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To Be A Baby Daddy Or Not To Be A Baby Daddy, That Is The Question.

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I fixed the movie mistake in part 2, thank you for catching that for me.
To Be A Baby Daddy Or Not To Be A Baby Daddy, That Is The Question.






Darcy rushed into her lab, locking the door and pulling down the blinds. That was weird enough that it got Jane's attention, making the scientist stare at her oddly. "You would not believe who I just saw going up to the meeting areas."

"Some hotty star you crush on at night?" Jane guessed. She got up to get more coffee.

"No, Adrian's dad."

That paused the coffee refill, making Jane stare at her. "Your one night stand thing that you still dream about?"

"Yeah, him!" Darcy stared at her. "And he's still pretty."

Jane blinked. "Are you going to talk to him?"

"He's going to a meeting up here. That means he's an agent or something."

"Um, not today. You know those weird female warriors? The team's meeting with them this week to work out how to work with them and when they need to call in help. I heard from Steve last night, who was complaining about that."

Darcy blinked a few times. "Really? So my baby's daddy is weirder than an Asgardian?"

"I'm pretty sure we both already knew that, Darcy," Jane said dryly, staring at her. "Go lurk in a bit. I'll text Tony to tell him that you need to talk to the guy privately later." She sent that and then finished fixing her cup of science juice before sitting down. "Are you bringing Adrian to the talk?"

"Is that appropriate?"

Jane shrugged. "You know, I don't know. Try it anyway. Or bring him back here so you can introduce them if he's not a total douchebag."

"Good idea, Janey!" She went to get her kid from the daycare for now. He was being bored and pouting at the frozen picture. She stared at the worker. "You turned off PBS again?"

"He had a complete and total baby day," the worker said with a smile. "Including turning into a chimp. Like the ones he saw the zoo." Darcy moaned. "Yes, he threw food, and toys, and his poop at the other kids. Who threw it back though." She grinned. "I was going to see if you were doing baby safe things after nap time. Before they started it again. He wouldn't take a nap for me."

"I'm doing paperwork. He can help me nag Jane." She picked up her boy, kissing him on the cheek. "You're not a chimp! You're not that hairy, Addy." She sighed, looking at the smiling worker. "Sorry?"

"Most kids like zoos and animals. He's not the first wanting to be an animal. Most of them growl and hiss, he decided to go simian." She shrugged, walking off. "Thank you, Darcy."

"Welcome. Next time tell me sooner so I can come nag him like he's Jane." She carried the baby off. "Jane, he thinks he's one of the chimps we saw at the zoo this weekend," she said as she walked into the lab. "He threw things, including poop."

Jane moaned, shaking her head. The other scientist in there groaned as well. "At least he learned something."

"True, just not the right things. And the other kids helped." She sat down with Adrian in her lap to help her do data entry and answer emails. He enjoyed it. Things moved to keep his attention, that was enough for his toddler brain. She got a text message in warning that the meeting was going to break up for a long break soon. She handed Adrian to Jane and hurried up there. She walked around a few of the agents, glaring at one that got in her way. "Not here for you." She sighed as she ran into those female warriors. "Hey," she said with a nod and a smile. "The coffee shop is having a muffin sale today if you needed a snack. They're pretty nice. Nearly home made quality." She walked around the blonde girl, staring at the guy, who looked confused. "Long time no see," she said quietly.

He blinked his good eye a few times. "You were in that club in Sarasota. Right?" he finished with a grin.

"I was, yup. Darcy Lewis." She held out a hand.

"Xander Harris." He grinned back and shook her hand. "So you're an agent?"

"No, I'm a lab assistant to Dr. Jane Foster. I do her data stuff."

"Ah!" He nodded. "That's a whole lot more exciting than mine." One of the girls hit him on the arm so he swatted her. "Behave. Please?" He looked at Darcy again. "So is this a hint for coffee?"

"If you want." She grinned. "I thought we should catch up. Maybe talk about that night?"

He winced. "That sounds suspiciously like the start of a girl talk." Darcy nodded quickly. She also looked nervous. "Sure, let's go get coffee." He walked her off. "Ladies, behave please. We want to make a good impression. Not act like teenage girls."

"We've had Asgardian warriors around here a few times," Darcy said with a grin and a hand wave. "They can't be any worse than the belching those guys did."

"Don't tempt them," Xander quipped. "Please. I'd get yelled at by Giles if they act like heathen bitches."

Darcy grinned up at him. "I'm sure they're using company manners."

"I'd hope better but ...." He shrugged, holding the elevator door open for her and got on after her. He looked at her. "This looks suspiciously like the birth control we both used failed," he said quietly.

"And it would be." She pulled out her wallet and held up a picture. "Adrian is sixteen months."

He sighed. "I'm infertile though."

She shrugged. "I was on the pill, religiously on the pill, for a few years." She put the picture back then leaned against wall of the elevator. She hit the stop button then called someone. "It's Lewis. I stopped the elevator for a private talk, Happy." She hung up and looked at him. "I have no idea how he came to be." Xander smirked at her. "Seriously. If I remember right, we weren't even groiny that way."

"No, we didn't." He frowned. "I think I need to talk to a certain witch then."

Darcy waved a hand. "As long as whoever doesn't hurt him. He's my whole life."

He stepped closer. "Let me pause you with that thought. Darcy, I... I do stupid things with swords for a living. I'll gladly help you any way I can but I...I can't even put him in danger from visiting him." She slumped but nodded. "Like seriously. My girls, the slayers, I'm the head watcher in Africa at the moment." He grinned slightly. "Though him being around does explain a few odd comments I've heard over the last year and a bit." He looked up then at her, then sighed. "I have six contracts out on my life and they're only holding off because I'm still fighting to save people." She winced. "I'll gladly help upkeep and all that but if those ones hear about him, he's in danger and you are too."

She nodded. "That's actually pretty reasonable. I was going to ask if you wanted to meet him."

"I wouldn't mind. I can be a fond, distant uncle sort. Who will pay child support." His phone beeped and he sighed, looking at it. "No, Buffy, I'm busy." He texted that and put his phone back into his pocket. "Slayers are really strong girls who're too weak to get their own coffee." She laughed. "Seriously!" He did relax some though. "I'm sorry I knocked you up. I really didn't plan on it."

She waved a hand. "I didn't plan on him either but he's here and he's okay. Even if he did decide to throw poop in daycare today because he wanted to be a chimp." Xander burst out giggling, leaning against the wall and shaking his head. "He's just like that."

"Yeah. I'm well known as a force of chaos," he said dryly, smirking at her. "Anywhere but to the slayers, who think I'm normal."

"Wow."

"Yeah." They shared a look. "I'll gladly be a fond uncle and help you how I can. I'll write him a letter so he can hate me when he's old enough to understand. I don't want to put you in danger though."

"We're in Avengers tower, Xander. Jane's dating Thor, again. Is yours much worse?"

"Um, yeah." He pulled up something to let her see it. "I've got sixteen agents who want to kill me, and have offered to pay someone to do it for them. Plus some from demons, and a few militias down there that I had to trick into saving their own butts."

She slumped, staring at him. "How?"

He grinned. "Good old fashioned asshole moments." He nodded a bit. "I have a lot of those sometimes. And battles against demons." She moaned. "Yeah." He took his phone back to answer the new text. "I'm not telling her. I'll never hear the end of it. Is he ...kind of chaosy?"

"Well, he's a toddler," she admitted. "They're all high priests to chaos beings."

"I wonder if it was Janus. He had me possessed twice now." She blinked at that. He grinned. "Yeah, I'm just like that. I hope he's not a little me. I drive people nuts." She hugged him. He cuddled back. "Thanks, Darcy." He let her go so she stepped back. "Let's go meet my spawn?"

"Yeah." She took him up to the labs, tapping before walking in. Jane looked up from explaining star drift theories to stare at them. "Jane, this is Xander. Xander, this is Jane, who is like my sister and a favorite aunty to Adrian." She plucked her kid from Jane's lap, holding him up so Xander could see him. "This is Adrian."

Xander carefully took him. "Hey, little dude." He grinned. The baby giggled back and patted him with a sticky hand. "I hope someone cleaned that after what I heard you did earlier." Darcy nodded, sitting down. Xander found a seat and sat down, still staring at the baby. "So, are you a happy, good boy?"

"Sometimes," Jane admitted. "So...what happened?"

"No idea since I've been infertile since I was seventeen and I nearly got turned into a merman." Jane spluttered. Xander grinned. "I'm hoping he's not like me in that way." He looked at the baby again. "You're going to be a good boy for your mommy. She'll have me teach you about the wacky stuff I do later on, when you're old enough to hear about evil things like slayers without sleep and chocolate." His phone beeped again. He rolled his eyes with a sigh. "I'll nag the Buffy later. You don't have to worry about her. She'd run from you being so nice and cute. She only likes predators so you're safe from her cuddling." He looked up at Darcy. "Can I have him checked for magic?"

She nodded. "Yes, there is some. Someone in London found it and had a fit."

"Wish they had told me." He looked up again with a scowl. "Someone's going to pay for that." Everyone looked up at the eep that came out, even the baby.

"Baba!" the baby cooed with a wave at the air.

"Yes, she is! That's so smart!" Xander cooed with a grin. "Such a smart boy! Clearly you got your mommy's brains since mine's a bit rusty." The baby wiggled so he let him get down to toddle over to Auntie Jane, mostly to try to steal her coffee to sip. Darcy got him a bottle of juice from their fridge, letting Jane hold it for him. Xander looked up again. "Want to tell me before I go ask?" he asked politely.

