Spanking Planners Against Future Old Ones.
Dawn opened the envelope that had been sent to her at work, staring at the ring that fell out. It looked like a class ring but it wasn't marked as being from any school. She hadn't ordered a class ring from any of the schools she had went to. It had a pretty faux ruby in the center. It had a scroll around it that had nonsense latin. It didn't have a year or a program on it but it looked a lot like a standard class ring. She leaned over. Pepper was on the phone. Her Stark sense said that he was busy in the lab and would bite if she interrupted to see if he knew what it was. It had her name on it. She was still staring at it when Natasha came off the elevator. "Did you buy me a class ring?"
"I did not. I don't think you usually wear rings beyond the obvious one." Dawn let her see that. "That is not a class ring." She picked it up to look at the stone. "That is definitely not a class ring." She handed it back. "We will have to see why they sent you one."
She handed over the envelope. "It came in that."
Natasha looked, no note. No return address. Nice handwriting. She sent a thought at Clint, who hurried over. Which piqued Bruce's interest too. She held up the ring by the band. "Draitmeyer."
"Really." He looked at in the light. "That is their cheap piece of crap entry rings." He looked at the envelope. "Handwriting looks familiar."
"Should I be worried? Is this another flirty bad guy?" Dawn asked.
"No. They're a very weird intelligence group," Clint said. "Most of us think they're all cranks but they have some of the best spies in their pocket."
"So is that an invitation?" Bruce asked, taking the ring to look at. "What's the inscription say?"
Natasha took it to look at. "Tunnel three to thee and seven to heaven. Like the scroll, it means something only to them." She handed it back to him. "We can see."
"Please. I didn't ask to join another group."
Clint smiled. "It's not a bad group. It's nothing at all like SHIELD. They may want your help with something and not know how to ask. The last one of them I ran into was a pair and one had great old British lady manners and the other was a punk I was going to damage for his lack of sense."
Dawn smiled. "Worse than the trainees?"
"Much worse than the trainees." He took a kiss and grinned. "We'll ask around." They walked off with it to go over what they knew.
"Summers, sparring," Bucky said quietly.
"Exempt until I'm not too sore to stand up, Barnes. Sorry. Have to kick your ass some other day."
"You're what?" Bruce asked.
She looked at him. "Had problems. Had to do a spell that pull it all up at once so I could deliver before she had problems too. Took half an hour to do a day's labor." Bruce shuddered. "Yeah! So I have a small tear and an infection clearing up. It'll be at least a month they said."
"Does your mother know?"
"The last time I talked to Mom, she said she was a bit busy, she'd call that weekend, and I haven't heard from her since. That was about six weeks ago." He groaned. "I have no idea. Right now, I'm not really happy with that but I figured it was like the thing when I had Philip."
"I'm not sure. I'll ask her, Dawn." He smoothed some of her hair down then went back to the sparring gym. He needed to call his wife. She was busy not but that busy. Joyce was usually a lot more hovering over Dawn.
Bucky stared at her. "I...."
Dawn stared back since he seemed stuck for words. "If you're going to apologize, it's accepted as long as the shithead things change," she said quietly. "If you're trying to spit out that you're not going to hang out with Nat again, we don't fully mind it. Just the times we find you two watching stars and things. The things that to us look like dates." He nodded at that. "We all have friends outside the relationship but think about it if it was your wife."
"I'd have creamed me by now."
Dawn nodded. "Probably." She smiled. "Thankfully I'm sore." He nodded, walking off. "Send Liz my way if you find her in the next little while please. She's got a baby doc appointment at two."
"I can do that. She was glaring at us for sparring again." He went back to the Avengers gym, having to walk around Thor and his wife. "Looking nice, Artemis."
"Thank you, Bucky." She smiled. "Are you sparring?"
"Some. Liz, your aunt wants you." She ran off, she adored Dawn. He smirked. "Baby doctor later."
"That happens. We have to trick Philip too," Clint said. "C'mon, Artemis. You need to keep in practice too."
"Yup." She took off the hat and cloak, then looked at her boots then at him.
"They're fine. We'll keep anything away from your stomach."
"Cool, Uncle Clint." She hopped up to work out with them. Thor watched, staring at his wife. Sean and Diana appeared thanks to the satellite and groaned, joining in. "No stomach hits," she reminded them.
"You're having enough spawn for both of us, Artie. I want nothing to endanger them so I don't have to do my fair share." Artemis hugged her sister and they got back to it. "Uncle Clint, can you please teach me how not to smite the dance teacher?"
"Why are you taking dancing?" Natasha asked.
"Easy PE," Sean complained. "We're doing the basic steps but she wants to keep putting me with my sister. Even after I pointed out that the later dances are kinda smutty dances and I don't like my sister like that." Clint burst out laughing and hugged him. "I don't know what her problem is and why she's into incest but damn!"
"The king of put downs is still Rodney," Stark said as he walked in. "It's probably the height thing. Not too many people are as tall as you two."
"There's three basketball players in there," Diana complained. "They're with the really short girls. One of the couples looks like that Aerosmith video about the elevator." Tony shook his head. "When do we get to see the cousins?" she demanded.
"When you go steal them from the daycare?" Clint suggested with a grin. "You can change all the diapers you want." They laughed and got back to the sparring. "Stark?"
"Coming." He joined in. "Cute look, Artemis."
"Thanks, Uncle Tony. It's my after-hours armor." She grinned. "I'm pregnant."
"Wonderful! Pepper and your aunts can help you figure out what works for you. Because each pregnancy has different cravings and needs." She laughed but hugged him and got back into it. "Ahhh! No sparring while pregnant. You know better."
"I have to keep in shape," she reminded him. "They won't hit me in the stomach. I'd kll them." She grinned. "I like them too much to kill them."
"Still, accidents happen so you need to stick with solo practice or weapons practice that won't get your stomach hit," he ordered with a point. "Go find a sword and work against Bucky."
"Sure. Bucky?" He nodded. She grabbed hers and he grabbed one from the walls. She checked her blade over then lunged and caught him a bit off guard. He fought back but she was very good. Bucky was still learning how to use a sword.
Dawn walked in with a phone. "Artemis, leaning, dear." She handed Tony the phone and walked off.
Stark listened. "It's Stark." The person on the other end said a few things. "Since when?" He frowned, walking off. "No, that's not good. No, I don't like that idea and I haven't heard a thing about that." He frowned, then scowled. "No, absolutely not. Thanks." He hung up. "Someone's trying to get Rhodey out of his suit to give it to someone else." He put the phone aside. "We've got to stop that." He picked up the phone and walked off calling someone else. They could help with that issue.
"Guess he's not sparring today," Clint quipped. The others got back to work. They'd probably have something happen soon.
Dawn ran into another mention of that strange new group on the conspiracy sites and let out a complaining sigh.
"Hungry?" Pepper guessed from her desk.
"More people who think Tony's starting the next Illuminati."
"What?" She came out to read over Dawn's shoulder. "Huh. How long has that been going on?"
"I told him when I found the first one. Remember, you said you wanted to take over France."
"Oh, yeah." She frowned but let it clear up. "Okay, track that for him. Go ruin his night."
She smiled. "I think that was the baby doctor missing and hitting his hand with the needle earlier because Liz was struggling."
"Probably. It amused Liz to no end though." She went back to her desk.
Dawn went back to hunting that down. There had to be a start point. Good conspiracies didn't just hop up out of midair on a whim.
Dawn walked into the meeting room Tony was going to be talking to the interns from later that night. He was hiding from the kids in there. "Did you know that our having interns is you grooming your minions so you have people strategically placed in all the major scientific companies?" she asked. The few interns in there burst out laughing. She grinned at them. "New conspiracy about Stark wanting to take over the world." She handed over the outline she had done. "I've got a full packet of the stories."
He read over the outline, making tiny almost laughing noises. "Okay, why are we worried?"
Dawn flipped the page and pointed. "The *listed* members of the site. Anyone look familiar?"
He read it over, then stared at her. "The Chief of Staff?" he demanded. She smiled and nodded, and pointed. He went back to it. "That stupid damn minister."
"Yup, some of his people started it. The tech expos are your way of drawing more powerful people to you so you can influence them with your scientific magic that amazes others. All the interns are future useful minions so you can spy to make sure no one's doing something that SHIELD won't like, because he did include them, and the FBI is the only group that realizes that, that's why they've been trying to piss me off by claiming I'm an illegal alien now."
"You were born in Sunnydale. Screw 'em," Tony said, looking over the rest. He looked at her. "Bruce?"
"Highest level assistant in the sciences you don't cover, boss." She smiled. "They even found a place for me. I'm apparently not only a public distraction so no one realizes this, but also working to make tech work with magic."
"That's my job," Andrew complained, getting patted by one of the interns he had been working with.
Dawn grinned. "No, you two and your families are the other upper level minions with Rodney." Tony groaned. "So, boss, they're attributing things to you, and that you're starting a religious cult as well. They heard about some of the fandom convention stuff and got confused. They are very confused and think the Stark/Rogers for president group is real and you're really behind their push."
Tony looked at her. "Go home?"
She smiled. "I'm on my way home to be a great distraction." She grinned. "Oh, and opening next week?" she reminded with a smile. "Which is another sign of your plans." She strolled off.
Tony turned and thumped his head against the whiteboard. "Damn it. Damn it, damn it, damn it."
"Daddy, you can remind them I'm really the evil Stark future empress. I'm building it all under your name so I can take over the world and no one would ever invade us again." Callia beamed at him when he stared at her. "I can."
"Sure, you do the paperwork, daughter." He smirked evilly.
"That's why you have Dawn and some day I'll have my own version of Dawn and Mommy Pepper." She grinned back. "Because there hasn't been a Stark in a while that did good with the paperwork."
"True," he admitted. "I thought Liz was the evil Stark."
"She is, but I'll use her as my figurehead since she hates science. She can play like Auntie Dawn does, plus be evil, and let me create things that will draw more people to be my loyal minions and future cult members."
One of the interns handed her his can of Red Bull. "You need caffeine, kid."
"Thanks, Thom." She smiled and gulped it then sighed in pleasure.
"I've got to start lacing hers with drugs," Tony complained, cracking up the other interns. "This is.... Someone's going to have to make multiple press statements, we're going to get hounded even more by the bigoted agents that pop up now and then, and then I'll have to probably do an interview on tv." He walked off. "Be right back. Getting a donut." He had to walk past Security and glanced in then came back to see. He hurried down there. He took Philip and Alexina from the agents then Dawn away from them. "Barnes," he snapped, knowing he was somewhere.
"Will I do?" Joyce asked with a smile for the agents as she walked over. "Do you really want me to fire you through your boss?" They backed off. "Agent Hill?"
"Gladly, Director Banner." She grabbed them to cart them off.
Joyce cooed and took Alexina. "Hi, Granddaughter. I haven't gotten a chance to cuddle you yet. You, me, and your brother are going to hang out tonight with Bruce. You like Grandpa Bruce, right?" She walked off.
"Thanks, Mom," Dawn quipped with a grin and a wave. "Hey, that means I can get dinner."
"I believe your spouses are cooking," Joyce said with a grin for her. Dawn skipped over to her hired car so she could go home.
Joyce waved at Tony as they got into her car, where the carseats were already waiting. Philip climbed into his with a yawn but Alexina was wide awake and staring at the new person who cooed.
Philip smiled. "Lexi not loud. Mira loud. Where Mira?"
"Mira's being babysat by someone else tonight, Philip." She smoothed down his hair, weathering the glare. She stared at him. "You have to get used to this sister too." She shut the door and her driver took her home. "We'll get Mira in a few hours." He pouted. "Philip?" He settled down to pout. He knew not to throw a fit at Grandma. Grandpa Bruce would turn Grr Guy and scare him. He didn't want that. Callia would be mad.
Tony walked back into the intern meeting. "If you guys get harassed by agents or anyone, let me know please. There's some idiots who think Dawn's now a huge mutant so she's supposed to be getting the ET treatment." They nodded. "Like outside just now when they tried to snatch the kids too."
