Playing Old Ones.
Dawn looked at the catalog, holding it up. "This one?"
Clint looked over. Natasha was trying to cajole Philip into getting out of bed. They had both tried and failed so it was her turn before Dawn went in there to be the mean mommy. "Why are you looking at weapons catalogs?"
"Because it seems to be a family tradition that we start a small arms selection for each kid."
He tipped his head to the side. "I know you did that with Callia."
She smiled. "She still loves what I picked out and Tony updated some of them for the slayers. Liz and Chris have theirs and I'm working on what I'm getting Maeve for hers."
He sipped his coffee, staring at her. "Do we think the kids can't just have ours? Because I know you've stuffed more into those chamber necklaces of yours again." Sometimes he worried that they had somehow done something bad to Dawn's mind. Days like this, he wanted to find the cause and make sure it wasn't him.
She leaned over to kiss him. "Of course I have and I have one started for Philip. This is for the girls."
He took another sip of coffee, trying not to smile. His girls would be great with weapons because they would teach them to kick ass like their mothers. "We'll weed out some of ours for them. That way no one says anything about us buying our kids arms."
Natasha came out with a huff. "He will not get up." She sat down, looking at the magazine. "They are not that worthy of us buying one. Perhaps if they're given but not to buy."
"I was thinking about for the girls' future weapons needs," Dawn said.
"Apparently we gift the kids and the Stark kids with weapons," Clint told her. Dawn kicked him under the table. "I'm going to tell those reporters you're mean." Dawn just smiled sweetly and kicked him again. "Ow," he said, smirking at her. "PHILIP!" Mira woke up with a shout. "Sorry, dear, trying to get your brother up." Dawn sighed but went to get her cleaned up and dressed for the day. "We need to do another inventory of her necklaces. Plus any other storage areas she has."
"We do, I haven't seen Philip's weapons yet." They shared a look. She'd talk to Dawn about that later. She came out to hand her the girls and went to wake up Philip, who yelled but got up with a huff. "Did you put ice on him?" she asked dryly.
"Mean," Philip told her in a grumble, going to the bathroom.
"No, I unhid him since he was buried underneath his blanket again. Our son is not friends with the sun." She fixed the girls' morning cereal and Philip some toast with jelly. He pouted at her. "What did you want for breakfast? I can feed this to Daddy."
"You can eat half of it since you haven't eaten yet," Clint said before draining his coffee. He pulled his son over to cuddle. "Why are you wet?"
"Forgot to pull down undies," he pouted.
"Then go clean up and change them." Philip trudged to do that. He looked at Dawn, who made extra toast and jelly. He smiled. "Thanks."
"I have an appointment later."
"With?" Clint asked.
"I'm talking to someone about the bathing suit issue." She came out to hand him his toast, put down her toast, and make Philip some more. He pouted at her. "What else did you want with your jelly toast?"
"No bananas in the fruit bowl. There's a melon, there's a cantaloupe, and a few peaches."
He pouted. "Mean."
She stared at him. "Want me to make you ant bait for breakfast?" He shook his head and nibbled on his toast. "What do you want besides toast with jelly, Philip?"
Clint smiled at him. If he scowled, the pouty mood would last longer. "Bananas tomorrow. I'll pick some up." His son had taught him a lot of patience. Because dealing with a pouty toddler was worse than waiting on a target on a hot rooftop in the middle of the desert. "What fruit did you want?" His son just shrugged. Dawn got something and put it on top of some dry cheerios, which earned her a funny look but Philip tried it and ate that instead of his toast. "What's that?" he asked Dawn.
"Rhubarb sauce. All kids seem to like sour things." She shrugged and sat down to nibble her toast. "So, do we think modern or antique weapons? Or a mix of both."
Natasha looked at her. "Should they not have their first birthday first?"
"I usually start them on their first birthday. This way I can order something nice for the storage area. Then they get one a year."
Natasha blinked. "You do?" Dawn smiled and nodded. "We have not seen this."
"Hmm. Tony demanded an inventory when he heard I was buying more weapons and since you guys were off doing spy things I had Gamble help me for a bit then I changed the lock combination." She ate another bite of toast.
"I have pretty guns," Philip cooed with a grin for his daddy.
"I bet you do. Your mom has great taste in guns and pretty things." Philip grinned and dug into his cheerios again. Clint handed over the spoon he had used to stir his coffee. His son took the hint, which was almost miraculous, and ate with it instead of his fingers. Clint took the uneaten toast, splitting it with Dawn. Natasha had already gotten up to have her protein shake. He looked at his younger wife, smirking a tiny bit. "We have to do the inventory."
"Sure. You know where the necklaces are."
"No external hiding areas?"
"Well, yeah. But I can move those later."
"We can do that," Clint promised. "At the spy shop?" Dawn nodded with a grin, chewing the newest bite of toast. "That's fine. Do they have their own necklaces?"
"The girls have one on order. They'll be in for their birthday. Then I usually put in two daggers, two short swords, and two guns, then it's one weapon a year."
Clint blinked. "Okay," he decided. "No bows?"
"That's their present when they show they can use one. For their third birthday I seem to buy a crossbow."
"That's handy," Natasha said, feeding the girls. She would not comment on her wife's strange habits. She really would not.
Loki appeared, smirking at them. "Good morning," he said smugly. It did so piss off the agents in the family. While he couldn't overtly harm them, or else he'd be destroyed by Dawn's wrath, if not his son's, he could annoy them grandly every chance he got.
Dawn smiled. "Are you here to piss me off before work?"
"Did you know people are wondering why you're buying weapons?"
"For their future weapons needs." She pointed at the kids with a smile. "Xander knows that. He helped me pick out Philip's first few."
Loki stared at her. "That's usually a present for warriors."
"Do you really think my children aren't going to be able to protect at least themselves?" she countered.
"No, I believe they probably will be." He shook his head, going to tell that to Ares. He had noted that someone was looking at Dawn's weapons buying habits.
Dawn grinned at Clint. "They're in the same storage area." He nodded, going to grab his jacket so he could pick them up.
"Daddy, daycare," Philip said.
"I'll be back in time for that." He went to move the weapons. The head of the spy shop smirked at him when he walked in. "Just heard someone was wondering why Dawn was buying weapons for the kids. I think it's time we do an inventory."
"The girls' and Philip's chambers are all in the storage area, Clint, and so is the stuff she saved for you guys. That's in a box."
"Cool. Easier to hide them." He got into the storage area, having to pick the lock. He even remembered she had poisoned a pin in the lock so he didn't get stabbed. He found two large boxes, three hanging necklaces, and one glowing spot. He looked at the glowing spot. "Hey, Gloria, is this a portal?"
She came and looked then shrugged. "Let me know. She's not supposed to be storing power generators, anything that creates energy, or nuclear anything in there, Clint." She got a bag from the back to hand over. "Her new blazer."
"Thanks." He tucked it into a box and took it out to their SUV. Then came back for the other things. He looked at the glowing spot again then picked it up. Warm ball of glow. "What are you?" It told him and he nodded. For some reason he was okay with mentally chatty inanimate objects. "Sure. You can go see the other Keys, though I'm not sure why you're a blue Key." He closed and relocked the area, carrying it out. "It's a blue Key."