A ghostly figure of a guy faded in. "Wasn't us," Whistler said bluntly. "Wasn't anyone associated with us."

"So Willow?" Xander asked dryly.

"Um, not sure. We don't claim that witch."

"Does that mean he's got real magic?" Darcy asked.

"Slightly. He gets it from his dad," Whistler told her. He looked at Xander again. "He's not like you in the most special ways."

"So Janus hasn't cooed over him yet?" he guessed, looking amused. "Or the demons who knew and didn't tell me really don't and were just being weird?"

"No. Janus thinks he's adorable but not one of his." He shuddered. "But Cordelia is cooing over him. She thinks he's adorable and he'll never do your job."

"Thank you, Goddess," Xander quipped. "So not prophesied, no due to work for you guys?" Whistler shook his head.

"Does that have something to due with us knowing Asgardians?" Darcy asked. Jane moaned.

Whistler stared at her. "You should ask the big blond guy if he blessed your kid somehow." Xander let out a growl. "Not us!" He backed up a step. "Want me to tell the girls you're busy?"

"I can do that. They're not to get near him either. And if any of the ones who want me try for him or his mom or his auntie, they're going to get me in the worst possible way. And I'll call in Anya's debts." Whistler swallowed but nodded and disappeared. "Wow." He looked up then called someone. "Come down to the lab floor please, Miss Faith, and bring Giles."

He hung up. "We'll see what our sorcerer at large says. That way he's noted, protected, and Giles can adjust my paycheck to pay you support." He frowned at Jane. "The girls laughed about the elves. They thought they were cute and nice and easier than demons. I whipped a few asses that day in sparring."

A brunette woman and an older white gentleman walked in together. "You rang for backup, X?" she asked. She spotted the baby and stared. "No way," she breathed.

"Whistler said it was not anyone who is officially under the PTB's thumbs that helped him come into being through three forms of birth control, me being infertile, and us not having groiny intentions." He looked at Giles, who sighed but picked up the baby to test him magically. "By the way, Darcy, this is Faith. She's the second senior slayer and she has sense. It's in short supply among the girls." He grinned at her. "I tell Faith stuff and I trust her a lot more than I do Buffy."

Giles nodded. "She'll coo then yell at you over him being in existence," he agreed. "He is magically inclined, and does tend to read toward ...I believe it's void magic." He put the baby back onto the floor. He looked at the mother. "Rupert Giles, head of of the New Watchers Council." He smiled and held out a hand.

"Darcy Lewis, and Adrian's my baby." She shook his hand. "I understand it being too dangerous for him to be a daddy and we don't really need a lot of support, Xander."

"If he's got my DNA contamination, you might," he offered. "I have about six chromosomes damage from the merman thing." Jane whined. "And about twenty percent of my body energy is actually hellmouth radiation." He stared at her. "Does he have that, Giles?"

"No. I find no evidence of hellmouth taint. Thankfully. Though I would encourage him to never be brought near one, Miss Lewis. Just in case."

"X and a few others had radiation poisoning when we left Sunnydale after it fell in," Faith said, leaning against the door. Xander nodded. "You can't have kids," she told Xander.

"No, I can't."

"Shit," she muttered, looking down and nodding. "So, plots?"

"Not by anyone associated with the PTB," he quipped. "According to Whistler."

"I'll shake Red later to see if it was her," she decided. "And have someone do a protection from witches for him." She texted someone, getting an answer back. "Yeah, they know about him but they knew you're not close with him."

"I'd like to not get them into danger."

"We can work on that with the head bitch in charge," Faith decided.

"She doesn't know about his daddy," Darcy said. "No one knew. I barely knew his name. It was a fun night, but nothing life shaking."

Faith grinned. "He's good at it too. I tapped him once, and it was our first time, and I still have flashbacks." He blushed but hit her on the arm.

"Faith, must you?" Giles demanded. He looked at Darcy. "Though I must say, you're much nicer than his last few dates. If only because you don't kill people for money." Xander swatted him too. "They were."

"My last one was a female warrior, Giles."

"Yes, to a chaos goddess. We were most amused by her focus of getting Janus killed off." He sighed, looking at Darcy again. "We can protect your son."

"Especially from Buffy and the girls of shopping doom," Faith quipped.

Xander moaned but shuddered. "Please don't start a flashback today, Faith."

"Yeah, I don't want mine either. I did school shopping this year thanks to the slayer flu going around." She shuddered, hugging herself. Giles patted her on the arm.

"Things are different when you fight demons," Jane said dryly.

Xander nodded. "We make sure the girls stay girls and not full time warriors. Some of them...they're very girly beyond all that. Especially Buffy. She who shops for booty shorts for battles." He looked up then at Faith.

"I've waxed poetic about how great leather pants are for battles to try to get her to wear hers. She *still* went after Gorth in a booty skirt and go-go boots. At least she had a real shirt on this time though." Giles cleaned his glasses but shook his head. She grinned at Darcy. "We'll tell the girls you were a quick fling of his to excuse you guys talking about the spawn. That way no one gets curious."

"Thanks, Faith."

"Welcome. We'll protect him from the girls and the demons." She smirked. "Not that I don't think he could probably drive anyone who tried to grab him nuts."

Xander nodded. "And I'd finish it off." He looked at Jane then at Darcy. "I'm still really sorry something in my screwed up life screwed up yours that way."

"I'm really not. He's a good boy. Most of the time. Though he's not going near any chimps anytime soon."

Faith flapped a hand with a grin. "Slayer Glenda's mom lost her at the St. Louis zoo. Glenda's about his age. She crawled in with the otters and squealed back at them while petting them." Jane made a whining noise. Darcy moaned. "And managed to get away from the zookeepers going in to get her so she could go flirt with the hippo a few minutes later. She was in a stroller with a screen cover against flies that had a lock so she couldn't get out. She broke it to go play with the animals. Knocked her mom out. Crawled off. Someone got it on video while others called the zookeepers. And she's the more sane baby slayer we have among them." She grinned at the mom. "At least little guy there is *sane*."

"Me too," Xander agreed with a slight nod. "Hopefully he'll never pick up the same axe I use." He bit his top lip, looking at his boss.

"We'll leave them information in case they need it, like we would for a baby slayer's family," Giles assured him. "That way if something should occur they can figure out if it's handleable or if they need to call one of us to come fix it for them."

"I'm putting him under my favorite semi-nephew so they *never* want to come near him," Faith said with a pat to Xander's shoulder and a grin for Darcy and Jane. "Because I'm not the slayer to mess with when messy things start heading for a fan."

"I can make sure he's not noted in any of the undergrounds that I have to work with or around," Xander promised. "That way no one gets an idiot idea." He stared at her. "I'll make sure you have a good letter for him when he's old enough and we can chat casually. I'll be a great, fond, distant uncle until I fall in a battle." Faith whapped him on the arm. "It's true."

"But not nice and not something any of us want to hear today," Faith assured him. "You're damn well immortal, Xander. I said so. Any guy who goes into an invasion scenario with a few soldiers and an axe has to be."

"That was necessary. They didn't want to believe." He shrugged at her. "Not much else I could do. Al Shabab's local sub-group was not happy to be helping either."

"You're nuts," Jane said.

Xander grinned at her. "Thank you!" He smiled. "That's the nicest thing anyone's said to me in months. Really, it is." Faith nodded to back him up. His phone beeped again. "Especially from the blonde." He looked at his phone then he called. "I'm. Busy." He hung up with a sigh and put his phone up. "She's in huffy girl land so apparently they doubted girls in battle again." He stood up with a sigh, picking up Adrian to hug him. "You're a good boy. You'll be an excellent boy for your mommy and auntie and whatever stepfathers she chooses to help her. I know you will." He smiled. "And some day you'll say I'm nuts and too normal too I'm sure." He kissed him on the head and handed him to Darcy. "You and I can talk tomorrow?"

"Yeah, we can do that."

"Cool. It'll make it nicer since I'll be back in Africa escaping from the blondes." He winked at Jane then smiled at her. "We'll work things out then." He patted her cheek, staring at her. "We'll make sure he's protected from all the weird things I do." He winked and walked out with Faith.

Giles tucked his glasses into his shirt pocket. "He is the most amazing, stubborn, idiotic man I have ever met at times," he said, sounding fond. "I'm rather glad he turned into a man that he is but I'm sad that he's missing out on things. We'll talk next week, Miss Lewis. That way we can set up ways for you two to speak securely." He shook their hands and followed his children.

Darcy looked at Jane, who shrugged. "Okay, so I had really excellent taste that night. He's not pretty but he's strong, and good, and nice, and protective."

"He is." She looked up the guy online. "Some battle videos." They settled in to watch them with the baby napping on Mom's lap. By the end of the second, Jane was assuming he was part Asgardian. Darcy was sure he was weird but as strong as any Avengers they worked with. And just as heroic.

***

Darcy's not so secret kid got outed a few weeks later. Clint Barton was the world's most patient, bored babysitter ever. Adrian was bored, and being boring by trying not to nap while huddled under a blanket beside him on the couch while they watched the news. Clint had found out about the baby by tripping over him, literally, while Darcy had him with her while making Jane's lunch one day. The baby smiled then threw up on him so yeah, he liked the little guy. Even if he was whining a bit.

