Summary: Callia's showing that she's truly a Stark in the making and so is her little brother. Also some more pregnancy stuff and on the future invasion. Not at all how someone planned for them to go.....
Categories: Buffy Stories & Crossovers > Avengers, Buffy Stories & Crossovers > Losers, Buffy Stories & Crossovers > SG1/SGA/SGU Characters: None
Series: Old Ones, Old Ones
Chapters: 2 Completed: Yes
Word count: 39974 Read: 42767
Published: 12/09/2012 Updated: 12/09/2012
1. Part 1 by voracity
2. Part 2 by voracity
Future Old Ones Doing Weird Things.
Clint looked at his brother across the table. The judge at the top of the table did not look amused in the least. "No, I didn't want to carry on the bad family name so my son's last name is Summers, from his mother's family. Natasha and I both agreed that Dawn's last name was the best liked due to many things, and we like Joyce."
His brother glared. "That's not right. Are you sure he's yours?"
"Even with all the attempts by the people who are paying you to get new superheros started, I'm sure. We checked since they had given her some fertility meds a few times." Barney Barton glared at him. Clint stared back, looking unconcerned. "Beyond that, I'm not sure how you'd like visitation with your nephew when you're wanted on two federal charges, including homicide and making terroristic threats." The judge spluttered. "How did you get bail anyway?"
"The judge decided there wasn't a reason," Barney said smugly.
"Oh, they went through the one they're blackmailing then. We, and SHIELD, know about him."
"No one thinks SHIELD is a real agency."
The judge stared at him. "While I saw the movie with my teenage daughter, I've presided over two other SHIELD agents' divorces, Mr. Barton. I'm well aware that they're real." He looked at Clint, who smiled. "The actor who played you was good."
"I talked to him a few times after that when he needed to know how I'd handle something." He looked at his brother. "Beyond that, you're not getting near my son. My wife would send him to another realm so damn fast. We have tight ties to Asgard, including her niece."
"Biological niece?" the judge asked.
"Yes. Her former sister's daughter. They were mostly raised on Asgard and one's up there with her husband most of the time. The other two are going back and forth to be with Atlantis and will be back with them to start college. That first one went through Sword Sister training and all that as well. We're exceedingly proud of all three of the kids."
"That's wonderful. Was that a joint decision?"
"No, the kids decided that they wanted to help Atlantis when she got displaced. One of them felt more comfortable up there. Her twin likes it down here more. Sean, their brother, is working on his warrior geek ratio split. He's learned a lot from both sides and he's trying to decide which side he wants to fall on. Some day I can see Sean taking my spot without being part of SHIELD. He's an excellent shot."
"Interesting," the judge agreed. He looked at Barney. "Why do you want custody of your nephew?"
"They're living in an illegal relationship. There's three different marriage certificates that were filed."
"Not by us," Clint admitted. "Natasha did that. I'm only legally married to Dawn outside of those few countries. Frankly, two of them it's legal for me to have multiple wives because they're Islamic countries." Barney glared. "Beyond that, your bosses want the kid, not you. You have less patience than I do, Barney. An active, squealing, happy baby like Philip would drive you nuts within hours. He only stops moving when he's asleep and that's barely four hours at a time." Barney shuddered. "Your bosses won't get my kid in any manner or method. I know they were behind two attempts to kidnap Dawn when she was pregnant with him." He slid down that file to the judge. It was marked 'classified' on the front. "Director Rogers said I could show you, Your Honor."
"That's good." He read through it, grimacing. "They are the ones paying his legal fees."
Clint nodded. "We're aware. Frankly, I'm letting him hang himself because it's keeping my wife from handling it herself while she's in a really shitty mood from the morning sickness."
"What, she going to *magic* us?" Barney sneered.
"Not that one." He grinned. Barney went pale. "Dawn's not supposed to be doing heavy magic or else you'd already be destroyed. Dawn's been told that she's not allowed to destroy you like she did that castle." He grinned more brightly. "Dawn's really unhappy with morning sickness but the new meds are wonderful." Barney slumped down a bit, shifting away from Clint.
"Is she able to handle her own self defense?" the judge asked. "I remember reading reports on the attacks last time."
"She won't have to do it on her own this time, Your Honor. If the known plot for this spring happens, she'll be out of harm's way taking long-distance shots. We're hoping that idiot who showed up during the parade's death stopped it cold."
"I hope so too. I remember the last one." He grimaced. "If not, can you give us some warning?"
"We know what month it'll happen in if it does happen," he offered. "We know it'll be in April and she's due in late July or early August." The judge gave him an odd look. "Her last OB is in Nicaragua."
"So she's picking a new one?"
"Wonderful. I hope she finds a good one."
"We think she will." He crossed his feet and looked at his brother. "If he wasn't being an asshole I would've had lunch with him and maybe the son if I felt it was safe. Then again, he did put a sleeping gas canister on my house's air pump." He slid down that report. "He paid hard for that stunt, didn't he?" He stared at him.
"I can still press charges."
"You go right ahead," Clint said with a grin. "You can do it twice even."
Thor stomped in and slammed the door. "Noble Clint, your wives were worried that you had no backup since you would not allow them to come."
"I didn't think Barney wanted to be set on fire by Natasha, Thor, but sure, I could use it." Thor sat down. "This is my nephew-in-law. He married one of the nieces."
"That's a good family," the judge agreed, smiling at him. "Lord Thor." Thor nodded politely back. "Have you met Agent Barton's brother?"
"I have not." He stared at him. "I have heard from my wife's complaints that you are not really like the noble Clint."
"No, I'm not like him," Barney sneered. "I'm not a do-gooder sort."
Clint shrugged. "I'm a master assassin first and foremost," he said dryly. "Not exactly the do-gooder sort myself." Thor looked at him. "I am."
"I knew of such. You have still taken out many threats to humanity in such manners. That is just as noble as we do in battles." Clint grinned and patted him on the shoulder. "The ladies looked ill? Should I keep my wife from them?"
"No, they've got morning sickness, Thor."
He frowned. "What is that?"
"They're in the sick part of the pregnancy."
"Oh!" He blinked a few times and smiled. "She will be over the moon."
"I know Artemis is looking forward to giving you a few sons," Clint said with a grin for him.
Thor smiled. "I too look forward to it. She will make strong children for me to play with until they're old enough for me to train."
"We hope all the kids in the family are strong and healthy." Thor smiled at that. He looked at his brother again. "Even if you were, Philip would probably destroy your entire group of morons. He may be an infant but he's got really smart backup already from the Stark kids. Who.....well, I'm fairly certain Callia can design things to destroy you. If not, her aunt can. Or her dad." He smirked. "Tony used to be *really* good at it too."
"He doesn't do weapons anymore," Barney said smugly.
Clint laughed. "He does for the Avengers." Barney stiffened. "Beyond that, threatening his kid? Do you think he won't go back there within milliseconds of finding out? Or hell, ask Xander what he has in his armory to update?"
"I have not seen my nephew's armory," Thor realized. "He has it well hidden."
"Yup, but Dawn knows where it is," Clint assured him. "They coo over the weapons sometimes."
"That is a good hobby for one who is wanted such as she is," Thor decided.
Xander appeared and hugged Clint. "I'll show you the next time you come over." He stared at Barney. "Want to come spar?"
"Don't," the judge ordered patiently. "We will not harm him. He is going through the legal system with a pitiful reason but it is nothing to warrant you using him as a training aid for whatever trainees you have there, Lord Xander."
Xander grinned at him. "Who said I'd let the trainees play with him? Phil and I need something to spar against."
"Not really an acceptable solution while he has a petition in front of the courts," the judge said.
"Sure, I can wait." He grinned and disappeared after hugging his uncle.
"He hugs well," Thor said. "I have no idea who taught him that."
Clint smirked. "We were being protected by Hades for a bit before that dinner and had one of his ex's show up like a missionary asking us if we knew Xander." Thor burst out laughing, shaking his head. "Yeah, I think it was one of them, Thor. We were told they have a whole section to themselves."
"That might be a good idea with what my nephew used to date," he agreed. "I will have to look in on that." He looked at Barney. "What would you do with a child anyway? You have no home, no farm to provide for them or a job to buy what they need since you cannot grow it. You have no way of training any special gifts the child may have in the future."
"We can train him," Barney assured him.
"No, you can't," Clint said. His phone beeped so he looked at it, grinning. He answered and put it back in his pocket. The judge coughed. "The results of a raid the trainees went on earlier. I'm supposed to be overseeing it but I traded missions with someone." He looked at his brother again. "You'd never get any sort of training done. Philip hardly listens to us. He'll only eat for Natasha. He'll only wear clothes when she makes him. The only thing that he'll let you do for him is play music and then he'd probably take your head off when you quit playing." Barney was still glaring. Clint stared back. "Really. My son is the product of both his parents' stubbornness. And Dawn's really a bitch when she's stubborn."
Thor nodded quickly. "I have seen her out-stubborn a few groups in the past." Clint looked at him. "The one that kept wanting her during her last pregnancy. You did not get told that she had been captured for a whole day but they had all been pouty when they gave her back because they decided they didn't want to sacrifice her to their wanted demon after all?"
"No, I hadn't. I'll have to ask." He smirked a bit. Thor grinned. "When?"
"Just before you came back from that first assignment."
"Ah. That's good to know." He sent a thought at Dawn, who admitted she had made them all pout. He shook his head.
"You're not telepathic," Barney snorted.
"Just with the wives." He smirked evilly. "Romania taught us all some new tricks." Barney went very pale. "Then again, it got Dawn to use the training Xander and Spike had given her a bit more often. She used to be a lot sweeter. She hadn't had to kill anyone before then. Then she had to do it again and again and again." Barney shuddered. "Yeah, just like she nearly killed your dumb ass. She was feeling merciful by the way. She was willing to give you a chance. Next time... nope."
"A protective mother is the fiercest thing in nature," Thor agreed.
"How did she shoot him?" the judge asked.
"He and his buddies broke into the house while we were asleep. We woke up to them being in the living room with our son, who decided he was going to get naked and pretend to be a cat with ours."
"I still can't believe you have cats," Barney sneered.
"No, Natasha got given a kitten recently as a sign of respect and Loki was hers too. Then again, she had spent about a year as a cat." Thor stared at him oddly. "Rosenburg to keep her execution from being carried out."
"Hmm," Thor said, nodding then shaking his head quickly. "I have heard of her misdeeds. It is good that her last act was to return to the side of good in that epic battle in Sunnydale."
"Willow?" Barney asked. "She's not *bad* but she's got no style."
"She died in the Battle of Sunnydale," Clint said. "How is she back?"
Barney shrugged. "Don't know."
"We'll figure that out." He sent a text message to Dawn and a prayer at Xander and Coulson.
Xander reappeared. "Excuse me, someone resurrected Willow Rosenburg again?" Barney was staring at him. He realized he was in full aura mode but yay. "Let's go talk about that. That's an apocalypse in the making." He brought him with him to the Halls to talk about it and look that up. What he saw did not amuse him. "Phil!" He appeared so Xander pointed. "See that wrongness? That's the key to starting the First Evil prophecies." He brought the book from the library to show him.
Phil looked and nodded. "Done." He took it to tell Joyce, who would probably cry a bit. "We have an issue." He put down the book open to the prophecy.
Steve read it and nodded slowly. "Yours?"
"Willow's. She's working with Barney Barton's group."
"We were going to raid them," Joyce said quietly, taking it to look at. "Hell no. We don't need fewer slayers. They don't deserve that." They shared a look. "Steve?"
"We were going to raid. Go. Today if possible. Make sure the resurrection is canceled." Phil nodded, taking the book to handle that. "I hope we're in time," he said quietly.
"Me too." She gave his wrist a squeeze. "Let me go warn Bruce." He nodded, tapping out a text to Tony and Pepper too. They'd call Cleveland as well, to check on the girls. Thankfully, the displaced heros were all down there and had protected the girls and agents.
Xander called his people together. "We have a problem."
"Is that why we have a bad guy in a cage?" John guessed, pointing at where Barney was hanging in a large bird cage from the ceiling.
"He's working with Willow."
"Willow?" Roque demanded. "Rosenburg?" He glared at the bad guy, who was nodding. "Whose bright fucking idea was that?" he demanded.
"No clue," Xander admitted. "Phil's leading a raid. The bad news is that I looked and she's got that wrongness. She came back wrong."
"The First Evil prophecies," John said then shuddered. "I'm going with Phil."
"Ditto," Roque said. "My whole damn team's backing them up." Xander smiled and nodded. "I'm not going to make you kill her again. Go ask Hades how she got out?" Xander went to do that. "John, just you?"
"Yup. Coulson?" He appeared. "We're helping to make sure of it."
"We just found a weird thing. Two children that seem to look a lot like Loki and Ares." He put up a mirror to show them.
"I'll be damned. They're chaosing the bad guys," Roque said with a mean grin. "Good!" He looked at his boss. "How soon?"
"One hour." He took Barney's communications gear from him after blocking it. "Or ten minutes. How soon can you get there?"
"Now." He turned. "Losers, pack it up and let's go!" he ordered. "We've got evil shits trying to destroy the universe again by taking in powerful kids."
"Hell to the fuck no," Jensen said firmly. "We only need extra ammo." Clay was getting it with Pooch. He took his and they went with Phil. Who got all their people to the appointed spot thanks to Stark's beaming satellite. John appeared. Roque got a few extra knives and appeared. They rushed the compound, which was a partial trap but Phil could tell where she had stashed them and opened the sub-realm to stop it while Roque got the doomsday device. Stark beamed out to help with that.
"I don't usually swear but fuck this shit," Stark growled as he finished disarming the bomb. He stomped off. "Willow Goddamn Rosenburg."
She sneered. "You've already lost."
"No, he hasn't," Alana said as she appeared with her Valkyries. "Not by a long shot." Willow shrieked but there were four gods on site. And they'd all had enough of her.
Clint's phone beeped. "Your Honor, my brother's been taken captive so he couldn't warn that SHIELD was going to take down the problem." He looked at him. "I have to go too. I'm being summoned." He and Thor got beamed out to go with the strike team.
The judge huffed. "They're more strange than the movie said."
Xander appeared in Hades' realm, finding everyone asleep. "Hades? 'Sephone?" he called. No answer. He called down the next one who'd know. "Hermes?" He appeared. "What happened?"
"We have no idea, Xander. Not like Hades invites us down for dinner."
"Why didn't someone tell me?" he demanded calmly.
"Why would we?"
Xander stared at him. "Because him being knocked out this way let a soul be resurrected wrong." Hermes' eyes went wide. "We're presently making sure the First Evil isn't starting to get free." He looked around, not seeing the disgust that was quickly hidden. Xander stared at him. "How about this." He chained him up and smiled. "I felt that. You don't have a chaos god parent without learning to always watch your back." He felt around and zapped Hades into waking. He heard the bellow. "It's worse than you think!" he called. Hades appeared, sword in hand. "I just knocked you back awake. Someone took Willow up wrong."
Hades searched, shaking his head. "She's still there, Xander." Xander showed him. Hades stared then shuddered. "She's a conduit to the First Evil already. Check the seal?" Xander put up a mirror of Sunnydale. There was a faint glow. You could barely see it. Hades grimaced. "She's already starting to come out." He looked at Hermes, who was sneering. "He's under someone's influence."
"Got any good guesses or is it them?"
Hades checked him. "It's them." He went to get Hera and Gaia. They were in charge. They came back to free Hermes and asked him what had happened.
"Someone let the First Evil out," Xander said simply when the shouting started. They stared at him. "Willow Rosenburg's the conduit." They checked where she was and Gaia screamed, heading there. Xander, Hermes, Hera, and Hades went after her. Xander sent a shout at Phil to warn him so the SHIELD agents were out of the way when Gaia appeared and started to blast at Willow. "How do we seal her in?" Xander called to Hera, who had the prophecy.
"Seven slayers have to bleed on the seal, Xander."
"We have four." He shouted that at Alana, who took off to get the scythe and activate a few more to bring to the battle. Faith showed up thanks to Dawn beaming her, with Connor beside her. They rushed in. Xander stopped them and took them to Sunnydale. Alana sent the Cleveland slayers there with their backup agents. Alana appeared and Xander activated the next few with the help of the slayer spirit because she realized how bad it was. Alana had the Valkyries gather them to bring them to her. They were all teenagers. All trained though. This was going to suck.
Phil looked over at the battle going on. It was not pretty. He was firing on the guards to give the other agents a space to move into. "Barton, take point of C team," he ordered. "Get us a clear path. Take Stark." He nodded and turned to move his team there and take Stark with him. "Send the Hulk to Sunnydale. She left a metric ton of warriors there to guard her seal." Tony got him beamed off. Phil took one team. Clay had taken over another one that had the senior agent fall. He saw the main contingent appear and nodded. "Some of them need to be in Sunnydale," he called to Captain America.
"We sent six teams to back them up," he noted. He stared. "So that's her?"
"Her body. Part of her soul. The rest is still in Hades' realm." Steve Rogers nodded and led his people into battle. Bucky appeared with a few others and they dove in with Cap's teams. Phil's team made sure that no one got out of the portal that shouldn't. He spotted the two children and blipped down to grab them. He could tell who they were and that they were suppressed. He ended the spells around them, letting Loki and Ares regrow. "Here or Sunnydale?" he asked.
"Sunnydale," Ares said, gathering his warriors and heading there. Loki helped their side in the battle on that site. He was not pleased and it was not a good day.
Xander looked up as the Hulk appeared. "Hey."
"Hulk's seen this place," he sneered.
"This time it's worse than the purple guy. Strong god, Hulk." He pointed. "The girls have to get to that to bleed on it."
"Hulk smash!" he growled as he charged forward.
"Slayers, follow the Hulk." They rushed after him. The agents, and warriors when they showed up, helped by giving them a safe corridor to run in. He had no idea what these super warriors were called outside of annoying to kill but he was going to kill as many as he could. The Valkyries were gathering any warriors that were falling. Xander blasted a few of the vamps away from the seal to help the Hulk reach it. The girls ran around him to cut their hands and put it on the seal. The super warriors screamed in pain. "Where's the seventh?" Xander demanded. One of the Valkyries pointed behind her. "Shit!"
Buffy appeared and bled onto the seal. It glowed. "I may not be fully counted as one."
Xander gave it a second's thought and then changed one of the female warriors with them. She glowed for a minute when he tossed her the scythe. She used it to cut her hand to bleed on the seal. The seal burst into flames and they ran out to try to survive. The Hulk came out last carrying one of the slayers. Buffy was carrying one too. Xander checked and went back in for one of the warriors that was alive and not going to be able to make it. The rest were the dead. The seal sucked in just as he walked out. He made sure they didn't get sucked in and handed him to one of the Valkyries. "He should live."
Alana checked and nodded. "Right to the healers," she ordered. She looked at Buffy. "I'll take you in a few."
"I can wait. I needed to help." She looked around. "When they told me I was needed, I had no idea why."
"The First Evil," Xander said.
"I read that book. It takes a resurrection."
"Which was Willow."
Buffy stared at him. "Our Willow?" Xander nodded once. One of the Valkyries was tying a bandage over his arm, which was cut pretty badly. "Fuck no!" She looked around. "Can Dawn take me?"
"Nope. She's preggers."
"Good!" She grinned. "I need a niece." She looked around again. "What's going to happen?"
"The ones who had this plan are doomed," Xander said bluntly. "And possibly she's going with them since she's bound to them." He went to the other battle, still bleeding sluggishly while his self healing gifts worked. "Enough," he snarled quietly, exerting his true powers.
"I should have done that during the War of the Titans," Gaia said, brushing back some sweaty hair. She looked around at all the frozen people, including Phil. "There?"
"Seal's restored." He moved up to look at Willow then restarted just them. "No, you won't win."
"You're weak and puny," she sneered. He waved a hand behind him. She blinked. "You can't defeat me."
"The seal's redone." He stared at her. "Willow, she's evil. True evil. They're using you because they think you're lesser."
"She's not in here," the First Evil said smugly.
"You'd think you would've done some research, bitch. Especially since I've been possessed before." She shrieked but stopped mid-casting. Willow took over. He stared at her. "She's going to kill everyone, Wills. They're using you. Same as before. Athena and Hecate are using you as a battery and a weak pawn to play with."
She shook. "I... I love them."
"Yeah, and they only love the power. That's why Athena's tried to kill Dawn and Joyce." Willow whimpered, looking at her hands. "It's your body and your choice."
"Child," Gaia said, moving forward. "I forgive you for what they had you do, what they told you was right when in fact they were wrong." She laid a hand on her cheek. "I forgive you, Willow." Willow nodded, blinking at her, eyes wet.
The First took back over. "How sweet," she sneered. Xander stabbed her. She shrieked but Willow took back over. Gaia sent her the spell she'd need to dissolve herself and them. She did it and the First went to ashes in front of them with a scream of rage. Hecate and Athena fell at the same time, going to ashes.
Hades stared at them since he had been battling them. "I think that's proper." He blew and scattered them to the four winds. Xander sent some to another plane so they couldn't be fully reformed. Hades nodded his thanks and went to check on his wife.
Phil looked around. "Clean them up, people. They leave here in handcuffs or they don't leave." The agents rushed forward to get the bad guys down and out." Clint got a few that were trying to escape. Cap's shield knocked down a few and beheaded one demon that showed up when someone wanted to sell themselves. Xander snapped and sent power out to stun the fighting ones. They all fell down. Phil looked at him. "Xander?"
Phil walked over to look at his injuries, staring at him. "Captain?"
"Take him to medical, Agent Coulson." He nodded and took Xander with him, with a long stop somewhere for Xander to grieve and cry without having to be seen.
Roque looked around. "You pissed off the protector of humanity before a possible apocalypse. Aren't you stupid?" He and his team disappeared. The other gods left. Alana and her Valkyries showed up to take the worthy with them.
Steve looked at the mass of bodies and new inmates. He shook his head. "This shouldn't have happened."
Thor walked over. "The message I got when I got here stated that the ones responsible knocked out the few that could have stopped them."
Steve looked at him. "Is there some way to make sure that they can't go unpunished?"
"If their shades still exist, Hades can add on punishments, or the Council of Gods can."
"Can you ask them to check?"
"I can and will if Xander does not." Steve nodded. "I must see that the seal is reformed."
Loki strolled over. "It is. Ares was there, Thor. His warriors created a wedge corridor for the newly called slayers."
Thor nodded. "Thank you, Brother."
"The valkyries are busy today. We should let them work."
"Aye, we should. Alana?" She looked over. "Need thee help?"
"No, Thor. We have our duties to attend to and we are well versed in it." He nodded and walked off with Loki and Steve. They found Joyce organizing the on-site medical area for everyone else. The agents were mostly looking amazed that Joyce could handle this stuff.
Joyce looked at one that asked her. She smiled. "You forget, I had a daughter that was a slayer and Dawn."
He nodded. "We underestimate you."
She smiled. "Good." He let her lay him down so they could stitch his side back together.
"Sometimes I forget that too," Steve told him, patting him on the shoulder. "Let me do rounds." He started with Bucky. Bucky was his best friend and everyone knew that. "You okay?"
Steve stared at him. "Stitches?"
"Mental. I was just in a war against an evil thing that it took Gods to cure. Even evil gods helped."
Steve nodded. "Blew my mind the first time too. Xander was deaged for the one in New York and still helped."