"Huh. So that's.... Dawn?"
"Yeah, only she's got more than one and hers are green." He grinned. "We're visiting." He took it to the SUV and got in to go home. Not like everyone didn't know about the Key thing. He got there and carried stuff upstairs, with Benji's help since he was trying to wait patiently for the elevator. "Bad day?"
"Hunt brought home a floosy that I was going to shoot." They got on the elevator together and went up. "Dawn?"
She came out of the bedroom in a skirt and bra, putting on her earrings. "Morning, Benji. There's extra coffee." She kissed him on the cheek and took her new blazer, then the blue Key. "Aww!" She took it in to introduce to the girls.
"Please do not settle into Mira," Natasha said quietly to it. "She has enough stress right now. Her having magic might drive us a bit insane." The Key bobbed over to nuzzle her then cooed at Lexi. She settled inside Lexi. Dawn's set up a fit but they talked and that one was a good match for Lexi. Dawn's Keys pouted a bit but Dawn promised if they had more kids they could split off. Lexi already had one. They decided that was okay and settled down. Which meant Dawn quit glowing and could put on a shirt.
Natasha shook her head at her daughter. "Sometimes, things are weird in this life." Mira kicked her feet with a squeal. "Yes, you may go see Maeve." She got her dressed then moved to dress Lexi. That made her happier too since she had just pooped. Which made Natasha sigh because Mira was jealous and would do the same in a few minutes when she realized Lexi had done something she hadn't. Only Mira would do worse. "Clint?" He came in to help her. He saw what she was doing and looked at Mira, taking off the cute clothes before they needed to be washed. Sure enough, there was the fountain of poop.
Dawn came out to get some more coffee and pour Benji some hot water, earning a grin. She had tea and he liked tea in the mornings. She handed him the tea box, letting him pick out his own. "They wanted to do an inventory of the kids' weapons."
"Someone asked us why you were collecting weapons. I told them you had a lot of them. They worried a bit but then I told them how Philip and Callia had their own sets. Which made them worry more. They think you're nuts."
"Who was it this time?"
"Someone CIA we know." He sipped his tea once it was properly fixed, looking at the boxes. Dawn dug out the necklaces and put them onto the table. He still had the magical 'key' mark that allowed him to open them. He opened the first one and whistled. "Not the kids'."
She looked and pointed at the others. "That's mine." She put it on with a grin and went to do her makeup. Clint took it off her and got the others, shaking his head. They went into his pocket and the boxes got taken to the SUV. "Sure, if you want, you can pick out ones we already have for their beginning sets, Clint."
"I can do that." He grinned at his very strange wife. "Where's the Stark kids' sets?"
"Okay." He kissed her. Natasha kissed her. They took the kids to drop at daycare and Benji to help them do the inventory at SHIELD. That way if anything needed fixed they could have the SHIELD weapons people do that.
Dawn grinned and finished her morning routine, heading to work. It was a pretty decent day so far.
Four hours later, Dawn was spending her lunch at the FBI building. She stared at the local under director. "Director Mullins, what can I help you figure out?" she asked.
"Well, first, weapons? I know your spouses have a number."
"As do I. I also set up a birthday present tradition with my niece that I've carried through with my own children. Starting with their first birthday I give them a weapon that can hopefully protect them and their family in the future."
"No, that I win at kitten poker," she said with a slight smile. "I don't buy that."
"Oh. I see." He made that note and looked at her. "Why?"
"Do you really have to ask that after all the trouble my family has had over the years?"
"No, I guess that makes sense. Just guns?"
"Swords, daggers. Crossbow for their third birthday." She smiled. "I do the same for the Stark children."
"Huh." He stared at her. "That's really weird."
"They need them."
"Good point." He made that note. "I guess that's fine as long as they're all registered."
"They are. They're all registered through our house in North Dakota actually."
"I can understand that. They're the ones who found that out and mentioned it." He looked at her. "We have a more serious thing to talk about. It's said that you know where Director Nick Fury is."
"And you know what happened to him."
"It was not me that helped him disappear. That was on the whim of the other people he pissed off."
"There's a presidential inquiry being opened."
"The president knows. He showed up the next morning to talk to Maria Hill and the two new heads of SHIELD. He knew then where Director Fury was. Someone associated with Ares told him."
Director Mullins stared at her. "Why would he know such things?"
"Well, part of it was because Fury's plans would've created hell on earth." She crossed her legs and summoned the ferret, texting Tara. She put him on the desk. "He has known. He told my mother that he couldn't really have an agency director that squeaked." She summoned some files from her mother's safe and handed them over. "That is partially why."
He read them. "So he planned on having you kidnaped and selling you to break you and your relationship up. Is that why he's a ferret?"
She changed Fury back once he was on the floor. "You can answer him."
"She didn't change me," Fury said quietly. The director was staring at him. "Coulson changed me."
"Senior Agent Coulson?" he asked. "We don't have him listed as a magic using agent."
"As in husband of Alexander," Dawn said quietly. She looked at him. "At least your three clones haven't sold me to someone in India to rape me repeatedly until I killed them."
"This question was raised because it was reported he was at the last tower assault of Stark Towers," the under director said.
Dawn nodded. "Those were his clones."
"How can you be sure?"
"Because this one is the original, and I used the anti-clone virus someone developed against the one that tried to kill me there," she said.
"Oh, I see. The other?"
"Burned to a crisp because he sat down in Pepper's chair and looked really smug about it."
"Oh." He made note of that and looked at Fury. "Do you want to charge her with kidnaping?"
"I didn't change him that time. One other time I did trip the spell. Then again he had myself and my boss in holding for protecting my spouse. That wasn't the first time he became a ferret. That one was just long term. The kids he's protecting are very good to him. They treat him very well. They even have little outfits for him. Including a tiny black trench coat." She smiled at Fury. "The kids are good to you, right?"
"They're mean little shits who put me in harem outfits."
"That GHS Xander had some spares for his ferrets." She smiled. "He has four ferrets."
Fury grumbled but looked at the under director. "I did try to break apart the Avengers in the most mean way I could. I figured it'd stop the bullshit around them. That was right when she was ill because someone sent her a biological weapon at her desk. We had just time flipped to save Joyce and Bruce Banner from a plane crash." The Under Director shuddered at that. "They decided I was too evil with my plans." Dawn nodded. "So I got changed into a ferret."
Dawn nodded. "Still wasn't me. I've made sure the kids he's protecting are good to him."
"I'm getting fat. Like their mother, they think food is a great thing."
"It is. She's a good cook and so are the kids." She looked up at him. "The last I knew the President said if you came back you could be a special agent again. That way you didn't ruin anything for the agency."
"Who's running it?" he demanded.
"Mom and Cap. They're joint heads over Maria."
He swallowed. "They'll never be able to handle the dirty parts of the job."
Dawn snickered. "My mother? Really? The same woman who showed up with a large laser cannon to open a stuck door for some agents that were being held hostage?"
"Crap," Fury muttered.
"Never underestimate a Summers woman," she said dryly, smirking at him. "You underestimated me and tried to have me killed. Those records go back to a few different attempts on my life. And the life of my children." She stared at him. "For all most of us care, you can stay a ferret." He lunged at her and she shrank him again. She put him back onto the desk with a smile at the director. "I can call the President's secretary if you wish."