He patted the blanket covered mass on the back again, making the baby shift and huff but try not to nap some more. On the news, there was a battle with those girls they had met and talked to. Some of the team had been at that battle. Not him, he wasn't as useful when you needed heavier weapons. A lot of heavier weapons apparently. He looked up, nodding at the two people coming off the elevator.

"Hey." He went back to watching the battle reviews and people losing their ever loving minds about warrior women. "Natasha would want to beat them all." The baby fussed so he looked down. "It's up to you. If you don't want to sleep, don't sleep. Get up and do something baby-ish." The baby huffed and put his head back down. "Okay, if that's what you want."

"What is that?" Wanda asked.

"I stole Darcy's son to get some male influencing time in." He smirked. "She's good but he's a guy so he needs some guy lessons sometimes. I taught him how to kick balls around earlier. Now he's tired and doesn't want to nap so he's hiding."

"I didn't know we had any children in the building," Wanda said.

"Darcy is Jane's assistant. The brunette with the hats."

"Oh, her." She nodded. "Is he ...normal?"

Clint shrugged. "He's a toddler. How would you tell?" She glared at him. He stared back. "Don't start. I can't guarantee Darcy won't react, Wanda."

The Sorcerer Supreme cleared his throat. "I felt more magic coming up here. It's clear he has some."

Darcy walked off the elevator and stood between him and the baby. "Don't go near my kid. Ever." He glared. She stared back. "This is your only warning, Sorcerer." She smiled at Clint. "Did you two have fun guy time?"

"He learned how to kick around balls. Hey, Mom's here," he said gently, patting the baby.

She picked him up, blanket and all. "It's cool. He can come nap on Auntie Jane. Thanks for giving him guy time, Clint." She walked him off. The sorcerer tried to block her until she zapped him with her tazer. "I warned you to stay away from my son." She stared at him for a moment then walked around him. "I don't put up with shit around him. Deal with it."

"He has magic," he noted.

"Well, duh!" she shot back as she got onto the elevator. "But he doesn't need *your* help with that." She gave him a pointed look then pressed the button for the labs. She walked off the elevator into a greeting committee. "Hey, Stark." She looked then uncovered his head. "Adrian was getting guy time with Clint. He asked." She grinned at him.

"That's cool. Guy time is important for little guys." He looked at the napping baby. "He's cute, Lewis."

"Thanks. He likes the daycare but the worker's sick today."

"Hey, Jane's not doing dangerous things. I know the AI's all pay attention to him, though I didn't know he was so small, but I know they like to watch over him in case something happens." He stared at her. "That talk during that meeting."

"Yeah, he came to be through three forms of BC and his daddy being infertile."

Stark winced. "That figures. Was that why we had that assassin show up last month?"

"No. That was someone's ex showing up to check on him. He's a myth." She grinned at Bruce and Pepper as they moved closer. "He's a good boy. Hardly ever bites," she quipped. "Thinks Thor's hair is a great thing to nap while sucking his thumb with some in his fist." Pepper smiled, petting down some flyaway hair. "He's mostly a good boy." She shifted so Bruce could see him better.

"It's good he's a good boy," Bruce agreed. "Is he why you have the Hulk Plushie on your desk?"

"Yeah, he slept with it for six months. Refused to give it up until Clint gave him a stuffed dog friend." She smiled at him. "He laughs when you crash things together."

"That's what kids do," Pepper agreed patiently. "Is he on your paperwork?"

"Yeah." She nodded. "Always has been. And my insurance."

"That's good. We need to make sure he's taken care of in case the building's attacked again."

"Jane made him a safe space so he can hide and he already knows how to get into it." Stark beamed at that. "Before you can ask, his dad's not in his life. He felt it was too dangerous to Adrian and us." They all stared. She stared at Stark, who nodded he had figured that out. "Since there's like six contracts out on his life.... He's a fond, distant uncle sort. We worked that out. Some of his people know about him at the top level but won't mention it and are protecting him from their stuff too."

"That's a great idea," he agreed, taking the kid to hold since he was waking up. "Hey, Adrian. Nice to meet you."

The baby stared at him then patted his beard before grinning and cackling. "Papa!"

"No, he's not a panda," Darcy sighed, taking him back. "He's verbal but only talks in partial ones for the next few months. His vocab is about twelve words and about fifty partial ones."

Tony grinned. "I've been called worse than a panda." He patted him on the head. "So the zapping?" he asked with a smirk.

"Staring at my kid because he has some magic? Yup, sure did." She stared back.

"That's reasonable. He's too young to do more than unconscious things that way," Pepper sighed.

Darcy looked at her. "He's a toddler, Pepper. They're all chaotic sources anyway. And he doesn't use it. The guy that oversees the slayers looked at him and said he's got what looks to be baby void magic." Pepper sighed but nodded. "And those two aren't the ones I'd like him to look up to for magical information."

"No, me either," Pepper agreed. She smiled at the staring baby. "Hi, Adrian."

"Hi!" He smiled and waved, getting waved back at. "Pretty!"

"Thank you for that. You're very handsome as well." She grinned at him. "He's adorable."

"I try." She looked at her kid. Then at Stark, and Jane since she was walking up behind him. "I had to zap someone staring at him."

"I heard. Good going!" She took Adrian, who cackled while petting her hair down. "Thanks, baby geek. C'mon, let's get some coffee." She walked him off. "The AI said the sorcerer is coming again."

Darcy sighed but nodded. "Yeah, I don't want him around the kid. I have a bad feeling about that." She looked at Tony, who shook his head with a sigh. "I was going to ask for a small conference about him in a few months," she said quietly. "His daddy has a chromosome issue that we want to see if he has too."

"Yeah, we can look at that. There's some weird stories about his daddy." The Sorcerer Supreme walked off the elevator. "The kid's fine. Thanks."

"He should have his magic bound until he makes a decision to use it," he said.

Darcy turned and zapped him again, making him scream. "I'm not going to abuse my son and harm him for your pleasure. If you don't like it, fuck the hell off since you weren't asked to input anything, much less the shit you just tried to inject. I've seen the ones you 'bound'." He backed out of range.

"I agree, that's child abuse," Pepper said. "And won't be done unless he's critically hurting himself or others. Then we'll figure out some way to dampen it without harming him."

"Yeah, there's ways," Darcy said. "I was warned about this one's ideology by his daddy's sorcerer friends." He backed up farther. "Go. Shoo. Never come near my son unless you're saving his life." She waved. "Let me make sure Jane has more than coffee. Thankfully she feeds the kid decaf when he begs for some." She strolled off. "Have a great day, people. And Sorcerer."

Stark tried not to laugh. "I love Lewis being mouthy." Pepper nodded, going back to her office. Bruce went to his own lab. "We think the baby's just fine. If he breaks out in evil magic, we'll figure it out. Thanks though. Have a great trip." He walked off to go talk to Lewis about his daddy's chromosome problem.

The sorcerer went back to his demesne to make notes about that child and his mother. He knew it'd become a problem someday soon. Of course, he stepped outside and got stolen by a demon. Who didn't seem to be bothered by his attacks at all. That one wanted to know about the child but then a young woman showed up with a sword and took it out.

She sighed, looking at the sorcerer. "You broke protections on that child. That makes you the evil in his life." She walked off, getting sent home. He could find his own way back to reality. Sometime.

The sorcerer huffed but did start to craft the traveling portals so he could make it back home. It'd take a few days but oh well.

***

Tony looked at the DNA workup he had done on the kid. "What is that?" he muttered. He paged Jane and Lewis, who came in with the kid. "What's that?" he asked with a point.

She looked then at Jane. "We need total privacy, can't be recorded anywhere," Jane said. "Not in any sort of record." He nodded, turning that all off. "His dad noted he had six chromosomes that were warped by nearly being turned into a merman."

Darcy sat down with Adrian on her lap. He tried to get down but she poked him on the shoulder so he quit. "Yeah, his dad was Xander, the guy who works with the slayers."

"I figured," Tony agreed with a nod. "Merman?"

"I got a copy of his diary," Darcy said then held out the USB keydrive. "He went to see why the swim team was changing and then eating people."

He sighed but took it to run and look up. "Huh. He did." He blinked a few times. "They're so weird."

"Yeah, but only him, Slayer Faith, and Mr. Giles knows about him. And maybe Dawn, Buffy's sister."

Tony nodded at that. "That's good. Looking him up through Barton, he's in deep." He looked at her again. "That's why?"

"He warned me up front and said that he'd be a fond, spoiling, distant uncle because of that," Darcy agreed with a nod. "He said that they're holding off on them because no one else will take his place in the battles down there."

"Probably." He frowned. "Okay, so the magic probably comes from him?" Jane nodded. "Has anyone else shown that sort of interest in him?"

"Wanda," she said dryly. "I don't think she wants to do something harmful though."

"That's good. The sorcerer come back?"

"Oh, that's a whole other talk," Jane said, handing over the envelope she carried. "I got that yesterday, had a conference with his daddy, and his boss. They're not amused. They're about to sic their people on him." She smirked. "Even though a demon went after him because he broke the protections on Adrian."

"They're back on now," Darcy said dryly. "Xander sent me a name and I went to visit last night." Tony was growling at the paperwork. "So can we borrow a lawyer, Stark?"

"Yeah, you can." He looked at her. "There's judges who'd hand him over to be harmed because he has that gift."

"And we can point at ones who've had that done to them. Like Loki." She looked off to the side. "Knew you were there, dude. The baby flinched when you appeared. Did Thor bless me to have him?"