"I'm insane and should be checking myself into a hospital bed."
"Welcome to being an Avenger," Clint quipped from where he was being stitched by Dawn. "You have to be mentally flexible to save the world in SHIELD. That's why the trainees have tests that have questions like 'if a chicken crosses a road, how many monkeys hold up score cards for the car accident it causes'."
"You only pass into senior agent training if you can find an answer for it and justify it," Phil agreed. He was getting some bandaging materials. "Finding an answer means you're worthy of SHIELD. Being confused or not answering means you're suited for the CIA or NSA, depending on your technology skills."
"I'm quite glad I got directly recruited instead of having to go through that," Natasha said from where she was helping bandage.
One of the younger female agents looked at her. "Were you and Summers in Sunnydale?"
"We are unsuitable for combat outside of long distance firing," she admitted, staring at her.
"You are?" she demanded, staring at her stomach. Natasha gave her a pointed look. "Wow, the best kept secret in SHIELD must be that Barton is the MAN."
"Yes I am," Clint quipped with a grin for her. "Though, that's assuming that Dawn didn't do it to them both. Which.... not this time but it could happen."
"I'll keep that in mind, Barton." She sat up, holding her new bandage over her stitches. "I hope it's easy, healthy, and doesn't have colic when it comes out, Agent Romanoff. You're a braver woman than I am. I've made sure I never have to go there or through that sort of pain." She got up and walked off, wincing.
"No spreading that please," Dawn quipped as she wrapped a bandage over the stitches she had done. "Before we have more incidences like last time."
"Not a problem. I run from the press like they're hellhounds," that agent quipped with a wave back at her.
"Hellhounds can be pretty funny," Dawn said, grinning at the agent staring at her. "One keeps following Spike like he's his personal deity and is going to open the gates to Alpo Heaven for him."
The agent shuddered. "I met him when he went to Dallas to eat someone."
Dawn grinned. "He used to babysit me. I learned a lot from Spike. And Xander."
"Great," he agreed, getting up once she was done so someone else could have the medical treatment. He went to stare at the battlefield with the other walking agents. "I say we get really drunk and then write our reports."
"Write it during the hangover, I'll expect them by Monday," Joyce called.
"Yes, ma'am," they called back. Stark called someone to get them beamed back to HQ so they could clean up, change clothes, and then hit a bar. New York City's bars were going to have a good night tonight since it was SHIELD policy that no more than three agents could be in the same bar at the same time. Apparently there had been a situation once with too many agents knocked out and no one to rescue them or something.
Hades looked at the Council of Gods. "I want them charged," he said bluntly. "Today."
"They are dissipated."
"Parts of their souls are still there." He summoned them and put them in front of the Council. "For not only interfering with another kingdom's running by knocking out all of us in charge, but also for forcing other gods to aid their insane plan and for nearly destroying all of the world."
"We are gods," Athena sneered.
Hades looked at her. "No, you were a Goddess, Athena. Now you're nothing." She tried to hit him but he hit her with some power and she screamed, shrinking away from him. "What? Did Xander's former lovers get you?" he sneered with an evil smirk. Persephone had been in a *very* bad mood when she had delivered the three souls there. "Also I charge them with making my wife miscarry."
The six seated Council members, all from different pantheons, nodded in unison. "That is another serious charge," one agreed. "Especially as that should not be possible for a Goddess without serious problems from her mind."
"No, they took it to raise their power levels," Hades said.
"That's more serious than them making her miscarry," the head God noted quietly. He looked at the two goddesses and the mortal soul. "How is she involved?" Hades showed them. Then what had happened during the battle. The Council conferred and nodded. "We are not over mortal souls, even those bound to a God's," the head decided. "But we still feel she should be somewhat punished, even though she was used. As is, Hades, she is still yours to punish."
"I thank you," Hades agreed.
"The two former goddesses will have a full trial. We cannot condone them acting against humanity in such a way. Did Alexander not feel it?"
"No. They had her cloaked. She wasn't near the seal at all. It was cloaked as well."
"Then they planned it." She looked at the others then at him. "Where is he?"
"Being healed by his mate. He had to help Willow end it. They had been best friends since his last mortal childhood."
"That is a weakness that no *true* god would allow," Hecate sneered.
"And yet, you two bound yourself to a mortal soul," Hades snapped back. "Shut up." She flinched back because he could still hurt her until the Court took over control of her shade.
"Yes, we believe she should," the head God said. "We will hold them until the full trial, Hades, but we are not taking control of them. They are under your aegis until the trial."
"I can have guards come help," he promised, summoning some. "These shades are going under full trial. Guard them as they're ours until that point." They nodded and moved to put the shades back into confining jars. "Let me check on Xander," he said quietly, taking Willow home to toss her back among Xander's former lovers. They would rip her apart for hurting him but Hades didn't really care. He found Xander and Phil sitting on a hillside in Asgard's coldest part, which made him shiver from the wind. He sat down on Xander's free side. "She's been placed with your former paramours," he said quietly. "Hecate and Athena are going under full trial."
Xander nodded. "Have them throw a dinner or whatever if they want or need to."
"I showed them why you didn't realize when they asked."
Xander looked at him. "Did I?"
"If you had, you would've ended it long ago," Hades reminded him.
Xander nodded. "I hoped I wasn't ignoring it because it was Willow."
"No, you wouldn't and Phil would've sensed that and called you on it, Xander."
"I would have," Phil agreed.
Xander hugged Phil against him. "Thanks." He looked at Hades. "'Sephone?"
"Not great. She had been pregnant," he said quietly. Xander growled low and softly. "We'll heal." He patted him on the head, making his hair lay down. "Go get warm. Before you get sick." He went home to warm up and talk to his wife. She needed to grieve and be held.
Xander looked at Phil. "If you had subconsciously realized I would've too," Phil reminded him.
Xander nodded, leaning against his side. "I know. Thank you for reminding me."
"You're welcome. If I could have, I would've gotten to her myself."
"I know. That's what's so great about you." He sneezed. "Let's go home?" Phil got them home and into bed with hot teas. He got Asclepias up there to check the injuries he had healed.
The healer looked at him. "How did you catch a cold?"
"We were sitting on a hillside," Phil admitted. "Xander needed some quiet."
"Great." He dosed them both for that and made sure of the injuries. They would be fine, even if Xander was upset. He went back to helping Hermes calm down. Hermes had been horrified at his actions while under compulsion and was trying to right his own mind.
Xander sneezed again but finished his tea and curled up against Phil's side to rest. Even if he couldn't sleep he needed rest. Phil slid down to hold him once he had finished his own tea. He knew Xander needed the comfort and that's what he was there for as his husband.
Dawn looked up that night from cuddling Natasha when Clint came in. "Hug?" she offered, raising an arm up.
He slid in on her free side to hug her. "I'm sorry, I know she was a friend."
She shrugged. "She had issues. I'm sorry you guys had to fight with her."
"Better us than you getting hurt again," he said quietly, giving her a squeeze. He reached over to pat Natasha's stomach since she was asleep. If she had been awake she might've tried to swat him for it. Instead, she moaned and stretched against Dawn's side. "Relax, we're all good." They nodded and Dawn cuddled him. "Who has the baby?" Dawn grimaced and pointed at where he was napping in the middle of the shelf that held the stereo setup. He had Tsarina held tightly against his chin but she didn't seem to mind too much. She was taking a bath instead of fighting him. Clint looked around, spotting Loki cat, who was of course staring at them. He patted the couch and Loki hopped down to cuddle them. Tsarina lapped the baby's fingers then nipped at one, making him let go. She stretched on her way over to lay on Natasha's side. "Why don't you two curl up with Dawn?"
"Our son is brilliant," Dawn said dryly.
"I knew that. You two have made him a really smart little guy," he shot back with a smile.
"No, I mean he looked at me earlier, while holding Loki cat, and called me Mama Pet."
Clint snickered. "So because we stroke you, pet you, cuddle with you like the cats, you're the human pet?"
"I think so."
"That makes much sense," Natasha said, petting the cat that had woken her by jumping onto her chest. "She is not our pet, Tsarina. She is the wife. That's a different sort of pet." She tipped her head back, getting a kiss. "Though I do agree, he is brilliant." She took a kiss from Clint when he leaned over. She smiled and petted the cats then handed them to Dawn, who petted them. They meowed at her and she grinned, teasing them a bit. They enjoyed that. Especially Loki cat.
Clint took a kiss. "Want me to make dinner?"
"I made a salad to go with the Chinese I picked up on the way back from the office after the battle," Dawn said.
He grinned. "I love that." He went to get them food. Natasha turned a bit green but he handed her the bottle of dressing, which helped. Clint ate a bite then the ladies ate dinner. He had no idea why Natasha had picked up Dawn's morning sickness issues but it was probably safer. Pregnancy made you do many weird things and Clint would never mention it if she didn't. Mostly because Natasha would try to kick his ass.
Dawn walked into the tea shop one of the coven that her niece was working with ran. She sighed, looking at her. "I need a good OB suggestion."
"Why?" she snorted. "Not needing something flashy?"
"No, I need someone decent. Natasha's is a bit like a drill instructor. My last one is handling pregnant women in Honduras."
The witch shook her head. "You do draw attention to those with the gifts."
"Sure, make people quit trying to kidnap my ass," she said dryly. "Then I'd quit doing it as often outside of apocalypse battles."
"You could do more earth-centered things," she said smartly.
"I love my job. I love what I do all day. My bosses know about my unique gifts. Plus I get to play with my niece most days if I want to." The woman grimaced. "Not all of us who have the gifts need to use them for our careers. I use mine plenty of times as a guardian."
"I suppose that's true, though I doubt the Goddess would like it."
Dawn snorted. "The only one I care about's opinion is Xander and Phil."
She frowned. "Who?"
"Alexander? And his mate Phil? Both over the protection of humanity?"
"Oh." She found a book next to her. Dawn pulled a better one from her shelves to hand over. She looked that up and sighed. "It seems you picked the right one to follow then, Miss Summers." She handed the book back. "There's very few OB's out here that work with us and most of them are the gentle earth mother sort."
"I don't mind that. I'm not due until next summer, and I'll probably be back in New York by then, but I still need an OB to watch over me. I have a birthing center there that I liked last time. They were really nice, didn't tell me to quit swearing." The older woman smirked at her for that. "My spouses were off hunting bad guys while I was in labor. Hell yes I swore." She laughed at her. "A lot. And turned some bad guys trying to attack into toads." She smiled. "But I need one out here to watch over and do the prenatal vitamins and do the routine things."
"There's a few who wouldn't mind. Do we know anything about the child?"
"I'm pretty sure it's a girl and she's going to be active. It missed Philip, but this one I'm pretty sure is going to have a gift."
She wrote down a name and number. "She's a midwife but she can do the prenatal vitamins and all that for you." She handed it over.
"Thank you." Dawn got some tea and smiled. "Pepper's birthday is in three weeks."
"If she's pregnant, she can't have that version of the peppermint." She got her one that was safe. Dawn grinned and they made up a nice basket for Pepper so Dawn could buy it and take it back to the office. The elder witch shook her head. "The young have forgotten the older traditions." She wrote an email to that member of the coven that she had referred Dawn to her. That way she was warned she'd have a super powerful person as a patient soon. That would possibly mean some press attention.
Dawn looked in the office at a funny feeling. Pepper was grimacing but drinking some tea. "Is that the stuff I got you?" she asked, walking in there. "I can get you something else if you don't like it."
"It tastes odd today."
Dawn took it to sniff. "That's not the tea I got you. That's .... That's not safe." She called the NY clinic. "Doc, who's in ours today? Pepper just drank some tea that's poisonous." She nodded. "Please." She hung up and called an ambulance. "We have the nosy one down there," she explained. "Someone switched my boss's regular tea with a poisonous one. I need an ambulance at the main office for Stark International please. She's pregnant as well." She hung up when they said they'd send one. "C'mon, Pep." She helped her up, grabbing her purse. "Insurance cards?"
"Dresser." Dawn ran off to get them and got back there while the paramedics were loading her. Pepper waved Dawn in so she climbed in with her, taking the cards. "How did it get changed?"
"I don't know," Dawn admitted. "I only bought you pregnancy-safe teas and that's outright poisonous." She looked at the paramedic with them. "I smelled a toadstool-like fungus and some nightshade."
"You deal in herbs?"
"I do sometimes." She grinned. "And I know how to brew poisons."
"Oh, so that's how you knew. Will it cause her to miscarry?"
"And die probably. I'm *so* going to find out who did it and beat them to death." She helped Pepper onto her side because the medicine they gave her was making her start to vomit. She called someone. "It's me, it's important. Pepper's on her way to the ER. Someone switched her tea to something harmful. Please grab the bag. Thanks, Mom." She hung up. "She'll get it to Steve and have it run for fingerprints and stuff, Pepper." Pepper nodded, heaving again. Dawn helped until they got to the ER. They wouldn't let her go back with her.
Tony walked into the police station to get Dawn. He was let into the interrogation room with the officer. "Fingerprints," he said, handing them over.
"Someone at SHIELD?" Dawn guessed.
"Yup. Hates Steve is in control. Figured even if it wasn't his he'd be upset. Which, yeah, he took it out on the guy then handed him over." Dawn smirked. "Good job. She'll be home tomorrow after some monitoring."
"Good. Did they manage to save the baby?"
"Yup." Dawn got helped up. "You done accusing her?"
"She's the only one who knew poisons around your CEO," the officer defended.
"Yeah, we like that." He smiled. "It means she can identify them when they show up or use them when we need her to for SHIELD."
"Now and then I make one to throw on bad demons attacking too," Dawn admitted. She put up her hair and smiled. "I don't blame you, I was the easiest suspect there was. Especially when I told the paramedic what it was." She shook his hand. "Though, your growling act? You're not real good. The growl's too high pitched to be really scary." She walked off with Tony talking about Pepper. "Anything I need to do?"
"Pepper's tea stash is being gone over by one of the chemists who has a sister that does tea things. He thinks only one other one got tampered with."
"I went to one of the local earth mother stores for pregnancy-safe ones, boss."
"I know. You'd never hurt Pepper or yourself." They walked out into press people. "Guys, must you?"
Dawn smiled. "Someone who hated Pepper's relationship did it, people. I was just an easy target because I told them what was in the poison by smell." They got out of their way but followed them to the car. She smiled. "You borrowed my car?"
"Yeah, I'm taking you home. Happy will pick me up in a few." He smirked. "I wanted to road test it again anyway." He got in and Dawn got into the passenger's side. They took off.
The press waited on an officer to come out so they could yell questions at them. Finally the captain came out and told them to go away so they yelled questions at him. He glared. "No, she was not under arrest. It's natural to suspect the person who told you what the poison was by smell." He walked off.
That gave the reporters nothing new but it meant that they could spin a new story. Maybe Dawn was more dangerous than her spouses thought. Or maybe just more dangerous than they were.
Dawn walked in and hugged Clint and Natasha, taking a kiss from the baby who was babbling at the Mommy. "Hi."
Clint grinned. "Good work helping her, Princess." He looked at Tony. "Eating dinner with us, Stark?"
"Nope. I figure you guys are going to want to pat the baby and stuff. I'm waiting on Happy."
Dawn walked him in and handed him some water with a smile. "Not like you haven't heard them talking to the baby before, boss."
"Good point." He smirked and took Philip to cuddle since he was reaching for him. Philip gave them all a smug look and cuddled in. He fell asleep a few minutes later. "Wow, I'm good. I need that skill on Chris sometimes."
Dawn carefully took him back to put into bed. "His favorite's Steve."
"I know. It kinda sucks that my kid likes someone better." He looked at Natasha. "How's he doing on that?"
"He still refuses to eat for her at times." Happy pulled in so Tony left with a grin. Dawn came back out and got another round of kisses. "Are you all right?"
"I'm good." She cuddled her. "Clint?" He stared at her. "Is that a 'supper's going to be late' look or a 'I'll let you eat it off my abs' look?"
He smiled. "It's soup so you can't eat it off me." He let them eat and then took the girls in to talk to the babies. Which made both mommies happy.
Dawn pulled into her parking spot the next morning and got out, watching the reporters watch her. "What, people? We have stuff to do today."
"How do you know poisons?" one yelled. "How good are you at them?"
"I'm fairly good at them. I learned them because I was having to separate healing spells from them in a mixed book someone wrote." They groaned. "Sometimes healing spells are handy, guys. Anything else?" They huffed off. She smiled and went inside. "Geeze, just make me seem more dangerous than I am," she complained when she ran into Steve in the hallway.
He laughed. "We all know you're very dangerous at times, Dawn."
She nodded. "But I don't usually want to be around here." She walked into the office after logging in. "Hey, boss."
"Why didn't you take her to our infirmary?"
"The new doc. Plus we don't have what we'd need down there to make her vomit it back up safely. He's cleaned the whole closet. I've started a restock list through Doctor Pigalli."
"Fuck," he muttered.
"He still thinks he's here to send people on. It would've taken longer to go down there and get him to call one after we had another argument. So I called Doc first and asked her, then called an ambulance."
"No, that was the right thing. We've talked to him about that."
"He sent Patty on when she started to spot and just needed some quiet resting time."
"Great." She got the list and brought it back. "When did she see it?"
"Two weeks ago when she was out to do a last check of Clint's thigh."
"We need someone skilled in trauma."
"We need a GP skilled in trauma," Dawn corrected. "We don't usually need a surgeon and when we do, it's usually things like deep stitches, which they could do. We don't need a specialty team, not like SHIELD does. Ours are burns and cuts, sometimes explosions, instead of combat injuries."
"Good point. They ask you about the poisons?"
"Yup, told them the truth too. I learned by separating out healing spells from them in a mixed book Rosenburg did."
"Wow. Why ...." Dawn shrugged. "Good point, who knows with her."
"She was good until she got addicted," Dawn sighed, shaking her head. "Now we know more about why she got so far into her addiction."
"Yeah, we do." He stared at her. "You okay?"
"I lost her a long time ago, Tony. The friend and big sister sort she was left us before she destroyed Sunnydale. That was just a wrongly pulled back golem of her."
"Good. Need to talk? Pep's in bed."
"No, I'm good." She smiled. "We cuddled and talked about it after the battle. Thanks though."
"Not a problem. Go do assistant things. I have no idea what half of these papers are."
Dawn looked and took half of them back. "Not right or ours." She told him what the remaining folders and stacks of paper were. He grinned and got to work while she took the others to hand to Steve since they were SHIELD things, then got back to work.
Steve looked at the papers and groaned. He had forgotten he had left them on Pepper's desk last night. He hated paperwork. He really needed to let Joyce handle them while he went on a mission or something.
Dawn got to meet with her OB midwife for the first time the next week, smiling and shaking her hand when the nurse was let into the room she was in. "Good afternoon."
"Miss Summers." She looked at her. "I didn't know you followed the traditional ways."
"Slightly. I'm not a Wicca follower for the most part. I do know that since Tara's on the east coast, she'll be helping with the baby's birth. As I did with hers. But she is active. Very active. I woke up this morning to my stomach glowing."
Dawn nodded. "I'm pretty sure she's inheriting some of the Key, yup."
"That's fine." She came in to look her over. "How earth-centered are you?"
"Maybe thirty percent of the time. I don't do a lot of healing. I do a lot of protecting. I do help my niece learn the healing stuff that she's going over."
"I've heard about Callia. They say she's got a good hand with some things."
Dawn smiled. "Especially engineering things."
"It's always good to find your place."
Dawn grinned. "I love my job. I really do. I'd like fewer huge battles in my life but I love my job."
The midwife smiled. "That's a great thing in life." She checked her vitals. "You seem healthy enough."
"Usually. I get some funny morning sickness things, mostly due to the poisonings we had last time. Which somehow Natasha's picked up." She frowned but let it clear up. The nurse stared at her. "Because I got poisoned a few times last time, the morning sickness turned into I'd throw up anything that I didn't see made or was made by someone I absolutely trusted. Like Clint cooking."
"Hmm. So it warped psychologically?"
"Then again, I had poisoned apple juice for about two months on and off."
"Ow. Are you foreseing that this time?"
"Possibly. No one's had any visions. I'm kinda glad I don't have as many visions anymore. A wish demon wanted to grant them to someone so I let her take my gifts for it and fall back to mostly dream visions or emergencies instead of every huge thing gong on visions."
"Someone wished for them?" She looked confused.
"Xander and I figured they had a bad thing happen and wanted them in case something huge was going to happen again."
"That makes sense. So you kept some but not all?" Dawn nodded with a grin. "That's probably handy."
"Visions, as we're finding out, can cause massive brain changes. Cordelia died of hers," she said more quietly. "Before mine got taken, I was showing a substantial change as well." The nurse shuddered. "Someone at Stark is trying to find a good post-vision med to help beyond migraine meds and adrenaline."
"Or an epi pen. It seems to help the rush and then crash that you get during and afterward."
"I did not know that." She made that note to herself. "I have a few friends who have them sometimes."
"We end up in the infirmary under our doc's care but the local one doesn't understand that he's a full clinic and not an emergency bandaging station."
"I've seen those before. Including yours." She smiled. "He worked in an ER I'm affiliated with." She came over to listen to her stomach, then pulled out her hand-held ultrasound wand to check the heartbeat. "Good rhythm."
"We're pretty sure she's a single," Dawn said. "When I had a bit of spotting, the ER did an ultrasound to make sure of things and she was a single then."
"That's good. Your first was?"
"Well..... Slight time fixing issue meant that I didn't get given the fertility meds I had before then so I went from a twin to a single with Philip." The nurse stared at her. Dawn ran a hand through her hair. "There was huge shit and Hera let Clint fix it so they wouldn't all be destroyed. It meant that the people who used to subtly dose me with fertility meds now and then couldn't then."
"Huh. You live a very weird life."
"Sometimes." She grinned. "But usually it's just office stuff and fussing over the geeks."
"Which can be very nurturing." Dawn grinned. "You're how far?"
"Got pregnant after the Stark Halloween party I think."
"Okay." She made note of that. "You're sure?"
"They were too tired for sex for the next week. We were all kinda sore afterwards too."
The nurse laughed. "Is your wife pregnant as well?"
"Yup, but she's going to an OB that's kinda....like a drill sergeant."
"I know a few of those."
"My last one was really supportive and I adore her but she's in Honduras."
"That's a great thing but kinda sad."
"My first attempt with Philip, we loved his partner, he did a lot of SHIELD's pregnancies and pills, but his partner didn't like my faith, thought I was a bit too subby, and tried to have me arrested as a threat to myself and others." The nurse shook her head. "Yeah. It was why we switched." She grinned. "I just need someone to do the routine things, make sure I get my prenatal vitamins and all that. I'll probably be back in New York after the spring battle so I have a birthing center there I adore. They were great."
"That's good. Do you have one picked for when you go back?"
"Doctor Pigalli, our head doc on the east coast, is picking me one." She smiled. "She picked my last one."
"That's good." She patted her on the hand. "What about your diet instead of vitamins?"
Dawn slowly shook her head. "I'm not getting enough calcium. I hate milk. Clint's a great cook and I'm pretty decent, and so's Natasha, but they eat like agents, for high energy needs."
"That figures. We can do that. What were you taking?" Dawn held up a photocopy of a label. "That's pretty standard and the standard dosage. Did she have any concerns with your last pregnancy?"