"No, I don't wish. I don't want to deal with this."
Dawn shrugged. "You asked."
"I did. I don't know why." He looked over those files. "That's treason."
Dawn leaned up to look then leaned back. "That's probably middle of the road of what's in his files."
He kept looking, finding the other plots against his own response team. "Why did he hate you?"
"Because we were supposed to be SHIELD's response team. Not a private entity. Yet his actions forced us to be too often. We ended up breaking out of SHIELD's little mold because it didn't do anything but harm our effectiveness. He wanted us back."
"So you were the block in his plans."
"I was one of many blocks in his plans. He had some against Stark, who never would've done more than subcontract for SHIELD, as he does and I do. Captain America himself was a block because he found out how much shit Fury pulled out of his ass on occasion. How many plans and plots he had. By the time we had to split off it had gotten to the point where no one wanted to be there. We had fought him off in other ways, like me sending him poisoned papers that made his hands swell and ache for six months. But then again he had just signed an order to have me kidnaped while pregnant." The under director winced. "Half of that was because of him. I wasn't the only reason that he was changed but I think that kidnaping plot was the final straw."
"It would be for my people too." Someone knocked and came in. "Agent Hill."
"Sir, it was reported that Miss Summers lifted some confidential files out of our safe." She saw the ferret. "Who asked?" she asked Dawn.
"He said the President did but we know he knew."
"The Vice President didn't and he's been pushy so the President had to ask." She took the files back. "We were going to show him later." Dawn handed over the ferret with a smile. "Thank you. The children do take good care of him."
Dawn stopped her by putting a hand on her arm. "Melissa doesn't need to know how to dress like her Mom in her early years. We've taught her how to handle a skirt properly. She doesn't like skirts. They don't let her play. She hates to disappoint you however."
"I understand. I'll talk to her about it later."
"Talk to Tara before she has a fit?"
"I can do that too." She nodded at them and left.
Dawn looked at him, shrugging some. "It was keeping him safely protecting children he didn't want to come into being," she said quietly.
"I can see why." He looked at her. "You're a bit ....uneasing to the FBI, Miss Summers. Not the least of which is that we know your marriage is not legal and yet it's pretty well flaunted."
"We've never filed the certificates in the US. We checked with my tax professional after that to see how we should file our taxes. The IRS said to do married filing singly. Frankly, the US wouldn't recognize anything between myself and Natasha anyway. They'll never recognize a marriage certificate from the country that Nat and Clint got married in. They barely recognize mine. Mine with Natasha won't be recognized for years."
"We realize you're on the edge of the rules." He stared at her. "A lot of people complain about that."
"They complain more than I'm not officially a full time Avenger." He grimaced but nodded that was true. "Thankfully only the religious cranks hate us for being together and Natasha and I being together specifically." She crossed her legs in the other direction. "Frankly we don't care what they like and don't like. We're happy in our relationship most of the time. With the way we're bound even if we did have to dissolve the formal union we wouldn't break up."
"I get that," he said. "By all our measures, you read as a revolutionary spirit. Which is never good."
She smiled. "Only in standing up for some social change. I've never forced my marriage on anyone. We've blatantly stated we don't care who thinks what about our relationship."
"Which we all appreciate," he assured her. "But it's still a bit...open."
Dawn nodded. "I can't hide anything. Have you seen the reporters that follow them around?"
"If we had hidden it, it would've looked worse."
"Yes it would have," he agreed. "We at the FBI would like it to calm down."
"Sure, please help us make it calm down."
He nodded. "If we could, we would."
She smiled. "I keep out of view most of the time."
"You do," he agreed. "So does your wife." She nodded. "Fine, I'll file that report about... the ferret." She stood up and shook his hand. "That place where you have storage?"
"It's run by a former spy." She smiled. "They help me a lot with tailoring issues so I can hide weapons, and some really great clothes. They're the ones I buy the weapons for the kid's birthday presents from."
"Huh. I need to be introduced."
"Not if you're going to bust them but show up." She shrugged and left, sending the recording on her phone to Tony's phone. He had ordered her to if it was something huge. When she got back with her take out lunch he was waiting. She smiled at him. "Maria has him."
"That's great. The VP is at SHIELD with the President." He looked at her. "Where's my kids' stashes?"
"Malibu. Where Callia's is." She sat down and logged into her computer and phone then smiled at him. "Where did you expect it to be?"
"Good point. I need to check that out."
"Chris has a working light saber another Xander got to tinker into being. Ours got him a copy of the plans and let someone at SHIELD build it for him." She opened her takeout box once her email was pulled up. "Hmm. Gloria at Vogue wants to talk." She considered it and sent a thought at Clint, who said to go for it. She was doing it with them too for their mandated interview. That and he was doing Esquire for some strange reason. She smiled and wrote back to her. "Clint's doing Esquire for his mandated interview from SHIELD."
"I'm doing one of the science magazines and so is Bruce," Tony said, walking off shaking his head. He called out there to see how big their caches were. They said it was tasteful and she had good taste in what she had chosen. So he'd look at it the next time they were out there. When he came back, Dawn was typing while chewing. He took the keyboard from her, letting her inhale the rest of her lunch while he smirked. Then he handed it back and let her get back to work. He walked into Pepper's office, finding her cooing at a cranky Maeve. He took her to look at. "What?" She fussed. "Quit. Daddy will be home soon." She pouted. "If you want him that much, become psychic, dear."
"Being telepathic sucks sometimes if you don't have shields," Dawn called. "You get all sorts of thoughts spread. Trust me."
Tony looked at her. "I don't need to know. I can pretty well figure out what yours were, Dawn."
She smirked at him. "Not mine. Natasha there for a bit." She went back to typing. "Linda, do you have the Percy...." It got handed over. "Thanks. Proofed?"
"Yup, all done, Dawn." She smiled and waved at the cranky baby. "Hi, Maeve." Maeve cooed at her and grinned. She winked. "You're a good girl. It's probably too hot in that sweater." She went back to her desk.
Tony looked at her. "Is that it? Are you having Mommy's hot flashes with her?" Pepper swatted him but he took the sweater off her. That helped and Maeve was less cranky. "Did your father dress you this morning?"
"Yes," Pepper said with a smile. "It was cute."
"It still is cute." He looked at her. "He's still stuck," he said quietly.
"I know. He's used to girls sprouting later."
"I get that but still."
"We're working on it."
"Callia's avoiding him."
"I saw." They nodded and Tony handed back the baby and the sweater. Maeve was less cranky and went back to the daycare to make Mira and Lexi less cranky too. Tony took off their sweaters. That made them all happier. That meant he could get back to work on his ideas for the expo that was only a few months away.
Clint looked up from his sorting, smiling at Joyce. "Hey. Doing an inventory."
She sighed. "Did my daughter buy all those?"
"No, some she won at kitten poker," Clint said with a grin. "Those are ours."
"Uh-huh. Tell her she has to quit playing again."
"She hasn't in nearly eight months, Joyce."
"Fine." She came in to look. "Are you doing more than an inventory?"
"She had a few kinda weird picks for the kids' future weapons cabinets."
