New Housing Temples of Chaos.
Xander huffed, staring at the house ideas his other selves had given him. He agreed he needed to move. He needed to be safer. But he could not find something he liked! Everything had been 'renovated' or 'updated' which meant covering any wood with paint and ruining anything good about the house while opening things.
He didn't want to have to unrenovate to get the beautiful details again. Or move to Long Island. He did not want to live out in the land of pretentious houses and people. They'd hate him just as much. He could live with a brownstone with the expansion charms. He just couldn't find one that wasn't ruined by the hipster living idiots who hated wood being wood colored and hated having walls for some reason.
He could go with Lavelle's plan for the house, the one from London, but he had no idea if he could do that here and if his trust fund would go for that. He had no idea about any money things really. It often went over his head. Would that work for his house? A bottom level of house just for storage might help a lot.
He looked at the most recent tacky present and sighed, then texted Agent Crill, his usual contact, and Agent Crispin at the same time. They could be not happy about it together since Crill was just back from his gallbladder removal surgery. Then he went back to looking. He had no idea what to do with this house either. He'd probably have to sell it but did he want to do that to someone else? What if they got broken in on by the people who wanted him?
He looked at the one presently unconscious on his living room floor because he had brought that present. His robotic dog Frodo had run his fingerprints and found out who he was. He had no idea why the agent had wanted him that way.
Though he did ask Miami Xander if his August knew of him and got back a rant that the guy was an idiot of epic proportions. So Xander shared a picture of that present, making August have a sudden headache from his blood pressure. Which was probably mean of him so he had apologized and sent him apple pastries.
Someone knocked then leaned in. "Xander?" Agent Crill called.
"On the couch. The present giver's on the floor. The present's next to me. Come have fun with it."
Agent Crill walked in and stared at the guy then sighed and sent a request to get someone to gather him. "I can't lift yet."
"Sorry." He grimaced. "Are you better?"
"Yes. Mostly. It's all healed but I'm on a new diet for now." He looked at the present. "Is it disarmed?"
"Yeah." He nodded. "I did that first. I have no idea why they sent me that." He handed him the card. "That was underneath it. Frodo said the fingerprints on it came back to one of the Court of Evil in Europe."
"Charming." He read it then sighed, looking at the device again. "What even is that?"
"It's a jeweled belt with a cockring and buttplug but there was an explosive in the plug." He grinned. "Not even a great one."
"It'd still probably kill someone."
Xander nodded. "Yeah and I have a list I could use it on."
Crill patted him on the arm. "It'll be okay. What's on your plate this week?"
"The me in Miami thought I should move before they attack here again. I can't find anywhere though. Nothing that still has wood and walls and what I want."
"That's a problem in New York," Crispin said as he walked in. He stared at the guy. "Why are you delivering presents?"
"August said he's an idiot of epic proportions and had a headache thanks to him and the present he brought."
Crispin nodded. "So do I." Xander grinned. "Looking at their idea to move?" Xander nodded. "Nothing?"
"It's all been ruined by renovating hipsters who hate walls and wood."
"That sucks," Crill decided. "So you'd have to move everything."
Xander nodded. "If I could move this house there...."
"No," Crispin sighed. "Make the new one yours."
"Lavelle wanted me to take the idea he used in London where he had three townhouses together to make a safehouse."
Crill blinked. "The one that's a thief?" Xander grinned and nodded. He showed him the pictures Lavelle had given him for design inspiration. "Is that an escalator?"
"His knees were shot."
"Oh." He flipped through. "The bottom level is rooms?"
"Storage. A lot of stuff he stole and a meditation room." He grinned. "He had a room of statues."
"That figures," Crispin said, coming over to look. "Huh. That's huge. Three townhouses?" Xander nodded. "Nice area. You could definitely use it." He patted Xander on the head. "Let me take that guy in before he wakes up. We can amuse Hill with the device." Crill took the present, Crispin took the delivery agent, and they went back to the office to complain that someone rich wanted the kid. Again.
Xander walked up to someone and kissed him on the cheek. "Your butler forwarded a message to me." He smiled. "I have no idea why. I'm totally in the weeds this week. Let me go make someone sorry for sending me an explosive cock cage and buttplug with jewels." He walked around him and went to find that one, smarming him with hormones.
The guy shouted and tried to fight off people. "What? Don't like it happening to you? Not like *I* want it either. I'm going to sell the tacky present you sent me. All but the explosive part. I've got a good use for it." He walked off again, heading out to go somewhere else to get home.
"Well," Helmut Zemo said dryly, sipping his drink. He smiled at that moron. "Do have fun with the hormones you stink of. I'm sure it'll be enlightening." He walked off, taking his wife from there before someone tried for her. Someone did try but he pulled a gun and they got out of their way.
They all knew he'd shoot them for upsetting his wife. Or him. He took her home so he could talk to his butler. "What did you forward?" He showed him the copy of that message and pictures of the presents. "What is that?"
"That is tacky, sir," the butler Oeznik said patiently. "I know he did not have a use for it but it would give him something to sell."
"Hmm. The explosive?"
His butler pointed. "That had an explosive but I removed it before I sent it on. There may have been a backup but I could not find it." He smiled slightly. "Don't want to risk the delivery people."