"Not really. Now and then I had a few stressed days. She was worried because we had a few attacks. She was really worried because of the poisoning things. Which, me too. And Doc out there. So far no one's tried to attack us for me being pregnant or tried to poison anyone but Pepper because they hated Cap."
The nurse smiled. "That's fine then. No worries about your blood pressure? Blood sugar?"
"No, not often. There's been days, ya know?"
The doctor nodded. "I've had them too. That's why I went to nursing school from being a bank teller." Dawn smiled. "So far you're looking good. Try to meditate away any stress. It could help and you could probably even touch the baby."
"I'm hoping she's going to be pretty normal. I helped with one magically active baby that came out as a ball of glow." The nurse shivered. "Pretty powerful, yeah. But she's already learning."
Dawn grinned. "Tara and her coven on the east coast are great with the mini witches around the family and friends."
"I've heard they were nice women." She patted her on the knee. "Try for a slightly balanced diet. Though, shoes?"
"Tiny, narrow feet. I can't find shoes."
"There are people who custom make them."
"They're really expensive and I'm too practical to spend a grand on a pair of shoes."
"Later on in my last pregnancy I switched to ballet shoes."
"Those have to be comfortable." She smiled and wrote out her prescription for the vitamins. "There you go. See me in a month."
"Yup, thanks." Dawn hugged her and went to make the appointment then head back to work.
The nurse smiled and made her notes. "She's a nice girl. You'd expect her to be harder with all that you see her in battles."
Clint was at the music store, getting Callia something, when he got found by reporters. "I'm only picking up for Callia's music lessons," he said, sounding tired as he walked past them. He hated reporters. The shop clerk smiled. He grinned back. "Always," he complained quietly. He paid and took the bag, walking back out into the ambush. "What?"
"Dawn's having an easier pregnancy this time, Agent Barton?" one asked with a happy, beaming smile.
"Yeah, it's a lot easier since no one's tried to poison or kill her this time." They all stared at him. He shrugged. "We've been very protective this time."
"How's Pepper Potts doing?" another asked, trying to push forward.
"She's fine. The kids are all staring at her stomach. Liz remembers when she was carrying Chris so she's cooing at it. Chris is scowling a lot more because it means there's not as much lap room for him. Callia's happy because it means her siblings quit trying to steal her hair bows from her hair and things like that. It also lets her work on things without everyone hovering over her."
"How is that new half-brother you found in the LAPD doing since he got fired?" another asked.
"I haven't talked to him in days. We're not that chatty sort of people. Dawn might've, ask her."
"Is Agent Romanoff pregnant as well?" one of them asked with a grin. "We saw her out at lunch the other day with that new person on Stark's staff that we don't know yet and she looked a bit squeamish about tunafish subs."
"Ask Natasha. I'm not giving out anything I'm not allowed to, guys. Natasha would gut me and then do something mean to me before she killed me if I gave out any information on her."
"Who is that new staff guy?" another reporter asked. "Is he a guard or something?"
"That's Agent Barnes. He's a backup Avenger and Natasha knew him when she was younger. He's been in a few bad places over the years so we're helping him readjust and the kids think he's great because he can read to them. We trust him even if Philip needs some help." Most of the reporters went 'aww' at that. He grinned. "Anything else? I've got to get this back to Callia. She snapped a string."
"What's she learning how to play?"
"She's got a few choices. This is for her upright bass." He walked around them, going to the truck so he could head back. He made sure to check it for anything before he got in. Which was a good thing when he found a device. "Huh." He tossed the strings into the front seat and got down to look at it, undoing the slight bomb. He came out holding it. "Someone call someone beyond Stark for me? This close might still set it off."
"Already called," two chirped in unison.
"Is that a bomb?" one asked, moving closer.
Clint stared at her. "Yes, it is. Move back before it goes boom and makes you bits and pieces." Her eyes went wide and she slowly backed off. "Thanks." Cruisers showed up. "Guys, I took it off the truck when I saw it was totally freefloating on the magnets. Do we have a bomb box?"
"Sir?" one asked, hand on his gun. "Who're you?"
"Agent Clint Barton, SHIELD." He stared at him. "This is my truck."
"Oh. Okay. So you pulled the bomb off without waiting on bomb squad?"
"Yup. It was only attached to magnets. It looks like a remote detonator so I broke the antenna."
"Sure," that officer agreed. The others were calling in for bomb boxes. The SWAT truck got there. Clint held up the bomb. "That, sir."
The captain walked over. "Magnets?"
"Yup. I checked, no wires or anything. Broke the antenna. Don't have on gloves, sorry."
"That's okay. We have yours on file in case I'm sure. If not, we can come get them." They took the bomb and carefully put it into a lead box. "That was still fucking dumb."
Clint grinned. "Sometimes special agents are special for multiple reasons."
"Clearly your's is *special* in that bad way. What would your wife say?"
"That she's going to kill them. A lot. Then again, she's just starting into mood swings."
"Thanks for the warning," one of the guys quipped. "The other one?"
"Natasha said I'm not allowed to give any information out no matter what, guys. Though, yeah, wasn't in a happy mood this morning. Her shirt shrank in the wash or something."
The captain gave him a pointed look. "Should we hear about any anti-kidnaping or other procedures you've set up? Some of us looked up what happened when Summers was pregnant before."
"We've only had one attempt. The compound's a bit more tight than the building in New York is." That got a nod. His phone beeped so he looked at the text message. "Why?" he muttered, texting that. He got another as he was typing so canceled the message to look at it. "Fuck." He got into the truck. "Let me go help with that. Dawn said Agent Barnes left you guys a mess at the Subway by the compound, guys." He closed the truck door and drove off, shaking his head because only a pregnant Dawn got those sort of issues.
Dawn walked Natasha into the OB midwife's shop. They were having a lamaze class so Dawn got them into a corner to follow along. The midwife looked at her. "Someone just tried to steal her. So we're going to learn how to meditate away stress."
"That's always a great thing," the OB said with a smile. "Welcome, Natasha. I'm Dawn's OB midwife." She shook her hand and gave her a pillow to sit on. Then one to Dawn. "There, get comfortable, calm down, let's start some meditative breathing for you two. These ones are closer to their due dates and Dawn's a bit further out." Natasha nodded, calming herself. Dawn was doing the same, holding her hand. The midwife smiled at the others. "Dawn's having a beautiful girl she thinks." They all smiled and got back to the breathing exercises to help them with the pain they'd be going through.
Natasha watched. Dawn hadn't done much of that last time but it looked handy. She calmed herself and let herself fall into a gentle, upper level meditative calming down. She'd be able to handle it immediately if someone broke in but otherwise it was good. She didn't realize she was letting herself fall deeper, nearly into a sleep state. At least until someone sat against her knees and rubbed her stomach and arms for her. She blinked. Clint grinned. "Bucky handled it," she said quietly.
"I know." He went back to helping. "They said this'll help when the baby's being pushed out."
"It feels nice now." Dawn grinned. "We should have attended lamaze classes, not watched it online last time." Dawn smirked. "Come, we will help each other."
"He gets you, you get mine." She nodded. "Then we'll learn in case something happens and Clint ends up pregnant thanks to a nosy goddess sort."
Clint snorted. "I'm so glad that I don't have Roque's mother." They arranged themselves.
The midwife came over. "They can?"
"Roque's mom is an African fertility goddess," Clint said with a grin for her. "Yeah, she's trying very hard to get one from his very male mate."
"They're on the IUD system to make sure it won't happen," Dawn quipped.
"Wow. I didn't even think about that."
"There's been a potion and spell that's really hard that's been floating around for years," Dawn said. "Xander's book collection has a few mentions of it and I found it in Willow's diary. She was thinking about using it on Xander."
The midwife shuddered. "That poor man." They went back to it and she gave Clint some quiet orders, getting a nod and him shifting some to help ease the strain on his arms and knees. Dawn grinned and giggled, wiggling away from Natasha's fingers. "Laughter during pushing is a good thing. You don't hurt as much if you're laughing."
"Hell, last time we begged the nurse to give Dawn more drugs," Clint quipped. "She *shared*."
Dawn smirked. "Yay?"
He kissed her then Natasha. They got back into it then the breathing exercises. Natasha was even calm and smiling by the end of the class. Clint thanked the nurse and they walked out to the truck, where Bucky was waiting. "Barnes, if I'm absent, it's you, Stark, or Coulson who's helping them through the delivery process. You're the only three we'd trust with them being vulnerable and naked during it. So bone up on lamaze stuff." He got the ladies into the truck. Then he walked around to drive.
"Yay," Dawn said with a grin and a blown kiss for him. "Last time there was an attack on the birthing center I was in and they were chasing bad guys all over the city. I had to summon Benji and Fury both to try to find them. And Stark but he had to handle things."
Bucky shuddered. "If you go into labor, I'll take their places and send them back." He walked off shaking his head. He sent a complaining text to Steve. He'd understand and sympathize. They could make good plans to make sure neither scary lady went into labor on her own this time. Even if he had to go kill a lot of bad guys this time. He got back to the compound. Steve looked out from the office. "Got any ideas?"
"They'll need a good guard. There's been a tiny bit of talk about taking her daughter. They can always train her to be as good as her mothers and then breed from her later. Last time, most of us were out of contact for most of the day due to the attack on our meeting."
"She just threatened to make me sit with her and that I should learn lamaze stuff," Bucky complained.
"Yeah, that's a great idea," Stark agreed with a grin. "If we're off handling Avengers things, you're about the only guard since Dawn would probably be in labor with Pepper and so would Natasha. We'd need at least one of the guards there to protect the kids."
Bucky stared at him then said something rude in Russian before stomping off. "I don't want to see the supposed miracle of birth!"
"Why not? It's kinda gross but they're naked and it comes out of their panty-covered parts," Callia quipped as he stomped past her. "I saw Chris being born and it was gross but like a movie gross."
He glared at her. "I'll train some people to handle it."
She grinned. "Good idea!" She hugged him. "Because I don't to watch the next one being born either. I don't need to see babies until I have my own." She skipped off.
Bucky moaned, calling Coulson to see if he help him make plans for the birth. With their luck, all three would go into labor at the same time. Steve would be beside Pepper, even if there was an emergency going on. Clint would have to handle things to protect his women. That would mean Bucky would have to see that disgusting stuff. Which he really didn't want to do. He didn't mind naked, sweaty women but he wasn't into naked, sweaty, pushing out a baby women.
Phil looked at his phone since he was in a trainers meeting. He smiled. "Barton just informed Barnes he's the backup security detail for when the three of them go into labor."
Maria paused to consider it. "Potts is pregnant too." Phil smiled and nodded. "I heard rumors about the others.... Yeah, you'll need one. Work one up with him, Coulson, and hand it to me later."
"I can do that."
"If the new baby Barton's going to have luck like her mom and Liz did, then we'll have something bigger than a celebutante bimbo witch attacking the city," another of the trainers quipped.
"Liz's Dawn luck moment wasn't exactly the same."
The trainer looked at him. "Some of us got the file to stomp on the plans going on."
"No comment," he ordered, staring at her.
"I'd never do that, Coulson."
"Thank you." He smiled. "And don't let your husband, who gave out my phone number, do so either?"
"Nope, he's not allowed since he got fired for that." She gave him a pointed look. He stared back. "They'll be fine."
"We hope," Maria agreed. "Dawn's already had one moment so far."
"Barnes said that someone tried to capture Agent Romanoff at the Subway they were eating at," Phil said. Maria Hill stared at him. He nodded once.
"Interesting," Maria agreed. "Because of....."
"The obvious he thinks."
"Huh. Look at the security arrangements Barton already has for those three women."
"She is?" another trainer demanded. Phil stared at her, face unreadable. "I mean, Natasha is?" Maria blinked at her. "Wow, so we've got two security needs people plus Potts. I thought we were moving two agents out there due to Dawn being pregnant."
"We're not moving anyone yet," Phil said.
She pulled up the orders. "Two of mine got sent."
They looked at it and Maria got them recalled to the building by force. "That was not signed off on." She called Steve, sending him those orders in his email. He could handle it.
Ten minutes later, Phil's phone went off. "The Avengers are assembling. Let me go handle that." He left, going to the LA compound to see what was going on. Captain America was stomping around in a hissy fit worthy of a teenage girl. Bucky was quietly cleaning his weapons. Stark had an extra suit being stashed in case. Barton was walking out wearing his wife's holding necklaces, all of them. "This looks like it's a bad thing."
"Very, and related to why they tried Natasha, sir," Clint said with an icy smile. He let him see the information they had gotten.
Phil lost all sense of calmness and any regard for fair play. He made sure he had weapons as well. Bucky was staring at him. "I was a field agent first, and a Marine before then, Barnes."
Dawn walked out with the office first aid kit, which barely closed so she had clearly restocked it. She took a kiss from Clint and gave Phil and Tony a hug. She patted Steve on the shoulder because he'd never take a hug when he was in uniform. She patted Bucky on the head. "Okay, you guys be safe. Be careful. If they so much as graze you I'm going to get to have my first official mood swing." She smiled. "Blow someone up for Natasha. She's feeling a bit blood thirsty today." She took another kiss from Clint then walked out.
Tony looked at Coulson. "Her first mood swing was yesterday when she cried because they only had jell-o in the caf."
"Thankfully I had stocked some Ben and Jerry's at home," Clint quipped with a grin. He settled in. "Am I flying us?"
"Rhodey's almost here," Tony said. "He's flying us. That way you can rest." That got a nod and Colonel Rhodes walked in, letting the suit-take off system in there take off his too. "Good, we're all here." They closed the door of the quin jet and took off once Rhodey had gotten into the pilot's seat.
Someone was going to be very sorry they wanted Natasha's kid.
And then they'd die.
Pepper looked at the other two pregnant women, who were being guarded in the office with her by Happy and a few of the compound guards outside the doorway. "We have to work out a few plans of our own, ladies." Dawn smiled at her. "I know you'll go on leave as late as possible and work from home for part of it. So will I. Natasha?"
"I don't plan on taking leave until it is absolutely necessary," Natasha said. She realized she couldn't cross her feet like normal and stared at her stomach then looked at them. "I plan on taking minimal leave afterward until I'm back in shape."
"By SHIELD rules, you have ten weeks to make it over the obstacle course in at least eighty-percent of trainee time," Dawn said. "You have a full six months to make it over in regulation time." She pulled that information packet up and sent it to a virtual screen near Natasha's seat on the couch.
Natasha read it over and nodded. "I got most of that but that is good to know." She closed that screen and looked at Dawn. "I know last time was irregular and you were planning on only taking the last month off." Dawn smiled and nodded. "This time?"
"We need a housekeeper this time," Dawn admitted. "Neither of us is going to feel like handling anything. Much less vacuuming up kid messes."
"Hmm. Philip may be in potty training then," she realized. Dawn snorted shaking her head. "I know he could do so sooner."
"Not likely. He won't have the small muscle control by then," Pepper said. She pulled up potty training information for them. Dawn grinned at her. "I know you helped with Callia's. She seriously wanted out of diapers. Your son just wants to be naked."
"Often," Dawn quipped. She read it over. "We used the bribe and pouting about it method with Callia."
"We did," Pepper agreed.
Natasha looked at them. "Philip will be motivated. It will mean he can run around in his father's t-shirt more often."
Dawn nodded. "Sometimes. He's still gotta wear big boy panties."
"Good point, though I would not let Clint hear you call them panties."
"I found some pretty ones in boy colors with superheros, and ruffles the other day," Dawn said with a grin. She pulled up a picture of them. "I sent them to Clint but didn't get an answer."
Natasha looked at the tiny red Iron Man boys underwear - it had the y-front so it had to be male underwear - that did indeed have ruffles on the butt. Iron Man was on the y-front part. She nearly whimpered. "I had wondered why he went to get cookies before he banged his head into the wall. Are they perhaps in our son's drawers?"
"No, but I did find out that they made daddy and baby sets so the set of them are in Clint's for both of them so Philip can enjoy matching. Because kids love to match with their parents." She beamed. "That's why he squeals when you both wear purple for Clint."
"Ah." Natasha sighed but nodded. "Clint will hopefully be amused."
"He should be. We'll have Philip hand them to him. That way Philip can be happy that they match."
"You need a nap," Pepper complained. Dawn just smirked at her. "Though, I need those for Chris. Tony will be just tickled," she said with an evil grin.
Natasha looked at them. "Is it the hormone surges that make us like that?"
"No, we just like seeing Tony and Clint speechless," Dawn said with a mean smirk. "It's cute."
"Probably, though I haven't seen it very often." She shook her head quickly to banish the picture. Dawn put up another one. It was Hulk underwear with the same ruffles. They were Hulk green with him on both hips. "At least no child can point out that he's smashing things with his penis," Natasha decided. "Send that to your mother?"
"Already have. She's getting Bruce a set so he can help by matching with Philip too."
So it wasn't the hormones, it was a Dawn-infection that caused that mood. Good to know. "What about regular white ones?"
"Our son?" Dawn snorted. "Will he wear anything that plain?"
"Well, perhaps not," Natasha realized then sighed. "He really must learn better clothing habits."
"We're going shopping next week for him. Most of his clothes are too tight again." She smiled. "You can help."
"I do not shop."
"The kids all need some," she complained. "Even the big one."
Dawn grinned. "She can help."
"Good point." They made plans on when to go and where. The kids would behave for them and the auntie coming. "Natasha, can you come to help ride herd?"
"I can," she decided. "If I am not doing things at the office." Dawn grinned. "You can subtly help me pick up some larger shirts at the same time."
"I know a great store for that and it'll look like I'm buying them for me, dear."
"That would be good." She shifted and winced.
"Expansion pain," Dawn said.
"Okay." She looked at her stomach. "We'll do a scan next doctors' visit to see what you may be."
Pepper smiled. "Dawn?"
"Pretty sure it's a girl and I'm pretty sure she will. If not, I'll arrange it with Doc in New York. She likes to do the ultrasounds."
"She does," Pepper agreed, smiling back. "She loved doing our last ones." Dawn nodded. Their local doctor huffed in to complain about that. Pepper told him off for thinking he was in charge and he stomped off again. Pepper looked at Dawn, who pulled up a list and sent it to her tablet. "Made with....."
"Doc Shivs helped."
"Great." She smiled. "I like him." She went over it. A few had notes like 'didn't like to handle big things but was a good GP in the office' and other interesting side notes. It led to three choices that sounded nice. "When can we interview?"
"You have them set up for two days from now," Dawn said. "Also, the infirmary restock order got looked over by both Docs in New York and they were horrified that he did away with some necessary things for lab accidents."
"Great," she muttered. Dawn pulled that list up then the amended list. "Who did the inventory?"
"Shivs came out to do it. I made sure he got dinner." Dawn smiled. "He nearly threw someone out a window. Including that nurse that Pigalli fired."
"Why is she still down there then?" Pepper asked.
"No idea," Dawn admitted. "I asked HR and they said she had been fired. They said they talked to her and she keeps coming back."
Pepper nodded. "No." She shook her head. "I'll deal with that later." She made a note. Then sighed. "I see intern applications are being looked over?"
"The application itself to make sure we don't need any changes." Dawn pulled that up for her. "I haven't done much but fix last year's typos."
Pepper looked it over, looking at the 'cut' sections at the bottom of the file that could be added back in. "When did we take out the references?"
"Two years ago," Dawn said.
"A lot of good ones couldn't come up with any?"
"I'll talk to Tony." She copied that onto her tablet and put it aside for later. "Any idea on names?"
"We were going to do the same thing we did after Philip's ultrasound. Though I've gotten a few suggestions. One of the entertainment papers is running a 'give us name ideas' sort of contest and the ones that send in the winning one, meaning the ones we use, get subscriptions."
Pepper sighed. "Already?"
"Yup." She pulled it up so they could see it. "A few are sweet sounding."
"They included Russian ones," Natasha said quietly, staring at the list of suggested names.
"They figured that we went with a partially Russian name for Philip." She smiled. "I like the sound of Raisa."
"I do like that one and Idella," she said with a smile. "My sister was named Idella." Dawn got up to hug her. She patted her. "I will think on it."
"I like Ryann," Pepper admitted. "And it's easily changed for a boy."
"I see a lot of Irish and Celtic mythology names," Natasha said. "I see Klavdiya, which is Russian for Claudia. That's interesting. Not sure if I'd want a daughter with that name."
"I'm wondering if we can answer back to some of those. I'd never let my kid be Dilbert, in any meaning of the word," Pepper said. Dawn grinned. Natasha looked confused. "It's a cartoon."
"He's a frustrated office drone that has incompetent morons above him," Dawn said with a grin.
"I remember those days," Natasha said dryly, cracking the other two up. "I unfortunately see Xena."
Dawn nodded. "Us too." They sighed and shook their heads. "Xanthia's pretty or Alexia. Since he's named after Phil, we should recognize Xander somewhere."
"We may," she agreed. They paged down. "There are the Slavic and Baltic mythology names," Natasha said dryly. "Any others?"
"There's a group related to Xander's name and there's a Russian group," Dawn offered, finding those groups of suggested names.
"I like that one, Maeve," Pepper said, making a note of it.
"Euphemia?" Dawn asked.
"Means 'to speak well' in Ancient Greek," Natasha said after looking it up. "It's unusual. It has comments but half of them think it sounds like a type of cancer."
"Not really," Pepper said, frowning a tiny bit but letting it clear up. "There's always Alexandra. It seems almost universal."
Xander appeared shaking his head then disappeared quickly before Dawn could swat him.
"Alexia or Alexina," Dawn said. "We really need a way to weed down their list on them." She wrote that at the editor. It was hard to read the individual words in the piled on list they had. "Nat, if you don't want to use Idella, would you be upset if I did?"
She shook her head. "I would not mind." She smiled. "Alexia Idella?"
"Alexina Idella. That way it doesn't rhyme as much."
"That's pretty," Pepper agreed. "I've got three names: Maeve, Ravenna, and Ryann."
"I like Raisa and Xanthia, but not together," Natasha admitted. "I had not considered this before."
"Last name?" Pepper asked. "Yours, hers, his?"
"Summers," Natasha said. "We agreed on that long ago, even if Dawn has offered hyphenated names or some such." She winced and moved again. Dawn came over to help by rubbing her sides for her. "Thank you, Dawn. That is very helpful."
She took a kiss in payment and grinned at her wife. "I know."
"How did you do lamaze last time?"
"I didn't get many classes in but I dragged Benji with me. He was a bit creeped out."
"I would be as well. He's very soft spoken when he wants to be. He's probably very calm."
"Nope, saw the film and nearly passed out. Walked out babbling at someone on his phone." Dawn smirked evilly. "But he was good to have around when I needed him."
"We should see if he's not busy later on." She pulled her down beside her. Which helped since someone shot in a window. The guards went running.
Dawn stood up and carefully walked over, looking out there. "I'm going to fuck you up in ways that will make the Goddess cry!" she shouted. "You'd better run!" The guards caught him running from her. "Huh. One of the coworkers we didn't get, Nat."
Natasha shook her head. "You are not allowed to turn people into hedgehogs for the next few months, Dawn."
"Yay? I have knives and a gun on me."
"Good!" Pepper agreed.
Natasha smiled. "Only those?"