"I thought she was doing that for Callia, not for all of them."
"No, she did one for each of the kids and each of the Stark kids." Joyce rolled her eyes as she walked off. "She has good taste."
Joyce smirked at him. "You taught her well."
"Yes we did." She laughed but left and came back with a higher up. "Sir," he said with a nod. "Dawn said she had to tell someone about the ferret earlier."
"I heard, Agent Barton." He looked at the weapons spread around the unused gym. "What are you doing?"
"A weapons inventory for our family." He looked up. "Dawn made sure that we could do one."
He nodded slowly. "She's a bit scary."
"Only when you try to hurt us," Clint said dryly, smirking at him. "Is this because of the guy that wanted to Due South us?"
"Huh?" Joyce asked.
"The guy who wanted to send me undercover and put Barney in my place."
"Yup," the President said, putting his hands in his pockets. "Sure is." Clint smirked a tiny bit. "That was my VP's idea."
"Figured," Clint muttered. He had little sense and no agent in the US trusted the guy as a world leader. He picked up a bow and tested it. "I'll bring that to teach Bob with this weekend. It's good for his skill range." He put it aside and finished repacking everything where it needed to go, kind of. None of the special necklaces were used so no one else knew about them.
The president frowned. "Who's Bob?"
"The Make A Wish kid I mentor? Him." He smiled. "He's a really neat little guy. Wants to do Olympic archery. So far he's pretty spot on and he's learning a lot."
"Huh. Great. We could use some good ones." He looked at Joyce, who smiled. "I know you and your daughter both mentor and help at a few of the cancer centers." Clint nodded, looking up at him. "So, now what, Agent Barton?"
"About what, sir?"
"Well, it seems like you're only on for specific missions."
"I'm a bit too well known for most undercover missions," he agreed. "Thankfully I've trained a few to take my place. So has Agent Romanoff. Then again, I'm nearly forty-five."
"Oh, I didn't realize." Clint smirked. "That makes more sense. So what'll you do when you retire?"
"So far, I'll probably end up helping home school the kids or I'll end up as Dawn's assistant at Stark. Or maybe in their security team. They could use someone there to kick asses."
The president blinked. "Her assistant?"
"Yeah. Benji liked it a lot when he was helping her during her first pregnancy and he had a torn up knee. Said it was pretty good, she didn't make him do tons of the contract stuff that she has to type up but he got to do a lot of the other jobs that she's taken on. Sounds kinda nice actually. A lot nicer than incident reports, mission reports, endless send-backs for typos and phrasing someone didn't like." He looked at Joyce. "Some day I'm going to send it in using one of those stupid online translators."
"Your last one looked like you did, dear."
He grinned. "Hill was annoying the crap out of me over a Brit spelling that she does."
"I've noticed that." She looked at the president again, who was shaking his head with a sigh. "It's a war she'll never fully win."
"I understand how that goes." He looked at the weapons then at Agent Barton. "Where does she store all these?"
"In magically hidden areas for the most part. Though half of them are in my storage area or hers or some other storage area in case we need them." He smiled and held one up. "She got this one for Philip's first gun."
"That's pretty, Agent Barton. Isn't he five?"
"Four, sir. Five in a little over a month."
"Does he need a gun?"
"Yes. Have you seen the people that want my kids?"
"I hadn't thought about it that way."
"Agent Romanoff and I made sure all the children in the family grouping know how to properly handle a weapon once they were of age. At Philip's age he knows not to touch certain parts. By the time they're seven they fully know how to shoot in case it becomes necessary. Which has saved them all a number of times."
"I can understand that need then. Have fun with your inventory." He and Joyce walked off.
Clint went back to sorting, making sure he put the stuff for the necklaces inside them inside one of the boxes so no one would see them. Coulson walked in with Natasha. "Watch that bow. I'm taking it to Bob's."
"I'm sure he'll enjoy that. He's in for scans this weekend," Natasha said. Clint grimaced but he could visit him there instead. He could go in when Dawn went in to visit the kids she visited and mentored. Natasha helped him load the necklaces, shaking her head at some. They were useful and pretty but a few were too shiny for their tastes. The kids would adore them though. "What is she plotting to start the girls' caches off?"
"Not sure yet. She said she starts off with a standard two sword, two dagger, two gun thing. Crossbows for their third birthdays." Phil shook his head with a slight moan. Clint smiled at him. "They're good so far."
"I did help train her," he said dryly. "Still." Clint shrugged and put the necklaces into his pockets and packed up everything else. He and Natasha shared a look then he tucked those boxes into a necklace too. Those went around his neck and they were nice. Dawn popped over and took them with a grin then went back to work. He sent a warm, fuzzy thought at her about helping Linda be her assistant if he left SHIELD. She giggled and said he'd be bored typing all day but she'd beg Pepper into a security position instead. He said that'd be good too. Nat could be her assistant. He, Coulson, and Natasha left, going to get something to drink then head up to snoop on the meetings.
The president was looking at Joyce and Steve. "There's a slight push to put SHIELD under Homeland Security."
Steve shook his head. "We can't do our covert work under them, sir."
"What about the CIA?"
"We'd destroy them for some of their covert work," Joyce said, handing him a folder. "We have recently had to remove some agents that were in the wrong place for the wrong reason."
He looked at that folder, wincing. "Ow." He looked at them. "It's thought you might have a media leak."
"We have a slight intentional leak for pressure release," Steve said. "That was my call, sir. We have a leak we cannot find somewhere on the hell carrier. We have been looking." A crossbow bolt hit his desk with a rolled up note. "I stand corrected. Agent Romanoff knows who it is and has turned them in to our internal affairs people." He handed that note over.
"Was that Barton?"
"Not with a crossbow," Joyce said with a smile. "It could have been Natasha. Or it could have been a few other agents. Maria, who had the crossbow?"
"Agent Simmons, who is presently on dirt cleaning detail, ma'am."
She came to the door. "Why did he do that?"
"Because he had to admit it whenever someone asks. So therefore he paused in his pursuit of picking up lint by hand along the rafters to send that to you as he cannot speak. His jaw is wired shut." Joyce smiled and went back to her desk. Maria got back to her own paperwork, tossing a folder down beside her. Joyce's assistant looked over. "Wrong forms."
"That seems to happen a lot."
"Only in one department and only with the new trainees. I am going to have to talk to the recruits." She put a few more down and then picked up the stack to hand back after a meeting. They really needed a meeting.
Joyce smiled. "The newest trainees that made it through the system can't type," she told the President. "They're good in other ways but not that."
"They keep using the wrong forms," Steve added. Joyce nodded. "The new class, which is taking the place of the one where everyone flunked, is looking much better."
"How did everyone fail?" the President asked.
Joyce leaned back and started a training center tape of an agent that complained when he hit the wall he had just looked at. Twice. She looked at the President. "Someone in HR thought that was appropriate whining so we're hiring for there too."
The President nodded. "What an idiot." He looked at Steve, who nodded he agreed. "So the temple's not busy?"
"No, he has some extra SGC people in, sir."
"Even better." He looked at them. "What do you want to do about the people who think you can be included?"