"No, that's reasonable. He smarmed Harman with his hormones." He smiled. "He's not happy with how people are now hunting him."
"Charming of him, sir. Is the wife all right?"
"Just fine and fairly amused. We'll have some entertainment tonight I suppose." He went to tell her what had been forwarded and about what had happened.
She stared at him. "I would have had an unmannerly fit," she told him. Then she smiled. "How does he handle that?"
"He's probably gotten worse."
"That poor man." He sent Xander a text message, getting back a series of photos. She took the phone to look at, staring at one thing. "What is that?" she demanded. She looked at the name of the giver. "Oh, dear, I had no idea he had that sort of bad taste. How...." She handed the phone back and walked off shuddering to find something to take that image from her head. "We are never talking to that person again."
"If we never talked to the ones who sent him presents we'd never see anyone socially," he called after her. "I find that disturbing but the decorated weapons are worse." He went to show her one of those. She gave him an odd look. "An RPG, dear." He smiled.
She looked and sighed then handed it back. "We know some people who need retraining in manners, class, and taste."
He nodded with a smile. "Yes they do. He's twenty-two, dear. He's trying to find someone to date so his hormones are kept down. These ones are offering their services in that area. Without seeing if he's interested in moving this way."
"They definitely need retraining," she assured him then kissed him on the cheek. "You should teach them that because you do have impeccable taste."
"I do, darling, because I picked you." She smiled and nodded, going to check on their son. He went to make plans on how to handle the tacky present guild Europe apparently had. They weren't even *new* money so therefore tacky. They were all from old money and had families that had class for generations.
"It's a shame how far some bloodlines have fallen." He shook himself and told his team about that so they could hear about any other presents being sent. They were amused at so many on their bad lists were horrible present givers. None of them were that bad at it.
Xander stared at the INTERPOL agent at the airport who had pulled him aside. "What now?" he asked.
"Sir, that could have that person you...attacked raped," he said quietly.
"Which is what he wanted to do to me."
The agent blinked. "What?"
Xander sighed. "I have a hormone condition. A very high output of pheromone and other hormones that make me smell like a wanted treat. Against my will."
"That one sent me explosive sexual materials so I'd come be his." He showed him the picture. The agent winced. "Exactly. He wanted me to be his concubine by force. The letter with that device said I'd wear it when I joined his family so I'd never stray. Most of the ones who have people like me hostage have castrated any males."
The agent winced again, but nodded. "Frankly, fuck him. Maybe that'll discourage him and others from trying to gain my attention and force me to go to them to be owned. He now knows what I go through daily. I hope he has fun with the same things he wanted to do to me."
"Is there not a cure or a treatment?"
"Some herbs that work every few months or it's dangerous. A lover who's very inventive or two probably at my level of problem." The agent nodded once. "I turned him down twice. Including one where he had me kidnaped from Dunkin Donuts. I've had enough with that guy and all his buddies that're trying. I hope they have fun and learn that lesson. If that upsets you, I'm sorry. Oh well but I'm sorry."
"No, I understand that, sir. What are you doing now?"
"Rescuing myself from Europe, again. The third time this month. It's really expensive so I'm selling their tacky presents to afford airfare this time."
"I would too. Do you have people who look out for you, a bodyguard?"
"It's been mentioned but not yet. I can't find someone. I have agents I report people like that to. They're in SHIELD."
"That's good to know. Do they have a good file on this?"
"Yeah." He grinned and nodded. "So does the State Department because they never kidnap me with my passport and ID." He choked down a wibble. "Sorry, it's been a long day."
"I realize that. Your flight leaves in about an hour. You could go to the bathroom for now."
"Then I'd have to deal with an asshole in the bathroom." He sighed. "Sorry, I..."
"Okay, let's get you somewhere safe for a few minutes. We have a few quiet rooms." He led him to one and let him cry or whatever he needed to do in there for a few minutes. He called SHIELD Europe to get that file. They didn't have it but SHIELD US did. They shared to both of them. The INTERPOL guy nodded as he read. This was bad and very sad in a lot of ways.
He shared with his people and they were not amused but it did explain a few very tacky presents that had been sent to the US. Xander came out, nodding in thanks. "Let's get you back to the gate. I've got the file from SHIELD. We're going to make sure it quits happening. That way we can help you get home." Xander nodded, giving him a quick hug but walking with him back to the gate.
INTERPOL was not going to be amused at all this. They hated people trafficking. They hated kidnaping across country borders. They'd hate all this. Especially with the ones who were interested in this young man. They weren't exactly nice people.
Though that may explain people they kept running into at certain raids. They really had to find out if there was a test to tell if they were one of them or one of the bad guys with bad ideas for the world.
Xander looked at his stored pile of bad presents, then sighed. Even the ones he had 'inherited' from the one in Miami weren't this bad. They weren't even sent by tacky demons. Though a few he hadn't realized he had. He frowned, looking at one.
"Which one sent you?" he muttered. He called Crill to ask that. He kept modest track of that stuff. "I have presents here that I haven't seen before?" He listened to how Zemo's people and INTERPOL had alerted them that some presents had been sent but never showed up. An agent had stolen them. So they had stopped that too.