Clint leaned in. "I'm borrowing Gloria from Legal."
"Please do," Tony agreed, staring at him. "If you're going to fix that travesty outside?" Clint smirked and nodded, whistling most of the way up the hallway. Tony shivered. "I just got a feeling of dread." They smiled at him. "Okay, we were going to go over the new emergency policies, strangely enough," he said dryly, making them pulled out pens and notepads to take notes. "We do drills every six months for all sorts of possible scenarios and we're open to others that we haven't covered being suggested. Being that we're Stark people, weird things happen so it's best not to rule out anything."
"Did you include one for the Roomba Army suddenly expanding and trying to take over?" Jonathan asked with a grin.
"We covered that one under sentient robots." They grinned. The interns looked at them then at Stark. "That's Jonathan and beside him is Andrew. The Roombas are their pets. And Andrew's wife MB's evil little yellow fluffball that likes blood." They mostly smiled and got back to taking notes.
One of the interns raised a hand. "Mr. Stark, we have a critical moment in our test next week. Can we work them around them?"
Tony looked at her. "Most of the senior people....you're in Shield design." She nodded with a grin. "They didn't realize and Morrison never told them," he groaned. "How critical?"
"We're doing a mass power event."
"We can work around that. That's dangerous and I'd rather you guys did that in Malibu in containment."
"We were planning on it. That means I'd miss this."
"Theirs is the week after." He smiled. "Take theirs." She nodded, making that note. He went over the scenarios they had ready. A few were laughed at but he looked at one group. "We've had that happen twice before I developed the armor." They groaned. "Oh, yes."
"Boss, do you want us to prep the giant capturing robots we have to help with that?" Andrew asked.
"No, because if it gets loose and causes damage, we'll both be yelled at and they'll make you pay for it, Andrew. We'll use hypothetical and virtual robots."
"Speaking of, disarm him."
"Yes, sir." He pouted a bit. "He's handy in case there's another problem. Or that jerk that keeps hitting on Patty comes back."
"He's hopefully been scared off. If not, let me know so I can go punch him," Tony said. "Or sic Liz on him." They both grinned at that. "Speaking of, if Liz is begging you for stuff and acts up, bring her to one of us so we can correct it. She's recently turned a bit mean."
"Very mean," Jonathan said. "She bit me."
Tony nodded. "She bit *me*. I had her in the park and she bit me."
"She can be the goth Stark," one of the interns quipped.
"Quite possibly," Tony said dryly, cracking them up. "Chris is going to be the dearly mourned Stark if he doesn't quit crashing into things."
"Boss, we put the anti-grav emergency system in the elevator shafts earlier," Andrew said. "Jonathan tested them and I installed them. So even if he does manage to somehow get down there, he'll float instead of fall."
"Thank you! I heard he had tried to get out through the emergency exit the other day." They both nodded. "Get with me on an emergency belt for him that he has to wear all the time." They smiled.
"Mine doesn't have anti-grav but it does have reverse thrusters," Callia said with a grin. "He loves it."
"We can add to it," Jonathan promised with a grin for her. She smirked back. They made a good team working against her siblings and their weird ideas.
Dawn smiled at the receptionist for her appointment. "I've got an appointment," she said, handing over that letter.
The receptionist typed it into her system and smiled. "He'll be right down, ma'am."
"Thank you." She sat down and mentally checked everything she had brought. The State Department agent that had helped her deal with a few Dawn Wanting Society members came off the elevator while she was considering if she had left something at home. She smiled and shook his hand. "Thank you for seeing me."
"Another world leader sort?"
"Not exactly. Slight issue that's probably going to get a few confused looks so I'm asking for help." She smiled. "Your boss is probably going to have a headache though." He led her up to his office, letting her put down a few things. "My nieces and nephew."
He looked at the birth certificates. "They're in that adorable toddler age. Why is that a problem?"
She put down the recent family photo. "Because they spent time up on Asgard and it runs two weeks to a mortal day up there." She sat down.
He looked at the picture then at the birth certificate copies. "That's a huge problem. Oh, they need passports."
"Not just passports," she sighed. "They're old enough that they need to change their licenses and other documents, and the schools they're in want certification that they're not illegal immigrants using fake birth certificates. We explained it to the college. Who were very understanding. They talked to them about Asgard and all that and admitted it was a unique situation." She smiled slightly. "So that got them out of trouble for there, but they almost got arrested at the DMV the other day as well since Sean's license has expired." The agent winced. "I've talked to someone at Immigration, who said that they're natural born citizens, and would have citizenship due to their mother anyway even if they weren't. They said there's not a whole lot they can do but did put out an official letter that the kids were legal citizens with a weird aging problem."
"So we're next on the list."
Dawn nodded. "I do travel for work at times and the kids do go with me for vacation times. It's not so much about Artemis as she's married to Thor and spends half her time on Asgard with him. Diana and Sean are at Cal Sci out by LA."
"This is a slight problem," he agreed.
"I'd consider it a small clusterfuck but I have no idea where to start the unraveling from. I've done all that I know how to do."
He nodded. "What did you bring?" She handed over everything. "That judge's statement is a nice touch."
"I thought it might help ease some things. Immigration liked it a lot."
"It probably would." He went over everything, nodding. "I can start their passport paperwork for you, Miss Summers." She smiled and pointed at the photos. "I spotted those. They're good ones." She grinned. He looked at her. "You're right, the boss is going to have a headache."
"If I knew how to help with this, I would, but I can't."
"No, there's no real rules in place for people who've had magical aging. Or deaging since I've heard we had a case of that once." He scowled and let it clear up.
"We heard. I looked up the counter for the SHIELD agent," Dawn admitted. "Not that the guy didn't deserve it."
"I stayed out of that argument." She grinned. "Let me work on this. Are these the only copies?"
"No. I had the judgement copied for each of the kids. I have a few copies of each in my safety deposit box. Those are extra copies of their birth certificates. I didn't think a copy would work for this."
"No, it won't." He smiled. "I'll try to talk to the higher ups about this. I know the head of the State Department had a five martini lunch over that deaging thing." She shook his hand and went back to work. He took this to his boss. Who would help him pass it up because he wouldn't want the headache. His boss was on the phone but waved him in when he knocked. He put down the birth certificates. Then the picture and the judgement. His boss looked and grimaced. He pointed at one line of the judgement about the time difference. His boss popped an antacid. He accepted one when the roll was held out.
His boss shook his head, finishing the call with his divorce attorney then hanging up. He looked at his agent. "Is this important?"
"Their aunt travels for work and vacations. Two are in college and one's back and forth from Asgard. Apparently they nearly got arrested at the DMV but had to do a lot of explaining."
"After that deaging thing, we have a person who handles those cases for us. Or in case other aliens need paperwork done. I know the SGC used some very good forgeries over the years." He took another antacid. "Who?"
"Their aunt, Dawn Summers."
"As in married to two Avengers?"
"Her niece is the one Thor's married to," he said with a smile.
"Great." He finished chewing up that little chalky pill and looked over things. "The statement from Immigration is good."
"She's done all that she could think to do."
"That's about all I could think to do too outside their passports."
"She did say they needed them. Children's passports are marked differently than adult ones."
"I know. Okay, let me.... call the head office and have them tell me where to send these to that one agent." His agent smiled and left him to do that. His oversight person admitted he had no idea so he passed him up to the Director's secretary. Who wasn't what he'd want in a secretary but he guessed the boss had different needs. Him, personally, wanted someone like Joyce Banner as an assistant. His was usually that good though. She came in to make copies for their records while he talked to the head guy. "Director, I need to know who to send special cases to. Some children mostly raised on Asgard, sir." He nodded. "Yes, them. They're adults now and in college. Doing some traveling with their aunt for vacations.
"One's back and forth to Asgard with her spouse." He wrote down the name and fax number. "Thank you. Yes, all that. She's already done that part. We have a nice statement from Immigration. Julia?" She brought it back with the copies. "Thank you." She smiled and went back to her desk. "Immigration said that they're natural citizens. They have an official letter and a judge's statement. Their aunt did as much as she could before coming to my agent here. No, he helped when that idiot world leader wanted to marry her, sir. Yes, that one." He smiled. "Exactly. I can send it to him and your fax, sir. Thank you." He hung up and sent it to both places. Let his boss need more antacids. He'd reached his limit for the day and things like this gave him a headache.
Dawn smiled at the tv reporter interviewing her. "So, we've recently found out you've been arrested?" the reporter asked with a smirk.
Dawn laughed. "For public indecency in my own house."
"In *your* house?"
"Yeah." She smirked back. "The LAPD is still whining that I'm suing them to get that charge dropped. An officer, patrol officer in a cruiser, showed up at my house. He was apparently trying to notify my neighbor of something." The reporter nodded slowly. "He knocked and I yelled 'wait a minute, I'm naked, I was just in the shower, let me put on a robe'. So he broke in the door. Then he threw a fit that I was naked in my own house." The reporter burst out laughing. "When I shot back that if he had listened and not broken in, for no reason, then he wouldn't be seeing me naked so it was his own fault he decided I was a 'problem' and arrested me for it.
"So far, one LA County judge thinks it's within the law but the state judge I appealed the charge and fine to thought he was an imbecile and should've been fired. Especially as he had no probable cause to break in the door. The state judge also noted that complaining about a person being naked in their own home wasn't legal, and it wasn't legal to charge them for it as they're not in public. So he threw the charge out. The LAPD is making threats to me about 'every time we see you on the road driving we're pulling you over' and other cheery things but the lawyer there pointed out that retaliation for stupidity wasn't really within the law either. The state judge agreed with that too." She smiled.
"I've never seen anyone do that before," the reporter said.
Dawn grinned. "I realize there's people who still don't like me for whatever reason. That one doesn't like me because we found out he's a *huge* fan of the Avengers, especially Natasha, and he hates me for making sure that his one true pairing isn't together. Though, he hates Steve and Mom for the same reason. He apparently thinks giant science get-togethers are hot." The reporter burst out giggling. "I didn't know the LAPD hired twelve-year-old girls who wrote fanfiction but apparently they do and give them badges and guns. Most of the LAPD is really great guys, but now and then you run into one that makes you wonder what they were smoking to let them in."
"You do," the reporter agreed, smiling at her. "I've heard other rumors that there's people who think your boss is somehow moving to start a new intellectual movement?"
"Heard those same rumors and laughed my butt off. As far as I know, the evil Stark is one of the kids." The reporter grinned. She smiled back. "Liz likes to bite. A lot. She even bit Thor the other day until his mate scowled at her so she went to pout in the corner before she got grounded for it."
Dawn smiled. "Ask the PR guy at SHIELD for any information on other Avengers. I'm not allowed to give out information on anyone but myself and sometimes someone at Stark International."
"I can do that later." He tipped his head to the side. "The young blonde woman he's been seen with? She's usually found wearing armor?"
"Yes, she is. She went through Sword Sister training and got highest marks for her training group." She grinned. "She's very good at what she can and does do."
"Wonderful." He looked at his question list then at her. "Any more kids?"
"Not right now. We're waiting at least five, six years before we look at that issue."
"How are Philip and his siblings?"
"They're great. Philip's still having a problem with the 'two' thing. He doesn't quite understand why he has two sisters. He has a clear favorite sister but kids are like that sometimes. We're all working on that issue."
He nodded. "Sometimes kids get sibling rivalry."
"No, he threw an absolute fit when his second sister was introduced to him. Apparently he thought he'd only get one and he's not real happy with having two. Like I said, we're all working on that."
"Thanks. That's probably going to be a long war. He's more stubborn than even Mommy Natasha is."
"We've heard him call you the pet mommy."