"Remind them we do a lot of covert work all over the world, including in places we may not have permission to be in." The President shuddered. "We cannot save the world under another agency, sir. Especially not the Avengers team."
"Most of them don't like your team," the President admitted, shifting his weight some. "They'd like to have the military do it."
"Go right ahead," Joyce said with a smile. "I'd like my daughter to never have another battle again. Or any of our agents. Please train them how to handle demons, magic, and other things, sir."
"I've pointed that out."
"They can help and see how big of a problem it is since I've heard that there's going to be an issue in Cleveland soon," Steve said with a smile. "Something for Yule I heard." The President winced. "We'd more than welcome them helping us."
"Great. I can tell them that." He walked off shaking his head. His guarding agents met him outside the office and took him down to his limo. He went to talk to those senators and generals. They had to have some sort of sense of reason. He hoped.
Joyce and Steve shook their heads, going to check on everyone. She looked up at Natasha, Clint, and Coulson. "Shouldn't someone be with the trainees?"
"I haven't had to shoot a single one in weeks," Clint said with a smile. "We'd all like them to handle it by the way."
"Us too," Steve said. He looked up at Clint. "I'm sorry I insulted her."
"She's forgiven you. She did as soon as she punched you into the wall, Captain." He gave him a look. "Watch some Jersey Shore sometime. Okay?" He grinned. "See what teenagers are like these days."
Joyce grimaced. "Eww. They're not exactly role models, dear."
"He was confused."
"Ah." She looked at her counterpart. "Thirteen is the same as sixteen when you were young and fifteen when I was younger. Ten is now thirteen in my day and probably about fourteen in yours." Steve shuddered. "That and girls wear less." She patted him on the arm. "We can talk if you want to. I'm going to get some tea." She pushed the button on the elevator and frowned, rubbing her temple. Clint sent a text to Bruce, who met her in the cafeteria to take her to the infirmary. "It's a sinus headache, Bruce."
"We're going to make sure," he said, patting her on the hand. "It'll only take a few minutes, Joyce."
"Fine." She kissed him on the cheek. "You're very protective of me."
"I am, yes." He smiled at the doctor that met them as they walked into the infirmary. "She's starting to have headaches again." The doctor looked clueless. This wasn't the same shift as the doctor who had done all the scar shots on everyone. "She's had two brain tumors removed in the last decade." They got her into the CT to make sure immediately. Bruce watched the scans, frowning. Scar tissue. He didn't like that but he knew it happened. Blood clot too. He marked it in the system for the doctor who would read the scans. Another one. And a third in her neck when he input that scanning parameter. "Joyce, you have clots again."
"Okay, we'll call my doctor," she said as she sat up. They helped her put back on her shirt and jewelry. She and Bruce looked over the scans. She pointed. "That's where I have the headaches."
"That's scar tissue," he said, giving her waist a squeeze. "We'll let him see. They're small clots but I worry." She smiled at him and he shrugged back. "You're important and I'd hate to Hulk out for good." She kissed him on the cheek. The on-staff radiologist looked at the scans and grimaced. "I marked three clots."
"I can see those and the scar tissue. Where are the headaches, Director?" She pointed. "That could be the scar tissue or it could be a sinus infection. They're a bit swollen."
"I took some cold medicine this morning."
"That's reasonable for most people but I'd be wary of drug interactions."
"I'm off most everything," Joyce said.
"I can talk to your personal physician." Joyce wrote down his name and number from her phone. "I'll get him copies of the scans as well." They nodded and went back to get her more tea and then hit the desk. He called him. "This is Dr. Ralinara. I'm a radiologist with SHIELD and I need to speak to Joyce Banner's physician please. We just took another CT." She put him on hold and told the nurse, who got the doctor within a few minutes. "She was having some headaches," he said at his question. "We found some scar tissue and a few minor blood clots that worried her husband.
"Could be sinuses," he said to answer that one. "Or it's in a location that has scar tissue. Of course. How would you like them sent? I can do so." He wrote down the email address. "Directly to you. She's back at her desk. She said she took some cold medicine this morning. I said I would consult you since I'm not certain of her treatment parameters. Thank you." He hung up and sent those scans over to him in an email. Then he went to get his coffee. He was doing a study on head injuries among SHIELD agents and their after-effects. He had plenty to choose from around here.
Clint found out what his wife's doctor's appointment was from Benji after she had rescheduled it for the second time. He was not pleased. He went to the office, smiling as he walked in. "You should not be here."
"I'm getting a bit saggy," she said.
Clint stared at her. "Doesn't matter to me."
"It does to me."
"It shouldn't." He stared at her. "C'mon. We'll get you more supportive bikinis, Dawn. You don't need tightened up yet."
"C'mon. I'd miss them. You know they're one of my favorite things." She blushed but smiled. "Let's go. I need lunch and you could use a snack since I know that you had Chinese for lunch." He logged her out and took her hand, walking her out. "I thought we all agreed none of us were going to have surgery that way."
"I was only looking into getting the boobs tightened. They're starting to sag after the kids."
He stared at her. "Which makes me a happy, happy guy," he said firmly, staring at her. "You do not need tightened up yet. When you're my age maybe. Though I'll still have plenty of toys to play with." He kissed her. "C'mon, I even picked up the Lotus since it's just us." She swatted him but was smiling and blushing. He watched her walk. "Damn, I'm blessed," he muttered, which she heard. She looked back at him. "I am."
"Bullshit." He smirked at her. "You look good. Don't argue. I'm your husband and I know all. We'll get you more supportive bikini tops." She gave him an odd look. "You don't have any reason to see a plastic surgeon. You really don't. You need to start seeing yourself like I see you."
"I saw myself in a bikini and I looked ten years older and like I've had two kids."
"You do not." He took her to the closest Victoria's Secret store. He smiled at the sales woman. "She needs a new bikini."
"Clint, they don't have my cup size here," Dawn said.
"Yes they do."
"No they don't. They don't carry hardly any D cups."
"We do carry up to 38D," the sales woman said with a smile.
Dawn nodded. "I'm about there or a 36DD depending on how they're made."
"Our cups can run a bit tiny," she admitted. "There's Sephora."
Clint grinned and took her there. They had bra and panty sets, which was about what a bikini was. Dawn put on her usual size and it was too tight. She had to go up a cup size with them. Clint made sure he wasn't drooling. He turned Dawn around so her butt was toward the triple mirror set up. "This does not jiggle," he said, patting it. Dawn squeaked and blushed. "Does it?" he asked the sales lady. "She said she jiggles."
"No, it doesn't jiggle. Clearly she does a lot of gym time." She was blushing too.
"I try but I'm still getting saggy," Dawn said.
"Which means I have more to play with," Clint said in her ear. He kissed her quickly as he turned her around. "All you need is a bit more support. Some of your bras have no support."
"There's ways of using pads instead of wires," the sales woman said. "We don't specialize in it but I've seen them at some of the plus size catalogs." Dawn gave her an odd look. "They do sizes down to yours. You're about the bottom size."
"We'll see," Clint said. "Stark's still working on the under-uniform bras." He put his hands on Dawn's waist. "You've finally put back on five pounds, which I like."
"I'm not getting chubby."
"That's not what I said. I said you finally put back on the five pounds that I've been nagging about for the last six months." He kissed her ear. "You look good like this." She looked up at him oddly. "You do."