"Oh. Sure. No, I need to sell stuff. I'm in a room full of presents from people who want me. Thanks, Crill." He hung up, staring at the mess. Then he got up to go find his banker through that portal. He stared at him. "I need to sell some of the presents to afford airfare again."
The dverger banker - goblin was an insulting word - looked up at him. "How many do you have not in your bank vault, Xander?"
"A whole bedroom full. I put them in the spare bedroom and they've taken over. Including the ones that Crill found someone had stolen on the way to get to me. Those I should probably send back with a turn down message in case I guess." He sighed. "How do I even do that?"
"We can bring someone to look at them for evaluation purposes. Most will probably be broken up."
"With how hideous some are? Good."
The banker smiled and nodded. "Indeed. I'll bring one in an hour or so." Xander nodded, going back to his house to make coffee and not look at the tacky mess. He got his jewelry people to go look at them. "Harris has too many tacky presents." They groaned but went with him. They found Xander was unconscious, someone was trying to steal him again, and the dogs were charging so not aware.
The bankers smirked at them and the people fled. They checked upstairs, getting the tacky presents back from their van that got stopped and driven back by some of their guards. It was truly a mess in that spare bedroom. The jewelry evaluation team blinked at the nastiness. "Indeed. Not even demonically given for the most part. Some came from the one in Miami who has the same problem." He went to wake Xander up, making him moan. "Xander."
"Oh, shit, I'm sorry. Didn't mean to use that word." He rubbed his head, sitting up. "I'm so sorry."
"It's habit," he said dryly. "Are you well?"
He looked at himself then at him, giving him a brief hug. "Thank you for having me rescued. I owe you guys a ton of favors. Beyond having to remove that word from my vocabulary."
"You were half asleep."
"I still shouldn't say it. I only swear, not use slurs, and that's wrong of me and I'm sorry I said that while I was half out of it."
The nearest guard looked at him. "That wasn't known?"
"No, in their books we're known by that word," the banker said. "Xander had no idea and when he found out, he asked for a proper name to use instead."
"We had no idea. You're doing good ignoring that word when you're awake, human."
Xander nodded. "I did not ever mean to insult anyone. Ever. I'm not like that."
"We realize that now. I'll let the head trainer know." He looked at the jewelry expert who came down with something. "Why did someone do that?"
Xander looked then at him. "The one of me in Miami who has the same hormone problem got that given to him."
The jeweler nodded. "He clearly did. Do you know how to disable it?"
"I wouldn't mind keeping the weapon but not the sparkly things on it." He took it to turn back off. "That's off again."
"Good." He went to put it back on the piles. "What is this silver used?"
"It's an off-world silver stuff." Xander got up to get a sample for him to test. "That's the same stuff. Once it's formed it's almost impossible to remake. It's used a lot in ceremonial armor in some demon courts. That Xander and a few others, like Xander Lokison, use that and the energy metal for things and told the rest of us."
"Energy metal?" Xander let them see that. "That..." The guard hummed. "That's interesting."
"Xander Lokison has lamps in his temple that are burning after a decade with just a tiny toenail clipping sized piece. That's what's in the lantern in the bank vault that I put up for Hovar runs on."
"That thing never needs more than dusted," the guard agreed. "We had wondered." He looked at his boss, who nodded he had too. "Are they hard to get?"
"Not that I'm aware of. We don't have as much off-world or demonic intervention on this realm though. Either of those Xanders could probably find you a good bit at a great price as neither's really expensive."
"We need to test that, see if it has other uses. What if we forged this energy metal into a weapon?"
Xander shook his head. "I wouldn't want to hit something with it. I have no idea if it'd explode." He got the problem manual and came back with it to look at anything on those. "This is all that we've written down about it. But I can call Xander Lokison. He may be bored." He went to find his cellphone, calling him as he walked back.
"Hey. It's me. The Dvergers who run the bank wanted to ask questions about that silver stuff and the energy metal. Do you know anything more on it? Have a book maybe? Or have a few minutes? Thanks, Xander!" He hung up. "He'll bring it over in a minute." He grinned. "He's a neat Xander. Very chill and cool about everything because he's seen worse."
The guard just nodded, staring at the god-being who walked through. "How did one of you do that?" he asked, sounding awed.
Xander winked. "I'm the son of Loki and a Hindu river Goddess." He grinned. "It's a natural gift." He let them have the book and bigger samples. "The energy metal lump was about three pounds when I got it. I've only used that much of it for a few things around the temple. Altar lamps and actual lamps that aren't electric. It confuses soldiers very much who want to ask if I made them with my powers."
The head banker nodded. "I can see why you would. This is still nearly two pounds."
"Yeah and I've been set up now for seventeen years." He grinned. "Very handy stuff. Bit more expensive but still about five hundred for ten pounds. The silver stuff is about a hundred a gram but most humans on my world only think it's pretty. It's lightweight and strong but not totally good enough for armor. I have some of the altar lamps made in it because some of the crafting gods wanted to look it over." He hugged the bouncy younger Xander. "You good?"
"Almost got stolen again. Hating the tacky present stuff."
He patted him on the cheek. "It sucks for you guys but you'll handle it. I know you will. We're all strong because we survived and you inherited that from us." He winked. "What else are you worried about? It looks like you want to twist your hair up in knots but it's not long enough."
