Congrats On Having To Change Things.
Xander pouted about his truck. His poor truck had been over all but one continent on this world. Some multiple times. His poor truck that was a dented up, low class looking mess but it was his truck and he loved his truck. And now it was broken. The woman who had hit him was screaming about his low class truck *daring* to be in her way. He walked to the truck's camper area, around an officer, and pulled out one of his automatic rifles. "I don't have much in this world, as I travel most of the time for the slayers, but this was my truck, Lady. It's been there when I've helped defeat Gods. Your yuppie piece of fiberglass trash is tacky." She backed away from him, eyes wide. "I should put you out of everyone's misery for daring to breathe on my truck, but I'm not really supposed to take out humans." He stared at her. "Now, why are you complaining that you drifted wide while turning a corner and ran into my damn truck?"
"Sir," one of the officers said, hand on his gun. "Put it down."
Xander looked at him then pulled out his wallet to hold up his ID and the copied letter. "I can eliminate this threat to any sort of good taste. She's obviously going to breed more stupid." He looked her over, sneering. "My ex would be horrified that she combined tacky and stupid so well. Are you sure I can't save myself the paperwork by ending that thing?"
"Sir," the officer said. "You cannot shoot her. The slayers would be mad." Xander scowled at him. "They'll nag. You better than most know how they nag. There's stories you've run from them nagging you before."
"Yeah, I have," he sighed, putting his gun back into the camper area. The officer looked in and moaned but couldn't touch anything. "Spells," Xander said. "I paid a lot for those spells." He stared at her. "Hell, I had to sleep with two idiot mages for some of them. That's a higher price than I wanted to pay but they were necessary." He put his hands in his pockets. "Are you sure I can't take out the tacky and stupid thing?"
"Yes, sir. You may not remove the woman who hit you from this world."
Xander looked at him. "Don't tempt me to ask Rosenburg if she can send her to another realm." The woman burst out crying. Xander stared at her. "I know little girls who fake cry better, lady. Now, where is your insurance information since I'm going to be suing the hell out of you?" She gulped, backing away from him. "After all, I'm an important part of protecting this earth." He smirked. "You're upsetting that. What if I had been on the way to a battle? Would you really like it if the slayers lost because I had the weapons they needed and I was stuck here with *you* because *you* drifted and hit my truck?" She huffed off. "Hey, leaving the scene of an accident," he cooed. "Nice way to go to jail. I'm sure they'll *adore* your tacky, redneck waitress hair and fake nails, plus the fake tan that's a *bit* too orange for you."
"Sir," the officer said. "Please let me handle it?"
Xander looked at him. "Please do before I grab that rifle again and deal with the whore." He looked at her again, grimacing. "It must be time to push out a trophy kid. I can smell the sperm from here."
The officer pointed. "Just... sit there and mourn your truck, sir. And if the slayers had needed you, we would've brought you and handled all this for you." He walked over to her, scowling. "He's right, you ran into a parked car, lady. Present your insurance and license. Now."
She huffed. "I'm calling my husband! He's on the City Council."
"Tell him I said hi and I remember our night in Cancun," Xander quipped with a grin. "He wasn't *good* at it but it was fun." The woman gasped and fell down in real tears. Xander grinned at the officer. "They were having a conference and I lost a kitten poker debt so I ended up doing a strip routine to thrill them." The officer sighed, shaking his head. "I had fun, kinda. Half of them didn't believe in orgasms for me, just for them." The officer held up a hand in the universal position for 'stop it'. Xander looked over his poor, abused truck. A limo glided up and Xander looked. One of the more human looking poker contacts. "Hey, Paul."
"Harris," he said, staring at it. "She hit you?" He nodded. "Great." He looked at her. "Her husband's going to have a fit."
"Is he the one I gave blow jobs with or the other one?" Xander asked.
"The blow job guy," he said. "We love it when you lose a poker hand that way." Xander smirked. "What are you going to replace her with? I can feel the spells from here."
"Jeeps are practical in some places but you can't carry ordinance in it. So probably another truck. I'll just have to get some work done on it." He frowned. "I'm not sure who can do it since the last few that helped me with this one are gone." He looked over at the car pulling up. "I was parked, looking at a text message when she drifted around the corner, Giles."
"That's charming of her I'm sure," he said dryly. He looked. "The one wailing on the ground?"
"Yup, because I was about to take her out."
"You need a vacation, Xander." The officer nodded he agreed with him. "We'll figure out what to replace it with." He patted him on the arm. "We'll have to unload it before we take it to the scrap yard."
