Old Ones 49: Future Old Ones Playing at Work by SuBethJimBob
Summary: Callia has an 'admirer' and the pregnancies have a few problems.
posted by SuBethJimBob for Voracity due to site problems

Categories: Buffy Stories & Crossovers > Avengers, Buffy Stories & Crossovers > Losers Characters: None
Series: Old Ones, Old Ones
Chapters: 2 Completed: Yes Word count: 35634 Read: 40017 Published: 02/11/2013 Updated: 02/11/2013

1. Chapter 1 by SuBethJimBob

2. Chapter 2 by SuBethJimBob

Chapter 1 by SuBethJimBob
Future Old Ones Playing At Work.


Callia got a text message to go to the office's post center, heading down there very confused. "I didn't order anything," she said when they pointed at a large package.

"It says it's yours and it's postmarked London."

"Huh." She walked over to look at it. "I can't carry that." They smiled. She got wise and called an adult. "Bucky, can I have a tiny bit of help?" she asked when he answered his phone. "Like two minutes? Someone sent me something huge from London. The post center in building 3. Thanks." She hung up and stuffed her phone back in her pocket. The shorts were getting a bit tight but she'd manage to keep them for another few months since she had just finished a growth spurt. He walked in and looked oddly at the box. She shrugged. "I didn't order anything."

He picked it up. "Not too heavy but it rattles a tiny bit." He took her back to the apartment, letting it down on the coffee table. "Anything else, mini genius?"

She grinned. "Not unless you want to teach me how to make proper chocolate milk for Stepmom when he gets home. The office is really driving him nuts."

"I'll make him some with brandy later so he can sleep." She grinned. He left her alone to open whatever it was. If it had been sent here, it was scanned for drugs, explosives, and weapons. So it was probably safe.

She pulled out a box cutter to open it then tucked it carefully back where her father stashed it. She opened it and looked. On top was a beautiful red dress. All scarlet lace, one long sleeve and the other shoulder bare. The under-lace fabric was the same deep scarlet color and left a hemline and bustline two inches free of fabric. It was also in a larger size than she currently was. She pulled it up to hold against herself, looking in the mirror across the room.


"I'd look great if it was my size. Maybe it's meant for Diana?" She carefully folded it and put it aside. Underneath was a sparkly deep blue one-shoulder party dress. Same tight, figure conforming style but no sleeve and it had sequins all over. She blinked at the boots underneath that dress. They were shiny black leather, looked like they would fit you tightly. They were highlighted by silver buttons all the way up. She held them against her leg and shook her head. If she grew to be Diana's size they'd hit her mid-thigh.

At her current projected height, they'd hit near her panty line. The top was lined with a cuff of fake fur to make it comfortable. She put it aside, finding a long black dress. One-shoulder strap, the main torso part down to a few inches past her pantyline had an underdress of black with slight sequins that shone through the lace's pattern. The lace continued to a floor length, slit skirt. "Wow." She carefully put it aside and came to a few other things. Like a cute hat. And a few familiar looking jewelry boxes. Those blue boxes meant they were *real* jewelry, not play stuff. One had a 'woven' blue stone and bronze strands, about six lines wide. It merged in a bronze center holder that held another blue stone. "That's really weird. I don't even know what that is."

"That's iolite," JARVIS said quietly.

"Okay. Does it have a meaning?"

"It's said that vikings used to use very thin slices to navigate by," the AI said. "Some New Age sites say it relates back to inner vision and business success."

"Huh," she said. "This is getting really freaky."

"Yes, it is. Should I tell your father?"

"You know what, can you tell Auntie Dawn? I think this is a bit bigger than Daddy." She found the next one, a pretty strand of rubies in a single row of marquis-cut shaped stones with tiny silver beads between them. Then a larger marquis-cut stone as a pendant. "Yeah, I want Auntie Natasha."

"She's here but your aunt is off-compound for the moment. I'll get them for you, Callia. Is there a letter?"

She looked. "I'm not sure I want to touch the rest to see how big it is."

"Hmm. Well, sit there for a moment." He switched to the sparring gym. "Excuse me, Agent Romanoff? Callia would like some help in her suite."

"What was in the box?" Bucky asked, backing off from beating Stark.

"Many things that we both believe will make her father lose his temper but she was probably correct that it may take some searching capabilities."

"What was sent to my clone?" Tony asked, leaning on the boxing ring's ropes.

"Some very pretty outfits for when she's older, and some jewelry. She just opened a ruby necklace worth approximate twelve-hundred dollars, US."


"EXCUSE ME?" Tony demanded, storming that way.

"We can help," Natasha agreed, following. "Stark, let me. Get me some gloves so we can preserve any remaining fingerprints," she said as she walked in. He took a calming breath before he fully lost it. He knew it wasn't Callia's doing but still! This was not right!

"I was getting freaked out at the sexy party clothes," Callia complained. "Then I opened jewelry and even I know that's not normal guy behavior. Medical kit gloves are behind you, Auntie 'Tasha."

She pulled some on and came over to look at things. "Interesting. Why are they all one-shoulder dresses?"

Callia shrugged. "No idea but apparently he thinks I'd look hot in it. I looked further down and there's a cuff bracelet with a tiny laser built into it." She pointed. "It's in watermelon Tourmaline, which is said to promote creativity and inspiration."

Stark looked at her. "Are you okay?" he asked quietly.

"I'm *SO* creeped out," she admitted, staring at him. "That's why I asked for Auntie. She can find them so you can both kick their asses. Even if they're sneaky." He hugged her. "But yeah, creeped out is just one of the things babbling in my head at me that someone's a creepy stalker sort or a pervert."

"I think he meant this for when you were older," Natasha said, finding a letter. She opened it, reading over it. "Yes, he wanted you to wear it on the weekend of your eighteenth birthday when you two would meet in London during the next great Tech Expo Europe." She looked at Stark.

Tony considered it. "It is that year. We have one next year, they have theirs every five years. Yeah, one'll fall then since one's in a few years." He hugged her harder. "Anything else?"

"I see citrine and diopside," Natasha said. "Both with positive meanings. And a locket with tiny ruby pieces but no picture. The plastic holder said he'd give her one when she was seventeen so she could find him." She snapped that shut and put it into the box.

"Um, even if I like boys, I'd never go for the creepy pervert sort," Callia said. "Grandfather!" He appeared, blinking at her. "You didn't tell anyone about me, right? Because I got creepy 'we'll meet when you're of age' presents from some guy in London who may be related to tech stuff."

"No! I'd never do that, Callia. If I want you in an arranged marriage, I'll tell you and your father." Natasha held up the letter. "I have no idea who that is."


"I will by later," she said. She repacked the box, looking at the formal gown. "That may look very good on you when you're of age."

"He can have it back so he can't sue us for keeping the expensive things he sent us to woo her," Stark said quietly. "Give it back to him, kick his ass for me, then tell me who he is so I can ruin him, Natasha." He was proud of himself, he wasn't screaming at anyone.

"I can probably do that," she said with a slight smirk. "How did you get it up here?" Bucky waved a hand. "Hmm. The post center?" He nodded. "I will see what they have on it as well as he barely left a name." She carried it off. He took it from her. "I can carry that. It's not that heavy."

"I want to beat the crap out of the guy before Stevie gets him, because he won't save anyone any." She smiled because that goal fit well with her own objectives in this case. They went to take over Dawn's desk for a while to search down this person. Dawn had some sites bookmarked that may help them.

Tony looked at his little girl. "Come spar with us."

"Gladly." She let him carry her too. She was feeling a bit weird so Dad time was great! She'd even give up science for the day for it.

***

Pepper leaned out when she saw them taking over Dawn's desk. "What's going on?"

"Someone sent Callia presents," Bucky said. "We're finding them to have a discussion."

"Like candy? She's had a few of those from engineers who want to woo her to their college." Natasha held up the ruby necklace. "What. Is. That?" she demanded a bit too calmly. Dawn would be evacuating the nearest offices if she heard that tone of voice.

"That is just one of the things the guy sent her so she could wear them when they met the weekend of her eighteenth birthday," Bucky said.

Pepper growled a few swears. Bucky's eyes were wide and he was backing up slowly and carefully. He hadn't seen the scary side of Pepper before. "Who are they?"

"We're looking," Natasha said. "Blood pressure, Pepper. We're handling it so we can kick them around, then hand them to you three."

"I want them first."


"We'll tell you three at the same time," Natasha said.

"No, I want them now! Dawn!" she shouted. A few minutes later Dawn walked in, blinking at her. "Some *pervert* sent your eldest niece fancy jewelry."

"Wow, I didn't know humanity had devolved into that level of stupid yet." Pepper calmed down a tiny bit. "Once we find them, we'll go kick them around, Pepper. Now, calm down. Callia's on her way to the gym. Go hug her and make sure she's okay." She got up to do that, sniffling. Bucky properly escorted her to make sure she didn't rush off to kill someone. Dawn went back to her desk, looking at the box's contents. "Those boots are custom made," she said quietly. "The outfits are all minor couture." Natasha looked at her. "Probably a few thousand at the most for the formal one. The boots are probably about a grand. Want me to get someone to evaluate them for worth for the police report?"

"Please. I had not thought of that." Dawn pulled out her rolodex and called her favorite jewelry store. They agreed they could send someone over. Then Dawn called someone in the LAPD. Which got them there. Callia was a billionaire heiress with weapons design knowledge. No one was going to let her be snatched by anyone, much less by a pervert. By the time the two people got there, Natasha had a name. The man was in charge of a large tech company in Norway. They weren't a rival of Stark's but they were good in their area of interest, which was mostly jet designs and other physics-based engineering designs to solve problems.

Dawn smiled, getting the two from the parking lot. "It's at my desk," she told them. They nodded. One of the guards gave her a strange look. "Callia got sent *jewels* by someone," she mouthed. "Pepper is more livid than when she was nearly snatched by that sheik. Make sure *nothing* interrupts her and Stark calming down in the training gym." He nodded, subtly calling that in so they could arrange things around the people at the top of the company's chain. Dawn followed the officer inside. "Left, gentlemen." They went that way.

Natasha told them what she had found. The officer was a bit disgusted. The jeweler gave them a nice report and offered to buy them if Callia didn't want to keep them or they didn't send them back. Dawn smiled. "I'm pretty sure if her dad or Mom find them, they're going back with a small tactical nuke," Dawn said quietly. "Pepper nearly did magic to get this guy." The jeweler shuddered. "But if she does end up with it, I'll let her know." He smiled and finished the forms for the officer. Dawn took him to talk to Callia. They walked into a barrage of 'Oh my god, I don't even like jets or bridges! Fucking morons!' from Callia. Dawn cleared her throat. "Police need a statement for the report, Callia."

She looked at the officer. "Can you taze him maybe?"

"If he's local, miss, and puts up a fight. We don't like guys who hit on little girls." He smiled. "We like to make them really miserable."

"Good! Before I do!" Pepper and Tony hugged her to calm her down. They helped her with the statement while Dawn called SHIELD's main office.

"Hi, Mommy." Dawn walked off to stand in the hallway. "No, bad shit just happened but I need you to handcuff Steve to a chair for about ten minutes so you can tell him. Callia doesn't need more stress. Because some tech company CEO in Norway sent her about six grand in jewels and about another fifteen in clothes." She winced at the screaming. "Yeah, that's why we want you to handcuff him to a chair to tell him, Mom," she said over the ranting going on. "Callia's a bit freaked out. They're already holding her.... hi, Cap. No, I was going to have mom tell you.

"Well, a CEO in Norway has sent a present of interest to your eldest daughter. Six grand in jewels and fifteen grand in clothes, Captain. Not candy like UCLA sent." He went silent. "They're doing a police statement right now. Natasha is looking the future dead man up with Bucky. I was going to have Mom handcuff you to a chair to tell you so you didn't throw the desk or something," she babbled.

"She's a bit shaky but she's okay," she said at the displeased sound he made. "LAPD is here getting a formal statement. It's all very pretty, would look nice on her when she's older, kinda sexy stuff. Which is why she told Natasha and Tony at the same time, so Nat could find them and kick them around before you got them," she finished. Captain America said one very quiet word. "Gym, Cap. Sparring gym. Yeah, that's great. Calm Mom down or tell Bruce, okay? I'm brave but not that heroically stupid because he'll Hulk out over this." She hung up and winced.

Captain America had just said 'fuck'. This was going to be horrendously bad. She opened the door. "Um, boss, told Steve. Cap *swore*." He shivered. "No, I mean like me *swore*." Steve appeared and grabbed Callia to cuddle, letting her nuzzle his neck with her nose to calm him down. Dawn let them calm down. She called a free day for the whole staff so they could be evacuated subtly without alerting the press to the future danger that CEO had just put himself in.

Bucky walked past her. "Told him?"

"Told Mom. Her fit made him grab the phone so I did," she sighed. "She'll tell Bruce so she can control the Hulk somehow." Bucky shuddered. "I don't think they do that when he's huge and green, Barnes."

"Eww, mind out of the gutter, Summers."

"Second trimester," she quipped.

Bucky walked into the gym, handing Steve the sheet on the guy. "That's all we've found in the last half-hour we've been looking." He patted him on the back.


"Dawn was going to have Joyce handcuff me to my desk chair to tell me." He took a calming breath. "She should've." Callia snickered. "Though I still probably would've thrown my desk across the room."

Barnes looked over at Stark. "Dawn called a free day, Stark. That way no one was in the crossfire while you guys vented or whatever."

Callia looked at him. "I only know high energy output weapons and thermonuclear devices as a theory. It'll take me a few days to tinker and make one." She put her head back down. "Though, a playing day sounds good, Dad."

"It does," he agreed, staying calm. His daughter did not need to see him losing his shit in the way he wanted to. "Did she get updates from the labs yet?"

"Yeah, on her desk," Pepper said. She stood up. "That's a really good idea. Dawn's very smart."

"She's kinda running for her life," Barnes said with a grin.

"She's seen me this mad once," Pepper said. "I nearly did magic then to kill the person." Tony shuddered. "Yeah, I think a free day is a *great* idea." She took Callia to cuddle. Steve held them both instead. Tony pulled them all down next to him so they could both hold the girls. The officer was happier with that. It might mean they didn't have to evacuate the rest of Malibu.

Bruce Banner stomped in, halfway to full on Hulk. He threw the door that he had accidentally ripped off the hinges across the room. "Who did that?" he demanded. The officer handed him the sheet. He read it over, sneering. "Hulk smash very well."

"After I get him," Tony and Steve said together.

Tony smiled at Pepper's snort. "You can direct us on where to stomp him, Pepper. That way you don't have to hurt yourself or the baby." Pepper glared. "Blood pressure."

"It's. Fine," she growled.

"We'll find your softball bat so you can get him first," Tony soothed. She calmed down and nodded, squeezing Callia harder.

"Normally I'd complain you're about to squeeze the poop out of me, Mommy Pepper, but today it's okay." They all squeezed her. Hulk picked her up to cuddle. "I'm okay, Grandpa. Just a bit freaked out. He sent me *jewels* and flirty clothes! I mean like sexy, wear it for the boyfriend clothes. He even sent me hooker boots to wear with them. Though I have no idea how he guessed my sizes." Hulk growled. She cuddled him to calm him down. When he was a bit less green, Pepper stole her back. "If he was fully gone Grr Guy, we could all sit on Grandpa's lap," she joked.

Hulk shrugged. "Cuddles nice." He looked at the officer.

The officer was proud of himself. He didn't step away from him, he didn't pee himself, and he didn't stutter. "We're making a report, Doctor Banner, and as soon as we can find him we can charge him and have someone grab him for trial." Hulk grunted but nodded, picking up Pepper and Callia to sit down and let them both on his lap so he could hold his granddaughter.

Liz ran in and squealed, pouncing her grandfather. "Grandpa Grr Guy, cuddle me too!" He smiled and did, patting her. She smirked at her sister. "Did you blow up lab?" she demanded.

Callia snorted. "You know those guys that we warned you about in the park? One tried to talk to me. They're bad and you have to remember that, Liz. That way you and Chris never talk to strangers."

"Ooooh, bad guys. Auntie 'Tasha?" she asked, looking around.

"We're going to beat him for her," Bucky said.

Liz grinned. "Good boy!" She waved at the officer with a grin. "Grandpa Grr Guy is green."

"Yes he is," the officer agreed calmly. "He's very green. You're very smart." Liz beamed and nodded.

"And modest too," Steve quipped. He took her to cuddle. He'd talk to her about pretending to be a bimbo later; she was smarter than that green comment. She got free and went back to Grandpa. The girls were going to help him calm down apparently. Which was probably a good idea. Chris came pelting in wearing his roller blades, and no safety gear. "What did I say about the helmet and knee pads, Chris?" Chris giggled and waved then pounced the grandfather too. Hulk groaned but cuddled them. They were nicely helping him calm down. Pepper got out of the way so the kids could work their magic on Bruce's temper. The officer fled to fill out the paperwork. He was praying those kids could calm down the Hulk before Stark had to rebuild the entire compound, but they'd handle it because that was Tony Stark.

Tony looked at the kids then at Bruce. "I think they're being calming on purpose."

He nodded. "Very good at it too. Hulk pleased." The girls smiled and cuddled in better. Joyce stomped in and Hulk handed over the grandchildren as soon as she got within range. He knew not to hog them from her.

"You poor thing," Joyce sighed, cuddling them.


Bucky decided he'd have to get there before Joyce, not Steve. He had no idea Joyce Summers-Banner was that scary. Now he knew where Dawn got it from. Because he had met assassins that were less mean than Joyce was venting, which was making Callia laugh and the Hulk look very pleased with his wife. Yeah, he'd have to get there before Joyce or Pepper. Or the Hulk.

Clint walked in undoing his uniform's zipper slightly. "Okay, Dawn called in an SOS and an emergency meeting. What's wrong?" Bucky told him. Clint considered it. "Norway's not that far. We can easily fly there by tonight by quinjet."

"The LAPD took a statement," Pepper said, trying to calm down again. "They want to arrest him first."

Clint considered it. "I'll give 'em three days and then go plant an explosive arrow in his brain for you." He looked at the kids. "You okay?"

"Bit creeped out but so is everyone else so at least I fit in."

He grinned. "Ask your Moms about the last present Dawn got from someone else."

Callia looked at Pepper. "She did?"

"Which one?" Tony snorted. "The lingerie of questionable taste and size or the other stuff?"

Clint smirked. "You didn't see the newest stuff that Fed Ex dropped last night?"

"No, I hadn't," Pepper said, going back to that scary place. Clint pulled up pictures on his phone. "Who?"

"The idiot oil heir who had kidnaped her in the desert that time. He wants to woo her now."

"The one from Saudi?" Pepper demanded. Clint grinned and nodded. "No, him you can shoot, Clint. He's a waste of sperm."

"Dawn told him he was a waste of his mother's time when he showed up last week," Bucky said casually, then had to move quickly before Clint grabbed him by the throat to ask about that. "He came here!" he said.

Tony looked up. "JARVIS, was he arrested?" he asked.

"No, sir, Dawn sent him packing while sniffling horribly in a teenage girl fashion. He said he'll lose his inheritance if he doesn't marry her, his grandmother adores her. He said her marriage isn't legal and he could divorce her after his grandmother passed on in twenty years. She could even bring her son. Which was when Dawn very nicely nearly fried him with a lightening bolt."

"Oh, that day! I wondered why we had sudden lightening!" Tony said, looking at Clint.

"I was at SHIELD," he complained. "I heard about it when she went mental rant that she wasn't spewing. Though I did offer to shoot him. The local head said I wasn't allowed. I had no idea it was because of an in-person visit."

"We'll see," Steve said. He stole Chris from Bruce, earning a grin and him snuggling in. "You need to be wearing the knee and elbow pads, plus your helmet, anytime you're in your roller blades, Christopher. You know that." Chris cooed and patted him then hopped up to skate off. He came back followed by Jonathan, who had a tray of bottles of water. "Thank you, Jonathan."

"Welcome. What happened?"

"Idiot tech guy sent me sexy clothes and jewels," Callia said. "We're calming down and setting up who gets to beat him first."

"I'll take last," Jonathan said with a grin for her.

Clint patted him on the arm. "You can help Dawn with hers since he's probably still in LA. That way you don't have to wait in line."

Jonathan grinned. "They wouldn't let you?"

"Nope. Or Natasha. Or Dawn. Who got warned by the State Department it would cause a huge stink, and they encouraged her to marry him."

"Sure, we can deal with that," Jonathan said, going to look that guy up. Andrew knew who it was. He had a watch on his credit cards and where he was staying. And hey, Coulson was too busy to notice them releasing a robot to go stomp on the guy for Dawn.