"He does, yeah. I have no idea where that came from. Then again, for a while he thought he was a kitty cat. He even used the litterbox a few times. We had to get him to believe kitty cat collars were their clothes so he'd stay dressed." The reporter burst out laughing. "Oh, yes," she sighed, shaking her head but smiling. "Philip's a little bit unique sometimes but very stubborn. We used to wake up and find he had escaped his room to cuddle the cats while naked because he thought he was one of them. He used to meow at us too." The reporter kept laughing. "So apparently I'm the special kitty spouse to mine. He's almost two. He's a strange little guy now and then. Thankfully he'll keep growing up."
"I wish you a lot of luck with that one," the reporter laughed, shaking his head.
Dawn smiled. "Thanks. I think we might need it." The director yelled 'cut' and the cameras cut off. She grinned. "Clint needs it and a lot more patience to get that through Philip's tiny head. He's smart but he's a bit stubborn."
"I can tell."
Dawn grinned. "I turned around one night and found him naked and letting the cat give his stomach a bath."
"Oh, yes. Though most of us had the 'at least it wasn't from his diaper' thought." The reporter burst out laughing again. Dawn took off her microphone and smirked, heading off.
The reporter looked at his producer. "We're having Barton on, right?"
"We can ask about that." He went to make notes, still chuckling. Philip was an adorable little kid.
Clint looked at the same reporter. They had almost blackmailed SHIELD into making the Avengers do entertainment interviews. Which he hated but oh well, it was that or off the team. Even Steve had to do one; Joyce pushed him and Bruce into the studio. Then she got captured to give her own so it was only fair that they laughed at that. He smirked slightly. The guy was looking a bit scared. "I'm not here to smite you or anything. Smiting is Thor's job."
"I talked to him earlier. Your niece is his wife."
Clint nodded with a grin. "We're all real proud of Artemis and how she's trained herself. We don't usually talk about them to give her some privacy. She had the most massive crush on him once they met. Used to stare at him all the time."
"Huh. But it's mutual?"
"Yeah, it's all good with them. Thor got permission to court her and they're pretty happy together. Even if he said she does burn bread now and then."
"I guess that's something all young cooks do." He stared at him. "How is Philip?"
"He's good. He's a happy little guy most of the time. He was hanging all over Mira earlier singing her daycare songs."
"So he's not as fond of his other sister? Dawn mentioned he was having a favorite again."
"He's clearly got a favorite and we're working on that. We're not sure why. Then again, he showed a mommy favorite too. He still doesn't like to eat for me and Dawn but if Natasha asks, he's all over that. For a while she was the only one that could get him into clothes. He loves being a naked little guy."
"Some kids do. Is he okay otherwise?"
"He's good. He's really a smart little guy. Loves music, especially when I play for him. If we're home and I haven't played in a day or so he'll start to drag my guitar around with him all over the house as he follows me until I give in and play."
"That's great." He smiled. "The girls?"
"Both healthy little loud things. Alexina is a bit more quiet but Lexi is also the one that fusses if she doesn't match. We don't know *how* she knows she's not matching but she knows and will fuss. This morning we had her in purple and black and she fussed a bit until Philip scowled and told her she matched and to quit fussing because Mira needed dressed. We changed her shirt for her and it was good. Mira liked the purple shirt instead." He shrugged. "We have no idea how they know but they seem to."
"Are you and your spouses talking about the vaccine dilemma?"
"No. I hate seeing the kids cry from shots so Dawn handles most baby appointments. I held Lexi while she got one the other day and she gave me this look like I had just denied her a bottle for it. So no, Dawn handles the baby appointments." He grinned. "Natasha and I both agreed on that."
"So Dawn does more of the 'mom' stuff?"
"We all do it. We all feed and change diapers. Natasha likes to give them baths. They like her to give them baths. I'm still a bit weirded out by giving a little girl a bath. Dawn said it's probably natural and I'd deal with it. No trouble changing diapers but bathing is a bit weird to me. I'm guessing it's because I'm a guy and I realize I can't clean a girl like they could."
"It could be. I had some trouble with changing my daughter because I didn't feel comfortable wiping her down *there*."
"Exactly," Clint agreed with a nod and a slight grin. "We're all handling things but I... I feel kinda creepy actually."
"I'm sure a lot of fathers get that." He smiled. "We've seen Dawn and your nieces with your bow in the past. Did you train them in its use?"
"Dawn's got my backup spot on the team if we need her to, or for anything magic. She's a great shot with the bow or a gun. We go bow hunting every year." He smiled. "The nephew and nieces all learned better shooting habits from us but their father started their training for hunting. They can all use bows and guns. When they were up helping Atlantis on Asgard, they got in some hunting time with the soldiers. They learned a lot up there and it was more comfortable for them than the culture shock that they were working through."
"I overheard one of the soldiers missing their lake monster to feed idiots to?"
Clint smiled. "The lake Atlantis landed on up there, the Lake of Wailing, has a huge lake monster who's kinda lonely. She came up to play with the city's soldiers a lot. They fed her stuff they couldn't or wouldn't eat, like deer entrails and their meatloaf they hated, and she got petted or played with. Rodney, Dr. McKay, told us that the soldiers used to toss out a large beach ball to play with her." The reporter smiled. "I think they all miss her. Diana said she's really nice and kinda cuddly."
"Is that possibly why we've had unsubstantiated reports of a large, underwater moving mass in San Francisco Bay?"
"I think that was a submarine when they looked but not sure. If someone managed to bring the lake monster, I'm sure she'd be happy with it. I'm not sure if she could handle salt water or not though."
"Hadn't thought about that. So maybe an interior lake?"
"No clue," he admitted with a smile. "Not my field."
"Well, if you hear, let us know so the people that hunt Nessie can go take pictures of her."
Clint smiled. "She's bigger than Nessie's said to be. About twice as big I think."
"Maybe a Great Lake then." He smiled. "How are things going on a personal front?"
"Pretty good. We're all a bit tired due to colic the other day but otherwise it's pretty normal. Dawn did hire a housekeeper for the next few months so we wouldn't be tripping over dirty dishes we were all too tired to do but we all appreciate that. She even cleans the litterbox and helps Philip read to the girls."
"That's great." He smiled. "More kids?"
"Don't know. I know Dawn wants to wait for a bit. Not sure though."
"That's probably normal. I stopped at one. The wife refused to go through that again."
Clint grinned. "I loved being there for them during it. I got to see a lot of things I didn't when Dawn had Philip. It was pretty cool."
"It's said that she took part of her maternity leave in another country and didn't tell you she was going? Was she maybe having some depression issues?"
"No, we had a fight," he admitted. "We've since straightened that mostly out. There's still a few things but we're settled back into the semi-normal routine and are working on the rough area. It needed some sanding."
"So, something huge?"
"Yes and no, but I'm not going to talk about it."
Clint snorted, smirking some. "I duck post-mission psych reviews, I don't think I'd go to one willingly. We're more than adult enough to argue when we need to and Grandma Joyce has the kids for a few hours."
"That's good. But you're solid?"
"We're pretty good."
"That's good." He smiled. "Is your other wife planning on any more children? I know a few made sure by asking if Dawn had twins since she hid so much of her pregnancy but even by sight you can tell that they're not twins."
"Probably not. She wasn't sure she wanted to be pregnant this time. It did impact her job and she didn't want that to happen yet. Since it did, she moved around it and is taking her recertification tests this week."
"That's great. So she's back on for field duty?" Clint nodded. "Dawn as well?"
"Dawn passed hers last week. She's still fussing at a bit of baby weight but otherwise we're good."
"That's great. What about the rumors going around that Tony Stark's starting a new Illuminati group?"
Clint burst out laughing. "Stark can't even remember what day it is when he's involved in a new project. He's went whole weeks without seeing Pepper, Steve, or the kids. And you guys think he can run a covert conspiracy group?" He snickered, shaking his head. "Maybe Liz some day but not Tony."
"That's good to know. They mentioned his interns go to some of the best companies."
"They probably do. He's very picky about the interns and they're usually some of the brightest there are. They're mentored in the labs so they're good to go when they fledge and I'd guess other tech people would want someone that came from that sort of sturdy background."
"I'd suppose that's a good point. Mr. Stark recently gave a college he's never donated to before a grant for scholarships."
"They're on his 'always accept' list."
"Yes. There's a few programs that he'll almost always accept from and one of the programs he noted is one of them from what I've heard around."
"We were wondering if that was perhaps Callia's college choice."
"She's looking at a few and has a very short list. I'm not sure if she's decided yet or not."
"Is she going to go early like her father?"
Clint smiled. "Dawn said if she's not careful she's going to be graduating by next year." The reporter's mouth flopped open. "No one thinks she's ready yet so she's doing extra classes. She's got a good school here in the city that she works through long distance. They're going to let her attend regular classes starting next year."
"She has been home schooled exclusively."
"Security reasons and a bit about her health," Clint said. "She did three classes at a time at her own speed until she got to the higher levels. Then there were deadlines for papers and the like. It taught her a lot. Tony used to assign her research papers for punishment." He smirked. "She was not fond of those. She got one on women in science fields and the discrimination they face. They gave her one on historical figures that had very little on them so she *really* had to look."
"That might turn a child off education totally."
"She liked the other stuff and that was punishment. She liked that more than being grounded to the apartment without tv or the computers."
"A few reporters have noted that one of her parents had to stomp off to correct her a few times. Including about boy things?"
"Callia hates to change diapers but she will if she's helping take care of a kid. Tony made sure she spent time with normal kids like the twins. She also did the kiddy playtimes for all the scientist's kids before they had the daycare so everyone's future geeks got along with her siblings. She noticed a few of them were uncircumcised while helping change diapers." The reporter shuddered. "When her parents tried to discourage her and give her generic answers she went looking online. Found a few medical sites and found some porn. She was grounded from everything for six months. Had to tell Legal what she had done in case there were problems so they could show her where she had violated laws. She also had to learn how to write papers by hand since she couldn't type them up. Had a fit until things got calmed down and they showed her how to do outlines and drafts. It worked and she finally got the point that sometimes she doesn't need an answer until she's older."
"I guess that might help. She got onto a porn site?"
"She got onto a few porn sites from what I heard. Then she went to complain to Pepper and Steve about what she saw. Bruce nicely told her she wasn't supposed to be on them and if she had read the text around the pictures she would've known that."
"So Stark's really raising them with everyone helping?"
"Sometimes it takes everyone to help. Like Chris and Callia's rocket powered roller skates. It took Steve to point out what safety gear was, repeatedly, even after he broke his arm. I had to fire a line to catch him one day because Stark couldn't and he was blasting toward a gravel parking lot. Pepper had to talk to him about how good boys don't take things from their sister's workshop without telling her. And made him quit stealing her Red Bull she's not allowed to have. Sometimes it takes a group to mentor a Stark kid."
"She created rocket powered roller skates?"
Clint grinned. "Her very first design on her own was a rocket powered self-rocking cradle."
"Awww, but dangerous."
"They got it down to the air powered system they're still selling. Anytime it's something too big or too powerful they talk to her about things like physics and inertia and how things need to be more delicate. Or if it's totally impractical, Tony shows her things like material and manufacturing cots so she knows it's not practical but they don't shoot her ideas down."
"That's great. She's clearly a chip off his block." He smiled. "Thank you for talking to us."
"Dawn considers you at least interesting." He gave him a pointed look. The director called 'cut'. "And if it wasn't for the blackmailing of the bosses, I'd still be hiding." He handed over the microphone with a grin. "Let me get Dawn lunch." He left, going back to the tower with a stop for lunch on the way. Dawn was eating a salad but gladly took the sandwich to go with it. He took a kiss. "He wasn't bad."
"No, he's not. Which is why I picked him when they blackmailed us to stop some of the rumors going on." She ate a bite and moaned. "Nat's sandwich but still great." He groaned. She kissed him with a grin. "You tried, I'm happy that you tried and I'm hungry." He smiled and sat down next to her so she could eat and type. He took the keyboard from her, earning a tiny smirk and her eating instead of working through lunch.
Tony walked past them reading something. "Yes, it frustrated her to no end but it was good for her," he said. "Thanks, Barton."
"Boss, you're tomorrow," Dawn said between bites.
