'm not going to pay that much for a shirt. Bad enough Callia wants to try designer things soon."

"You taught her well."

"She wants McQueen," Dawn quipped.

"A bit weird, a bit wild.... Sounds like the kid." The other goth shops and demon-run shops had a lot of ideas for Dawn and it was mostly good ones. They found Dawn a pair of shoes that had closed toes and a heel enclosure but nothing over the arch and they were flats. They were still a bit wide but comfortable enough for her. Dawn even found a few formal gowns she liked. It blew her budget a tiny bit but it was needed anyway. Dawn paid her friend a tip, made the other shopkeepers very happy by giving them a tip for staying late, and headed home with a trunk full of bags.

Natasha would be happy too. A lot of it was stuff she might wear.

***

Dawn walked in the next morning in a halter-top print dress that drew attention away from her stomach with the pattern. The fabric was a bit stretchy and a tiny bit loose so that was helping cover up the baby bump too. She had her hair up and her makeup looked good this morning. She smiled at Steve when she ran into him in the hallway.

"You look nice, Dawn."

"Thank you, Steve."

He smiled at her back. Her last pregnancy wardrobe had been a lot of tunic dresses and heavy tights when it was warm enough. This looked more comfortable and a bit more dressy.

Tony tipped his head when he saw Dawn logging in. "Huh."

"The pattern draws attention to her chest instead of her stomach," Pepper said with a grin.

"My friend at the goth shop helped me a lot. The official shopper sort was clueless about not wanting to pay fifteen-hundred bucks for a shirt."

"I wouldn't either," Pepper agreed. "Callia's doing her hair."

Dawn smiled, going to gather her niece. "Put on something better."

She huffed but changed out of her t-shirt to a dressier shirt and cargo pants instead of shorts. "Are you sure you can go?"

"Yup. I went shopping last night." She grinned. Callia swatted her on the arm but made sure her aunt had her envelope of money from her shopping account. They had Happy drive them to the store she wanted to try out. She had to have something for a science thing next month. Dawn walked Callia inside, smiling at the staring showroom head by his tag. "This is my niece, Callia Stark. She wanted to try you. She has a scientific event next month that should be semi-formal, within her age range, and she thought a few of the outfits she saw online were cute and flirty."

"They can be. She's a bit younger than we usually see."

Dawn pulled up that same site but picked out a different draft. "She saw these that she liked."

The salesman nodded, looking them over. "Most of those are ours." He smiled at her. "Have you worn something semi-formal before?"

"I've been to a few plays with my parents. Mostly I'm a long t-shirt, leggings, leotards, shorts, and swimsuits sort of girl."

"That's fine. We're used to active young women." He showed her to the proper areas of the store. "We don't really have a teen line, Miss Stark, but some of these can be altered down to your size easily enough."

She smiled. "I'm not that far off the standard size and I just went through a growth spurt."

"It's always better to shop after than during," he agreed with a smile. "So you know what fits." He let her look at the dresses. She held up a few for her aunt's approval, getting a few grimaces but mostly nods. "You have very nice taste."

She grinned. "Auntie Dawn and Mommy Pepper have helped a lot. Now we're making my brother Chris quit wearing ugly shirts together." He laughed and let her try them on. "This is too tight."

Dawn leaned in to look. "It looks like you're about a half size too tight in that. So maybe a 2?" she suggested. He got those dresses for her in that size. They found three they liked. Dawn considered them on the hangers then looked at her niece. "You have three thousand pulled out for this stop. If you go over, that'll take up the rest of your shopping allowance for this month and next month." Callia considered it. "But you can also talk your father into bringing you to buy new leotards and stuff."

"Most everything still fits. The stuff that Auntie Natasha helped me buy is still loose enough. I need new shoes because my feet grew." She considered one. "I'd have to wear a bra with that one, huh?"

"No," Dawn said. "It's low cut in the back so you couldn't. We'd have to teach you about pasties so you didn't show through but they're like breast stickers."

Callia smiled. "Do they come in scratch and sniff?"

"No, sorry." She smirked at her niece.

Callia took a picture of them and sent them to Pepper. "I can pick two," she said when she called. She got advice. "I'd need pasties according to Auntie Dawn." She tipped her head while she listened. "I can do that then. Thanks, Mommy Pepper." She hung up and handed the waiting sales guy two of them. "These two please."

"Of course. Anything for your aunt?"

Dawn grinned. "I have something for when I'm more pregnant. I don't have to go to the scientific awards event this year. I don't have a formal anything for a month."

He looked at her. "You can't really tell in that dress."