JARVIS cleared his throat. "Mr. Stark said if you make him put on the suit today before he's calmed down he's going to paddle you both and ground you from the lab without pay for the next month, boys. Please retrieve the robot before it hurts someone." They pouted but called it back. "Even though it was a daring plan, it's a bit obvious."

"I can learn how to make poison ejectors," Andrew decided, looking those up on spy sites. "There's all sorts of ways to get something Dawn's brewed up into someone's body."

Jonathan looked over his arm. "That one's a bit stereotypical. Xander has a stake shooter design that could shoot poisoned toothpicks."


Natasha walked in and got them onto a site. "Tech Ops ideas that people would like to see. Their suggestion site, boys. That way you don't copy cheesy movie versions that never work right." She smirked slightly as she walked off.

They projected that one up on the virtual screen so they could go over them. They could do half of them very easily and put them on a Roomba. Hell, they could almost do that within a day.

***

Dawn looked up from her typing the next day because an elderly woman wearing an all-covering robe that left her face uncovered walked up to her desk. "Yes, ma'am, may I help you?" she asked politely.

"You could only help me if you would marry my grandson and make him a better man, Miss Summers."

"Ma'am, I'm already married and my spouses would not like that."

"I was not told that." She considered it. "Legally?"

Dawn smiled and nodded. "Somewhere in the world, yes."

"Oh, no wonder." She stared at her. "My grandson could definitely improve your lifestyle."

"I like my lifestyle and I have more than enough money of my own, ma'am. I work because I like to work and I like working here because we're like a family." She stood up. The woman stared at her stomach. "Yes, I'm presently pregnant and my spouses are ecstatic that it's a girl. I'm sorry someone misled you but even if I was single I would not marry the man who kidnaped me, who was planning on 'convincing me' to marry him while stranded in the desert, because the only way I could take that statement was him planning to rape and torture me, and I don't believe that any man like that is worth anything anyway. No matter how fat his wallet, that doesn't make him a good man. I'm sorry you failed but I don't need a project, ma'am."

"I can see how it would be distressing to you. He is a good boy underneath all that."

"He kidnaped me. I consider that grounds to kill someone. Frankly, I'm the reason he's so scarred now," Dawn said with a slight shrug at the end. "Because he was going to keep me hostage until I gave into him. It may be very American of me, but I don't believe in arranged marriages and I sure don't believe in them being due to kidnaping." She stared at her. "I'm sure there's plenty of beautiful, strong, smart women in your own country who could be taught how to correct him. I'd suggest you start with a cattle prod and move back to a paddle with the way he came here and caused a scene the other day." The older woman was glaring at her. "Frankly, you should be fairly happy that I didn't shoot him then for getting near my son."


"You said a daughter."

"I have a son that's about eighteen-months-old," Dawn said, showing her the picture with a smile. "He's adorably smart, loves animals and music, and if your son did as he threatened and had promised to bring us both with him, he wouldn't have made it out of the courtyard." She stared at her for a moment. "I'm really sorry he misled you, ma'am. I've never wanted that grandson of yours. I fought to get free of him when he kidnaped me. I didn't like it when his brother offered my boss jewels to date me when I was sixteen. I have what I want and it's fantastic."

The older woman pursed her lips then nodded. "Any woman should stick up for a proper spouse, even if it is not legal."

Dawn shrugged. "I don't care about legalities that way. Neither my wife nor my husband care about such things either." The woman looked horrified then cleared it up, nodding slightly. Dawn smiled. "I hope your other grandchildren learned the proper lessons from your knee," she said in Arabic, staring at her. "I know a few of his relatives who were there during the business meeting we attended were very polite, very charming, and good at negotiating business matters. Frankly, there's almost always one child in the extended family that doesn't live up to the rest of the family. You usually call them black sheep."

"True," she agreed in Arabic. "You are well educated."

"Yes, which is why I'll never be with a man who kidnaped me. I didn't want to be taken from an airport in Sweden and brought to your desert so he could supposedly convince me I'd be his wife," she said at the opening mouth.

"Oh, dear. I was not told that part either."

Dawn smiled. "I'm sure he was trying to be diplomatic about it but I'm not really interested." Bucky came up the hall. "Hey, Bucky, is Callia calmer today?"

"Mostly." He nodded. "Ma'am." He looked at her. "You okay?" he asked in Russian.

She nodded slightly for him to stay just in case. "Agent Barnes, this is the grandmother of the man who desperately would like to be my husband."

"Agent Barnes," she said with a nod at him. "You work here?"

"I'm part-time with SHIELD and I help now and then when the children have security issues. Speaking of, Dawn, your son is somewhere. The daycare said he wandered off again."

"He's either with Callia's pets or he's in the caf probably."


"Nope. Or the library or the music room."

Dawn sighed and looked up, searching magically. "He's coming this way. Philip Ivar Summers!" He squealed. Dawn walked out to pick him up and carry him back. "You do not wander away from the daycare. I don't care why you did." The older woman stared at him and he smiled. "Sometimes he's a little too smart for his own good." She sat down with Philip on her lap. "I'm sorry someone was so diplomatic and gave you half-truths, ma'am. I wish him nothing but a peaceful life far away from my son."

"I can understand that. He goes by your name?"

Dawn smiled. "Clint liked my mother better."

"That is a wise man then. He knows when the matriarch should rule. Thank you for your time, dear."

"You're quite welcome. I'm sorry you had to come all this way." She shook her hand. Philip grinned and waved. "Good boy, Philip, and very polite. Thank you. We all appreciate that." The baby grinned and reached up to Bucky, who sighed but picked him up. "Bucky, I can handle him."

"You have typing to do. I'll take him back to the daycare."

"I only have a few reports to do and then the weekly searching of news stories on you guys. He can stay." She took him back and smiled at the older woman, who walked off unhappy with a few people but she understood more.

Tony leaned out of the office. "Tactful, thank you," he said, going back to working on Pepper's sore shoulder.

Dawn smiled at the baby. "Your Uncle Tony is so silly sometimes," she told him with a grin. "He knows I have manners. He made sure of it with Auntie Pepper." She typed around the baby, making him stare in awe as things appeared on her screen. Bucky walked off shaking his head to tell the head of the daycare that Philip had been found.

"Someday all the girls will want you too," she whispered to her son. "I want you to pick a good one, son, even if it's only for a one-night stand. Never date bad boys and girls." Philip laughed so she went back to her many tasks. Philip cheered and clapped when the news stories had pictures but he loved his family.


Pepper came out, smiling at them. Philip leaned over, staring at her stomach. He frowned but patted it, pulling back suddenly when it kicked him back. He babbled and patted it. Dawn and Pepper both snickered. Babies were so fun sometimes. Dawn turned him around and put his hand on her stomach. He gave her an awed look when her stomach kicked him. He could pat that all he wanted. Chris could have his own mommy for a bit. Philip looked up at her and grunted, meowing then babbling as he patted it. "That's your baby sister, Alexina Idella. She'll be out soon so you can stare at her."

He frowned and patted her stomach again, then huffed when he didn't get kicked. She finally obliged him and he was happy again. This new kicking thing was fun to play with. Even if Mommy did grunt now and then about it.

Natasha came up the hall with Clint. "It appears he found out he's due to be a big brother," she said with a smile, taking a kiss from Dawn.

"He has. She's presently kicking him a lot." She winced at one hard kick. "Can you maybe pat the daddy, son?"

Philip grinned at his father and patted. He babbled. Clint picked him up, earning a pout. "That's your baby sister. Some day soon she'll be out and you can pat her the right way."

Philip cuddled him, staring at the other mommy. He noticed she had the same sort of thing so he leaned down until he could pat hers. She stroked over his hair but that one didn't kick as much. He wiggled until he got down and went back to the mommy with the kicking thing. "Kiki?

"No, it's not a kitty," Dawn said with a grin and a hug for him. "It's a baby sister, just like you only a girl."

"Then again, he thought he was a cat for a while," Clint said. He took him back. "C'mon, we have books about baby sisters." He walked him off talking about that. Natasha and Dawn shared a kiss then Natasha got back to her research for her present case. No wonder Stark had called them.

***

Andrew and Jonathan came up the hall hissing at each other. Jonathan grinned at Dawn since she was at her desk. "Can we ask you for a huge favor?"

"Sure, what's up?" She stopped typing to look at them. She knew that look, they were up to something.

"Can we borrow a few vials of poison for the girls to look over?" Andrew asked.

Dawn slowly shook her head. "I promised Phil it wouldn't get out of my hands unless I had to use them. Sorry. Why are they playing with poisons?"

"They were thinking about it," Jonathan said. "You sure?"


Dawn stared at them. "Why do you really need them? No one's picking on you two, right?"

"No!" Andrew said with a quick head shake and a grin. "We wanted to try something out."

"Test using saline solution. It's about the same weight outside of some that are gels." They beamed and hugged her then ran back to their labs to try that. Dawn considered it and sent a prayer winging at Phil. He sent a text message saying he had no idea what the boys were doing and he was in the middle of yelling at trainees so he'd have to check later. Though, to ask Natasha since he felt her having been involved. Dawn sent a thought at her wife - who was bored doing paperwork today anyway. She admitted what they were doing. Dawn groaned and thumped her head on the desk. She considered it then went to talk to Stark, who was hanging out with some of the guys in Shield Design. "Hey, boss, got ten?"

"Another tasteless package I'll have to deal with?"

"I think we may have a rogue Roomba."

"Why ask me?" he asked.

Dawn stared at him. "Because I think you should probably see why it's rogue?" She grinned. "Before someone uses actual things to test on someone?"

"The experts on the Roombas are the boys," Tony said with a grin.

"He's kinda busy, Dawn."

"Fine. I'll handle it. If I have to spank I'll let you know." She walked off texting him. He hopped up and went to handle it after all.

"No, there's no poison delivering Roombas," Tony yelled from the doorway. "Before it hits one of the kids! Find another method for whatever Barton or Romanoff wanted. Thank you for not being derivative, guys!" He swung by Dawn's desk. "Could've said it."

"I didn't want to worry anyone, boss."

"Good idea." He went back to where they were hanging out shaking his head. "She was right, I needed to yell at them."

"They were making poison delivering Roombas now?" one of the other engineers asked. Tony groaned but nodded. "Why?"

"I have the feeling someone had a mood swing and since she can no longer go kick butt, she wanted to be more subtle," he said, flopping down with a sigh.

"Dawn's mad at someone?" they asked.

"Her wife, guys. The more dangerous person in that trio." They all grinned at that.

Jonathan leaned in with a grin. "Does this mean we can't finish testing the cell exploding laser, boss?"

Tony stared at them. "Cell destroying laser?"

"Yeah."

"Where are you getting these ideas?" another of the engineers asked. "Just so we know."

"Natasha showed us a site. It has agents giving ideas of things they'd like to have their tech ops people make for them." Jonathan grinned. "It's pretty cool."

Tony shook his head but the lone woman in the room quipped it. "Every engineer secretly wants to be Q," she said with a grin. "How big is the laser, Jonathan?"

"We're working on perfecting it and then shrinking it. Right now it's movie shrink ray sized. Though, shrink ray, not all that great. We can't undo it yet and we've lost about three Roombas that are too tiny to find. We think another vacuumed them up so we've been debating whether or not that's cannibalism."

"Go get Andrew, we'll all hang over then look at those later, Jonho." Jonathan beamed and ran off. They came back with two of the Roombas and settled in to talk geek things with the older geeks. They loved going to the older geeks as mentors. They gave them all sorts of help and ideas without giving them the answers they wanted. Tony looked down. "Who were you going to test the poison system on?"

"Um.... the guy mooning over Dawn at the gate?" Andrew guessed, looking at Jonathan.

"And the guy who flirted with my wife," Jonathan agreed with a grin. "He keeps doing it even when I growl. I was going to have the robot pick him up at the same time it was going to pick up the pitiful guy."

Tony stared at them. "No putting giant robots in LA, boys. I did not want to get into the suit." They shrugged and relaxed again. "Thanks, guys."

"Welcome. Did they arrest the guy that sent Callia pretty stuff?" Jonathan asked. "If not, we have special arrows for Clint to use."

Tony stared at them. "We'll look at those later too." The other geeks grinned. "Sometimes you two are like younger brothers." They grinned at that compliment.

Howard faded into view, shrugging. "I don't think I slept with their mothers but if so, that's fine. Maybe we can talk them into helping us merge with the laser people in Connecticut."

"No, Dad, and butt out please unless it's a problem," Tony said.

"Well, Pepper's presently being fussed at by Dawn because she slipped and fell," Howard said. Tony hopped up to check on her. Howard shook his head. "I have no idea where he learned how to fuss."

Andrew stared at him. "Real men fuss over their pregnant wives or girlfriends. Things have changed since you were human, Mr. Stark. A lot."

"You need to look up the word metrosexual," Jonathan said with a grin. "That'll explain a lot."

Howard sighed but went to the library. Someone in there could open the dictionary for him or explain it to him.

Everyone in there heard Howard ranting that men did too many girly things and real men didn't use gel in their hair a few minutes later.

"Shut up, Dad!" Tony yelled. "Yes they do! And we change diapers, walk the floor with the kids, and take care of what's ours. Including treating them nicely. Maybe you should go ask Mom how she would've liked that. After all, you did it to your mistresses. You might also rethink all that product you used to use since you used more than gay male models do now." He walked back in and shut the door then started Callia's little blocker. "That might help," he said, sitting down again with a sigh. "She's fine. She was interviewing one of the new doctor candidates and they helped. They got hired." The others all smiled. "That one guy is fired in two weeks. That way we'll have a good infirmary again." Andrew beamed and bounced a bit.

"We need more elves," Jonathan said. "They're a bit high strung and some are a bit snotty but they seem to be good doctors." The others stared at him. "No one else heard about Doctor P?"

Tony shook his head. "Nope, guess not." They all moaned and shook their heads, though two paid off a bet to the lone female in the room. Tony looked at her and she just smirked back. "You knew?"

"Yeah, I saw her ears." That got a few more groans.

***


Natasha was considering things while lotioning after a long bath. She hadn't expected to like being pregnant. She was though. She was having to do a lot of self-pampering. She was having to take time to meditate away stress and problems. She had never felt more sensual, even though she had sore breasts. The nipple itch was going to drive her nuts but she could ignore it hopefully. And the kicking. "Fine, we will eat," she told her stomach. She washed the extra lotion off her hands and went to make herself lunch. Philip was in daycare, which he adored. She was alone in the house. Or so she hoped since she just heard something in the garage. She grabbed the nearest gun to check and walk out there. She cleared her throat, making Barney jump. "If you scratched my anniversary present, I do have mood swings."

He looked at her. "You can tell." She pointed the gun at him. "Looking for my idiot little brother? Someone sent me as a messenger," he said with a grimace.

"If you wouldn't let people use you, you might be happier. Though he is at SHIELD. I'll summon him. Inside." He nodded, following her. "I am not making you lunch."

"I had a burger." He looked around. "With the freaky stuff your wife does, you'd expect crystals and fairies."

"She's not that sort of witch and don't sit there. The cat's under the pillow." Barney sat down and she had to smile at his yelp of pain. "I did warn you." She made an extra salad since Clint said he was on the way. At the second yelp she looked back. "Tsarina," she chastised in Russian. "He is not your serf, you may not treat him like prey. Who knows what you'd catch from him." She turned back around. "Gently put her onto the floor. She will quit using you as a training toy."

Barney stared at the kitten. "You're a funny color."

"She's a Russian Blue," Natasha said. "She was a gift of respect from a few demons. Loki was our former fire escape cat."

"Loki?" She pointed. He looked. There was a black cat with green eyes staring at him. "Yeah, I can see why you named him after the evil guy."

"He is much more settled now that he is married to Ares," she said dryly. Barney shuddered at that news but oh well. Clint walked in from the garage. "He was admiring our anniversary present from Dawn." She took a kiss. "I made you extra."

He smiled. "Thanks, 'Tasha." He looked at his brother, taking the envelope he held up to read over. "We think it may have stopped. Discord and some others discouraged it to the point where they went on mass suicide binges. But sure, if we have one, we'll agree to let you jump in without trying to arrest you. The usual policy is that you get an hour after the battle to clear out of sight if you're wanted for something."

Barney nodded. "How did she discourage an invasion?"


Natasha smiled. "They wanted Dawn very badly to be their queen. Discord showed them how pleased she was with her current life. Their king promised to commit suicide as well to quit prompting them to invade us."

"That's why they were going to invade?"

"No, they were overpopulated," Clint said dryly. "Dawn was just a lofty goal of the invasion. A way to integrate by taking one of their new slaves as a queen." He shook his head. "I'll note it but we haven't heard of any new big thing this spring yet. Though we're all on the lookout for it. We know it'll be in April." Barney nodded at that.

"Sometimes something huge will pop up out of nowhere and sometimes we have warning," Natasha agreed. "Hopefully nothing of the size of the battle against Thanos will happen anytime soon."

"Me too," Clint agreed. "Damn that was bad and the aftermath was pretty crappy until we got free too." Natasha nodded, stroking up his arm. He grinned at her. "If I could get us another long vacation, I would."

"Why did you go on vacation? Injuries?" Barney asked.

"No, people wanted to capture us and use us," Natasha said. "Especially Dawn."

Clint nodded. "That's when we got to be brainwashed in Romania, Barney. We went on a *long* vacation after that to heal, work on things, avoid the US trying to conscript anyone with gifts."

"You guys get a lot of trouble from Dawn," Barney said.

Clint grinned. "Sometimes but I kinda like that."

Barney shook his head. "You're weird."

"Well, yeah, but I'm pretty sure we all know why." Barney grimaced but nodded. Clint looked around. "The sprout?"

She smiled. "Daycare. He wanted Allenetta."

"Aww, his first girlfriend? I would've said Caroline."

"No. She has chicken pox from her shot. He and Etta went to spoil her." She ate a bite of chefs salad. "Etta called up to babble at him about Caro so he begged and whined until Dawn brought him in with her."

"I like that he's got his mom's empathy." He grinned and took a kiss, then his own salad to eat. "Is Dawn cooking tonight?"


"You know we do not mind if you want to," she offered. "We do have that deer in the freezer."

He grinned. "I might." He looked at his brother. "I'm actually the better cook of the three of us."

"I remember when you burned soup."

"Yeah but I'm a lot better now." He ate another bite and smiled. "Undercover in a restaurant a few times."

Barney shook his head. "That had to be weird."

"Easier to poison someone."

"Good point." He let his grimace clear up. "Who's the kids?" he asked with a point.

"Dawn's sister's kids. Buffy and her husband are in Valhalla so we had custody while they grew up here and on Asgard."

"Oh, the ones you mentioned."

Natasha smiled. "We are exceedingly proud of those three. They have merged their worlds very well and all become exceptional young people. When is Atlantis landing?" she asked.

"Tomorrow if everything's all right. The rooms above the garage are done so Sean and Diana both have one." She smiled and nodded. "The new general who's lording over O'Neill is not happy that there's non-Stargate people on the city. O'Neill told him to blow him and warned the civilians on the city."

"That mystical city bullshit?" Barney asked. Clint walked over to get a picture to show him. Behind Diana, Sean, and Artemis was a good view of Atlantis' spires. "That's....."

"Atlantis behind them. That was Sean's eighteen's birthday party. She's a beautiful city. We've spent some time there a few different times. Dawn spent four months up there because they were hiding from the NID and others before the first invasion of LA." He put the picture back and grabbed his salad, sitting down. Loki jumped down to stare at him. He gave him a piece of egg yolk. Loki sniffed and ate it then settled in to stare at Barney. Tsarina stretched on her way over to him, putting her paws on his knee to pat until he looked at her. "Spoiled princess, aren't you Nat's kitty?" He gave her some egg yolk too and she purred as she ate it. Then she strolled off casually to pet her human by rubbing against her.

"I will brush you after I eat." Her phone beeped so she looked at it. "Callia's missing her Tony cat, Clint."

"I haven't seen Tony cat. Tony," he called. "Food!" Yup, there was a loud meow from the garage. They went to get the cat out of Dawn's car, somehow in the trunk, and brought it inside. Natasha texted that they had found him. Callia said she'd be right over for a kitty play date because the other kids were being annoying brats again. "Fine," Clint said when she showed him. "If you want."

"At least she's a quiet, calm child. She can tinker in the garage as long as she doesn't tune up the cars."

"She can?" Barney asked. "That's the mouthy big Stark kid, right?" He'd ignore the shared look his brother and his normal wife shared. His brother wasn't stupid and he knew he was fishing for information. Not that he was getting a lot.

"Who's all but graduated high school at almost ten, and has been tinkering with cars and weapons with her dad since she was a toddler," Clint said with a grin. "I'm kinda happy that our boy's smart but a more normal smart. Callia drives herself nuts sometimes trying to come up with things to do. She's a great girl; if our next one is a future genius, we'll take ideas from Stark."