"I really should move for my own safety."
"Yeah," Lokison agreed with a nod. "Not a bad idea."
"Lavelle suggested I do what he did with his safehouse in London, which was getting a few townhouses together to make one great house."
"That'd give you a lot more room and you'd have the areas for the gardens and pool easily set up again." Xander nodded, cuddling in. "And the library may be an actual room you only expand slightly." He cuddled him. "You'll do fine, mini me."
"I try. It's just...." He looked up. "I nearly got taken. Again."
"I get that. It sucks. You need to be safer and you definitely deserve a good boyfriend." He cuddled him. "We'll see what we can help with." Xander nodded, resting against him so he could sleep safely for a change. "Maybe I need to talk to some agents about a mutual stress relief society." He looked at the banking team with a grin.
"It's good he told us that word was a slur. None of us knew that. Even on the world where one of us is a cursebreaker and works with the bank a ton, none of us knew that. He walked up to his banker handler and swatted him on the arm then told him off for not telling him about that word being an insult. Then told him to take an extra ten percent of anything he brought in for a year to punish him for not knowing that. Then he went home to molest his Draco snuggly again."
"We had no idea that wasn't known there either," the banker said. "Though it is nice that one punished himself." He blinked a few times. "Very interesting."
Xander grinned. "Why be normal and average? We all hate being called normal." He winked. "I need to talk to SHIELD about finding him a good boyfriend."
"That could solve many of his problems, yes," the guard said with a nod. The jeweler came back down with another weapon for Xander to turn off but the other Xander did and rendered the others not working for another day. That got a smile and he went back to his notes. Then he brought down something to lay in front of the guard with a shudder before walking off.
Lokison looked. Then he sighed. "That garden gnome guy. As we found out, he's the one in Miami's version of the Joker from the comic books. That's a long-running 'urban' art installation set of his. He steals people's garden gnomes and then makes them twinkly to show the absurdity of urban lifestyles supposedly."
The banker and guard both looked at it then sighed. "The ones those are based on would be horrified."
"They'd probably hate how many of them sit in gardens that aren't really upkept," Lokison said. "They're like lawn flamingoes."
The guard shuddered. "They would feel very insulted."
Xander Lokison grinned. "I can send my mate Phil to apologize for that on our world. He's great at diplomacy stuff and been bored recently."
His mate appeared, staring at him. "Don't give me more work, Xander. It'll cut into my retirement."
Xander looked at him. "You're retiring, honey?" He grinned. "So we get to have some flying time?"
"I have to retire. Steve said I look too good to be my age and he's trying to retire in three years so no one should know about me at that time." He looked at the sparkly gnome then sighed, shaking his head. "Some people have bad taste."
"In Miami Xander's world, that's the guy who's the Joker in the comics." He smirked. "That's his 'urban' art project. He does the other sparkly weapons things to afford to do his own projects."
"That figures." He looked at the younger Xander then at him. "Where are his dogs?" Xander looked then pointed. "Oh, charging." He looked at his mate again. "What's he so worried about?"
"He needs to move for his own safety. Lavelle suggested he move somewhere like his London safehouse. He still needs a boyfriend. SHIELD didn't even appear to help him today."
"I can go stop that one," Phil said happily. "I do know the many ways SHIELD is broken on all realms." He disappeared, going there. He stared at Maria, who shuddered. He smiled at her. "Let's work on the organizational structure of your SHIELD, Agent Maria Hill. In my world you just had to retire, the same as I did, because the next group in would have had you killed by accident because you were old school."
"I hate those sorts."
"So do we. And the trainees that whine that we're mean for making them live up to standards." He let out a smug look. "So let's work on a few things for the mini Xander here. Shall we? Then we can reformat your group so it's efficient and effective."
"Please. Anything to do less paperwork."
"My version of you is about to become a grandmother. Though she doesn't know it yet."
"That poor woman." She shuddered again. "Nick's somewhere being rescued. Someone realized he smelled good."
"It's sweet that he has that same hormone problem and it's not controlled either. Your whole world is apparently against the natural cure?"
"I think that's just Fury not wanting to date," she admitted. "And your husband's little version not finding anyone." He smirked. She shivered. "Oh, no."
"Yes. Oh, yes. Let's look at things so we can fix your SHIELD before Nick interrupts. Some things have always bothered me about how we're run." He took her to do that, and his self from that realm came up to help when he heard the gossip that there were two of them around.
The two Coulsons looked at the agent interrupting them. "Yes?" they asked together in the same bland tone of voice.
"Why are there two of you?"
"I traveled. There's inefficiencies in SHIELD that will lead to problems." That one smirked. "I am the SHIELD of SHIELD after all."
"Is that like being the patron saint? Because we had that one world we visited where you had been dead."
"I'm not Catholic," Phil said dryly. "I got married into an Asgardian family actually. But yes, I am the God of Heros." He smirked. He let out a bit of his glow when the agent looked confused. That made the agent back up and run off. Phil waved. "Have a better day." He went back to the rule changes they really had to make.
"I still think that is a very odd thing," normal Phil Coulson from that realm said patiently.
