Beasts of Men.
Xander woke up, which he hated to do sometimes. Especially when he woke up with a headache and feeling like something was holding him down. He struggled until someone untucked him. He sighed, looking at Clint. "Am I in custody or something?"
"No, I'm here to make sure they can't. Kennedy's back in England, the other girls are back safely where they should be, outside Amanda. Who went home with Cynthia to her army base. Her boss wanted to know what they did to her." Xander sat up, staring at him. "Huge shitstorm in the news. Including a few generals complaining that it was classified and she shouldn't be talking about it. She pointed out, in the press with forms, that no one had told her that her attack was classified. She got that out there before someone sent MP's to arrest her. So the generals are hiding from the press and their bosses. She's hiding from their bosses too." He grinned. "Kennedy's fine. The minor shot went into some fatty tissue so she'll just have a scar. Willow didn't lose her shit. Relax."
Xander blinked hard, staring at him. "We need to clean up that lab."
"Good! Where is it?" Xander frowned, looking around. "Wand?" he guessed, pulling it out of the bedside drawer. Xander took it and drew a map in the air. Clint took a picture of it. "What were they doing?"
"He was going to bring people back to their biological urges for packs using pheromones and stuff. It's like that A/B/O stuff you find online? Like that. He had some sort of viral serum to change all of everyone."
"Were you affected?"
"No, I broke something on him before he could try to inject me with anything. I threw it at his head then I kicked the guards, then him. I shot them non-fatally so they could be cleaned up."
"Which country?" Clint asked.
"I started in Botswana and traveled to the Malawi/Tanzania border. I have an ex just over that border who I could hide with and he had Dawn." He blinked again. Then he yawned. "This guy had to be near there, I was within a few hours of the border the last I remember before I woke up there. Talk to him or Dawn. They can find him. That ex won't want that guy's idea to go on because he's not the most alpha but he hates not being on top." He yawned again.
"Rest, we'll handle it," Clint promised. "What's your ex's name?" Xander mumbled something. "I can do that. I'll go personally because Dawn knows me." Xander nodded, falling asleep. Clint removed the wand again and put it back into the drawer then went to tell Natasha so she could find them. "Percival Perchant," he said as he walked into the meeting room.
"I suppose if you want pre-battle stress relief and help with plotting, he's a good enough choice, though a bit fussy," Natasha said dryly. She pulled up his dossier. "He was heading to him?"
"Yeah, when he got taken by a scientist who was trying to create a viral serum to bring us to the stuff you found online that once that confused you." She gave him that same confused look. He looked up an explanation site for it and let everyone see it.
Stark looked then at him. "Talk about mad."
"Xander said he threw something at the guy before he could be stabbed, shot the guy and his guards non-fatally, and Perchant has Dawn."
She nodded. "We can go rescue her from that bit of apathetic fashionableness." She stood up and left.
"Let me know when you find the lab so we can shut it down properly," Stark called after them. "I want to make sure even his notes are destroyed."
"We can do that," Clint called back.
Steve read that explanation again. "Why would anyone want us to do that?"
"The guy probably thought he'd be a good alpha," Stark said dryly. "I doubt it but he probably had high hopes and no dick." He sipped his coffee. Darcy and Jane stomped in. "Ladies." He grinned.
Jane stared at him. "We heard Harris was awake."
"The guy was creating something to do that," Steve said with a point at the virtual screen.
Jane read it, frowning. "Why would anyone want that?"
"Because he's probably got a micro-dick and thinks he'll be an alpha," Darcy said dryly. "I run into plenty of them trying to pick me up like I'd be accepting of lack of everything." She looked at Stark. "Can we help?"
"The two mini slayers are safely stored with one's aunt and dad," Steve said with a smile. Darcy grinned. "They're adorable but bouncy. I heard them bouncing last night."
"They are cute," Darcy agreed. "Harris?"
"Napping again," Stark said. He pointed at the feed.
"Can I look at his wand?" Jane asked. "I have no idea how that would work."
"I took scans," Stark admitted, sitting up to get into those. "It's just wood with a biological component."
"It's a focus," Darcy said. "By all the stories out there of magic, some use crystals, candles, or herbs. In his case, he uses that as a focus."
"Still makes no sense how that can do that," Stark said.
Darcy shrugged. "Why do candles and herbs work?"
Thor walked in shaking his head greatly. "I need fewer memories," he announced. "Especially of the last few moments."
Stark looked at him. "Why?"
"I got warned by my nephew that is not one here about that formula he found and stopped." He shook his head again.
Steve frowned. "There's somewhere Xander's your nephew? As in Loki's son?"
"Aye. He ended up the Protector of Humanity," he said, flopping down to rub over his face. Jane moved to rub his shoulders for him. He patted her hands. "He showed up to warn me about that formula. It must not get out before it could be spread somewhere else."
"We're going to make sure it's down," Stark promised. "They're going to call and I'm going to make sure it's down, Thor. I don't want that here," he said with a point at the screen.
Thor read it, frowning. "Why does he want to be a werewolf?"
"He wants humans to live on the same principle," Darcy said.
Thor shook his head again. "He would probably not be more than a pack's toy." He sighed, looking at Jane. "I wish some sunlight."
"We can go have a picnic," she promised. He smiled and they left to do that. She went up to check on Wanda. "Thor and I are going to the park for a picnic. Would you guys like a ride so the girls can play in some sunlight?"
"Please," she agreed, smiling at the girls. "They could use some playing." They gathered things and went with the couple to the park. They let them have privacy but played close enough that if someone came for the mini slayers they could get backup. Pietro had fun playing tag with the girls, and they managed to pounce him as he ran super fast around them. He was getting predictable apparently.
Stark walked into the lab on the new SHIELD base. "You two, with us. We're stopping the lab that Harris started to take down." All the scientists in there glared at him. He stared back. "They're making biological contaminants to reeducate our biology," he said dryly. "I'd tell you more but I don't want you to have ideas." He looked at his chosen two. "Coming?"
"We'd need permission," one said.
Stark rolled his eyes. "Coulson!" he bellowed.
"I wasn't that far away," he said as he walked in. "I paused to sign something." He stared at those two geeks then at Stark. "I heard about that lab from Clint's report. Those two are decent but I can lend you Fitz-Simmons."
Stark smirked. "I might want to keep them. These two I wouldn't want to keep but they're competent enough."
"Fitz and Simmons are both field cleared in case something larger happens. They're also waiting on you at the quinn jet." He looked at the others. "We're not going to be getting samples."
"Hell no! We had a Xander from another realm show up to warm Thor about keeping any. We're destroying it down to the notes and the building."
"Why was a Xander from another realm sent to warn us?" Coulson asked.
"There, he's his nephew." He grinned at Phil's shudder. "And Protector of Humanity. Thor said you two were true soulmates."
Phil walked off rubbing his forehead. "Have fun with Fitz and Simmons, Stark."
Stark strolled out, heading to the quinn jet. "Morning, campers."
Fitz stared at him. "It'll be destroyed," he said quietly. "I..I can make sure of it."
Stark looked at him. "Do I need to make sure you take meds? I can set reminders. We do for one of the diabetic people in my lab."
He shook his head. "I'm not on anything, just finishing my healing."
"Okay." He looked at Simmons, who stared back. "Sure, you two can do it but don't remember anything from it. If other realms are warning us not to let it out, we're all screwed if it does." The door shut and they took off, with Natasha flying. "Are we picking up Barton and Dawn first?"
"Yes. Perchant is enthused by her," she said blandly. She ignored both geeks flinching when they realized who she was. "We're saving her from a time of boring sexual inadequacies." She gave him a look. "Did you have to tell Coulson about that nephew?"
He grinned. "Thor said in that realm he and Agent were true soul mates."
Natasha considered it then sighed. "They are much alike in most ways," she agreed. "Though I doubt they could stand each other's jobs." She shook her head. "It's a pity. Xander could use someone steady to keep him from having to last ditch a battle."
"We all could," Stark agreed. He settled down with the information Barton had sent back. "As far as we know, the virus vials are all there. Barton checked there first then went to save Dawn Summers because she could help if we needed it and Xander had sent her to safety with the ex-boyfriend of so-so sexual needs as Natasha calls him."
"I would not even rate him that high, Stark. I had to entice him to get information from him once and it took me less than five minutes," she called.
"What she said," he said with a grin for the geeks. "She's also a hacker so we're covered there if we need to be." They nodded, going over it.
Simmons frowned. "That's going to be very bad for whoever gets hit. It'd definitely screw up their sexual responses." Stark pulled up that information site. "I've seen some well written and some poorly written in that type of universe," she admitted, handing it to Fitz. She looked at him. "He was going to mimic it?" Stark nodded. "That formula might not have done that fully."
"He was on his trials," Stark said. "He captured Xander Harris as an exciting test subject. Xander did some damage to them before he got hit with anything."
"That's always a good thing," Fitz said. "This is horribly out of whack. It's probably too strong. It might cancel some people out totally." He looked up.
"I don't think he cared if it killed a lot of them. It's possible he's trying to claim he's the only alpha though," Simmons said.
"From what we understand about that geek, he's not that good and even if it turned him biologically into an alpha no one'd take him." She smirked. "We do know he had a lot of pheromone compounds in there. Harris broke one throwing it at the guy before kicking and shooting people."
"Charming," Fitz said, grimacing. "Is he fine?"
"Really tired but he was still healing injuries from when agents had him for four hours. Thankfully he could teleport himself free. Summers, Buffy not Dawn, managed to save herself too. We hadn't heard they had been taken again."
"I feel sorry for any of the slayers," Simmons said.
"And I'm sorry for the agents I'll be killing for going after those girls," Fitz said. "No one deserves that. The one at that battle?"
"Went home with one of the Army ones," Stark said with a smirk. "She's went into hiding from that base. She's safer somewhere else. We're not sure where the baby's going to end up. We're all hoping it's a boy because that'll mean no chance of being a slayer."
"Are they born enhanced in any way?"
"No, the ones that got born before weren't. There's two that had children. One had been New York's slayer a few decades back. He's middle aged and an educator. He trained but that's all from what Buffy said when someone asked her. The other one was born to a slayer back in the late 1800's in the caribbean. Not a lot of stress for her but hers was her watcher's and he sent the child back to england to be raised to be a proper watcher. The only girl died shortly after birth with the mom from a fever so they didn't know."
"I hate the beings above them," Simmons said.
"I'm pretty sure that Buffy was serious when she said some of the girls had a pact about showing up in their realm after they died to beat them to death." The two geeks smirked. "I'd join in. If I die, I'm going to find them myself." He leaned back. "Natasha, how long?"
"Four hours to rendevous," she called. "Hopefully under ten minutes to pick her and Clint up. Though he has said that Perchant took her shopping."
"Buffy said Dawn was better dressed than she was because college didn't need patrol clothes."
Natasha looked back. "I would not have patrolled in what Buffy does. I have no desire to flash vampires as I kill them. I'm hoping Dawn dresses better."