"I don't. I'm sticking out all over the place."
"You're not." He bought her that set and took her to a different lingerie store, one she liked to shop at. He walked her inside. "She's went up a cup size. She thinks she's jiggly."
The sales woman in there smiled at Dawn. "I've noticed that in a few pictures."
"I was going to talk to someone about getting them tightened up. He didn't like that idea."
"Some husbands don't like their toys to be taken from them." She took them to Dawn's usual styles. "Let's do a fitting first." She took her to a changing room to fit her. "Hmm. Nice DD cups now. Pretty standard sizing."
"I'd still like some without underwire," Dawn said quietly.
"We can do that." She found her a few styles that had pads for support or the bras themselves were created so the straps pulled you up. Clint didn't like the last one and Dawn said the pads felt like she was trying to compensate. The underwire ones didn't look that good on her. It didn't push her up the right way. The side wire ones did a better job but she still had some sag. They found one style that worked for Dawn's figure. That style also came in bikini styles. That helped and Clint grinned when Dawn put on a bikini instead. "That looks nice. You could use a bit of toning again but otherwise you look nice, Dawn."
"Thank you. I thought I needed some toning too."
"You do not," Clint complained. "I like you being curvy, Dawn."
"Not to take the curves, but to tone the thighs a bit," the sales woman said. "Just a change in her routine to work her outer thigh muscles a bit. You're a bit hippy for that string style." She got her another one but Dawn shuddered at the sight of it. "Well, you'll figure it out," she said with a smile. Dawn picked up a few things and Clint took her back to work to nag her some more. She shook her head. "He's going to have to learn to let her have her things sometimes. Even if he does like her a bit plush.
Pepper looked up as Dawn came back. "That was a short appointment," she joked. Dawn pointed at Clint. "Did you haul her out of there?"
"Yes. She doesn't need tightened." He looked at Dawn, kissing her until she moaned. He smirked. "My toys. Quit trying to take them."
"Fine. Even though I still think I need to tighten things up before I have to be seen in a bikini during our yearly vacation."
Clint shrugged. "Yay. If they nag you about being so comfy, then I'll nag them for being shallow. I like you this way." She blushed but smiled and got into her computer. He sat down to watch her.
Pepper shook her head. "Dawn, that marathon next week?"
"I've been increasing my running distance for the last month," she said.
"Are you going to make it?" Clint asked.
She smiled and nodded. "I am. Of course I am."
He nodded. "We can go with you."
"Sure, you talk Nat into running a marathon with me." He thought at Natasha, who refused. She didn't like to run. She did her treadmill work and ran when necessary on assignment. She did not run in public. "See," Dawn said.
"Fine, I'll run with you." He took another kiss and went to the gym. He'd get Dawn over that 'jiggly' feeling somehow. She was not allowed to have some surgeon reduce her breasts. They were his toys and they were not disappearing.
Joyce looked at the idiot paper pusher who was here with 'recommendations' from the board that gave them to various intelligence organizations. "Excuse me? You wanted us to do what?"
"We believe that having agents past their prime in the field is not very effective."
"I think that's called experience and all our agents, no matter what their age, have to pass yearly fitness tests," she said, staring at the woman. "We have very high standards and have flunked whole incoming classes."
"We think they may be set a bit high."
"We think they're set a bit low because we do more than the CIA," she said with a slight smile. She was going to rip this woman's head off and beat her with it. Now she knew why Dawn liked that angry response right before a battle. "Our agents don't get the cushy spots. And often we have to deal with other agents in our way because they think that some of their missions are more important. We do try to be gentle to them however."
"The board ....."
Joyce held up a hand. "No offense but I'm not taking anything like advice from people who have never been in the field. I'll take it from Steve, as he's commanded people in the field. I'll take it from Maria Hill, because again she's commanded in the field," Joyce said quietly and calmly. "I'm not going to take it from some paper pushers with grandiose ideas of everyone getting along. Frankly, most of those agents are working at purposes that may stabilize a region but not the world, and that's our only concern. Our agents have to be stronger, better, and faster. No matter their age or training level."
"We don't know why you outsource some of it."
"Because Alexander can give them the additional boost to training that they need," Joyce said simply. "We give them the first part, he builds them into efficient agents if they pass him, and then we show them how field work goes. That way they're not in shock if something happens and they have to run halfway across Cairo again, like one of our rookies did. Actually, we're considering reinstating the mandatory 10K a year run requirement for all agents."
The woman blinked. "You had a what?"
Dawn snorted from behind her. "Most agents run at least 5K a week, ma'am. The higher up they are on the mandatory fitness needs, the more they run. Most Avengers members run at least 10K a week. My spouses run it twice a week." She looked at her mother, holding up the memo. "Unacceptable according to Stark."
Joyce took it. "Who sent this? That's not Coulson's writing."
"No, and you know Tony's not going to work with anyone who's not met up to his criteria, Mom."
"I know. I'll talk to the agent who sent this and see what they were thinking." She looked at her daughter and smiled at the woman. "My daughter Dawn is Tony Stark's personal assistant."
"Is he an agent?" she asked with a smile for Dawn.
"No, he's Iron Man." The woman slumped. She looked behind her when she felt someone walking up behind her. "Hey," she said with a nod at the scientist. "Did they have a meeting? I can clear out."
"I wanted to talk to Captain America about the Avengers," she said.
She held out a hand. "Dawn Summers." The woman smirked and shook it. "Let me guess, since I've seen your picture. Your husband's learned his lesson?"
"Then let's talk. I can give you the most realistic view of what an Avenger does and goes through." She led her into the office to sit down. "Excuse us, ma'am, but Avengers business." The woman huffed off. Dawn smiled and waved at her back. "Dumbass," she muttered. "Sorry, people who think they have a clue. I'm sure he told you I threatened him."
"He did, and I can see why. What do you do on the team?"
"Beyond half the press stuff for the team and backing up my spouse?"
"Oh. Oh, you're her."
Dawn nodded with a grin. "Yup, I am. There's a few things that may not have hit yours or his attention. Including that there's a ton of little kids that look up to all the Avengers. No matter which one. There's girls that think Natasha's a role model. There's ones that think science is cool because of Bruce. We're not against you joining but one of the main sticking points of your husband joining was his little...habit. Which is why he got warned."
"I can understand that. He's not.... Not anymore."
"That's great." She smiled. "I made sure he knew if I heard of him doing it again I'd be ripping him apart at the molecules. There's kids in the group. My kids, Stark's kids. We consider the Avengers like a family. We may fight. A lot at times. Tony and Bruce have had huge shouting matches in the labs more than once and not always about science stuff." Joyce laughed but nodded. "She's Bruce's wife." She looked at her again. "You realize that being on the team, a visible team member, means that you suddenly have very little privacy? That going out to dinner is usually at least half talking to people you've never met before? That they're going to look at everything you've ever done? The press is worse than Congress trying to kick out nominated people. They will find *everything*. I'm not trying to discourage you but with some part-time members we've had in the past due to assignments it's something we realize that they didn't. One committed suicide to get away because they realized he had accidentally killed his girlfriend back in high school."