"Indeed," Loki said smugly. "That baby is very interesting." He moved closer. Someone appeared behind him and grabbed him by the throat with a blade to it before Loki could react. "Who're you?" he demanded. "Unhand me."

"Shut up," Xander hissed in his ear. "Before I take out all three of your high priests on this realm, Lord Loki. Don't go near my son." Loki looked at his captor. He smirked. "Yeah, it's me."

"Shit," Loki muttered.

Xander grinned. "Exactly." He let him go. "Don't fuss at my son. Someone made him come into being since he came through me being infertile and her birth control."

Loki groaned, checking him. "They wanted a future warrior."

"He's into legos," Darcy said. "If he's one he'll follow someone like Stark's footsteps."

Jane smiled and nodded. "I have been getting him into science already."

Xander gave her an odd look. "I only passed biology because Willow puked on my frog, but I can make chemical weapons if it helps him." He smirked.

"Chemistry's cool," Darcy agreed, looking at Loki. "Why show up?"

"I'm indebted," he complained. "Someone wants him protected."

"Please do. The Sorcerer Supreme wants custody of him to bind him. I was going to use you as an example of why you don't do that."

Loki stared at her. "Not a bad example of why that's wrong. I nearly destroyed Asgard when mine was bound due to an illness." He smirked. She nodded she knew that. "A bard told you that story?"

"A history book actually. I'm a humanities major, Loki. Mythology was an easy elective class." She grinned at Xander, who shrugged but patted the baby on the head. "He's been good. Then that sorcerer showed up a few weeks back while bringing Wanda home."

"Yeah, I don't want her near him either," he said dryly. "Her power's unstable."

"No comment," Jane said. "She can rehab."

Xander nodded. "Might be nice."

Darcy nodded. "I don't think she wants to hurt him but she's confused about him."

"Molana said that she ended a power tap from her when she put back on the protections." Xander leaned against a wall. Then he stared at Loki. "If we bless him to someone would that help?"

"He doesn't have to take up their service when he's of age to choose, but it would tilt him toward their methods." He tested the child, shaking his head. "No one would be over his sort of power."

"They said void power," Darcy said quietly.

"Cosmic power," Loki corrected, then sighed. "The one who indebted me thanks to that blasted poker game has some of the same."

"They split off Dawn's powers into him?" Xander hissed in Norse. Jane spluttered. "No comment. That's a huge secret, Foster." He looked at Loki again, who nodded. "We sure?"

"Yes." He waved a hand. "He's about a third of her skills."

"Are there others?" Xander asked.

"When she has children. It saved Dawn's form and life as it was eating her."

"Fuck!" He kicked the wall then nodded. "Well, that explains a few things. I really would've liked to have known. I would've done something with Mary or someone like her who could handle that. Darcy's way too nice and normal to deal with our things."

Loki shook his head. "It's not harming him. The sorcerer probably saw strong magic." He waved a hand again. "He's perfectly normal outside that, Harris. Not even your chaotic problems taint him yet."

"Giles said to never bring him near a hellmouth."

"That's good for any being," Loki agreed, then rolled his eyes. "I can feel that witch of yours paying attention." He sent a spell to blind her. "There, that's nicer." He looked at Xander. "She might agree with him."

"Not if she values her ass being whole," Xander said bluntly. "Though I'll talk to Giles in a few minutes." They shared a look. "How do we best protect him from the idiots who want to hurt him?"

"Stop the sorcerer first," Loki said. Stark nodded at that. "Stop the judge as well. Get Thor to help. He's loud and obnoxious and able to defend the child if he knows."

"That would mean he could tell others," Jane said. "I know he can keep a secret but will he?"

Loki considered it. "I think he would only tell our mother were she still around."

"She is," Xander quipped. "Her phantom otherself got killed, not her. She's in cryo storage in Amada."

Loki blinked a few times. "Excuse me?" he demanded. Xander grinned at him. "How...otherself?" he demanded. He shifted, considering it. "Oh, dear. No wonder she lost!" He hit himself on the forehead. "If her magic had been present it would've come out automatically to help her!" He kicked a chair then calmed himself. "Amada you said?"

"Her girlish temple of belief was there from what I heard."

Loki nodded then huffed again. "Dawn said thus?"

"Blair said thus," he shot back with a smirk. "Dawn wouldn't go near a marriage goddess. She's against that state."

"Point." He nodded at Thor when he stomped in. "Mother's otherself was the one defeated apparently."

Thor paused his stomping to stare at him. "What?" he demanded. Xander nodded. "You know how, warrior?"

"I know where. Someone told me she's laying in cryo storage in Amada. Her girlish temple of belief."

"Blast!" he shouted, making Adrian flinch. "Not you, nephew." He patted him on the head. "What is going on now?" Jane handed over the papers from Tony's desk. He read them, grimacing. "Nay, he will not!"

"We're going to fight it and him," Darcy assured him. She hit him on the arm. "I should get you with my tazer a few times, Thor, since your blessing meant he came through the birth control we used and his father being infertile!" She hit him again.

"I'm sorry," he said, looking sheepish. "I did not mean that consequence." He paused, looking at his brother. "A prophecy child?"

"One to save another with gifts." He leaned against the wall Xander was leaning on but away from him. "Dawn, Thor."

Thor slumped, muttering things that should probably color the air around his head if they were in a human language. He looked at Xander. "She has a picture of you."

He grinned and waved. "I'm Xander." Thor stepped away from him, looking amused. "And Adrian's mine with Darcy."

"Oh." He looked at the baby then at the hunter. "He is a good boy."

Xander grinned and nodded. "He's a great little boy, Thor. I'm being a fond uncle so he's not in danger from what I do."

"That's reasonable. It keeps him and his mother safer. We can guard him from most other things but the things you handle...." He swallowed. "Thank you for saving that womens house."

"I'd never let something like that happen around me, Thor. I'm an asshole but not that sort."

"Hole," Adrian quipped.

Xander grinned at him. "You can call me that when you're old enough to understand this talk, little guy. I fully expect that." Darcy giggled, staring at him. "I do!" He looked at Stark again. "So, legal challenge is when?"

"Two weeks."

"I'm not having any emergencies at that time that I know of. Sure, I can handle that. I've seen judges about some of my girls before." He looked at Thor. "That sorcerer wants the kid's powers."

"Nay, that will not happen while I stand," Thor said patiently. "He will not harm him, Hunter." Xander grinned at that. "It does explain many things that look at him then hurry off."

"Yeah, we want him to not get their notice," Xander said. "Oh, I had to add someone who knew, Darcy. Goddess D'Nar. She heard rumors and tried to attack me for not being a man who took care of his children properly. So I had to tell her why to save my own ass."

"That's fine. She sent him a pretty plant with a card."

Thor nodded. "She is a goddess of the garden. Very nice lady as well." Loki nodded at that. He looked at Xander. "Is Dawn due to have children?"

"She was told if she did, she'd end up dissolving on the labor table and leave the kid there while her body went back to the elemental form."

"So probably not," Loki agreed. He shook his head quickly. "All right. We must protect the little one. Who is apparently getting messy."

Darcy looked then sighed, going to change him in the bathroom. She had carried in the diaper bag with her because she knew it'd happen.

Stark looked. "Clean up any mess you make," he called after her.

"Of course. Unlike my son, I don't throw feces around, Stark."

"He did?" he asked Jane.

"She took him to the zoo. He decided he wanted to be a chimp," she said dryly but smiled about it. "In the daycare. Some of the kids threw theirs back."

He shook his head quickly. "Gross."

"That was the day I met him," Xander quipped. He shook his own head, catching the running kid when he ran over. "Hey, Adrian. Are you running from Mommy?"

"Please?" he asked with a grin.

He picked him up. "Please what? Please cuddle? I can do that." Adrian pouted. "Jane?"

"Please coffee, please drink, please food?" Jane suggested. Adrian squealed and leaned over to play with her hair. "Oh! Please play with me. Go ahead." Xander nodded, getting down to play with the little guy. That made him happier. Especially when he stole a knife from Thor's boot to wave around while being chased.

Thor stared then sighed. "Well, his father is a warrior," he muttered. Loki burst out giggling, smirking at him. Xander tossed the knife back at Thor and handed the baby his pocket knife instead. That made him just as happy but was safer.

Darcy came out after washing her hands, shaking her head. "He likes shiny things."

"Shiny!" Adrian agreed with a smirk for the adults.

"Yeah, that is," Stark agreed with a nod. "It's a good shiny, Adrian." He patted him on the head when he ran past, squealing toward a robot. "U, play with the kid *safely*," he ordered. The robot came to life to tease the baby by not letting him grab his shiny parts. The baby squealed but thought it was a fun game. He looked at Xander. "So, your only one?"

"Yup. I'm infertile."

"He's got two chromosomes that're different." He let him see it.

Xander looked. "That's hellmouth radiation damage." He got the keyboard handed to him when he looked around, getting into a sealed site and file that took an extra password. "This is mine." He let Stark see it. "Done by a geneticist out of Switzerland who I ran into while I had malaria and strange complications."

Stark looked it over, then nodded. "What's hellmouth radiation?" Xander sighed but took off a necklace he was wearing. A virtual screen with an energy warning and reading showed up. "Oh, that's....what is that?"

Xander put back on the necklace and smiled. "Hellmouth radiation. I got a ton of it stored somehow. But no mermaid taint?"