He grinned. "I'm not expecting booty skirts. She's in a modern college."
"Have we realized Dawn's at Culver?" Natasha asked dryly.
Tony winced. "Was that deliberate?"
"I asked Buffy, she said Dawn picked it because it seemed to be safe now that all the wackiness was weeded out. Bruce and Jane both groaned when they heard that."
"Charming!" He sent an email to a few people from his phone. "Let's see if we can get her to transfer. Foster's an alumni they like to suck up to. What field is Dawn in?"
"Humanities, undecided. She's shown talents toward history thanks to all the research they used to do, maybe some limited languages," Natasha said. "Limited magic." She turned the chair around after hitting the auto pilot button. "Also, she was in school, and tutored von Strucker."
"The little twerp Werner?" Simmons demanded. Natasha nodded. "Why?"
"They were classmates. He wouldn't flirt with her. She was asked about him and she called him pathetic but she hated to see her grade fail because the professor made it a group grade." Stark grimaced. "She didn't like him and he didn't pay much attention but she talked him into dropping the class before all the serious students killed him because a few were super concerned about their GPA according to her. He dropped out right after that because his father was killed."
"I'm glad he didn't recognize her as someone special to cultivate," Stark said.
"By his files, he knew she had a sister who was a slayer. It was campus-wide gossip. He just couldn't use it apparently."
Stark sighed, leaning back, staring at her. "Did he do anything to her?"
"No. She said he tried to flirt once and she shot him down because she'd had better offers from vampires who wanted to turn her into an ultimate huntress. Since she wouldn't be doing that and he was worse at it, there was no chance to quote her comment." She smirked a tiny bit. "However, she was visiting with a few others who were noted in the Hulk file as having been witnesses. They pretty well ignored everything until someone tried to attack her and she used magic. Then that basically shut down the campus because they weren't going to have another episode like they had with Banner."
"Good!" Simmons said. "Is she like Rosenburg?"
"She has skill, sense, and no addiction to her skills," Natasha said. "She never uses hers outside of protection."
"Even better," Fitz said. "Magic is screwy."
"Screwy is that sorcerer guy in New York," Stark complained.
"They had another talk with him about how rogues weren't always Willow and she had nearly destroyed DC to defend her ex-girlfriend. It took a bit but he quit threatening her life when he finally realized he might do the same thing if his ex was endangered." She rolled her eyes. "The man used to be a surgeon. He has the ego and the brains of a goldfish."
"Surgeons have to be brilliant in surgery, not in everything," Stark said dryly. "Many of them prove it every day. Pepper interviewed one for our infirmary and he tried to flirt with her." She snorted, but looked amused. "Yeah, not hired. He flirted with Darcy when she was walking up the hall. Lewis looked at him for a moment then snorted and said he might be a doctor of some sort but most of them were overgrown frat boys with egos and no other skills. She needed skills, not talk. Then she walked off. Pepper bought her coffee for that."
"Lewis does like coffee," Natasha agreed. The two geeks looked confused. "Jane Foster's assistant, Darcy Lewis."
"She's kinda like the mother hen of the lab sometimes. She doesn't let Foster live on poptarts and coffee, brings Bruce tea, and sometimes nags me about things when Pepper makes her."
Fitz nodded. "We do that for each other."
"JARVIS does mine," Stark said. "Friday helps."
"I'm quite glad that vision had you stopping that other AI," Natasha said. "So we could go rescue the twins and not have to save everyone from it."
"I got the point then, Romanoff."
"Fine." She stared at him. "Nice sentiment but F for execution."
He glared at her. "Got the point then."
"Fine. I will not nag."
"Good, get Captain Starched Thong out of my panties too."
"I cannot tell him what to do. You two will work out your differences. Each side has things I both agree and disagree with but I cannot let some things start." She stared at him. He nodded he knew that. "Also, did you see that a civil war between us vision was put out by a seer on the west coast?"
"I did. I don't really want to see that. I showed Steve. Which is why we're still talking to each other civilly. Most of the time."
"If that's about the registry, SHIELD already had one," Simmons said.
Stark looked at her. "And it was wrong. They didn't do more than assign a numerical value and a few notes gained by gossip. The one they have now is wrong. We looked at it and laughed our asses off."
"Indeed," Natasha agreed. "They ignored many things while adding to the list," she told the geeks. "Including that some people are only dangerous when you make them be. Like Banner."
"Or Harris. He's a goofball until you touch the slayers," Stark agreed. "Then he might be a god of war. Or like that one guy the Punisher we've been hearing about."
"He does like guns," Natasha agreed. "But he also likes his axes."
"Is his special one from Asgard with the slayers?"
"Protecting Penny and her child," she agreed. "I asked. It wanted to go with her to protect the child. Xander joked he'd give the kid the axe when he was old enough to use it. Thor said it was initially meant for his future son but he's amused."
"Thor can't say they're not worthy," Stark said dryly.
"True. He does adore the battle maidens for the most part. Buffy confuses him but she does it to many."
"Yes she does," Stark agreed, grimacing. "I think it's time for her to move to training and battle only status."
"She worries about her slayers when they go out without her," Natasha said.
"Which is a good thing," Stark agreed. "But she's burned out."
"I asked Sam to counsel her." She smirked a tiny bit. "She wasn't sure why but Sam told her about his last job so she talked to him a lot about her mother and things the younger girls do that confuse her. He'll start working on her burnout so she doesn't sacrifice herself again." Stark stared at her. "There had been a hell god out there that she sacrificed herself to end."
"Huh." He grimaced again. "I'm so glad we don't get worse than Loki usually. And whoever that big purple guy we got warned about is."
"I asked Thor, he shuddered and said he only knew of a few extra-terrestrial beings who were purple and most were very powerful and very problematic. He said he'd want Loki's help."
Stark stared at her. "That bad?" She nodded. "When are we hearing?"
"When we get back. He's getting things from Asgard to help. Where is Pepat?"
"Hiding from Buffy in case Willow finds out about her and tries to use her for a potion. She's been in Thor's suite. Jane finds the cuddly thing fascinating but hungry. It reminds her to eat even better than Darcy."
"Wonderful. Jane is too skinny." She turned back to the instruments then looked at him again. "Message from Clint. Dawn's got three bags of stuff; two have weapons for us to use on the base. She's leaving some clothes there and he'll ship them when he comes to woo her. I asked him to ask her about transferring out of Culver. She said she's going to have to since she outed she has magic. That it would put her in more danger." She looked back at him. "There's something weird about her desire to be undercover and that sorcerer going after her."
"He tried to go after Tara for doing herbs and healing things," Stark reminded her. "I'm not going to judge him until he straightens out."
"Does that sort of healing work?" Simmons asked.
"Yeah. She healed Kennedy's gunshot wound in about an hour. It's got a scar but it's a tiny one."
"Wow," Fitz said, looking at his counterpart. "That's just weird."
"But useful," Natasha said. "It's draining but they can do many things that are helpful." She looked back at them. "I'd rather have them on our side."
"Me too," Stark agreed. "Though I'd want Rosenburg to take up a formal form of magic."
"I'm not so sure she shouldn't be a cat again," she said in Russian, cracking Stark up. "I believe others agree with me," she finished in English.
"Yes, I do," Stark agreed. "You know, in those books they have that animagus thing."
"That's self transformation."
"Pity." He grinned at the geeks. "Rosenburg's...unique. She's got a unique viewpoint and her mother was a hateful bitch. She tried to get Sunnydale to run mutants out of the town. She hates any mutant, any gay person, and nearly burned her daughter at a stake while possessed. Though I'm not so sure she wouldn't have done the same thing while stone cold sober. Rosenburg started to spout her shit and Xander basically called her untouchable in the caste sense. There were some visions involved back then too."
"Visions are weird too," Fitz said.
"Xander's been proven right." He pulled up his copy of the ones for DC. "That's all he saw on those two." He let them see them.
"So he predicted the portal and the army but not a battle," Simmons said. "Interesting. And the ascension." She looked up. "How would he know?"
"He had to fight against one at his graduation."
"But if the eclipse was that day it was likely one could happen," Fitz said.
"The eclipse was about thirty-eight hours before the battle," Natasha said.
"Oh." They stared at each other then groaned. "Are there others?" Fitz asked.
"Xander said he can't track what people buy. They just handle them when they show up." He got onto the slayer site so they could read the various rites.
"That's truly nasty," Simmons said.
"Yeah, a lot of baby sacrificing and eating weird things," Stark agreed. They made lists of things that they could possibly limit the import of to stop it from going on. Stark looked at Natasha. "Did you find anyone you suspect?"
"I suspect a few who would have if they had heard about it earlier in their lives. I haven't found one doing it yet. If I should, I'll make sure they don't manage it."
"Two in Africa," Stark reminded her.
"Hmm, there's probably more outside the US. It's easier to find things like that and they aren't watched like people in the US are. I'm almost surprised no one did it in Communist Russia."
"You never know. They could've tried and failed."
"Point." She got another message. "Dawn wanted to know if you knew of any good colleges for history programs with a minor in business. She said she was taking lessons on how to run an armed encampment from Perchant and other logistical things she might need to hide slayers some day."
"I don't know," Stark admitted. "Many colleges have history programs. Can she go to an ivy?"
"She could probably transfer but she's paying her own way." She looked up. "Small college fund. Culver was stretching it but they had good financial aid."
"Does she want to go back west?"
Natasha sent that and got an answer back, shaking her head. "She listed the colleges that the Council has under watch for weird programs or things." She let him see the list. He paged through the three messages of them then handed it back. "U Conn?"
"University of Connecticut is good," he agreed. "Not sure about their history program. Would Giles like it?"
She answered that back. "She said Giles doesn't care, he wants her safe and she's a backup plan anyway." She looked at him. "U Maine maybe too she's said."
"Snow, lots of snow and a governor that's being compared to rancid hamburgers in the press," Stark said. "If she likes Maine, go to Maine." Natasha sent that back. She smiled. "Good?"
"She agreed with you about that governor and U Conn wasn't on her list before but she'll look it over. She had thought about U of Illinois somewhere but then she looked at the crime statistics. She thinks something like that would put her in more danger so she'd get exposed again."
"Possibly. U Conn has had some famous alumni so she should be okay." Natasha sent that to her. "Does Xander know?"
She wrote that then smiled. "She'd talk to him about it but he gives her this confused look about anything school related unless it's to tell her to go do homework. She said he's not bookish and sometimes books annoy him so he avoids things that take books." She looked at him. "Harris is very hands-on like Barton is."
"I've noticed that too. And the slayers being frustrated with him checking homework to make sure they do it." He grinned. "He's fierce they're getting a life."
"Good," Natasha said. "It's needed before things backslide slowly." She sent a message to Dawn and put her phone back in her pocket. "Clint tried to talk her into National Guard service but she pointed out the many ways that would be a bad idea. Including what Amanda went through. Apparently they went looking for people who practice Wicca and can actually make it work to test on them as well. She's avoiding that and the bad uniforms that would make her look gross."