"Yay. Remind me then. Figure out what I'm wearing too."
"You're going to let me gay you up?" she joked. He shot her a smirk before going into the office and locking the doors. "Sure. Let's see, that royal purple suit with the black shirt maybe?" She ate while thinking about it. She decided that was a good look and looked at her spouse, who shrugged. "Good point, you've never seen them. That or his baby gray one." She finished up and went up to check his closet really fast. She could send something to the cleaner if she had to. Nope, neither suit. She huffed and called his tailor, who had them both to fix a broken seam. He promised to let her pick them up in the morning. She went back to her desk, stepping over Clint before taking a kiss and sitting down. "Boss, they'll be back in the morning," she called. "I'll give you two choices and you'll actually have to do your hair."
"I taught you how to have a media presence, Dawn. I know how it's done," he called back. "No interruptions for the next hour."
"She's due to feed Maeve in a half-hour, boss."
"Yeah, that'll work for us."
"Okay." She made that note and settled in to finish her typing, pulling Clint down for another kiss when he stood up. "Thank you for lunch."
"Welcome." He walked off happier. He ran into Callia. "Your parents are locked in the office for the next hour."
"Yay," she muttered, turning around to walk with him. "I'm bored."
"Don't you have homework?"
"I'm on break."
"Go play in the daycare so you don't have kids until you're forty?" he suggested.
She snorted and waved a hand. "Not likely. I'm trying to get away from Liz and Chris for a bit. They're being annoying today."
"Sometimes kids do that. You had your days."
"I'm sure I did." She smirked at him. "Let me go steal Philip. He's being fussy." She jogged off to the elevator to head down there. The daycare worker there was happy to let her take him as long as they stayed in the building. She had spent a ton of time in there helping with the kids and they knew that she'd never do anything harmful around Philip. She brought Philip up to look at pictures with her. Steve had finally gotten around to making them put them in albums instead of in the picture place envelopes. Philip liked pictures. "Look, this is Mommy Pepper after she had Liz," she said with a point at the picture and ID band that had been put into the scrapbook. "That's Liz in the hospital basinet. See, that's the name tag they gave each of us so they know who we are. Daddy said someone tried to sneak me from the hospital but they caught her because of that. Thankfully they caught Lexi before they could get too far from the hospital."
"Someone take Lexi?" he asked, frowning.
"Yup. They sure tried. Mommy Dawn stopped them." Philip frowned at her. "Your daddy was busy with Mira."
"Oh." He frowned. "Why?"
"Because... remember, both mommies were in the hospital at the same time having the babies, Philip."
"Oh." He sucked on his bottom lip while they went over the other pictures. He looked at her. "Mine?"
"Yours is at home. I'm not sure where. You'd have to ask the mommies."
He nodded, wandering off to find his mother. JARVIS made sure he got there from the elevator since he didn't understand that buttons led somewhere specific yet. He climbed into her lap, staring at her. "Pictures?"
She smiled. "At home. We can look at them later." He smiled and snuggled in. "Why aren't you in daycare?"
"That's cool." She gave him a cuddle and went back to typing around him. She had done a lot of that with Callia. When she got done for the day, she picked up the other two and got them down to the hired car. She didn't want to take a chance and neither did Clint. They got home and Dawn got the kids upstairs and put into their cribs. The girls were thankfully still asleep. "Want your pictures or mommy and daddy pictures, Philip?"
"Me?" She brought over his photo album, pulling him onto her lap. She opened it and he frowned then looked at her. "Me?"
"Yeah, you. That was right after I gave birth to you." He scowled. "Like Lexi, you came from my belly. See, that's Mommy Natasha and Daddy there holding you in the next one." She pointed. He started to cry. She cuddled him but he batted at her and ran to his room, slamming the door. Dawn huffed but felt like doing the same thing. It was official, her son hated her and everything she did. She got up to go to her room for a bit. She wasn't a happy mommy by any means. She heard Natasha come in and check on the kids. Philip threw an unholy fit at her for interrupting his sulk. Natasha came in a minute later. "He wanted to look at his pictures and apparently he wasn't fond of the idea that I had him. He still hates every fucking thing I do."
"He does not." She kissed her. "Let me talk to him." She went to pull their son out of the bedroom to sit on the couch so they could talk. He was still scowling at her. "What's wrong?" He batted at her but she blocked it and held his hands in his lap. "You do not hit adults, Philip. It is not proper behavior." He blinked up at her. She picked up the photo album. "Not my best work but it was on a timer. That is you when you were born." He shook his head and started to cry. "I'm sorry that upsets you but you were born from Dawn." She flipped the page. "That's you having your first meal from the mother." She pointed. "See, you're nursing like Maeve does." He was still crying. "I do not know what is wrong." She put down the album to cuddle him but he got free and ran off again, slamming his door again, which woke up the girls. She sighed but got up to check on them. They went back to sleep after a few belly pats. Clint came off the elevator with bags. "You need to speak to your son."
"What'd he do this time?"
"Beyond trying to beat me? He is most upset that his baby album has his mother in the bed."
"Huh." He put the food onto the counter and went to talk to his warped little spawn. Sometimes his son reminded him a bit of his brother. He had to break that bad habit now before it got worse. He settled in beside where Philip was laying on his bed. "Hey." Philip looked at him. "What's wrong?"
"No mommy?" he asked quietly.
"Dawn's your birth mommy but we all love you like mommy." He pulled him over. "You're a lucky little guy, Philip. You have *two* mommies. They both love you whole lots. That's more than a lot of kids get." Philip started to cry again. "If you were older you could tell me why that's making you cry but I guess you can't." He carried him into their bedroom. Dawn didn't look happy either. "Hey." He kissed her on the temple. "I don't know why he's so upset."
"I think he thought maybe he was Natasha's since she's the favorite mommy." She took him to cuddle but he struggled so she let him go. Clint caught him before he could stomp off again and they laid down beside her. She touched Clint's arm. "He's fine. He'll grow out of it. Some year."
Clint stared at her. "No, I think it's time he quit playing favorites." Dawn nodded that might be nice and curled up on his shoulder. Philip was ignoring them. He looked at the epic pout. "He gets that from you. You do the same pouty face."
Dawn smiled slightly. "At least it's a good pouty face." She touched Philip's leg, making him wail and run back to his room to slam the door again. "I have no idea," she said, losing her smile. "No idea at all."
"We'll figure it out." Natasha headed for the girls, kicking Philip out of there. "He good?" Clint called.
"He's scowling at Lexi and Mira," she said, coming to the doorway with Philip on her hip. "I don't know why."
"He hates that I gave birth to him, the same way he hates anything else I do," Dawn said sarcastically. "That's probably why he hates Lexi."
"We can work on that," Natasha said, taking Philip to his room to talk to him again. Even if he did fuss a lot about things, he had to quit being so damn stubborn sometime soon. She hoped.
Dawn came in the next morning wearing sunglasses on a cloudy day and a comfortable short sleeve sweater dress, carrying Tony's suits from his tailor in a bag. Pepper stared at her for a moment then took the sunglasses. "Sparring?" Pepper asked.
"Son. Fit throwing son. Then he got me in the stomach. Clint and he had a *long* talk last night and he came back to hit me again until I paddled him and put him in the corner." She took the sunglasses back to put on. "I can pretend it's a hangover. It'd be nicer if it was." She logged in and settled in behind her desk for the day. The suits went on her coat rack for him to pick up and choose one.
Pepper stared at her. "What set him off?"
"We showed him a picture from just after his birth and he still hates me being his mom. Same as before." She shook her head. "They're trying yet again today."
"He'll grow out of it, Dawn. Chris will grow out of his demented phase and yours will quit being so angry."
"We hope so."
Pepper patted her on the shoulder, seeing the wince. "Him?"
"Slept sitting up due to Mira having colic again. Though I had to get up suddenly when I heard Philip going in there to complain at Lexi about being born. They were sleeping."
"He needs help."
"He's about to get it," Dawn said. "I have no idea why this started but damn it I've had enough. Not even Mom has any ideas how to cure it."
"He'll settle down." Natasha came off the elevator. "The girls?"
"Daycare. Philip is spending time with Bruce so he can't get near them." She tipped Dawn's face up. "You could use the bruise cream."
"I did use the bruise cream."
"Ow." She kissed her on the forehead. "I'll get you an ice pack later." She walked off. "Are you joining us for sparring later?"
Dawn snorted. "I'm still sore, Nat. There's no way in hell I can spar and not end up hurting myself or someone else."
"Good point." She went over to sparring practice. Clint was over there and so was Bruce. "The son?"
"Joyce." He smiled. "She thinks she can straighten him out."
"Tell that to Dawn's black eye," Clint complained. "Or the new bruise on her stomach from him. I've got to go home early today to alarm the baby's room so Philip can't get in there."
"It sucks when you have to think like that," Tony said quietly. "He hit Dawn?"
"Popped her pretty well in the eye then kicked her in the stomach," Clint said. "Then we had a talk and he nicely tried again because she caught him heading for the girls." Tony winced. "I'm about to drop kick him into therapy if we can't solve this. The kid's going bad and I have no idea how we managed that."
"I think this goes back to his theory that Natasha's the best thing since sliced bread," Bruce said. "He's still calling Dawn Mommy Pet, right?" They both nodded. "It could be that he's decided that she's your human kitty cat. Not that it means he's part pet."
"Maybe," Clint said. "My kid needs therapy more than I do." He dropped his bottle of water. "Sparring, Nat?"
"Please. Dawn's saying she's still too sore."
"She's got us blocked again," he said. "I know she spent a good hour last night with the heating pad after he kicked her." They moved into the sparring ring to work out together.
Tony and Bruce shared a look. When Steve got there, he got in to help them spar so he could lose the urge to smite the lower agents he had to deal with. That got another shared look and Tony smirked evilly.
Bucky walked up to Dawn. "Sparring, Summers."
"Bullshit. No woman's that sore."
She looked up at him. "I have multiple tears, Barnes, and I'm still getting over that neat infection I got." He glared. She touched his arm so he could feel like she did. He groaned and went to his knees holding his stomach. "I might need it but I'm in no shape to spar," she said quietly. "Go beat up on my spouses for me." She sat back and went back to typing. "If I can handle it at twenty-three, you should be able to handle it at your age, Barnes," she said when he hadn't moved.
He looked up at her. "It's always like that?"
She looked at him. "Bit less than when I first gave birth."
"Why did you do it that way then?"
"Um, duh?" She stared at him. "Were *you* there to guard my daughter?" He shook his head, not able to meet her eyes. "Neither was anyone else. So therefore I did what I had to do so she was safely delivered and then safe. Now, I have to pay for that expedience. Always a price in life for safety. Anything else?" He shook his head, using the corner of her desk to stand up and limp off. She shook her head. "Men," she muttered.
Pepper came out to stare at her. "You're still hurting?" Dawn looked up and nodded. "Another checkup soon?"
"Friday afternoon. That's why I won't be there for that meeting."
"Good! Any hope?"
"It hurts less and hopefully that infection's gone."
"It had better be." She went back to her office to text Joyce that. Dawn really needed some rest. "Want today off to go soak?"
"Doesn't help. Thanks though."
"Sure." She got back to her duties. She also told Joyce about Dawn's new black eye and how she got it. Joyce, not so happy of a grandma.
Dawn stopped at SHIELD to pick up Philip, staring at him when he started to fight and struggle. "I don't give a damn, son. Let's. Go."
He stared at her. She only used that voice on bad guys that tried to hurt him. "Me bad?"
"Yup. You sure as fuck are. Let's go. Now." She pointed. "Had enough of the fit. I really have. I have a headache. I'm still sore from where you kicked me. Let's. Go." He pouted but grabbed his backpack to go with her. "Thanks, Mom."
"Dawn, be a bit nicer," she said quietly.
Dawn took off her sunglasses, making her mother wince. "And then he tried it again after we stopped him. Hell no. It's time this fit stopped. We've all tried to stop it and I've had it." She walked Philip off, putting back on her sunglasses. Philip was pouty but yay.