"I don't want to carry any of the poisons in case one breaks on me." She sat down again. Natasha gave her a pointed look. "I didn't think you'd want to be seen cuddling me when people got here for him." Natasha snorted. Dawn grinned and moved to sit beside her again.
"We love that you two are still mushy," Pepper said. She suddenly turned green and went to puke in the attached bathroom. "Sorry," she called.
"We've both done a lot of that," Dawn quipped. A SHIELD agent stomped in scowling. "Pepper's heaving up lunch."
"Why did they shoot at you?" he asked his superior officer. He'd ignore Dawn.
"We did not question him. I can if you wish." He went pale and shook his head. "All I know is that he shot a very low caliber gun into the window." She pointed at the mess and the bullet on the carpet. "He is pathetic in many ways."
He gathered the bullet and walked off to ask the guy that and nag him for using such a low caliber round.
Happy was watching how the agents did it, frowning at one of the guards. Then at the agent. "Why are you nagging him about using such a low caliber round? We're all pretty thankful that he did since it meant he didn't hit anyone in the office."
The agent glared at him. "Because it's demoralizing him."
Happy snorted, looking at the wanna-be hero that had worked with Clint's brother. "The girls are always going to be better than you. Hell, Callia and Liz Stark are both better bad guys than you'll ever be because they know what true evil is and enjoy it sometimes." The guy spat at him. Happy smirked. "Get up and try that."
"We're taking him into custody," the agent said.
"Then he'd be in handcuffs," one of the agents getting out of the truck said. "You wouldn't be nagging him about using low caliber rounds."
"We're really pleased he did," Happy said. "You're...."
"Agent Simmons, FBI."
"Welcome to Stark International," Happy said with a smile. "Whichever one he shot at is in the office, Agent Simmons." He looked at the idiot. "Which one were you shooting at?"
"Barney doesn't want a new niece," he sneered.
"Then you would've had to shoot twice," Happy said with an evil smirk. "Because they're both pregnant." The guy's eyes went wide. He looked beside him since he felt something brushing against his arm. "He's pouty."
Dawn nodded. "That's a sad thing."
"You're not Dawn."
"No, I'm not." She changed into Discord. "Alexander just heard." She grinned an icy little smile at him. "He's not pleased and neither is Loki. Apparently he's going to be a godparent again and is looking forward to make them sweet little fluffy girls instead of ball busting bitches like their mothers." She cracked her knuckles. "You want to tell me all about your idea, right?" The idiot was shaking his head. "Of course you do. It's me or the first time mother with mood swings. Which would you prefer?" The guy started to cry. "Awww, I love that request." She hauled him up one handed and walked off with him. "I'll give him back in a minute."
"Ma'am, if he's in custody we can't really let you torture him," Agent Simmons said.
She smirked. "I'm the Goddess Discord, mortal. But I like that you have balls."
"I'd like to keep them attached, ma'am, but if he's been read his rights, he's still ours."
"He hasn't," Happy said. "The guy hasn't made one single move to put him into custody." He heard a scream and ran back to the office. There was a mouse on the floor. And a hedgehog. "Dawn?" he called.
"Bathroom," Pepper said with a point since she was standing on her desk. "The mouse wasn't her."
"Okay." He helped her down and around the rodents. "Agent Romanoff, should I take her to the ER?" he called, walking that way. "And who was he?"
"He was Barney's usual backup bully," Pepper huffed. Happy looked at her. "We got the files."
"That's fine, Pepper." She smiled. "Want helped to the apartment?"
"No. I'll go home with the ladies tonight. It's probably safer. The kids?"
"I can get them there." She nodded. He picked up the mouse by the tail to look at it. "Where did you come from?"
Natasha came out to look at him then at it. "It was thrown through the vents." She pointed. "The hedgehog was the one who threw it." She looked. "I believe it's ill."
"Me too." He called down to biology. "Someone threw a mouse we think is sick into the office." He hung up and handed over the hedgehog to Discord when she came in. "Dawn did it, ma'am."
She looked at it and grimaced. "Too cutesy."
"She used to use mice." A guy in a lab coat leaned in. Happy held up the mouse by the tail. "This one." He carried in a plastic cage and let Happy drop it in there. "I don't think it bit anyone."
"Okay. We can test it." He looked at it through the plastic. "You're right, it's sick with something."
Discord looked and nodded. "Looks like a plague."
"Shit, they're playing dirty," Happy complained. Dawn wobbled out. "Sit down. I'll get you home in a minute."
Dawn shook her head. "I need my OB. I'm not supposed to use heavy magic, Happy." She curled up in a chair, holding her stomach.
"Lady Discord, can you please tell Alexander so he can get us there? That way Happy can protect Pepper and the children," Natasha said quietly but politely.
Xander appeared. "Shit shit shit shit. 'SCLEP!" he yelled. He appeared eating some chicken. He pointed at the mouse. "Nearly dropped next to her." He pointed at the hedgehog. "By him."
Asclepias sent his food back to his plate and moved to look over Dawn's stomach. "Calm it down," he said quietly. "Here, do this," he ordered, showing her. She concentrated on that image. It made her tap into a different Key instead of trying to tap into the one in her new daughter. "You were using that one as your primary source and now you can't."
"I thought I hit the backside of them, not the front," Dawn mumbled.
"Maybe you were." She hugged him. He kissed her on the head. "Right now, she's a little upset because you got sick." He soothed the baby while checking her, nodding. "She's fine and I've put a shield around her so you can't tap into her magic by accident."
"Thank you. I didn't think I was," she said, staring at him.
He smiled. "It's fairly common. A lot of practioners do." He ruffled her hair. "Did the mouse touch you?" She shook her head. "Any of you?"
"No," Natasha said. "Pepper screamed and climbed up on the desk."
"That's always a good response to a mouse," he said with a smile for her. "It means it can't nibble." He checked her over. "You're fine as well." Someone shot at them again and Dawn instinctively stopped the bullet. Asclepias checked and nodded. "Now you're tapping into the others so it's safer." He patted her on the head, looking at Xander. "Another bout of 'they don't want a future Barton born?"
"No idea," Xander admitted, looking that way. "It was an agent though." It happened again and Xander blocked the shot from leaving the gun and burned the guy holding it. He shrugged at the scream. "He won't do it again."
"Don't do that in front of me, Xander. Please? You know I'm compelled to help them," the healing god complained. Xander waved and put out the fire. "Thank you." He patted him on the arm. "Go eat. You're starving." He looked at Natasha. "You too."
"When we get home," she promised.
"I'll make dinner," Dawn said, smiling at her.
"That would be appreciated." She kissed her. "You make dinner very well." She walked out to see which agent was now crispy. She stared at the agent who had come in to question them. "Pity your allegiance was found first." She stared down at him. He was gasping for breath and moaning. "Alexander was very nice to you. I would have roasted you much more slowly and only a bit at a time. That way no one would want to take a shot at what is mine ever again." She looked at the FBI agents but stepped on the gun the crispy agent was trying to pull up. "Lord Asclepias nicely asked Xander to put him out so he didn't have to take care of him."
"That was really nice of him," one of the FBI agents agreed with a smile. "Where are you hiding tonight, Agent Romanoff?"
"The house. With the children. Because I know no one is stupid enough to take a shot at the children." She looked at the two idiot agents then walked back inside.
Dawn cuddled her. "Happy's driving us in my car."
"Are coming with a guard team in the specially shielded van." Pepper walked in talking to Callia. "C'mon, mini Stark. We'll go make dinner once the kids are there."
"Okay." She looked at the hedgehog. "I have cats that will still hunt you." It squeaked and tried to get away. Discord strolled in to change him back and walk him off. Callia frowned and pointed.
"That's the Goddess Discord," Dawn said quietly. "Apparently she needed a new playmate."
"I thought I was mean." She shrugged. "Okay. Let's go eat. Chris is about to try to eat Philip again." Pepper snorted. "He was! He was chewing on his ear again."
"We'll fix that once we get home," Natasha assured her. Callia ran off. She helped Dawn up. "Let's go home. We can rest in the tub after the children are down. That way our son doesn't want to help." Dawn sniffled, hugging her. "What?" she asked patiently.
"You don't usually call Philip our son." She looked at her.
"He is our son, even if you bore him. The child clearly is confused that you're the pet mother but he is our son. Or else he would eat for you more often." Dawn laughed and gave her a squeeze but walked out with her to the car. They guarded Pepper on the way. The agents checked the car before they could get into it and it was good. Much nicer.
Tony stepped off the quin jet very early the next morning. He was the last one off. He saw the tense guards and nodded at them. "What happened?" He got a report handed to him and read it over, groaning and handing it to Steve. "Dawn and them?"
"Everyone's there, Mr. Stark. They're very safe and the FBI have helped guard them tonight until the clean up team from SHIELD can handle the other agents. Though, I'm not sure if the Lady Discord has handed hers back yet."
Steve shook his head. "If she hasn't, I'll see where she buried him so I can plant the rest there."
Tony kept him from moving. "Get two hours sleep, Steve, and then go stomp them flat," he said quietly, staring at him. "You're exhausted like the rest of us."
"I guess." He texted the main office, getting one from Maria Hill. "What are you doing in already?" he muttered, texting that back. He walked off calling her. "Our mission, what happened out here, or another emergency?" he asked bluntly as he walked. He listened, pausing a bit. "But we're good now?" He looked at Tony. "No, I fully planned on going to plant them somewhere as fertilizer, Agent Hill. But if you've had that done I'll take a nap and see you in a few hours to go over what happened and how." He listened to her. "That's good. Thank you. Now, go take a nap." He hung up, looking at Tony. "They also got the person that tried to wake Natasha up but got Dawn up instead."
"Why?" Tony asked, hands going into his pockets.
"Because they wanted her to come back home to work for them again."
Tony inhaled then slowly let it out, trying to calm himself. "They all good?"
"Didn't touch the kids or Pepper. Just woke Dawn up. Did you know Dawn had an axe that she has shrank under her pillow?"
"No, I did not," Tony admitted.
"Neither did Natasha apparently. Agent Hill said the call-in contained a lot of 'please put the axe down, Dawn' notes." They shared a look.
"Dawn needs ice cream."
"I'll pick some up on the way home," Clint said as he walked around them. "I'll make sure Pepper gets back tomorrow with the kids too."
"Thanks," Stark and Steve said. "Get someone to drive you."
"On it," one of the guards promised. "We're switching shifts in an hour anyway, sir. We can go early." He got him into one of the company cars and took him home.
Clint walked in and looked around. No mess. He walked into their bedroom. Slight smell of cleaning products. He went to check on the kids. Chris had kept Philip in the bed for a change. Philip was cuddled up against Chris and cooing in his sleep. Liz and Callia were sharing the other future nursery room. Pepper had the other spare room. Clint went back to his room, stripping off his t-shirt on the way. He stared at his wives, who were cuddled. Dawn was on top of Natasha, covering her so she was hidden and protected. He grinned, kissing Natasha.
She blinked and smiled at him, sending a happy thought over. "I'm fine," she mouthed.
"Good." Dawn flinched awake, staring at him. "You okay?"
"I'm okay. She's okay. I made sure of it."
"I'm happy you did." He kissed her. "Let's nap?"
She checked him over, helping him out of his jeans and shoes too. She touched the few bruises and cuts, healing them. He caught her hands. "Lord Asclepias made sure I wasn't using the same Key that went into the baby," she said quietly. "It's okay."
He let her heal them and laid down between his girls. They cuddled up to his sides. "This is a real hero's welcome," he teased. They smiled and kissed him, curling up so they could all go back to sleep. Clint wasn't battle tense and he was comfy to sleep on. He'd get a sit rep in the morning. He yawned, falling asleep with his ladies.
Dawn walked into her favorite goth shop, sighing at the owner/salesgirl. "I can't find anything." She had called ahead to make sure this visit was around closing time.
"Why?" She smiled. "How formal?"
"Everyday stuff." She pulled up a picture. "I found a site called Polyvore to look at clothing options. I went to a higher end shopping helper and he found some things but most of them were in the thousands for a single dress and you know I'm more sensible than that."
"You usually are." She looked over the selection Dawn had picked out. "Peplum shirts."
"The waist usually hits above where the bump would be so it'll be easier to hide it somewhat. There's a few that are knit, stretchy knit. A few that are more formal work clothes. I can't seem to find dresses that aren't like men's shirts, or look like I'm a Goth Lolita type of dress, or like I'm from the fifties."
"Hmm, front rouching instead of to the side."
"I couldn't find a good example of that at all," she admitted. "Maybe up to an empire looking bustline but I'm not sure. Those I can find in formal gowns but not in shorter. Plus I pulled out some tunics and I found that pair of leggings. I thought the Aztec patterns would look cute with that black shirt."
"It would." She looked them over then Dawn's present shape. "Just for you?" Dawn stared at her. "I saw her out for coffee." She smiled.
"Maybe not just for me. We're about the same size so it should be good."
"We can handle that. I know a few places to look and we can talk to your seamstress that you go to for tailoring things." She looked at her shoes, smiling at the ballet shoes. "Can't even find sandals?"
"I can't wear open toes or heels in the labs when I'm doing rounds."
"Yeah, that would suck." She took her to look at a few friends' shops. "No official shopper sort?"
"No, he wanted me to dress in D&G, which I don't mind usually but I'm not going to pay that much for a shirt. Bad enough Callia wants to try designer things soon."
"You taught her well."
"She wants McQueen," Dawn quipped.
"A bit weird, a bit wild.... Sounds like the kid." The other goth shops and demon-run shops had a lot of ideas for Dawn and it was mostly good ones. They found Dawn a pair of shoes that had closed toes and a heel enclosure but nothing over the arch and they were flats. They were still a bit wide but comfortable enough for her. Dawn even found a few formal gowns she liked. It blew her budget a tiny bit but it was needed anyway. Dawn paid her friend a tip, made the other shopkeepers very happy by giving them a tip for staying late, and headed home with a trunk full of bags.
Natasha would be happy too. A lot of it was stuff she might wear.
Dawn walked in the next morning in a halter-top print dress that drew attention away from her stomach with the pattern. The fabric was a bit stretchy and a tiny bit loose so that was helping cover up the baby bump too. She had her hair up and her makeup looked good this morning. She smiled at Steve when she ran into him in the hallway.
"You look nice, Dawn."
"Thank you, Steve."
He smiled at her back. Her last pregnancy wardrobe had been a lot of tunic dresses and heavy tights when it was warm enough. This looked more comfortable and a bit more dressy.
Tony tipped his head when he saw Dawn logging in. "Huh."
"The pattern draws attention to her chest instead of her stomach," Pepper said with a grin.
"My friend at the goth shop helped me a lot. The official shopper sort was clueless about not wanting to pay fifteen-hundred bucks for a shirt."
"I wouldn't either," Pepper agreed. "Callia's doing her hair."
Dawn smiled, going to gather her niece. "Put on something better."
She huffed but changed out of her t-shirt to a dressier shirt and cargo pants instead of shorts. "Are you sure you can go?"
"Yup. I went shopping last night." She grinned. Callia swatted her on the arm but made sure her aunt had her envelope of money from her shopping account. They had Happy drive them to the store she wanted to try out. She had to have something for a science thing next month. Dawn walked Callia inside, smiling at the staring showroom head by his tag. "This is my niece, Callia Stark. She wanted to try you. She has a scientific event next month that should be semi-formal, within her age range, and she thought a few of the outfits she saw online were cute and flirty."
"They can be. She's a bit younger than we usually see."
Dawn pulled up that same site but picked out a different draft. "She saw these that she liked."
The salesman nodded, looking them over. "Most of those are ours." He smiled at her. "Have you worn something semi-formal before?"
"I've been to a few plays with my parents. Mostly I'm a long t-shirt, leggings, leotards, shorts, and swimsuits sort of girl."
"That's fine. We're used to active young women." He showed her to the proper areas of the store. "We don't really have a teen line, Miss Stark, but some of these can be altered down to your size easily enough."
She smiled. "I'm not that far off the standard size and I just went through a growth spurt."
"It's always better to shop after than during," he agreed with a smile. "So you know what fits." He let her look at the dresses. She held up a few for her aunt's approval, getting a few grimaces but mostly nods. "You have very nice taste."
She grinned. "Auntie Dawn and Mommy Pepper have helped a lot. Now we're making my brother Chris quit wearing ugly shirts together." He laughed and let her try them on. "This is too tight."
Dawn leaned in to look. "It looks like you're about a half size too tight in that. So maybe a 2?" she suggested. He got those dresses for her in that size. They found three they liked. Dawn considered them on the hangers then looked at her niece. "You have three thousand pulled out for this stop. If you go over, that'll take up the rest of your shopping allowance for this month and next month." Callia considered it. "But you can also talk your father into bringing you to buy new leotards and stuff."
"Most everything still fits. The stuff that Auntie Natasha helped me buy is still loose enough. I need new shoes because my feet grew." She considered one. "I'd have to wear a bra with that one, huh?"
"No," Dawn said. "It's low cut in the back so you couldn't. We'd have to teach you about pasties so you didn't show through but they're like breast stickers."
Callia smiled. "Do they come in scratch and sniff?"
"No, sorry." She smirked at her niece.
Callia took a picture of them and sent them to Pepper. "I can pick two," she said when she called. She got advice. "I'd need pasties according to Auntie Dawn." She tipped her head while she listened. "I can do that then. Thanks, Mommy Pepper." She hung up and handed the waiting sales guy two of them. "These two please."
"Of course. Anything for your aunt?"
Dawn grinned. "I have something for when I'm more pregnant. I don't have to go to the scientific awards event this year. I don't have a formal anything for a month."
He looked at her. "You can't really tell in that dress."
Dawn smiled. "That's the point." He laughed and smiled, leading them to the register. Dawn let Callia pay out of her money envelope. "Shoes." She took the bag to put into the trunk carefully after thanking the manager for being so patient. They went to the shoe store up the street. She smiled at the clerk. "This is my niece. She's just allowed to start wearing heels. She needs smaller, thicker ones. She has two formal dresses, one in deep red and one in silver."
"Those are pretty colors. Sandals or more enclosed?" the clerk asked.
Callia looked at her aunt. "Sandals for the red one?"
"The event's in Nevada but up in the mountains so possibly some chilly time getting in and out of the car," Dawn said. "I'd say something more classical. More strappy for the red but still tasteful." She saw the look at her shoes. "I have very tiny feet. I can't find *anything*."
"I've seen people with that problem." She took Callia to look at the styles they had.
Callia looked at one's price tag then at her envelope. She looked at the clerk. "I only budgeted seven hundred for this or else I have to cut down on any jewelry I might want."
"We have a few brands that fall into that." She showed her those. She glanced at Dawn, who smiled. "She budgets?"
"She budgets very well. She has since she was six and we taught her. I'm very proud of how Callia's learned how to manage money." She saw the instant the clerk figured out who she was. Dawn smirked a tiny bit. "She's starting to assert her sense of style. We're very proud of how nice she usually looks when she wants to try."
Callia smirked at her. "I'd never wear things like this in the lab, Auntie Dawn. They'd get messy and greasy." She held up a pair. "Suede?"
"The silver. The red one wouldn't go with the red they have and the black are too high."
Dawn took them to look over, nodding. "I can see that in a taupe maybe? Like a skin tone?"
"That might be nice and you can wear it again," the clerk agreed, showing her some.
Callia looked at it then at her. "I'm not allowed over two inch heels please."
"Of course." She showed her some lower ones. Callia looked at one then sighed. "Auntie, how much do I have budgeted for accessories?"
"About three hundred since you don't need new jewelry." Callia looked at her. "Your silver necklace would go well with either dress."
"The hammered one Auntie 'Tasha found me?" she asked.
"That one or the more simple chain with the solitaire pendant."
"Huh." She nodded. "So I only need hair things?"
"Then these look nice." She held up a pair. "But they won't go with both dresses."
Dawn looked and found one, handing it over. "How about that?"
"Is that low enough?" Callia asked.
"Probably a quarter-inch too high," Dawn admitted. "Or go to the suede one and then get the one there," she said with a point.
"Those aren't really a good brand," the clerk told her.
"Since she's almost ten, that's fine," Dawn said. "She'll outgrow them in a few wears anyway."
"Ten, really?" the clerk asked, looking at her.
Dawn smiled. "When the events are happening, yup," Callia said with a grin. She looked at that shoe. "Does this come in a red compatible color?"
The clerk looked at the card, shaking her head. "Not really. There's a black or a gray." She showed her.
Callia grimaced, looking at her aunt, who shook her head. "I can wear something flatter but I don't want them to look at me like I'm a child. Child geniuses get treated even worse than women in science and they're all going to go 'you're your father's daughter' all night." She looked around then at her aunt, shrugging. "Can I handle two inches without turning my ankle too much?"
"Pepper taught me how to walk in heels. We can teach you. If you want flats, get flats. You will need insoles because you'll be standing for hours listening to guys babble about your dad at your age."
She shuddered lightly. "Eww." She put down those shoes where they went and got a pair of flatter heels. Dawn shook her head. "It won't go with the silver?"
"No. Look to your left and that shelf," she said with a point.
Callia walked over to look, finding it more dancer oriented shoes. "Are these like the dancers on that crappy show wear?"
"And show girls and other dancers," Dawn agreed. "That means they're probably more comfortable. Also more supportive."
She looked inside them, nodding. "Not a bad price." She looked at the colors. "They have a silver and a taupe. If I get a silver for the red dress?"
"It be a bit light," Dawn said, considering it. "It'll also look like your dad's armor."
"Eww, I hadn't thought about that. Black then." She found a pair of them. "Okay, can we find me my right size in these please?" She smiled at the clerk. Who was looking shocked. "Shoes are just one accessory of any outfit but the dress is the important thing for the most part as long as you look put together."
Dawn nodded. "It is, yeah. There's been plenty of times I wanted to be a normal foot size so I could buy normal shoes to go with outfits."
The clerk shook her head. "I'm not sure they'd come in your size, Miss Stark. That brand only comes in adult sizes."
"That's fine. We'll go to a dance store." She smiled and shook her hand. "Thank you for helping us figure out what we needed." She walked off with her aunt. "I really don't like that pattern, even though it's hiding the baby bump. It's a bit eye-catching."
"It's supposed to be and I have a more subdued blue/black/silver version too."
"Great." She smiled at Happy. "We need a dance shoe store."
"Okay, I can find one." He got them into the back and used the map feature to find one. That worked and that store did have girls' sizes. And Dawn sizes as it turned out.
Dawn smiled as she walked her niece in. "She's got her first official function and we thought that perhaps shoes like dancers wear, the thick, shorter french heels, would do her good. She's got a silver and a scarlet dress to match."
"Wonderful," the woman agreed with a smile. "Do you dance, dear?"
"No, I hated dance class when I tried it. I went to gymnastics instead." She grinned. "I wear ballet leotards in the lab though. They're very comfy under shorts."
"They are." She showed them what shoes they had. "Ma'am, you can sit if you want. I'm fairly certain your feet have to hurt. Mine did during my pregnancy."
"Half of my last pregnancy I wore ballet shoes. I can't find smaller heels in my size."
The older woman tutted and got Callia fitted, letting her look at the colors they could order for her. She measured Dawn's feet, wincing. "We only have one brand that would fit you." She showed her. "They're not pointe shoes."
"No, I wore regular, going to class shoes." She checked them over. "Will they last when I'm running around doing rounds?"