Stark nodded once. "They would, yeah. They do to most everyone. Dress uniforms are better but they wouldn't get those in the guard. Plus they get called out for war duties."
Natasha nodded. "She's going to use a few other of Xander's ex's to learn how to handle it when she's having to hide the slayers some day. Perchant introduced her to a few of them. One scowled but she patted him on the head and called him a future puppy for Xander. Apparently that assassin appreciated how mean she could be."
"She reminds me of a more stable version of Vanessa, Deadpool's girlfriend."
"Maybe. She's not half as wacky as either of them are. Did he finally get her back from the cruise he sent her on?"
"She got back yesterday. His twitter said he's not coming out of the apartment for days so don't have an emergency or an apocalypse until they were done. Then there was a tweet to pizza hut and taco bell." Stark laughed, nodding.
"Have we met this person?" Fitz asked.
"The guy in the red and black bodysuit at the battles in New York," Stark said dryly, smirking at him. "He's real unique too."
"Oh, him," Simmons said, looking at Fitz then at Stark. "Why does he wear that?"
"You'd have to ask him," Stark said. "I'm told there was a group responsible."
"Ah." She nodded, grimacing. "We need to stop those."
"Please do," Natasha agreed. "There's a few around." She looked at Stark again. "The one he was part of is shut down. They're no longer making mutant slaves."
"One of them tried to talk to a slayer and she broke his arm," she continued. "Then told Xander. Xander apparently talked to the guy and nearly blew him up on the street. The guy needed many stitches and weeks in casts. He vowed if they came near a slayer again he'd be blowing them all up. Deadpool popped up to hug him for making sure no one else got treated like he was. Then he shot the guy in the throat to make sure he couldn't talk anyone else into it."
Stark nodded. "Very good. Have him let me know if he has to go blow one up. I'll help."
"You won't be the only one. Rogers heard." He shuddered. "Oh, yes. From Deadpool himself." Stark sighed. "He made sure that program was forever gone as he put it."
"I'd help," Stark promised.
"We'd all help, Stark."
"Good." She had to turn around to answer to a beeping notice. They went up to avoid a commercial airliner and it was an uneventful trip otherwise.
Dawn smiled as she walked into the base. "Xander appreciation society, bitches. Come out wherever you are before I have to channel my big brother and just beat you to death instead of blowing you up." A few noises were heard so they went to find them. The scientist guy was in a hospital like room. So were the guards. There were a few others in there, a few hiding, and one guy with a gun. Dawn sparked some magic at him, making him yelp and drop it. She smirked. "You took my big brother. That's really not allowed, dude. How pathetic. Xander's not even the normal guy."
"We needed to see if it worked on mutants," he whined.
"Yay. They don't have standard physiologies. What works on one won't work on them all." He sulked and sat down. Dawn knew it was an act to keep himself alive. "Persia, dear," she called. "Got some for you." She stomped in and gathered her future minions, then led them out by their handcuffs. She waved. "Have fun! Persia's firm but pretty fair once you learn your lessons." She looked at the scientist, smiling at him. "Also, Council, asshole." He groaned and pawed at a gun by him. "Aww, poor thing. Do you want the gun?" She picked it up to look at then stared at him. "You're too weak to use it, little omega toy." He growled and tried to move. "You'd never be the alpha Xander is. Or I am. Hell, you'll never be the alpha Buffy is." The man tried to move again. "Pity." She walked off. He groaned and tried to sit up again. She walked past Clint. "The little alpha toy is in the infirmary crying with his guards. I didn't see any other guns." She handed that one over.
"Thanks." He smirked at her back. "Calling Persia Persha was mean."
"She's a nice lady," Dawn said with a smirk. "Who likes to baby Xander. I like her for that and how she's helped some of the minis. Plus she has some really kick ass leather jackets."
Clint nodded. "Go wait in the plane, Dawn."
He walked into the infirmary, disarming the guard who had a knife and the scientist that was trying to grab a syringe. "It won't save you from hell even if you committed suicide." He called in how many they had. Natasha came in. "He was going to pick up a syringe, Natasha."
She stared down at the pitiful human. "Darcy was right. He has nothing and thinks he can be an alpha with skills by chemical or other means." She got the two guards taken out while he got the scientist. They went back to raiding the compound. He had some nice weapons the slayers could have.
Fitz looked at the weapons they were carrying. "I'm not sure if SHIELD can use those."
"They go to the slayers," she said. "As Harris would have done." He scowled. She stared back. "Not like anyone gives them weapons or brings them to a fight outside our team, Dr. Fitz. The girls need them all too often to save everyone's butts." She finished with the weapons while Clint wired the bombs to demolish the base. Stark and Simmons were gathering the notes to delete. Natasha got to work on the computers to make sure no one could ever find that information. Simmons was sharing looks with Fitz. "We are not saving this information."
"No, I'm not," Stark agreed. "Even if I might make notes to make sure no one else is going to do anything this stupid, I'm not letting any notes be saved about this foul program." He looked at the geeks. "Unless you think someone like SHIELD won't test it on their own people?" They nodded. "You'd be wrong."
"He's right," Natasha agreed. "They've tried for years to get various enhancements put into their agents that aren't top level." She looked at them. "This is too dangerous for everyone to have floating around."
"This wouldn't enhance anyone," Simmons said.
"Yes it would. A true alpha would do anything to protect their pack," Natasha said. "The same as Harris does."
"He always has," Stark agreed. "We don't need rampaging assholes with desire to protect and claim people." He looked at Simmons. "If it gets out, we'll know who took the notes, Dr. Simmons. We're pointing the alphas at you." She slumped but grimaced and nodded. "Thanks." He got back to it. Clint leaned in. "Any other rooms with files?"
"I laid the main explosive in there after taking the files with results because they had names. We can drop those off so they can notify families and I've already cleaned the files of anything other than personal information and outcome files."
"Good," Natasha said. "Any other levels?"
"The experimentation lab upstairs stinks like an orgy so whatever pheromones he had going are up there. I need a breather." Stark dug one out of his bag and tossed it over. "Thanks."
"Take a shower before you come out or wear a containment suit," Natasha said. "I'm not helping you wear those out."
He snorted. "I know what my hand's for, Natasha. I'd never expect anything other than that." He found a clean suit in the quinn jet and went up there to lay the bombs around the samples. He found two with Xander's name on them and took them plus one with Stark's name. Apparently the guy had ideas and no sense. He finished and carried them down to the computer area. He put one in front of Stark, staring at him.
"Like hell I would've let myself be infected," he sneered. "Any notes on why I got a special one?"
"They were sure you were a mutant. It was in the 'mutant infection' case." He put down to two vials of blood. Stark smirked and put it into his pocket. "Just don't let it out. From something that got ran a few years back he's been sick somehow."
"I'd never do that to anyone," Stark promised. "It could help us and him though." He looked at his sample. "How different is it?"
"No idea. Want to go check? You can have my clean suit." He got out of it for Stark to use. He took that vial back up there. "You weren't in there but we found one marked Rogers, Steve."
She winced. "He'd be a horribly fussy alpha. Did you take pictures?"
"I sure did. He had one for Sabertooth but not Logan."
She paused her typing to stare at him. "Wouldn't that be unnecessary for any primal?"
"That scientist is better off dead." Clint nodded.
"Oh my god Einstein!" Stark yelled. "He thought I had a technological mutation so it's meant to get past that. Harris' sample of the virus is meant to be tested against a primal. Someone knew about his past possession." He leaned in. "Computer up there too, Natasha."
"Thank you. Go destroy it. Are we included? Clint told me about Rogers' vial."
"They think it'll enhance the super serum even more. They were going to test on him then draw out samples to see if they could get an enhanced version." She snorted. "Yeah. Just absolutely marvelous. Let me go destroy that." He went back up there.
Clint grinned. "I've got the bombs on a five minute timer once I start them. Serially wired to take out the labs and the columns in the records room heavier and first then follow to the doorway." She nodded, still typing. Then she paused. Clint moved to read over her shoulder. "Oh, yeah, he was cranked. He thought he could make a pack of super models and scientists. Simmons, you're noted though he thought you might be a beta and Fitz would be an omega you'd help him corral since he doesn't like dudes as he put it." He looked at her. They both groaned.
"Anything on the Inhumans?" Fitz asked quietly.
Natasha shook her head. "He doesn't make any difference between them and the other mutants. He thinks Magneto would make a stunning alpha and would finally screw Professor Xavier to stop their fighting. So it'd cause world peace in the end."
Clint laughed, leaning against a wall. "Sure, I'm sure he'd do that. Can we share that part?"
"Yes, I can." She printed out his intent notes without anything on the formula. Clint shifted and the wall behind him moved. He shifted to look in there then waved her over. She looked and groaned. "We have a running self destruct that started about five minutes ago," she announced. "Stark!"
"I heard," he yelled back. "I think I found where it was programmed to a life sign monitor."
"If I had known that I would've left him barely living to die with his creation," Natasha muttered. She finished up and grabbed things. "Ten minutes." They gathered things and Stark came down with the blood samples and one other. She stared at the three vials. "Really?"
"The other one's not on this formula. It's his version of attempting an enhancement one." He held up the vial to show her the label. "I'm handing it to Bruce."
She nodded. "Good. We can allow that. Any other samples you have to save?"
"There's a few unmarked, purple glowy ones. I can get those to test at home and then destroy."
"Do so. If they're not this, then maybe he made something less useful but important." Stark went to get them and came back with a tray of vials, putting those three in it. "We done?" They all nodded. "Let's go." They headed to the plane. Clint set off the bombs. Dawn was doing her nails in the plane. She looked up when they joined her. "Dawn, did you look at U Conn?"
"I did. Percival thought it was a really pretty campus and Culver will transfer. I called." She grinned. "I started the application already on my phone. It looks like I'll have fun there."
"Good." Clint settled down to lift the quinn jet off just before the explosions destroyed and sank the ground. They flew off. "We found vials of other substances," she said at Dawn's look.
She pointed. "That's got magic in it. That's Xander's blood and you can't run that," she told Stark. "Because it'll flag him. It did when Willow tried to test it. The CDC tried to have him put into custody."
He stared at her. "Why?"
She sighed. "Long story short? He attracts thing like Native American ghosts that died of things white people brought." She stared at him, willing him to get it. He winced. "Xander *hates* germ docs," she said quietly. "He took out three while he was down here."
"Shit," Stark muttered. "How many?"
"No clue. No real clue. They're all mutated because of the hellmouth taint and because of his unique blood problems from before then." Stark winced. Natasha looked confused. "Swim team molecules. Just enough to warp his blood."
"Wonderful," Stark muttered, looking at the vials. "I'll make sure it can't hurt him and destroy them, Dawn."
"Thanks. I'd really hate to see him having to get out of confinement for that."
"They're not that lax," Fitz said.
"He can teleport thanks to magic," Dawn said. "You guys can't stop that." He slumped but nodded. "And if he couldn't, I'd damn sure make sure he got out of there."