"No, not that it looks like." The energy was going back down. "Huh. Do they all radiate?"

"Yeah, to some extent. I just sucked up a ton of Sunnydale's."

"Wow." He made himself notes, then looked at Darcy. "You don't have that, right?"

"No, I'm perfectly normal." She looked at Jane, who was taking a reading off Xander's back. "Jane."

"That's not quite bridge energy but it's really close."

"Hellmouths go to multiple planes," Xander said. "Or dimensions, I can't remember which. So they've got portal applications and other things. It's a thin spot in the wall."

"I need to take more readings on that." She grinned at Xander. "Can I do that?"

"Yeah, I guess. I'm hoping it won't draw something here to taste me this time. Last time's licked and it tickled."

Jane blinked at him again. "What?"

"A Nyx cat," Loki complained.

"Those are myths," Thor complained back.

"Not hardly but they're sweet." Xander grinned. "Very cuddly too."

Jane sighed. "We can go over that later. Let's see if we can do something with that radiation you carry."

"Well, I can let it out and start a new one," Xander offered. Then he smirked at her. "Each one goes to mostly different places too."

"Hmm." She went back to her readings, walking around him to see if it changed. She moved the necklace overtop of his shirt to take those readings. When the inky black cat showed up, Xander settled down to pet it with his son. Who loved animals.

Darcy took pictures, grinning at Stark. "I have the neatest kid ever."

"You do," he agreed. "Bit weird but he's still tiny so he'll grow out of most of it and be more like your version of weird." Bruce came stomping in and paused then moaned and came to help Jane test that energy. Stark was recording all this energy testing. They might find a use for it. It might even make the hellmouths safer if they did.

***

Darcy's lawyer smirked at the judge then at the sorcerer he had on the stand. "You say it's your job to be over all the magic users on this plane?"

"Yes," the Sorcerer Supreme said. "As it has always been."

"So you handle others that cause problems?"

"Yes."

"Did you handle the Witch Rosenburg when she went critical due to the loss of her lifemate?"

"I was not part of the order then."

"Did the holder of your office do that then?"

"Not that I'm aware of. We're meant to handle witches that have problems with their gifts and to defend the earth from the others who would cause harm."

"So, the most recent three incidences of magic users causing harm, you weren't at any of them?"

"Pardon?"

"Witch Rosenburg losing control due to the loss of her lifemate, the Witch Katelyn in Washington DC losing control of her magic due to meningitis, and an attack on New York by Loki are the most recent *big* events by magic users. You weren't at any of them. Were you?"

"I was not part of the order when Loki attacked New York. I was not aware of a young witch going critical due to being ill either."

"Yet, it's your job."

"One of the other members of the order may have handled that one if they were closer. It did not reach my senses."

"Hmm. And yet, none of the members of your order were there. That one was handled by Witch Rosenburg of the Council."

"She was probably paying attention in case something happened," Sorcerer Strange said, adjusting his shirt.

"No. She's stated in the incidence reports that she woke up to it." He put that in front of the judge. "Into evidence please, Your Honor. Also, it doesn't seem like any of your order was there when Loki attacked Manhattan."

"That was not magical by my understanding."

"That cosmic power he was using didn't twitch any of your...senses?"

"I was not part of the order then."

"Why did they give you, who is relatively new to his gifts, the head of the order when there were *many* more experienced sorcerers?"

"I'm not aware of the Ancient One's decision on that matter."

"Hmm. You're a former neurologist, correct?"

"I am, a neurologic surgeon actually."

"What would be the consequences of giving the child something that would block up their energy?"

"I've not seen any in any of the adults that've had that done, both out of necessity and by their will."

"And yet, we have." He walked back to his table and pulled out a file. "Here I have autopsy results on three of the witches your order has bound in the last two decades." He handed them over. "By your experience, would that cause of death be because of that blockage?"

He looked them over, frowning. "It may have contributed but was not the cause. This one died of an aneurysm blowing."

"Ah. Yet, it was contributed to the build up of magic that made it blow. It had been fixed." He looked at the file and pointed. "If she had not been overloaded by her energy having no way out, she wouldn't have exploded."

"I see they decided on that but that may not be correct. From our records, she died of an attack on her home."

"Yes, that's why she was overloaded and glowing when she made it to the ER. Which your order didn't handle for her." He stared at him. "Did they?"

"No. We were not asked to."

"So you rendered her unable to defend herself and then left her to die of it?"

"That was not the intention of those that bound her at her will."

"Her parent's will," the lawyer said firmly. "She was sixteen when she died, Sorcerer. Not able to make that sort of decision by herself and by her diary, which was published by her mother, her father forced her to make that decision because of his bigoted viewpoint of his daughter's gifts." He handed that to the judge as well. "For this case's evidence, Your Honor."

He read it over. "She had nice handwriting. Is this relevant?"

"If it does that sort of damage to a teenage girl, what would it do to a toddler, Your Honor?"

"We have others who have had to have theirs bound for their own safety," the sorcerer said. "They were not harmed."

"Please turn to the third autopsy report then," the lawyer said, making the sorcerer do that and then wince. "Yes, your 'Ancient One' bound that child's power for being a male with gifts unlike theirs and it killed him within two days. Are you *sure* that wouldn't happen here since that child doesn't have your form of magic?"

"We have no idea if he does or not," the Sorcerer countered.

"Yes we do." He walked back and got a file. "I have here a certified statement from the head of the Watchers Council, who tested the child. He stated the child seems to have some sort of void oriented talent." He held it up. "We have a statement from Lord Thor himself who said it was noted to him by his brother that the child has cosmic energy sources, unknown what type." He held that up. "We have a statement here from Tony Stark stating that the child has power that seems to be relevant to the study of the Rainbow Bridge his aunt is studying as it seems to hum greatly when he's near it." He held that up. "Is that your order's form of sorcery?"

"Ours are gifted by the Vishanti."

"Ah. So not the same sort of magic. Then what makes you think that the incidences prior of this habit of your order's won't kill this child as it has others? Or at least cause brain damage?"

"We are trying to protect him from causing an incident that will cause harm to others, including his family."

"That's not your duty, Sorcerer. That's up to his mother."

"If she cannot, others must."

"Are you so sure she can't?" He stared at him. "Did you ever test to see if his mother has magic? Or perhaps it comes from his father's line? His father wasn't noted. Though I do have to note here that your order seems to pick on more women than men with powers. Why is that?" He went back to his seat and sat down. "I'm done since he won't answer that, Your Honor."

"Thank you. You're dismissed, Sorcerer. Any other witnesses to call, Mr. Prentis?"

"No, Your Honor," the other lawyer said, sounding disgruntled.

"Mr. Lawrence, your turn I suppose," he said blandly.

"Your Honor, I call Loki of Asgard." The judge stood up glaring at him. "He has promised to be peaceful but he is a magic user who does use magic like the child in question so he's agreed to talk to us about his style of gifts."

"Is he dangerous to this court?"

"No, not at this time." Loki stood up and dispelled his glamour, walking up there to sit down in the witness box. "I won't ask you to swear on a bible to tell the truth, Lord Loki. I would appreciate it if you would however."

"Lying at this time has no benefit for me," he said smoothly. "Though I will swear upon my mother's gifts that I will not lie about this child's abilities."

"I suppose that's good enough. Most people wouldn't want to upset their mother," the judge said, sitting back down. "Make it fast, Mr. Lawrence."

"Of course. Lord Loki, thank you for your help in this matter." Loki smirked and tipped his head. "The child's skills are more like Asgardian magic than nature magic or like the Vishanti-given magic the sorcerer uses?"

"In a way. Many of the lower levels of Asgardian magic have much in common with the nature witches you have down here. Those like Rosenburg." He let the grimace at her name clear up. "At the higher levels we have people who study the various other types of power that can be harnessed into personal use, which you would term magic."

He crossed his legs. "The baby's type of magic, which is partially void based and partially cosmic based, isn't one that's studied greatly but we have a few people who use both types of gifts for their magical exercises. The void ones tend to be highly creative and annoyingly smart. The cosmic power ones tend to be very cautious as they can blow up things by accident if they're not. They have teachers who they study under first so they don't just sneeze and blow up a tree, or more."

"Are there ones who could teach this child once he's of age?"

"Yes." He smirked. "There's four or five *good*, *decent*, ones who could and would gladly love to train that child. I've talked to one to get his mother helpful ideas until he's old enough to handle things. They agreed he may need something to shield himself from being found by higher beings but that can be put on a bracelet and won't back him up the way the sorcerer's people's way does."

"So their way is harmful?"

"Yes. It's like..." He tipped his head and thought. "Your people have ways of retaining fluid until something ruptures. Not your bladders but like in a limb."

"I've seen that happen and some ruptured," the judge said. "Are you comparing that?"

"Yes." Loki nodded. "Only powers such as magical gifts rest in the blood and every single organ. If you're talking about that retaining the energy, it would swell those until they also rupture with the overfill."

"So the one that died of brain aneurysm, that was almost certainly magical?" Mr. Lawrence asked.

"Yes. It would have been. I've seen ones that have fully exploded their whole being. I've seen one that had her brain rip itself apart. One of my fellow students was blocked by her lover, who was jealous of her skills, and it killed her by ripping her brain into chunks inside her head. Which then let her powers come out explosively and destroyed him and the nearest area."

"How much of the house did it destroy?" the judge asked.

"Two hundred miles."

"Oh." He looked down and nodded.

"Is the child in question's power on that level?"