"They should. I've had people who only buy two pairs a year with daily classes."
Dawn looked at her account online then bought a few in different colors. Before she couldn't find black or gray. This line had them. She hugged her and helped Callia order hers. They got a pair she already had there to practice in. And they were a lot cheaper. She smiled at her niece. "This was a good decision. Sixty-four per pair is a lot better than six hundred a pair for shoes."
"And the saleslady is so much nicer than the last one." She looked at her. "She figured out what my last name is and decided I could beg Daddy for more allowance."
She rolled her eyes. "A woman knows what she wants and needs in shoes and the only reason they're so expensive is the name."
Callia smiled. "Names are for the big things, like the important dresses. Not for the shoes." The woman smiled and hugged her, handing her some peppermint candy. "Thank you for your help." She paid and took her bag. Her aunt paid and got hers bagged up. They went back to the car. Happy was leaning against it smiling. "Sixty-four for a pair of shoes instead of six hundred."
"Your dad's going to be pleased." She grinned. "Home, ladies?"
"Ice cream," they said in unison after looking at each other and smiling. Happy got them through an ice cream place on the way back to the compound.
Callia walked into her father's lab, leaning on his arm. "Just so you know, I'm not going to be hanging out with you during that scientific event thing. I don't want to hear how many times I get compared to you."
"Dad bugging you again?" he asked dryly, turning his head to look at his little girl.
"Yup. Him too. I'll hang out in sight of you, or with Uncle Rhodey if he's there, or whoever you say is safe enough, but I'm not hanging on your arm like your protege."
"That's not a bad thing. They'll know but you don't want that comparison. Living in that shadow is really hard. I did for years."
She patted him on the arm. "As long as you're not going to be super clingy."
"No, I won't be." He gave her a hug. "Any other news?"
"Well, I somehow managed to buy a dress that will probably remind people of your armor but the other's silver so I'll wear that during the whole 'talking to idiots' portion." He smiled. "But if you want, you can help me learn how to walk in heels."
"Heels?" he demanded, looking at her feet. "I thought you were wearing clogs."
"No. We went to a specialty shoe shop. She unfortunately realized who I was so she kept trying to tell me that some of the brands they carried weren't very good." He snorted, shaking his head. "But they carried dance looking shoes. She didn't want to sell me them so we went to a dance store to get the dancer sort of shoes." She lifted up a foot. "They're within the two inch heel limit Mommy Pepper set."
"Two inches?" he demanded. She took one off to show him. He looked it over. "That's not that high. Not like your aunt's shoes."
"She got some ballet shoes." She put it back on and hitched it. "These are to help me learn how to walk in them because we had to order them in colors. But sixty-four per pair instead of three hundred or more per pair."
"That's much better," he agreed, staring at her. "Am I going to have another one of those revelations that you're growing up?"
"Well, maybe if you have to talk to me about pasties?" she offered, watching him shudder and walk off to bang his head on the wall. "Sorry?"
"No, it had to happen."
"Only in one dress though."
He turned to look at her. "You're growing up. We'll both grow up and handle all these new things like boobs."
"Are you getting them too?" she quipped.
"You'd better hope not. Just like Barton prays nightly that no Goddess decides they need another kid."
They shared a smirk and he came bac to sit down. "How do I walk in these?"
"You ask like I've worn heels."
She looked at him. "I saw that video online." He gave her a dirty look. She smiled. "I googled." She walked off.
"Pick up your feet," he said.
She looked down and tried to walk more carefully. "This totally sucks! How do women do this shit!"
Dawn walked up behind her and took her arm, pointing at her feet. Callia watched her feet and they walked off together. Callia eventually got the stride down and quit scuffing her feet. They made rounds in them. Callia was whimpering by the end of an hour but she sat down to rub her feet. Clint looked over from Dawn's desk looking at things online. Dawn kissed Clint, making him get up so she could sit down. He pulled Callia into the office to sit down so he could show her how to rub her feet.
She looked and then at him. "Wow. No wonder Auntie loves you." She hugged him. "Thank you, Unclie Clint. That helps a lot." Pepper tossed over insoles. "Those might too." She got up to hug her. She put back on the shoes once they were in, walking around a bit. "It's a bit better."
"Quit arching your back," Pepper said. She got up to show her how to walk. Callia watched and copied. "Quit arching your back," she reminded her. "You don't need a counterbalance." Clint patted her on the back between the shoulder blades, making her straighten up properly.
Dawn walked in and put a book on her head. "Keep it up there." Callia walked around, hand up to make sure it didn't slip. It helped and she got the point of how to walk. "Better," Dawn agreed. "You'll do better soon." She smiled. "Just think, most people who wear heels wear higher ones."
"I'm only wearing these when I have to spend real money on dresses," Callia joked. "The rest of the time I can wear t-shirts and sneakers like Dad." She sighed and tried it without the book. She scuffed a few times but she got it a minute later. "That's not that hard."
"The thinner or the higher, the harder it is," Dawn quipped with a grin.
"Nope, I'm not going to ho shoes like yours. Thanks though."
"The great thing about stripper shoes is you can get great boots," Dawn quipped back.
"When you turn eighteen you can buy your first set of naughty girl boots," Clint quipped.
"Maybe I won't need them. Some of us could be good girls."
"Then you wouldn't have given your siblings Red Bull again," Dawn said, smiling at her.
"No, they got into my stash. I didn't give them any." She sighed, going to check her stash. Which Tony walked in and took. "Hey, my allowance!"
"Yay! You know you're not allowed to have stimulants yet." He handed them to Andrew and Jonathan. "She's not allowed to have them back." He walked off again.
Andrew popped one to take a sip, grimacing. "I wondered what those tasted like." Jonathan took a taste too then shrugged. Maybe they could use it to power something other than stimulant addicts.
They both looked out the door when they heard a cackling kid go running past. "Wow, Liz is really fast," Jonathan said. Dawn was jogging after her. "How do you run in heels?" he asked Andrew.
"Never wore 'em," he admitted. "That was Warren to make sure his robotic girlfriends could handle them when he wanted them in the slutty heels."
Callia walked in and stole her cans back. "Ask Daddy, he wore some a few times. It's on YouTube." Andrew took the cans from her. "My allowance!"
"It's disgusting and doing bad things to your body," Jonathan said, staring down at her. "Why are you wearing heels in the lab?"
"I'm practicing for the awards dinner thing that I submitted stuff to." She walked off. She summoned the cans but Andrew stopped that on her. "Fine." She huffed off. There was a packette just outside the gates of the compound. She hiked down there. She smiled at the cashier giving her odd looks. "I'm picking up Red Bull for the geeks."
"Your father's called, Miss Stark, and he said you're grounded if you try that."
"Yay." She looked at the coolers. "What's that stuff in the bottle?"
He looked then at her. "Thunderbird. It's not for kids either."
"It's illegal to sell to anyone under twenty-one."
She looked at him. "As opposed to your little medical sideline for families from Egypt?" He blanched. She grinned and got some Red Bull and a bottle of that. "Is it like Red Bull?"
"No, but you can combine them in shots."
"Oh, okay." She carried them back to her lab using the tunnels so she'd be less likely to be spotted. Then she locked herself in there.
"Your father said I may not allow you to lock the door that fully, Callia," JARVIS said.
She looked up. "Yay?" She hit a few commands, which shut down the computer interface for the labs. Now JARVIS couldn't get in unless he hacked her tablet. She didn't need the computers right now, just a few tools. She made herself a 'shot' like the cashier guy had described and drank it. "Ow, wow, that's gross." She grimaced and finished off the can of Red Bull to wash it down. Then she got back to work on her newest prototype.
JARVIS cleared his throat in the office. "I'm afraid Callia has shut down all the computer interfaces in her lab, sir. Her tablet's not on so I can't hack into it and her MP3 player isn't connected to anything either."
Tony huffed. "I'll paddle her later."
"She did have a bag from the store on the corner."
"I'll get her for the new Red Bulls too," he decided. He looked at Pepper. "JARVIS, is my father floating around?"
"She turned that on as well, sir."
"Crap. Dawn, can you scry Callia?" No answer so he looked out there. No Dawn at her desk. "Dawn?" he called.
"She's in Payroll, nagging someone there about doing something dumb. Apparently they tried to change her withholding without her consent to single without children."
"No, I doubt that'll work." He went to see what had happened. That assistant was *certain* that it wasn't legal for her to claim to be married since the trio thing wasn't legal in the US. "She can claim however many she wants," Tony told her. "It's not illegal to claim more and get a tax refund." He looked at Dawn. "Can you scry?"
"Not very well. Why?"
"Callia's locked out JARVIS and everyone else."
"I'll check on her later. There's a sneaky way to override all the electronic locks, boss."
He smiled. "Teach me that some day?"
"Maybe." She walked off after ripping up the new forms. Tony could yell at her about that stunt. Dawn had things she had to do.
Tony and Dawn broke into Callia's lab, finding her on the floor. "That looks familiar," Dawn sighed, walking over to the bench. She flipped the switch to restart the computer interfaces while Tony checked his daughter. "Boss, there's Thunderbird."
"The guy said it wasn't for kids but he never said it'd give me a headache," Callia complained as she woke up.
"That's because it's liquor," Dawn said slowly and clearly, staring at her. "Your mother would *so* be throwing a fit."
"I feel like she's in my head doing it anyway. He never said it was alcohol, just that he couldn't sell it to kids. So I kindly mentioned his little sideline medical project for Egyptian families."
"What sideline project?" Tony demanded. She pointed then let her hand fall. "You're in such trouble."
"Can it wait until the little people in my head stop?"
"Hell no!" Dawn said loudly. "You're so far beyond grounded it's not fucking funny, young lady! What the *fuck* were you thinking?"
"I thought it was like a heavier Red Bull," she complained, letting her father help her sit up. Which meant she was more vertical when she needed to get up and run off to vomit. "I'm never doing this shit again," she cried while she heaved.
"Ya think?" Dawn demanded from the bathroom doorway. She sighed, leaning against the wall, arms crossed over her chest. She looked at Tony, who was rolling his eyes. "Want to tell Pepper?"
"Nope. Or Steve. I think we should talk first and they can talk to her in the morning."
"I'll tell them they need to talk to her in the morning then. Because I don't want to see her on the cover of some tabloid not wearing panties." They stared at each other.
"If she follows me down that path, I'm going to beat her ass," Tony assured her.
Dawn smiled. "Good." She walked over to pat him on the arm. "You did pretty okay when I got given my first one without me knowing," she said quietly. "Want me to tell Pepper why you'll be hearing her yell tomorrow?"
"I will after dinner."
"No way in any sort of hell that I'm living in am I eating," Callia called.
Tony snorted. "It'll help. Trust me." He walked in there to help his daughter, his little clone, through her first hangover. Dawn went home. Tony knew just how his daughter felt and it sucked, but he had to break this bad habit like he had her forgetting to eat. When she was done he made her take a shower and change clothes then took her up to tuck her into bed. He walked out, letting her menagerie in there to comfort their human. "Guys, we have to be parents tomorrow."
"What happened? Did she hurt herself when she was tinkering without supervision?" Pepper asked, eating a bite of dinner.
"No, the clerk at the corner store didn't tell her Thunderbird was liquor. She thought it was a higher Red Bull." Pepper choked. Steve shook his head. "She's already *very* sorry." He kept Pepper from moving. "She's woken up, puked, I made her eat some toast on the way up here," he said, staring at her. "We'll talk to her once the other kids are in daycare."
"Yes, I think we should," Steve agreed.
Pepper nodded, looking pissed off. "She's so getting it."
"Dawn gave her hell too." He stared at her. "We can stop this before she really is my clone."
Pepper nodded. "Yes, we will be." He kissed her on the temple. She sighed. "We have to turn him in for that."
"She said he's got some sort of medical sideline for Egyptians," he said. "I think we need to look that up first."
JARVIS cleared his throat. "His wife does tribal circumcisions, sir."
"Male or female?" Pepper asked firmly.
"Is she some sort of doctor over there?" Steve asked. "Or a nurse?"
"No, and I'm not certain," the AI told them. "She did not look that far."
"Hell no!" Pepper said. She heard the tiny moan from Callia's room. "We're going to talk tomorrow, daughter. Sleep while you can."
"Yup," she moaned then the door mostly closed. "And it's girls, not boys. I had to look up why they would and got horrified. I called someone at the tip line that the LAPD has but I guess no one's answered."
"We can make sure of that," Steve said.
Tony grinned and called a few 'friends' in lower places to find out more facts. That got them all they needed to know to send on. Maybe to the wrong desk but they'd be able to pass it on. By the eleven o'clock news, they were showing the bust and the bust for selling alcohol to underage kids. Apparently Callia wasn't the only one. Though she was mentioned. Pepper sighed and made a note on her livejournal about it. Dawn's response popped up on hers a few minutes later.
Dawn parked and got out the next morning, seeing the press vultures.
"Let me," Clint muttered.
She smiled and kissed him on the cheek. "You don't have to. I can talk to them."
He shook his head, walking over there. "Guys, quit hovering." They stared at him. "Callia went looking for Red Bull, which she's not allowed to have. He had the Thunderbird on the next shelf down in the same case. By the tapes, which Stark got, all the guy told her was that he shouldn't sell it to someone under twenty-one. She had found out about his medical sideline and had turned it in so that's how she got sold the liquor and the Red Bull she wasn't allowed to have.
"By what was left in the bottle, she drank about three mixed shots and passed out. They found her after that and woke her up to nag her, let her puke, have the hangover, and today they're going to have a discussion with the mini genius about common sense, reading labels, and how she was going to be buried in a deep, dark hole if she ever does it again. Dawn said he gave a really good version of that talk to her when someone at a club gave her liquor and she didn't realize it."
"Why can't she have Red Bull?" one reporter asked.
"Because she's not ten yet and doesn't need the heavy stimulant warping her system," Clint said dryly. "Would you give a little kid something like Red Bull?"
"My son's teacher gives it to them before tests."
"I'd complain and have her thrown out," Clint told her, staring at her. "If a teacher ever did that to Philip they'd better hope I got in their face instead of found them from a distance. You allow that?"
She shrank back. "It doesn't seem to hurt him."
"Yet, a few people have died after drinking too many," another reporter said. "Is she all right?"
"Had a huge hangover," Clint said with an evil smirk. "And today she's got very upset parents and possibly a Grandmother on her way out too."
"Joyce looks like she can peel paint while never raising her voice," that reporter said with a grin.
"Pretty much, yeah." He walked off. "Unblock the gates, people. Before they call cops again." They rushed off to give out that story. A few paused. They could hear someone female screaming. That kid would not follow her father into alcoholism. Clint walked inside, looking up the hall at the screaming, going to save the geek duo. He walked in and picked up Patty, walking her out into the hall to put her back on her feet. "Verbal abuse is wrong."
"He got high on something last night!" she shouted with a point.
"With the cans, it was Red Bull, not high, Patty. Still wrong to scream things like that. That's verbal abuse and that's always wrong."
She blinked. "I was?" He nodded. "Oh, shit." She ran back in there to hug Jonathan. "I did not mean to scream abuse at you, Johno. I promise I didn't and I'll never do it again." He cuddled her. "I'm so sorry. I was mad and I didn't realize. I'm going to talk to Perava in Psych profiling. Maybe she'll be able to tell me how to stop doing that."
"We can both go," he offered.
She kissed him. "Let me start that off. That way I'm better before we do it together." He nodded, cuddling her. "I'll see if there's someone you can talk to too."
He gave her a squeeze. "I know you didn't mean to, Patty. It's okay."
"It's not." She pulled back to look at him. "I have no right to hurt you that way. It's wrong of me. I can't be that way and be a good chemist or a good mom or a good wife to you." She patted his cheek with a smile. "I'll work on it and we'll work on it." He nodded, kissing her. "Thank you, Clint." She ran off to talk to her lunch friend in Profiling.
Clint looked at him. "Talk to Rodney about their base shrink, see if she's any good," he said quietly. "If not, I'll have Dawn help you find one. No one deserves that sort of abuse, Jonathan."
He nodded. "She doesn't usually but now and then she snaps."
"Which is why hopefully counseling and some self awareness will work," Clint reminded him. He patted him on the head. "Clean up the mess." They did that and he looked at Andrew.
"MB likes some Red Bull after long nights," he admitted. "I had no idea we were drinking more until we were opening a new can about two this morning and by then we were so hyped we couldn't make it home."
"That's why Stark's all-but banned it," Clint agreed. "Especially when someone tiny unintentionally got Thunderbird too."
"Is that another super drink?" Jonathan asked.
"No, it's cheap wine," Andrew said. "Like Mad Dog." Clint smirked and nodded. "Callia all right?"
"Had a hangover last night and today she's got parents." He smirked.
"We'll stay in here," Andrew said. "Thanks, Clint."
"Welcome." He walked off to hiss in Dawn's ear about helping that couple, getting a nod and her texting Jonathan an address and phone number from a sealed file in her drawer. They kept a list of all sorts of help agencies that their geeks might need. It was unfortunately necessary sometimes.
Pepper walked up to the desk, staring at Dawn's outfit. "What is that?"
"The peplum shirt is made of jersey knit and it's very comfortable, yet slightly stretchy so I can wear it longer. The peplum starts just above where the baby bump is so it'll be hidden a bit better," she said as she typed without looking at Pepper. "The skirt is a nylon/polyester/lycra mix that's very soft, doesn't wrinkle, and cat fur won't stick to usually. I found pants, skirts, tops, and dresses in it, boss lady, and it's very comfy." She finally smiled at her as she saved the document by feel. "I remember some of the funny looks for not being formal enough for office wear during the last pregnancy so I decided to step it up a bit."
"It looks nice," Pepper agreed, smiling at her. "Is that most of your wardrobe now?"
"No!" she chirped. "I did get a lot of better shirts that do have peplums, they're in style again. I got a few new wrap dresses, a few that the print will disguise the belly of doom, and a few that the rouching will. So until I'm in my seventh or eighth month, I'm good. Plus I got a few new tunics and leggings sets too."
"Sure," she agreed, smiling at her. "Do the dresses look old fashioned?"
"I had so much trouble finding anything so I went to the goth shop and some of her fellow shopkeepers helped me when the professional shopper couldn't."
"Even better. Local stores are better for the economy." She went into her office, coming back out with her bottle of water. "Natasha borrowing?"
"Some." She grinned. "A few will look very nice on her and she knows who I went to so they could talk to her about it. I think things like this skirt she'll like more. It's very soft and very comfortable without being the least bit binding. And since it stretches, no tummy panel to give it away."
Pepper grinned. "I need some of that." She went back to her desk. Dawn brought in cards from where she had went. "Thanks."
"Pitiful and grounded again. She's taking care of her pets. Her father and she had a long talk when she got up at three. We caught them still at it when we got up for breakfast and joined in. She didn't know and she's really very sorry she drank so she won't be doing it again for a very long time."
"That's always a great thing," Dawn agreed. "I didn't." Pepper smirked at her. "I didn't!"
"I know. You were a good girl and a good learning experience in how to handle teenagers."
"Just think, you'll have to manage it with the son too."
Pepper shuddered. "No thank you. Tony can give Chris his talks."
"I'll get the one he gives to Chris to give to Philip." She went back to her desk. The inter-office mail delivered her a sealed letter so she read it and took it in to Pepper. "I had to complain that someone changed my withholdings on me without my consent yesterday."
"You can claim however many you want," Pepper said, getting up to go handle that. She walked in and smiled at the head of Payroll, who blanched. "Let's talk." She walked her into her office. Then got the judgmental bitch in there after it was explained to Pepper what had happened. Pepper stared at her. "First, she can always claim her kids. Secondly, she checked with the IRS about how to claim them. They said it was just fine." The woman huffed. "Thirdly, you have no right to change anyone's paperwork without their consent and your boss has no right to fire anyone who's not in her department." She stared at them. "I'm not pleased."
"She's wrong and immoral!" the lesser worker shouted with a point toward the head office. "She's leading the young astray and it's wrong! It's also illegal!"
"Only if they filed for multiple licenses in the US," Pepper said dryly. "Which they didn't. As for immoral, that's between her and her chosen book of rules. Which probably isn't the same as yours since she's nominally Wicca." The woman gasped and backed up. "Frankly, Stark International has many non-discrimination policies in effect, including about religious, sexual orientation, motherhood, and all sorts of other ones. Dawn does her job, does it well, and no one is going to fire her." She stared at her. "If you can't accept that we don't care where she sticks it, or where you stick it, then I suggest you leave your employment."
"It's still immoral! God is going to punish her!"
"No God I follow would ever punish her for being happy," Pepper said simply. "And you're not allowed to push your religion on people." The woman huffed off. Pepper looked at the head of Payroll. "It won't be tolerated."
"I understand. She said that Dawn threatened her."
"JARVIS?" He pulled up the video. No threat between them beyond Dawn saying she'd be talking to her boss about her uppity attitude and then Pepper and Stark about it. Pepper looked at the boss, who grimaced. "Frankly, the attitude among some of the staff has gotten a bit uppity," she said quietly. "I don't know where it started from and I don't rightly care." She walked off. That was the only warning that woman was getting. "Dawn, please make sure that your withholdings and things are in line with IRS policy?" she suggested as she walked past her desk.
"I asked my tax accountant but I can call and check." She found their number and called. She made it through the automated system to a real, live person and leaned back in her chair. "I need to make sure that I'm claiming the proper withholdings. Someone at my work tried to change them on me yesterday but my tax accountant said I was right to claim what I did." She listened. "Married yes, but we have a trio, and I have a son, with a daughter on the way. I've been claiming three, which he said I could do."
She listened. "Overseas. None of them were filed here." She picked up a pen to flip end over end, making a few notes. "That's ....yes, actually I am," she said when the agent noted her as an example. She smiled. "I am her, yes. That's what I was trying to do. The tax accountant said three was acceptable. That I couldn't really claim Natasha at this time. No, I file married filing singly. He does the same and I think she does the same. We all went to the tax accountant and let him handle it but I didn't listen in when they went over theirs." She made another note when the agent looked her up. "Exactly, which is what I do." She smiled.
"That's my accountant. Am I up for an audit?" she asked with a wince. "Oh, good." She sighed. "That's how he said it'd work legally." She nodded, making another note. "So three is fine. Can I claim four?" She grimaced. "That sucks. Well, I'll be able to do that soon anyway with the other kid. Any idea if they're not filing correctly?" She nodded. "So that's good. Thank you for your help. Have a better day." She hung up, leaning over to look at Pepper. "I still can't claim Natasha, even if we were the only ones together. The US doesn't recognize same-sex marriage as a withholding."
"Figures," Pepper said dryly. "Any other big news?"
"Not really. She said withholding three is perfectly legal and normal to do. That we each filed married filing singly was a bit odd since the licenses weren't in supported regions. She looked at Natasha's since it was linked to mine and she said that legally she can do that but the government can't recognize the others if we claim mine and Clint's as the only legal one, though she did say that she wasn't sure if Spain was a legal marriage location by US standard."
Pepper grimaced. "We always thought that one was the legal one."
"The agent said that shifted last year."
"Huh. So you may have the not-legal marriage while they're legally married?"
"From what she said, they're all three illegal if what the press had as our license locations listed is right." She looked that up. "Which it is." She sent that thought at Natasha and Clint, who were snuggling in bed while Philip napped on the other side. She smiled and looked at Pepper again. "Clint said he'd figure that out later and we'd talk about it. They're getting cuddles."