"Dawn's already hoarding building blocks and those sort of things," Natasha said with a grin.

Clint looked at her. "I think a few of those are yours."

"Possibly. I did like that castle she got me the plans for."

"You do...."

"It's very relaxing and like a puzzle in the off-hours," Natasha said. "Since so much of television is garbage and we have a self-imposed ban on buying more than three books a month each, even for the e-readers, I needed something to do."

"I was not amused when I realized she spent a whole paycheck on books at a little used bookstore and we needed a library," Clint said, looking at her. "Books are heavy and you can carry your own."

She smiled. "I did and asked Bucky."

"Uh-huh." He went back to eating. Loki was staring up at him. "What?" He got a silent meow. "I know, you like books. They're a good napping spot." Loki settled down with a bite of ham. Tsarina was getting another treat from her human so it was only fair. He looked at his brother. "JARVIS, can you tell Secreva I'll be back later? And have Dawn send Philip with Callia?"

"She's already got him in the car because he pouted until she did, Agent Barton, and I have made such a note to his email."

"Thanks. I needed lunch." He got back to eating. Callia and Philip showed up about fifteen minutes of staring later. Philip ran in with a squeal. Both cats huffed but he only patted them with a 'kiki good' this time. "Hey, little man." Philip smiled, showing off his new tooth. "Wow, another one. You've got almost the full set."

"Hard to believe since Chris is still cutting them," Callia said, letting the cats loose. Tsarina meowed in frustration. "They're only visiting, Tsarina. They wanted to play." Clint kitty and Dawn kitty sniffed her and meowed. Tsarina stared at them. Dawn chattered and 'talked' to them. Clint went to climb something. Natasha was already finding a toy to bat around. Phil kitty and Xander dog were in the corner watching out the window at the birds. Tony cat leapt onto his human to get some petting because he had missed her when she was lost, then ran over to investigate that stereo thing they had.

"No," Callia ordered. "Off, Tony kitty." He slunk away. "Thank you." She sighed as she leaned back. "The mice were easier."

Clint grinned. "A lot of the time, yeah. Did you video call Tara's kids?"

"Yup. They babbled about school." She petted Dawn when she came over to chatter at Barney. "That's Clint's big brother. He's mostly a bad guy but if he tries to hurt you, I'm helping build a cell exploding laser, dear."

Barney blinked at her. "That's science fiction crap."

She grinned. "My other mentors are like that. That's why they made an army of guard Roombas. Who can still change diapers."

Natasha smiled. "That's something we would've found wonderful. Son, let's change you?" Philip scowled at her. She stared at him. "Now please. Your pants are hanging much too low and you smell." She picked him up to carry him in there, talking to him the whole way. "Clint, he's got a mark on his leg."

"Yeah, he got into the heat massage thingy in the infirmary when they went to visit Caroline," Callia called. "Auntie Dawn came down to baby him for it."

She came out with their son redressed in cargo shorts that were nearly pants length and a new t-shirt. "He needs more clothes. They're too small."

Clint took him to let him sit in his lap. "Growing is a great thing, no matter how often your mommy has to shop for you, son."

"At least he won't be like Liz and bring home a pretty dress for her brother," Callia quipped with a grin.

"Kids are weird," Clint agreed with a grin for her. "Why are you escaping?"

"I'm not allowed to lock the heathen bitches out of my lab and I wanted some sketching time to work on an idea?"

He pointed. "Pool? Because you're pasty and could use some sun too." She hugged him and ran outside. The cats went with her. There was a fence and they wouldn't wander too far away from her. They were well trained. Plus they hated it when she had Xander fetch them for her.

"Put on some sunscreen," Natasha ordered, grabbing the bottle and tossing it out at her. "You with a sunburn will be miserable to be around later."

"Auntie 'Tasha, I need a new bathing suit."

"We'll go when you go next time." She looked out at her. "You can't hope to fit into mine or your aunt's."

"No, I guess not." She stripped off her outer clothes to show a nice bathing suit. That was too tight.

Natasha grimace. "That is much too tight."

"This and my leotards."

"Hmm. Perhaps we'll find some later." Callia beamed and hugged her. She settled by the pool to sketch out new ideas with the cats being helpful. She'd have a pale spot due to Dawn kitty sitting on her butt to nap and a shaded spot from Xander laying around her feet. She was used to it though. Natasha smiled and took a picture, sending it to Pepper, who said to send her home. Natasha assured her she wasn't being a problem and was getting some much needed outdoor time with her pets. Pepper was pouty about needing to shop with her. Natasha said to pick her up from here and go, they were closer to the shops they liked. That made her less pouty. Natasha put down her phone. "I am thankful I do not have extreme mood swings yet." She got them bottles of water and sipped hers, sitting in the other chair since Barney had the couch. They all looked toward the back of the house at the splash and howl.

"Then next time, don't fall in, Daddy kitty," Callia complained.

Philip looked then at his mother. Who shook her head. He pouted and pointed. "I thought you could talk," Clint said, staring at him.

"Me?" he asked with a point and a grin.

"We can swim later, after work." Philip pouted again. "Get me my guitar." He squealed and ran for it, carefully bringing it back for him. It was dragging a bit but it was mostly on carpet and he was very gentle with it. Clint sat down to play, Philip in his lap to help. The baby adored that.

"Wow, he's into music," Barney said quietly.

Natasha smiled. "The day Dawn gave it to Clint, Philip laid on the bed listening to him play for nearly eight hours without fussing about needing changed or wanting to be fed."

"Huh." Philip scowled at him for interrupting the music. "I can see why you said he'd gut me for making the music stop." Clint grinned and nodded.

A hologram of Pepper appeared. "They finally got that fixed, that's great." She smiled. "Clint, the daycare wants to go to the children's museum sometime this week. Can we have you as a chaperone? The kids all listen to you and Bucky."

"I'm off Thursday," he offered with a grin.

She beamed. "Great! Would you like Caro and 'Etta? They were trying to 'tune up' Bucky's mechanical arm. Well, 'Etta was polishing it mostly while Caro was trying to tighten the few bolts she found."

"He let them?" Natasha asked.

"No," Pepper said then grinned. "Chris ran into him and knocked him down and out. He's got a very slight concussion from the skating son. Who cried and sobbed and fussed over him until the new docs made him quit. He's very sensitive and Bucky forgave the kid accident. They were in there visiting Caro, who escaped from quarantine." They all grinned. She walked over to look outside. "She really does need new bathing suits."

"The two-piece sports suits?" Clint offered with a grin.

"Steve would freak out. She asked about when she could have a bikini last night and Steve said when she turned eighteen. They argued that it violated the original agreement they had made on bikinis." She walked back over. "Beyond that, Natasha, are you going to the lamaze class tonight?" She smiled and nodded. "I'm joining you and making the guys come. They really do have to finally learn that art even though this is my last one ever." She waved and disappeared. "It worked very well, Tony, and Clint's brother's there."

"We can still hear you," Clint's voice called from the pickup. "He's not being mean, Pepper. Or else I'd let the son kill him."

"Okay." Tony shut it up, shaking his head. "She does need new bathing suits." She took a kiss with a grin.

"If they're modest I wouldn't mind her showing a bit of bellybutton. Nothing more than that though."


"Okay." She went to text Callia that. They'd go shopping then to the lamaze class after dinner. A very full day for her. She found Dawn having a mood swing and hugged her. Accounting screwing up the budget again made her cry a bit too.

***

Barney looked at them. "You live a very weird life."

"I do, yeah. Before it was all missions, my room on the hell carrier, and range time."

"We are a great reward for excellent service," Natasha said. Clint beamed and nodded, leaning over to kiss her. Loki cat got up with a huff. Tsarina meowed a complaint and wandered off to her cushion again.

Barney shook his head. "Gooey."

"Yes, but she and Dawn are the best ever at it," Clint said smugly.

Barney shivered. "I saw that article."

"It was a great night on the couch." Barney moaned and got up, heading out. "See you soon? More peaceful talking?" That would give him a chance to beat his brother to death again.

"Maybe. If I can get the extra gooey sugar out of my system." He left, going back to their base. He had been wearing a wire because their handler was worried how he'd react to his family. He still wanted to beat the shit out of Clint but he knew better than to do it in front of either wife or his kid. He didn't want his nephew to have to see what they had when their parents were alive. His wife would kill him in a messy way. Neither outcome was a good thing by his way of thinking.

Clint grinned at Natasha once the baby had run off play in his room. "I have ten minutes before I need to leave."

"There is no way for either of us to get off in ten mere minutes, Clint."

He smirked. "Yes there is." He pulled her into his lap and invaded her mouth with his tongue, one hand moving their clothes so they could have something good, fast, and hard. He got off, Natasha got off with a moan, and Clint took another kiss before leaving.

She laid there, limp and partially sated. That was a good twelve minutes so she had been right, he couldn't do it in ten. She could make him try it again later on, after dinner and Philip went down for the night.

***

Clint showed up with Natasha that night for lamaze, looking around. No Dawn. He texted her, getting back a 'I'm at the spa getting heavenly pampered' back. He grimaced and sent back that he thought she was going to be at lamaze with them. That she and Nat could've gone to the spa anytime. Her response that Nat hadn't wanted to go last week or this week, and Dawn was having something done to her stomach so it'd quit giving her side cramps made him look at the other wife. He showed her.

"She asked?" She took it to text. "Ah, a warmth treatment for her muscle cramps. I knew her legs have been."

"And neither of you mentioned this why?" he asked.

"Because you were not home," Natasha said. She sent back one and Dawn said she'd join them for class on the next one, pending not being in South America again. Natasha agreed and they settled in to go over the advanced meditation techniques. Though Clint was clearly thinking instead. She looked at him. "We have not invited her along," she said quietly.

"She shouldn't need one."

Natasha stared at him. "Have you done more than hugged her or a quick peck on the lips in the last two weeks?" He stiffened then shook his head. "Which is probably why she's being subtle." She went back to it. He was helping her and she was enjoying this. The baby was kicking less today. She frowned. "You're not moving as much."

"Even they have to sleep sometimes," the midwife said quietly, walking over. She pulled out her little ultrasound machine to use on her. She smiled. "Good heart rate, Natasha. She's fine." Natasha relaxed and nodded. "Sometimes babies get with the meditative urge too. It's a special time." She looked at them. "Dawn?"

"Getting some sort of heat treatment for the side and leg cramps she's been getting," Clint said.

"Those are always charming but they happen to all of us," the midwife promised. "We're doing her next appointment in two days at three."

"And I'm going to be out of the country," he complained.

She smiled. "You'll figure it out." He nodded. She went over to help another couple. They were clearly still mad about something. She got them talking in a separate room so they wouldn't interfere with anyone else's calmness.

Clint leaned forward to put his forehead on her shoulder. "Maybe I can switch."

"You can't and she understands that," Natasha said quietly. "She always has about both of us."

"Still blows at the moment."

"Yes but that is life sometimes. At least you are not hiding in the office or the lab. You are legitimately busy."

"True." He rubbed her sides and back, helping her relax because he felt that cramp. Though it wasn't hers. It was Dawn's. He sent a calming thought at her. "Is that a false pain?"

"She had a few early Braxton-Hicks last time," Natasha said quietly, sending her own. Dawn snapped the bonds shut so she could concentrate. They packed up and went to her spa of choice. Someone texted them where she was instead on the way. That helped. They walked in. Natasha looked at the receptionist. "We're Dawn's spouses."

"She's back in the warm rock room, ma'am." She pointed. "They're trying to get her to calm down." They went back there with Clint following.

Clint warmed his hands and moved the technician to work on a sore spot, making Dawn hiss and bat at his hands but it got the cramp stopped. She panted, calming herself down. He stared down at her. "Hi."

"Hi." She blinked at them. "I don't know what the hell that was."

"Nor do we," Natasha agreed. "I thought perhaps early labor?"

"No. Not even close." She sat up with help. She hugged the massage tech, getting a smile back. "That's what I've been fighting through."

"We can go back to lamaze, see if she's still there," Clint said quietly, staring at her.

Dawn looked at his watch. "She's home by now. If it's still happening, I see her in three days and it's not affecting her. She doesn't like it in the least and kicks me like hell."

"We can get it moved up," Natasha said, stroking over her back.

"She's packed full. That was moved up." They groaned. "It's fine. The baby's heartbeat's not going down. She's still kicking my insides a lot." She winced as she moved. "I think she's about to bruise a rib."

"Then let's go to the ER," Clint said.

Dawn looked at him. "We just started over on our insurance year, Clint. That means we'll end up paying for the whole long wait and being told they can't really do much. Or like the last one that I should abort it because it's clear that my *gifts* are what's wrong."

"Seriously?"

"Yeah."

"I didn't hear that," Natasha said.

"The day I went to the ER spotting, the doc started that until Clint came in."

"Damn. Okay, so let's go home and soak?"

"I'm good. I've only got the sauna left," Dawn said. "We can pay for you guys."

"Let's go home," Clint said. "I can do some wonders for your legs and arms." He stared at her. Dawn nodded, being helped up so she could get dressed and they could go home. Clint called the midwife Dawn went to so she knew about the problem and could nag Dawn about it. They got told she was still at the office so drove back there. They led Dawn in. "Here you go, one aching young mother."

She looked at her. "That's why you moved the appointment up?"

Dawn nodded. "I told Marilyn that I was having a lot of early cramping in the wrong area." She shifted and winced. "Sorry, leg cramps too." Natasha made her sit down. "I've checked her heartbeat with a borrowed fetal monitor and the cramps aren't lowering it any. It's not Braxton-Hicks unless it's radically different from the last set I had. She doesn't like it and I end up feeling more bruised from her kicking during it."

"Okay." She got Dawn onto the exam table so she could look her over. Clint handed her the ultrasound wand when she reached for it. "Thank you." She looked. "That's weird."

"What's weird?" Dawn asked.

"The uterus expanded upwards more than usual." She looked. "She's standing on your cervix."

"I noticed," Dawn said with a grin. "She's been trying to do yoga stretches up."

"Yeah, I think she is." She checked a few more things. No obvious problems that she could see. The heartbeat looked good. "What are you doing when you have them?"

"Usually, I'm totally relaxed and just settling down to nap." She yawned. "Sorry, spa was great."

"The heat probably helped a lot, Dawn." Clint moved to work on Dawn's shoulders, making her moan and go limp. Within a few minutes there was a cramp and the baby kicking. "Oh, that." She looked at her. "How bad is your diet?"


"I managed to eat at least once today?" Dawn moaned. "South America is giving us all fits. Plus I ended up nauseous again last night."

"After dinner?" Natasha asked.

"No. Right at bedtime." Natasha shook her head. They had wondered why Dawn had went to soak in the tub.

"You didn't mention anything," Clint said.

Dawn blinked up at him. "You were already asleep and I can soak while I'm having some nausea, Clint. I'm okay."

"She is," the midwife agreed, cleaning off Dawn's stomach. She checked the muscles. "I think the tension is carrying over so whenever she's totally relaxed the muscles are having to relax too far. Can't you cut down on your stress?"

"It's not a lot of stress on me. It's a lot of running around all day," Dawn said. "It's a lot of juggling. Nothing's making my pulse or blood pressure climb. Pepper and I are both on low-stress moments. We've both had time to sit and take off our shoes while we worked on paperwork. It's just been a constant stream of paperwork. Like on days when you're updating charts. It's not stressful, but it's chronic."

"I get that," she agreed. "They aren't stressful days but you never have time to do more than hit the microwave for tea."

"Exactly. Which I don't mind. You think I'm just too tense? I've been doing my meditations most of the time for a half-hour before I go home."

"I think that's the problem. I'm not seeing any other ones. Can you take a few days off?"

Dawn shook her head. "No. We have intern applications to go over, the new idea panel meets in two days, there's a board meeting tomorrow and the next day - one for investors and the next for general company policy BS. Then we have the audit coming up, which happens every year since so much of the government is scared to death of what Stark's going to pull out of his panties this time. Things slow down in March, usually."

"It's barely February," Clint said. "It's like this every year?"

"Yeah. You don't remember me coming in and collapsing into a nap as soon as I hit the couch last year?"

"No. Then again, I was on assignment for part of the month." He looked at Natasha.

"I was too." They stared at Dawn. Then at the midwife. "How do we combat this?"

"In this case it's not stress. I think she should maybe try to sneak in a few minutes of meditation during the daytime, maybe even with Pepper and the kids. It can only help all of you."

"Then I have to stay late."

"Good point. How are things at home?"

"I'm interviewing housekeepers for the next seven or eight months," Dawn said. "They only handle high-income people and they are all background checked." Natasha and Clint stared at her. "None of us are going to be in any shape to clean the house in another month. Clint's probably going to be in Thailand at that summit meeting since we got a request for you to be Stark's guard from the State Department so he'd actually attend it."

"Not my idea of fun," Clint complained.

"Yeah but they're putting pressure on Steve."

"Oh. Great," he said flatly. "No, I'm going to be in the US only after this next assignment."

"Which may take you until June," Dawn said dryly, looking back at him. "Tracking the news, someone's screwy by what your packet stated." He groaned. "Sorry. Some underground blogger was noting it and I found it during my weekly search." She looked at the midwife again. "I make sure I at least get breakfast. I try for something beyond tea during the day and then I make dinner when I get home."

"I made dinner earlier," Clint said.

Dawn stared at him. "Leftovers?"

"Yeah. Plate in the fridge." He counted back. "I made dinner two days ago."

"I didn't get home until ten that night because of the audit team showing up with weapons," Dawn complained. "They were going to try to rush the building."

Clint turned and kicked a wall, shaking his head. "I've got to rearrange things so I'm here more often. That way you don't see more of Stark than me," he told her.

"I see more of Bucky than I see of any of you on the team," Dawn said dryly. "And Pepper almost all the time. Someone told him to hover."

"Probably Cap," Clint agreed, considering it, looking at Natasha.


"I've been at SHIELD doing a lot of paperwork," she said. "We have our yearly updated talks with Congress soon as well."

"You can go on early maternity leave," Clint said.

"Hell no I can't," Dawn shot back with a smile. "Are you going to go do my job?"

"No," he admitted. "They can..... Pepper can't," he realized.

"Even beyond that. I went on a week's leave and came back to the snafu from hell," Dawn quipped with an evil smirk. "I had three weeks of straightening things out." Clint slumped, grimacing. "That's just from the people that were trying to sabotage us. Not even the usual snafus that I smooth out daily. Things like a lab didn't order supplies and ran out at a critical moment. Or the caf's order never got sent in so they had bare fridges yesterday."

"Is it sabotage doing that?" Natasha asked.

"No, that's usual corporate stuff," Dawn said. "That's why I make the big bucks, so I can solve problems and make sure everything keeps running as smoothly as possible. Right now I'm doing that in between audit stuff and intern applications. Because they never have everything together so we have to create a folder and sort as things come in, then hand them to the right department head as their files become complete."

"Can you try to nibble while you sort?" the midwife offered.

"I have been. I had rice krispy treats today because Chris had helped make some with the daycare." She grinned. "The kids were going around giving people some."

"That's sweet of them." She smiled back. "The rest of your lunch?"

"Three breadsticks as I ran between buildings gathering stuff and making sure people ate, and then two cups of tea this afternoon. One decaf, which just made me more tired."

"You both need to slow down some."

Dawn snorted and shook her head. "There's no way that can happen. The audit team needs specific forms filled out. It needs the budget, both projection for this year and last year's actual and projected handed over. It needs specific budget files from each of the departments, and they don't usually know how to do them, and you can't do them beforehand because they need the January 1st totals. Thankfully I just have to update figures and print."

"How big of a task is a budget?" Clint asked. "You always seem to have something budget related."


"We do a monthly budget because of the audit," Dawn agreed. "The main budget is a listing of the mini budgets and it's ten pages long." Clint whimpered, shaking his head. "Then each of those has a budget that links into it, and a few of those have sub-budgets by project or the sales budget by country and item both."

"Don't you guys have an accounting department?" Natasha asked. "That seems to be their job."

"It is, and then they send it to me for proofreading and going over with figures from other places that they don't have access to. And I correct mistakes that've been made, change anything in the format that needs it, link all the sub-budgets to the main one for the paperwork, do the paperwork, present the audit team with the sixty-eight page report on the budget and the other six items they always want. This year they surprised us by not wanting one and wanting another but that only took me a few hours because I do it for the board."

Clint squeezed his eyes shut, staring at her. "Why don't you have an assistant?"

"I am the assistant."

"Some of that could be done by a secretary," Natasha said.