Godly Phil smiled at him. "I got told I had to retire earlier today because I've been there so long and not changed enough. The next president hates things not in his little world view. Especially my mate. He tried to have the temple closed but he gave up after he woke up in another country after one attempt to storm it to burn it down. He was not amused to wake up in North Korea and they weren't pleased with it either but they heard why and decided he was an idiot. Which I do agree with."
"Charming. Hopefully he dies soon into his term so the VP can take over," the other Phil complained lightly.
"He's marginally better but just as," he cleared his throat, "uptight about his world view of what's not right. He wants to expel or kill all the demons in the country, even though they were there long before white people. He also cannot tell the difference between someone who isn't white and a demon." They shared a look. "Hope for the Speaker of the House."
"Gladly. They let that happen?"
"We're not to interfere in the progress forward of humanity. Will Loki allow that? I do not know. He doesn't want to be seen as the great evil." He sighed. "Though Gaia is very upset. Not sure how that'll work out. My Stark's moved out of the US with all his people. Just in case they come after him or the other Avengers members."
Coulson considered that. "Can I update ours to that problem?"
"Gladly." He created a file to hand over. Local, normal Phil read that over with a grimace. "Yes, quite."
"Oh, dear. Xander will need to hear too."
"He should claim conquest rights to some of the ones who're bothering him but that's not within the law." He smirked a tiny bit. "They'd probably quit after a few lost their ancestral family homes."
"I should ask Zemo if he can help with that." He walked off. "Let me talk to Stark."
"Do have fun. Get dinner before I tell the Goddesses to fuss at you again."
"Please don't. They nag like grandmothers." Godly Phil smiled at that. He did stop to get a healthy, large plate for dinner to eat on the way to Stark tower. Stark said he wasn't there, himself, but he got let up by JARVIS and Pepper. He held out the file. "On Godly me's world, that one was just elected president."
He took it to read over, then blinked a few times. "Those people were dumb?"
"No idea if the other option was worse, Stark. That you just moved everyone of yours out of the country. Just in case. With the team."
"Yeah. I'd do that." He frowned as he reread better this time. "That poor world. Will one of their Gods step in?"
"They're not supposed to impact humanity's progress forward. Loki doesn't want to be the great evil." Stark snorted, looking at him. "The Phil from there joked about Gaia."
"Mother Nature can be a bitch," he said dryly. "Look at hurricanes." Coulson let out a tiny smile. "Okay. How bad?"
"Are they here and running?"
"If so, yeah I'm building a new lab center somewhere nicer and warmer with a beach nearby. I'll build a whole company town. He was stupid enough to go against, directly against, your other self's husband?"
"He said somehow that one woke up in North Korea after trying that. I'm sure everyone was pleased."
"Damn." He handed the folder back. "Yeah, let me look into that guy. I know he's a cult leader."
"True." He stared at him. "Have you talked to Xander recently?"
"No. I haven't had to. Why? Is he missing again?"
"No, not at the moment. Did you get his text about not calling his bankers goblins because that's an insult?"
"Yeah, I got that one." He sipped his green shake. "What's up with him?"
"Just back from Europe. Again. Third time this month." Stark winced. "Looking to move."
"Can he move all that stuff?"
"Yes, he can. I asked to make sure already. He's been given grand ideas by Lavelle."
"I'm sure a world class thief would have some." He took another sip.
"He's leaning toward the safehouse idea that Lavelle had which took three townhouses to make into one large house. With an escalator."
Stark moaned, swallowing. "He should look in Battery Park's area. There's some that aren't converted in that area. It's overpriced but not renovated at all."
"He'd enjoy that. He keeps muttering about people hating wood that's wood colored and walls. Thank you."
"Welcome. I want the kid to be safe. Before you have to send half of SHIELD to rescue him."
"We only sent a team to rescue Fury when he got taken this time." Stark moaned again, choking a bit on his present sip of healthy green shake. "Exactly. Let me know if you hear something?"
"Yeah, about either topic." Coulson nodded, heading back to keep Phil from making SHIELD too efficient and more fun. They did need to be both but too far that way and people would wonder how it had happened. They might try it on other agencies and he doubted they could loosen up enough for it to work on.
Stark made notes for himself and started a check on that person. Just in case. He also sent Xander a listing for a few rowhouses together in one area. By that night he had a squeal and a 'thank you' in all caps back from the kid. That would help a lot of things.
Xander let his banker handle the money things for him, just sat there and signed when asked to. The other banker stared at him. "I don't do money things very well. He's excellent at being my financial manager. I make great interest to pay him with." He grinned. "He keeps me from having too grand of ideas too."
"The escalator was not a bad idea," the dverger acting as his financial manager noted. "Though the indoor garden idea was a bit grandiose. I know you do like plants."
Xander nodded. "I love plants and my garden. If I could, I'd stay where I am, but too many know where I am."
The dverger patted him on the hand. "I agree. We can go over the construction ideas in a few hours." Xander nodded, taking the last few things to sign. They paid and went back to the house to go over the ideas for the new house. Xander had very little idea on some things, but he knew what he liked. Kind of. Not in decorating but kind of. He didn't want to hire a decorator because they all wanted stuff he hated to look at. Especially the ones on tv. Minimalist and all plain neutrals? No thank you!