Dawn smiled. "That's the point." He laughed and smiled, leading them to the register. Dawn let Callia pay out of her money envelope. "Shoes." She took the bag to put into the trunk carefully after thanking the manager for being so patient. They went to the shoe store up the street. She smiled at the clerk. "This is my niece. She's just allowed to start wearing heels. She needs smaller, thicker ones. She has two formal dresses, one in deep red and one in silver."

"Those are pretty colors. Sandals or more enclosed?" the clerk asked.

Callia looked at her aunt. "Sandals for the red one?"

"The event's in Nevada but up in the mountains so possibly some chilly time getting in and out of the car," Dawn said. "I'd say something more classical. More strappy for the red but still tasteful." She saw the look at her shoes. "I have very tiny feet. I can't find *anything*."

"I've seen people with that problem." She took Callia to look at the styles they had.

Callia looked at one's price tag then at her envelope. She looked at the clerk. "I only budgeted seven hundred for this or else I have to cut down on any jewelry I might want."

"We have a few brands that fall into that." She showed her those. She glanced at Dawn, who smiled. "She budgets?"

"She budgets very well. She has since she was six and we taught her. I'm very proud of how Callia's learned how to manage money." She saw the instant the clerk figured out who she was. Dawn smirked a tiny bit. "She's starting to assert her sense of style. We're very proud of how nice she usually looks when she wants to try."

Callia smirked at her. "I'd never wear things like this in the lab, Auntie Dawn. They'd get messy and greasy." She held up a pair. "Suede?"

"For which?"

"The silver. The red one wouldn't go with the red they have and the black are too high."

Dawn took them to look over, nodding. "I can see that in a taupe maybe? Like a skin tone?"

"That might be nice and you can wear it again," the clerk agreed, showing her some.

Callia looked at it then at her. "I'm not allowed over two inch heels please."

"Of course." She showed her some lower ones. Callia looked at one then sighed. "Auntie, how much do I have budgeted for accessories?"

"About three hundred since you don't need new jewelry." Callia looked at her. "Your silver necklace would go well with either dress."

"The hammered one Auntie 'Tasha found me?" she asked.

"That one or the more simple chain with the solitaire pendant."

"Huh." She nodded. "So I only need hair things?"

"Yup."

"Then these look nice." She held up a pair. "But they won't go with both dresses."

Dawn looked and found one, handing it over. "How about that?"

"Is that low enough?" Callia asked.

"Probably a quarter-inch too high," Dawn admitted. "Or go to the suede one and then get the one there," she said with a point.

"Those aren't really a good brand," the clerk told her.

"Since she's almost ten, that's fine," Dawn said. "She'll outgrow them in a few wears anyway."

"Ten, really?" the clerk asked, looking at her.

Dawn smiled. "When the events are happening, yup," Callia said with a grin. She looked at that shoe. "Does this come in a red compatible color?"

The clerk looked at the card, shaking her head. "Not really. There's a black or a gray." She showed her.

Callia grimaced, looking at her aunt, who shook her head. "I can wear something flatter but I don't want them to look at me like I'm a child. Child geniuses get treated even worse than women in science and they're all going to go 'you're your father's daughter' all night." She looked around then at her aunt, shrugging. "Can I handle two inches without turning my ankle too much?"

"Pepper taught me how to walk in heels. We can teach you. If you want flats, get flats. You will need insoles because you'll be standing for hours listening to guys babble about your dad at your age."

She shuddered lightly. "Eww." She put down those shoes where they went and got a pair of flatter heels. Dawn shook her head. "It won't go with the silver?"

"No. Look to your left and that shelf," she said with a point.

Callia walked over to look, finding it more dancer oriented shoes. "Are these like the dancers on that crappy show wear?"

"And show girls and other dancers," Dawn agreed. "That means they're probably more comfortable. Also more supportive."

She looked inside them, nodding. "Not a bad price." She looked at the colors. "They have a silver and a taupe. If I get a silver for the red dress?"

"It be a bit light," Dawn said, considering it. "It'll also look like your dad's armor."

"Eww, I hadn't thought about that. Black then." She found a pair of them. "Okay, can we find me my right size in these please?" She smiled at the clerk. Who was looking shocked. "Shoes are just one accessory of any outfit but the dress is the important thing for the most part as long as you look put together."

Dawn nodded. "It is, yeah. There's been plenty of times I wanted to be a normal foot size so I could buy normal shoes to go with outfits."

The clerk shook her head. "I'm not sure they'd come in your size, Miss Stark. That brand only comes in adult sizes."