"Yeah. We'd love to have you but you have to be aware that there's huge amounts of lack of free time suddenly. Bruce manages most days in the lab. Tony does too. But things happen at a moment's notice. We can be called to any country, anywhere, at any time because huge shit is happening. We won't usually be called to a few because they don't like the US," she admitted. "But we've been called to England and other places very quickly for things like demon riots and other planes trying to invade."
"I can understand that."
"You both know that you have to be in really good shape? Because battles last for hours sometimes. The lucky few we show up, we blast them back to bits, then we go home. That's not the normal battle. Most last at least an hour. We've all been drained and we're all in top shape."
"That's a reasonable point. We've both increased our stamina and our fighting skills."
Dawn grinned. "Cool. The whole team has a weekly sparring session and individual times in the gym vary. Usually we hit the gym as a team Wednesday after work hours."
"That we can show up for."
Dawn smiled and wrote down a note on her tablet. "Okay, we're in Stark Towers, the second one. Call me here," she said, taking out a card to hand to her. "I'll let you up. It's by pass only so we can get you one then if you still want to become one of us. We've had a few other agents who've tried to get in and decide it's really hard. We have them as backup members usually." Steve walked in looking flustered. "Did the paperwork wench find you?"
"Yes," he muttered. He paused and smiled. "Hi, Steve Rogers."
"Janet VanDyne." She shook his hand. "Dawn was telling me when team sparring was."
"That's great. She's got a good bit of things that she can share about being on the team since she's a backup member." Dawn smirked at him. "Can you make your vest a bit longer?"
"No. Why do I need to?"
"Your butt, Dawn."
"My butt looks nice, Steve. Even the press said I had the butt goddess visit after having Philip." He blushed. "Beyond that, the vest being longer would hinder my movements. And my suit's less clingy than yours."
"Fine," he said as he sat down.
"Forgive him, he's having a time warp back moment," Dawn sighed. "We've been squabbling like family for weeks."
Joyce snickered, nodding. "They have." She looked at Steve. "She can't."
"Fine. Guys are drooling on her."
"And they don't do it to Natasha? Whose suit is also tighter than mine," she pointed out. "You guys and your action suits are really tight."
"Crap," Steve muttered, getting to work.
Dawn looked at Janet again and shrugged. "It happens. You help, you work around it, you get back on track, just like any family."
"I've seen that happen," she assured her. "What do you do on the team?"
"I backup Hawkeye, and sometimes the wife even though he hates me to do it. I'm also on for magical backup and battles. We have a few witches we can call on for huge things but most of them are protection sorts. I'm one of the few that can do battle things."
"That makes sense," she decided. "Can we both come to sparring?"
"Sure. I will warn you again that they'll dig and you need to have something ready to tell them when they ask."
"I know. I can do that."
Dawn smiled. "Great. Bucky?" He leaned in. He was almost always within hearing distance of Cap. Their bromance had made some SHIELD agents write fanfic about them. She had found it and showed it to Tony, who had cackled so much Pepper had thought he was high. "This is Janet VanDyne. She and her husband are going to be joining us for team sparring this coming week."
"We pushed it back to tonight," he admitted. "You were busy with Pepper things. Steve was busy with paperwork that was going to eat him." He rolled his eyes. "Nice to meet you, Janet. I'm Bucky Barnes." He walked in to shake her hand. "Stevie?"
"He's right, sparring's tonight," he said.
"Okay." Dawn texted that at Clint and Natasha, who both complained. She smirked. "Mom, can you hellion sit?"
"I usually do with Pepper."
"Thanks." She wrote that back and they agreed it'd be fine. She got Tony and he said he knew. And to see where she was because he needed something typed up right now. She said she'd be right there. "Let me get back. Tony's got something he needs typed. I'll see you there, Janet. Just call." She smiled and shook her hand then teleported back. "Faster than a cab any day," she quipped at his odd look.
"Where were you?"
"SHIELD over that stupid memo. The VanDynes are coming tonight."
"Huh. Sure. Both of them?" She nodded with a grin. "You warn her about the press?"
"Yup." She took the forms to look over, handing him the completed copy. "Did them last week. Or are these a different set?"
He looked them over. "Same set, different source they're being sent to. This needs to go to about eight people." She settled in to pull up that file to amend it to include more names. She printed out the new letters and handed them over with envelopes and stamps. He smirked. "Smartass."
"Often." He walked off happier. This was for Liz's schooling next year.
Dawn got back to work, leaning over to look at Pepper, who was apparently napping on her desk. She sat back up and got back to work. She had things she had to get done for next week. Linda looked in there as she came back with some forms. Dawn gave her a few corrections and a few letters to work on. Including the intern things. "Update those for this year's interns. Letters of interest part can be taken out. Just pick up the package and send it to us with all that stuff. Add in two in biochem and one in shield design," she said quietly.
"I can do that." She took it back to her desk to work on that. The files for the intern applicants was a huge one. It was a ten page form to fill out, the letter, and the forms for writing letters of interest. She had no idea it was so huge. She thought a letter, an application form, and a few letters of recommendation, not your whole life history. She did find a few typos in the original. She had realized that Dawn went through to correct those each year and saved it down as the template for next year so they didn't have to find them again. Dawn never minded her doing that and it was handy.
"There's a few parts that weren't in that one," Dawn called. "Stuff we moved from the application."
"I saved it as a new template, Dawn."
"Okay." She finished up and collated some new reports then went to gather reports in the various labs.
Linda shook her head. How Dawn managed everything in those heels she wasn't sure. She'd never even consider doing all the floors of the labs in high heels.
Dawn went down to let the couple in. "Sorry, bit late talking to Pepper about new intern applications." She walked them up there. "Guys, this is Janet and Hank. They want to join the team."
Clint looked at Hank. "You have changed, right?"
"Good." He looked at Dawn. "Sparring, Dawn."
"Going, dear. Had to talk to Pepper about the intern stuff." She waved a hand as she went to change. She came out in a pair of leggings and a long t-shirt. Clint stared at her. "What?"
"That is not your usual workout outfit."
"I'm still jiggly."
"You are not," Tony complained.
"Yes I am. And I don't fit into a bikini anymore. Even the new one." She pouted a bit. "I look fat."
"You do not," Tony repeated, looking at her. "Maybe next to the well clothed skeletons we both try to avoid, but you're not fat, Dawn."
"No, I'm cuddly, but plush," she said dryly. "I jiggle."
"You had that same feeling after Philip was born," Clint reminded her. "Didn't we prove you wrong then?"
"Yes but now I do jiggle. I watched myself running and I look like shit."
"You do not," Bucky complained. "I know this is some girly thing but stop it." She glared at him. "Spar for now then go workout."
"I have been working out. I've increased my workouts by an extra day a week for the marathon this weekend." Tony shuddered. "It's for charity."
"Good," he agreed. "You need a better sports bra."
"Hey, nudge the guys with the under-uniform ones," she said dryly. "I could use it." They got to work stretching and going over what they needed to work on this time. Cap was ignoring the whole girl talk thing going on. Dawn had a leg cramp during it but she fought through it until she could handle it. Then it was individual sparring. She took on Bucky. She was less used to his style and he wasn't used to all the things she could pull out of nowhere. Xander appeared and sighed, taking off shirt to get involved.