"They never rehired the outer secretaries after they were found to be handing out information," Dawn said, giving her a look. "So I'm doing a bit of that too. They've put up a want ad inside and outside Stark and no one wants that sort of stress. Then again, if something huge happens, like South America having another plant strike, then I've got to drop everything and help Pepper handle that, or take over most of her duties while she handles that."

"That's why you make in the eighties," Clint said.

Dawn looked at him, nodding. "After taxes, yeah. That and my masters degrees. Otherwise I'd be making in the seventies."

"I do report files and check facts," Natasha said. "It's a boring position while I'm incapable of being in the field. I can come over and help."

"I'd have to teach you all the forms," Dawn said. "I can ask Tony."

"I'll ask Stark," she said.

"No, if you ask Stark, he'll start to think I'm not good enough for the job and I'll have to find another one, and then probably move countries. So no you're not."

"He wouldn't," Clint said.


"That's not all his call," Dawn said, grimacing. "The board can fire people, dear."

"I didn't think about that. And since you're so strong in protecting the group they'd want you gone."

"They've tried it twice recently and it got defeated. The last time barely defeated. That was because the proxy from the kids." Clint shuddered. "Tony had a fit on them about it when he heard," she said more quietly. "Things will slow down in a month. They always do, pending another apocalypse or something."

"Did having Benji there help?" Natasha asked. "We can cite security issues and get you someone on the injured list."

"No. They tried to have me fired then for needing Benji and having security issues." Dawn pulled up something in her email to show her. "It took Pepper and Stark ten weeks to undo that plot."

Natasha shuddered and handed back the phone. "Good to know."

"And they see you coming in to help me with stuff the same way."

"Damn," Clint muttered. "How can we help you handle it?"

Dawn took a kiss and smiled. "I'm handling it. It's fine."

"It's not fine. We never spend any time alone," Clint said.

Dawn stared at him. "Even if I'm there, you never spend time with me, Clint." He glared. "Really." She waved a hand. "I see more of the kid that hates me than I do you two."

"You could've come tonight," Natasha said.

"You guys clearly needed more bonding time and I've been through a lot of the lamaze classes in bits and pieces." Dawn stood up and adjusted her clothes. "It kinda seems normal anymore." She stared at them. "Let's go home, I need a nap." They nodded. "We'll argue this weekend since I have it off."

"You could use a few days here and there," the midwife said quietly.

Dawn grinned. "Pepper has spa time as soon as the audit team leaves. I usually go with her to guard her." The nurse grinned at that bit of deviousness. "Plus we go over kid things that need to get done." She hugged her and paid her then walked off. The nurse let them out and locked the building up so she could go home too. Dawn did more than the average set of twins apparently but they'd work that out. She hoped. They were a good trio and were strong. They could work that out.

***

Clint laid there, watching the girls sleep. Natasha wasn't curled up against her because Dawn had a heating pad against her back to ease it some so she could sleep. Natasha was having some hot flashes so she was away from Dawn's extra warm spot on the bed. Maybe they needed a few days off together. Was he doting on Natasha? Yeah, he was. This was her first time through it, and really his, so they were going through it together but they hadn't wanted to not include Dawn. He heard a quiet footstep and looked out there. Philip was wandering. "Hey," he hissed. "Go back to bed."

Philip smiled and came in to hug Dawn. Which was weird. He usually didn't want to cuddle her. He still had a strong like of Natasha as the favorite parent. He snuggled in on her shoulder and cuddled, cooing at her stomach. Clint patted his lap, getting a pouty look. "Okay," he said quietly. "Cuddle Mommy. She could use it." He watched, thinking about how things needed to be. He needed a plan. Even if it did make him sound like Maria Hill and her ever-evolving plans to get Tara back. Philip scowled at Dawn's stomach and started to kick back but Clint grabbed him and put him into his lap.
"Do not kick the Mommy," he said, staring at him. "That can hurt them and your baby sisters." Philip pouted, reaching for Dawn. He let him cuddle her again. He settled in to nap on her instead. Clint got between the ladies, curling up against Dawn's back. He moved the heating pad and kissed her shoulder when she started to move. "It's been on too long," he whispered in her ear. "Let me take care of you." He got her back to sleep. He had felt Natasha wake up behind him but she was apparently going to lay there. He glanced back, meeting her eye.

She shrugged, she didn't know how to fix it either.

***

Stark came up the halls the next morning. "Dawn, typos all over the report," he complained, then paused when he saw Clint in her desk chair. "She sleep in?"

"No, she's in the infirmary getting some tylenol for the back spasm she just had." He looked. "That's not the one she was printing." He pointed at where it was still going.

"I had JARVIS print me out the preliminary."

Dawn walked up the hall sipping her water. "That's the preliminary as of last week, boss. This one's the pre-approval copy." She checked and started to collate and gather. When the last page spit out she bound it and handed it over with a grin. "Try that one."

"I can do that." He stared at her. "Need a day off?"

She gave him a horrified look. "Hell no! The company would fall apart!"

He laughed. "Not exactly. You can take a day off. The new audit team pushed back their arrival by a day."

"Which means I've got about thirty more forms to do in an extra day's time," she said dryly. "I was going to have to stay over an extra half-hour tonight so that's a good thing." He stared at her. She handed him the files. "What they wanted this year minus that last report that has to hit the board first." She got Clint out of her chair and pulled that up to work on it.

Tony took them all into the office to look over. "I'm damn glad Pepper streamlined this. It was another sixty pages long," he complained as he walked.

"Me too," Dawn quipped.

"Thirty forms?" Clint asked.

"Then I have to bind everything I just handed him and this into one report. I also have to have a separate copy of that plus other things for the board meeting tomorrow," she said as she typed then grinned at him. "It's only this month that's hectic." She got back to it. By lunch she was starting to stitch things together. She was also doing an external backup every hour to make sure she didn't lose anything in case of a stupid incident like a few years back when they had lost power so the whole document had been eaten.

Of course real life had other ideas about her carefully thought out schedule. Especially the higher powers over real life. Dawn moaned and collapsed at her desk, banging it as the vision started. It was not a good thing. She was coming out of it while figuring out how to sidestep that one when another one hit. About the same agent attacking her and Stark, nearly getting her put into federal prison for defending herself.

Cordelia Chase appeared. "You weren't supposed to have that," she told Dawn's unconscious body. She looked at Natasha, who was coming up the hallway. "No wonder it didn't hit you." She touched Dawn's head to see if she had anything going on because her spouses looked a bit pissed and she more than most knew how scary they could be. "Barton, she said you may not touch him. Just because she hasn't been wrong before doesn't mean she can't be wrong this time and we have to wait until he acts. Or else she'll have another one." He stopped moving and nodded, checking over Dawn's pulse. Cordelia sighed. "Sorry, guys. It was supposed to hit this one, not Dawn," she said with a point at Natasha. "Apparently someone decided she could handle it better." She disappeared.


Asclepias showed up and put a bracelet on Dawn's wrist. "That should stop the medical problem she just foresaw from happening." He checked her over. "She could use some curled up moaning at the headache time." They got her moved to the infirmary. The doctor down there got huffy so the God of Healers turned him into a puppy. He stared down at him. "Shut. Up. Whining is not a healer's job. It never has been and never will be." He got one of the other doctors out to help. They had things he hadn't gone over to help with visions. He could learn their methods too.

Tony leaned in. "She able to tell us what it was about?"

Clint looked over. "Nat and I both saw it. You're about to be attacked by a jackass agent and the President, who's a bit paranoid about you thanks to a preacher he's been seeing."

"Really?" Tony asked, coming in. "So why two?"

"Dawn was figuring out how to get around the one where he slapped her so she handled the agent the hard way," Natasha said. "And half of an office of agents, and the president." Tony moaned and shook his head. "They pushed her into it. The second one he showed up and shot at her, which she stopped, and that agent was claiming that was enough to put her into custody. He tried to sneer about her daughter going into foster care and things." She shifted, rubbing her stomach. "She had sidestepped the shut down warrant by going to the same judge before he got there with information on who was actually using the programs they were claiming you were."

"I need to know that," Stark said.

Clint nodded, making a list of what Dawn had been looking up and the judge. Plus the agent. They sedated Dawn so he settled in to do a proper background check on the guy. What he saw amused him to no end. He called an agent he knew fairly well to show up at the compound. They were in LA's office. He held up the statement on the visions and the background check. "I can't believe you guys hire that low of lowlifes."

"That bad?" He read over the background check. "He started what?"

"One of the pro-conscription groups against Dawn and others with gifts. The other two are visions Dawn just had about him showing up. So far she's said I'm not allowed to shoot him."

He looked over those, nodding once. "I'll take this to Internal Affairs but that high up it's going to be a fight."

Clint shook his head. "No it's not." He smirked. "Not hardly." He strolled off. "Thanks, man."

"Welcome, Barton." He took it to the LA office's internal affair's office, handing it over. "From a SHIELD agent."

They read them over, grimacing. "That membership is enough to get him suspended. Especially with him starting one. We lump them with other neo-Nazi groups since they usually belong to them to. How often is the one who had this vision correct?"

"I didn't ask. Same subject though."

"Which hospital is she in?"

"Stark's."

"I'll see through SHIELD then. Thank you."

"Be damned if I want to see that battle be lost," he said dryly. "Because we would and look like gutter slime with him." He left, going up to warn his boss. He knew that agent, he was on the same floor.

The Internal Affairs agent called the one for SHIELD to talk to him about a few things. There were going to be a lot of very unhappy people soon.

***

Tony Stark looked at the judge he had just barged in on. "Here, you'll probably want it soon." He handed over a bulletproof vest. "We have proof that this idiot agent is going to come to you, Your Honor. My assistant has visions about bad things."

"How often?"

"Too often with the sort of damage visions cause. They're going to use you to get a desist order based on projects that they'll say we're doing. Those are the list of the ones she saw and what happened. The only one they could rightly attribute to us was a 'shipment' back to Norway that is covered by that LAPD report."

The judge looked it over, grimacing at that report. "That's sad and disturbing."

"Very. We're all working very hard not to kill the guy."

"I can agree with that." He went over the others. "I don't particularly like those programs."

"Me either but it's not my company that's doing it, no matter who tries to say something." He looked toward the hallway. "That's him." He handed over a copy of the background check Clint had done. JARVIS had saved him a copy. "That's on that agent, Your Honor. We've already had a talk with his people." Tony slipped out the other door.

The judge was reading it over when the agent got let in by his clerk. He had put on the vest under his jacket and vest. "Yes?"

"Sir, I have a warrant application," the agent said with a smile. "We're stopping something horrible on the corporate front." He handed over that information packet.

The judge looked it over. It matched exactly. He looked up at the agent. "You're a bit late, Agent Meads." The agent blinked at him. "Someone else came to us with facts on those few things. Apparently there were a few visions." He put it down. "Including that none of these programs go to that one company."

"Sir, I've researched...."

"Not very well then." He put them in front of him. "Publically available through their grant network, Agent Meads. I'm highly offended that you're trying to use the judicial system this way. This isn't how good agents act."

"You were influenced by that mutant," he sneered.

"No, not a bit. I don't know any mutants unless you count every person since none of us are clones," he said dryly. "This isn't the Empire." The agent pulled his gun. "Gun!" he shouted as he got shot. Fortunately he had on the bulletproof vest. Guards ran in and took down the agent. They got the judge help. "Ow," he moaned, holding his shoulder. "Damn that hurt."

"Yes it does," one of the guards said quietly. "Thankfully you had on your vest, Your Honor."

"I got warned he was coming." He pointed. "No one but Henders touches that. Judge Henders isn't one of them and the others might be. It's a huge conspiracy thing," he said quietly to the guard, who nodded and gathered it up for that judge. The Chief Justice leaned in. "I'm good, mostly. Bit bruised." He looked at the guard, who nodded and walked down there. "Hand-over for warrants today," he said as the paramedics lifted him up.

"Whatever he's involved in, I'm probably not," the Chief Justice said.

That judge looked at him. "Yeah, you are. You were at their rallies." The other judge grimaced but nodded. "Sorry to say but I'm not that trusting. I know you're a good man but personal ethics sometimes wins out over judicial ones."

"I understand and that's a great idea. I'll stay out of it." The judge nodded, letting himself be taken to the ambulance for the precautionary check. He waited until all the drama died down to go talk to the other judge. "I'm staying out of it but I need to know which area I almost stepped in."

That judge looked up at him. "Your minister is influencing higher authorities within the government that he's right and we should attack them."

"Okay, them. I can stay far out of that. He good?"

"He's fine."

"Good. Am I implicated?"

"No, sir, just a lot of agents and a president." The judge shuddered. "Exactly. Someone's a fucking moron and I don't use that term that lightly, as you well know."

"I was pretty sure the one who shot at the judge in the courthouse already proved he was." He was handed the second vision. He read it and shuddered. "That's evil." He handed it back. "I'm hands off unless you need me to be. I'd recuse myself from any case involving it but if you need research let me know. My daughter's working against them. Means she won't talk to me anymore." He walked off to consider his stance on that issue. Maybe he was a bit hidebound.

***

Tony was leaning over Dawn when she woke up. "I would've slugged him too," he said quietly, staring at her.

"I'm in trouble for what I might've done?" she groaned, trying to sit up.

"Stay." She went limp. "No, you're not. Even if your wife wouldn't kill me you wouldn't be. You need to calm it down some but if an agent hits you for no reason you do not take that shit." She nodded, staring at him. "Beyond that, Doctor Shivs gave you the week off." She snorted, shaking her head. "Pepper can do all that."

"She can't find all those forms."

"She can call. Not everything's changed since she had your job, kid."

Dawn smiled. "I rearranged those on her so they worked for me."

"She'll call." He patted her foot. "We should not have been working you that hard."

"You do every year."

"Yay? Last year I felt bad that you had to be driven home so many times. So let's just call the short vacation a good idea. Okay?" Dawn nodded. "Romanoff's offered to fill in some but Pepper pointed out how much of it was paperwork that she'd have to interpret. She'll do your gathering and nagging duties with Callia instead." He patted her foot again. "Rest. You have to feel like hell."

"Kinda." She frowned at her wrist. "Why?"


"In case the leaking from the vision happens. If you have to anyway, rip it off and go." He smiled. "Barton's getting you stuff to go home in since you sweated through all yours." He left her to finish waking up and being grumpy. Maybe it was time they got an assistant for Dawn. Or maybe a raise. Or both, she probably deserved both. He went up to the office to talk to Pepper, who had done the same job. "What do you think about getting Dawn an assistant to do the sort and filing jobs for her?"

"I'm not sure how she gets everything she does done. Maybe it's a time turner spell or something," Pepper said with a smile. "Filing's only about ten percent of the job most of the time."

"Oh." He settled in on the couch, looking over what Dawn did weekly according to JARVIS' records. "Maybe she is using a time turner," he said, frowning. "You never did this much work."

"We had to add new departments thanks to the switching from weapons," Pepper reminded him. "If we could end the audit it'd be nice. I'd like some of those hours back too."

He nodded, looking over what they wanted. It was thousands of pages of things. Most were crossed out so Dawn had done them. A few were shorter forms that needed to be typed up and presented. Two were massive things that he hadn't seen. He got up to look over her desk to see if he could find it. Her computer wouldn't turn on. He found her backup drive and ran it in Pepper's office. That worked and he printed them all. She hadn't lost more than a few pages on the final budget projections. At Pepper and Dawn speed it'd be done in a few hours. At Tony speed he'd never get it done this year since he hated doing the paperwork. Thankfully he had Pepper and Dawn. He frowned. "We're doing a full budget?"

"Last year's projected and actual and this year's projected," Pepper said with a smile for him. "Most of that's done. She was pulling together the mass of forms for them. She had left herself the little stuff to get done." She got back to it, frowning at a form. "I have no idea what that one is." She read it over more slowly and filled out what she could. The audit team would have to understand and could wait a week on Dawn to get off bedrest. The Board could throw however many hissies they wanted, the company ran best under a Pepper/Dawn team.

***

Pepper stared at the Board meeting. "Let me make myself heard, people. We are not firing Dawn. I do not care what the Board wants. In fact, if Dawn doesn't come back from bed rest, then there's a whole lot of things that will never get done. Including your wanted files." She stared at them.

"Why is she off?" one sneered.

"Two visions within ten minutes yesterday about those anti-hero idiots influencing the president to have the company attacked," Tony said, looking up from his tablet. He was trying to decipher some of the forms for Pepper. They all stared. "We've since countered them both. We think."

"I'm fairly certain we have," Pepper agreed. She looked at them. "Should the board try to micromanage things that don't concern them, we would be most happy to dissolve it again."

Tony put up a virtual projection of the forms. "Unless some of you know what these are? All we know is that the audit team that the paranoid people sic on us each year want them and Dawn's asleep so we can't ask."

"I know one's a personal declaration statement." She highlighted it. "That one. That's an 'I did not lie' page."

"Good to know," Tony said, taking it down. "We sign that last?"

"I usually sign it at the end," she said.

"Even better." He looked around. There were a bunch of clueless people.

JARVIS cleared his throat. "The six on the left are all department related. They're to be filled out by the department heads and given to Dawn. They've mostly gotten them done but she was going to nag them today about them, sir." Those got taken down by the AI.

"That leaves ten we have to decipher by tomorrow morning," Pepper said, taking a sip of her tea. She choked. "Tony." She flapped a hand.

"JARVIS," he ordered.

"The doctor is on her way up, sir." He scanned the tea. "It appears to be poisoned."

Doctor Shivs rushed in. "He told me." He sniffed. "Get her to the ER." He called them personally. Paramedics rushed in a few minutes later but she was already vomiting up thanks to the meds he had given her. "Stark?" he prompted.

"I'll follow. Happy can drive me." He nodded. "Go with her?" Shivs stared then nodded, getting into the ambulance with her. Tony stared around the room. "Who has the magic gift?" They all looked clueless. "People, I am a genius. I do know the limits on moving something like a liquid without being seen. We tested things like that when we found out magic was real." A few started to fidget. "I'd fess up, people, before I start looking the hard way." One of the old liners that was always giving them problems sneered. "Fine, Board adjourned." They gasped. "Now, people. I have something I need to be doing." They huffed off. A few gave him looks but he shrugged at the ones he liked. They'd see. He gathered what he needed and headed out to the garage. Happy was parked right in front so he got into the car and let him take them off.

***


Natasha was pretending to be Dawn to see if she could help her quit worrying. She looked up at the sound of the elevator. Seven people. "Miss Potts is at the emergency room," she said quietly and calmly. "Due to a poisoning attack."

"Isn't Stark here?" one asked.

Natasha stared at him for a moment. "Would you be somewhere other than by your spouse's side?" He slumped and shook his head.

"Are you replacing Dawn?" another asked with a smile.

"No, I'm her spouse and she's on bedrest for a week due to visions yesterday. She did have most of what the audit team needed if you are them?" They nodded. She led them to the conference room and got them the files that were done. "Some are still in the process of being filled in by the various departments. It will probably be tomorrow on most of them."

"That's fine," one of them agreed. "It'll take a few days and we can use the nice, sunny weather you guys have out here to relax in." Natasha smiled, going back to the desk. "Not bad. She got most everything done." They went over what they had. One of them didn't have what he needed yet but he could help them for a day.

Natasha got back to work on the forms they needed. They were frustrating and Dawn kept telling her what something was so at least she wasn't making major mistakes. She did send Callia around to gather department head reports. She was bored anyway. At least until the alarm started and then Natasha went out to handle it. The person holding Callia hostage was eliminated and Callia got cuddled until someone who was family showed up. LAPD was nicely slow today but they could handle that. Bucky was hovering and guarding them.

"Wow, and I thought Dawn was efficient there too," one of the audit board said with a grin. "Stark has mandatory response training for secretaries?"

Natasha smirked. "I'm actually a SHIELD agent. I'm just temping in for Dawn."

"Ah! That makes more sense. She good?"

"She's fine. Stark has been summoned back." He nodded, going back to the conference room with a guard.

"You do look nice in Dawn's business clothes," Bucky said. Natasha smiled at him for that. Callia was still shaky but Happy pulled in and Stark got out. Callia ran over to pounce him.

"You've had a sucky month," he said, cuddling her. "Who was he, Romanoff?"


"No idea." She took a picture of his face and sent it to SHIELD's handlers. They identified him. "Hmm. He works with Barney Barton's group."

"Huh. Guards, search the rest of the buildings, just in case," Stark ordered. They nodded they were already doing that. He cuddled his little girl, making her calm down. "You okay? Want to come back to the hospital with Pepper?"

"Yup. It's probably a good idea before I beat the shit out of someone, Daddy."

"Okay." He looked at Romanoff.

"I'm still working on the forms for Dawn. She was gathering departmental head paperwork."

"He made me drop it in Building 4, Auntie," she called.