"The same as I would if it was Bruce," Tony agreed.
Natasha nodded. "You'd have backup for that." She looked at Dawn. "You hold many secrets."
"Yes I do and it's best if I don't have to hide for my entire life."
"I hold one that could potentially put me up there with Xander for most charming victim of experimentation. It says something when there was once a demon after me for being a pure little girl and that wasn't the weirdest thing I know about."
Natasha considered it, then pulled her to the bathroom. "How many did he get exposed to and how?" she asked quietly.
"Xander's able to be touched and used by spirits, Miss Romanoff. He fell into a native burial chamber." She groaned. "He spent a few days near death one Thanksgiving weekend until the spirit moved on. It's what makes him a shaman now. Just like the other possessions, he keeps them."
"How many that time?"
"We think three. Willow said three."
"Bad but ancient and now warped to be vastly different so the vaccines won't work on them. Willow did that test on one. That's what caught the CDC's eye. Xander told her not to but she knew best."
"Oh, dear. Is it in a file?"
"Willow used to hack so I hope not. If she didn't get it, Xander asked someone a few years later to please erase most everything with him from the internet. That's why he had those battles on dvd."
"That's sensible. I...I'll talk to him when we get back."
"Just don't get him taken. Please. I'd hate to blow poker debts to have him saved again."
"Agreed." She let the girl go back and followed. She looked at Stark. "Has Harris said anything about his shaman training?"
"No, he hasn't and I hadn't heard he did. He and Bruce should share since Bruce did a lot of work with native healers." He looked at Dawn, who grinned. "Does his wand have a specific biological core?"
"No clue. I didn't ask him what it's made of. He didn't brag."
"Oh, okay. The minis?"
"They're safe. The house rotates realms every three days. He said it goes through about eighty realms total but in random patterns."
"So how long before they come back here?"
"We're pretty sure in a few weeks, and there's some guards there outside watching over it. It's popped back twice now. Once it almost got attacked but they had some special things waiting. Like cannibal goats they borrowed. They'll go back as soon as the minis get to come home."
"Cannibal goats?" Simmons asked. "They eat humans?"
"They eat everything," Dawn said with a grin. "If it'll fit in their mouth they eat it. Metal, humans, other animals, each other, anything."
Stark stared at her. "I want to see those."
"Go to Scotland," she quipped.
"Yeah, I can do that." He looked at Natasha. "They could be useful."
"Bring Thor, he has goats to pull his chariot by the myths," she said dryly.
"He might like that. Jane too. That sort of spell is mind warping and she'd like to know how probably so she can get back and forth to Asgard faster."
"It's theoretical and based in cursebreaking Xander's world," Dawn said.
"Maybe she can still figure it out. They say magic is just tech we haven't discovered yet."
Dawn shook her head. "Not always. Usually it's an originating power. Science just gives you rules to use things by. Magic creates the things that create the rules."
Stark scowled. "No way."
"Yeah. Sorry. Elemental powers of the universe are magical, not scientific. You guys may name them but even gravity has some magic attached. True energy can only be diverted, like water, or changed in form. Magic can be ended and destroyed."
Stark grimaced. "Fully?"
"Yeah. When we end spells, it ends and destroys that magic if we don't draw it into ourselves. There's ways of cutting it off so it not only dies but can't be revived. There's plenty of ways to not only change the nature of the magical field but also to destroy it or create new from nowhere. Very few types of magic are created by using something else. Void magic and chaos magic come to mind. Chaos can draw on what's already there but it can also create new.
"Wicca draws on what's already there. There's a semi-decent book on that in the Council library. I'll have it sent to you. It's boring as hell but it gives some ancient science examples. I used one for a science experiment in college, right after the LA invasion. The science teacher was all sneering too until I proved we could make new and end it totally without it coming back as other forms of energy. Got an A in a science class and sent him to the psych ward for a weekend for ranting about the illogical nature of that."
Stark nodded. "Please. I'd like to see that. Can that help with later battles? Like with whatever big purple guy is coming that Whistler and Cordelia warned us about?"
She paused in her pushing of her hair into a ponytail. "Big purple guy?" He nodded. "That's a bad thing. That's a super bad thing."
"Thor said the same thing."
"No, the guy, if it's the same guy, is a celestial being, Stark. Like uses powers of the universe as a toy celestial being. Not as high as the PTB, but still considered immortal and a God. Even by higher beings who we think are gods."
"PTB?" Simmons asked.
"Powers That Be, the ones over the slayers. They're the ones that activate the future slayers before they're born and all that. We're their chess and betting pieces. We all want to kill their sorry asses but can't quite manage it yet. If I die, they'll be gone and I can do that. There's spells for that." She smiled.
"Will it work on the purple guy?" Natasha asked.
"No. It'd take about sixteen witches to lose their lives to attempt it and they might still not manage it."
Natasha nodded. "Then not a doable idea. Pity. If it comes, how do you defeat it?"
"It depends on what he's packing. I'll send you a few books from the library." She nodded. She sent a text from her phone. "Giles is in Cleveland." She smiled and sent him an update on her college thing and which books they needed for the future battle. He groaned but agreed they'd seen that figure in a few visions. Also that the minis could conceivably come home in two days. "Will the minis be safe to come home in two days?"
"I wish," Stark said. "Maybe in another two weeks."
She sent that to him. "Probably a month later than that for the next time it shifts back here." They nodded. "Okay, Giles will send those books to you tomorrow." She smiled. "He'll FedEx. We don't UPS anymore since they tried to let out some possessed artifacts and nearly got destroyed then blamed us for it. Even though they were safely stored and noted on the box and the forms that they were possessed artifacts."
Natasha sighed, rubbing her face. "I remember when UPS had that attack." She went to the front to help Clint fly the quinn jet.
Dawn smiled at Stark. "We warned 'em."
"Giles is also sending the other visions that noted the big purple guy and I'm pretty sure I'm right about who it is but saying his name could call his attention to me and we don't want that."
"Why?" he asked.
"That's a Council only secret, Stark. I'm not even allowed to tell my future spouse." She stared at him. "But if I'm right, it's the guy that warped Loki."
"So really powerful," he sighed. "Are other witches in danger?"
"Maybe Willow. Maybe a few others. All of Asgard if he goes there first."
"We'll try to help with that." He paused. "Would it affect the hellmouths?"
"We'll be having a mass exodus to another plane for safety evacuations. Can he activate them? Yes. He possibly could if he wanted to but it wouldn't be automatic. Can he use the power as more than a weapon? I don't know for sure."
"What happens if he does and yanks the power?"
"Probably earthquakes. I don't know for sure. Ask Willow. She can draw on the hellmouths that same way."
"Okay," he agreed. "We can talk about that later."
She smiled. "Have fun."
"You're going to be there?"
"No. I'm going to be going back to pack up my apartment or steal it from whoever took my stuff. That way I'm not missing a picture of my mother or anything else. If he shows up here, I'm going to be invisible. I might have to help in other ones but not that one. I'd like to live a full life like my mom wanted me to have."
He nodded. "That's reasonable. If you're invisible could he find you?"
"Not if I take a safety evacuation spot."
He laughed. "Good to know, Summers."
"Thanks. How's my sister?"
"Talking to a counselor about her battle burnout."
She nodded once. "He won't get her to retire. This is her duty and she's going to die for a final time doing it. She's always said that and she hates it when others are doing patrols and things without her."
"Will she move to large battle status and training?"
"Buffy hates training. She hates to train herself and she can't train the minis. She relies on the slayer download to take care of most of it. The slayers have a former Air Force guy doing the self defense and fight training. We shamelessly stole him from his girlfriend, who was a slayer, and she put him over it as soon as he beat her in sparring."
Stark nodded. "That's not a bad thing but she could calm down."
"No. She sees herself as the mother slayer. She was the last individual one called. For a few years it was only her duty and now it's only her duty and everyone else helps. Buffy's also got a 'my way or the highway' thing going. We nearly had the new Council split once when they disagreed. Xander was going to take the girls who disagreed to form his own. Buffy went on a crying fit about being abandoned until Giles talked some sense into her. They worked it out and Xander still won't talk to her about more than slaying things because of what she slung at him then."
"You guys are a mess," Stark said.
"Yeah, but so is your team, Stark."
"Point. Especially right now." He stared at her. "Any idea if the Council is going to be split?"
"We got rid of most of the divisive problems and Buffy's finally off her kick that all the slayers will be super protected for their own goods. Xander was 'let them live their lives as they wish' and she was more 'protect them from the normals'. She had some good points, especially right now, but you can't take free will from them after they've found it. Xander's girls are healthier emotionally than Buffy's. Kennedy's of Buffy's school of thought and her girls are nagged but she doesn't have the charisma to be a leader that Buffy does. Buffy will pull up inspirational words, Kennedy will pull up 'it'll be bad, we'll win, then have ice cream once we're out of the ER' sort of talks." Stark grinned. "Not everyone's a speech maker."
"No, not in the least," he agreed. "Kennedy was at least honest."
"Now. She's calmed down a lot since she cheated on Willow and they broke up."
"She didn't worry about Willow retaliating?" Fitz asked.
"No, she did. Willow got her once with lightening while she was in New York, before Xander took over. The NYPD asked her to please not do that again."
"Isn't the coven supposed to stop her?" Stark asked.
"Yeah but they haven't. They were supposed to help her with her problems and they didn't. Which is another thing that they hate Xander for. They've mellowed some because they realize they discounted Xander too and it's better to be on his nice side. The old liners there are like the old side of the Council, only they do open magic." She smirked. "It used to be taught at the Watchers academy."
Stark shook his head with a sigh. "That's just...wow."
"They managed to hide it forever."
"Yeah, and shouldn't have."
"Not like even forty years ago most people would've protected the girls."
"No, I can't tell that lie," he agreed. "It's good it came out in this time zone."
"Oh." She wiggled and grinned. "Penny said one of the realms they ended up in had a steampunk bent. The mage using the castle there was amused but agreed about what was going on and he managed to block it off from coming to his realm again then went to get drunk about a bunch of *women* being powerful and stronger. The girls got ice cream from him and stayed upstairs until they moved again."
Stark looked at her. "Is it occupied in many realms?"
"Three they found out. The cursebreaker, the steampunk, and the writer guy that's hiding from life."
"I'd like to see this castle," he decided. "I can do that when I go see those cannibal goats."
"It does have an outline there," she agreed. "We've bought the land to protect it."
"Good. That's good." They landed finally and he went down to the lab. Coulson was waiting. "We found samples that weren't part of that. We're testing then destroying. I also pointed out why they shouldn't remember any of it. Just in case." He went into Bruce's lab. "Need you."
"Why?" He took off his glasses, looking at the samples. "Is that the serum?"
"No. The other samples we found. We blew up the other ones."
"Okay." He went back to the chemical lab and kicked the people out to test things. A few things were horrifying and destroyed once they found out. A few they could write reports on. He stared at the two vials of blood. "Why are we running this?"