Xander looked at him. "I'm going to have to have spells put on whatever I decide on."
"I'm sure you can manage without such needs. It's not like you're staying in Africa any longer."
"If the girls nag me again, I'm running and hiding. I may not come back."
The officer cleared his throat so he wouldn't laugh at that complaint. "I have twin teenage boys."
"You should try living in a house with fourteen teenage girls and Buffy, who likes to think she's a teenage girl," Xander complained. He took the clipboard to sign the report on the accident, handing it back. "Did she finally cough up her insurance information?"
"No. She claims it's in the other car."
"That's fine. I'll sue her to get replacement costs instead," he said dryly, making her wail louder. "I'm sure the unique, magically upped vehicle with groundbreaking engine that doesn't run on gas will be worth more than her house....but oh well." He smiled at Giles.
"Did you let Andrew do the engine?"
"Yup." He grinned.
Giles sighed, shaking his head as he looked up. "I'm sure her husband or wife will have their joint insurance information. Can we talk to him before Xander gets involved in his revenge fantasies? This is literally the only thing he owns outside the house in Hawaii."
"They still want me to sell it. I've told them why I can't and the governor nearly had an apocalyptic fit."
"That's not the right usage," Giles said dryly.
"She saw the armory because she snooped. Yes it is."
"Oh, dear." He paused. "That house has an armory?"
"I'm sure James must like use of that." Xander gave him a funny look. "I do not want to know what you stocked in there before James stocked his own needs, Xander. While the girls are quite amused that you pull weapons out for any big thing, it does tend to freak the adults of us at the Council out." He gave him a pointed look. "We accept it more from James due to his past with the military and other ...matters."
"That's because I'm going to take out a few of them for being evil shits," Xander said dryly. "The nice officer I know out there does make me share on occasion." Giles held up a hand.
"If we're going to have the truck towed somewhere you probably want to empty it," the officer said.
Xander sighed but got up to get into the back. Two backpacks came out and got put down. Then a locked box that held guns. Then an ammunition box. Then a smaller artillery case full of grenades. The lid was loose and came off when he put it down.
"You know what, never mind. We'll have it towed to the Council building," the officer said quickly, staring at the grenades. "That way you can unload it in peace while you mourn her loss, sir." He walked off to talk to the supervisor pulling up. He agreed to arrest the woman and ignored Xander completely when he waved.
Giles looked at the grenades. "Holy water?"
"Yup." He grinned. "Very handy at times." The woman being arrested nearly ran over the officers to get into the back of the police car. "I didn't even pull out the thermal thing I'm saving for something huge." He put those back in and locked up the truck when the tow truck got there. He rode back with it while Giles followed swearing at Janus about making Xander the way he was.
Buffy leaned out the door at the honk, blinking. "Xander, what happened to your truck?" she called.
"Stupid, shallow, tacky bitch went wide while turning a corner," he said dryly. "I was parked reading your text message about picking up milk."
"Oooh." She winced. "Let me get Bucky to help you unload that. I'm sure you've got guy stuff we won't understand."
"No, it's mostly just the standard weapons I store all the time. Nothing too special."
She stared at him. "I don't want to know. Or hear that. Normal guys don't carry weapons like you and you're normal, Xander. You'll always be normal. So just be a normal guy."
He glared at her. "I can kick your ass to prove I'm not."
She grinned. "Why would I let you do that?" She walked off. "Bucky, Andrew. Xander's truck got smooshed. He's got to unpack it."
Bucky walked out to stare at it. "Can it be fixed?"
"Crushed part of the engine. I can probably do it if I must, but it'll be expensive and take forever since Andrew built my engine," Xander pouted.
"The only other one I've got done is for bigger trucks," Andrew said as he came out. He paid the tow truck driver and he drove off. "Okay, let's get it to the spare gym for now." He looked inside the cab. "Let me get the rolling cart for hauling shopping bags." He went to get the dolly cart and rolled it out. He and Xander did the cab while Bucky got the back. Buffy had warned all the slayers so they were hiding from the hauling and carrying. Which meant they couldn't play with his weapons so that was nice of her.
Xander walked up to Andrew the next morning. "I need to get something new."
"There's a lot of truck places in town," Andrew said.
"I know. I'll go look in a few hours, when they're open."
"You could get one of those camper things," Bucky said. "Some of them have things like solar power."
"While I'm not against that, I really would love to not sleep in a tent that has snakes ever again," Xander quipped. "You can't just randomly drive those around town so I'd have to haul something behind it. And some of them are too big to bring back to Africa or Asia again."