"Thank you." She walked off to gather it. One of the Roombas was pushing it all together for her. "Thank you," she told it. It barked and zipped off. Thankfully most of them had filled them out in pen so she could make sure each one's was together. She carried it back to the desk, letting one of the secretarial pool for the various offices gather the rest. Natasha sat down and kicked her heels off to collate and finish the paperwork for Dawn, who blew a kiss and said she had emailed most of them to her. She sighed in relief as she found them, printed them, and got a list of what went where and how. Plus how to use the punch binder. She delivered that to the audit board and left them alone to finish handling things for Stark. She thought SHIELD paperwork was demanding. She hadn't had to do this when she was being Pepper's assistant.

***

Clint walked some soup into their bedroom. "You should be resting."

"The audit team will stay for a month if we don't have everything they want and things will never go back to normal." She sipped the soup and moaned. "That's great. Thank you, Clint."

"Welcome." He leaned down to kiss her. "Want a leg rub?"

She smiled. "I'd never turn those down." He settled in to work on the mild leg cramps she was having. He had the time to spoil Dawn now. Though they could feel Natasha getting stressed. Dawn sent her an IM and they heard her repeat that to the geek that had just complained about something. The geek left happier and Dawn ordered what needed to be ordered a week ago but no one had told them. "Sorry, happens a lot."

"I've seen Stark get caught up in things and forget what day it was," Clint said. She grinned. "You could've asked," he said quietly.


She sat up to make him look at her face, not her stomach. "I shouldn't have to ask."

"No, you shouldn't."

"It's an issue we've always had and still have. It's one we've been working on, but now it's just a bit more stressed. I'm fine with it. Okay?"

"No it's not."

"That's why we're working on it, Clint."

"True. We have all worked on that problem in a few different ways. I guess you got used to handling all this yourself the last time." Dawn nodded. "Well, not this time. Even if I do have to take a sabbatical."

"No, there's no need for that." Dawn's phone rang. "I totally forgot I'm interviewing someone by video today." She put on a better shirt and laid back down to talk to the housekeeper. Clint listened in and made sure Dawn drank her soup. At the end, Dawn offered her the job and she accepted. She'd be out tomorrow.

Clint rested on her shoulder, one arm over her stomach. "That'll help a lot."

"Yes it will. Especially with Sean and Diana coming home in a few days." She took a kiss. "They'll need to do college tours."

"We can help with that." He cuddled her, rubbing over her stomach. She moved his hand to another spot so he rubbed there instead. She drifted off and he grinned. He'd fix that inequality thing they had going on. Plus the hiding at home thing Natasha was having too.
Chapter 2 by SuBethJimBob
Xander looked at his team for training at the temple. Roque caught the speculative look. "Just don't do anything that would get us invaded or attacked thanks to the idiots earlier." One of the other immortals had named that look 'Xander's the son of a chaos god and he's going to prove it'. They were very right about it.

"I'm having a 'fuck with dad' day," he mouthed.

Roque stuffed his mouth and shook his head before he said anything. He'd get someone to distract Xander but John was busy landing his city.

"Hey, Dad?" he called. That shocked the others. Loki appeared, giving him a pointed look. He grinned. "Want to know the ethics of something."

"I saw that look, son. Spit it out."

"Okay." He got the last convention picture and pointed. "Look at this Xander. They have a ton of embryos there that're partially his and I was thinking that maybe we'd like to borrow a few for later kids between me and Phil."

Loki looked at that Xander. "What the fuck?" he demanded.

"The Initiative there, Dad." He grinned. "Think I should? They're about to destroy the little Xander/Jethro Gibbs one. She might be a good warrior wench. There's a few others that might be as nice."

"Son...." He sighed and went to talk to his son-in-law. "Your mate needs your special services to make him sane," he said as he appeared in the meeting. "Before he asks others if it's appropriate to bring over embryos that are partially the him there's future children."

"I met that Xander. He does great with his five kids. They're all polite, charming young kids." He stared at him. "He was thinking about bringing one over?"

"For your future children if you wanted." One of the Norns showed up and handed him a mirror then left cackling. He read it and handed it to Phil. "The specific one he asked about."

Phil watched it. "She'd do wonderfully with his axe."

"Fix. My. Son's. Mental. State," Loki ordered then banished him back to the temple. He went to have a headache. When Ares looked over he showed him why.

"She'd be my next Xena," Ares decided.

"If so, you are carrying her yourself," Loki warned.

"No thanks. I can find one here." He went back to his current battle plans.

Phil looked at his mate. "I was busy," he said dryly.

"Sorry?"

"I can go back. It shouldn't take *too* long to fix your funny mental issues."

Xander grinned. "They have about sixty partially Xander embryos there. We could adopt."

"No, we cannot. All our future children will either come from Tara, Maria, or one of us. Unless you can talk Jensen into carrying it for you." Jensen choked and spluttered but that was Phil's intention since he was having so much fun watching this argument. He loosened his tie. Xander smiled at him for it. "You needed playtime?"

"Well, yeah. You've been busy again."

"It does happen far too often." He stared at his mate until he started to shift and wiggle. "Run?"

"Um.... Not into being the prey?" Xander offered, shifting again.

"Run," Phil ordered. Xander blipped off. Phil followed to their cabin. He trapped Xander against the fireplace, taking them both to elemental form for the quicker, dirtier version of sex. When they came back to human form, they were both covered in dripping sweat, Xander was about to scream his head off in pleasure, and Phil couldn't form words, just moans. All it took were a few thrusts and Xander yelled, scaring the wildlife in the woods around their cabin. The flash of magic that went out made the cabin slightly alive. Phil came since his mate was clamped down around him. He cuddled against Xander's back, calming down and panting until he could speak. "Some day, we're going to die doing this."

"Yeah but I'll be happy."

"That's a good thing," Phil agreed. He pulled back, gently easing out of his mate's body. "Shower. We need to shower so I can get back to the trainers meeting." Xander let himself be led upstairs and taken to the tub to soak. Since Phil was jumping backward so he reappeared right after he was snatched, they could take the time to soak and cuddle. And so Xander could nap on him in the tub.

Around them, the cabin tidied up things and made sure the house looked cheery and comfortable. It nicely even added on a few rooms for the new children and another nursery in case it was needed. Plus a shake-off spot for the dogs to clean their muddy paws because the cabin hated to mop itself. Then it really had to do something about those curtains and the colors of the furniture.

***

Phil reappeared for the meeting less than a minute after he had left. "Sorry," he said, sitting down. "Xander was having wicked, chaos centered thoughts that creeped his father out a bit."

The others stared at him. "You changed clothes," one said.

Phil nodded. "I needed to."

"Oh," they all said, nodding a bit.

"Can Alexander go out of time or something?"


"No, though we have met a Xander that can," he said with a slight smirk. "The convention is very eye-opening." That got another mass nod. He smirked a bit more. "They hold it off-plane every year. That way they can talk about the various Xander problems they're having." That got a third mass nod from the trainers. That was weird even by SHIELD standards. "All right, we were going over.... Wasn't it LA office's lack of paperwork?"

"Yes," the head of the meeting said. "I know she's...indisposed but we're not getting anything from them."

Phil looked that way. "She's handed them in and they're on the head person's desk. We really must replace him," he complained. He popped out to grab the files. "All done?" he asked. Then he took them back to the meeting to hand over.

"Much more efficient than anything but emailing them," another of the people quipped. He noticed Joyce was now there.

"Sorry, was I too long?" he asked. She patted him on the hand. That's when he knew it wasn't Joyce. Joyce didn't feel like a goddess. "Yes, Discord?"

She changed back with a smirk, ignoring all the suddenly drawn weapons. "What did your mate do to give Loki such a migraine?"

"He was thinking about asking another of him that has a lot of stored embryos due to the Initiative on that plane if he could have a few for future children." He showed her that Xander.

She stared in horror. "Five kids? Huh."

"He claims he's living like a Weasley," he said with a grin. "Farm, orchard..... lots of kids. Sixty stored embryos if he wants more thanks to their Initiative's breeding program."

"You need to straighten that boy out," she demanded. "Go, shoo!"

"I already have," he said with an evil smirk for her. "Any other requests? We've since set down rules on how any future spawn will come into being. And slightly made his cabin sentient. She was redecorating on us this morning." Discord shuddered and left. He sat down and nodded at them. "So, anyway, he's not happy. Secreva's out there and he wanted to stay somewhere warm and retire. That's a good spot for him to retire from."

"We can suggest that," the chair of the meeting said after clearing her throat. "We...don't have...*that* here, right?"

"No, here they were trying to breed more demigod heros. It was stopped with prejudice."

"Good!" she agreed, smiling and nodding. "Because that's kinda creepy!"

"No, creepy is that his cabin on Asgard, which is now sentient, was redecorating in all animal prints," he shot back with a slight smile.

"Yeah, that's worse. How did you two create Hogwarts?"

"Not really sure," he admitted. "But we were a bit busy so I'm not totally sure when it happened."

They all just nodded.

Xander appeared behind him to kiss him on the top of the head. "Plaids?"

"Green/blue or anything with them please, not red," he said, looking up. "Thank you for rearranging my hair as well."

"It was a bit messed up." He winked and went to talk to his favorite cabin. She agreed that decorating scheme was fine and he left a copy of the first _Harry Potter_ book up there for her to scan. That made her happier and she could definitely do some of that. Though the dungeons she might not like as much. They needed more light and less cobwebs and ambiance.

Phil looked up then shook his head with a sigh. "Xander just introduced the cabin to _Harry Potter_. She's debating a dungeon with more light and less creepiness. I'm not sure which one of us she wants to be Snape though." The meeting abruptly broke up, though one did nicely take the paperwork up to Joyce's desk for him. Phil went up to talk to her about how they didn't need a dungeon right now. This house was for the family downtime. They weren't going to punish their children that much and the kids needed to play outside more often anyway. The house relented and created a wonderful garden area for them to sit in the snow and play. He patted a wall with a smile, said 'thank you', and went back to his desk to have a slight headache of his own. Things like that only happened around Xander. They really did.

Asclepias appeared with a small bottle. "Headache potion?"

"Please." He took it to swallow in one gulp. "Even flavored, thank you. Is that going to hurt his cabin?"

"Only if she runs out of power." He went to check then came back. "You need to add more power regularly. She's got about six months at the most so monthly fantastic magical explosions if you can. Or ask Gaia to make it permanent, since she can make new lifeforms." He disappeared to share that gossip. It'd hit Gaia eventually so she could check on it.


Phil sent that thought at Xander, who cackled. Which scared Clay and Roque. Jensen was still pouting about being on the surrogate list.

***

Gaia heard the news from Demeter, who was scowling about it. She looked at the younger fertility goddess and shook her head. "Dear, perhaps if you found someone to have relations with, it might make you happier. Like it does Xander and Phil." She blushed but stomped off. She went up to look at the cabin, sighing in displeasure. "How did they do this?" The cabin ejected her. "Dear, I meant no harm to you," she soothed, patting her before walking back inside. "I have no idea how they gave you sentience." She ran a hand over the wall above the fireplace. "He did an excellent job crafting you by hand."

She felt the power and nodded, smiling. "They could use a bit of fussing over. There's not a lot of softness in their lives." The house sent a mental purr at her. "That's a good point. Yes, I believe you'll do." She created the new lifeform. The house shifted, moaned a bit as it reached fully self-reliant life, and then settled in to finish the decorating. "Slowly, my dear. You only have so much energy a day. It's not like they've given you a solar recharging system, though I doubt you'd get much here." She considered it and added a point of power in the new almost-dungeon area. "There, that should feel like home to Xander." She patted the wall again and left.

The house got so happy she redecorated their bedrooms too. The children needed fuzzy things.

That new almost-hellmouth was very helpful to her.

***

Steve Rogers looked around at the morning staff meeting the next day. "Now that we've had the 'Day that Alexander Shut Down SHIELD by Migraine' day can we get back to business?"

"Some of us still have migraines, sir," one of his senior agents said. "A few of the agents that heard haven't come back from the bars yet." Steve scowled at Phil.

"It was not my fault, Captain."

"I'm sure you can help weed out those problem thoughts?"

"It didn't work when he had Anya," Joyce called from the office. "Phil only has so many hours to a day, Steve." Steve scowled. She came out and hugged Phil. "We know you tried. Xander just has those days."

"Jensen's still pouting that I put him on the surrogate list."


"Aww, that's sweet." She went back to the office.

"The babbling, hyper tech guy?" one of the other senior agents asked.

"Yes," Phil said with a grin. "He'd make an excellent one. The child would soak up his knowledge and skills as well as ours. Plus it would keep certain goddesses from plotting how one of us would carry."

"Then I definitely like Jensen doing it for you," Steve agreed quickly. "Back to SHIELD things please?" Before that nasty thought stuck in his head and he had to imagine Xander or Phil pregnant all day. They handed over reports. "Why is that office not handing in things?"

"Because he's a pouty asshole," Maria said bluntly.

"We thought Secreva could take over," the head trainer said.

"I like that idea," Maria agreed. She looked at Steve.

"Can he run an office?"

"Yes, he runs one now," Senior Agent Li said as she walked up to the table. "Because the one in LA got capped by some gangbangers he was screwing with." Steve stared at her for a moment, mentally commanding her to finish that report. "Apparently he was trying to butt into gang politics, sir." She put down the report. "He was trying to find their weapons contacts from Mexico without much luck until he started to play them off each other with ...borrowed weapons from the confiscated vault. Which led to a raid on them by DEA and ATF. Which got him turned on by the gang members during it and he was shot." She pointed at the report. "He wasn't filing paperwork on what he was doing and there's a question of if it was a legitimate op."

"We've heard nothing about this," Steve said, looking through those folders. "Joyce?"

"He filed a reimbursement form for a business dinner at a steak house but otherwise no," she said a minute later. "Listed it as 'meeting with informant'." She let him see it. "Apparently the money back was more important than any other paperwork to him."

"So, either he hated paperwork that much or it wasn't," Steve said. "Any idea?"

"We can't find his personal notes, sir. We tore his whole office and apartment apart last night and there's not a single hint of anything."

"Great!" He stared at her. "Agent Secreva took over?"

"Yes, sir, he was the next highest since I blatantly refused to take control of an office since I'm there for other reasons."

"Fine. If he's willing to keep it for at least a few weeks."

"He seems to like the office, sir. He enjoys the climate, the people, and doesn't even mind talking to the brain challenged and the supposedly brain challenged among the Hollywood types when something happens. Hell, he even enjoyed dressing up to help protect one that had a major drug dealer trying to court her."

"He did good on that," Phil agreed. "He even put up with the flirting."

"The only problem ever noted in his file was that sometimes he wanted to be a *special* secret agent," Maria said. "Other than that...." Steve was giving her an odd look. "He wanted to be a movie spy."

"Oh, that. Okay. I've run into that before and wondered what it meant. And why we were rating some of the rookies on their scale."

"It's to classify which track of special training they get," Phil told him.

"I guess that makes sense if you could all agree on what they mean."

"We wrote them out," the head of the training teams said happily.

"Good." He looked at Senior Agent Li. "Any other news to report?"

"Whatever audit team that haunts Stark is still there, pouting because usually Dawn has everything ready for them when they show up and she's still on bedrest. Agent Romanoff is doing suitably well filling in but some of the forms they don't have any idea about and Dawn's offline today due to a power outage near their home." Phil stared at her. "One of the neighbors hit a pole, Agent Coulson. She said she's fine but the son is a bit pouty today because nothing will be noisy for him."

"I'd offer Xander to grab him but we've got the same sort of interference that caused her visions going on right now. Including an audit of our books."

"Why?" Maria asked.

"That minister that's pushing against all of us has the president's ear," Steve told her. "Dawn had two visions about a certain agent, who shot at a judge, trying to push his luck by arresting her on false charges and the like."

"An attempted shut-down of SI under false pretenses as well," Phil told him. Steve grimaced. "Do we have the plans in place yet for the birthing center security?"

"No. I'm not sure where we're doing that," Steve said, shifting in his seat to cross his ankles.


"Dawn likes the birthing center here in town," Phil said. "I don't think Natasha cares one way or another. I'll check with Barton on his ideas for that. I know if something happens and they're out of touch again, myself and Agent Barnes are on for helping them through that safely this time." Steve shivered. Phil smiled. "Last time I couldn't bear to look at it. I was a bit horrified, sir."

"Me too." The others all smiled at him for that. "Thankfully this is the last. Birthing a baby is painful, nasty business and I worry about Pepper a lot when she's like that. Lots of women used to die from it in my day." They all nodded they knew that. "Are they going to be back here?"

"That was the plan the last I heard of it," Maria agreed.

"We'll talk about that later, Phil." He looked at Senior Agent Li. "Anything else to report?"

"Sir, we'd like to make Agent Romanoff slow down because the paperwork is annoying her a lot. She will not."

"That's up to her and forcing her will make her smite you," Joyce said with a smile. "Even without the mood swings."

"Fine. She does have that agent she's training."

"She's doing very well with him," Maria told her. "Though he could use some clothing help." She sent that text to Natasha's phone. She got back a 'it will hold until Dawn is out of bed; I am not going out like this so someone can spot me and make allegations' retort. She showed Steve, who nodded and rolled his eyes. "Allegations?" she asked.

"There's been a few prompted by the people who trained her wanting her child," Phil said quietly. "Dawn has ripped a few people a new one who were wondering about Natasha's health. They attributed it to mood swings and her career."

Steve smiled. "I saw that. They said Dawn needed prozac."

"Dawn needed ice cream," Phil said dryly. "And got some from Natasha and Clint. Or someone who sent it to the compound for her."

"Probably a reporter," Steve said. "I remember Pepper complaining about that." He shifted again. "Anything huge coming up?"

"Two possible ascending beings. Thor's looking them over," Phil said, passing that report down. "If he needs help he'll call. Or Xander will know and summon."

"Good. Why is one in DC?"


"They do the ascension rites for power, Captain. That's not that unusual," Phil said. "I'm surprised that's the first one we've had in DC actually. I was thinking there might be a major political scandal when one started to change in the halls of Congress or the White House. It being a Supreme Court Justice is a minor thing."

Steve shuddered. "Just the very thought of them sullying the White House with their demon slime."

"Well, they would have to do a lot of reconstruction unless they were a runt, Captain," Maria said with a smile. "Since the smallest version if forty feet long....." Steve shuddered again. "We do have tape of what an ascension looks like."

"We should show that to the Secret Service," Phil said. "That way they don't try to arrest Thor for stopping it."

"I can do that later," Maria said.

"I can," Joyce said, coming out putting back up her hair. "We have a meeting with them in an hour anyway over the next election." She smiled. Maria got her the dvd they had in storage and she left for that meeting. It was administrative instead of field work so it was her job instead of Steve's. She walked into the local office and smiled. "Good morning."

"Good morning, Mrs. Banner," the head of the Secret Service said with a smile, shaking her hand. "Not both of you?"

"No, I thought I'd do the administrative parts now and let Steve and you plan things out when they got closer to time. Also, we need to let you see a dvd of what an ascension looks like because you're about to have one in DC if they've done everything correctly. Thor's handling those for us." She handed that over with a smile. "I'm presently working on the office staffing issues for next year."

"Even better. That'll mean someone capable in the Virginia sub-office. We haven't had a good one there since Secreva left."

"He's taking over LA after the one there got shot."

"Was he on an operation?"

"He had no notes so we're not sure. Then again, he's been holding paperwork back for six and seven months." The other head winced. "So we're looking into it today. Senior Agent Li brought his death report for the morning meeting." She sat down. "I'd suggest something for your stomach during that. Even Bruce looked a bit green in the wrong way."


"Oh, dear." He called in his senior agents to watch it with him. The one whose office he was borrowing came in last. "This is film taken of someone ascending. Mrs. Banner has been informed that there's one that may be coming up in DC. Thor is taking care of it if it does happen." He ran the dvd. "The battle in LA last time." He hit the remote button to watch the other file. All his agents and him jumped when she split out of her skin. Joyce wasn't watching. "Oh, dear," he said flatly. "Who?"

"One of the Justices by what he's ordered. We've been tracking some specific items that are used just for this rite, in any version because there's about seven or eight different ways that lead to different size true demons. Buffy's graduation was the largest type and about ninety feet." The senior agents all stared at her. She smiled. "She made me miss it." They nodded. "They can only happen during eclipses of any sort." That got a faster nod.

"This one was only a medium length one. Agent Coulson and Xander said her father turned into a larger version a bit sooner and she changed the next partial eclipse. They did get both down, saved most of the hostages they were going to use for a snack, and they both had a group of minions around them to take care of their initial needs. Also, those were the Phase 2 weapons," she said quietly. "Stark was making Alexander something to specifically help with that situation if he was called into one but hasn't finished it yet. As I said, this time Thor's handling it if they happen."