"I'm not exactly doing anything but testing it, but it can't get into any system." He showed him the name on the vial.
"Definitely. He reacts weird to things. Giving him aspirin made him take a nap like a sedative. Can't get anywhere?"
"No. The CDC tried to confiscate him once." They shared a look and got to work on it with some specific tests that wouldn't be stored. They'd erase them from the daily backups too.
Stark was sitting beside his bed when Xander woke up, making the guy blink at him. "Hey. You up?"
"Mostly. What did they give me?"
"Oh, that. Yeah, that's a post hypnotic thing Willow did when she was thirteen so she could treat some of my cuts easier because I was wiggly." He sat up with a sigh. "You have a bad look. What did he have of mine?"
"Blood." Xander winced. "It did not get into any system." He handed him his hand-written notes. "Only Bruce and I saw it."
Xander read it over. "I thought I had a few more."
"No and testing against the standard versions, the vaccines won't work on those."
Xander nodded. "I knew I hated germ docs for a reason." He looked at him. "So...." He waved the paper.
"Just for you, Harris. No one else's seen it and won't be seeing it. Nothing got leaked to SHIELD or into my systems. Even the backup for the day was emptied of that." Xander relaxed and nodded. "Cannibal goats?"
"I bummed." He grinned. "They're supposed to be tasty too."
"Can I test them?"
"Sure. They're a great food source. Plus really protective."
Stark nodded, patting him on the foot. "Few days for them to come back."
"Bethy warped that some by getting sent back by the steampunk guy. So it'll be in a week and three days."
"I can go there then to make sure the girls are safe." He patted him on the foot again. "Dawn's up and she went to the local house. Your ex was very nice to her and helped her learn a lot of what she'd need for when and if she has to help the slayers in a house or in hiding."
Xander grinned. "I knew he would. Those two are kinda alike."
"Natasha said the same thing. Is there a problem with Dawn that we shouldn't hear?"
"Yeah, many. Why?"
"A SHIELD agent asked her about what happened when they tried to snatch her at Culver. She no-commented them to frustration and said she didn't answer to SHIELD."
"She doesn't. I'll have her sent off realm first. I don't trust even the new ones about her."
"She figured out some stuff about the big purple guy."
"She's going to be off-world for that. I will shove her through a portal myself."
"Is it just really strong witches he might be able to hurt or be looking for?"
"No and I can't comment."
"Is that important?"
"Yes. And if Loki ever finds her she's supposed to kick his ass eight ways from Sunday and make him bow down to pray at her manicured toes." He swung his legs around. "Did Thor see her?"
"He might be able to not tell you better than I can. He's got diplomatic skills I never had." He put on his shoes and grabbed his stuff from the drawer and followed Stark up to the main area. Xander looked at Thor. "You met Dawn."
Thor winced. "I noticed."
"Big. Purple. Guy."
"Thanos," he agreed. "A few of our seers have seen him as well, Xander." Thor stared at him. "How?"
"Monks. We protect that one with our lives."
"Agreed, that is too important."
"How important?" Coulson asked.
Xander looked at him. "Asking that question is getting too close to that secret and it's important enough that you'll die." He grinned. "I'll be nice though. Unlike what her last boyfriend got when I beat him for being a dickhead."
Coulson considered it. "Can she use something like Loki's staff? I asked Rosenburg and she said she could but it might not react right."
"Willow's built her magic around the hellmouths. If we're right and that purple guy is Thanos, he can yank the hellmouths and Willow may be the only brake on that." Coulson winced. "But it'd probably kill her to stop that draw. Dawn's not able to use the hellmouth. Dawn's..." He looked at Thor.
"At one point in time Dawn was blessed by something powerful," Thor told him. "If my brother found her he would have a good handle on a lot of power that he cannot use without it destroying him."
"Or me destroying him," Xander agreed. Thor glared at him. Xander grinned. "Asgard doesn't have the same germs, do they, Lord Thor?"
"No," he admitted dryly.
"I'd only have that plan if he touched Dawn."
"That I can see as a necessary evil," he admitted. "Though I would hate it."
"I'd hate it too. Dawn would probably protest it was her job."
"Mayhap," he agreed. He sipped his tea, looking at Coulson. "Son of Coul, this is serious enough that even noting her presence could put her in danger. I believe that's why she was hiding in a college?"
"Her mom wanted her to have a normal life. She was having one while learning what she needed in case we had to pull her back." Buffy and Willow came off the elevator. "Hey."
"I felt Dawn," Buffy said.
"She's at the local slayer house," Stark told her.
"Good. It's probably safer. We need Dawnie to be safe and out of harm's way."
Willow patted her on the arm. "I'm sure Dawn will be fine when she goes back to Culver."
"Wrong," Xander said. "She had to use magic to get away from a torturing freak."
"Shit," Willow muttered. "I'll make a list of colleges for her."
"She has one," Natasha said from her seat. "She's applied to one she likes already."
"She should tell us this stuff," Buffy said.
"Then text your sister," Xander reminded her.
"Oh, yeah." She sat down to do that. "U Conn is where?"
"Connecticut," Stark said.
"Oh, okay. I guess it's pretty up there." She shrugged. "Probably not a lot of crime. Too bad it's not an all girl's school."
"Dawn's had sex," Xander said dryly. "She's had two boyfriends she played with, Buffy." She glared at him. He stared back. "She knows more about birth control than you thanks to Anya. She was fully safe and you know she keeps protections."
"I know. Still don't like it."
"You ever read Taming of the Shrew?" Bruce Banner asked. "You should."
She glared at him. "I saw the movie. It was classy and I'm not that sort of bitchy, I'm just protective of Dawn."
"Some day she'll make you an aunt on purpose," Xander quipped. "Then you can be happy."
"Fine. She'd better be married and live in a bunker she can be safe in."
Xander turned away but rolled his eyes. "Dawn ran away from that in Cleveland to a Phish concert once. Should've heard the fits but not from Giles."
"He didn't give me one over Angel," she said patiently.
Xander grinned. "Do I need to comment?"
"If it's bad for me it's bad for her."
"You just have bad taste."
"Hey! Pot, kettle."
"Mine are protective of Dawn. Yours, well Spike was I guess." She huffed but nodded. He looked at Thor again. "If you hear...."
"I will gladly help you protect the young lady. Ones such as Dawn are not meant to be in battles unless they must." Buffy glared at him. "Some of us recognized it, Slayer Summers."
"He's good," Xander reminded her. "He'll never tell anyone."
"Point." She relaxed. "Did we find out about the big purple guy?"
"Dawn called Mr. Giles on the way back and he's sending books," Natasha said, staring at Thor. "Should we not even wonder?"
"Please," Xander and Buffy agreed. "It's safer."
She nodded. "All right. Will it someday be known?"
"Only if you want to hear screaming," Xander said. "A lot of screaming."
"Not particularly." She looked at Thor. "If that being is Thanos, and he does come here, will we be enough to beat him?"
Thor shook his head. "He is a being of the universe. He is very powerful. He wields the Infinity Stones." He finished his tea. "One of which was in my brother's staff."
"One of which is in a vault in LA," Xander said dryly. "I found it and realized what it was when it told me what it was so I stuffed it in a vault at its request."
Stark sat up, staring at him. "Can this guy get it?"
"Yeah, he can summon them like they're his toys," Xander said. "It'll destroy a lot to do that though."
Thor nodded. "It is not safe on this plane."
"How many are on Asgard?" Xander asked quietly. Thor winced. "So it's not safe most everywhere. Can we send it to another realm?"
"I may be able to do that," Thor agreed. "I have to ask for ideas where. Which stone?" Xander pulled up his phone and put in a code, getting into a file and a picture. He let Thor have it. Thor read it, nodding. "That is a stone. Where was it?"
"Ancient temple. It's why a lot of kids were being born mutants in an area so they asked me to remove it." He sat down in a free spot. Stark moved. "Sorry." He moved away from him. "Didn't mean to seem cuddly." He took his phone back. "Did you get the bank from the end?" Thor nodded. "They're a demon bank and they have the highest level vault security I could find. They're demonic mafia aligned but not with someone like Wolfram and Hart."
"It's probably safe there for now," Thor agreed. "That is good thinking."
"Did you find other powerful artifacts?" Willow asked.
"Yeah and they're in a similar vault in a few different demon banks. I wasn't going to send the Shrine of the World Eater to the vault in Cleveland." Thor moaned, shaking his head. "It's in Brussels. In a secure vault."
"I'm glad my brother had not felt that. It would've made his power more immense," Thor said.
"Before then it was buried in a hole in the ground in a former village I had to drive through. The stupid thing stopped my car engine and caved in the ground under me because it was lonely. It wanted to chat about pretty girls it could take in as slaves. I educated it that slavery was now illegal but told him about supermodels and rock stars."
Stark burst out laughing. "I can't see a higher being wanting some tween pop star."
"Talented concubines give status," Thor said dryly. Xander nodded. "Did it want male ones?"
"It had one male one trapped with him. Apparently his favored one volunteered because he didn't want to be without his master." Xander smiled. "I wrote a report to go beside the box in that vault. I also put the book on that artifact in there with it."
"Good thinking," Clint said. "Will it eat the earth if it breaks out?"
"It'll flow out, take a corporeal form, and then start to compel people to be his," Dawn said as she joined them. She stopped in front of her sister, batting her on the head. "The hairdye is affecting you again. Quit being so naggy before I go find a few poets in Times Square."
"They're in Brooklyn now," Stark quipped. "Lewis knows where."
"Cool." She sat beside Xander, hugging his arm. "From your ex Persia."
"That's cool." He cuddled her. "Did she show you where she gets her jackets?"
"Yup. She was debating on one on the way to the lab's site."
"Cool. Let me know so I can get it for her birthday." She pulled up the site to show him. He looked then bought it and had it sent to her. They had her in their favored customers database. He grinned at her. "Try for waist length."
"I am. Can Stark look at the goats?"
"Sure. They're all over the universe in that one's realm." Thor stared at him. Xander said their proper name, making Thor shudder. "There's a few guarding where the slayers are hiding."
"I feel sorry for whoever they eat," he said. "They're quite mean."
"I know someone who got a breeding set as a diplomatic gift," Xander said.
Thor looked at him. "Still mean. They would eat the ones they were gifted to."
"He found out chocolate makes them happy and hum like they're high for an hour. They really like hersheys."
Thor smiled. "I'll keep that in mind. We can go look at them, Stark. They are fascinating but quite mean." He looked at Xander. "When can they get back?"
"A week and three days."
"We can hopefully have that problem undone by then," Coulson said. "Stark, did any of those vials hold something useful or were they just horrifying?"
"Mostly horrifying," he said. "He had plans to dose primals."
"They'd have the same thing already," Xander said.
"That's what we thought. He also thought I was a mutant with a tech gift." Coulson sighed, shaking his head. "I destroyed my vial before the bombs went off. He had ideas to dose Rogers and then lift an enhanced version from his blood. I made sure that one got destroyed too."