"That would depend on what he does with it. Right now, it's there, but it's just gently letting him know it's there. It glows a bit sometimes for him as I've seen. His nightlight was out so it made him glow last night. Anytime it went down, he woke up. It was quite amusing really." He smiled at Darcy then at the lawyer. "At his age, magic is just there, like sweat on his skin. It may gather more greatly at times, like doing things in the heat of summer will bring more sweat. As with a dirty child there's ways of cleaning it off. I've been instructing his mother how to do so. She doesn't come from a family that has traditional gifts."

"Did the child's gifts come from the father's side?"

"That and there was a blessing upon her line by my brother that made him a stronger child." He smirked a tiny bit. "That was not the strength Thor wanted him to be blessed with, but..." He waved a hand lazily in the air. "It also made him come into being even through your birth control methods. He is a bit over fertility after all."

"That's interesting," Mr. Lawrence said, looking at Darcy and the boy then at the God of Chaos again. "Is it possible the boy will become a danger without being held in check?"

"He's a young child. They may throw fits but he'd realize he was hurting people and stop himself due to it. His mother has done a good job mothering and training him not to be a pain in the arse."

"That's always a great thing," the lawyer agreed. He looked at the baby again then him. "Did the gifts come from his father's side of the family?"

"His has some. I've met his father. He's a very...interesting man. One I'd rather never have facing against my own forces in the future. If it was not prompted by Thor's blessing it came from the father's side of the family."

"That's good to know. Does the father know about him?"

"Yes, but his life is presently not one that's acceptable to raise a child in. So he's met him and they talk, but he does not participate in the raising of the boy." He noticed Darcy glaring at the lawyer. "It was a wise decision on his part."

"I see. Can you see of a problem with any form of restricting the child's gifts?"

"Yes. Brain damage is very bad for a body. What we would do is put something on him, usually in bracelet form, that would channel it into a less harmful expulsion. That would help if he did heave a fit like children his age are want to do. It would basically glow a bit to burn that excess off but would not harm him in any method.

"Any other method would be invasive and not only let him not gain future control of it, leading to incidences like that one that was ill, but would cause harm to his bodily systems as it fought against it inside his organs and brain. With the method that sorcerer wanted to use, it would ensure his brain exploding within about two weeks. Many seizures before then to herald it and he's probably be functionally dead within a week but hang on for a few days as the magic tried to heal and revive him."

The judge was pale. "So it would kill him?"

"Yes. As the one you ordered to have her mutant gifts bound died of it for about the same reason. In that case, DNA was eaten and it dissolved her." He looked at the lawyer again. "There is a bracelet being made available to him within a week. It has to be charged to his powers."

"So it would keep him from, say, throwing the contents of a store around if he had a tantrum in the grocery store?"

"That's not his sort of power. That's more nature magic levels. At his, the bricks may float a few centimeters but at his age, that would cause a great headache and it'd stop him from doing it again within seconds." He smirked a tiny bit. "That pain is the overuse headache that's been noted. There is no way to avoid it. It is very instructional."

"Did you have that happen?"

"Twice. Once when I was acting in my own defense, and my magical spike brought me help. I fell into their feet as I passed out. The other, I learned caution from at the age of five." He shifted to cross his legs in the other direction. "It taught me not to try to steal things from a locked refrigerator."

The lawyer smiled. "That's a good lesson to learn. I learned mine from a spoon."

"The headache can last for two weeks. My mother did not need a spoon."

"That's good to know for his future. Has he had that happen?"

"No. His mother's good and keeps him centered and casually engaged in not having fits."

"That's a good mother then." He looked back at Darcy and the child. Then back at the judge, who was less pale, then at Loki. "Do you think some day he'll need to be bound in some way?"

"No. His mother has sense and will be teaching him thus. I fear the day he has to defend his mother and does things he's only dreamed might be possible. That day she'll have to talk him back down, or someone he adores will, but he'll heal and recover from that."

"Like Witch Rosenburg?"

"Only in defense instead of offense. Hers was offensive to make everyone feel like she felt in her grief. He'd be defending his mother."

"Is there a prophecy?"

"No. We've looked. There's not. But she does know and hang about with those who have threats upon their lives. It's probably inevitable that she'll be threatened due to that some day."

"So she should find another career?"

"She's aware of the risks I'm sure. She's managed most of it when necessary. Including by use of people to watch the child for her during emergencies."

The lawyer nodded. "I have to ask one insulting question that someone in SHIELD demanded I ask, Lord Loki." Loki smirked at him. "Was that attack on Manhattan your choice or your plan?"

"No, it was not my plan in the least. There were...other forces at play at that time."

"Thank you for being honest, Lord Loki." He looked at the other lawyer. "Your turn I believe."

Loki looked at the other lawyer. "It's interesting that one of your heritage is fighting to harm a protected child." The man blanched, shaking his head. "You openly wear a mark honoring my brother and yet are trying to harm the child he's claimed as a nephew and protects." He raised an eyebrow. "An interesting life choice you made."

"Lord Loki, do you foresee that child becoming a danger to others?"

"Not if his mother is good. As I've seen she has been so far and she has others that she can lean on when she's confused by what to do." He waved a hand again. "The child will be fine. He won't be like his father unless forced to be. His mother has sense so he may end up an academic like his favorite aunt." He smirked. "He definitely won't be after my throne either."

"What do you think would happen if someone did end up blocking his gifts this way?"

"I believe the vendetta hunt from his grieving mother would reshape your world. Possibly not in a better manner however." He smirked. "Some of us may step in to solve it for her and take over to rebuild humanity at that time." The lawyer shuddered, shrinking down in his seat. "A mother's grief is a very strong, powerful emotion. Darcy is quite strong of will already. Their order would probably go first however."

The lawyer nodded. "Understood. Thank you for your patience and indulgence." Loki tipped his head with a grin then disappeared from there. He took a deep breath. "Your Honor, can we have a ten minute recess to regain our composure?"

"Please. I could use some of that myself." He banged his gavel and went to his private bathroom to calm himself down.

Darcy looked at her lawyer. "Why did they have you ask that?"

"They have an idea that he wasn't in control of anything at that time."

"Oh." She nodded. "The glowy cube did it to him like it did the ones he took over."

"Possibly." He looked at the napping child. "He's napping?"

"I fed him stuff that helps him nap before we came in." She grinned. "He's napping like a scientist today."

"That's good. It's nice he's not fussy."

"You've got about a half hour left before he wakes up at the most."

"I'll keep that in mind." He made notes for himself. "Do we know his father?"

"Yes. I've talked to him a few times. He did say he's in too much danger to get near Adrian or any of us."

"Oh, all right. That's reasonable."

"He pays support, even though I didn't demand it. He's protected Adrian from his life."

"Even better. Does he know about the magic?"

"Yeah. He's worked with a witch in the past."

"Great." He made that note as well then put the file in his briefcase. The judge and other lawyer came back so he stared at them. "You can give up," he offered with a smile.

"I've talked to my client and he said as long as that bracelet or whatever would work he'd just pay attention to make sure the child didn't cause any harm."

"If he comes near my baby again, I'll do more than taze him this time," Darcy assured him then smiled. "Jane would help me."

"I..." He looked at his client then nodded at her. "That bracelet?" She shrugged. "When will it be coming?"

"When Loki brings it."

"Oh."

"If he was the problem the overcompensating idiot over there thought he was, all of New York would've known he had magic long before this. He hasn't yet. Even with colic and teething and all those crying fits kids have."

"I suppose."

The judge cleared his throat. "Is your client removing his petition?"

"As long as that bracelet shows up," that lawyer stated.

Loki appeared, putting a small, enameled bangle on the boy's wrist. It glowed a bit then shrank to fit him. Darcy checked, it still moved. "Do not take it off unless he gets ill. If he has more than a tiny fever, remove it so his magic can help him heal." She nodded, smiling at him. "Good." He patted the boy on the head. "Pet your shiny daily." He disappeared again.

Darcy grinned at her son, who grinned back. "That's a pretty shiny the uncle gave you, huh, Adrian?" He petted it and it cooed back. He was happy with that. "Good boy." She cuddled him. She looked at the lawyer. Who both nodded.

"Then it appears the problems have been solved," the judge sighed. "Have a better life, people, and I hope I don't have to hear this again." He banged his gavel and then left.

Jane squealed, hugging Darcy and Adrian from behind. "He was so good while sleeping off science food." She took Adrian to cuddle. "Good boy."

Darcy shook the lawyer's hand. "Thank you, Mr. Lawrence." She grabbed her purse and the paperwork she'd need, going out with Jane.

"Miss Lewis, is that Loki's son?" a reporter outside shouted.

"NO!" she shouted back without looking her way or pausing her walk down the stairs. "His dad's a normal human guy. Thanks though!" She waved. "Have a great life."

They shouted more at the sorcerer but oh well. He was mute as he huffed back home.

***

Darcy heard 'how dare they use me as an example' before she saw the redheaded menace to her son's sanity. She stared at her until the witch looked her way. "They used you as an example of someone putting humanity at risk to prove that sorcerer's people didn't do what they said they did or were supposed to do. They praised you for handling the one that got sick in DC as well. Why are you here, Rosenburg?"

"Do I know you?" she demanded.

"It was my son they were trying to harm."

"Oh. Is he okay?"

"Yeah, he's got a small thing to help weed it down safely." She smiled. "Why else did you show up?"

"The guys here were maligning us. The truce isn't that strong."