"Music?" he asked in the elevator.
"If you can talk your father into it." He pouted. "Don't start. Not in the mood, Philip. Really not in the mood." She walked him out to the car, the girls were already at home with Nat and Clint. She got him into his carseat and buckled up, nodding at the driver. He drove them off. Dawn sighed after five minutes in the wrong direction. "Is there a wreck?" she asked finally. "I didn't know we were living out this way."
"Sorry, ma'am," he said, pushing a button. "Orders and all."
Dawn pulled out her gun to knock out a window and then point at him. "Home, now please. Orders be damned. He's young enough to not remember me blowing your head off."
"Bulletproof glass, ma'am."
Dawn smirked. "Magic. Can teleport, asshole. Home. Now." He shuddered but kept going. Dawn calmly sent a bullet into the engine to stop it. He turned to glare at her. She was staring back. She unbuckled Philip and herself, making sure she had their bags. They got out of the car and walked off together. "With me, Philip."
"Why?" he whined.
"Oh." He walked off holding her hand, not looking very happy. A cop car came up to them. "I wanna go home!" he shouted at the officer.
Dawn looked at him. "That's where we're heading."
"Mommy Nat not you!"
Dawn rolled her eyes. "He's my son, he's being a pain in the ass. We're heading home since the hired car decided to try to kidnap us." She pointed back at it. "He had *orders*."
"We should probably take you to the station, ma'am," one said quietly.
"Sure," she decided. "Let's go. I can call the spouse to come down and spank this one for his bullshit. Again."
"Ma'am, are you being threatened?" the second officer asked. "I noticed the sunglasses." She pointed at him. "He did?"
"He's not happy he has two sisters and he's not happy he found out I'm his mom and not his favorite parent. He's two. We had to stop him from throwing a fit on his sisters last night too, guys."
"Not mine," Philip said firmly. "Dumbass."
"Watch me paddle you," Dawn offered, staring down at him. "Talk about music? It's gone for *weeks*." He pouted and looked down. She smiled. "We'd love the charming ride to the station before the guys driving through traffic like maniacs hit us." They turned to look. The car was aimed at them. Dawn threw over a shield device from her purse. It stopped the car cold. "Huh, that new compact design is great." She handed one of the officers her son and walked over to pick it up and looked at the driver. "What the fuck are you doing?" she asked.
"You ruined her," he sneered, pulling up a gun. Dawn summoned it and smiled. He blinked. "I'll kill you. We will all kill you."
"Yeah, get in line. My son's better than you'll ever be and he's two." She walked off, handing the officer the gun. "Fucking morons. Station?"
"Yes," the officer with her son agreed. "I'll...." The other officer nodded. He took them back to the station, where she called Clint.
Clint walked in looking at Philip. "So grounded."
He pouted. "Music?"
"Nope. Even if I wasn't going on assignment there's no music for *weeks*." He stared down at him. "Bad Philip."
"No!" he shouted. "Bad mommy!"
"No, bad Philip. Very bad Philip." Philip sniffled. "Yay." He handed over the birth certificate. "We're still together."
"That's fine, sir. He made an allegation that she's not his mother."
"No, he hates that fact for some reason we don't understand. He thinks Natasha is his mom. We've recently proved him wrong, that's why she's got a black eye." He stared at his son again. "Let's go." He looked at the officer.
"Go ahead. We had to make sure."
"No, I'm happy you did since a few of you guys didn't when they tried to take my daughter from the birthing center," Dawn said quietly. "I like the officers that do their jobs and do it well and properly. Thank you." He grinned. She handed Philip to Clint. "If I wasn't so sore I'd ask to spar," she said quietly as they walked away from the desk area. She looked up and frowned at the sound of a helicopter. "Clint."
"I hear." He got them both out of the way as something came crashing down through the ceiling. He shielded them with his body, which meant he got hit with debris that knocked him out. Philip was fussing.
Dawn looked at him. "Hush! It's bad guys," she said in his ear. "Stay with Daddy." He reached for her. "Hug Daddy. He's got booboos. Let Mommy handle this." She stood up and one of them stared and pointed a taser at her. "You're going to fuck that if you fire it at me." He did and she sent it back at him to make him scream. "I can shove it a better place," she offered. "Philip, dig out Mommy's purse." He got it from under the daddy so she grabbed things out of it, pushing the emergency beacon button. It went right to Stark's phone. He could call an assemble. She grabbed her gun and went after the guys that were trying to kill the officers. "Guys, not cool." They shot at her and she fired back. "Not likely. Not with my son here."
One smirked. "Good. There's a good bounty to capture him." Dawn shot him and he fell down dead.
"She killed Adam!" another shouted. More of them came back. Dawn put up a shield around their safe spot and let them waste bullets for now. The other officers were using the time to regroup and get reinforcements. Then something pretty came through the door. A shiny shield. A red, white, and blue shield. One that knocked down a lot of bad guys. Dawn summoned it back before it got to the officers and threw it again to get the two rushing for the line up to their chopper. Stark was waiting on the one that made it up the rope ladder. Dawn checked before taking down the shielding device. She walked over to Cap's shield where it was stuck in a wall and yanked it free. She handed it to him and looked up the hole. "Stark, can I kill him yet?"
"No. We need to question him, Dawn."
"Okay." She heard a scream and turned, pointing her gun at the guy who had her son. "Put my son down."
"No! I'll put him down when I'm safer!"
"Son, nowhere is safe if you have him," Steve said calmly.
"Especially since I can kill you and not touch him," Dawn agreed with a mean smirk. "I'm already in a bad damn mood, mother fucker. Put my son the fuck down." The guy was shaking. Dawn pulled out something and opened the cap. "He's got the antidote already." She smiled. The guy threw Philip, who Steve caught since he was thrown at him. Dawn got the guy with a good pounce then made him really sorry.
Stark walked in and pulled Dawn up, staring at her. "Aren't you sore?"
"He had my son. I can be more sore for that."
"Sure." He put her on her feet and pointed. "That son?"
"You're mean!" he shouted.
Dawn stared at him. "Shut up." The boy flinched. "Just wait until you learn what 'grounded' means, son. Then you'll really think I'm mean." She squatted down to help Clint wake up since he was groaning. "Sorry, but it's handled for now."
He blinked at her. "Great. What happened?" She pointed at the hole. "Hmm. Where are we?"
"If you have amnesia I'm so kicking your ass. Sore or not." She stood up and looked around. "Let's get paramedics," she told a staring officer.
"Ma'am, how did you get the black eye?" She pointed at her pouty first born. "Oh."
"He's hating that I'm the biological mommy instead of his favorite mommy."
"Sometimes kids are like that." He called that in and Dawn took Philip from Steve.
"Let's get you home then I'll go sit with Daddy in the ER." He scowled. She ignored it. He tried to kick her in the stomach and he got swatted lightly for it.
The officer shook his head. "She's a strong mother."
"Philip's being a little shit," Stark said. "Tried to hurt his sister last night."
"Some kids are like that," he assured them. "They have drugs for it."
"He's not evil. He's just a bit stubborn about how things should be," Steve said quietly. "He has a clear favorite." That officer nodded. Paramedics got there. "Clint's got a probable concussion. Don't worry so much about him."
"We can check and come back to him, Captain," one of the paramedics said. They had injured officers and they were always a first priority.
Dawn walked Clint into the apartment, letting him flop down on the couch. She got him some tylenol and some water, handing it over. She heard a fuss and went to check on the girls. Philip was cooing at Mira but ignoring the fussing one. "If you're going to play with the babies, you have to play with both."
"Mean," he countered. She pointed so he huffed off. He spotted his father and ran out to cuddle him. "Daddy?"
"Daddy's head hurts, kiddo."
He pouted. "Music?"
"Aren't you grounded?" he asked, staring at his son. Philip was pouting worse. "You did bad things, son, and that's not allowed. Especially not hurting the parents or your sisters."
"Bad!" he shouted.
Clint winced at the loud noise. "No, they're not bad." Philip huffed and stomped off, taking a kick at the guitar. Natasha came over to stop him before he could manage it, handing him back to Clint. "Thanks."
"You are called off from this mission." She went to finish her packing. Philip whined and wiggled until he could follow her. "Yes, Philip?"
"No go!" he shouted.
She stared down at him. "Modulate your voice to less than a yell please." He whimpered. She picked him up to cuddle him. "I have been on missions before."
"No go!" he said, staring at her.
"I have to go. I will be very safe and be back very shortly."
"Yes, I must go. It is my job. Like your mother's job is typing things up, this is part of my job." He scowled. She stared at him. "You will behave better for your mother while we are gone. I do not want her to have to call me crying because you were mean again." She stared at him, hoping he understood. He probably didn't but perhaps he understood some of it. Someone buzzed and she sighed. "With my luck it's a reporter."
"Worse," Dawn quipped as she pushed the entry button. "It's Hunt." Clint shook his head with a moan. Ethan came off the elevator. "He has a concussion."
"Why?" he demanded.
Dawn turned on the tv, where the news crews were still reporting on the attempted takeover of a police station and the Avengers showing up. "Our son decided to pull a 'not my mommy' so we were there with Clint picking us up. That's when they broke the roof and slid in." She rolled her eyes as she walked off. "Nat, if you're taking my black shirt, leave me something I can wear instead please."
"I packed mine."
"It has lace."
"I'll make sure it's mine." She handed Philip to Clint and strolled off. "How long did you need him for this time since we were due to leave early this morning on a mission?"
"That's why I'm here," he said, staring at Philip. "Why are you so pouty?"
"He's having a bad boy day," Clint said dryly. "We've all had it with him." He put the kid beside him, making Philip sniffle. Clint stared at him. "Who was in there trying to hurt his sister?"
"Not mine!" he shouted.
"Yeah, yours. They're both yours, get over it already before *I* spank you." Philip gave him the hurt, pouty look he had learned off his mother somehow. He stared back. "I love Lexi and Mira, Philip. Both. They are both my little girls the same way you're my son. You will learn to get along with them both." Philip huffed off again and slammed his room door loud enough to rattle a few windows. Which of course woke up Mira. Clint groaned but Dawn was getting her so he relaxed again. "Sorry. Got knocked out by the roof earlier."
"It happens. Think you can do surveillance?"
"There's two and a half of you right now," Clint said honestly.
"No, it's okay." He sat down on the couch, watching the replay. "What were they wanting?"
"No clue. I woke up to Dawn sneering at the guy who was trying to hold the son hostage and swearing. The team was there by then." Phil Coulson appeared, staring at him. "Concussion," he defended.
"What's wrong with my namesake?"
"The same thing that's been wrong with him only he now knows he's not Mommy Natasha's baby," Dawn said, coming out cuddling Mira. "Nat, she's hungry. Do you want me to breastfeed her? I'm still putting out a tiny bit."
"No, she's being bottlefed," Natasha said firmly, coming out to take her. "You know that."
Dawn stared at her back. "It might give me some bonding time with her. Which might be handy since you're going to be leaving me with them while you're off on a job." Natasha stiffened. She went back to helping people pack.
"Evil bitch!" Philip shouted from his room.
Dawn walked over and opened the door. "Corner, now," she said with a point at one in the living room. Her son glared. She picked him up and carried him to it, sticking him in it. He tried to move. She turned him back around. "Stay there." He fought, kicking and punching at her, but she kept him in there until he finally gave up and just sobbed like she was beating him. She walked off. "He has ten minutes in there."
"He's got more than that for hitting you," Clint said, staring at his son. "Very bad, son."
"Evil! You bad!" he shouted and tried to head off.
Phil picked him up to read his mind, inserting in the right thought again. He screamed and tried to get down but Phil calmed him down and made him see the problem. Then he put him back into the corner. Philip was still crying. Phil looked at Dawn. "Your eye?"
"Hmm. We'll help you break it, Dawn." She smiled and pulled out stuff for dinner. "Want help?" he asked Ethan.