"Thanks," he said from his seat. "Harris, where's Bucky?"
Xander looked up. "He's local. I can see a store I shop at but he's walking fast toward...I want to say the subway. Yeah, he just went into the subway two up from Grand Central." Steve nodded, going to look up that area. Coulson pulled him back and handed him his tablet with the cameras pulled up. He looked down at Dawn, who was napping. "You guys had netflix binges," he said quietly.
"Why does aspirin knock you out?" Bruce asked. Xander pointed at Willow, who huffed.
"It was a hypnotic command so I could stitch some injuries easier. He's wiggly," Willow complained.
"Didn't you town have an ER?" Coulson asked.
"Yeah but it was a food source," Xander said. "I'm lucky I survived having my appendix out."
Coulson stared at him. "It's that bad?"
"Yeah. Like thirty or so percent surgical death rate," Buffy said. "I survived a week with the flu but I also killed the demon that was killing the kids on the ward. The rest were just killed by the docs to feed some of the demons and the mayor."
Coulson slumped, staring at her. "Are they out of Sunnydale?"
"No idea. I didn't track them or the dirty cops," Willow said with a slight shrug. "Or our really horrible teachers."
"Was anything normal in your town?" Stark asked.
"Not really. It was meant to look normal to outsiders," Buffy said.
"It was like a flytrap plant," Willow agreed.
Xander nodded. "Damn hard to leave too. Even getting to Oxnard was a pain and I ended up finding a whole lot of nightmares that weren't really mine when I did." Willow stared at him. "No, I saw some of yours because I don't care if I showed up in class naked and without homework." She groaned. "It wanted me back."
"You do feel like it when your tattoo's broken," Buffy said.
"Yeah. I probably do. It's also why I don't go to Cleveland real often. It wants to cuddle too."
She grimaced. "Don't remind me, Xander." She looked at Bruce. "The town was built by the mayor to help him with his ascension thingy." Xander nodded. So did Willow with a sigh. "Thankfully he's gone." She looked at Stark. "I saw the two in DC. Good job."
"You didn't even have to blow up a building to kill it."
"No, I had higher weapons," he agreed with a smile.
Coulson sat up, staring at her. "That's why the school blew up?"
"Yeah. Had to take off the head," Xander said. "How else were we going to do that during a graduation and without artillery? We don't admit to it very often but had to happen."
Coulson stared at him then at her, making Buffy nod. "It was necessary," she agreed. "We didn't have another way. How did you want it to die? It was that or create a sudden volcano like Vesuvius. Willow's not that good."
Coulson groaned, rubbing over his face. "People are still asking about that."
"You can have them go talk to the mayor loving idiots at UCLA," Xander quipped. "They still adore the germphobic mess. Though one's caught me at something and called me an arms dealer. Which I had to correct and she cried that the mayor did it when I pointed out why. One of the year ahead of us, Buffster. The truth hurt her a lot when I pointed out I couldn't have been an arms dealer in high school, that took money."
She snorted. "Is she the one that set up the exhibit?" He nodded. "Great. At least we don't have to deal with the PETA people because we evacuated the zoo."
Xander nodded. "We did. And warned the mall to close the stores. That way they didn't lose all their inventory." She stared at him. "Spike did."
"Oh. Okay I guess." She looked at Stark. "There's a whole lot of problems if you have to evacuate town suddenly. We got most everyone to leave though."
"A few refused," Xander said with a grin. "I'm so happy."
Stark glared at him. "Why?"
"My parents refused. There was an important wrestling match and Sunnydale had lasted through other large earthquakes. It was just the government's way of stealing their stuff." He shrugged with a grin. "They fell in since the house was in the second ring. No more problems."
"I saw that their house set itself on fire from all the liquor bottles," Willow said.
Xander nodded. "Wouldn't be the first one. Remember, I went to your house to hide when the city made them clean up all the mess with the landlord."
"Yeah, I remember that one. It took a week and they had to pay for the trash bin and things."
Xander nodded. "They got some of my clothes but I had moved most of it to your closet anyway."
Stark looked at him. "Your parents drank?"
"Excessively. The city made them clean out the house full of empties and beer boxes that never made it to the trash before the city destroyed the house with them in it for being such a blight."
"Damn," Clint said.
"They were too drunk to take out the trash," Willow said.
Xander nodded. "I couldn't lift it." He shrugged. Dawn blinked up at him. "Just shrugging. Nap, Dawnie." She curled up against his side again. He winced and shifted but she cuddled in a different spot.
"You didn't have an injury there," Bruce said.
"Healing a broken rib," Xander said. Bruce stared at him. "I am."
"Since...probably about an hour after I woke up there. He got so pissed that I wasn't reacting the way I wanted and then I told him how pathetic he was compared to some of my dates. He stomped off to cry for a few hours with his buddies."
"Can you identify the agents?" Coulson asked.
Xander nodded. "I sure can and I wear a camera because an off-realm security program wanted to know about a few places I went. I'm not supposed to know about that but I knew when they put it on my neck. It itched."
"Can we talk to them?" Coulson asked.
"Sure. I'd have to summon one though. It's easier to find one at the poker hall later."
"Please if you could. That way we can charge them."
"Gladly. Are you getting the ones from Dawnie's old college?"
"We've talked to them. They haven't fully ended them yet."
Bruce looked at Coulson then at Xander. "Who? I know she was going to Culver."
"Some of the initiative's people are teaching there," Buffy said, grimacing. "I'd like to go bend them into ogre pretzels then give them to their victims."
"That's mean," Willow said.
"But fitting," Xander said. "Their victims should get theirs first before they're put in prison. It's fitting," he said when Willow scowled at him.
"It's not within the law," she said firmly.
"Since when has the law cared about torturing demons, Willow?"
"I...well, never," she admitted.
"Them being in a college teaching or in Homeland or the UN means that the law's already failed once. Are you going to give it a second chance?"
"Yes," Coulson said. "Plenty of us know more now and we're more than willing to stop them."
"That's what the general in charge of the inquest promised and yet, they got cherry assignments," Xander said dryly. "I'm cynical but I'm realistic."
"You are but this time we're stepping in, not the military." He stared at him. "Let us try at least."
"Sure, you try. Did you get the ones in Homeland?"
"Between arresting the Finns and their co-conspirators and getting the HYDRA agents out, we had a few we had to add in but we got them all," Coulson said, staring at him. "The ones in the UN are mostly damaged and on home confinement or base confinement." Xander grimaced. "They were handling bigger problems so the slayers didn't have to. We thought they could die that way." Xander shrugged slightly. "The others in the colleges are getting arrested in the next few days.
"I talked to the president, with all your saved files from them, and he was not amused. He got very ill and ranted long enough the head of the Secret Service had time to get there to see what had happened. He agreed with me that they're going to be arrested for threats against humanity. Any in his agency got slipped in with the HYDRA arrests." Xander relaxed and nodded. "So by the time they come back, the girls should be able to safely go home."
"Welcome. If we had known about that situation back when it was stopped we would've made sure they got quietly arrested no matter what sort of duty assignments they got."
Buffy nodded. "That would've made the community happier. Did you run into any in Africa, Xander?"
"Once. He saw me planning how to stop a problem, stepped up and tried to take over. Didn't like his broken chin from me kicking it after I knocked him down with a punch, and then I assigned them to the hard part of the battle. They made it through but limped home crying I was mean." He grinned. "They deserved it and even the demons coming in told them that."
"Do I know about this program?" Bruce asked.
"Yeah, you took a quick walk before you lost it," Stark told him.
"Oh, them. They didn't go to jail?"
"Permanent duty assignments," Coulson said with a grimace. "If we had known, we would've fixed that."
"Did you get the two with Ross?" Stark asked.
"We've notified him that two of his adjuncts were under charges. He won't turn them over." Willow stared at him. "If we can't get them, I'll ask."
"The same general is trying to get Banner," Xander told her. "So he's a special category of dickhead anyway. He's also the guy that tried to take Amanda after she got free from her military overlords of suckiness."
"I talked to her," Buffy said. "She's going to let the baby be adopted."
Xander nodded. "That's her choice and I'll accept and support her with it." She smiled. "Do we need to hide her?"
"Yeah but she's in Germany's house," Buffy said. "Her people screamed but I pointed out we needed her safe due to them and she was going to be safer over there. Then I talked to Brittney's daddy in Interpol. He's making sure she's okay and eats, all that stuff." She grinned. "He's a good daddy sort."
"He is, and very fierce in protecting the girls near him, even if they're mean ones. He even protected Kennedy once."
"I remember. We thanked him and sent him a box of good whiskey for his nerves," Willow said.
Xander nodded. "That's a good thing," he agreed. "There's been days that was my way of sleeping." Stark looked at him. He stared back. "You can't tell me some battles haven't needed it, especially if you can't calm down afterwards and all you feel is nasty and aggressive."
"No, I can't tell that lie," he agreed. "I've done it too." Pepper came off the elevator with Jane and her lump. Stark cleared his throat and pointed. Jane went to her room then came back without the lump. "Sorry, a pet."
Buffy smiled. "I heard from Mila. Is it cute?"
"It's very cute," Stark said with a smile. "It's named Pepat after our head bitches in charge." He pointed at them.
Buffy grinned at Pepper. "It's good you're strong. The world needs a lot of strong women."
Willow looked at her. "You're one too, Buffy. We won't hurt the pet."
"It's embarrassing," Thor told her.
"Oh, okay." Jane settled in her guy's lap. "Awww. You guys are cute." She looked at Buffy. "We should stop at the mercenary's bar on the way back so maybe you can find someone to be cute with like Penny did."
"Brad is very sweet," Buffy agreed. "I've had some fun with them when I was there before." She looked at Xander.
"No, we're good. We can go to the local slayer house."
"It's been cleaned and we've made sure they didn't try to blow it up again," Coulson said.
"Cool. Xander?" She looked at Dawn. "I can take her."
Xander nudged her. "They're going back to the house."
"I can go with them and find dinner." She yawned as she sat up. "Pleasure meeting all of you. Have a good day." She followed her sister out. "A bar? You?" she asked when Willow said something quietly. "Wow. Sure, we can go there. I'm all rested up. I could use some new boy time action anyway. My last one broke up with me because I wasn't willing to follow him to LA to do a plastic surgery residency."
"You dated a doctor?" Buffy demanded. "I wouldn't have minded that. Why didn't you tell me?"
"He demanded I'd be getting work done. I wasn't going to keep him for long. I made up the not moving thing so he'd break up with me instead because he was the sort to spread gossip about whoever he was dating."
"Oh, them. Yeah, you don't want that sort, even a doctor. And don't date a frat boy like I did."
"Hell no. I don't drink, therefore I don't need frat boys." She waved at everyone before the elevator door closed.
Xander shook his head with a sigh. "Thank you all for helping us. And for helping Dawn, Lord Thor. Let me go nap in my own bed." He waved and left, heading home by a different path. That way he could get home first and lock his door so Buffy couldn't nag him again. Or Willow.