Xander did let them do an open kitchen, turned sideways in the middle of the living room area floor. That wasn't too open, something he didn't like about his current one, but it wasn't too closed off. And it had nice looking, non stainless steel appliances. The construction guys had suggested some good appliances that came in other finishes that weren't just shiny.
That left the rest to design. Xander insisted on suites so every bedroom had a bathroom. And a practice floor that wasn't right next to his forge. His forge could be on the bottom floor for safety reasons. With storage areas and a meditation room. They could be bigger since he wouldn't have to store the treasures of the ages he had stolen like Lavelle did.
The next time he was in Europe he ran into Zemo on purpose when he was out and about. "I think I need to borrow someone like your wife who has taste. I have no idea how to decorate anything."
Zemo gave him a fond look. "Why are you back over here?"
"Destroying someone who thinks I'm pretty again. I got free earlier and spotted you so I thought I'd ask if I could borrow your wife." He showed him pictures. "I have no idea how to pick furniture or art or anything."
"That's enormous. A lot of plants?" He looked at the boy, who grinned and nodded. "I'll see if she's interested in helping. She does tend toward more modern things though." Xander pouted. "I noticed the wood. You need something more classical and manly?"
"Yeah, but not too manly. I don't need macho cigar room sort of decorating. Nice is good though. I have no idea how to do that. I asked Natasha and she thought I had too much furniture."
"She probably runs to minimalism as well. You should probably finish escaping."
"I should but INTERPOL told me to hide myself for an hour while they finished taking down the guys I was working my way away from when they raided. I'm sorry if that means you have more work to do somehow. I have no idea if you have, like, empire related paperwork or whatever as a Baron."
"Not usually. It's more honorary and ceremonial, Xander."
"Oh, that's cool then. Well, anyway, can you ask her?"
"I can do that. You should finish hiding."
"I'm getting lunch. It's been ages and I need to nibble." He went to do that. "Thanks."
"Welcome." He was still very amused. "Send me pictures in an email."
"I can do that. Thank you!" He blew a kiss and ducked around someone trying to grab him. "Don't touch!" The guy pouted. "I asked to borrow his wife to help me decorate." He went to buy lunch and then hide in plain sight by those agents. They offered to help him get home. It was sweet of them.
Helmut Zemo made a call while he went to talk to his own family trust lawyer. They told him who had just been raided and why, and how very nasty that was going to be for the Court of Evil. Pity all those nobles had went down but they were too blatantly evil.
Xander looked at his new living room. Everything was done. The two portals were on the wall by the stairs so they were partially hidden. They still worked and the gardens were just fine during the move. His armory was set up. The dogs were searching around to map the new house so they knew where they were. He had stolen Lucky and he was sniffing around too. He had found the small trees he could pee on downstairs by the fake entry door. The main bedroom was set up.
Everything was in place, even the plants that littered the downstairs area and all around the house to hide things like emergency switches and the shut off for the house alarm as you came up from the garage. He had opted for a garage even though he wasn't allowed to drive most of the time. It was the safer entry point. The city code people had hated the fake entrances but he hadn't changed anything outside the house. Just sealed those and on the inside they weren't openings.
The main front door was locked at all times and had an alarmed entry. The code people hadn't liked the escalator but agreed it wasn't disallowed in a residential space. They had liked how his forge was set up and vented. His practice area. They had wondered about the house but they had also seen someone breaking into try to steal him and Xander getting them with a crossbow to the ass.
So they understood why and Maria Hill had a word with them about that being a safe residence for someone who had gotten kidnapped more than once a year. Now all he had to do was figure out the living room furniture. He frowned, he had thought this worked but it left the other end of the living room floor bare.
He walked back and forth between them, sighing in displeasure. He did pause to light the fireplace. Wood burning and had a hearth in case the power was out again from a major storm so he had heat and a way to cook things. He tipped his head, trying to decide between the two groups of furniture to move back to the other area. "I should ask Natasha," he muttered. "But she'll tell me I'm spoiled."
"You probably are," Yelena agreed. "This is massive, Xander."
He jumped but turned to look at her. "I need the safety. No one else can get in here. You didn't lead anyone here, right?"
"No." She smiled. "We wondered about this building."
"It's my safe house." He shrugged. "If you're here to use the garden, they're on the wall around the corner there." He pointed. "The library's now upstairs in the literal library room." He looked at the furniture. "I'm trying to decide which set sits on this side and which goes on the other side of the kitchen's sitting area. Help?"
She went to look and came back then pointed. "The one with the purple throw pillows would look nice back there. The lighter wood since that room's sunnier half the day." She looked at him. "Don't all gay men decorate?"
"Not me. I guess it's something I didn't learn being raised off-realm. Thanks." He carried the first few things back there and arranged it. She came to help. That was fun and she did admire the subtle finish on the fridge and stove. He grinned. "The construction guys found that for me. It's pretty, right?"
"Very. Not shiny either." He beamed and nodded, letting her help him finish setting up that last area. She sighed. "This is very large."
"Some day I'll have someone to share it with." He looked at her. "Did you break in the front door? Or the garage?"
"Garage. I used Natasha's code." She smiled. "She said to."