"It's surveillance at the moment but we might need him in his other areas."
"Sure, if I can quit seeing double," Clint promised. He waved a hand. "That'll take a few days though."
"We'll check before we move onto a higher level of the operation," Ethan said, standing up. "Dawn, can you please talk to Benji? He's been muttering about you again."
Dawn smiled at him. "We chatted last night, Ethan. We talk about once a week."
"Why is he muttering?"
"I think it translated to 'you're a clueless dick who dates evil bitches' to put it into American for you."
"Oh, that again." He grimace but shook his head. "It was for an op."
"The redhead was?" she asked with a slight smile. "Though, yes, she is."
Ethan groaned and went to talk to his comm and tech agent. Natasha looked over. "He told you that much detail?"
"He sent me a picture when I asked. It's one of the bimbos Tony dated that turned out to be an industrial spy." She smiled. "I warned Tony that she had popped back up on the radar. He set the building's defenses to burn her to death." She got back to chopping veggies.
"Soup?" Clint asked, sounding hopeful.
"Pasta dish and you're getting soup."
"Thanks." He looked at his son. "You need to behave." He stomped off but Natasha kept him out there to make him behave. Philip grabbed the baby and tried to carry her off but he was too small and Mira was going to get hurt. Dawn cushioned the baby while Natasha took her back. Clint stared at his son. "It's time for a long daddy talk, son." Philip pouted at his sister. Clint stood up, grabbing his head. "C'mon. Let's go talk."
"Not the roof," Dawn said quietly. "He might try something dumb."
"We have a basement," Clint reminded her, kissing her on the cheek as he walked Philip past her. Dawn got back to work and Natasha finished their packing duties. They'd handle it somehow. Even if Dawn did have to start taking Philip to see a therapist.
Dawn was meeting with a therapist a few days later because her last nerve had been shattered last night. "No, I'm his biological mother but he's always had a preference. Even though I breastfed him, once he was weaned it was all about the other mommy. That's why I'm healing a black eye and a bruised stomach." The therapist nodded. "Things were okay until he got *two* sisters, one from each of us. Now that same favoritism is reflected in how he hates one of them." She looked at her son again then at him. "If you don't know how to cure this, we're going to have to make sure he can't get near his sisters until he's older."
"When did he start showing the preference against his sister?"
"As soon as his father showed her to him. Shamira was born first, and from his favorite mommy."
"Do we think this has anything to do with your untraditional relationship? It is a bit unusual and could be confusing him."
"I doubt that. It's not like it's a new thing. Frankly, even when I was breastfeeding him he thought she was better than sliced cheese most of the time."
"My mommy," Philip told her.
"I am your mother, Philip."
"No! Not the mommy! Mommy Nat mommy!"
Dawn rolled her eyes. "Then that happens. He throws a fit, he's hit me, he's tried to hit his sisters."
"Does he spend more time with her?"
"No. I have the more flexible schedule and she's out on assignments often enough. I'm the one that's always there."
"Could he be sensing your own problems within the relationship? You sound a bit angry."
"My son prefers my wife to me. The one I gave birth to has hated me since he was old enough to know that Mommy Natasha had a bigger set of breasts and shared his love of baths," she said dryly. "I'm not angry about it. It's something I've been fighting against since he was about six months old. He'll come looking for me to protect him but not anything else. All that he goes to her."
"Does he spend time with his father?"
"When Clint's there he's very hands on. Especially since he's got Clint's love of music."
"That's good." He looked at the pouty baby. Then at the mother again. "What happened when you introduced his sisters to him?"
"He was with Natasha in her room. She delivered a day and a half earlier than I did. Clint brought her in and Philip threw an awesome fit. He tried to run away from them while throwing the fit. It hasn't gotten any better since then. Even when we took some of my maternity leave with just the sister he hates, he kept telling her she wasn't as good as her sister, and once that sister appeared again he went back to openly ignoring Lexi or downright trying to harm her. Then the other day, he wanted to look at his baby pictures and realized I had him so he's now taking it out on me too."
"There's medicines we can try."
"That's not an option we like," Dawn said. "I don't think he's normally dangerous but I think he's confused and stubborn."
"We have tried to talk to him about it?"
"Everyone has tried to talk to him about it, including some that his Uncles Phil and Xander called in who are more experienced parents." The therapist nodded at that, making a note. "We've talked, Nat's talked, Clint's talked, Mom and Bruce have talked. Callia's talked to him and it calmed him down for a few minutes. Then he was just ignoring her."
"Mira fine," Philip said, glaring at her.
"And your other sister?"
He shrugged. "So?" She glared. "Not care." He went back to playing.
"Excuse me while I check." She called the office. "It's Dawn. My son just said Mira's fine..... what do you mean someone stole my daughter?" The therapist shuddered. "Who?" She stood up and snapped. "Philip. No, he's coming there and I'm going to handle this. Because I don't trust most of the agents to really give a damn about my daughter, Steve." She hung up. "Thank you for your time." She took Philip with her, even though he fussed. "Who took your sister?" she demanded in the car.
Dawn stared at him until he shrank down. "Who. Took. Your. Sister. Lexi?" Philip started to bawl and whine. When they got to Stark, she handed him to Pepper. "I'm going to beat him to death. Please have a guest for a few hours." She walked off after getting her bigger guns from her desk. "Who in the fucking hell stole my daughter, Stark?"
"Good, go get it from my son since apparently he knew."
Stark looked at her then scanned some different footage in the building. "Them."
Dawn looked. Then up. "I still have the marker on Lexi. Be right back."
"You're sore," Stark reminded her, trying to catch her.
"Yay." She appeared where her daughter was and shot the people standing there. "I don't think you should have my daughter." She walked over, smiling at her. "Your big brother in such deep shit it's not funny, dear. He's probably going to stay with someone tonight so neither of us feel the urge to beat him to death. Let's get you back to the infirmary." She took the IV she was on with her. Then she came back to finish cleaning out the people who had taken her child. She was not happy and *EVERYONE* was going to know that. When she heard sirens she disappeared back to Stark. The infirmary was doing bloodwork and checking her over. "She okay?"
"At the moment she looks fine. The IV doesn't appear to have anything in it beyond some immune suppressants but we're testing it, Dawn."
"Great. We're going to one of the other houses for a bit because the FBI just showed up to see why I was killing a huge amount of people who had my daughter hostage." They nodded and got her set up to travel. She looked upstairs then at the doc. She called Pepper. "Lexi and I are going to go for a long visit somewhere. No, because I'll beat him to death, Pepper. Literally. He watched his sister be taken and didn't say a word," she said a bit too calmly. "Right now, I'm really hating my son and I'm going to kill him. So therefore, have Clint take him when he gets here please." She and the baby disappeared. "There, we'll make sure you're okay," she soothed. The baby snuffled a few times but went back to sleep. Dawn fell onto a couch and calmed herself down. Her stomach still hurt. She was about ready to have it all removed and try to regrow it again.
Asclepias appeared, staring at her. "What did you do?"
"I shot a whole bunch of people who had my daughter. Why?"
"Not that." He touched her head. "You're still in bad shape."
"I'm about to try to regrow it."
"Try a healing spell?"
"I have been. Every. Single. Day."
He got a book and handed it to her. "Try that one." She read it over and did it. Then winced as things went really, really wrong. She ripped again and started to bleed. "Crap." He got some golden apple juice, half an apple's worth, and that helped. She was back down to mildly sore. He got her some more and that finished it, knocking her out. He checked the baby, healing her injuries. He noticed something going on and did a more thorough checking spell. "Well, you'll be very smart, dear." He left them to sulk or whatever. Hera was waiting impatiently for him so he showed her why he had taken it from his stores.
Hera shook her head. "She didn't have to do that."
"She did because she was the only one guarding her daughter after she was born, Hera."
She checked back and grimaced. "Yes, she was, wasn't she."
Asclepias nodded. "She's been fighting with that pain and that infection for over a month. She's now healed in case she has to do something more spectacular soon since she told me she had to rescue her daughter again."
Hera followed the baby's line. "What were they giving her?"
"I'm not sure but it was expanding her mental capacity." He grimaced. "She'll be very smart."
"That's good." She appeared where the agents were wondering what happened. She pointed at a bed. "They had a mother's daughter." They all stared at her. "She got her back. It's what Mothers do." They kept staring at her. She smiled. "I would've done worse if they had my children." She disappeared.
"Who was that?" one of the agents asked quietly.
"Hera," another said. "Looks just like the statue in the museum downtown."
The head agent blinked. "Find out which mother this was."
"Greek gods only show up about a few people, sir," the agent that had identified her said. "Usually that's something to do with the Avengers or SHIELD. Very few others get that sort of attention."
"So, they had the Avenger babies?" he snorted.
One of the other agents held up a tablet. A Starktablet. "Yes. They had Summer's daughter by Barton. They were going to super soldier her." The head agent stiffened, staring at her. "They were in the preparation phase by the notes. We need to give this to them in case it hurts her."
"We can send it over in a few minutes."
Colonel Rhodes blew a hole in the roof so he could land in his shiny metal suit. "Hell no." They all flinched. He took the tablet to upload it to Stark. "Thank you. The baby's fine. They shouldn't have taken her daughter. They knew it was going to get them killed." He stared at the agents. "NSA is coming." He used his system to scan the area, finding another computer. He logged his suit into it as he walked over and downloaded the contents for Stark. That helped a lot. NSA agents strolled in. "Stark's got the information."
"We figured he would, Colonel. Go home."
Rhodes stared at him through his mask. "I don't take orders from you and I sure as hell don't take orders from people like them." He did fly off but only because they had found another base with another few kids. That one.... They were also doing some cloning work. He had to call in help for that. SHIELD showed up with a team led by Hill and Coulson. The clones were going strong and were nearly full grown humans. A few had a 'completed' blinking on their displays. This was not good.
Clint looked at the agent there to speak to Dawn. "I'm sorry, she's not here right now."
"She's always here, Agent Barton."
"She's hiding with our daughter to make sure she's all right." He stared him down. It didn't impress the other agent much but he wasn't getting into Stark right now. "Since we found out who paid them to take her."
"Why didn't she report it?"
"Well, let's see. A good third of your agents want to arrest her on specious charges so they can conscript her for her skills. Another third think she should volunteer to donate eggs to make a whole bunch of little possibly talented kids. Why would I tell your people a damn thing?" That did get a flinch. "For that matter, we didn't know. When we found out, Dawn didn't tell me either. She just handled it. Admittedly in a way I appreciate the hell out of and Nat thinks was too easy on them." He smirked slightly. "Beyond that, still not here. She and Lexi are somewhere safe, that's not in any identity that we know of because I can't even find her right now."
Alexander appeared, axe in his hand, staring at the agent. "How did she miss you at the site?"
"I wasn't there, sir."
"Oh, so that's how." The agent stepped back, looking alarmed. "I doubt you're going anywhere near my godchild. Ever." Xander smirked. "Then again, I doubt Dawn's in trouble for this."
"She's not an agent."
Xander snorted. "She's got accessory agent status with SHIELD, douchebag. Wanna try another method?" The agent was shaking now. "For that matter, I doubt any judge would sentence her for that. Most of us would've tortured them first." He turned and ran. Xander smirked and waved at him. "Have a better life." He looked at Clint. "She's in the condo," he muttered then disappeared again.
"That narrows it down to four," he said, going inside to see which one that was.
Tony looked up from going over the information with Steve. "Ever get the feeling that we have no idea what someone will do?"
"Yup, all the time. That's why I shoot the bad ones really hard." He looked over things. "Condo?"
Tony pointed at a map he had off to the side. Clint nodded. "She's fine. Asclepias apparently visited."
"She's reported that they were giving her something. She said he told her Lexi would be very smart."
"Probably one of the prep shots," Steve said quietly. "I got about three or four." They both nodded. "Any idea how much farther this goes?" Tony nodded, pulling up other stuff that led back to that 'cult' rumor going around. It wove into it and made so much more sense. Steve grimaced. "We really can't trust any agency but ourselves, and a few of the junior agents I don't trust."