Stark looked at Steve. "They're still very full of life."
"They are," Steve Rogers agreed.
Jane nodded. "A bit weird with the magic stuff but Xander's really nice. Buffy's okay I guess. I had a few girls like her in my classes. Dawn seems nice." Everyone nodded.
"Xander's ex that was guarding Dawn called her a charming little thing," Clint said dryly. "They're a lot alike too. I'm happy she didn't want to stay with him."
Natasha nodded. "That man doesn't really need someone for life with what he does." She looked at Stark. "Was she right in the plane?"
"Yeah. She was. I'm going to no-comment that until I die." She nodded.
"Do you wonder how he does those things?" Clint asked.
"No," Stark and Steve said. They both shook their heads.
Xander pointed at where they needed to land, then got out and whistled loudly.
"We're still here," a male voice yelled. "Hiding from the damn goats!"
Xander smiled at Stark, leading him to the camp around the ring of stones surrounding the small valley. "You guys, they're going to be here later."
"That's good," one of them said. "It'd be nice to let them go home."
"They think they have them all arrested," Stark said, looking around. "You can see an illusion of the castle. Huh." He climbed up to look at it closer.
"Watch out, the goats are just a few feet in front of you and they'll gladly eat your head," one of the mercenaries called. Stark ran into a goat and had to duck fast. Thor hurried up to help him.
Xander grinned, handing out envelopes. "Travel plans and payments, guys. Thank you."
"Best to have the minis guarded by real soldiers anyway," another one said. He looked and smiled at his envelope full of money. Xander had paid half up front and this was the other half. "Only one problem and he was drunk so he woke up surrounded by the goats. I don't think he'll ever drink again." Xander smirked and nodded. "You good?"
"I've spent the last week in a house with Buffy and Willow," he said quietly. "Healing injuries." They nodded at how bad that probably was. He heard a yelp. "Are you guys okay?" he called.
"Yeah," Stark called. "I slipped."
Thor came back petting a baby goat. "They're adorable. I can see why many like them. Even if they are vicious."
Stark came back down. "How did the girls get in there?"
"Magic," Xander said with a grin. "The coven's on the way up." They nodded. Stark was checking over the baby goat. "They can crossbreed from what I've heard."
"They like chocolate chip granola bars but it's not quite enough chocolate to keep them from eating you," one of the mercs said.
"We were warned they were vicious but we were amused until they tried to eat us," the other one said. "Guys, Xander's here," he yelled. The other four mercs came to get their pay envelopes and then pack their gear. The witches appeared in the valley. A goat headed for them but Xander floated it back and tethered it again.
"They're adorable," Tara cooed.
"They eat people," all the mercs called.
"Still cute," she called back. The castle faded in and faded out quickly but they stopped it and let the girls come out to be sent to the area where Xander was. A few were followed by their guys. Penny was waddling. "That all?" Tara asked.
"Two aren't," Penny admitted. "I can't find one of them."
"If it's Bethy she got herself sent back."
"No. I can't find Mila."
Tara cast a tracking charm, going in to find her and come back with both slayers who had been in the bathrooms. They all moved away from the castle, releasing it. One of the elder witches yelped and moved away from the goats. "They said they eat people."
Penny nodded. "One managed to get in and it's mean. That one steampunk mage might like it a lot as long as it quits trying to eat him."
"Chocolate," Xander said, grinning at her. "Wow."
She rubbed her stomach. "We're good, Xander."
"Good." He gave her a hug. "Buffy and Willow are at the New York house." The girls all groaned. "You're going home." They cheered and most of the girls got sent by the witches with their evacuating person. The rest went with the witches back to the main house since they were the orphans. They got moved to the orphan's house from there for their own safety.
Xander hugged his girls before they got taken and he hugged Penny too. "It'll be okay. Did you guys at least get to have some fun?"
"We had a ton of fun," she agreed with a grin. "Including finding out we couldn't pet unicorns. The slayer spirit warps us just a bit too much."
"Did Mila's egg hatch?" she asked.
"Yeah, they named it Pepat."
"We're hiding it from Willow."
"Probably a good idea." She looked at her husband. "Okay, let's go. I need to pee." They all went back to New York. The goats got taken by their actual owner. Stark still had the kid and it came back to New York with them. They had chocolate bars in the quinn jet for it. The mercs got to go home with the tickets Xander had bought for them. It was nice of the guy. They hadn't had too much trouble but it had been interesting.
Deadpool walked into the meeting over the upcoming problem and had to stop and yelp, holding his ass cheek. "What are you?" he demanded, staring at the baby goat. "You bit me! You're not my girlfriend and only she can play with my ass."
"It's an anyvore," Stark said dryly. "And watch out for Pepat. She likes it." Deadpool stared at him. He pointed at the dragon, who steamed and hummed at him. "They're cuddly together and the goat will eat anything but her."
"We need to unleash that on something evil," Deadpool said. "How bad this time?"
"Upcoming, no idea when, but it's so horrible even Asgard is shuddering," Stark said with a grin. "It's a power of the universe and it has pretty jewelry that can basically make it a god." Deadpool groaned, shaking his head. "We'll be able to fight it off, we hope."
"Great. Can I send Vanessa off for this one too?"
"She won't be any safer anywhere," Stark admitted. "And we need you to get an inventory from Harris. He said he'd give us one but hasn't."
"I can ask him later." He looked around. "Unless he's here?"
"Nope. He let us know."
"Great." He sat down far away from the goat. "That thing's mean. Cute but mean."
"They eat anything," Stark said. "Literally. I haven't found a thing that it won't eat and it won't eat the dragon because she smokes at him. They're besties."
Deadpool shook his head. "Great. We need to send that somewhere." Stark smirked. "Can we put it on pay per view?"
"Sure we can. It's mostly bulletproof too." Deadpool groaned, a happy sound. "I've got a list of people I'd like to introduce it to and Black Widow's promised to find a few more she wants to introduce it to."
"That's a happy making thought. I'll have to share that later." A few other heros on other teams walked in and so did Jones. "Hey, sit over here, Jones. Away from the baby goat and the dragon."
She looked at him oddly. "I heard about the goat. Xander texted a warning." Stark pointed at them. "That's a dragon like in books."
"One of the minis sent it because we needed a comfort snuggle that wouldn't get hurt by bad guys," Stark said with a grin. "They're buddies and the goat won't eat her."
"Great." She sat down, staring at the goat. It was sniffling at a few people. "It bites, people." One guarded his wallet but a few more people yelped when they got bitten. Then the goat trotted off bleeting happily. They all watched it be fed a candybar and then it started to sway and hum happily. "I'm glad it's not just my happy mood that chocolate causes."
Stark smiled. "I have a list of people I'd like to introduce it to. It bit one of Logan's claw tips off." She groaned. He looked at the others. "We all here?" They nodded. "Good." He put up the information. "Coming sometime soonish but we don't have an exact date yet."
"Then why tell us now?" one complained. Reed Richards was not amused.
"Because he can just suddenly appear and it's worse than everyone's problems, Richards." He pointed so the other scientist read.
Jessica grimaced. "Would it be coming for the average mutant?"
"It'll try to kill everyone," Stark said. "One of the sources had a poem about him and girlfriend, the personification of death."
"So we're all screwed," one of the younger guys near Logan said. Stark nodded. "Can we fight it?" Stark changed the information the screen.
"Those stones, can we hide them?" Reed Richards asked.
Tony shook his head. "One was in Loki's staff." That got a groan. "One Jane Foster ran into just before the convergence in London. There's a few up on Asgard, there's at least one more down here. We're not sure where the fifth one is."
"Can we fight him when he gets here?" Logan asked.
"We hope so but we're not sure if it'll take artillery, powers, or what," Stark said. "All we know is that we have to take them from him."
"So we should probably have a front line pounding force and then something like the TK's in the background," Logan said. Stark nodded. "The slayers?"
"They said they're going to help where they can. The coven said the same thing."
"We're relying on magic?" Richards complained.
"That's how he'll get here," Stark said. "The portal isn't the Bifrost."
Steve walked in. "Sorry I'm late. One of the book nerds in England, as Kennedy called them, found another source." He put it onto the table. "He's natively immortal. The gems just make him stronger." He sat down in the free seat. "We may be able to kill him but the journal says it's probably impossible."
"So we'll be driving him off."
"And keeping the gems somewhere safe," Stark agreed. "There's a few very secure vaults on this planet, mostly in demon banks. Harris uses them," he said at the instant complaining.
"Why would he? They're demons." Richard grimaced.
"First, Harris is the head of the local slayer house," Steve told him. "Secondly, he made sure they weren't related to any dark organization, darker than the demonic mafia in a few cases. They already realized that it was a powerful artifact and they're sure they don't want them unhidden. I'm pretty sure he'd know which demons were trustworthy. Also, a lot of the peaceful community is very helpful to both us and the slayers." He stared at the guy.
"They've helped us immensely by getting us information and help. Including a book on how to help the dragon." She lifted her head and steamed. "No, you rest. You've been up playing all night." She snuggled in again. Richards stared at her then at Stark, mouth open. "One of the mini slayers thought we'd need something to comfort us and she wasn't as vulnerable as a stuffed friend. She's been handy. She even ate a rat that made it up the sewer drain for me."
"I've got to add in here," Jessica said. "The peaceful community has really helped a lot of the mutants who aren't in battle ready states. The ones that don't go to the mutant academies to learn how to fight. The ones that just look funny. If it wasn't for the peaceful community a lot of those kids would've been killed by bigots. Their healers work with us. Their schools take in the kids so they get some sort of education. Their orphanages can sometimes take in the kids if they have room. Yeah, there's bad ones but that's not the average demon. They just fled here to get away from guys like this one or a war."
"True," Stark agreed. "Jessica is very right. They've even helped the mutant community set up their own orphanges and clinics so they get treated. We all know the regular hospitals won't touch most of the mutants."
"Or me," Steve said. "I needed some after a battle but the ER's wouldn't even do stitches on me. A lot of the human organizations aren't very unhelpful if they know you're a mutant. Social workers are some of the worst because the state said they should be."
"We're working to overturn that law now," Stark said. He looked at Logan.
"I agree. The local peaceful community has really helped since Harris chewed some people a new one. Chuck's still cranky about that but he was right. It was stuff we should've been doing for a while now and didn't."
The mutant beside him looked at him. "Harris chewed on the Professor?"
"About us not having orphanages or social workers and foster homes for the kids who needed it. Told him at least Magneto wasn't pretending to be helping the whole community. Told us he didn't agree with Magneto but we knew where he stood. Told Sabertooth the same thing. Plus he's very protective over the local slayers, older and not."
"He's a mutant?" Richards demanded.
"He has a tiny metal finding affinity," Deadpool said. "Drives him batty sometimes because if you're thinking about it near him, he'll get a picture."
"He looked at someone during a battle and told them where their keys were," Jessica said with a grin. She looked at Deadpool. "Are you still picking on him about that?"