"That's fine. We'll go to a dance store." She smiled and shook her hand. "Thank you for helping us figure out what we needed." She walked off with her aunt. "I really don't like that pattern, even though it's hiding the baby bump. It's a bit eye-catching."

"It's supposed to be and I have a more subdued blue/black/silver version too."

"Great." She smiled at Happy. "We need a dance shoe store."

"Okay, I can find one." He got them into the back and used the map feature to find one. That worked and that store did have girls' sizes. And Dawn sizes as it turned out.

Dawn smiled as she walked her niece in. "She's got her first official function and we thought that perhaps shoes like dancers wear, the thick, shorter french heels, would do her good. She's got a silver and a scarlet dress to match."

"Wonderful," the woman agreed with a smile. "Do you dance, dear?"

"No, I hated dance class when I tried it. I went to gymnastics instead." She grinned. "I wear ballet leotards in the lab though. They're very comfy under shorts."

"They are." She showed them what shoes they had. "Ma'am, you can sit if you want. I'm fairly certain your feet have to hurt. Mine did during my pregnancy."

"Half of my last pregnancy I wore ballet shoes. I can't find smaller heels in my size."

The older woman tutted and got Callia fitted, letting her look at the colors they could order for her. She measured Dawn's feet, wincing. "We only have one brand that would fit you." She showed her. "They're not pointe shoes."

"No, I wore regular, going to class shoes." She checked them over. "Will they last when I'm running around doing rounds?"

"They should. I've had people who only buy two pairs a year with daily classes."

Dawn looked at her account online then bought a few in different colors. Before she couldn't find black or gray. This line had them. She hugged her and helped Callia order hers. They got a pair she already had there to practice in. And they were a lot cheaper. She smiled at her niece. "This was a good decision. Sixty-four per pair is a lot better than six hundred a pair for shoes."

"And the saleslady is so much nicer than the last one." She looked at her. "She figured out what my last name is and decided I could beg Daddy for more allowance."

She rolled her eyes. "A woman knows what she wants and needs in shoes and the only reason they're so expensive is the name."

Callia smiled. "Names are for the big things, like the important dresses. Not for the shoes." The woman smiled and hugged her, handing her some peppermint candy. "Thank you for your help." She paid and took her bag. Her aunt paid and got hers bagged up. They went back to the car. Happy was leaning against it smiling. "Sixty-four for a pair of shoes instead of six hundred."

"Your dad's going to be pleased." She grinned. "Home, ladies?"

"Ice cream," they said in unison after looking at each other and smiling. Happy got them through an ice cream place on the way back to the compound.

Callia walked into her father's lab, leaning on his arm. "Just so you know, I'm not going to be hanging out with you during that scientific event thing. I don't want to hear how many times I get compared to you."

"Dad bugging you again?" he asked dryly, turning his head to look at his little girl.

"Yup. Him too. I'll hang out in sight of you, or with Uncle Rhodey if he's there, or whoever you say is safe enough, but I'm not hanging on your arm like your protege."

"That's not a bad thing. They'll know but you don't want that comparison. Living in that shadow is really hard. I did for years."

She patted him on the arm. "As long as you're not going to be super clingy."

"No, I won't be." He gave her a hug. "Any other news?"

"Well, I somehow managed to buy a dress that will probably remind people of your armor but the other's silver so I'll wear that during the whole 'talking to idiots' portion." He smiled. "But if you want, you can help me learn how to walk in heels."

"Heels?" he demanded, looking at her feet. "I thought you were wearing clogs."

"No. We went to a specialty shoe shop. She unfortunately realized who I was so she kept trying to tell me that some of the brands they carried weren't very good." He snorted, shaking his head. "But they carried dance looking shoes. She didn't want to sell me them so we went to a dance store to get the dancer sort of shoes." She lifted up a foot. "They're within the two inch heel limit Mommy Pepper set."

"Two inches?" he demanded. She took one off to show him. He looked it over. "That's not that high. Not like your aunt's shoes."

"She got some ballet shoes." She put it back on and hitched it. "These are to help me learn how to walk in them because we had to order them in colors. But sixty-four per pair instead of three hundred or more per pair."

"That's much better," he agreed, staring at her. "Am I going to have another one of those revelations that you're growing up?"

"Well, maybe if you have to talk to me about pasties?" she offered, watching him shudder and walk off to bang his head on the wall. "Sorry?"

"No, it had to happen."

"Only in one dress though."

He turned to look at her. "You're growing up. We'll both grow up and handle all these new things like boobs."

"Are you getting them too?" she quipped.

"You'd better hope not. Just like Barton prays nightly that no Goddess decides they need another kid."