"I take it Yule's going to be great?" Dawn quipped.
"Not likely. The military can handle it I think. It looks like another refugee situation." He dove in with her and Bucky. She and Xander fought while Bucky stared, mouth slightly open. "This spring, Wolfram and Hart are back."
"New invasion?" she guessed. He nodded. "I can work up stuff to deal with it. Any particular sort of demon?"
"Not that I'm aware of." Phil appeared and took off his jacket and button-up shirt, coming in to spar with them. "Hi, dear."
"Xander. Dawn." She grinned and attacked him. That worked. A three-way fight that Bucky got pulled back into.
"I'm not playing with them," Tony told Clint. "I can't fight gods that way." Xander shot him a grin and tried to clock Dawn but she ducked and Phil's punch attempt, blocking Bucky's and using him to block Phil then attacking Xander again. He sighed. "We did too good on her training." Clint smiled at that complement. Dawn suddenly yelped and ducked down to hold her leg. "And that's a leg cramp. Dawn." She limped over to let them help her. "Heel down," he reminded her. She did and walked it off with a wince. Phil and Xander were still sparring and Tony shoved Steve up there to help Bucky. It helped him be worn out. Dawn finally got free of the cramp and limped back up there. "Dawn," Tony complained.
"Need the workout time anyway, boss."
"Uh-huh. Go use the machines." She sighed but went to do that instead. Which distracted Clint since she was using the thigh press machine. Tony glanced and shook his head. Clint could handle his own needs for his wife. He would prompt the guys with the Stark bra collection. They were nearly ready. He moved to talk to Janet and Hank. They were interesting and they could use new blood on the team. They both had skills they could use. They weren't up to Avengers standard yet but they were getting closer. Steve came over to talk to them about what being an Avenger meant, with some helpful input from Natasha and some not helpful input by Clint about the press following them.
Dawn got her number for the marathon, nodding at the actress she was competing against. "Hi." She shook her hand. "Good luck."
"You too. Are you okay?"
"I had a leg cramp again last night. It'll quit soon." The actress smiled. "See you at the finish line somehow." They parted and went to stretch and get ready. Dawn was more than ready. Clint couldn't run with her. He had twisted his knee again last night hopping up when Lexi started to vomit in the middle of the night. The toys really had to be picked up no matter what Natasha thought was okay. Dawn finished her stretching and smiled at the waiting reporter. "What?"
"How are you feeling, Dawn? I noticed a limp."
"I had a leg cramp last night." She shrugged. "They happen."
"So you think you'll make good time?"
"I hope so." She smiled. "It's not my first run."
"We noticed you finally changed sneaker brands."
She looked down then at her. "My last ones fell apart. These ones are the same sort of too wide that they were." She sighed. "It happens I guess." She lined up at their call. She tilted her neck side to side and started her mp3 player. She selected her playlist and took off in an easy lope with the rest of the pack. Once it started to break up she increased her speed. There was that damn calf cramp again. She got some water at a station and made herself move on. She needed to. She was proving a point to herself and others about healthy being different than skinny.
She made it to the halfway point at about the same time as the actress and got some more water then sped up again. She could outpace everyone but the olympic marathoners. She just had to save some energy for later on. She was doing okay though. She got another cup of water and choked since it had been syrupy sports drink. But sure, she could do that. She pushed herself, letting herself fall into the music.
She made it in a good time. Not a great one but a decent enough one. And about ten minutes before the actress. She was walking off the remains of the cramp and cooling down when she got there. "Hey, let's get you some water," she said, getting her some and helping her to one of the medics waiting. She was pale and shaky looking. Dawn got her a bottle of warm water, a cold one would cramp her up. "Here, water. Drink." She helped her drink. "You okay?"
She nodded. "I pushed myself."
Dawn smiled. "Me too." The woman stared at her. Dawn shrugged. "I run a few times a week. This was just a longer one." She helped her over to hand over their numbers. They got their little printed certificates. The reporter that had brokered the bet had their checks for the charity that had won. Dawn grinned. "Happy rest of the day. Have some ice cream?"
"I'm going to. I deserve it." She smirked at her. Dawn strolled off, finding Clint watching. "Awww." The reporters looked around and smiled, taking a few pictures of them kissing. "She's damn tough." They talked to her about how she had done. So maybe Dawn had a point. She had to admit she had done better than her.
Clint grinned at Dawn as she walked up to him. "You ready to have a shower?"
"Yup." She took a deep kiss. "And a leg rub?"
"Definitely. We need to find out why you're cramping." He walked her off to the car. "The kids are helping Grandma clean out her closet." She beamed at him. "Nat's starting a bath so by the time we get home you should be able to hose off and climb in."
"I love that you take care of me."
"I like taking care of you." He winked and got her into the car then walked around to drive. So what if the reporters saw that as a bit of a possessive gesture again. He was a bit possessive over Dawn because people kept trying to take her.
Dawn looked at Dr. Shivs the next morning. Her cramp had come back with a vengeance last night and she could not get it undone, even with Clint working on it. "I have no idea. I've had them for a few days."
"Sounds like a vitamin deficiency," he said. "Multivitamin?"
"Nope," Dawn admitted. "Not since I was pregnant." He did the test on her blood too just in case. "I'm not."
"No, you don't taste like it," Clint teased. He had been having fun when she had cramped up. She smiled but kissed him.
Shivs shook his head, looking at the results instead of them. "Let's up your potassium and iron levels, Dawn. You're looking a bit anemic." He looked at her. "Less time at the gym." She snorted, shaking her head. "You need it."
"I need more time. I jiggle. My thighs are like jell-o."
"They are not," Clint said impatiently.
"They are. Even the sales lady noticed it."
Shivs shook his head. "You're not overweight, Dawn. You're about five or six pounds above where you usually are." Dawn nodded she knew that. Clint scowled at him. "She had some muscle loss during her last pregnancy when she couldn't work out, Clint."
"Fine," he complained. "We'll help her take the cuddliness off." Dawn hugged him. "Just iron and potassium?"
"Try for less caffeine or more water. It might help that too." Dawn nodded at that, hopping off and limping. "Try for a massage?"
"I tried when the cramp hit and she nearly screamed," Clint told him.
"Okay, then let's do something to relax the muscles. Try the lamaze yoga stuff you learned, Dawn."
"I can do that." She patted the doctor on the arm and let Clint take her home. There was as usual a reporter outside. They liked to haunt the tower's shadows so they could pop out and nag them for information. "Leg cramp," she quipped.
"You've had a few of those. Is it a problem?"
"The doc says I'm a bit anemic," Dawn said with a shrug. "So vitamins, some yoga, who knows. I have pampering spouses who give the best massages when I have them." She grinned. "I'm a lucky girl." She walked off with Clint to catch a cab. She was not in shape to walk back. He helped her in and they went home. She went to their home gym to do some of the yoga stretches she had learned in lamaze. Clint went up to tell Natasha what Shivs had said.
They'd find out later that actress had went to the ER that night. She hadn't been in great shape and hadn't hydrated well enough after her run. Dawn sent flowers to her hoping she got better faster when she heard.
Old Ones 62: Playing Old Ones.