"Cuddles are great." They shared a smile and Dawn got back to work. Pepper called down there. "Dawn checked with the IRS and she is allowed to claim three people, switching up to four when she delivers." She hung up and got back to her own things. The petty bullshit in the admin needed to be exorcized like it had been from the Board. If she had to do that, so be it. She did have mood swings for a reason.
Dawn walked into Tony's lab, leaning on his arm. "Got ten?" she asked quietly.
He looked at her. "I'm just reading over this article someone wanted to publish for them." He put it aside and turned to look at her. "Huge problems? Girl talk time?"
"Insidious talk in the caf." She pulled a stool over and sat down. "I was in there getting a brownie."
"Those are good."
"Not the point, boss." She sighed and looked at him. "A few of the old geeks, the ones who've been here since you were my age, were saying that you used to be loyal to the geeks over the company."
"Yeah, I always was. I still am."
"Now they think you're more loyal to Pepper and the company." She stared at him. "Ferguson in physics said that you haven't been geek-centric since you took up the armor, took up with Pepper, and had kids. He said you're turning into your dad and not being one of the geeks."
He considered it. "I haven't spent much time with the science teams."
"From what a few others said, they're thinking you're not actually as much a geek anymore, that you're not doing anything in the lab but tinkering with your armor and teaching the kids to do that instead of being geeks. A few looked worried when they were talking about you turning into your dad. A few quietly said that they thought SHIELD was going to take over. A few also said that they were looking for new jobs."
Tony shook his head. "I'm not like that."
"I'm not a geek so I don't know how to solve it. I'm just telling you the interesting things I heard in the caf when I was getting brownies." She stood up. "I know the religious conservative group we have here on campus decided I'm an evil spawn again. That's why I had to talk to Payroll and they tried to fire me."
"Hell no," he snorted. "Let me think on this."
"I can arrange a geek day if you want," she offered.
"That might not be a bad idea. Without me pushing them for anything."
"Yeah, do that." She smiled and walked off to call the pizza place most of the compound ordered from. Tony sent out a lab-wide memo that they'd have a geek meeting at one. He included Dawn so she knew when they needed the pizzas. He considered it while he proofread for his head of shield design, which he realized he used to do a lot more of. So maybe he had backed away from his people. He went to the meeting room, smiling when he caught his daughter sneaking in. "You're a lab geek now too, Callia. You can join us." He smiled at the room. "She's got something in the young engineers challenge." They mostly looked happy. He took the pizzas from Dawn, letting her put down drinks and give a few geeks pointed looks so they made sure they ate. He let her gather the rest so they could come in then he locked the doors. "Okay, guys, it's just us. JARVIS told me earlier that some of you guys have maybe been a bit scared to come talk to me if you needed to? So let's talk. We're all geeks here."
Callia smiled. "I got the rocket powered roller skates done, Dad."
"Great job." He kissed her on the head. "Eat." She got pizza and handed the boxes down to the other tables so they could too. "You guys know unless I'm in the armor doing something hugely important that you can come to me, right?" They mostly nodded. "Then why haven't you? Am I getting too much in the way?"
One of the guys from chemistry shook his head. "Not really. It's hard since we have the other lab open now. You're not always there, Tony."
"Okay, can we solve that by better video capturing? Should we consolidate to one lab? I don't mind but moving one of them to the other is going to get some pouty faces thrown our way." He ate a bite of pizza. "That and I realized we haven't done any geek things like the bowling league in a while."
"You're always busy being a dad," one said with a slight shrug before stuffing his mouth.
Callia looked at him. "At least one of us is going to be a geek too so he should probably initiate us into this strange, weird, wonderful fraternity we all live in. Even if Chris likes cars and art, and Liz likes art and my pets. Hopefully the next one will like science."
"She might," Tony said. "Not totally sure until they're older, and Chris likes to tinker with cars. He might be that sort of engineer instead of ours, Callia."
"Maybe, but I still say Liz gets the suit because she can be a bit evil when she needs to be."
"And *who* gave the kids Red Bull?" he asked, staring at her. A few of the geeks laughed. "Seriously, she did. Gave Chris Red Bull, gave Liz donuts, and then cackled all the way to lock herself in her lab." He sighed and shook his head. "She's definitely my clone." Most of the geeks smiled. "But anyway, beyond me being proud of her, what else am I falling down on?"
"You do spend a lot of time with the suit," one of the older ones said. "Before you used to lock yourself away unless we called. Now you're always in the lab."
Tony shrugged. "You can still come bug me. Unless I'm doing something critical on the way to an emergency or it's an emergency and I'm flying off, I'm open to you guys coming to talk and toss ideas around." He looked around. "I know I expanded the lab after I said no more making weapons for general sale. Are we too big?" They all shook their heads. "Do I need to expand more? Because if I have to build a Eureka, I will."
"Well the head guy there was a Stark," another geek joked with a grin. "But who'd be the sheriff?"
"Pepper," MB joked.
Tony saw the looks at that name. "Are you guys jealous of the time I spend with Pepper? Because she doesn't understand science and I know that. She lets me go hide in the lab all the time and do science things instead of doing daddy things or boss things." He looked around. "Sometimes she gets jealous that my first wife is science."
"No, we've built a good system here," one of the older geeks said. "Dawn fusses."
"I can slow her down on that."
"Don't you dare, some of us would never eat," one of the chemists joked.
Callia looked back. "She makes sure I eat too."
"Didn't I tell you to start setting an alarm?" Tony asked her.
"Yeah, but I'm doing shittastic on that this week."
"Language," he said.
"Dad, we're among our geeks and I'm pretty sure they know I swear. Don't you guys know I swear sometimes?"
"No matter how much Steve, Dawn, and Pepper try, we all know you swear," one of them assured her. "You should quit that. It makes you sound like a thug."
"Then maybe the stupid boys that Grandpa keeps pushing me to talk to will ignore me when I'm forced to put up with their menial brains not working on mine's level."
Tony stared at her. "He's doing what?"
"He thinks it's a bad thing if I'm in the lab all the time and I don't get to know what boys and other girls are like. I told him other girls were snotty, catty bitches who made fun of you behind your back and pretended to be friends, and boys were jackasses who had no brains, didn't like science, and frankly would only want my future boobs, not my brains. He moaned and floated off like a proper ghost again."
Tony shook his head. "I'll talk with him again, Cal." She hugged him. "You guys know I'll talk to your family ghosts too, right?"
"Howard's freaked out a few of us," one of the older geeks said. "I remember when he was in charge. When I was still a new intern, boss. I think he's trying to correct the bad things he let you do on her."
Callia snorted and waved a hand. "I like who I am." They smiled. "I remember crawling up into your lap more than once to have you explain the pretty liquids that bubbled."
He smiled back. "I remember teaching you a lot about chemistry. You were a cute little kid."
"Now I'm nearly ten and doing good on my own," she said with a smile. "Thanks to a lot of you guys helping. Next, Daddy and I are going to build my first car by hand." That got more smiles.
Pepper leaned in. "Callia, can I see you for a minute please?"
"What did I do this time?" she huffed. "I've been good all day, Mommy Pepper."
"You let Christopher test out those stupid rocket powered roller skates and he just broke his arm."
"No I didn't. I left them in my lab. I was going to put on that padded suit for the bop fighting thing and go test it after lunch. But I guess that proves Chris is a sneaky Stark too." She smiled at her dad.
Tony shook his head. "Just his arm, Pepper?"
"JARVIS, how did Chris find the skates?"
"I believe he was in search of his sister's illegal Red Bull stash again and spotted them. He tried them on and they were much too loose but he decided skates were fun. He accidentally ignited the rocket and went shooting up the hall until he ran into the wall by the elevator, sir."
Tony shook his head more quickly. "Callia, no Red Bull. If I find out you have more I'm going to spank you next time." He looked at Pepper. Who left them to talk. He looked around. "Let me know if Chris starts to come looking for mentors." They all smiled at him. "He has?"
"He came to the paint lab," one said. "He wanted to look at the colors. He's very artistic but I've seen him kissing your cars more than once."
"I guess the car people need good engineers too so they can make better than the Cube," Tony decided, cracking a few up. He looked around. "Do we want to restart the geek sports league?" They all nodded. "Okay. Still bowling, baseball or softball, and rugby?"
"Soccer?" one suggested. "Half of the rugby team retired last year."
"If that's what we want, I'll have Dawn arrange it." They all smiled and dug back in, going over what they were doing and the weird ideas they had gotten from Howard floating around complaining at them.
"Andrew, Callia said you had ghost busting stuff, can we borrow it?" one of the chemistry geeks said.
"Sure. It's in the lab in New York though."
Tony looked over. "The proton accelerator too?" Jonathan looked sheepish but nodded. "No wonder I stole you two from your evil ways. Jonathan, bring it up later so I can look at it and give credit where it's due instead of just to Andrew sometimes?"
"I can do that."
Callia bounded over to hug him. "Are you okay?"
"Are you sure?"
She looked at Patty. "Is he really okay?"
"We're having a few talks, Callia. He's not upset by it but it's something I need to work out in myself." She hugged her too. "Thanks."
"You're welcome." She grinned. "Are you having the baby out here?"
"I'd like to be at that birthing center but if I'm here maybe I'll try Dawn's OB midwife. Natasha's is a bit...stern."
"You will do as I say," Tony mocked in a German accent. "Not one bit more or one bit less."
Patty laughed and nodded. "Yup, basically, only not German. I think he's Australian."
Tony shook his head. "I'll looking into making someone on the staff OB trained, Patty. Maybe one of the nurses being midwife certified as well." He looked around. "Just think, some day I'll be the grandfather." They laughed at him for that joke.
"Yes but then you can teach us both, Daddy." Callia grinned. "Did you see the paper this morning?"
"No, I avoided it."
"I read it over Stepmom's shoulder when he was teaching me how to scramble eggs. He was reading Dear Abby and there was a parent that was really upset because her teenage daughter had decided to help a friend who was about to undergo serious cancer treatment have a baby since he'd be infertile afterward. She was like seventeen but her mom was all bent out of shape. Abby was not sure if she was proud of helping her or wanted to yell too."
Tony considered it then shuddered. "I can see that happening, yeah." He sighed. "Please don't? Not without warning?"
"I'll try really hard to remember boys are icky for at least another five years, Dad."
"Thanks." He hugged her. "Can you guys remind her what dirtbags most teenage guys are too?" They all nodded.
"I think that was sweet of that girl," MB admitted. "It's a very selfish gift but one he wouldn't have gotten to have without it."
"The mom in the letter said that the boy's parents wanted to be pushy and she had no idea how to handle that."
"Give them visitation too," Tony quipped. "That way their son has a reason to make it through treatment if at all possible."
JARVIS cleared his virtual throat. "Sir, I believe someone should go calm down Miss Pepper. She's sobbing because she found out someone is using a name she likes."
"I love mood swings. It means I can talk her into playing pranks," Callia said, heading to calm her mother down. She walked in and slid between her and her aunt. "Hey, why the water works?"
Pepper sniffled, looking at her. "That's such a line your dad would use. We need to get you some of your own." She hugged her. "It's just a mood swing."
"I'm told I'll have those evil hormones too, even if they'll be at the less evil levels until I spawn." She cuddled her, letting Pepper calm down. "I say we cap the baby that's using the name you like so much so you don't have to cry."
Pepper gave her a hug. "That's not even funny but I can endure."
"It's not a close friend," Dawn said. "Who said that there can't be two of them in the same age range? They'll probably never run into each other anyway. There's lots of other Philips out there."
She nodded. "Maybe. Sorry. It just hit me."
"Shh, we'll be girls together," Callia promised, smiling at her. "I gotta learn somewhere before I put on those boy panties that Auntie found for Philip."
Dawn smiled. "I should have Philip put them on." She went to call home and talk to him. He liked to answer the phone. He was at that age to babble.
Pepper and Callia shared a look then shook their heads and went back to cuddling. Something exploded in the parking lot. "That's not Shield Design," Pepper quipped. But Dawn blew them up for it a minute later so it was okay. Tony could hang out with his geeks, Dawn could give her son evil ideas, and Pepper could get cuddles and calm down. It was all good in their lives today.
Tony looked out the window. "Huh. The guy that tried to blow up the gate is sorry. Dawn handled it." He came back over to talk to the geeks. They all looked happier for having Dawn handle things so that was a good thing.
Philip hung up the phone with a few blown kisses and ran to his room. Mommy had given him special big boy pants. They looked like Uncle Tony. He found them and squealed, putting them on over his diaper. They were cute! He found the bigger pair. Those must be for Daddy like Mommy said. He wore big boy panties too. He ran into their room, climbing up on the bed to wave them at him. "Dada!"
"What?" he asked, looking over from kissing Mommy to stare at him. "Those are cute big boy underwear, son. Did your mom buy those?" He smiled and took the pair Philip was waving. "Oh, we match!" He was trying to hold in the disgusted look. He wasn't exactly one to wear Iron Man underwear.
"Dawn said kids liked to match their parents," Natasha said. "You look very good in big boy pants, son. We'll have to teach you to use a potty so you can wear them more often." Philip grunted and pointed at the bigger ones. "Of course he'll put them on."
Clint looked at them. "Why do they have lace around the edges?" His son pouted so he put them on under the sheet so Philip could see him in them. He'd hold in the shuddering in horror he wanted to do and the disgusted looks. Philip squealed and hugged him, letting his daddy cuddle back. He looked down, expecting to see another picture of Iron Man, not ruffles. He pushed his son back to look at the front then at Natasha. "Do I even want to ask?"
"They're for boys who do the pageants or something."
"So she got our son gay boy panties?" She smiled and nodded. "I'm so spanking her later." He got up and took Philip to change into better big boy panties, earning a pout. "We'll go buy you more, son. How about that?" He squealed like Mommy and hugged him. "I like that too." He wouldn't admit his were comfortable drawers. He and his son didn't need gay show boy panties. His son didn't need ruffles on anything. He gave Nat a kiss before getting dressed and taking Philip with him to find big boy panties he'd like. They should make boxer briefs for kids, right?
Natasha laughed, teasing herself to relieve the stress Clint had caused. She sent Dawn a thought and a mental picture of them in them.
Dawn went to see Chris, showing him the big boy panties. And the matching ones for Daddy. Chris beamed and put them on, running toward where Daddy was hiding, waving the bigger ones. Dawn went back to her desk to wait.
Tony looked over as his son barged into the room waving something. "Hi, Chris. Shouldn't you be wearing pants over your big boy underwear? And why are you wearing Hawkeye ones?" Someone by the door burst out laughing. He looked at where she was pointing, looking at his son's butt. "Ruffles. Your aunt is in a funny mood." A few people took pictures of his face. Chris beamed and waved the bigger pair. "Huh, they have a daddy pair. That's so cool," he said with a grin. "I can put them on after a bath later." Chris pouted.
"Dad, it'll help him remember to use the potty if you match," Callia called from the doorway, leaning in with a smile. "Kids like to match their parents. Remember me in your t-shirts?" She gave him a look and smiled sweetly. "Philip got a pair of yours and Grandma has a pair of Hulk matching ones for Philip and Grandpa."
Tony moaned slightly. His daughter was just as evil as her aunt. "Sure, I'll put them on." He took Chris to the bathroom to do that. If it'd help him potty train, he'd wear them for his son and then destroy them. Then he'd give Barton ideas on how to cure his wife's bad mental state. He'd ignore that his had ruffles of lace around each opening and his son's butt ruffles. Chris squealed and made picture motions so JARVIS took one. "Don't you dare," Tony warned his AI.
"Very well, sir."
Tony grinned and put on his pants. "Go potty for me, Chris?" Chris climbed up to stand on top of the potty and pulled out his tiny peepee to pee for his daddy, beaming at him. "How you can have that bad of aim while you're standing on it I'm not sure, son, but okay." He got him cleaned up and got him pants then came back to his geeks. They adored Chris. He was a happy baby like Callia had been. Though he had to stop him from showing off the big boy panties.
"Now all he needs is his sister's new heels," one of the chemists quipped with a smirk for the boss.
"If he wants to cross-dress, I'll make sure Pepper and Dawn teach him how to do it skillfully so he'll pass," Tony quipped back, cracking them up.
"At least those are boy panties, Stark. My son wanted to wear mine," one of the women said. "Usually on his head but not always."
Tony shook his head. "I hope he trains soon. I really do. JARVIS, ask Pepper when we licensed that stuff to the underwear people?"
"A few months back, SHIELD was asked to license them and we agreed at the same time, sir. We make a nice royalty each time a pair of those is sold."
"Great," Tony said with a grin for his son. The others in there cracked up at the sarcasm. That was the old Tony Stark they used to enjoy. He did send a warning email to Bruce. That way he could hide them from the kids who'd want him to match them.
Clint walked his little heathen into the boxer store. It was a boutique but it had all sorts of boxers and boy clothes. "His mommy got him ruffly boy panties."
"We have those." He smiled.
"I'd like something a bit more standard maybe? Boxer briefs?"
"We have a few. Mostly for boys his age it's y-fronts." He showed him those. Clint avoided the section with the other super hero panties. His son pouted at him but he liked plaid. That was good. They had plaid boxers and plaid underwear. Philip liked those, he hugged them. Clint smiled and got those, taking them home. He'd carefully hide the other ones to embarrass the hell out of their son when he was old enough to date. And so he never had to wear them again. Natasha could giggle all she wanted.
Bruce got the text from Tony, staring at it oddly. He went up to his underwear drawer, finding the package that proudly had the large 'daddy and baby set' sticker on the front. Sure enough, it was Hulk underwear. He looked at them. "Ruffles?" He looked at them. They were male underwear. He put it in the back of the closet, walking off shaking his head. His wife was having a playful moment thanks to her daughter. They really needed them all on one coast again so they could go shopping together to wear those out. Before he went a tiny bit nuts. "Why would boys want to wear green rage monster underwear?" he complained out loud. "That's not really a great role model."
He decided he needed to look them up and did that, finding the Iron Man ones. "At least he's on the penis. He should like the irony of his armor being a penis statement. Many men think of it as the ultimate penis statement anyway. Or Hawkeye's bow," he said when he spotted them. He nearly choked when he spotted the Nick Fury one. And there was Agent Coulson and Alexander ones.
No Black Widow ones in boys, not that he expected that. She really was for bigger boys, not potty training boys. He texted Natasha to let her know she had a set in the little girl panties. Complete with a handgun in hand, standing sideways like she was about to look around a corner. Whoever had done the images had taken them from openly available fandom stock it seemed. He finally gave up and wrote Coulson to see if he knew. He could handle it if they weren't authorized or smack someone around if they were. Bruce had science stuff he wanted to do and he felt like a pervert looking at little boy underwear.
Natasha got the text, looking them up. "That is not the stance I'd want on them." On the backside was her standing hands on her hips, feet apart, staring at them. "That should scare anyone from touching them hopefully." She shook her head and sent a request to Agent Hill. She was in charge of things like merchandising requests. Then she sent one to Pepper, which made her send back a laugh. Though she and Callia did agree it was probably very protective of the wearers.
Phil looked over from doing paperwork as his phone vibrated. He picked it up to look at the simple text message from Banner. He clicked on the link and blinked a few times. "I'm on what?" He noticed it mentioned a few other styles and looked at them. The Nick Fury one was him looking to the side from the kid's front and him staring at you on the backside. Phil grimaced. "I think the Avengers merchandising empire is a bit too broad." He looked over them all. His was a bit creepy. His had his gun up, in ready to move stance, looking around a corner. On the back, he had a gun in hand and was staring at something. That had to come from that fan-snapped shot after a battle. He had seen it during the monitoring of an Avengers convention. He went up to the main office, looking at Maria. "You let them use fan shots?" he asked.
She smiled. "It's very encouraging of young boys to want to be super heros. Even your son's done it a few times."
"Yes, but they have lace."
"Those are made for boys in pageants. So they feel manly even as they're paraded around like dress up dolls."
Phil grimaced but shook his head. "I'd rather not be on those sort. Especially not with a gun in hand. It probably sends the wrong message since I'm armed on them."
"She hasn't seen hers yet?" Joyce called from the office. She smiled. "I got Bruce a daddy and baby set so he and Philip can match."
Phil shook his head, showing her the set with Agent Hill on it. Maria moaned and shook her head. She'd talk to that company. "Perhaps less armed ones? Because frankly, some of them are probably protective. Especially the Nick Fury ones."
She smirked evilly. "I put a pair of those in his ferret bed," she said quietly. "He was not amused."
Phil nodded. "I wouldn't be either." He walked off shaking his head. Sometimes he worried that SHIELD was warped beyond redemption. The rest, he was sure of it. He sent a thought at Xander that he was on big boy panties with his axe and on the back with a sword. Xander choked and spluttered, letting Roque pound him on the back until he could breathe again. Maybe that would stop that cold. He doubted Xander had given permission.
"We can talk to them about using more positive images," Joyce said as she came out for hot water for her tea. "Strong female images that aren't holding weapons."
"Yes, I can, and perhaps make them cartoon characters as well." She walked off to talk to them once she had the file pulled up so she could figure out who to talk to.
Dawn got the daily mail and looked at it. "Huh. Why did that come up from PR?" She looked it over briefly to see which person it went to. She put it aside carefully, not letting any hint of it get through her bond to her mates. The rest was pretty standard mail and an 'I hate you' letter that didn't get found. That got sent to PR to handle. They sent it back saying that she wasn't part of Stark. Dawn gathered things to take to Pepper, walking into the apartment after knocking. "The other petty people are in PR." She handed over that letter with the post-it they had sent up still attached.
Pepper looked at it. "That came from...."
"Are they doing the hate letters again?"
"As far as I know. Want me to go ask them?"
"No, I'll figure that out. I'm taking an afternoon break. What's the other one?"
"Something that will either send Tony into fits of geek glee or make him hide. Someone wants permission to do an Iron Man cartoon." She handed it over with a grin.
"I'm not sure which he'll do either." She looked over the proposal, including a few plot lines for episodes. "I guess it's nice that they asked, unlike the two comics that got started at a convention and moved on from there. I know we're ignoring those."
Dawn nodded. "They're pretty good actually." Someone knocked. "Let me see who that is." She went to check then opened the door. "Pepper, it's the head of Payroll."
"Let her in." She put her feet up. "I'm taking a break for a nap before a conference call tonight. What's up?"
"We need to have this non-employee escorted off property. It's protocol."
Pepper looked at Dawn then at her. "She's not fired."
"She's been fired a few times."
"Yes, and it was always undone because the people who did it had no right to do that."
"She's missed work without calling off."
"She's only supposed to work on the days we work. One of those was right after I had Liz and was on maternity leave. Tony took off three days so Dawn got them off as well. For that matter, one of them tried it when Dawn was on maternity leave and had the paperwork in."
"I didn't hear about that one," Dawn admitted. She sat down. "Is that why I was going to come down later on to nag you about my paycheck not being deposited?" The head of Payroll looked smug and nodded. She looked at Pepper. "JARVIS, can you please send Tony back for a few minutes. That way the CEO and the head of the company can both talk?"
"Of course, Dawn. He's on his way."