"I don't want to see one of those slithering down Pennsylvania Avenue," one of the senior agents said. "Can we preemptively strike, sir?"

"Wanting to be a demon isn't against the law," he said, sounding bitter about that.

"Their last hundred days they're immortal," Joyce said with a smile for them. "They eat poisonous spiders to get that way." The agents all shuddered. "Xander did say that you probably had to get them at least halfway through the change or before that last hundred days. I'm not sure when the eclipse is....."

"Sixty-three days from now," one of the agents said quietly. "My wife's sister is a Wicca." He sighed. "Can we have a list of who's on watch for that, ma'am?"

"I'll gladly have it sent over later. If I had heard sooner I would've told you sooner, boys." They nodded. "Steve had the horrible vision of the White House being filled by one of those."

"Ma'am, all respect and all, but I don't need to be more sick," one of the agents said. "Let us go look that up."

"I'll get that list sent over," she promised, sending Maria a text message. Within minutes it was emailed over and where there were in the rites by what they had found. The head printed it and handed it over to his senior agents.


"Hey, it's one of the conservative guys," they said dryly as they walked out. They had plans to make. Plus a demigod to find so they could tell him to call on them for help with that matter.

Joyce smiled. "Onto happier business. What can SHIELD do for you during the next swearing in?"

"We'd like a few extra agents around it to help with security."

"That's a wonderful idea." She settled in to go over how many and what type. They did have some of the best snipers.

***

Xander sent Dawn a note, making her grin. "Wow, Grandma just freaked out the Secret Service," she told her son, who grinned back. "I thought it was only Uncle Xander who did that." She heard someone hit the gate buzzer and got up with a groan, going to the panel. "I'm supposed to be on bedrest. Who are you and what do you want?"

"Chinese," a male voice said.

Dawn stared at it. "I didn't order Chinese, dude."

"This address. Ordered large order."

Dawn repeated it in Chinese and a promise to call the cops if he didn't get out of her gateway. So they blew it in. She hit the emergency button, which not only sounded an alarm but also put up a few 'slowing down intruder' things into play, put Philip and the cats, and the guitar he whined for in the safe room, locked him in, then got a weapon. The van coming up the last part of the driveway dragging the spike strips was not impervious to sea-to-air missile. It went flying. The people inside screamed a lot as the fire started. The fire department got there within two minutes. SWAT in six, and LAPD in ten. She walked out to sit on the porch swing, staring at them, gun beside her. It probably looked a bit odd with her cartoon character nightgown but yay. "Do I need to blow up more?" she demanded.

The head of the SWAT team looked at her. "Ma'am, you're not supposed to have weapons like that in public hands."

"My spouses are SHIELD agents and I was fixing it last week," she said dryly.

"Oh," he said weakly, calling that in to the bosses. "Ma'am, is your son all right?"


"In our safe room with the cats. He's not coming out until you guys have checked the property and the house, and gotten all of them out of here. Because I'm supposed to be on bed rest." They nodded and hurried to do that for her. The SWAT commander had said not to upset her. They found a few more bad guys. And one that was pretending not to be for some reason. She saw the one being dragged out. "Hold up, I want to talk to him," she said with a point. He got dragged over. "Yours?" she asked.

"Shitty timing as a messenger," he said. "These guys were pros. Weak, but pros. Someone found an ID case and badge." He hadn't known his brother had taught his pretty younger wife how to use artillery. It'd made her a more exciting enemy when he finally got around to her.

"Huh. Guys, that's my brother-in-law, who is a bad guy, but I'm not sure if he was involved or not."

"We can leave him here with an officer until your spouse gets here, ma'am," one of the SWAT guys said after checking that.

"Okay. That'll work." She smiled. "Thank you, guys." They nodded and finished cleaning up the mess. "JARVIS, please tell them we're all okay and it was handled so Stark can put down the suit."

"I already have; we streamed live video when he demanded, Dawn. Please go back to bed?"

"I'll lay on the couch once they're all gone."

"That's fine. Philip is not happy."

"Once they're gone," she said.

"That's fine. I've started music playing and he's scowling quite a lot." She smiled. The last of the idiots got removed and the van. Everyone but one SWAT officer left. Dawn got up with a wince and went to let everyone out of the safe room. Barney was still outside so he didn't get to see the code or where it actually was. She flopped down on the couch, the cats meowing frantically as they climbed onto her stomach. Philip snuggled her. "Okay." They brought him in. "Thank you," she told the officer.

"It's not a problem, ma'am. Much better than paperwork." He grinned. He sat Barney down. "He's cute."

"He's very smart and likes music."

"Awww. And the kitties too. I heard they were presents."

"Only Tsarina." She petted her. "The other was our fire escape kitty Loki. Cap named him." The officer grinned and pulled a gun but a sniper bullet took him out from out back. She stared. Then looked. "Huh. JARVIS, which sniper was that?"


"Your other brother-in-law I believe but I'm not totally certain."

"Okay. Tell him I said thank you if it was him and did he want some tea?"

"He said you're welcome and no, he's got beer," the AI reported.

"Cool!" She looked at Barney, who was shaking his head and moaning. "Couldn't get to mine." She got up and got them some tea. "Sorry, I'm on caffeine restrictions."

"That's fine." He finally got his cuffs undone and stared at her. "You're not scared of me?"

"I can kill you easily before you think about moving from that chair, or turn you into a hedgehog. Clint liked them better than the mice I used to use when agents were trying to snatch me."

Barney blinked. "Damn."

Dawn grinned. "Sometimes." She calmed Philip down while the SWAT commander came back. She pointed. The gun was still in the guy's hand. "JARVIS said it was one of yours who now isn't."

"I heard. He called me."

"JARVIS?" Dawn asked.

"No, Gamble." He scowled at the dead officer. "He was clean."

"He was very clean. The guy was asking about Philip and the cats as he made his way over."

"Great." Natasha stormed in. "Emergency's over with, Agent Romanoff."

She stared at her wife. "That is not the bed and our brother-in-law is not restful."

"No," Dawn agreed. "But he wasn't part of that." She smiled. "I'm fine."

"You should still be in bed, not blowing them up."

"I wasn't going to let them near the house!"

"We have a safe room that fits you as well."

Dawn stared at her. "Which you probably won't see more than our son and the cats in. And Clint's guitar because Philip wanted it."


Natasha blinked at her. "You put the cats in there?"

"Yeah! Wouldn't you?"

She paused then nodded. "I would. That's strange. I never would've considered that in the past." She shook her head, looking at Barney, who pulled out an envelope to wave. "He'll be here in ten minutes." She stared at Dawn. "Bed rest is not blowing up vans using missiles you won at kitten poker."

Dawn smiled. "I know it was your toy but sorry! It was the closest at hand. I didn't think to grab anything lighter."

Natasha took a kiss. "You should go back to bed."

"I'm being charming and entertaining," Dawn said. "Plus this way Philip will hang out again."

"Fine." She got a blanket to cover her up and a few pillows so she was comfortable. Dawn pulled her down with her. "I have things I have to do."

"Which is not raising your blood pressure," the SWAT commander ordered. "That's why I'm here." The ME got there and walked in with a sigh. "He was going to shoot this nice pregnant woman with mood swings and magic." Dawn laughed, sitting up to hug him then laying back down to cuddle.

Philip was beaming at everyone that he got the mommies and kitties. "Mama pet and Momma," he said proudly at the new people. "Kiki."

"Yes, they are," Barney agreed, trying not to smile. The kid looked like a mini Clint and had a grin that you had to smile at. He got it from their mother.

"Apparently I'm the pet mommy because he thinks he's part kitty," Dawn said with a grin for her son. "You're so smart." Philip giggled and wiggled down so he could coo at the bellies that kicked him. Even if Tsarina hissed and batted at him for patting her napping spot.

Natasha looked down. "Tsarina, quit picking on the baby," she warned. "You're not real royalty." She winced because Loki pounced Tsarina on her stomach, making her hiss and move. Then he hissed at Philip and got his tail swatted. "I yelled at her and you know better," she warned. "You are not a kitten." Loki huffed but curled up on Dawn's stomach instead. Tsarina moved up to above the baby bump and curled up there. That made everyone happier. "Thank you." She put down the blanket. "Our family is a bit weird," she told Dawn.

"Rule of names," Dawn said with a grin.


"She came already named."

Dawn took a kiss. "You only use half of her name." She settled in, petting the cat. Clint stomped in. "Hi."

"Hi." He took kisses and looked at the lump. "Hi, Philip." The baby waved through the blanket. "One cat?"

"Tsarina's above my stomach."

"Hi, cats." He looked at the dead body then nodded. "Huh, Gamble did a good job for me." He looked at Barney, who held up the envelope. He looked at it and nodded. "Interesting. Why come to me instead of Stark?"

"Is he really in charge?"

"Of a few things. Cap's in charge."

"Phil's in charge," Dawn corrected.

"Okay, Coulson's in charge," Clint agreed. Then he smirked at Dawn. "He's our handler."

"Which means he's got the leash," Dawn quipped with a smirk.

"Good point. Yeah, Coulson's in charge." Phil appeared and Clint handed over the envelope.

"People, this is a crime scene," the ME complained.

Dawn looked at him. "It's more a living room that just happens to have a dead body after the six or so outside earlier." The SWAT commander burst out laughing. "Want a bottle of water, Commander?"

"No, I'm good. Thanks, Summers." He left with the ME. Not like they needed to solve this crime with the sniper calling it in.

Coulson looked at Barney. "They're barking up the wrong tree and Alexander has said very plainly that your playmates are not protected under any statute he knows of. Since he's the God Protectorate of Humanity, that's probably a bad thing." He looked at Dawn. "You used a sea-to-air missile?"

"It was closest?"

"That's a good point."


"My wife and I are going to have a talk about safe rooms," Clint said with a grin at Dawn.

"If I was too pregnant to waddle or help I would've went into the safe room with him and the cats, Clint."

"Uh-huh." He stared at her.

She grinned. "I didn't want them in our house. They might've fondled the thongs I can't wear for another six months."

Barney shook his head quickly. "Ow. Brain hurts."

Phil nodded. "Often. Dawn, you're too pregnant to help."

"And yet, *who* was in the middle of a shootout earlier?" she asked, looking at Natasha.

"It is my job."

"Mine's to guard the house. We all agreed on that."

Clint leaned down to kiss her. "Next time, hide. We'll kill them and replace any of your thongs or flirty stuff they play with."

"And if they lay a bomb while I'm in there?" she asked.

He sighed. "Good point, they could. I'd still rather have you in there. I would be if I was the pregnant one."

"Oh, god, an even worse image," Barney complained.

Dawn grinned at him. "We're protecting a chaos artifact that can change your identity that totally. We know a Xander who used it to have five kids. Himself." She grinned. "Some day soon, we might try that." Barney shuddered.

Clint stared at her. "Quit traumatizing him on purpose, Dawn. He's a bad guy but that's way too evil for his level. Save those things for guys like Doom."

"Fine."

"Thank you." He smiled. "Want helped back to bed?"

"I'm fine."


"Okay." He kissed Natasha, who smiled. "We've got to have a weekend off." He looked at Coulson.

"I don't believe we're going to be giving in to this demand and I'm fairly certain that if they should try, their current problems are going to be magnified by a SHIELD up their ass." He stared at Barney.

"Still just the messenger."

"Yes, but you're wearing a wire and an earwhig."

"They're not saying anything."

"Hmm. I'll take this to Captain Rogers for you but I doubt he'll do more than be cheered up enough to laugh." Barney shivered. Bucky stomped in. "Agent Barnes, how are you this morning?"

"I was sleeping in and having really nice dreams about dancing girls," he said blandly. He stared at the bad guy. "What did his idiots want this time?"

"Us to stop the Avengers initiative and hand over all their tech."

"Huh, yeah," he snorted. "That'll never happen and we'll destroy your people."

Dawn grinned. "I have just the perfect thing for that."

Bucky stared at her. "You're pregnant."

"Doesn't mean I'm helpless, Bucky."

"Yes it does. Lay there like a good little woman." She shot a bolt of power at him, making him yelp. "No magic, Summers."

She smiled sweetly. "Yay? I'm still battle warmed up."

"We can fix that," Natasha said. "As I'm not going to hear the complaints in the office."

"I'll do the rest of that audit paperwork when the power's back on," Dawn quipped.

"They would appreciate that. Pepper has no idea what it is."

"They walked me through it the first time."

Clint stared at her. "Paperwork is not part of bedrest."

"Yes it is or they'll never leave. We'll have the same stuff due in June when I go into labor."

"Yay!" he shot back. "Do they really need it?"

"They're the government, Clint. How much paperwork does SHIELD run on?" she shot back sarcastically.

"A lot."

"Multiply that by this being the IRS."

"Never mind," he muttered. "I can't argue with that."

"There's six forms," Natasha said. "They walked me through one. Pepper was still mystified as to why they needed to know how we were doing laser research."

"Um, no," Dawn said. "They're don't."

Natasha pulled up the remaining forms to show her.

Dawn looked and shook her head, paging back through what they've done. She marked a few. "Confiscate those. They're not audit team forms. They're spy forms." She got up with some help from Clint to do that. Tsarina and Philip both pouted. "She's got to go save Uncle Tony."

"I'll go save Uncle Tony," Clint said. "Natasha, go back to the couch." He walked off shaking his head.

"It's nice my brother's pussy whipped," Barney joked.

Dawn smirked at him. "He may like oral sex but we never bring whips into it." Barney gaped. Bucky was bright red. Dawn grinned and shot him with some power. "Never, ever bring harm to my family, my house, or my work in any form." He shivered but the spell took hold. "You want lunch, Barney?"

"You're an evil bitch."

Dawn smiled. "Only when I'm pushed to be. Otherwise I'm a cuddly, happy, horny, teasing wife sort."

"I don't want to hear anything about bikinis," Bucky complained.

Natasha looked at him. "Why not?"

"I saw the pictures from their last vacation."

Dawn grinned. "I looked good."


"No comment, Summers."

Dawn looked at Barney again. "Even if I took off that binding, I'd know. I'd destroy you. I'd destroy *everyone* over my kid and family and I can do that. Easily." She stared at him. "There's a reason SHIELD has a protocol for when I finally lose it and snap. Do you want to be the reason they have to pull that out?"

"No," he said. "I saw film from the battle with Thanos. That was the one in Sunnydale, right?"

"Yup. I was there."

"That battle killed gods."

"Yes it did. Six gods helping with the battle faded for good and a few more joined with the stream of Creation. They're kinda hanging out like ascended do."

Barney considered that. "You were nearly killed afterward."

"There was an order of monks that wanted to take me out in case I fell into the wrong hands. I'm told very few are still living."

He nodded slowly. "How did you survive that since you were slinging power like your buddy Xander did?"

"I'm good." She stared at him. "I wasn't even as trained then. I only had self-defense and some minor spell research under my belt then. Romania taught me things like how to escape. Nothing like spy skills. Then I got some refined training afterward." Barney slumped. She smiled. "If you're willing to not be a painful blight and hurt the family, you're welcome without being a messenger. After all, not everyone in the family is all that light. There's people that consider me downright evil because I have magic. Including some of the native magic users because I use it to defend others instead of things like healing and doing earth-centric spells."

Barney nodded. "I'll remember you're the dangerous one."

"No, that's Natasha." She grinned. "She's very dangerous and very hot doing it."

"Yes, she is," Barney said then cleared his throat. "My bosses think you're a society chick."

"Your bosses have no idea about me, Barney Barton. Either they can't do a background check or they think coming into being in Sunnydale was a picnic. I learned survival before I learned much of anything else. Especially watching my sister and her friends go out to hunt every single night."


He shivered. "That's freaky shit."

Dawn nodded. "Yes, it is. But it has to be done and she got the destiny download."

"Oh." He considered that. "You hang out with gods."

"I hang out with normal guys too. Xander was my sister's friend and backup before he ascended. That's more recent."

He considered that, looking at Coulson. "Mine as well. We are well trained though. We have ways of taking extreme training when we wanted to."

"I guess."

"Asgard time runs faster," Dawn quipped with a grin.

"Huh." He stared at her. "You mess up my brother and I'll still kill you. Arrow to the black little heart you have."

"My heart's a huge target but it's not that dark. It's very full of some people's names. Though, thank you for the blessing and the shovel talk." She stood up to kiss him on the cheek. "Remember, I'm a mistress of poisons and I can make *anything* you touch, you eat, you drink poisonous anytime I want." She patted him on the chest, shorting out his wire. "And I can do it from the couch if you fuck with the family. Family should always come above everything."

"Sometimes it's not like that," he sneered.

"Sometimes, but that doesn't mean you have to follow along. I never knew you were a majorette, following a drum major's beat while twirling the shiny thing for the crowds." She stared into his eyes. "Leaders, drum majors, set a beat that others follow."

"Plenty follow me, Princess."

"Only Clint gets away with that name." She stared at him. He shivered. "This family is sacred and if you want to do more than stare from the cheap seats, you're welcome to. Until you move against the family. Then, well, ejector seats are the least of your worries. If I can throw the Hulk all the way to Jupiter what can I do to you?" she said very quietly. He shuddered. "Understood?" He nodded. "Deal?"

"I'd never hurt your kids."

"That's only part of the family."

"Or the wifey poo."


"She can kill you and if you did try to hurt her, I'd make it messy," Dawn admitted. "I did the last one. There's a guy in Bolivia who's still telling myths about how bad the damage I did to his brother was. He only had Natasha tied to a chair and Clint being mildly flogged. He came down after a half-hour but I hadn't studied how to properly throw things magically then."

"I heard about that," he admitted, backing up.

She smiled. "He had what was mine and I consider the family sacred territory."

"I understand. We'll never be a Hallmark family like yours."

Dawn snorted. "We're far from it. The last family dinner we had was interrupted by an attack of zombies, Barney." Barney whimpered, shaking his head. "Which I helped take out. Bruce had a lot of fun with them." She grinned.

"I get that," he decided, walking around that chair. "Been charming, Dawn, other sister-in-law." He nodded and left.

Coulson looked at Dawn and pointed at the couch. She sat down and cuddled with Natasha again. "If you don't poison him I can." He went back to the main office, handing over the letter. "They had Barney Barton show up as a messenger of doom again." He walked off.

"Is Dawn okay?" Joyce called.

"She got the point through that going against her family was always a tragic idea," he said with a slight grin at her. "He understands now." She shivered. "She handled the earlier attack while Philip was in the safe room as well. I'm still not sure who they were." He went to check on that. They should have names by now. "Secreva...." A list of names was held up. "Thank you." He looked at it. "The same ones that she turned into mice in her vision." He took it to Steve, who'd share it with Stark anyway. His reading on Stark had him throwing a raging fit at someone. He'd interrupt but Callia was trying to get him calmed down.

***

"Daddy, please!" Callia shouted. "If they're bad guys we can have them arrested! If you kill them we lose you to jail and I can't help the others learn about science good enough! Stepmom would gladly arrest them for the spying stuff!"

"Callia, go get your other mother," Tony said impatiently. "Let me handle this."


She pulled out something Andrew had helped her design, shooting the freeze ray at him. "No!" She stared at him. "I'm not losing you to prison! I can't teach my siblings enough about science without your help since I'm still learning! Therefore you won't get to kill them for being spies!" She stared at the stunned stupid spies. "As for you...."

Someone stomped in. "Mommy, no! He was going to kill them and I'm not losing him to jail!" She glared at the spies. "You should be very glad that Auntie Dawn isn't here." They all nodded, backing away from her. "You have a choice of turning yourself in or I'm going to turn into a Summers woman instead of a Stark. You have about microns to decide because it's not going to happen around me." One laughed nervously but they didn't move or even flinch. "Fine," she said. "Attack mode! Spies!" she shouted.

Pepper flinched as all the Roombas rolled in shooting lasers that were more powerful than they usually saw. There seemed to be dozens more than there should be too. Suddenly the conference room ceiling deployed pinpoint lasers that were more than able to disable or kill the supposed audit team. Callia pulled out her new ray gun she had helped to develop with Jonathan's help. "You had your fucking chance, pity," Callia said, staring at them. "You done fucked up." Pepper let out a squeak. "Aren't you glad I'm a great Summers woman of the true legacy?" She shot one that was trying to escape. He screamed and went down.

"ENOUGH!" Pepper shouted, finally shaking off the shock. "Callia, reset them! Herd them only! And unfreeze your father, Young Lady, because we're *so* having a discussion in a few minutes."

"I'm not losing daddy to killing them!" she shouted back. "Fuck it, they can be toasty!"

"Sit!" Pepper ordered with a point. "I'll be damned if you're going to turn into your aunt." Callia looked upset. "Sometime in the future it may be necessary, this is not. We can have them arrested."