"There's ones that are meant for living like that," Bucky said, putting down the newspaper to look at him.
"And again, too big to drive around town. Most of the Mog's are the same height as a double-decker bus and about as heavy as a semi truck. I think you need a special license to run one. I wouldn't mind a class C motorhome; I can't drive it around town and something that huge would look seriously out of place when we go check on the minis."
"I can't see you bringing a motorhome to Africa," Andrew agreed. "Though we can probably do a camper conversion thing."
"A bit small but I was thinking about that. I was going to look at some older trucks that are made with real steel instead of fiberglass, like modern ones are, plus some old camper vans and the like. I found a silver bullet bus conversion locally to look at. It's ancient and needs work but I can do that."
Andrew shrugged. "That might look a bit weird too. We can look. I need to grocery shop."
"Again?" Bucky asked, staring at him. "Do we eat that much?"
"Not you two. You're both losing weight." He gave him a pointed look. "The girls eat tons." Xander nodded, walking off. "Tell me when you go."
"I was going to run self defense for the clueless skirt patrol."
"Have fun beating the girls, Xander," Andrew quipped. He looked at Bucky. "Are you coming with us?"
"I probably should. Maybe we can find a good solution that's practical."
Andrew smirked a tiny bit. "Did you know how much magic went into the old truck?"
"I don't want to know about that stuff. I can't do magic so I'll admire the effects and worry about hidden weapons."
"Probably a good idea to do," Andrew agreed. He finished up the coffee and poured Bucky more tea then went to get up the girls who had managed to sleep in. "I'm done cooking!" he yelled up the stairs. "Come get food or don't eat anything I've cooked until dinner!" He got out of the way of the herd of girls running down the stairs. "Xander's running lessons." He waved at their backs with a smirk. "Did anyone wake up the two who're missing?"
"They've both got friends in," one quipped.
Xander walked up the stairs smiling. "Sure. We've met their boyfriends and all that?"
"Nope," Andrew quipped. Xander laughed evilly. Andrew went to find the sleepy ones the peanut butter and syrup they couldn't find in plain sight. Bucky had gotten out of the way, taking his paper, tea, and breakfast to the table in the corner that Andrew usually used for the adults.
Upstairs, Xander found the three rooms that still had people in them. He kicked in the first door, sidearm in hand, glaring at the two on the bed. "And who is this?" he demanded.
"Fuck!" the slayer yelled and rolled out of bed, finding her stake. "XANDER! What the hell are you doing!"
"We have an intruder that no one here knows," he said.
"Um, hi, I'm Bryan," he said with a weak wave, holding the covers up to his chin. "We just hooked up, dude. I didn't know she was taken."
"I'd never fuck Xander," she growled. "He's being a big brother to the slayers."
"Yup, I am," he said with a smirk. "And you forgot to get up, Miss I'm Missing Classes. And breakfast I might add. I'm taking Andrew with me in a while." She groaned. He smiled at Bryan. "Nice to meet you. If you two are dating, come back for dinner. We'd like to meet the good boyfriends, and see less of their naked asses." He walked off to wake up the other two the same way. The one that had twin girls in her bed didn't get any different treatment. Even when one of her bedmates peed herself, Xander just let it go for now. Then he found one of the girls had snuck back instead of going to school. He could tell, she was loud and gasping for breath in that special, fun way. He kicked in her door too. "Ah ha! Someone is missing school. And aren't you a senior research watcher? Dude, so much in trouble since she's fifteen! GILES!" He came running. The girl was trying to hide under the blankets and not succeeding very well.
Giles walked in. "What's happened?" He stared at the watcher then at the slayer. "What's going on here then? Not that I can't tell."
"She's fifteen," Xander said. "She snuck back instead of going to school. I was waking up the others."
"Giles, he went psycho SWAT guy," one of the girls complained as she walked past the door. "Ohmygod, never mind. I'm not interrupting since Xander found statutory rape stuff. C'mon, Bryan, we'll go eat breakfast and introduce you to Andrew. He's cool. Xander's usually cool but today he was being a big brother." She got him and the others down the stairs. "Xander found a senior watcher dude screwing Bethie," she said as she walked in.
"Oh, fuck," Andrew muttered. "Giles?"
"There." She pointed. "This is Bryan. Xander just scared him to death."
Andrew smiled and waved. "I"m the housemother and any staying over has to be run by me first. In fact, we should've met some other people last night as well," he said, staring at them. They all gave him embarrassed looks.