Tony walked in a minute later and shut the door, letting Chris run off to the bathroom. "What's up? JARVIS said that the pettiness issue came back." He sat down beside Pepper. He looked at Dawn, who pointed. "I didn't figure you started it. Though, idea I'll have a fit about?"
"Cartoons?" She tossed it at him.
Tony glanced it over, one eye twitching a few times. He carefully put it down. "I'll rant about that later." He looked at the head of something. "Who're you?"
"She's the head of Payroll," Pepper said. "We've had a few problems from them. Including one of her people deciding that Dawn's exemptions and withholding statements needed to be changed on her."
"That's not legal," she sneered at Dawn.
"I called the IRS and that's what they said to do," Dawn said dryly. "So did my tax accountant."
"You're still a nothing."
Dawn shrugged. "Glad to be here if it means I'm not polluting people." Tony gave her a pointed look. She relaxed and let Chris crawl up into her lap to get a hug.
Chris looked at his mommy then at the angry person. "Dumb bitch."
"Who taught you that?" Dawn demanded. "You know better!"
"Oops?" he asked, giving the big eyed look his sister had taught him.
"That came from Callia, so did the look," Pepper said dryly. "We'll talk about language later, son." She looked at the idiot. "Frankly, Dawn's not going to be fired. Ever."
"She doesn't have a contract," she said smugly.
"I'm not due a new one until January," Dawn quipped back.
"I've got it in the lab," Tony assured her.
"I'm not worried," Dawn promised.
The head of Payroll glared at her. "You've gotten above yourself, Summers. You're no better than the rest of us and all you are is a glorified secretary."
"Mostly, yeah, I am. That's all I ever do beyond going to collect reports in the lab and make sure people have eaten. When have I ever gotten above that?"
"You force your way into going to things. No *secretary* goes to society events."
"We make her go," Tony said. "That way she can divert press attention off us and it gives us someone intelligent to talk to. Any personal assistant of ours would be going, even if they weren't young and cute."
The head of Payroll huffed. "It's not right."
Tony stared at her. "Why isn't it right? She makes the big money because she handles everything for us so we don't have to do as much. Everything from my personal schedule to Pepper's to hate mail to threats to helping with the kids' schedules to research for us. She does a lot more than a standard secretary does. Then again, if she had said that the press attention bothered her, we would've let her pull back."
"I'm well aware I'm there to take the pressure off you and Pepper by being a shiny target," Dawn said with a slight shrug. "Doesn't bother me even if it does bother Clint and Natasha. Then again, they stare at me so those two and the rest of you can slip aside."
"That's what we had planned," Pepper agreed. She looked at the huffy woman again. "A lot of us bring our assistants and life managers to those things so they can handle things and if someone pops up needing to make an appointment they can do that."
"Did you know she's more popular than either of you are?" she sneered.
"Good!" Tony agreed, smiling at Dawn. "Good job."
Tony looked at her again. She was still mad as hell by her expression. "We like that. It means less stalking of us and the kids by stupid reporters. We like that and that's what we had planned when we talked to her about it." He looked over her current outfit. "You look nice in that. Good job covering the baby bump." Dawn smiled. "We didn't mind last time's but I remember you getting weird looks a few times ."
"I did but thankfully peplums have come back into style." She smiled back. Then looked at the payroll person. "Any other complaints against me?"
"You're being paid a lot more than a common secretary."
"I also have a master's degree and I am walking a second one this spring." The woman glared. Dawn shrugged. "Truth. I do."
"You can't have anything. You didn't attend classes and all those online universities are crap."
"I went through a real school's online program, well two school's," Dawn admitted. "Not something like Phoenix University. A real, accredited college. A lot of them have online options these days. The one for my joint Masters, they considered all the other credits I had taken, had me take some tests for work credit counting, and then I took the rest of the classes. The new one, which is a language degree, I got out of a school in Rio but still a fully accredited, very highly thought of school with some online classes."
The head of Payroll glared. "There's no way you got your job out of high school at that rate."
"No, it went up when I got back from our needed world trip," Dawn said dryly. "I had been making forty before then. Which was good secretary range. When I finally got to come back to the office, I was a few credits shy of my degree, took them, and graduated right before my contract renegotiation." She shifted to cross her feet. "I'm sure you've seen that degrees automatically up your salary." Tony and Pepper both nodded that it did.
"You still did things, you probably magicked them or something," she sneered.
Dawn shook her head. "No, I didn't have enough control of my powers to magic anyone subtly until about two years ago. Back when they took me in, I hadn't studied a damn bit of magical theory. I studied to try to figure out how to protect myself and it became a good thing I did." She flapped a hand but Chris captured it to hug. She smiled at him. "I love you too, Chris." He smiled at his mommy and waved then glared at the huffy woman again. "Leave her be, Chris," she said quietly. "Don't worry about her." He shifted to cuddle her better, settling in for a nap. Tony smiled. "He's a good boy." She checked the air cast on his arm but it was fine.
"He is," Tony agreed. He looked at her. "Beyond all your objections and conjecture, that's not for you to worry about. That's for Pepper and I to worry about. If we want to pay our personal assistant an outrageous salary, so be it. The only one that should be concerned about her salary is her and us."
"Though I can now see where all the fits about Dawn's ID card have started," Pepper said dryly. "All the times I had to fix it, I thought it was someone in the New York office."
"Maybe we need a housekeeping," Tony agreed. "Frankly, here at Stark, we need and reward greatness. Dawn does excellently in her field. She's solved a lot of problems and found even more that others have started to try to fuck with the company." Chris made unhappy noises. "Sorry, son." He looked at her again. "Pepper went from accounting to my personal assistant to CEO."
"We all know why," she sneered.
"I hadn't slept with Pepper before she became a CEO," Tony said with a glare at her. "Flirted a lot. Sexually harassed a few times, but not slept with."
"So now you have a younger version?" she sneered.
"No, Dawn's firmly committed to her relationship."
"It's not everyone that you end up telepathically bonded with," Dawn quipped with a grin. "Though it's really hot and Clint likes to growl over it sometimes."
"It's still not legal."
Dawn shrugged. "Plenty of people have commitment ceremonies instead of actual weddings or live together instead. We're happy with what we have. Natasha filed the marriage licences on us and we found out later. Didn't change much after a few days of thinking about it." She patted Chris on the back since he was starting to shift in agitation. "Calm down, Chris," she said quietly, soothing him. He shifted again, still scowling. Dawn blocked the hit of magic that came out. "No, that's not allowed," she chided gently. "You can't attack someone, Christopher Darren Oliver Stark."
Callia ran in. "I felt Chris blast someone."
"I stopped it," Dawn assured her.
"Cool." She hugged her brother, calming him down. "I think he's got a few nightmares."
"It could be," Dawn agreed, patting him on the back until he finished calming down. She let Callia climb up next to her to help her.
Tony got up and took him. "C'mere, son. We'll cuddle," he soothed. Chris made pouty faces for being woken up. "You can have Auntie Dawn later." Chris sighed but snuggled in on him, peeing on him. "Oops, an accident." He took him to the bathroom to clean up. They came back out both changed and sat beside Pepper again. Pepper was arguing with the woman about what her job was. "It doesn't matter," he said firmly. "She's no longer employed by us for being behind some of the sabotage we've had." Dawn smiled. "We're having a talk about you fighting back."
"I do fight back plenty of times but I also know when it's not my job, Tony. Me fighting with her wouldn't solve anything."
"She looked horrified that Dawn was in here when she showed up," Pepper said. "I don't think she expected Dawn to be here. She looked at Tony. "She has defended herself. Not like Dawn could laugh it off and fire her."
"Good point." He looked at the coldly staring woman. "We don't allow sabotage of any form and we do have anti-discrimination policies in place, which you violated."
"There's a keep your nose out of everyone's business one too," Callia said dryly from her aunt's lap. "Her relationship, her religion, and her flirty days are none of your business unless they push on your office's effectiveness."
"She calls out to her *goddess* all the time," she sneered at the kid.
Callia shrugged. "You call out loudly to yours a lot more often."
"Mine's normal. It's the American way."
"I'm afraid that there were plenty of non-Christians that came over in the first few rushes. Not like they all came over for religious freedom. The rest came without preachers, food, or their families. That showed they weren't here for more than getting rich quick. For that matter, there's been Muslims, Buddhists, and people from other faiths here since before the Revolutionary war. America's a melting pot and if you don't like it, move. We can suggest a few islands your kind can take over so you don't have to see anyone but your own people. Not like breeding will become a concern since you guys don't like to." The woman tried to hit her and Dawn snapped up to stop the bitch. "Wow," Callia said, finding herself floating in air. "I need to learn this spell." Her father helped her down and took the woman trying to get free from Dawn's grip from her. He walked her out and let Security have her. "Yay Daddy!"
Dawn sat down with a huff, pulling her over to cuddle her again and ending the floating spell. "Sorry it went physical," she said when Tony came back.
"I would've slugged her a while back," Pepper quipped.
Dawn shrugged. "Wouldn't have proven anything to her."
"I'll fix the payroll thing tonight," Pepper promised. Dawn grinned. "I'm sure you're not broke."
"No, I have plenty in savings."
"Auntie, what are you going to do with that settlement from Mr. Fury's booboos?" Callia asked.
"Not sure yet. We'll figure that out when we get it."
Tony stared at her. "They should've handed over the first part last month." Dawn shrugged. "I'll ask Agent Hill." He sent her that text message. "Why haven't you?"
"I have asked. She said she wasn't sure why I didn't get it and never got back with me. Maybe all of SHIELD is mad because of it. The guy the other night hated me being next to Natasha."
"We'll figure it out," Pepper said, texting Steve. "Are you okay?"
"I'm fine, Pepper. Tired of all this shit but fine. It's not the first time." Pepper nodded she knew that. "How are we going to find out if there's any others?"
"There's at least a few," Callia said. "A few have said things like 'that's the alien' about you."
"I'm not alien."
"I think it went on the whole 'glowy ball' thing," Callia admitted.
"Probably," Tony agreed. "Tell me who you hear that stuff from, kiddo. I need to know to fix the company."
Howard faded into view, rattling off a few names. "I was wondering how long you'd let that go on."
"Not that long," Tony said dryly. "Those ones need my foot up their asses." Pepper nodded. "Let me go kick asses." He wrote down the names on his way out. He trusted his father but he probably hadn't gotten all of them. What he found did not amuse him. That anti-talent church had people in his staff. They had some in SHIELD. That showed they needed to do a better job of hiring. He checked in the daycare. Philip was pouting at Daddy. "Barton?"
Clint looked over. "Asking why he had what looked like a curling iron burn on his side, Stark."
Tony came over to look at it, frowning. "Liz had one of those too." He stared at him. "When did they happen?" he asked the daycare worker.
"We don't have a heat source down here to do something like that, Mr. Stark. We have no idea. Have you asked Dawn since she's always with the kids?"
"I can," he said, looking up. "JARVIS?"
"She said she asked about it yesterday when she found it during a lunchtime diaper change and they said it was just where he brushed against something to scrape himself," the AI said.
"Where did it actually come from?" Clint asked, looking up. Then at the daycare workers.
"If you look in Miss Thelma's bag, I'm afraid you'll find the reason. She was using it to punish any of the children that showed gifts."
"Philip doesn't have gifts," Tony said. "No magic or anything."
"He has a gift of music," Clint said with a grin. "He's already trying to play my guitar."
"JARVIS, have Pepper or Dawn look at Chris's side?"
"He has two on his thigh," the AI said. "They don't need to look."
Clint pulled out his phone to call someone. "You can't prove that," Miss Thelma sneered. Her fellow workers were giving her horrified looks. "They're wrong! They have to be taught not to be freaks!" she shouted with a point.
"No, they don't," Clint said, talking to the dispatcher. She promised she'd get someone there before he could kill her. He hung up. "Ten," he told Stark.
"Fine." He handed him Philip. "You didn't think that JARVIS tapes everything in here for the parents?" Tony asked. "A lot of milestones happen in here instead of at home."
The head of the daycare nodded. "We knew, Mr. Stark, and we appreciate it. That way if something happens we now what happened. If JARVIS had told me I would've stopped as soon as I heard."
"She usually did it while you were getting their lunches. The other daycare worker scowled but kept most of the children from her," the AI said.
"I couldn't protect them," she complained.
"You could've told us," Tony said. "And you're going too." She nodded, getting up to gather her things. The police officers got there and the kids ran over to babble and pat them until the officers smiled.
"Guys, let the officers work and I'll see if I can get someone in to talk to you guys tomorrow," Clint ordered. They calmed down and watched in awe as they arrested two people. Clint grinned at the head of the daycare. "I'll help tomorrow. They listen to me."
"They do. It's a miracle because Philip never listens to me."
He smirked. "He only really loves Mommy Natasha." She laughed but nodded. Clint wrote an email to someone to see if they had anyone on the disabled list who would like to talk to a daycare. Street sent back that he had two according to the Captain and they'd be there at one. "Street said he'd send someone around one." Tony patted him on the arm with a grin, walking off. "More stress?"
"The head of Payroll has been screwing with Dawn's files too."
"Want me to help Dawn rant on her lj?"
"Nope. Let's leave this internal for now." Clint sent that thought at Dawn, then shrugged, settling in to play with the kids. Tony had some mediocre idiots to root out before they ruined his company. He would not let the company fall to idiots.
Steve got the email from Tony and grimaced. He showed it to Joyce.
"I don't know how we'd find out if they were members of that movement or that church," she said quietly. "Unless we hacked any lists they might have."
"I'm not sure if we can or not." He called Phil up. Something this delicate would take Phil or someone he chose's touch. He showed him the email.
"I figured there were a few. I've had people looking into that group. There's definitely non-affiliated members here and there."
"Tony's having to clean house," Steve said. "The head of payroll went after Dawn."
"Not the first time," Phil said. He went to get the information they had on the problem, bring it back up the normal way because him appearing in the office seemed to unnerve some of the junior agents. He laid out what they already had and knew. Steve and Joyce talked about it and they decided to call a staff meeting to bust them and fire them. They didn't need those sort screwing up missions on purpose and the whole group had gotten write ups recently for those sort of incidences. Phil got them all there and let the bosses handle it. Though he heard a few prayers that they were undercover during it. Those he tapped to stay late for a talk. Phil looked at them. "Who told you to do that?"
"Marjorie Simms," one of them said.
"Rialta told me," another of the six said. The rest nodded at that.
"All right. We'll talk with them tonight. Then we'll see. I'll tell the directors personally." They nodded and acted like they had been fired as well. Phil called those two handlers up to the office to talk to the bosses. "I had no idea you had people undercover," he announced.
"You didn't get one of mine. There's a few that are might-as-well-be's too," Rialta said, flipping her hair over her shoulder. Phil handed over the list he had made, getting a nod. Simms added to it as well. Joyce got their files handled and it was easier on them to do what they needed to do. Steve went over what they had gathered. There may be Freedom of Religion but that freedom didn't mean you could screw up SHIELD missions on purpose. There was no Freedom to Endanger the World in the Constitution.
Steve presented the case against that church, and the members, to the liaison SHIELD had with the US Attorney's office. "We found some, Stark found some screwing things up. Tony's really pissed. Two of his oldest geeks were part of that group. They had plans to disable the Iron Man suit for good."
The US Attorney shook his head. "To quote your predecessor: Mother Fucker!" Steve grinned. "How many more might be going on?"
"We have a few we're not sure about."
"Good to know. Any other evidence of that?" Steve handed over the box of evidence they had gathered. "Wow, you guys are good."
"If it relates to the world being ended, we have to act. There's no Freedom to Screw Up the Universe in any legal book."
"No, there's not." He looked it over, nodding, making notes. "I'd assume you had people under cover?"
"No comment until the trial. That way those wackos can't hurt them."
"Probably a good idea since they tried to burn the house Stark's rebuilding in Malibu." Steve winced. "He didn't tell you?"
"No, I heard. We were watching a movie with the kids when the alarms started to go off." He sighed and shifted his stance. "I've never heard Pepper go off that way before." The attorney smirked at him. "Really. Mood swings have nothing on a really enraged Pepper Potts."
"That figures. She's a fierce woman if she can put up with Stark for all those years." He looked up. "I'll submit it to the bosses, Captain."
"Thank you. We know you have a few in your office as well." He shook his hand and walked off to go to his meeting with the other agency heads. Joyce was already there.
The attorney looked over the list of names. "I do see a few of my coworkers. Then again, I saw one on the 'sold my soul for power' list last year too." He called his boss. "Sir, freedom of religion against harming the world case thanks to SHIELD. Right now, sir. We have a good case." He hung up and let his boss come get it himself. His boss wasn't on that list and he had spat about the church more than once.
Joyce smiled as she sat down. "Gentlemen. Steve's with the US Attorney's office. He'll be here shortly."
"We know you're co-heads," one of them said. "What's happened?"
"Two things. The updated information on what we think will happen this spring. We're still not totally sure if that one demon's death will matter or not." She handed that disc over to be run. "The other is on that stupid group of humans who hates super heros and anyone else odd enough that they've decided to mess up agencies. You all have members." She handed over that box. "That's what we've gathered so far and what Steve's presenting to the US Attorney today."
They got into that one first. A few were very unhappy.
The head of the CIA looked at her. "I had wondered how that operation got so screwed up."
"One of them is spilling his guts." She smiled. "On purpose. The other one was in charge. That file's in there by itself, Director." He looked and found it, reading it over. He did not look pleased. The other agency heads looked even less pleased. "When we found out, we went looking and shed about thirty agents. Stark International also had to shed some people, including some people that had been with them for ages. One since before Tony had taken over."
"That sucks," they agreed.
"This clearly does impact world security," the head of Homeland agreed, looking at her. "The US Attorney?"
"Steve should be here in a few minutes. It's just up the street." They smiled. "Alas, I don't read minds."
"Thankfully; that's a really creepy power," the head of Homeland said with a smile. "Your daughter doesn't use hers all that often."
"She keeps hers focused on her spouses." She wouldn't tell them that Dawn only merged with them. If it kept her daughter safer, it was good to make her sound more scary.
"That's probably a good thing with how often SHIELD agents and your daughter get into the strangest things," the head of the CIA said. "I'd have to send you anyone who did the same thing."
Joyce smiled. "It takes a special type of agent to be SHIELD but we will gladly come poach the best agents."
"Yes, it does." Steve walked in and nodded, shutting the door behind them. "Are they charging them?"
"He's passing it up to his boss but he seemed to think there was enough there to charge them on." He sat down. "Have we went over this spring yet?" They shook their heads so he let someone run the information disc. "This is what we've gotten from the LA team and Dawn's own kitten poker information contacts. We're still not sure if that one demon that attacked the parade was the head general or if he was just a general. They apparently all look alike and we didn't take his name."
"If they're the head one, will it happen anyway?" one asked.
Steve shrugged. "Probably."
"Our probability people said seventy/thirty chance of it happening even if he was in total control of the military," Joyce said.
"So still a pretty good chance," the head of Homeland agreed. "We can subtly move more agents that way during that time."
Steve smiled. "Dawn has made it a point to tell those bigots that if they were so unhappy with us, they should probably show up during that attack."
"We won't arrest them or any militant yahoos that show up," the head of the FBI agreed with a smile for them. "They'd better disappear really quickly though."
"That's how the invasion was handled too from what I was told," Joyce said. "I was in the hospital then. Thankfully far, far away from the center of the invasion."
"They have the option of using one in the desert, one of those natural archways," Steve said. "Connor's team couldn't be sure which they'd use. So either you've got a few there, two in downtown LA, or Palm Springs. We know they won't go north. They're very susceptible to cold from what Connor and Faith have told us. Just a ten degree shift can kill them."
"Okay," they agreed. "Can Dawn manipulate weather, Miss Summers?"
"Perhaps but I'm not sure if it'll be safe for her." One moaned and shook his head. "Yes, she's pregnant. She is taking Agent Barton's backup spot so she'll be doing long-range things until she delivers. We'll hopefully have Atlantis back by then?" she asked Steve.
"I heard the tentative date was next week," Steve said. "So we'll have the SGC helping if we need it." The other heads nodded. "We've given O'Neill a head's up as well."
"That's good. He's used to dealing with screwed up shit like this." The head of Homeland looked at them. "Why is your daughter pregnant?"
She smiled. "Because she wanted a daughter. There's not really any way to plan it so you're not pregnant over the spring since it varies when the big things happen. She'd probably be getting back into shape if she wasn't pregnant."
"We have other witches," the head of the FBI said. "More light duty ones but I'm sure they can learn to work together."
"The coven that Callia trains with will gladly help with *defensive* things," Steve said. "I asked."
"That's what we'd expect anyway," the head of the FBI agreed. "Plus Alexander and whoever he can draw in."
"He's already alerted the whole temple and they're making plans on who can be there and who can't," Steve agreed. "He and Roque helped a lot with the last one."
"I remember. It was a good battle," the head of the CIA said with a smile. "His mate can keep up?"
"Agent Coulson asked to have himself trained better. Xander took him to the Dwarfs that had trained him in combat skills. Phil got highest honors from them. He's really good and even Xander loses to him sometimes. I've seen Roque and John Sheppard both lose to him. Xander just smiles proudly."
The head of Homeland laughed. "We like that he's still a goofy, mushy guy underneath." He looked at the information they had. "Blow the head off?"
"Or blow the chest out," Joyce agreed. "Either's doable. So large caliber shotguns would be best unless you want your people to carry a backup machete for beheading."
"I think that'd be practical anyway. What do the agents in Cleveland carry?" Joyce pulled up that list and projected it from her Starkpad. "Sounds pretty normal."
"Xander makes sure all new trainees know how to use a crossbow and a short sword or a machete just in case," Steve said with a grin. "They get three lessons on each during training. He also goes into survival skills just in case they ever need it."
"SHIELD agents are more likely to be displaced to some other realm than any of us," the head of the CIA agreed.
"We've only had one and we managed to get him back with Tara's help," Joyce said with a smile. "Then Tara went to rip him a new one for that. He's very sorry and he likes that he's in jail away from angry blonde women."
"Tara has a temper sometimes," Steve agreed. "Never with the kids though. She's a really good mom." Joyce smiled at him. He looked at the others. "Do you guys want to set up where you'll join the fight from if it starts? Or do you just want your people to jump in wherever they're standing when it starts?"
"We'll arrange for a centralized emergency depot of weapons and ammo," the head of Homeland decided. "LA could use it anyway for riots, demon uprisings, and these things." He looked at the head of the FBI. "Your building?"
"Too far out of the way by where the last few happened."
"Do what you do in New York with that not-really-an-office off-site," Joyce offered. "You both have not-offices with phone banks and the like downtown."
"We can easily do that in LA," the head of Homeland agreed. "We could use one anyway."
"Where's the other possible portal location?" the head of the CIA asked.
"There's a portal underneath the old post office that leads to some higher beings who don't like to answer questions about what's going on," Joyce said, pulling up a map. "There. That goes to the Oracles and if they wanted to, Dawn said it's not that hard to put one against the outside of theirs to open a new one. Same form sharing the doorway basically."
"Which would lead to a few areas of concern when they ran out," the head of the FBI said. "A few subway stations." Joyce pointed at something. "The usual pass-through?"
"That's a demon club for fire and earth elementals from what Dawn told me. So they could come up through it. It probably has an underground hatchway. A lot of Sunnydale's demon businesses did." They made note of that to look at it.