"They weren't. They used your name as evidence that the sorcerer supreme's people weren't doing what they said they do. And they noted that you did it out of grief from losing your soul mate, Rosenburg. It wasn't a bad thing. And not like Lifetime didn't do a movie on it."

Willow huffed. "Fine!" She sighed. "Is your baby okay?" She pointed at where Adrian was being a blanket lump again. "Awww. How old?"

"Eighteen months for a few more weeks." She grinned, letting her see a picture. "Thank you for having an example we could use to save him from exploding."

Willow handed it back. "I heard Loki was there?"

"Yeah. He helped a lot by pointing out why those sort of ideas were so bad and how other powers were harmed by it. He was really helpful."

"How did you make him do that? Compulsion? Poker debt? Blackmail?"

"My boss is dating his brother."

"Oh. So his brother asked and..." She waved a hand and Darcy nodded back. "That's great then. Is the kid okay?"

"Yeah, he's fine. He napped through most of the hearing because I fed him into a nap before it."

"That's fine then." She grimaced. "Just...let us know if you have to do that in the future?"

"I can send an email," she promised with a grin and a nod. Willow smiled back and left. Darcy checked her kid and then got back to work. Jane stumbled in. "Go back to sleep, Jane. It's only been a few hours."

"The alarm went off?"

"Rosenburg was here. Someone told her we used her name in vain."

"Oh."

"We talked and she's fine now." She grinned. "Nap with the lump'o'kid there, Jane." Jane sighed but laid on the couch, using Adrian as a teddybear. That made him snorfle against her chest and then go back to sleep. It was cute so Darcy took a picture. Half of her pictures of her son were him underneath things for some reason. She went back to work, listening the sounds of the lab floor in case something started to happen.

Maria Hill walked in. "We need to talk about your son."

Darcy stared at her. "The way you started that off makes me want to reach for my tazer and the lawyer's number." Hill backed up a step then sighed. Darcy kept staring at her. "My son's fine. Thank you for asking."

"His father might not see it that way."

"That's funny. When I talked to him recently he said he was fine and if I had needed him he would've shown up today too." Hill looked disgusted. "Technically he's in Canada today so he could've gotten there if he needed to."

"Loki's son...."

Darcy burst out laughing. "He's not Loki's kid, Hill. Never was. Kids are all chaos sources but that's not the chaos god he prays to." Hill nodded once at that. "For that matter, his father's a decent guy who does hard things that your agents don't. So none of your business and never come near my son again unless you're saving his life."

"We can have you fired from your job here, Lewis. I would be cooperative."

"For what?" She got comfortable for this level of bullshit. Before she hopped up and ripped Hill's face off.

"For lying about having him."

"He's always been on my paperwork for Stark Industries. He uses the daycare here. He's all together known about by everyone but the team and the only reason they didn't meet him is that we don't hang out."

"He's not on your SHIELD paperwork, Miss Lewis."

"Well, it's a great thing I don't work for SHIELD," she shot back. "I work for Jane, who works for Stark. Neither of us ever want to work for SHIELD. You're full of jackbooted thugs and you're proving our point grandly at this moment. Talk about counterproductive."

"Foster gets grants...."

"No we don't. We turned them down. We don't want our science stolen, again, by your thugs. Especially since someone in *your* group sold some of it and it's how that incident in Edmonton happened." She stared at her. "So, have a great day." She waved at her. "And if Stark fires Jane and me, we'll go solo again. We did it when we weren't getting any grants, we can do it again." She shifted to get more comfortable. "Hell, I could finish my other degree and get a job where Jane's my assistant so she's not bothered by the douchebags in science again." Hill glared. Darcy stared back. "Anything else today before you fly off on your broomstick?"

"You've been talking to those Council people."

"Yes. We had to take the baby to a witch up here since Maximoff had broken the protections on him. I didn't want non-SHIELD bitches to harm my son either." Hill stomped off. She looked up. "Hey, super AI mom, can you please copy that to your creator daddy?"

"Of course," the female AI said patiently. "The baby's delightful, Miss Lewis. Agent Hill is not allowed to be near your son without your knowledge?"

"Unless she's saving his life, no. Thank you for making that note for me."

"It's not a problem. I'll add that to his daycare file as well so she can't take him out of there."

"That's a blessing. Thank you, FRIDAY."

"You're quite welcome and you have an email from your college waiting on you."

Darcy squealed, getting into it to look at her grades. She got up to happy dance, which woke Jane but oh well. "I passed!"

"Congrats. All of it?" She yawned and drifted off again.

"Yup, I sure did!" She made some coffee, looking at the agent who came to the doorway. "What did you need?"

"Agent Hill...."

"Has no authority over anyone in this lab at this moment. I would suggest she quit changing into a bitch." She sipped her coffee, staring at him.

"She said that your child needed escorted to the daycare?"

"No, he's napping with his aunt. It's keeping her asleep." Jane woke up enough to glare at the agent, who got out of range of Jane's fist. "See?" She smiled. "But thank her for me and remind her that no SHIELD agent outside the ones who reside upstairs are allowed near my son unless they're saving his life."

"I can do that," he said, walking off quickly. Foster would beat him with her hands. Lewis was known to taze people. He didn't want to deal with it today.

Darcy and Jane locked down the lab and took the baby upstairs to the sitting area the team used. Steve gave them an odd look. "I'm delivering Jane to Thor, Rogers. Ease off. Not like my son's going to coo at your tight pants. You're not a stuffed animal or Clint." Clint walked past and stole the baby to cuddle. "Okay, if you want. Keep the SHIELD cooties from him please."

"Gladly."

Darcy walked Jane into her apartment with Thor, pushing her onto the bed so she could rest. Then she went to get her son, who was scowling at Bruce for waking him up. "Aww, did you wake up grumpy? Poor little dude." She took him back. "Thanks, Clint."

Clint stole him back. "He needs more guy time and I'm bored. We're going to shoot arrows." He walked off telling the baby about all his special arrows.

"Okay. I'll go do his laundry and make dinner I guess," Darcy said with a shrug and a grin at Bruce. "It's great he's got a neat uncle who can explain guy things to him." She skipped off.

Bruce shook his head but came out of the kitchen with his tea. Steve was shaking his head more quickly. "The baby's amusing," Bruce said. "Very sweet most of the time. He went to chew on a chemist the other day because Mom was in the bathroom and Jane was busy. He turned her mushy minded with cooing so she'd share her coffee." He settled in his usual seat. "Mom caught him at it and apologized then took him back reminding him he can't steal other people's coffee, only Jane's special coffee."

"Isn't he too young for that?"

"They give him caffeine free coffee, Steve."

"Oh. I have no idea about kid things. Even Loki's kid."

"Loki's not his dad."

"Really? I heard he was. That he showed up to defend the kid today in court."

"He did do that but it's not because he's a half-Asgardian. He was an ideal witness about the effects of binding magical beings. Someone tried with him once and he destroyed most of a village apparently."

"Eww. That's bad." He nodded once. "Then who's is dad?"

"I didn't ask," Bruce said. "That's between Darcy and the baby's daddy. All I know is that him being around would be dangerous for the kid and Darcy so he's being a fondly distant uncle."

"I guess that makes some sense. We'd have to do the same thing to protect any kids we had."

"Exactly." He sipped his tea when Clint came back without the baby. "He run off on you?" he joked with a smirk.

"Stark's robots stole him. Adrian loves shiny things." He flopped down. "Stark will save him in a bit and hand him back to mom if she doesn't go looking when she hears. She's got super mom sense about her kid getting into trouble." He grinned. "Natasha will be back tonight."

"Great. How's she doing?" Bruce asked.

"She's fine. Not injured from her mission." He nodded as Wanda wandered into the kitchen, still looking sick from a headache. He looked at Bruce. "She's teaching him about potty training. She's hoping it'll be done by the time he's two and a half."

"Some kids do," he agreed. "Some get it at three or later. Depends on their little muscles and their control."

Natasha came off the elevator. "Wanda," she said with a nod when she ran into her. Wanda grunted back and walked off drinking her tea. Natasha came into the living room area. "Is the baby all right?"

"Yeah, he's fine." Clint smirked at her. "Loki showed up to help defend him, and started a bad rumor that he was his kid. He's free of all that stress from the Sorcerer Supreme's people. They freed him from how certain people broke his protections and had an energy tap into him yesterday." He noticed Wanda walking off in the other direction. "But otherwise he's fine. I was going to teach him to shoot arrows but the shiny robots won his attention for a bit." He grinned.

"That's good."

"Hill tried something to get the kid from Lewis too."

Natasha raised an eyebrow. "I'd hate to see how she raised a male child." She settled on the couch. The elevator dinged and the baby wandered off. "Shouldn't you be with your mom?"

"His apartment floor is presently locked off," FRIDAY said patiently. "And I can't get him down the stairs myself."

"No, he's too little for stairs." Clint got up to grab him. "What's going on down there?"

"The empty apartment next door is apparently having a smoke problem," the AI said. "I have no idea why as the cameras in there have been turned off."

"Tell Hill to quit," Natasha ordered. She took the baby from Clint. "I have not met you yet, Adrian. I'm Natasha."

The boy stared at her then grinned and played with her hair. "Pretty," he cooed, then leaned forward to taste it. "Oooh!"

She smiled. "Yes, I use fruit smelling shampoo." Darcy came up the stairs and took the child from her. "I could hold him safely."