They shared a smirk and he came bac to sit down. "How do I walk in these?"

"You ask like I've worn heels."

She looked at him. "I saw that video online." He gave her a dirty look. She smiled. "I googled." She walked off.

"Pick up your feet," he said.

She looked down and tried to walk more carefully. "This totally sucks! How do women do this shit!"

Dawn walked up behind her and took her arm, pointing at her feet. Callia watched her feet and they walked off together. Callia eventually got the stride down and quit scuffing her feet. They made rounds in them. Callia was whimpering by the end of an hour but she sat down to rub her feet. Clint looked over from Dawn's desk looking at things online. Dawn kissed Clint, making him get up so she could sit down. He pulled Callia into the office to sit down so he could show her how to rub her feet.

She looked and then at him. "Wow. No wonder Auntie loves you." She hugged him. "Thank you, Unclie Clint. That helps a lot." Pepper tossed over insoles. "Those might too." She got up to hug her. She put back on the shoes once they were in, walking around a bit. "It's a bit better."

"Quit arching your back," Pepper said. She got up to show her how to walk. Callia watched and copied. "Quit arching your back," she reminded her. "You don't need a counterbalance." Clint patted her on the back between the shoulder blades, making her straighten up properly.

Dawn walked in and put a book on her head. "Keep it up there." Callia walked around, hand up to make sure it didn't slip. It helped and she got the point of how to walk. "Better," Dawn agreed. "You'll do better soon." She smiled. "Just think, most people who wear heels wear higher ones."

"I'm only wearing these when I have to spend real money on dresses," Callia joked. "The rest of the time I can wear t-shirts and sneakers like Dad." She sighed and tried it without the book. She scuffed a few times but she got it a minute later. "That's not that hard."

"The thinner or the higher, the harder it is," Dawn quipped with a grin.

"Nope, I'm not going to ho shoes like yours. Thanks though."

"The great thing about stripper shoes is you can get great boots," Dawn quipped back.

"When you turn eighteen you can buy your first set of naughty girl boots," Clint quipped.

"Maybe I won't need them. Some of us could be good girls."

"Then you wouldn't have given your siblings Red Bull again," Dawn said, smiling at her.

"No, they got into my stash. I didn't give them any." She sighed, going to check her stash. Which Tony walked in and took. "Hey, my allowance!"

"Yay! You know you're not allowed to have stimulants yet." He handed them to Andrew and Jonathan. "She's not allowed to have them back." He walked off again.

Andrew popped one to take a sip, grimacing. "I wondered what those tasted like." Jonathan took a taste too then shrugged. Maybe they could use it to power something other than stimulant addicts.

They both looked out the door when they heard a cackling kid go running past. "Wow, Liz is really fast," Jonathan said. Dawn was jogging after her. "How do you run in heels?" he asked Andrew.

"Never wore 'em," he admitted. "That was Warren to make sure his robotic girlfriends could handle them when he wanted them in the slutty heels."

Callia walked in and stole her cans back. "Ask Daddy, he wore some a few times. It's on YouTube." Andrew took the cans from her. "My allowance!"

"It's disgusting and doing bad things to your body," Jonathan said, staring down at her. "Why are you wearing heels in the lab?"

"I'm practicing for the awards dinner thing that I submitted stuff to." She walked off. She summoned the cans but Andrew stopped that on her. "Fine." She huffed off. There was a packette just outside the gates of the compound. She hiked down there. She smiled at the cashier giving her odd looks. "I'm picking up Red Bull for the geeks."

"Your father's called, Miss Stark, and he said you're grounded if you try that."

"Yay." She looked at the coolers. "What's that stuff in the bottle?"

He looked then at her. "Thunderbird. It's not for kids either."

"Why?"

"It's illegal to sell to anyone under twenty-one."

She looked at him. "As opposed to your little medical sideline for families from Egypt?" He blanched. She grinned and got some Red Bull and a bottle of that. "Is it like Red Bull?"

"No, but you can combine them in shots."

"Oh, okay." She carried them back to her lab using the tunnels so she'd be less likely to be spotted. Then she locked herself in there.

"Your father said I may not allow you to lock the door that fully, Callia," JARVIS said.

She looked up. "Yay?" She hit a few commands, which shut down the computer interface for the labs. Now JARVIS couldn't get in unless he hacked her tablet. She didn't need the computers right now, just a few tools. She made herself a 'shot' like the cashier guy had described and drank it. "Ow, wow, that's gross." She grimaced and finished off the can of Red Bull to wash it down. Then she got back to work on her newest prototype.

***
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