"That's fine. I was going to ask her about which ones to put over there." He looked and moved one last chair then sighed in pleasure. "Okay." She came in to shift things slightly then he nodded. "Even nicer. I have no sense of design. I had to ask why my sword display was uneven looking."
"I've seen that. It's nice." He grinned. "She wanted to know if the armory was magical again."
"Not all of it. It does have the same fingerprint coded doors. Almost no one can get into it." He opened it to let her see and take pictures for Natasha. "The expansion is magical."
She looked around and moaned. "The whole Widow weapons area was not this nice." She looked around, touching a few things. "You should move the sword display to above the fireplace instead of that big picture."
"I have no idea where to put that instead."
"Down by all those rooms on the bottom level?" She looked at him. "Storage?"
"Yeah. I tweaked plans from Lavelle about his favorite safehouse in London. He did the same thing and made it a family home but since he's a gunman and thief, he needed the storage areas for stuff he stole. He had one room with just statues he stole."
She blinked a few times. "So very weird."
He grinned. "Lavelle's really pretty sweet. And a geek, he goes to comic cons."
She nodded. "Still very weird." He nodded, showing her the other areas. She took pictures of the room that was marked for Natasha's use when she stayed over. Then she helped Xander set up his sword and dagger display around the picture over the fireplace. It was pretty and shiny but not a mirror. It was nice. Xander set up the convention portal last by his desk and then stepped back and smiled, relaxing again. She looked around. "I could house a whole army in here."
"I can expand it if we need more guest rooms but I allow friends to stay over. If I ever get a bodyguard he can stay in one of the rooms. Did I set up the bank's portal?"
"Yes. Downstairs. The dragon was quite sweet."
"That's Hovar. She's really nice," he agreed. "Very good to pet too." Frodo barked. "Yeah, dear?" The robotic dog barked and nudged the phone. "Oh, did I miss a call?" He looked then called them back. "I still have Lucky. He's getting to know the new place by napping on a couch." He hung up. "Kate."
"I've met her. She's nice." She looked at him then at the blond retriever. Then back at him. "This is fairly weird but too nice." Xander nodded. "You made it feel very homey, like a family could live here and be real people." He hugged her for that. "Oooh!" He stepped back, blushing and ducking his head. "Warn a woman! Though you do hug very nicely." He grinned. She patted him on the cheek. "I will tell Natasha. She's being bored."
"We have a great new practice area."
"I saw. It's very nice. Smooth wood floors, very nice towel and practice blade closet. Very sweet." He grinned. "You should rest. Set up a housewarming for those you want to visit. They should have fun here."
"It's summer, we can have a pool party at the pool."
She stared at him. "So very weird, Xander." She went back to the house to tell Natasha. Who was amused. It was safe, hard to get into without notice, and it was comfortable. Very warm feeling. It felt like a family home.
Clint showed up and parked in the obviously expanded garage since it had six parking spots with their names on them plus two non marked ones. He found the doorway and the elevator next to it. He'd check that out later. He came up the few stairs to the bottom level, finding the storage rooms, the practice rooms, the meditation room, and a lot of plants he looked at. He noticed that a few hid things, which was subtle but nice. He stared at the escalator, which started once he stepped on it. He came out into the kitchen area, looking around. "Wow."
Xander flinched, staring at him. "Oh, Clint! Hi!"
"Hey." He grinned, coming over to get a hug. Then look around. He was still allowed in the armory and whistled in there. Expanded but nice. Very well organized. He came out to stare at the sword display then changed two around. "Nicer." Xander grinned. "My room?"
"Upstairs and the elevator does go up there in case you're injured. I figured we could all use that sometimes."
He nodded. "We could." He went up to check out his room, which had his name on it. There were two floors of guest rooms. And one that had the computer but that was expected. His room had all the stuff from his last room and it was comfortably dark in there with the curtains drawn. He came down after glancing at the other rooms, which were straight out of the other house. Xander was still fussing at his email so he hugged him, getting another cuddle back. "You did great, kiddo."
"This is a really big family home." He went to check the kitchen, nodding at what he saw. He got a bottle of premade coffee drink, but it was homemade. Xander liked to do that so he had some on hand. He sipped as he went to look around downstairs, Lucky getting up to follow him. He petted his dog as they checked out the various rooms.
He found one with two pictures, pretty obviously Xander had bought them and not put them up. There was one large room and he stepped in, looking at the panel on the wall that had buttons. He turned on one and nothing happened. Lucky pounced something on the floor so he looked and stepped on the button.
Suddenly he had a realistic area that showed a training field for running sword battles. He frowned, walking around it. Illusions but good ones. He nodded, going back to change the buttons he pushed. Now it was a wooded forest with the same things to hit. He turned off one button and that made it more of a forest to fight train in.
He tried all the styles and nodded. "Very nice." He hit the floor button again then went back upstairs with Lucky, who liked the escalator. He put the reusable bottle in the dishwasher and came over to stare at Xander. "That's a really neat training room."
Xander grinned. "I have one on this side that has a gym style obstacle course. Lavelle set it up to be like the ones thieves train on when they're going for something specific but have to avoid lasers."