"Not what I'm concerned about," she said in a sing-song voice. "Since that fire was set by someone in a SHIELD uniform to cover up trying to break into our place." She sat down on Natasha's other side. "Adrian, this is Miss Natasha. She's a good lady to stare at because she understands people things." She adjusted his shirt. "That's too small. We gotta get you some clothes, my son. You're not allowed to run around like George of the Jungle."

Clint looked down at her. "No buttflaps?"

"With the way he really liked chimps and how they throw poop? Probably not a great idea," Darcy quipped. Stark came off the elevator. "The guys who started the fire get caught?"

"Yes they did. They think Loki's his father too."

"No. His dad's human. Fully human."

Natasha stared at her. "So he does know of him?"

"Yeah, he and I have talked a few times. He's just in a dangerous job. He didn't want it to come after Adrian." She grinned. "He's talked to him a few times. Also he's put a letter in his safety deposit box for the kiddo when he's old enough to understand."

"That's good of him." Natasha took the baby back, getting cuddled and cooed at. "Thank you for being adorable and not crying at me. Many children cry at me."

"He only cries at broccoli," Darcy said. "He's presently in an anti green food phase. Though he did refind his Hulk plushie and let his stuffed dog play with it for playtime earlier."

Bruce shook his head with a sigh. "That's really weird."

"Yeah but kids like to destroy things, Bruce."

"Point. I saw him with the blocks."

Darcy grinned at him. "I have a set in his room that we build each morning to help him wake up and he destroys each night for bedtime. It's his ritual. He cackles like he's a movie monster."

"That's not a bad thing," Bruce decided. "Have you shown him Godzilla?"

"Yup. He said it was a giant iguana. One of my friends has an iguana named Steve. He called the movie big Steve."

Bruce grinned. "I can see how that could be seen at his age." He looked over. "Any signs of learning problems like dyslexia?"

"He's not interested in numbers unless it's on Sesame Street. Then they sing to him. Give him another year for that." Bruce nodded, finishing his tea. Adrian looked at the mug he put down. "No, son. That's empty, not your special Jane coffee." Adrian huffed, making pouty faces at her. "I don't have any up here. It's in the apartment with Auntie Jane and she's napping. You can have some later, with dinner." The baby pouted worse, looking pitiful. Darcy poked him. "No being manipulative, my son." She took him back to cuddle him.

He wiggled down to go look in Bruce's tea mug, pouting at him then sitting down to pat the magazines. He spotted a new shiny thing under a couch, making an inquisitive sound as he crawled toward it. "Shiny uppy?" he mumbled. "Uppy, shiny uppy!" He tried to pat it. Steve groaned and tried to grab it so he swatted at him with a scowl. "Mean to uppy!"

"He's not being mean to the shiny puppy," Darcy said patiently. "No swatting, Adrian." He wiggled down to look at the shiny thing. Darcy got up to grab him and pulled out the shield too. "Steve, do you mind if he pats your shield?"

"He can't hurt it. He called it a shiny puppy?"

"The only dogs he's seen like to hide from him petting them to death and baldness. So it was hiding like a puppy."

"Shiny uppy, mama!" Adrian cooed with a grin for her while petting the shield. "Shiny uppy pretty!"

"Yeah, it's a beautiful shiny puppy," she said with a grin for him. "You have such good taste." He patted it until it wiggled. Then he squealed and leaned on it to hold it in place for more petting. Clint was filming it for her. "Get me a copy, Clint."

"Of course." He grinned. "Adrian, does the shiny puppy have a name?"

"Groo!" he said with a grin for him.

"Groo the shiny puppy? That's a great name!" Adrian settled in to pet the shield and talk to it, using his proper name because of course you talk to things by name, his mother had said so.

Steve was shaking his head but smiling. "Sure, he can be named Groo the shiny puppy for you."

The baby beamed at everyone and went back to petting his new friend. When Thor showed up he got up and ran over to haul him back to help him pet the new friend. "Groo shiny uppy!" he said with a point and hopping up and down.

Thor looked. "Yes, that's a great shiny friend for you, Adrian." Darcy got out of his way so he could sit down. "Play with your friend. He deserves your love." The baby grinned, diving back down to cuddle the shiny friend. He looked at Darcy. "I stopped that dratted rumor that he was my nephew when I was asked outside." Darcy grinned at him. "If he were Loki's son he would be much more chaotic and active. Plus already like horses."

"He doesn't mind horses but he's scared of their size." She watched her son babbling about the zoo animals to the shield, just smiling at his weirdness. "As soon as it's cleared we'll go down and make dinner, Adrian. Thor, Jane's in bed."

"That's good for her. She does not rest enough."

Darcy looked at him. "She's not pregnant."

"Nay, she is not and has said I have years to wait yet until she becomes such." He smiled at her. "Perhaps by then you'll have a second child to play with ours."

"I think one's plenty."

"You could have a husband by then," Natasha offered.

Darcy looked at her. "Not a high thing on my priority list most of the time, Natasha. I like dates but I'm not in a rush to put a ring on it. If I find someone, great. If it takes years that's okay too."

"That's reasonable as your son would have to get along with whoever you picked," Thor agreed with a nod. "Though I should ask of the warriors I know."

Darcy pinched him on the calf. "No."

"Fine. I simply want you happy."

"Yeah, but if I marry then I'll probably have to quit working with Jane."

"Jane would beat me to death," Thor decided. "It can wait." He looked at the quiet baby, who was licking the shield. "Does it need a puppy bath, Adrian?"

"Apparently." She plucked the baby off the shield to cuddle. "That sort of puppy gets a cloth bath, not a tongue bath like other puppies, Adrian." She cuddled him, letting Steve have his shield back for now. He put it behind his back to rest against it. So when a few agents burst up the stairs with weapons firing Steve got to throw his shield at them. It got two down and Clint got the other one with a thrown vase that knocked him out while Darcy ducked out of the way.

"Hey, mean to uppy!" Adrian yelled. "Bad you! No mean to uppy!"

"Son," Darcy said dryly. "That puppy likes that stuff. It's not mean. I promise." Steve let her take the shield to show him. "See, it's a happy shiny puppy, it likes to help Steve play fetch that way." He still scowled but petted his new friend to 'keep it calm'. It finally wore him out too. "You nap a lot for your age. Are you growing again?"

"Probably," Thor said. "Babies do that greatly."

"Yeah, I know. He already needs new clothes." She grimaced. "He's almost as expensive as college classes are."

Stark looked at her. "We reimburse, Lewis."

She grinned. "I just finished one. But thanks!" She smiled.

"Really?" he asked, looking smug.

"Yeah. Just got the news today."

"In what field?" Stark asked casually.

"Physics. Astral physics."

"Astro physics?"

"No. Not quite. Astral and intergalactic energy studies. I figured since weird things happened around me, I'd study it to see if I could stop it from going on again. That way I don't have another set of portals that bring elves I can't date."

Thor snickered quietly. "Did you really do your paper on that event?"

"Yes, and all the other chaos things that happened around me." She grinned back. "My advisor was amused but Dr. Malcolm is very into chaos theories anyway."

"The 'life finds a way' guy?" Clint demanded.

"Yeah. He was my advisor." She grinned at him. "He agreed, there's something about me that brings that sort of chaos."

Stark stared at her, mouth open. "Um..."

"I leaned on Jane to do some testing of my personal energy. There's something that draws it to me."

Stark swallowed then nodded. "I want to read it, Lewis." She got into her phone, emailing him a copy. He settled in to read it, laughing at one point. "You did a good job writing it." He went back to it. "This is involved for a master's."

"Then it's a good thing it's a doctorate paper," she quipped. She grinned when he stared at her. "What?"

"So damn having you redo some paperwork tomorrow, Lewis."

"Of course."

"It's not listed on your paperwork here."

"I was waiting to hear if I got it and when I tried to update that, HR asked me why I was bothering since I was just a glorified personal assistant. It wouldn't mean I got a raise."

"Going to yell at them," he decided. Adrian spotted him reading and toddled over to climb up into his lap, staring at him. "Hi."

"Adrian, you know you have to ask," Darcy said firmly. "Mr. Tony might not want to cuddle right now." She got up but Stark waved her off and read to the boy. He got happy with that story. More agents came off the elevator and one sighed but started to handcuff the earlier agents. The other two tried to stop him but he punched them both and got them too. Darcy looked over. "Why did they break off the stairs with weapons blazing this time?" she asked him.

"Don't know yet, Lewis," he said. "I'll find out and let people know so they can guard the reason." He spotted the baby. "Wow, you're too tiny to be an avenger."

"That's my son," Darcy said dryly, staring at him. "And might be the reason they lost their minds."

"Okay. We can see and make sure he's protected if we have to." He got help to haul them off. He had to have a talk with someone. He came back an hour later, finding the kid knocked out in his apartment and the team talking about them. "Yes, it was about the baby. We've ended the rumor that he's Loki's son."

"He is not," Thor agreed.

"I figured, he's a normal kid." He looked at the others. "And I've kicked some serious asses over it after reporting them to the Director."

"Good, report Hill for trying the same thing," Stark said.

"I can do that." He looked at Thor. "Do we know the father?"

"Yes, she does and the father knows about him but he does dangerous things."

"Great. Can I put that into the file?"

"No," Thor said. "To protect Adrian you may not. Darcy is very sure of that."

"Fine. We'll end the problems." He went to call the Director to add that note. Coulson was not pleased. Oh well!

***
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