"No, I learned my lesson when I was Bearpool." She laughed, shaking her head. "He's mean when he wants to be."
"That's why we have the goat," Stark said with a grin. "She's sweet."
"Can they crossbreed?" Sue Richards asked.
"Yes, Thor said they can," Steve said with a nod. "Chocolate makes it happy for about an hour." He looked. "Someone shut the door?" It got kicked shut by a guy who turned around. The goat ran into the door and butted it a few times then trotted off when that didn't work.
Stark put out a 'goat's running around' lab wide alert. "That way it can't eat a scientist or Lewis."
"I thought it liked her," Steve said.
"It does, she pets it, but it'll still probably eat her. She'd taste like coffee." He looked at the dragon then at the others. "Also, we have to spread the information on the groups that just barely got stopped before they took out the mutants and the slayers." He pulled that up. "Eight groups, total. A few scientists working for the same goal at universities. Culver's still swearing about them."
"We'd like them to never come back," Steve said. "This way you guys know who and what they were doing in case someone tries it a third time."
Logan took one of the screens to look at more closely. "They got into one of the lesser schools."
"Yeah, they did," Stark agreed. "Thankfully someone managed to save them when they went in to save a few of the peaceful community."
"Demons saved mutants?" Sue Richards asked.
"Yeah, because they can't let that happen to anyone," Steve said. "The first time they started on them to make better soldiers. Then they went to mutants and demons. A few tried for slayers and witches. I'm hoping there won't be a third time. I'll come out of a retirement home to stop it if they do. Right now we're down to small groups of people that gather to do stupid things instead of an organized threat."
"They killed hundreds of beings by torture," Stark said. "They got stopped, put on permanent duty assignments by the army, and then restarted. It was so nasty I couldn't stand to see what they recorded and I'm sure it wasn't the worst they did." Richards grimaced but nodded.
"Some of the stuff I saw back in Germany wasn't as bad as that sort," Steve said. "Some was."
Sue Richards nodded. "That's something we don't want restarted. Do we know any of the scientists, Stark?"
"Three names." He pulled them up.
"I went to college with one," Sue agreed, staring at it. "Wasn't he in Doom's land?"
"Doom found out thanks to a slayer going to ask him to look at it and Doom flew into a rage and went to stomp him from on high. He literally landed through the building on the guy's head," Stark said with a grin. "He had some of their people there to torture and test on."
"He was one of the last ones captured," Steve said. "They just found out where he ran to last week. It was one of Germany's slayers. She was real polite and sweet. He wrote Buffy a letter saying how polite and sweet she was. He'd accept her back to tell him about anything that was going to be harming his people."
"Should we tell him about Thanos?" Sue asked, looking at her husband.
"He can't really help," he said.
"I'm going to let the darker mutants know," Logan said. "We might need their help."
"They have the right to protect themselves," Deadpool agreed. "It looks like we'll need everyone on hand when he does show up."
"That's a good idea," Sue agreed. "Can we talk to them?"
"We have a contact who can and he's already used to the insanity," Stark said with a grin.
"Speedy can probably do that," Logan agreed. "He'll be very protective of the slayers too."
"Yeah, he will," Steve agreed. He smiled at Sue. "Wanda's niece is a mini slayer."
"She's also a mutant," Stark said.
"I thought that was impossible," she said.
"There's a few who are both," Stark said. "They get extra training if they want."
"It's by choice now," Logan told Richards when he started to complain. "They get to decide everything in their lives."
"They've done good rebuilding it so the girls are supported but not forced," Steve agreed.
"Surely they can remove that from them," Reed Richards said.
"There's a group of higher beings who pick slayers," Steve said. "They've all volunteered to kick them around if they can find them so they quit."
"It's not a genetic tick like a mutation?" Reed Richards demanded.
"No," Stark said. "I looked with permission. Comparing sixteen of them, there's no twitch in their genetics in common. A few more recessive traits are shown more commonly but it's not in every one."
"Thor heard about those Powers That Be," Logan agreed. "Said they were real pieces of work. Celestial higher beings."
"Like the Silver Surfer?" Sue asked.
"No. Higher," Steve said.
"Damn it," Sue sighed. "So it's really mystical and we can only support and help them." Everyone at the table nodded. "Deadpool, you do?"
"I do. Also the mercenaries I know do. A few of the slayers are dating them. The merc bars are almost always safe for the girls to hang out in if they want to be social. Penny's about to pop out a baby future merc. She's due in about four weeks," he told Stark. "Xander's already gearing up for a problem during the birth but he thinks it'll be more a happy time and celebration. She's having the first known slayer baby in the US since the mass calling."
"I saw when a local reporter tried to pounce her about being pregnant and a slayer," Stark said, rolling his eyes. "She pointed out she was married and had been for a while. Her husband came up to scare the reporter off."
"It's the same one that keeps suggesting Natasha's the team's stress relief and only there because of it," Steve said. "I'd like her to fall off the earth but I can't kill her for it."
A female someone in the hall yelled 'oh shit' and the door burst open with her running in. "Stark, Ross is here. I just got a warning from security."
"Coming," he agreed, following her out. "Go get Bruce."
"He's already in his safe room. I made sure on my way up the hall. This was not the day to be wearing heels." He shot her a grin. "I'm locking down the labs." She rushed off. She hit the lab-only intercom button. "People, we are in full lockdown. We have hostile entities in the building," she announced. "Do not let anyone into or out of your lab unless it's an emergency or they should be there." She let it go and hit the button to lock the floor down in case of emergencies. She hurried to check on Jane, who let her into the lab and locked it up again. "Ross is here. Bruce is in his safe room."
"Crap," she said, looking at Thor.
"I'm not moving." He stood up. "We'll handle it if they come for myself or Bruce." Darcy patted him on the arm, calling the other labs to make sure they had heard. A few weren't answering so she called that lab's people personally. She got the second in command of that lab. "It's Darcy. The lab's in lockdown. General Ross and other hostile entities are in the building. Go to a safe location and wait." She smiled. "No, Stark didn't bring the goat or the dragon. Pity but he didn't. Thanks. Get all your lab together. No, you're the only one that didn't answer. Lunch is great, and I'm happy I don't have to nag, Petra. Sure, you guys be safe." She hung up. "Dr. Drall is safe with her lab. They were in the shops."
"That's good," Jane said. "Soldiers." Darcy was texting hard. Then something burned them. "Is that Pepat?"
"No, it's too big," Thor said, looking out there. He smiled. "I'm sure the dragon will learn many great things from you, Natasha." He closed the door again.
Darcy came to the doorway. "Get the ones wanted for arrest." She closed the door before the guy nearest it could try to grab it. "This is going to be messy."
"Hopefully only for them," Jane said. She sat down. "This sucks."
"TURN OFF THAT MACHINE BEFORE I END IT!" was shouted by a male.
They all looked. "Aww, Goaty is there with Pepat." The dragon was blowing fire at the bad guy in her way and the goat was chewing on him. The general was behind his person. Natasha burned the soldier the dragon was trying to get, making the goat a happy little munching thing. Ross pulled his sidearm and tried to shoot the goat. Natasha kicked him into a wall and disarmed him.
"You damned Russian spy," the general sneered.
She hit him. "Russian I may have started and spy I did for SHIELD, but not on pathetic things like you. No one wants to know what you do." Stark pulled her off gently. "I can handle him."
"I want to torture his ass," he said. "He deserves it for all the hell he's caused." Ross got up and Tony hit him a few times. The goat came trotting over and bit Ross too. The general screamed and beat at the goat but it was having fun. The dragon came over to blow more fire at it. The goat did like cooked meat sometimes. Stark pulled them off, handing them to Natasha. "Hand them off so they're safe. We don't need tiny creature help."
She put them down and pointed. They sniffed and Pepat flew off with the goat following her. She smiled at Stark. "They're going to a lab."
"Awww." He turned and hit Ross again.
Steve came trotting up the hall. "They're coming to pick him up." He looked at the bodies then at Stark. "Pepat?"
"Yeah," Stark said with a grin. "With the goat. We really do have to name her."
Natasha smiled. "Not after me. I am not that voracious."
"She's female or I'd suggest Seymour," Darcy called from their lab. "After that plant."
Stark laughed. "That's not a bad suggestion. See if there's a female version," he called.
"I'll look it up." She looked then opened the door to lean out. "Everyone's accounted for. Dr. Drall's lab was having lunch downstairs and got warned."
"Good," Stark agreed. "You know the rules, Lewis."
"Two more thugs trapped on the elevator near the common levels," she said. "And one in the stairwell who got kicked back by Clint." She closed the door and locked it again.
"Let me go handle them," Stark said, walking off. "Steve, get them ready to be handed over."
"Of course. You sure? I can go capture," he said dryly.
"I want to hit something," Stark said. "They're invading my house."
"Okay." He hauled up the general and others, taking them to the security area. Stark brought down the other three with Clint's help. Clint looked at the others and laughed. "They did good," Steve told him.
"I did help with a flame thrower," Natasha said. "Pepat did burn a few for the goat however."
The MP's coming in with a general paused to stare at the people's conditions. "What happened to them?"
"Tower pets," Steve said with a smile. "Mostly. A flame thrower as well."
The General nodded, looking at them. "The bites? Mechanical or should I test for tetanus?"
"Our new pet goat," Natasha said. "It eats anything."
"I'd like to know more about that," the general said with a nod. "Sounds useful."
"Yes it is," Stark agreed. "Even better than a dog."
"Did it spit the pieces out?" one of the MP's asked.
"No, it eats everything," Stark said. He put his hands in his pockets. "The only thing that makes it stop biting is chocolate."
"Huh. I definitely want to know more about that goat," the general decided. "Clean up their mess, boys. They're disgracing the uniform." They hauled the people down to the troop carrier.
"Remember, two of them are already wanted on arrest warrants and General Ross wouldn't let them be taken," Stark said.
"I remember, Stark. One of my grandchildren is a future slayer. She's eight months." He followed the last one down to the troop carrier, heading back to his base. He'd come back in a few days about that goat. It could come in real handy.
Stark looked at Rogers, who shrugged. "Maybe they can use the goat too."
"Not ours but perhaps," Natasha agreed. "I'd miss ours. It sleeps on my feet. I haven't needed my alarm clock with it trying to eat my toes." She walked off. "Let me go release the lab."
"Search them first in case."
"Of course." She went to Bruce's lab first. She found the goat leaning against Bruce and not trying to eat him, just getting petted, and the dragon draped around Bruce's shoulders. "That's cute."
He smiled. "They really do like me."
"They protected you well. The goat ate a good few bites of soldiers. Pepat burned some for her eating pleasure." Bruce laughed, petting them both. "They're gone."
"Good. Thanks, Natasha."
"You're welcome. We'd miss you if they managed to grab you." She smiled. "Let me go unlock the rest." He nodded. She walked off, smiling at the small yelp he gave. "Apparently petting time is over with."
Merry Christmas, people.