"I offered."

"Sit!" She pointed again. She did and the Roombas moved to herd the people into a corner. "JARVIS....."

"I've already alerted her grandmother and Captain Rogers. Her grandmother is moaning because she tried to keep Dawn from that sort of incidence all too often but she knew where she got it from. She said her aunt was the same way. Captain Rogers is beaming over with a few agents now, Pepper."

"Thank you! Tell Andrew and Jonathan I'd like to know what else they did with our buildings and the security system please?"

Callia waved a hand with a snort. "They helped me with the designs but I built them, Mommy Pepper. It's my building too because my name's on the front. Therefore we're all going to be very safe from all bad guys." Pepper gaped at her. She was still staring in horror at her daughter when Steve stomped in. "Hi, Stepmom! You might want to get Mommy Pepper sitting down before she collapses."

Steve helped Pepper into an undamaged seat. "Unfreeze your father." He took a moment to look at the scene. Apparently he *really* needed to ask Jonathan and Andrew what they were teaching the kids.

"Yup, sometime today." He glared. She huffed but hit the unfreeze switch. "It'll take an hour."

"Fine. That'll give us time to move them to a cell and this to a more private location for the yelling you're in for."

"I gave them a choice of turning themselves in or me becoming a true Summers woman. They didn't want to turn themselves in."

Pepper glared. "We're having a *long* talk, daughter."

"Yes, Mommy," she sighed. She petted the Roombas. "Good job, guys. You guys did just what Andrew and Jonathan programmed you to do. Very good job!" They all got pets and she pulled some dirt from outside for them to clean up as a treat. "Go home." They zipped off to report to their real masters. Steve was still staring at them. "That's why we have an army of Roombas?" she offered.

"Uh-huh. Where did the ceiling lasers come from?" he asked.

"Andrew and Jonathan helped me design things but I thought the building needed more security because of the bad guys and people like Uncle Clint's brother. Therefore, I took charge of it because it's my name on the building too. So we're all safer." She grinned.

The AI butted in. "Miss Potts, I have someone bringing you some tea. It'll be about two minutes if you'll please calm down." Pepper glared at the ceiling. "You could use the calming down and the liquid. You're a bit dehydrated because the dehumidifier is set too high yet again. I've adjusted that back down no matter what Shield Design wants. They can up theirs for their space and not the rest of ours. Here's your tea and a muffin as well." The cafeteria worker handed them over with a smile.

"Thank you," Pepper said quietly. "Very nicely fixed for me." She nodded and went back to work. "JARVIS, make a note to give her a fifty dollar tip for that good service," she said, taking a sip of the tea. It was steeped just how she liked it, it had sugar but no milk. She sipped until she was calmer. She might not beat her daughter to death after all.

Tony started to shift. He was still very upset. His face wasn't unfrozen yet but the glare he was leveling at his eldest child was as good as a shout.


"Callia, help your father to our suite," Pepper ordered. "By hand." She nodded, helping him with two of the security guards. Pepper sighed and dug into her muffin. She needed the calming down time.

Steve looked at the lasers that were still out then at Pepper. "Was Tony like this?"

"If he had known about them, maybe. Though I doubt Howard would've let him do this."

"Not like Tony got told."

"True, which I'm sure they're going to have a long talk about as well." They shared a look. "She did turn into Dawn."

"Actually, Dawn turns into the original Raven that I met all too often. She had that same 'frick this stuff' thing going on whenever she had to get into a fight." He looked around again then at her. "I'm proud."

"I'm very proud she managed it but I'm still going to beat her."

"Yeah, she does deserve a good spanking at the very least this time." He put his hands in his pockets and looked around. "How did we find out they were spies?"

"Dawn looked at the forms we hadn't been able to figure out and spotted it." She finished her muffin and tossed out the disposable plate and cup before standing up. "Are we calm enough?"

"No. No I'm not." They both looked around the room again. "She never mentioned lasers to us."

"I haven't heard anything and Tony would've bragged. Rodney?"

"Landing later this afternoon."

"We'll check to see if he knew. I'm sure Andrew and Jonathan are hiding like hell at the moment."

"I believe they went to hide on Atlantis," JARVIS said. "The city is about to land in under an hour." They went to talk to their precious, precocious, overly smart big girl. Though she might be hiding by now as well. Joyce was there having a quiet discussion with her about what had happened and what she had done. Including what the lasers would've done. Joyce clearly thought Callia didn't understand that they'd harm the spies but they were sure she knew that.


Tony finally unstiffened fully, flexing his fingers and toes to check. He looked over. "Joyce, people, I'd like to talk to my daughter alone for a minute please." They stared at him. That was not the usual Tony Stark. That was a beyond livid Tony Stark. You only saw him in that mood when his people were attacked. Pepper pulled Steve and Joyce out to talk about punishments for such things if Tony didn't disown her and kill her. He stared at his daughter, pointing in front of him.

"I'm still not losing you to jail, Dad." He pointed again so she stood up and walked over to stand in front of him.

He stared at her for a moment, calculating what was in her too big brain. "You are in so deep it is not funny," he said quietly, making her flinch. "Thank you for upping our security system, but you know better."

"It's my building too!"

"Not yet it's not. As I got told, until the head Stark steps down, the baby Starks have to prove themselves worthy." She flinched again. "Which you have," he admitted. He let out a bitter sounding laugh. "If I had known half of what you know about I might've done the same thing and gotten my ass beaten then sent away to school for good." She stared at him. He stared back. "I was not going to kill them."

"Bullshit."

"Swear at me again," he offered, making her back down. He took a calming breath. "As of this moment, you are in serious trouble and if they press charges there's not much we can do about it."

"Why would they? They're the bad guys."

"Yes, but you weren't doing it for self defense so therefore they can charge you with assault, Daughter." She shuddered, sitting on the coffee table. He hauled her back to her feet. "This isn't a sitting discussion." He stared at her. "You are ten."

"I know that."

"What you did was not a job for a ten-year-old."

"If you had killed them, you would've went to jail."

"So can you."

"No, I'm a kid, they'd send me to juvie or therapy." Tony stared at her. "Even without the name. Plus I'd probably get an offer from at least one group to work for them, probably from the SG teams."

"Are you counting on that?"

"No. I didn't think they could charge me. That probability came up when you mentioned it."


He nodded once. "Why did you think that was the right thing to do?"

"Because I'm not losing you to jail," she said simply, staring at him. "I can't teach the siblings about science. I'm still learning!"

"I'm still learning."

She huffed. "Not the point, Dad. If something happens to you, I'm good but Chris and Liz and the new one aren't. They're never going to learn about science or life or anything if you're not there. The Moms can help with that but we're Starks and just like you. We don't see things the same way as normal brained people do. Hell, I confuse you and Uncle Rodney all the time because I'm not always a Stark and I see things sometimes like Auntie Dawn or Grandma do!"

He blinked at her. "It's not really that different."

"Yes it is. When you see a rock, you know what sort of rock it is, what it's made of, whether or not it has a worth or is something you can use in the lab. At a second level you evaluate it based on 'what if there's a fight'." He nodded slowly. "I do the same thing but then I also see it as is it a historical rock, does it have some sort of ritual significance, does it have meaning for being *there* instead of ten feet over." Tony slumped, staring at her. "I think that has to come from Grandma's people."

"Probably," Steve said as he walked in. "That was very much like Joyce's great-aunt when she was looking around the world and explaining things to people." He sat beside Tony. "You're ten."

"I do know how to count, yes," she admitted.

"You're being paddled anyway, add onto it," Steve offered, staring at her.

"I'm not going to lose Dad. I'm a good Stark and in the future I'll be a great Stark, but I'm not yet and it's going to take a great Stark to keep my siblings under control and teach them how to be great Starks too. It takes a great Stark to keep the company moving forward, and I'm growing into it but I'm not there yet."

"You are," Tony agreed quietly, staring at her. "I wasn't going to kill them."

"Dad, a repulsor blast at that level of closeness would've killed them." She stared at him. "Even turned on half strength." Tony slumped again, considering that. "We can't lose you. I wasn't aware they could try to charge me for that but if so I'll handle it and make the judge see I was being protective of my family and my legacy."

"You're still being spanked," Steve assured her. "If you're charged, we'll handle it as it rolls. You're not going to use your name to get out of things."


"No, I'd never do that. I might use my genius to avoid going to juvie but I'd never use the family name. You'll need that for the really violent one in the family, Liz."

"She is not," Steve complained.

She stared at him. "Yes she is. There's a reason the guards won't grab her. She's been kicking everyone." Tony rolled his eyes. "She has! Ask them if you don't believe me."

"She got me yesterday and I stopped that problem."

"Yeah, she moved to biting," she shot back. "She's mean. She's kinda mean to my animals sometimes too."

"We'll be stopping that," Tony assured her calmly and quietly. He stared at his daughter. "I want to know every single little thing you've been working on with who you were being helped by. I want to know every single modification you've made to the building. I want plans, construction and testing notes. You're going to be spanked for this, because I agree that this is too big for grounding or a report. You're also no longer allowed to be in the lab by yourself because apparently I haven't been paying enough attention," he finished bitterly.

"Dad, how can you pay attention to what I'm doing when half the time I'm tinkering in the middle of the night when I can't sleep?" she asked. "Even you have to sleep sometime. I didn't purposely not tell you but you never asked if I liked lasers. You never wanted to know what Andrew and Jonathan were helping me learn how to do."

"I should've asked," he agreed. "Did your aunt?"

"We had a talk about being careful with things that could hurt people back when I was planning the anti-kidnaping Pepper belt. She told me how much things like the laser I put on it could hurt people and explained how bad that could be."

"Why didn't she tell us?" Steve asked.

"She did mention that we had a talk about my designing weapons at my age and experience level."

"She did," Tony agreed. "I agreed it was the right thing to do since you were looking to follow me into it." He stared at her. "I'm not disappointed that you built them, even without me knowing. I'm disappointed that you felt you had to hide it. I'm disappointed that you decided to take over an adult job earlier and used one against me. I consider that fairly evil, daughter." She moaned, staring at him. "Not even your aunt tried that move."

"I'm sorry, Daddy, but I can't lose you."

"Not the point. You had other methods, including going for help, which is a kid hero's job. Not to freeze her father."

"I had to stop you."

"You did not. It is not your job to stop an adult from doing anything beyond harming yourself or another kid you're with." He stared at her. "I don't know how to get that through your brain, Callia. Maybe we've treated like you were a miniature adult for too long."

"No...." she said, staring at him. "Liz bit someone the other day because they were leering at Chris's skates. They were a reporter so I made her rinse out her mouth really well in case she got cooties from them."

Tony snorted. "Not cute." She sat down again. He hauled her back up. She stared at him. "We are not done yet."

"Yes, sir."

He shuddered. "Steve, please work on my precious offspring's common sense. She has an hour to get me everything I ordered her to bring to me." Steve nodded, walking Callia to another room to talk to her so Tony could calm himself down before he beat the crap out of her. Howard floated in. "Dad, out. Now."

"Son..."

"Father," he growled without looking up.

"You're doing the right thing bringing her ego down," Howard said.

Tony stared at him. "I'm not worried about her ego. I'm worried about her life at the moment. Thanks though." Howard flinched backward, floating into a door. "Go. Away." His father went to talk to the boys but they weren't in their labs. Their wives had their labs blocked from him. Most of the labs were blocked from him entering them. He went to the cafeteria but no one. The library was the same way. Tony got up to pace and mentally rant. He almost called Dawn but he didn't want to make her show up to scream at his child for him again. They were doing a good enough job of that. Clint stormed in. "Bit late, Barton," he said bitterly.

Clint stared at him. "I saw the mess. You good?"

"I'm mad at myself for not seeing her doing this, and I'm proud, but I want to beat her to death."

"I think that last one's a pretty universal thing if she had something to do with the lasers."

Tony nodded, pacing in the other direction. "More than."

"What happened?"

"Barton, I'm about to vent," Tony said harshly, staring at him. "I don't want to vent on you."

"Better you vent on me so you figure out what you want to scream at the kid then venting on her and saying something you don't want to that'll haunt you forever." He stared at him. "What happened?" Tony did indeed vent. By the end he was calmer and he stomped into Callia's room to yell at her. Clint went to check on Pepper. She was a tiny bit more calm so he helped her calm down and walked her back to the apartment. The Stark International spokesperson showed up to ask what she wanted in the statement. There was a huge reporter contingent outside. Pepper gave him some brief facts and let him sculpt it. Clint followed to make sure none of the leeches tried to sneak in. They had tried in the past.

The spokesman looked at the group. "People." They stared at him, though a few were staring at Clint. "He's here to make sure you don't breech security again." He cleared his throat. "Earlier it was found that the audit team the IRS sent was made up of industrial spies. Due to that information, we deployed appropriate security defenses to capture them, though a few were a bit stronger than Mr. Stark or Miss Potts expected." He looked around again. "Everyone's fine and the spies trying to get information were taken into custody of SHIELD."

One of them nodded. "That's great but we're not here about that. Agent Barton?" Clint gave her a dirty look from behind his sunglasses. "We heard your house was attacked?" He nodded once. "Is Dawn all right? We know she's on bed rest."

"She's fine. Philip and the cats are fine. They were all home. Dawn handled a lot of it." They stared. "Philip was safely hidden during it."

"Why? Was it related to the spies?"

"Not that we know of. We know that they were some agents and others who were against Dawn being a free woman. Some of the conscription sort. They may be related, we're looking into that."

"We heard rumors that someone used artillery," another said.

"Dawn grabbed something she was fixing for Natasha," Clint said dryly. "Then the fire department was phenomenal and had a great response time. So did SWAT and LAPD." He crossed his arms over his chest. "If we had been there, Dawn would've hidden with Philip."

"Then some came back?" the first reporter asked.

"One that was still there tried something and it was handled for her since she was resting again," he said bluntly.

"Does Dawn really have artillery around the house?" the SI spokesman asked.

Clint smirked at him. "That's ours for emergencies. Dawn was fixing that piece for it. She's good at fixing broken wires."

"Oh, that's great."

"Why doesn't SHIELD keep a storage of weapons?" one of the other reporters asked.

"They do, doesn't mean we're always near a base when things happen," Clint pointed out.

"Oh," they mostly agreed.

"Your other spouse hasn't really been seen recently outside of some meditation and lamaze classes, which we don't see Dawn at sometimes. Might there be another announcement?"

Clint stared at that really brave person. "If you want to ask Natasha if she's pregnant, you go right ahead," he said then walked off looking smug.

"Probably not," she admitted. "I like my parts working and she's a bit mean." The others nodded. They went to stake out the lamaze center. They had class that night and usually the trio went to that one together.

***

John got with the spotter on the angle of their descent, gently touching her down without causing a huge wave disruption. He sighed. "And we're down," he reported over the intercom. The whole base cheered. He put the city back into city mode, it was no use wearing out the cloaking when everyone already knew about her.

"The City of San Francisco wants us to please move ten degrees further out of the shipping lanes," Chuck said.

John sat back down to move her to where they wanted her. That was safer and she was sheltered by one of the islands off her port side. That kept them from the shipping lanes and the ferry lane. He parked her and dropped anchor. "We're here."

"Good job," General O'Neill said over the intercom. "City, prepare for an inspection tomorrow for damage and to start leaves. Good job, people, and welcome back to warm weather."


"Thank you, sir," John said. He walked up to the command center, stretching on the way. "Okay, people, any damage from the flight back beyond the small one we had to pause to fix when the container broke?"

"All city sections reporting clear, sir," Chuck said. "The city would like us to rotate about two percent starboard to better shield us."

"No can do. Rocks would rip up the underside if we move more than one percent." He sent that back and they said they'd handle it. John looked at Rodney. Then at the two geeks cowering behind Rodney. "What did you two do?" They babbled at him. John walked off shaking his head. "Go get us stuff to celebrate, boys." They rushed off to do that.

"I'll email Stark in a few minutes," Rodney assured him. "The city is enjoying playing with their kids."

"That's great." Because it meant he wasn't being babbled at by future geniuses at the moment. The adult ones were bad enough about that and you couldn't understand half of what they said. The baby ones you couldn't understand at all and they babbled faster. He smiled and went to his office to look things over. The general appeared so he saluted and handed over the paperwork he had due.

"Just what I wanted, Sheppard," he said dryly, tucking them into his jacket pocket. "We all good?" John nodded. "Turning it some?"

"Rocks, sir."

"Okay." Jack called that back. They agreed it wasn't right to scrape her up to move her inches out of the way of possible side trails. They could route ships a bit over instead. They all settled in to calm down and shed the winter gear again. Though a few of the Marines were pouting because they missed their moaning lake monster. Everyone on the city settled in to throw a 'we're home' party and call their families.

***

Dawn showed up at lamaze with Natasha but not Clint. He showed up a few minutes later from Stark. The lurking reporters didn't get a good image of Natasha so they were still frustrated. Though Dawn did look a bit thin.... there might be a story there.

Dawn came out in the middle of the class to glare at them. "I'm not underweight, people! Really! It's the outfit!" They huffed. "Shoo! You're bothering the other pregnant women with mood swings and me." They mostly fled. She stared at the other ones, one foot tapping. They backed off slowly and carefully, then headed to bother other important people. Dawn went back inside, smiling at the applause. "It's kinda annoying. They don't need to stalk me." She sat down and got back to the breathing exercises.

Natasha and Clint smiled, helping each other. The midwife came over with a smile. "Clint, get some hands on time helping Dawn breathe too," she said quietly. "Natasha probably won't be much help since she's due at the same time."

He nodded. "Good point. We're bringing our backup in soon." She smiled at that, patting him on the shoulder. He shifted between his girls to help them through this. Dawn was wincing so he checked her over, leaning over to rub her stomach. "Shh, Alexina. It's all good," he soothed. The baby calmed down and Dawn's back cramp did too. Natasha's was just starting so he worked on that. He motioned the midwife over, letting her check them. "Back cramps."

"Hmm. Not great but we can work on that. On your sides, ladies, whichever is more comfortable." They did that and she showed Clint how to handle those on Natasha's back cramps. Both ladies relaxed and Dawn fell asleep under Clint's hands. She smiled. She showed him where he was not to touch and the major problem areas. He nodded he got it and they could do those at home. Another woman in the room gasped and held her stomach. "Coming." She got up and walked over to feel her stomach. "Aww, your first pain. Breathe, come on." She panted, gripping her hands tightly. "Breathe," she ordered a bit more firmly. The woman finally calmed down. "Okay, time it." She noted the time and whimpered, looking at her female friend - she had stated loudly that they were best friends and not girlfriends. When the next one started, they made note and helped her through it then they went home to start the preparations.

Dawn woke up with a snorfle, blinking around. "Sorry." She got up and pushed back her hair.

"It's all right, Dawn. Most mothers kitten nap for the last trimester." They got back to the guided breathing exercises. Then they settled in to talk about past birth experiences. The new parents had some good questions the more experienced answered. Though a few frowned at Dawn for having drugs with Philip.

Clint looked at one. "With her gifts, we all felt it. We all liked the pain killers." The most scowling one calmed down.

"Each woman has her own needs during labor," the midwife reminded them. "Some want medicine, some don't. In Dawn's last case she had been in labor for three days. It was helpful."

"And it still nearly lasted all day," Dawn agreed. "Ten hours after I got to the birthing center."

"Ow," one of the younger mothers said, holding her stomach. "Is there a faster way of doing it?" They all shook their heads. "Can you tell which you'll be?"


"It depends on the baby and the shape you're in, plus how many times you've done this," the midwife said. "Sometimes even the later ones come with problems and you end up in longer labor with them. I had one that didn't make it the twenty miles to the hospital with her first one but her second took almost a week from the first pain, four days of it after she went into full labor." They all nodded at that. "Lamaze is to give you a focus, something to calm you and help you through all that. The breathing is to help you focus more and to give you a way to keep calm. The breathing can help you ignore the pain. Every woman is different and each birth situation is different. I had one last week that tried to come out sideways." They all smiled at that. "Okay?" They nodded. "Practice your calming techniques and your meditation. Most of you are near the due date within a few weeks." They nodded, bundling up to go home. She looked at Dawn. "You could've had a doula."

"I considered it but I'm not sure that would've calmed me down. I had Pepper."

She smiled. "She's a great mother stand-in. I've talked to your OB there and they said you're doing good and they'll gladly take over when you get out there. Have you picked a center on this coast in case you go while you're still out here?" Dawn pulled out her tablet to show her. "That's a good one. IV drugs instead of an epidural?" Dawn nodded. "That's reasonable. All sound plans. Hopefully this time there won't be a major action while you're in labor." She smiled at Natasha. "Have you worked out your birth plans?" She slowly shook her head. "Go over Dawn's and make some decisions. You can register them with your OB and the hospital so they know what you want if something's going on." She nodded. "We can go over any ideas you might have next class if you want."