"Some of those are loyal, they're just idiots," Clint said. He looked at the map. "They're down where Nat is."
"Probably done unconsciously," Tony agreed. "I've warned her already."
"Thanks." They went over the ideas and plans. Nat had a few that she sent over since she was waiting on someone to show up.
Philip stormed in, being chased by Callia. "Where mommy?" he demanded.
Clint looked down at him. "With your sister."
"She here!" He stomped a foot.
"No, she's not, because you didn't tell us." Philip scowled. "If you had told us someone came near Lexi, Mommy wouldn't be mad and neither would I. Callia, can you please explain a few things to him? I'm still resisting the urge to beat him because I know he's too young to understand."
"I've been trying." She made Philip look at her. "Mommy and Daddy are mad because someone hurt Lexi. You let them hurt Lexi. They're very mad and Mommy's hiding with Lexi. She's not coming home soon." Philip sniffled. "Not until all the bad guys are gone."
Callia shook her head. "No, not Mira, Lexi. Mira's fine. Lexi's in the hospital."
"Not," Tony said quietly.
"Yay," she muttered back. She stared at the baby. "Mommy's mad because bad guys took Lexi and you didn't tell her." He ran off crying. She sighed but followed. It was the only thing getting through to him. Though, she wanted to spank Philip too.
Clint gripped the table and sighed. "I don't want him to feel guilty."
"Nothing else worked," Tony reminded him. "Or else he wouldn't be so pissed off." He tapped out a message to security. They'd make sure that Philip didn't get near Mira today just in case he tried to take this out on her.
Steve pointed. "Them next." Tony nodded and they geared up to go.
Natasha got a video call from Callia, staring at the video of her son. "Why was he crying?"
"Because we had to make him understand that not telling us about Lexi got her hurt," Callia said. "It took two days, Aunt Natasha. Now he's really sorry and telling Mira about her."
Natasha looked at her son. "I'm not pleased," she said, making him start to sob again. "We will be talking when I get home, son." He hugged the phone. "Two days, Philip. I'll be home in two days."
"Need mommy!" he wailed.
"And I will be there in two days." He threw the phone and apparently stomped off again. She sighed and hung up, looking up then at Benji, who was shaking his head. "He didn't tell anyone until over an hour later," she said quietly.
"That's what Stark told me. Dawn's up the road," he said quietly.
"I know. She needs the rest."
Benji looked at her. "Maybe you three and the bigger sprout should hit marriage counseling."
"She was talking to someone about Philip when he admitted Lexi had been taken. He's since went on the news to spout off about how bad Dawn is."
"Heard that and the lawsuit from Clint."
Natasha smiled. "No, I sent that." He grinned back. "It will be stopped."
"He's probably one of those that doesn't believe in divorce being legal due to the bible," he said, handing over the background check on that guy. "Dawn went to him because he's supposed to be good with younger kids."
She read it over, grimacing. It got sent to the lawyer they were working with. He was not going to be happy when that got added to the suit.
Dawn woke up feeling like shit. She sat up, for once not holding her stomach, but other things felt like hell. She looked at Lexi, who was napping peacefully. It was easier to get her to nap without Mira and Philip. She stood up and wobbled, testing herself. Something had happened to her. Not to Lexi but to her. Something at the compound that had her had somehow sprayed her with a poison. She considered it then decided drastic plans had to happen. She went into the bathroom and stepped into the tub. She concentrated, pulling up the spell she had ready in case of catastrophic poisoning. She purged everything unnatural from her, holding on tightly to the Keys so they couldn't be sent too. She passed out again but she was clear. She just had to remake a bit of blood and skin that had been damaged when she woke up.
Clint felt the spell and winced as it worked on him and Natasha. She was at least in the bathroom when it happened. Clint was heading to a mission. Stark looked over at him. "Dawn," he said, holding his stomach. "Maybe pastrami is the evil thing."
"She's purging the unnatural," Phil said, helping him through it. He banished all the mess as it came out. Clint calmed himself and made himself sit back up. Phil did a healing spell, sending it through all three of them. Dawn was healed too. Clint relaxed. "You better?"
"Yeah but hungry."
Phil smiled slightly. "You can eat after the raid, Barton. Try for something all natural just in case." He nodded at that. They got to the point and went in. Clint could fight through the hunger and the residual pain for now. He'd fought with worse in the past.
Ethan picked the lock for Benji, letting him put Natasha on the couch. She winced. She was still a bit sore but whatever Dawn had done probably had a reason.
Benji went to check on Dawn. Still out of it in the very messy tub. He turned on the shower to rinse it and her off. She stirred. "Don't moan at me, Dawn," he said. "You agreed not tell me if you had nasty dreams about me."
"I admire your brain but I have a god with muscles, Benji," she moaned, making herself sit up. "Nat okay? It shouldn't have hit her."
"It did. She's fine, a bit sore but fine." He helped her up. "Shower off all that nastiness." He walked off to check on the baby. She was messy but Natasha was changing her. "Dawn's in the shower."
"Thank you." She cuddled Lexi, getting a happy baby. "Good morning, Lexi. Are you all right?" She cooed and took the bottle Benji handed her. Lexi slurped happily, liking this.
Dawn came out wrapped in a towel, heading for the dresser. "She okay?"
"She's fine. Needed changed." She looked at Dawn. "You've lost weight again."
"I'm fine. Had to be done. There was some sort of poison there."
"We felt." They shared a look. "Clint's fine and going on a raid of those people." Dawn nodded, sliding into underwear then sweats. She put on a t-shirt braless then tossed the towel back to the bathroom. Dawn took the baby from her. "I can."
"I'm good. Thanks for waking me up, guys. Are you done or do you need her for longer?" she asked Ethan.
"No, we're good. It went well, all handled." Lexi smiled around the nipple. "She's smiling."
Dawn burped her. "Another two months before she really can smile. For now, it's gas." He smiled at that. Lexi went back to her bottle, enjoying being awake and held. Natasha sat next to her. "I have her, Nat. You can rest."
"I can feed her. I find it calming." Dawn shrugged but didn't hand her over. "Dawn?"
Dawn looked at her. "It's okay, I have her."
"You three need a *long* talk," Benji ordered, staring at Dawn. "Not like she's going to suddenly start preferring that mother like your son did. She's a lot like you and has sense, unlike your son." Dawn scowled.
Natasha took the baby to cuddle. "You are your mother's daughter so therefore you have sense and compassion, which is why you do not hate your brother yet." She shifted her. "We can only hope Mira learns it from her as I am not the compassionate sort most of the time." Lexi smiled again so she burped her and went back to feeding her. "There, we will eat." She looked at Dawn. "He still complains when you're not around."
"Yeah, because he thinks I'm there for protection and you're his favorite mom," Dawn said dryly. So maybe she was a bit bitter. She took her daughter back to finish feeding her. "We'll figure it out sometime."
"Joyce has the son. She has talked to him many times after Callia made him feel horrible for it, Dawn."
Dawn looked at her. "Will it actually stop it from happening?"
"We can only hope so."
"Then we'll see. I need to put a projection system in a few of the other houses."
"Stark's report said that you are not wanted for that. They have been clearing out the people behind that idea with SHIELD and some are not amused that so many of their friends and family have been taken into custody. A few agencies really do need to hire." Dawn looked at her. "It's safe to come home."
"I'm not sure it'll ever be safe to be home."
"It is. There's more up there to help you protect her," Benji reminded her. "Down here it's just you unless someone stops in."
"Almost no one down here wants to screw with me," Dawn reminded him.
"There's a few who aren't scared. They're usually the really big idiots like drug cartel people." He stared at her. "C'mon, let's get you home. We can all go back together since we're not here officially." She sighed but nodded, grabbing their emergency bags and the diaper bag. Stark got them beamed back when Benji texted; he had been waiting on their signal.
Dawn looked around the lab then at Stark. "Sorry for the unexpected leave-taking, boss."
"No, don't even try it," he said then smiled. "I'd still be down there." He took Lexi, staring at her. "Hi." She burped. "That's a great greeting. Maeve likes that one too." He cleaned up her face and chest. "Better?" She cooed and kicked her feet. "Good girl. Barton, your family's here," he called over the inter-lab intercom. He was with Andrew and Jonathan because Caroline had just tried to chew on a taser. He came in and hugged Dawn then Natasha. Then he took Lexi. He walked out. "Go," Tony said with a point at Dawn. "Now."
"Kinda tired, boss."
"Even better. Go rest." She nodded, going to do that. She could trust Clint to watch Lexi for now.
Natasha walked her down to the guest suite Clint said they were using then went up to talk to him. She laid a hand on his arm. "She was prepared to stay," she said quietly.
"I know." He looked at her. "What else happened?"
"She didn't want me to feed Lexi."
"You don't like to let her feed Mira."
She blinked. "I...." She huffed. "We have to work these things out." He nodded with a grin. "I know it's upsetting you."
"A lot." He looked down at the sudden sigh of pleasure. "Feel better, princess?" He got her changed in the bathroom and came back. "Okay, let's go over why you don't touch the taser, Caro." She reached for the baby. "No, she's too little. You can cuddle her later on the couch or something." Caro grinned and let this 'uncle' teach her new things. She loved new things. And babies.
Natasha went to the daycare, finding Mira and no Philip. "Is he still with Joyce?"
"He's hiding in the closet," the daycare worker said with a point. "I don't know why. He looked at Mira and went to hide."
"We had to correct him as he didn't say a thing for over an hour. Callia guilted him into realizing it was bad," Natasha said quietly. "Before we beat him for it."
The daycare worker stared at her. "He's a bright little boy, Natasha."
"Who still didn't tell us for over an hour that his sister had been taken. He's also thrown fits and beaten at us and his sisters over his dislike of Lexi. She could have died," she said very quietly. "If that was the only way we got through to him, then good. He won't do it again."
She nodded. "I can see that point even if I think it was a bit harsh. I probably would've paddled him."
"I might not have stopped."
"True, I don't have your training." She pointed again. "In there."
"Thank you." She took Mira and the diaper bag over to the closet, opening the door.
"We are both back." Philip stared up at her. "We're going to Andrew's lab then we'll see the other mother. She's resting." Philip came out of the closet, staring up at her. She picked him up and carried him off. Every now and then she forgot how hard being a mother was. She was not used to explaining things to anyone. Much less someone less able to understand things like their son was. Clint did that better. He had much more patience. Probably from being a sniper. He took the kids to cuddle and looked at Philip. "I said we'd talk."
"Yes we will be." Philip stared up at him. "You have to love *both* sisters, Philip. Not just Mira."
"I sorry." He hugged his father's leg.
"We know you don't understand, little guy." He patted down his hair. "We'll talk about this stuff later. After a nap."
Philip looked up at him. "Read?"
He calmed himself down, looking at his sisters. "Lexi, hi," he said softly. "Hi, Mira." Mira fussed so he patted her on the foot then Lexi, who flinched awake. "Sorry! Just lovies!"
"It's all right. She's not hurt," Clint said quietly.
"We can talk about tasers tomorrow," Andrew said. Clint grinned and walked his family off to their temporary quarters to talk about things. The cats were there for some reason, which was probably Callia's doing as whoever had picked up their favorite toys as well. They were both sitting on top of Dawn when they came in. Tsarina meowed and rushed over to Natasha while Loki meowed at Clint until he got petted but didn't move. They settled in to watch the girls and talk to Philip. He was going to be better behaved. They hoped. He wasn't jealous of them. He had missed Dawn. Thankfully that was all over with so the adults could work on their problems. Because they all had them.
Joyce stopped by that night, smiling at Philip since he was helping feed both girls. "Very nice, Philip. Thank you." She kissed him on the head. "The parents?"
"Napping." He grinned. "They cuddle."
"That's good." Natasha came out. "I was going to pick him up for the night."
"So far he's doing well." She sat down and looked at Joyce. "I am finding that I do not share well," she said quietly.