"We don't care if the girls have dates that sleep over," Bucky said from his spot. "But we meet them all to make sure they're not shitbags out to sacrifice the girls again." He changed to the sports section. "We adore the girls finding *real* relationships and not like I can say things about premarital sex. I had plenty when I was their age." Xander stomped in. "I heard. The slayer okay?"
"Nope. He told her it was to do sex magic for protections." Andrew groaned, shaking his head. "Is Willow here?"
"That's evil," Andrew said.
"Evil was him kicking in my door with a gun in his hand," one of the slayers complained.
Xander kissed her on the head. "Then next time let us meet your dates. We like to meet dates. That way we make sure you don't date like Buffy." She snorted but pouted at him. "We'd like you to all have better taste than Buffy, ladies. Speaking of, I'm doing self defense as soon as you've eaten, and since you're so nicely here you get to join in." He grinned. "Because no one mentioned anyone having a sleeping partner," he finished in a sing-song voice.
"If we tell you, will you not make us spar?" another one complained.
"Yup, sure will," Xander said with a smile. "If I know you're having sex, I won't break in on it. Do you know how many times Anya had to call me off an hour late to work because she wanted a few with her wake up coffee?" The girls all groaned. So did Andrew, who also sighed and shook his head. "If you guys *tell* us, we're a lot nicer about it too. I only knock on your doors." He kissed one on the head. "Some day you'll be married and I'll have threatened your future husband and made sure he's worthy of you." He got more coffee and headed for the gym. "I AM RUNNING SELF DEFENSE IN TWENTY MINUTES! IF YOU'RE HOME, YOU'RE TO BE THERE BECAUSE YOU'RE SLACKING!" He took another sip of his coffee as he headed that way.
Andrew looked at the slayers. "He did it to Buffy last month and staked her date of the minute. Who wasn't a vampire but he was an incubus."
"Eww," got muttered by a few.
"I remember him," one said. "He was kinda homely. Clearly couldn't feed any other way." The girls laughed but got back to breakfast. They escorted their dates off then came in to fall in for self defense. Xander was mean if they tried to skip it. Even Buffy was in there. Pouting but there. Only that one poor slayer was excused because she was talking with Giles while the research watcher was frozen in a closet thanks to Willow.
Bucky looked at the unimogs he had suggested Xander get and realized Xander had been right. It was too noticeable to drive around. Too massive to go grocery shopping in too. They went to look at other things. A few older pickup trucks that would need campers. A few older broncos, a strange older Volkswagen 'squareback' station wagon, some older 'delivery vans' that were about the same as a station wagon. Bucky looked at Xander. "You could get something newer."
"The older ones are built tougher," Xander said. "Real steel and heavier frames. Today's cars are built out of aluminum and fiberglass." He led the way to the side yard of the dealership he had gotten his truck from. "Camper vans." Bucky looked at Andrew.
"I know nothing about cars," Andrew said. "I can drive but that's about it."
Xander waved them over. "There's a VW bus version and a Mercedes Benz version. The M-B is a '76. The VW busses range from the sixties through the seventies." He looked at them. "Some are already converted as campers, a few aren't."
Bucky looked inside one. It basically had the driver's section, a seating/eating section that probably had a fold down table, and storage in the very back or under the seats. "How would you carry everything?" he asked.
"I can fix that," Andrew said. He looked around it. "Not great room."
"Neither one's going to have great room," Xander said, leaning against the side. It moved slightly. "This one's real light." They moved to look at the others. Bucky shook his head at the other already converted ones. "I think it's a good idea. It'd mean no more sleeping on the weapons in the back of the truck or in a tent next to the truck."
"Sleeping in the tent is a bit cramped," Bucky agreed. "Especially with the rolling up to make sure the wildlife can't get in with us." He frowned. "These are too small, Xander."
"They won't look weird riding up the roads," Xander said. "If I went with a van conversion it'd look really weird."
"We can go look," Andrew said. "There's one of those dealerships on the edge of town." They nodded and went to look at those. "If not, we can find a way to customize the VW version." Xander grinned at him. "Including expanding some of the space or stuff."
"That would take a lot of energy," Bucky said.
"Yeah," Xander agreed. "I paid for some of that done on the truck."