"I can do that."

"Good. I'll see you guys in a few days. We'll arrange for the backup people to show up soon." They packed up and went home to relieve their babysitter.

***

Clint stared at the gathered people. Stark, Bucky, Phil, Steve. "Okay. We're coming up on less than four months before due dates. There's only three calls out to get Nat's kid and a few more to get Dawn's." They all nodded. "There's two calls to get Cap's future hellion." Bucky grimaced but nodded he knew that. "We have a few points to consider and make plans. Like when are we going back to New York?"

"End of April," Tony said. "Just in case."

"Okay. Dawn's got an OB on that coast."

"Pepper's found one and they've been talking," Steve agreed. "They all like the same birthing center as long as it hasn't gotten bad." Tony nodded at that. "They have security?"


"Some," Clint said. "They're used to those who have security details." That got another nod. A faster one from Bucky. "Did you get the security specs?"

"I have. What're you going to do if they go together?"

"Dawn talked to them and they said they've pulled in a second bed when lesbian couples have went at the same time," Clint said. "So that'll work for mine." Everyone smiled. "Pepper can have the next room. Dawn's labor plan doesn't have anything like a water birth. Nat's not made hers yet." He looked at Steve and Tony.

"Pepper's pretty much the usual style with limited drugs," Steve said. "I had to have that explained to me."

"Nat too. She's working on it now. I know they do have water birth rooms there if anyone ends up that way." He looked at Bucky and Phil. "Lamaze?"

"Tapes," Bucky said.

"I tried that last time. I had no idea what I was doing. It's very meditative, Barnes. Come with us next time. You can handle whichever I'm not working with. Then Coulson can switch off."

"I've been to lamaze with Tara," Phil said. "Some of them."

"This one does a lot of the meditative work with the class and does teach massage practicals if necessary." Steve grinned, he had done one of those last time. "Also, the press has been haunting the clinic."

"Too bad we have to put up with them," Tony joked.

"Dawn did a concealment charm for Natasha when she asked." Phil smirked at that, sipping his coffee. "Do we have any prior notice of a possible attack there?" No one said anything. "So we just have to worry about them trying for the kids once they're born. Okay, for now, we need a deployment on how to get them there if it's necessary. Last time Dawn took a cab and I did not like that."

"Hell, she pulled me halfway across the city," Tony complained.

"This time no one should have to," Clint said with a grin. "Because I'm not going to be out shooting anything unless it's another invasion."

"I'm hoping we don't," Steve said. "Pepper's last one was calmer."

"Dawn got called to a local hospital last night when a lady went into labor and the kid came out magically active and glowy," Clint told them. "We know Tara's going to be on hand to help with that with Alexina."


"That's a pretty name," Phil said. "Not quite Xander's." Clint grinned. "Alexina...."

"Idella. And before she can do anything it's still a Summers. I heard if we hadn't shown up Philip would've been a Summers-Barton." He rolled his eyes and shook his head.

Tony grinned. "Maeve Lilith is going to be a...." He looked at Steve.

"Rogers? Can we name all the kids the same?"

"Sure, they can all be Starks," Tony said with a grin.

"Liz is a Potts."

"Rogers works for us if you want it to," Tony reminded him.

"Thanks." He looked at Clint. "Is it that important?"

"Prior planning saves problems," Clint and Phil said in unison.

"Good point. What if they all go in at the same time?" Clint pointed at Phil and Bucky. "That's good. I hate seeing Pepper in pain. Who's watching the kids?"

"If we're in New York and there's no issues going on, either Beya or Joyce," Clint said. "She's gotten over that thing from last time."

"Good," Tony said, shifting to cross his legs. "Are you pre-packing a bag with weapons?"

"Yup. Nat's going to have a backpack and a pillow. Dawn's going to have a small gym bag. I'll have another one with a few extra weapons and ammo."

"Bag?" Bucky asked.

"Things to wear home, things to wear after the birth like jammies. Pads. Things to do." He pulled up the list on his phone, handing it over. "That's the one we got from the midwife."

He looked it over. "Pepper's?" he asked Stark.

"She's got the standard clothes and things to do. It's already packed and sitting on her shoe rack in case she has a new problem and goes early. All we'd have to add is her tablet and her iPod."

Bucky handed the phone back. "Do most women really bring all that?"


"Yeah, for maybe three days in the hospital," Clint said. "Sometimes only a day and a half."

"Tara forgot hers with the twins," Phil said. "I had to bring it in."

"Sanitary.... Why?" Bucky asked.

"Because they don't automatically unstretch," Tony said dryly. "Tampons would get lost. Huge ass mess for the first few days."

Bucky shuddered. "I don't need to see that."

"You shouldn't have to," Steve said. "She's usually able to handle that herself."

"Good!" Bucky looked at Clint. "I'll work on quick, quiet, non-noticed driving paths for the rush there."

"Usually not so much a rush. They usually get there a few hours beforehand," Tony said. "They just have a lot of labor on the way." He shifted again.

"Okay, so three quick driving routes," Bucky said. "The one here?"

"Dawn's picked one. Natasha's considering. Her OB told her it was time to start lamaze and when she said she had been going with Dawn he almost sneered at the meditative approach. Nat nearly took his head off with her knees since she was mid-exam."

"How did Dawn's last one go?" Tony asked. "I'm asking as a totally nosy step-parent for her."

"She's fine. We did a quick check when the cramps got noted. She's got her next official visit next week. Secreva put me on desk duty because I nearly slugged someone the other day for suggesting that Natasha's wasn't mine." He shrugged and grinned. "They had it coming though."

"At least we've seen a lot fewer problems coming for Dawn," Steve said.

"Yeah, I'm damn happy at that and it proved who was behind some of it," Clint agreed. "Not one poisoning yet."

"There was one attempt but it was stopped by Dawn smelling it," Phil said. "That bakery." Clint shook his head with a groan. Phil looked at Stark. "The littler, female you?"

"Still so very much in trouble for the other day," Tony said. "She's still having a fit that I kicked her out of her lab and am making her use mine with me so I can be a bit more observant."

Steve patted his hand. "Tony, even if you had been in the lab with her she still might not have told you that she put lasers in any public area's ceiling. She did a lot of that in her room at night."

"I know. I still feel like I'm the worst parent ever." He shifted again. "She had some impressive ideas and sent some of them to Rodney for Atlantis in case they get pirates or something. He sent back that he was not all that amused until I sent him tape of that fight. Then he promised he would push to get her taken into his lab as punishment if someone charged her."

"I'm sure they won't be," Clint said. "They haven't yet. Bad things happen to bad guys to quote my wife."

"I heard a few of your wife's quotes coming from her."

"I saw that tape," Clint said. "I showed it to Dawn. They had a *long* talk last night about two when Callia woke up again. Your daughter now knows when she's to be a Summers woman and most of the time it's not until she's eighteen. Or later unless they're being directly attacked. Dawn said Cal was complaining that she was going over the same things you did. Dawn said that was good and clearly some things needed to be pounded in better. I woke up at four and they were still talking over IM."

"I saw that when I got up at four," Steve agreed. "We had a talk after they got done. She knows what she did wrong, Tony, even if she's pouty that you don't trust her."

"Nope, I don't. My building sprouted lasers without me knowing."

"Dawn said she might've used a different last name to protect her and the others until they were old enough to be formally Starks and all that entails," Clint said.

"I considered that," Tony admitted. "I didn't like that implication for the Stark name. Then again, Callia's argument was she was a good Stark but she couldn't help make her siblings into a great Stark until she turned into one and it took a great Stark to run the company. If I had to do it again, I might've done it that way. It might've shielded her a bit more. Maybe made them Potts until they were old enough."

"Liz doesn't get near as much coverage as Chris does," Phil agreed quietly.

"Liz is turning mean," Clint said. Bucky nodded quickly, rubbing a new bruise.

Tony nodded. "We're talking to her about it before she turns into a super villain."

"Liz used to be the sweet one. I almost asked Dawn if she could check her for possessing beings," Bucky complained.


"That's not a bad idea and I can do that," Phil said. He finished his coffee. "How are they doing?"

"The cats think their stomachs are enhanced napping spots. They both like to curl up on Natasha but Loki will lay on Dawn's stomach if she's in the right position. Loki likes to lick Nat's lotion. Tsarina is her cat so she's always on Nat somewhere. Philip thinks that they're the greatest toy ever." He smiled. "He gave up music to play with Mommy's belly last night." Steve grinned. "Nat wanted a concealment charm done because she was going to get some sun by the pool today."

Tony suddenly hopped up. "Let me go help Pepper with some lotion stuff." He strolled off.

Steve grinned at his back then at Clint. "He's going to miss spoiling her."

"So am I," Clint said. "I've gotten in a lot of spoiling that I wouldn't normally get to do." He looked at Phil. "When are you two planning on some?"

"Few centuries. Jensen's still pouting about being on the surrogate list."

"That'd be a bit weird," Bucky complained.

"Better than me carrying it," Phil said.

"Dawn told Barney about the choker and creeped him out by telling him they could knock me up," Clint said with an evil smirk. "My poor brother went to have a headache." Phil laughed.

"That's almost as bad as the migraines caused by Xander that nearly got us all shut down for the day," Steve complained, going to pamper Pepper with Tony.

"At least she's a good woman that I can appreciate," Bucky said. "I can't imagine what would've happened if he had fallen in love with some dame I couldn't stand."

"Best friends have had that dilemma for centuries," Phil said. He looked at Clint. "How are you going to work it if they're in labor at the same time?"

"Them in the same room if possible." He stared at him. "I don't know. I know there's already been some accusations of favoritism."

"That's why I'm asking," Phil said.

"We'll handle it."


"Okay. Let me know." He nodded. "I still don't want to see Dawn in that sort of pain but I can do that." He stood up. "Let me get to work on things that we might need for the birthing plans." He went back to SHIELD to work on that. Bucky went to make his own plans and hide from all the cooing and Liz.

Clint went to the Avengers-only gym to get some workout time in. Liz was in there and pouty. He stared down at her. "What's up, short stuff?" She kicked him. He swatted her. "I'm not your dad, I won't put up with it." She kicked at him again so he swatted her again. "You're acting like a brat." She growled and lunged but he caught her and put her in a chair, staring down at her. Phil reappeared to check her for possession, shaking his head. "Feeling left out?"

"Mostly. She's insanely jealous of Chris and Callia." He went to talk to the parents. They had to handle that. Liz was more than bright enough to hurt people by accident. He waited until the 'licking the belly' moment was done to interrupt. Tony groaned. "She's jealous."

"Liz?" Pepper asked, petting through Tony's hair. Phil nodded. "Oh, no. Her recent acting out?"

"Yes. She's jealous of the time they get to spend with you guys."

"I tried, she hates the lab," Tony said.

"So take her to the museum with just you two," Phil suggested. "Even I have to split the twins sometimes to take them to do individual things."

"I can do that," Tony said. "Bad?"

"Getting there. She did hand Chris back his roller blades when you took them last time."

"That'll be stopped," Steve said. "Anything else to note?"

"She just attacked Clint so he gently swatted her for it. Then he put her into a chair when she tried for the third time."

"I'm not fond of physical correction but she's at the stage where it needs to happen," Pepper said. "Can you bring her here?" He went to get her and brought her back. Pepper stared at her. "It's time for a girl talk, Liz." She pulled her over to sit on the desk so they could all talk to her. Phil left it to them.

***

Tony's father faded into view in the lab later that night. "You would've denied them your name?"


"If I had thought it'd make them safer and healthier, plus give them an easier childhood, I would've done it until they broke out in notice like Callia has or until they were eighteen." He looked at the ghost of his father. "There's a lot of pressure on kids today and the name adds a lot to it."

"It might mean Callia was doing more normal kid things. We made you do normal things."

"I was doing the same thing. She's the same age I was when I got that notable distinction award from the engineering competition she submitted for." Howard stared at him. "If you had been there, it would've been great, Dad, but you were in Greenland looking for Steve." He got back to work. "Thankfully Mom was there."

"Why didn't you ever tell me any of this?"

"Because a parent's supposed to know what their kid, even their genius kid, is doing. I might've slipped up on that goal between teaching the others and my own work but she does have mentors who knew what she was doing. I had Obadiah now and then and you rarely. I mostly did it on my own without any supervision. She gets a lot more of that than I do."

"I guess." Howard thought back. "When did you get that award?"

"While you were in Greenland for the second time, when I was ten," Tony said dryly.

"You were nine."

"I was ten. Callia's birthday's not that far from mine, Dad, and I had just barely turned ten when the award was given," Tony said patiently. He was impressed with his patience tonight.

Howard frowned. "You were still nine."

"I was ten, Dad. My birthday was two days before the award banquet," Tony said, losing a lot of the patience. "Then again, you might not remember when my birthday was since you never came home from the show in Detroit to be there for mom."

"Men in my day didn't go into the delivery room." Tony gave him a look. "I wasn't in Detroit." Tony pulled up his journal to project it. He read and sighed. "I was."

"Yeah, you were," Tony said, banishing that screen. "At least I have a bit better handle on what my daughter's usually doing."

"Low blow, son. I was doing important things."

Tony stared at him. "You were *always* doing important things." He got huffed at. "Get out of my lab, Dad. I don't want an argument tonight." No movement. "Now."


"It's my company."

"You're dead, Dad. Dead people can't own things. It's my company now. Get out of my lab!" Howard huffed but left. "And leave the kids alone!"

Steve came in wearing a pair of soft, nearly worn out jeans. "I don't know how you managed to become so amazing and such a genius when you didn't get as much time with him," he said, holding Tony.

Tony looked back at him. "You're not Steve. Stop it before I destroy you." Ares changed and smirked. Tony hit him and grabbed something on his bench to zap him with. "Huh, my daughter's freeze ray works on gods," he said with an evil smirk.

Xander appeared, looking at Ares then at Stark. "I really should confiscate that for the good of all gods, but I will trust you to unfreeze him and put that in the safest place you have in case of emergency."

Stark nodded. "Callia made it with Jonathan's help."

"Well, they are geek kings," Xander said dryly, staring at him.

"I'll put it up very safely, Xander."

"Thanks. Unfreeze him too please."

"He was pretending to be Steve."

Xander looked toward Tony's suite. "He's napping on Pepper's stomach, which is giving her heartburn." He stared at him. "If someone takes that from you and uses it in a huge battle...."

"No, I get that," he promised, taking it to his safe. Only he could get into it. It was DNA coded and JARVIS knew when he was allowed to override that. He did unfreeze Ares before locking it in there.

"Thanks." He left. Ares could get his own ass out of trouble this time.

Stark stared at the slowly unfreezing god. It did take him less time than Stark had when he had unfrozen. "My daughter made that," he said with a grin. Pissing Ares off was almost as good as pissing Loki off.

Ares glared. "She's a menace."

"She's my clone."


"Clearly." He stared at him. "I actually came in to tell you to quit stressing, that things were going to be fine."

"Thanks."

"Welcome." He disappeared, going to tell Loki. He had seen Xander's orders and where it was but he couldn't snatch it from the safe. Something was blocking it. Loki stared at him. "Callia Stark made something that froze me."

"Like on those stupid movies?" Loki demanded. Ares nodded. "Where is it? So we can destroy it?" Or use it to further a plan but he wouldn't say that out loud in case someone was monitoring them again.

"Your son made Stark put it somewhere safely away before it got used during a battle or something."

"Hmm. I don't believe it would be that safe."

"I can't snatch it from the safe."

Loki went to look, staring at the safe. He was good with breaking them but not this time. He looked at Stark. "That is a very dangerous toy she made."

"Yup. Which is why it's put up when Xander asked." He stared at him. "I wouldn't count on me not using it when some of you piss us off though."

Loki smirked. "It's good you're still a bit on my side, Stark."

"Gotta have a hobby but I don't want to take over the world. Too much paperwork."

"That's why you gather minions," Loki said dryly.

"I'd let Dawn do it instead. That way I'm not pulled from the lab and she'd make a beautiful figurehead that could do a lot of it without input."

Loki burst out laughing. "That may work," he said. "Gather all the rest of them?"

"I will be."

"Thank you. There are gods that would use them against each other as well as against our children. Some of them are very petty."


"Yeah, I noticed that," Tony said, staring at him. Loki tipped his head with a smirk and left. "JARVIS, wake up my daughter please." He headed for her room. Callia was grumpy but she got up to give him all of those and one other thing she had tinkered into being. It had come from an aunt idea. It was probably just as dangerous even though she had no idea how it did what it did - she had gotten an idea and followed it. Tony took them to the same vault and locked them in there. That one, he'd look at the plans to figure out with her in the morning. She came in with a Red Bull. "You know better."

"Yay. You're the one who woke my ass up."

"Swearing!" he snapped.

Callia stared at him. "Sorry, I'm still on Summers time instead of Stark time," she shot back. She pulled out those plans for him, hopping up onto a stool to sip her stimulant of choice while they went over it.

Tony stared. "That's a power disruptor?"

"I'm not really sure. Auntie Dawn said she wanted something to stop someone like Rosenburg a few weeks back." She shrugged. "I guessed a short burst of energy to counteract the magic. That should work on the wavelength of chaos and nature magic but I never got around to testing it. I wouldn't want to test it on her, especially since she's an atypical magic user, and we haven't had a bad one recently."

Tony stared, mouth slightly open. "Huh." She grinned, finishing her Red Bull. "I'll excuse that breaking of the rules this time. We can find an artifact with magic and test it."

"The choker?"

"No, that's possibly important." He considered it. "Xander?" He appeared. "She built a magic disruptor."

"Okay," he said, blinking at her. "You're turning into a scary geek queen, niece."

"Oops?" She shrugged. "Auntie wanted something to stop someone like Rosenburg going rogue."

"Yeah, that might help." He considered it. "Let me get an artifact that needs to be cleaned. There's a few in Valhalla and in Hecate's stuff." He went to Valhalla first, going to his grandmother. "Frigga?" She smiled at him. "We must speak privately." She nodded, letting him lead her off to the side. Her moan got attention but she nodded and got him something that needed to be uncharmed from the chaos magic infecting it. He took it back and they went to a testing lab. Tony came back to get the disruptor. Callia looked it over to make sure it wasn't broken then fired it at the artifact.

Xander tested it from behind the plexiglass shield they were behind. "It's not lessening, it's raising it." The artifact exploded, thankfully only cracking the glass they were behind. "Okay. That needs to go into a safe too."

"It is," Tony said. "JARVIS, did you scan the energy readings?"

"Yes, sir. There's three reasons it exploded." He showed them the energy graph. It had sent the magic into an uncontrollable tornado-like spin inside the artifact. That fed the energy of the spell until it broke, and the breaking of the spell was what killed the artifact. Frigga appeared, staring at her former vase. "Lady Frigga, welcome to Stark International," the AI said with some formality.

"Thank you, dear." She walked out to test it. "It did clear the artifact completely." Xander showed her what had happened, translating it for her. She blinked at the child. "You are quite strong minded, child." Callia grinned. "Do you plan on making more things of such?"

"No, ma'am. I was tinkering to help my aunt's idea of finding something that would stop a witch in full blown meltdown mode."

"That certainly would," Frigga agreed. "Not pleasantly."

"That was not my intention, ma'am. I wanted it to simply counter pulse their magic to knock whatever spells out of being."

She considered that then nodded. "It does something like that." She looked at her. "Such artifacts are dangerous to a number of beings, including magical based creatures."

"Including Jensen," Xander said quietly.

"It's going in the safe," Callia assured them. "I'd never want anything I built to hurt people on purpose unless they *really* deserve it."

Frigga smiled and patted her on the head. "You do your line credit, child. Both sides. Your warrior mother would be proud of you being an armorer of warriors." She went to tell Buffy what her daughter had created. Buffy and Hylal would both get sniffly over her accomplishments.

Callia handed it over after making sure it was off. "I think I made it wrong."

"We can work on the disruption idea and make something that won't make magic explode," he said, taking her back to the lab to put that into the safe. Xander left to tell Phil. Who sent an email from their bed to make sure that had the highest security possible.

"Armorer, I like that title," Callia said, looking at her father.

"So do I. It's a noble one and it's better than weapons designer."

"Yeah, I like that. Can I...."


"When you've graduated college, daughter."

"Sure, I get that." She hugged him. They went over the test results to see where she had made it too strong. Though they got interrupted by a Roomba nearly exploding as the shrink ray ended and the three mini Roombas suddenly popped back to full size in the one that had sucked them up. Callia cooed and got them to look over and fix the one that was nearly in pieces. It might look like a FrankenRoomba but it'd be okay.

As long as it never wanted brains.

TBC....
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