"I wouldn't want to shut them down but maybe we can talk to them about closing the gateway during that time so nothing can get up it."
"Then again, it could be a safety hatch for anything stuck down there," Steve said.
"They can probably put up a bouncer or someone there," Joyce said. "To handle it in case it's that sort of situation instead of the bad ones trying to get out."
"That's not a bad idea," the head of the FBI agreed. "I can talk to our people there that deal with things to talk to them about it." The other agency directors nodded. "What if it doesn't happen?"
"We'll throw a party," Joyce said. "I'd *love* to never have another big apocalypse again."
They smiled at her. She still handled the slayers like they were her daughter. It was good for the girls. "Will anyone else have a problem?" the head of Homeland asked. "Like Cleveland?"
"Not that we're aware of," Steve said. "I haven't specifically asked. I'll ask Faith later tonight when she's awake." They nodded and broke up to handle their plans and the problems in their own agencies.
Tony looked at the list of employees he had to fire over the last few days. "How did we get so many of them?"
"It was partially targeted," Dawn said as she walked in with his lunch tray and coffee. "I asked and Phil said that they did target the company on purpose because of your shiny suit of armor. And you missed two." She put down their letters of resignation. "We had to hide the kids for a bit so they didn't see the ambulance people." Tony stared at her. "One from the top of the arc reactor building, shouting at the top of her lungs about how godless we all were and all that.
"I got the geeks to safety in the gym and the kids ran in there so Callia took them to teach them about science stuff like plants and animals. She went over basic classifications. The other one we found while we were clearing everyone away from her suicidal-ness. She had a bomb strapped to her chest." Tony slumped, shaking his head. "Which, again, not our fault."
"No, it's not. So they did target us because of Iron Man?" Dawn nodded. "They yell at you?"
"The one with the bomb yelled that I was evil and she was going to make sure my evil didn't spread by taking me and Philip out with it. She was a bit confused though. She had taken stuff to calm her down so she wouldn't fight hitting the switch."
"Why didn't I hear about this?"
"You were talking to the people about the house fire."
"Oh, then." He read over the two letters. "Did they save the jumper?"
"Yeah, after she jumped. It's only three stories, she more than survived it, Tony. Has a slight skull fracture. Needs some traction because she landed on her feet, and broke them and her legs." Tony shuddered. "Oh, yes. JARVIS has it saved down for whenever you're ready to hear her rants. The cops outright laughed at her that you were part of some new world order to take over. Apparently you're building the new Illuminati, boss." She smiled. "If so, can I take over South America so I get more bikini time?"
He rolled his eyes but smiled before stuffing his mouth. "We'll see," he said once he had swallowed. "What did Pepper want?"
"Figures." She laughed as she walked off. "I'm going to get you for that underwear thing too, Summers."
She cackled, smiling at him. "The boys *love* them, Tony. And boys need to feel pretty sometimes too. I got him a Nick Fury pair too." She grinned and disappeared.
Tony shook his head. "My poor son. We need to do some manly stuff sometime. Maybe a trip to Vegas to camp." He finished his lunch. Then he watched the saved video. "Fuck," he muttered, going to the gym. Most of the geeks were still in there. They were playing games with the kids too. So that was great. They could have a Stark Free Day. They could all use the stress relief. Even Pepper was playing scrabble with the geeks and losing.
Xander was pouting when Phil got back. "Why do I have the urge to hide?" Phil quipped.
"You'd hide from me?" Xander asked.
Phil nodded. "Probably if it's going to require more than sex or cuddling tonight. Is it?"
"Then why the pout?"
"John called me a liberated jackass who has no brains."
"Why did your brother insult jackasses?" Xander scowled. Phil smirked slightly. "Why are you two fighting now?"
"Apollo wants John to take in the twins."
"He's the father."
"He's kinda busy and the muses are getting attached. Which cuts into his nookie time."
Phil nodded. "I'm sorry for him." Xander smirked. "Are we getting time to visit with them?"
"Nope. I said he's the daddy, not us." Phil kissed him. "John wanted me to take them in part of the time. I pointed out he has a huge store of built-in babysitters. He didn't like that and they're making Rodney gushy."
"I can't imagine Rodney McKay going gushy over cute kids."
Xander smiled. "Girls?" They appeared holding hands, staring at him. "Guys, this is Phil. He's my husband."
They stared at him. Phil smiled back. "I'm the father of Tara's kids."
"Wow," one breathed. "You raised smartasses."
Phil smiled. "Yes, I did." They hugged him then teleported off again. "That twin thing is a bit creepy," he mouthed. Xander nodded. "Intentionally?" He nodded more quickly. "Why?" he asked out loud.
"It's fun," Xander said, echoed by the twins. "Apparently there's a tiny bit of Loki taint left in Mom."
Loki appeared, giving his son a dirty look. "I did not infect her with chaos energy."
"Girls, come meet my dad." Nothing. "Ladies?" They appeared and stared at him. Xander pointed. "This is my father."
The one that hadn't talked to Phil smiled. "We know." Loki stared at them oddly. The girls smiled in unison and disappeared. "Rodney knows stories," they said in unison.
Loki looked at his son. "Perhaps you're right." Phil cracked, laughing. "Oh, dear."
"Apollo said he's busy. The muses are getting attached and not sexing him up."
"All right," Loki said, shaking his head. "Fiona could use playmates. He never lets them out." He went to talk to Fiona and Diama. Who went running to meet the twins. They could use more playmates, even creepy ones.
Ares looked at his husband, shaking his head. "They're mini chaos gods."
"The girls? Yes, all four are. That's why they're girls," Loki shot back. Ares laughed and nodded. Fiona showed back up and stared at him. "Yes, Fiona?"
She kicked him on the ankle. "Little girls are *wonderful* and we're all that really matters in the world because we make it prettier. Without it, it'd all be like Gladiator and we'd still have slaves." She went back to her new friends.
"Quite possibly," Ares sighed.
"You had a very strong daughter," Loki said, rubbing his ankle. "And quite mean as well."
Ares smirked and nodded. "Yes, she is." They got back to work on the current plans. Xander appeared and put down a file, staring at Ares before disappearing. He looked at it, grimacing. "A new attempt to invade Los Angeles by demons. May or may not be stopped. Sure, we can plan to help stop that." He got to work on that. "DISCORD!" he bellowed. She popped into view. "First, see if you can find a way to see if they're still going to invade. Second, watch out for the kids. They're on Atlantis with Xander and John's twin sisters." She shuddered.
"Diama and Fiona went to meet them," Loki said with a grin.
Discord punched him. "Quit chaosing the kids, Loki." She went to check on the girls then to see if she could peek at the other realm. They were demoralized but there were still ones trying to encourage the invasion to cheer the rest up. She came back. "Do we want to demoralize them until they no longer want to invade or enrage them until they don't want to invade?"
"Demoralizing would probably be safer," Loki said, giving her an odd look. "How would you do such?"
"They're still calling for the shiny, green one to be their queen." She smirked evilly, going to get a few pictures of Dawn from the Halls of Time. Including her Halloween costumes. She also got one of Clint rubbing Dawn's stomach, with the lump uncovered. She sent them over. That enraged most of them against Clint but oh well. They weren't going to come through. She sent over another one of Dawn being totally happy and they wailed, going on a mass suicide binge. She strolled back into the temple. "Over half of their army is now gone," she said smugly and went to enjoy herself.
Ares looked where she had been and shook his head quickly. "I'd never invade another realm because one of their protectors was hot."
Loki looked at him. "Should I even mention Troy?"
"That was Aphrodite's doing," he said bluntly.
Loki pointed at a few things. "And that's my ex, who was pretending to be a love god."
Ares stared then went to tell Xander that. They really had to do something about his mother beyond banish her to a far-away galaxy for the rest of her natural life. If he didn't get his in before Dawn heard, he'd never get to beat her to death. Dawn would go on a 'hell no' fit and destroy that whole planet and her.
Dawn caught the note floating down from thin air, looking at it. "I wondered why someone incorporeal took a picture of us." She handed it to Clint over her shoulder and leaned down to kiss Natasha's stomach and get back to the rubbing in of lotion so she wouldn't get as many stretch marks. Clint shook his head and went back to Dawn's lotion needs. Philip was asleep next to them on the bed, one hand on Loki cat and Tsarina was curled up on his butt.
Xander appeared to look at the note then groaned and disappeared. "John?" he called as he appeared on Atlantis. "Please stop me from killing her."
John took the note to look at. "I don't think I can do that."
They shared a look. "She stays there," Xander said.
"It's not far enough away."
"Discord sent pictures to make them mope," Xander said.
"Did it work?"
"It's at least lowered the numbers of that army."
John grimaced, searching toward Discord. She shared what she had done. He groaned, tipping his head down. "Fuck."
Xander nodded once. "Yup. I'm about to go destroy that planet we sent her to."
"I'm not going to stop you," John said, walking off. "Rodney, I need a leash holder."
"Sure, change forms," he quipped. "Why do we need you to be in another form?" John told him. Rodney stared at him then looked over at where Xander was complaining at Ronon. Rodney looked at John. "I can build you a nuclear bomb within ten hours to send there. Get O'Neill to authorize it."
"Get us home first," one of the soldiers called. "Then blow up somewhere. Just leave the lake monster alone. We'll miss him."
"Her," Xander called.
"Okay, her." He looked over. "What was that bad?"
Xander looked at him. "Our mother prompted the next demonic invasion of LA. She prompted them to do it because they wanted Dawn."
The soldier looked at John. "Never mind, we can go home tomorrow. Build the bomb, Doctor McKay, please." He walked off.
"Let me get us home," John said. "You build that shit for me. We'll talk O'Neill into it." He went to the chair. "Xander, you're throwing off the power flows."
"Sure." He went home to throw a screaming hissy fit.
Phil walked out to stare at his mate. "What happened?" Xander sent it at him as he let out one last scream. Phil considered it. "Roque, I need something to blow up my mother-in-law," he called as he walked back into the temple.
"Sure, how big?" he asked.
"Big enough to destroy her."
"What did she do?" Clay asked.
Phil stood in front of the others at the temple and said it simply. "She's responsible for our upcoming apocalypse battle."
Xander stomped in. "Don't let me have my axe for a bit, okay?"
"How did she do that?" Pooch asked. So Xander vented.
The Losers shared a look. "Damn, sounds like one of Clay's ex's," Jensen said dryly, ducking the punch from Clay. "Can we send her farther away?"
"Maybe," Xander said, getting the people who needed to know there. Including O'Neill. "We know why. We know who started it." He summoned Discord. "Please, spare my throat the screaming?" he asked with a smile. "Because women that fucked up have to pray to you."
Discord pinched him on the tit. "You flatterer you," she said dryly. "She's not my follower. She's temping." She looked at the mortals to tell them what had happened and what she had done.
Xander looked at O'Neill. "Rodney's offered to build us a bomb."
"I'll consider that offer," O'Neill said, rubbing a hand over his face. "Why is she so fucked up?"
"No clue," Xander admitted. "I'm not sure if it was the few miscarriages, if it's something Dad or someone did to her, or if it was her mind breaking. I suggest that someone rename her former river because I don't want to hear her name."
The twins appeared, smiling at him. "Mommy is not going to come back," one told him.
The other one nodded. "She's staying there and not anything can call her back since she's attached herself to their biggest waterfalls."
Xander nodded, looking at them. "As far as John and I are concerned, we were hatched from eggs. We have no mother."
They grinned. "We can agree with that since she abandoned us to our father and his girlfriends," they said in unison.
Xander leaned down to look at them. "It's better that way. Who do you want to raise you instead?"
They grinned at him. "Auntie Discord?"
Discord looked at them, shaking her head. "I barely managed to raise Strife and look how he turned out."
"We love him," they said with an adoring look when Strife appeared.
"You two are a bit creepy but you're ours," he decided, taking them with them. "We'll tell Hera we're adopting you." He summoned Ares to the meeting in Hera's drawing room, walking the girls in there with Fiona and Diama. "Hera, I need these two."
Hera looked at him. "Why?"
Ares appeared. "Strife, you wanted what? I'm busy." The twins hugged him and smiled at him. He stared at them. "You're going to raise them?"
"What if Cupid isn't going to agree?" Ares asked.
Cupid appeared, staring at him. "They can have the suite across from Fiona." Fiona squealed and hugged him. "Before you turn angry like Xander or slightly wicked like him and John are."
Hera stared at them. "Apollo must agree."
"'Pol, I'm raising the twins," Cupid yelled. "Suck it if you don't like it!"
Apollo appeared. "As long as I can visit, it's probably better. You have more time to spend with them." He stared at the girls. "That good with you?"
"Yup," they agreed, hugging Strife.
"Then I'll let you live with him and Cupid." He hugged them. "Visit often."
Hera nodded. "Fine. The transfer of custody is allowed." She smiled at the twins. "If you should have problems you will come to me so I can help you." They hugged her then ran back to Strife to pounce him. Hera smiled. The girls were much happier and yet still a bit creepy. It had to come from their mother. Xander and John had a touch of that too.
Dawn smiled as she dug out a picture early that morning when she couldn't sleep, thinking at Discord. Discord appeared, looking confused. Dawn held up two pictures. "Would either of those help more?"
Discord stared at the pictures. "It's giving me bad ideas. It might make them invade though." She took one to look at, tipping her head to the side and nodding. "Damn."
Dawn smiled. "Yup."
"I'm not sure if they'll invade or not over that." She went to try it. It certainly got the leader of those demons worked up. The second one made him want to invade now. They couldn't. They managed to open the portal. Ares started to yell but the portal collapsed on the leader once he was on their side with his bodyguard. She appeared with a smirk. "So, you had a plan?" she asked dryly.
Xander appeared behind her with his axe. "I think he had a plot more than a plan, Discord." He grinned. "Welcome to Earth." The leader looked at the portal, trying to reopen it. No luck, not the same sort of magic he had at home. He started to cry.
Dawn appeared on Phil's arm. "I'm flattered that you want me that way but I'm married. Sorry." She shrugged. "We told you that. You should listen when people tell you those things."
"I only want you," he said, moving closer to her. He stared at her stomach. "You are with egg?"
"We bear live young and yes I am. It's probably a daughter." She smiled. "My spouses are very happy with it."
He stared at her stomach for a minute longer then at her. "You beat our last king."
Dawn shrugged. "He interrupted a happy moment and made my son afraid. He made a lot of kids afraid. I won't put up with that."
"I understand," he said, bowing to her. He sighed, looking at the portal's area. "I will die so my people are saved."
Dawn looked at Discord, who sighed but opened the portal for him. "Thank you, Discord." She hugged her and kissed her on the cheek. "Thank you." She looked at the demon. "Have a good life." They nodded and left. The king tossed back a few things from his throat before it closed. Dawn looked at Phil. She yawned. "I'm tired. Let me go back to bed."
Phil took her home and came back to look at what the king had dropped. "They're pretty."
Discord walked over to look, grimacing. "Not my style. They're *pink*. I'm not Buffy."
Phil smirked at her. "Birthing present to Aphrodite?"
"She's got plenty from Hephie." She picked up the few jewels, holding them up. "Xander, who gets these?"
"Don't care." He looked at Phil. "Dawn in bed?"
He checked and nodded. "Just now. She had to pee first. The cats have decided to rest on her stomach again."
"Cats are weird," Discord said, disappearing.
Xander nodded. "That's why I like the dogs."
Phil smirked at him. "I'd like the puppies to sleep somewhere beyond my pillow." He moved closer.
Xander smiled. "They're going to be moved to John's temple to sleep. Their mother introduced them to the comfy ottoman."
"That's wonderful. Maybe I can sleep without dog drool tonight?"
"I hope so. That's why I made them move, so I quit being drooled on. Though, we do have to find a few new lines to add in."
Phil nodded. "We probably should." He moved closer. "What shall we do this spring without that invasion?"
"Hopefully not have another one," Xander quipped. They went back to the temple.
The jewels got sent to Stark for Steve and Joyce to figure out. They could handle those decisions and how to handle any press that might have caught the ending of the spring invasion.
Clint walked Dawn in to her desk the next morning. "Here you go." He smiled at her. Then he went to help Natasha into the gym. He was being a bit overprotective but then again, someone had realized that Xander still had Barney in a human bird cage so he was released. Stark was smirking so Clint hit him on the arm. "I didn't get a chance to do it last time, Stark."
"Uh-huh. I did the same thing. It's part of the second trimester. All that 'feeling protective of them' stuff comes with the extra sex." He yawned. Pepper was in that same state and Steve had all but carried her to her desk earlier. It had tickled the kids. Then again, Steve had dropped everyone off and came back to throw a Captain sized fit about last night's meeting. Joyce wasn't much happier.
Steve came out to the office, sinking into the couch. "Maria said that there's protocol for this situation. Apparently we have a safe for these things. I almost asked how many there are but I'm scared to."
Natasha walked in smiling slightly. "I'm afraid I'm responsible for some of those."
He tossed her the bag the jewelry was in. "Those got given by the demon king last night that had been planning on invading."
Natasha poured them out on the desk to look them over. "Very nice but not jewels I recognize. Must be from their realm." She put them back into the bag and tossed them back. "Pretty but impractical."
"I didn't figure demon kings would wear practical sparkly things," Pepper said as she came back from getting some tea. She sat down and smiled at them. "Joyce got beamed out. She's in the daycare getting hugs and she'll be up in a minute."
"That's fine," Steve said. "It'll save my headache."
Maria Hill walked in. "You formally have to say you saw it placed," she said. "Which means you have to walk into the vault and be assaulted by all the twinkling stupid things Agent Romanoff collected by charming and then taking out her targets."
Natasha waved a hand. "It was nothing. Mostly very minor."
Maria looked at her. "Have you seen the vault?"
"I was there a few months back." She smirked slightly. "I had to put something ostentatious on a shelf."
Dawn leaned in. "If that was my crown, I inherited it and it's not in the safety deposit box." She sat up again. "Shit, Callia!" She hopped up, running up the hall. "What did you do?" she demanded, picking her up to look her over. "You're bleeding. JARVIS, we need a real Doc!"
"Shivs is in the infirmary, Dawn."
She carried her down there. "Doc?" He looked and came over to take Callia.
"I skidded," Callia said. "I'm fine, Auntie Dawn."
Dawn stared at her. "Excuse you? You are not fine! You are covered in blood and cuts! It looks like you skidded in the gravel parking lot and kept going for *miles*! That is not fine!" she finished at a shout.
Callia stared at her. "I'm so never having a baby," she said quietly and calmly.
Dawn glared. "I'd be yelling even if I wasn't pregnant!"
"What did you skid doing?" Doctor Shivs asked. He was helping her out of her t-shirt, noticing the under-armor shirt, like the football players wore underneath their uniforms.
Dawn pulled that off her, ignoring the tube top underneath it. She helped her peel off the surf shorts too. "What were you testing?"
"The new street surfing gear we're working on?" she offered, shrinking back some.
"You're supposed to use that on a paved road, not on gravel!"
"I did!" Callia complained back. "I just skidded when the booster went rogue and wouldn't quit firing. But I did fix it while I was skiing down the hill," she said as her father walked in. "I managed to get it back into shut-off mode and everything, Dad."
He stared at her. "Did I okay street skiing?"
"No," she said, staring at him. She grinned. "But it's fun. It's what I can do until I can drag race Happy like you do, Dad."
Tony stared at her. "So grounded. We'll make sure you get plenty of neosporin so you don't scar, daughter." Dawn stepped closer and healed the injuries, hugging her. "Awww," Tony said. Dawn hit him on the arm. "Ow!"
"I had to heal yours after your last drag race!"
"Not my mom," Tony quipped.
"If you don't have sense, the kids won't have sense. Which is why your son just zipped past on her rocket powered roller skates." She pointed. "With the broken arm."
Tony looked out the window and ran out to save his only son. "Christopher Darren Oliver Stark, turn those rockets off!" he shouted as he ran after him. "I need the damn suit!"
Clint shot a grappling arrow in front of Chris, which caught the kid in the stomach, which would only make him flip over it without really hurting him. Chris started to cry as soon as he hit the ground, holding his arms up to his father when Tony caught up to him. "It was loose enough that it wouldn't hurt him," Clint called.
"Thanks, Barton." He picked Chris up, checking him over. "You are *so* grounded for having no sense! The skates don't fit you and this is not the ground to be doing this on!" He walked him back to the infirmary. The skates got left there. Someone would pick them up.
"Drew!" Chris wailed as they walked past his lab. Andrew came out to hug him. "Bot bot!" he said with a point at his father.
"No, I can't pull out the robot battle suit to make your dad sorry for stopping you. Sorry, little guy." He cuddled him. Tony stared at him. Andrew shrugged but grinned. "I let him sit with me when I was running the monthly tests on it."
"He can have mine." He took him back. "Let's go see your sister. You having booboos will save her from your aunt yelling at her for having no sense. Dawn can start those lectures on you now." He carried him into the infirmary, letting Pepper take him. "Barton shot a line to trip him."
"Good!" Pepper said, staring at her son. "What were you doing?"
"Skate!" he said with a mad grin and a point.
"Mine," Callia told him, taking him to cuddle. "My skates." Chris pouted. "Oh, damn it, the puppy face!" She handed him back to Tony. She hopped off the table and pulled back on her t-shirt and shorts. "Let me go hide now from the hormones before they prompt mine to come out." She ran off before Dawn or Pepper could grab her.
"You're still in deep shit," Pepper yelled after her. "Seriously deep shit."
"Wow," Shivs said. "Language! I have delicate ears, Pepper."
Pepper scowled and swatted him. She took Chris back to look over. "At least you're only bruised and have skinned knees." She stomped off to find Callia and talk to her about responsibility and other future adult topics. She *really* needed to learn those before she learned more bad habits from her father.
Dawn shrugged. "That shit isn't my fault. Buffy couldn't spell science most of the time and she hated anything that got her messy." She walked off shaking her head. She found the intercom button. "The next geek that gives anyone under the age of ten weapons, rocket powered anything, or anything that will cause them to need the infirmary due to multiple organ or skin injuries, we're going to have a talk." She let the button go and turned on music, walking off humming to the current song.
Tony looked up then nodded. "All sidearms not on the guards need to be locked in drawers." He walked off to make sure of that. Shivs went to the office to cackle himself sick.
"Skate!" Christopher yelled as he ran after his aunt.
Dawn turned to stare down at him, hands on her hips. The kids all knew that stance thanks to Grandma and Pepper. "No skates. Booboos from skates. Booboos hurt." She weathered the pout. "Skate with regular skates. We can buy you normal skates."
"Fast?" he asked, leaning against her leg, staring up at her with a grin that so reminded her of Tony's naughty grin.
"No, not fast, but we can teach you how to go faster safely." He beamed and cheered. "Go find Clint. He got your sister hers." Chris ran off calling for his uncle. She smirked at Tony when he paused to stare at her. "That way he has safety gear." She went back to her desk.
Tony nodded, going in the other direction before he had to deal with the headache-inducing hormones. Pepper's were bad. Dawn's were worse. He was sure Natasha was going to become absolutely scary with hers. He really needed to hide for a long time. Until the time Pepper started to deliver. He could find things to tinker with until then.
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. Any original characters or plot are the property of the author. No claims are being made as to the actions or orientation of the actual actors, and none of this is meant to say anything about them. No copyright infringement is intended. No money is being made from this work.