Joyce looked at her. "Did you when you were younger?"
"I don't remember much but I suppose I did. I would've had to."
"Then it's probably something they did in your training, Natasha. Like you not getting close to people was." Natasha nodded, considering that. "Beyond that, Dawn's probably got a bit of that too right now."
"She admitted she did."
"You'll work it out." She kissed her on the top of the head. "You sure I don't need to take Philip?"
"He's behaving for right now." She looked over. Both girls were sucking on their bottles. "Who made those?"
She smiled. "I'll thank him later." She looked at Joyce again. "We're working on things."
"I know. No marriage is without problems and talking it out is the best cure. Plus it saves later problems." She kissed them all on the head then left. They needed some privacy and Bruce needed to be pounced.
Natasha changed both girls and let Philip have them back. "Come tell us if they need things."
"Yes, Mommy." He kissed her on the cheek and grinned. "Mommy?" She looked at him. "Other mommy?"
"She's napping again. She's a bit tired."
"Okay. I good."
"Thank you. We adore it when you're good." She went back in there, leaving the door open. Clint grinned at her. "We need to talk."
"We're all going to North Dakota this weekend for some talking time. The stream is warm, the sprout can learn how to swim, and the girls can get some sun." Natasha nodded at that plan. "Cuddle in?" She climbed back in on Dawn's other side. "She's not sore."
"That's good. I was worried she might never heal."
Clint nodded. "Me too." He cuddled Dawn better, letting her get Dawn's free side so Dawn was smooshed between them. That helped and made Dawn feel better too.
Loki looked up and gritted his teeth. This was not a good thing. He kept getting flashes of pain and misery and he had no idea why they were sending it at him. Though it was nice his godson was now back on a better footing. His son really needed to unadopt that whole family before it drove him to do something *nice* and fix it by sending them all to a hell dimension so they were too tired to fight and had to learn to work together again.
Ares put a hand on Loki's arm, getting a dirty look for it. "It's because they need to be stronger. One of the upcoming things will take the whole family being strong enough to handle anything," he said quietly.
"I'm not so sure she hasn't messed that up already."
"It's possible but not totally. There's still waves coming from that conspiracy problem." Loki shuddered. Not even he caused that much chaos. Maybe he should restart his religion so he could reap the rewards that minister had gotten. Ares laughed, hearing that thought. "I doubt your son-in-law would like that."
"Perhaps." He turned around. "We have to work against that plan soon."
"None of the people involved would ever take our help or advice."
Loki smirked. "So we do things in a way that my son would appreciate." He held up a slim diamond necklace.
Dawn woke up being held, which was a great feeling. She blinked at the body in front of her, Clint, then at the arms around her middle. Natasha's arm was there. She hummed and started to drift off again but the same fussing noise woke her back up. She couldn't wiggle free so she teleported off and went to change the kids, and Philip since he was in a diaper and messy. She came back and found both spouses staring at something on the bed. "What's that?" she asked through a yawn.
"I think it's an organ."
Dawn checked. "I think I have all mine. You guys have all yours, right?"
Xander appeared and poked it then looked at her. "Someone sent it as a present. Someone behind the conspiracy bullshit." He took it with him to Phil, who took it to SHIELD to test, and then to arrest the people who had killed the guy for his spleen. That minister's second-in-command had killed him because he was tainted. The spleen was sent because the taint had infected it so he could not vent what everyone knew was right and holy. Xander reappeared, staring at Dawn. "Do you still have the choker?"
"Yes. It's in the safe," Dawn said. "Why?" She yawned again as they finished changing the sheets on the bed.
"Because I just saw Dad as a girl." Dawn blinked at him a few times.
Clint blinked too. "Did he finally figure out how to be a bit prettier than last time?"
"Yeah. Him and Ares both. I'm not totally sure what's going on." He went to talk to Phil once he got back. That was really weird and a bit worrying.
Dawn looked at Clint and shrugged. "Maybe he didn't like butt sex so they're taking turns?"
Clint kissed her. "That's a really warped idea, Dawn." She grinned. "Bed." Mira fussed. Dawn headed that way but Clint stopped her and went to get the baby to burp her. "Did you have gas again? You have more gas than Exxon, daughter." She belched and it was better. He checked, Lexi was staring at him. "Want to burp too, Miss Texaco?" Dawn snickered from where Natasha was cuddling up to her back. She did burp and cooed at him. He looked at her. "We know you can babble like Mommy, dear. Go ahead. We like noise." He put her back down and went back to bed, snuggling into Dawn's front since Natasha had left it free for him. A few minutes later Philip wandered in and climbed in but laid against Clint's back. "Hmm, so much for any snuggling plans I had."
"There's no sex until we've worked shit out," Dawn said quietly, staring at him. "It'll just confuse things."
"I can agree to that. I wasn't planning on getting any soon anyway, Dawn. You still need to finish healing and I'm not going to interrupt that." He kissed her then smiled. "Unless you want that stuff you just decided Loki changed to avoid?"
She shook her head. "Not until we've worked things out."
"Okay, I like that idea." He kissed her again and they settled in to sleep since Philip was snoring. "He needs sinus meds." Dawn nodded. Natasha was already asleep. They could work this out soon enough.
Tony watched the monitors, smiling when they listened to the reasonable demand. He was sure one was going to get a bit pushy but apparently he had been wrong and it was a good thing. That and them going to North Dakota for a few days. They needed Dawn somewhere safe to finish breaking down the plots and plans.
Steve walked in wearing his Iron Man pajama pants to taunt Tony, yawning a bit. "You need to rest. We have another raid tomorrow." He kissed him. "Hang it up for the night, Tony." He looked at the monitor and flipped it off. "They're fine." Tony put things up and cleaned up the grease on himself so he could sleep too. Steve and Pepper hated waking up to greasy handprints on them.
Howard floated in and shook his head, looking over what his son was doing. He still didn't understand the suit thing but his son seemed to think it was more important than the company. Though he couldn't fault his choice of Pepper to run it. She did an amazing job with all the scientists they had. Dawn was nearly back to normal too. He supposed he hadn't seen postpartum problems like that before because most mothers didn't work in his day but they'd wait to see how it went.
Stark was even nice enough to beam them to North Dakota so they didn't have to deal with reporters. That and because Pepper had talked him into it. They all went to their houses in North Dakota so things could calm down without them appearing to be gloating, hovering, or anything else people were accusing them of. Tony looked around his house, nodding. Whoever had decorated had done a good job. Bit bright for his tastes but it was in his style. "Pepper...."
"I didn't think it was going to be this red but I kind of like it. It's definitely not the tower." She smiled at him. "Let's put Maeve down and explore for a bit." They did that. JARVIS would tell them if Maeve needed anything. Callia and the other kids found their rooms and settled in. Steve collapsed on the couch to nap because he was just barely back from a mission to end the last of that group. Tony and Pepper explored the rest of the house. Dawn had clearly helped her decorate since the library had dark woods and closed bookshelves. With nothing in the cabinets but still. Tony looked around then at Pepper, who kissed him. "I like libraries. So does Steve."
"Okay." A happy Pepper got him sex and cuddling. He could put up with Steve having an office in the house. They looked at everything else, which was more his taste. They found the lab and she kept him from setting up anything to do by walking him off to their bedroom to get ...playful. Tony actually squeaked when she shoved him onto the bed and climbed on top of him. This wasn't like Pepper but hey, vacation sex was great. It's why he took vacations.
Dawn let Clint open the door to their house since she had the fussy Mira with her. Philip was staring up at her. "This is our house."
"Why?" Philip asked.
"Like the one in LA, Philip," Dawn said.
"Other place? Pony?" he asked, looking around.
"The pony's in New Zealand, which is in another country," Natasha said patiently. "This is in our country. Like the house in LA. The one with the trees." Philip ran inside to look around. They carried the girls in so they could nap on the couch for now. Clint was looking at the rooms above the kitchen and bathroom area. Then at their former perch, which was now higher up. He grinned as he went to turn on the water and gas then came back to help show Philip where his room was. There was even a nice adult-sized path to the bedrooms from their perch area so they could answer midnight kid calls. Philip yawned and took a nap without protest. The girls went onto their cots. Clint put up a rope ladder for his ladies so they wouldn't have to stress and because Dawn still couldn't climb a rope. They snuggled down in their warm, soft feather bed under the eaves. It was a good time for a nap.
They could talk later.
In Washington DC, a few scientists were going over the confiscated machine the NSA had taken from a compound out by Oregon. They had no idea what some of the technology did; only a few of them had even heard of Area 51, which was listed on the forms, and none had worked there so they had no idea if they knew how to work them or not. They asked their supervisor to see if they could find someone that had worked there and might know. He came up with a disgraced scientist that was in jail for human experimentation - he had been busted with a lot of similar machines recently.
He knew how to open things, set things up, and how to make them more of the people they needed. That one looked over the 'completed' section first, easing a few to full life. They'd need them before anyone else. They could train the others and help run interference so no one realized what they were doing. Of course, being in jail meant that scientist didn't realize that one of them was notably dead thanks to being shoved out a window after trying to steal his nieces. That one he woke first. He could lead the others. He could get in the way of the *heros* who'd try to stop them. He had all the memories of the original up until the forming, which was about a month before he had died. He'd do well.
The tube opened with a stereotypical hiss of air pressure release and the being inside yawned but didn't want to wake up. The scientist poked him and got a broken hand for it.
Barney Barton stared at him. "Who the fuck are you?" he sneered.
"We have to talk, Agent Barton."
"Uh-huh." He stepped out of the chamber, looking at it then at him. "Some sort of reprogramming thing?"
"Cloning," the injured scientist said, holding his arm. "We need you. Your brother's team is getting in the way of national security again."
He stared at the guy. Then at the other geeks for a moment. Then he shot them with the gun he took off one of the guards and walked off. "I need clothes and coffee. Then we'll deal with my brother." The few left alive tried to scurry off. "Don't even. We'll be talking in a few minutes and if I don't like what I hear you'll be joining them. Makes no difference to me." He found the coffee pot and made some, then found some clothes in the locker room. He came out sipping the coffee, staring at the scared geeks. "Cloning?" he demanded.
One of them nodded. "Yes, sir. You died. They started that before you died but you did die."
"Why?" He took another sip.
"You tried to take your brother's children. By the news reports you died at Stark Towers in New York." The geek swallowed when Barney stared at him. "We're not sure of everything. The desk computer has internet access so you can look up the reports, sir."
"Who's the others and how far are they?"
"There's only three completed, sir. One was from another realm. One was from a prisoner that had been an agent. One was from an unknown source. We don't recognize him and I'm not sure if he has his memories or not."
Barney finished his coffee and got more. He came back to look that up. He'd deal with those geeks in a few minutes. "I want their files if we have them." They scurried off to do that for him. He looked up his death. What he saw amused him horribly. "Aww, she was sentimental." He sniffed his coffee to make sure it wasn't suddenly poisoned. He wouldn't put it past Dawn. She had even tortured him lightly because his autopsy report in the file he found had him shot twice. Though it was nice his brother had killed him. Messy but nice. Next time things would have to be different. He heard an alarm and looked over. "What's that?"
"SHIELD found us."
"It'll be hours. You took over an hour to wake up, sir." Barney nodded and shot them to protect himself from being found, then left through an air vent. He did learn a lot from his brother's 'escapades' over the years. He could avoid SHIELD too. They hadn't sent any top level agents. Especially not the godly one. He spotted Hill coming in with the second team but she was just a woman and he could avoid all of them. Even if one of them spotted him and shot at him.
Hill figured out who he was easy enough and had to make the bad call. She called Barton personally. "Agent Barton, Senior Agent Hill. Your brother was just spotted alive and fleeing from a facility that had confiscated cloning devices," she said without emotion. He hung up on her. That was not a good sign. Barton was going to go on a rampage to get his brother dead again. Any good parent would.
Old Ones 52: Spanking Planners Against Future Old Ones.