Clint went to look at that and sighed in pleasure. It took up the rest of the floor from the computer room. "Oh, that's sweet." He tried it, it held up to him being energetic. Barely any movement with him. Ropes, solid poles, all that so he could obstacle course train. He went back up there. "Where did Lavelle get the plans for that?"
"Martian us." He grinned. "They have a kid specific one and an adult one."
"Ah." He nodded, remembering reading about them. Yeah, that helped he guessed. He settled in with Xander to chat about the house and any other plans he had, but he also sent Coulson the coordinates and how to get in. "Just Phil, Xander."
"He has a room too. Just as long as he doesn't bring ninjas or something."
"I'd hope not. You don't need more ninjas attacking you in your own house." He patted him, letting the boy cuddle. It was good for him. "Can I bring Kate to train down there?"
"I guess. Is she nice?"
"Pretty nice." He grinned. "I've introduced you two." Xander nodded he remembered. "We'll work on any other ideas." He stroked over Xander's hair, letting him rest for now.
Natasha and Phil read the text messages over their shared dinner at SHIELD before a meeting. She stared at the sword display. "I would change two of those around." She hummed as she ate, shaking her head. "He had many ideas."
"He did," Coulson agreed. "Though it's nice we have rooms."
"We can take down the name plaques once we're used to where they are." She put her phone back into her pocket. He did the same thing and dug in. "Has anyone told Crill or Crispin yet?"
"Not that I'm aware of." He considered it. "Is it under fidelus?"
"Not sure," she admitted.
"I'll bring them both over tomorrow to look around. They'll need to know to gather tacky things." She nodded while she chewed. "I wonder how many he sold to set that up."
"I'm hoping most of them. They were horrible."
"Some weren't as bad but some were horrifying." He considered it while he ate. She finished up and put up her tray. He followed and they went to the meeting to update SHIELD's bylaws and rules. He had been brilliant to get them snuck in so things went better and smoother.
It took a few months but Xander got his first unusual visitor. Someone had snuck in to sleep in one of the storage rooms. He did make sure it had heat since it was a chilly night. That morning he snuck down to put a cup of coffee and a muffin in front of the door then back upstairs so whoever it was wouldn't spook too much.
He recognized the guy. He had been on the news before. When the guy did it again, food was left for him again. The third time Xander was there with the coffee cup, handing it over. "Mr. Castle, are you here to protect me from the mother fuckers who try to steal me to own or are you here for sanctuary and shelter? Because I can protect you if you are. I'm not against that."
The guy stared at him. "Who're you?"
"Xander. This is my house."
"Why? It's huge."
"Yeah, that means I haven't had to rescue myself from a kidnaping in three months." He grinned. "It's nearly a record and SHIELD is very happy about that." He stared at him. "Do you need sanctuary? I'm good with that. I'm not doing anything this week so I can help if I can."
"No, I just needed a place to hide, kid."
"That's fine. I don't mind that." He handed over something. "My phone number. In case you need it. I realize when you sneak in, you set off the silent alarm system, but this way you can call if you need a lot of help."
"Are you mafia related?"
Xander grinned. "Not even close. Though it's nice they haven't tried to steal me yet. Unlike some idiots in Europe. But it's great INTERPOL stopped some of them. I've only gotten two presents recently." He walked off. "If you need more food, kitchen's upstairs right off the escalator."
"I...have no idea what's going on," he muttered, but he did drink the coffee. It was nice of the kid to grant him a place to squat when he needed one but he didn't want to bring trouble on the kid's head. He left, going to stake out his next target since this kid was not mob related. He was found later by a redhead. "Romanoff," he said, staring at her. He had seen her on the news a few times handling bigger problems.
She sat down next to him, staring up at him. "Xander is very kind. A bit weird but very kind and sweet. If only we had a way to get his hormones down so people quit snatching him."
"That's that guy? The one with the rumors?" he demanded with a point. She nodded, smiling at him. "Oh. No wonder he has so much space. It's so he can hide."
"He does not do much of that. He will shoot or stab something. Greatly." She stared at him. "Many of us stay with him when injured for a few days. Clint, myself, Coulson, a few others. He is very interesting to talk to at times, and he does try not to be as young as he is. He's got a weird background and it seems to work well for him. He is a decent cook and will let you pick from his garden area."
"I saw the plants."
"He has a portal to a ten acre garden area with robotic nymphs that harvest for him." He blinked a few times. She smiled. "He's very interesting. Do not let things come after him or let them know where he is. He's had to defeat some of the Hand in the past. We all thought it was quite odd he was attacked by ninjas in his house." She stood up. "But if you do need legitimate help he would do so," she finished quietly. "He has us. He did during the battle with Loki. He's sweet, young, but not innocent."
He nodded. "I'll keep that in mind. I thought he was mob related."
"No. Not in the least. Though it's interesting that none of them have tried to get his attention."
"He said the same thing when he handed me coffee and a muffin."
"That boy does bake well enough that I put on five pounds." She walked around him with a smile. "Do be careful with the boy. He's not a warrior and does not want to be one unless it's to save himself. He's not like Daredevil or Rand."
"I'll keep that in mind." He was still confused by that kid. But probably none of his business unless he found the kid fighting something some night.
New Housing Temples of Chaos.