"I noticed the hiding spots," Bucky said dryly, shooting him a dirty look. They found the RV dealer thanks to the internet on Andrew's phone. They walked out to look at the van conversions. They were tiny. A few were nicer, some were simpler. None of the vans had bathrooms. The slightly bigger ones had a tiny bathroom that was a toilet and sink inside the shower. The vans had some that slept six, some that slept nine. A few slept two because the back larger seat folded down into a large bed. That wouldn't work for him and Xander together. Bucky didn't cuddle and Xander was a heat seeking missile when he slept. "It looks like the Mercedes Sprinter 3500 is the most useful," Bucky said finally.
Xander nodded. "Bit big but yeah. They have separate bunks and seats." He looked at both stickers. "One sleeps four, one sleeps five." He frowned. "They both have couch areas, minimal kitchens, and bunks." He considered it. "Both are black. One has the storage area being hauled. I think that might be kind obvious."
"Do we need to sleep four?" Andrew asked.
"We've had to camp with the slayers after handling things," Xander said. "Not real often though." Bucky nodded, shifting to look around them.
The salesman came over with a smile. "They're both good models. One's a bit bigger than the other. Have I seen you guys before?" he asked with a grin.
"We're Council," Xander said, shaking his hand with a smile. "I had a pickup until some shallow thing hit me while I was parked. It's got to go with me when I check on the minis. I manage to bring it all over the world with me."
"Have you thought about the mogs?" he asked, pointing at one.
"I did, but I use it as a general vehicle as well," Xander said.
"Ah. Yeah, the mog's too big for that. It's like driving a trash truck. That's the chassis that most of those are built on." Xander nodded. "How often do you use it?"
"I used my truck for everything. Including sleeping in when I could and weapons storage," Xander said. "The bunks are a great idea. So is the kitchen. Though I wouldn't mind needing a bathroom in there."
"That would require something like a class C or ...we have a bus conversion that's nice."
"Would that look normal riding up the road in Africa?" Xander asked.
"It's not too big. Not a commuter bus, but more of the handicapped bus sort of bus." He led them over. "This is the Firefly model." Xander and Andrew both moaned. The salesman smiled. "You're not the first geeks who had that same thought."
"I don't get it," Bucky said.
"I'll show you the tv show later," Andrew quipped. "I have it on DVD." He walked onto it first. "Captain Mal would think it's small but probably useful."
"It's stretched," Xander said. "Six of those tiny vertical slit windows on the back end." He walked up the few stairs to look. "Couches, small galley, pull up table." He walked toward the back. "Small bathroom. Sleeps nine, wow," he said, looking at them. "We could definitely turn them into storage. One stack for me, one for Bucky, one for the girls if necessary."
"A lot of this style have been turned into party busses," the salesman said. "Usually with disco balls and no bunks. I've seen them with a bar and a living DJ on board too." Xander nodded with a smile. "It's able to be fiddled with to fix some things. The amenities do work. Thirty-five feet long instead of the twenty-four the other two were." Xander nodded, looking in the cabinets and at the sink. "The mini fridge is underneath and there's a microwave. Seats ten, sleeps nine. Has a forty-gallon tank each for fresh and waste water." The three guys nodded at that. "It's not that hard to put in a stove plate if you wanted one."
"Solar feeds like on the mogs?" Xander asked.
"Not that hard to do up, but there's going to have to be some fiddling with done under the floors to put in the necessary batteries." They all nodded. "Most of them have batteries in a door near the back or in an outdoor accessible door. This one doesn't have any of those doors." Xander nodded again, considering it. "The van conversions you were looking at would need the same fixing though." He stepped off to look then came back. The external doors lead to the tanks and a small storage area."
Xander considered it, looking at Bucky. "It's your car," he said.
"It's too big to really bring around town," Xander said. "I'd have people flagging me down thinking I'm a bus."
"We can repaint it," Andrew said. "Maybe a nice tan with a sunset sort of scene?" Xander gave him an odd look. "It'd be pretty and you wouldn't look like a bus."
"I can see tan. It'll hide dirt better," Xander said. "I'm not sure if it'll fit in the driveway in Hawaii."
"It will," Andrew said. "It'll be tight though. You can always get a cheap, old truck to haul behind it."
"If you change part of the bunk area into storage, you can put a four wheeler," the salesman said.
Xander shrugged. "I don't know. Maybe a small jeep." Bucky hid a smirk. "What?"
"We can change it so it's more practical," he said. "The other we'd need a bathroom insert so we don't have to worry about peeing on snakes. We'd also need a second sleeping area so I'm not forced to cuddle." Andrew hid a laugh by turning around to look in the bunk area again.
"What's the price difference between this one and the two van conversions?"
"A lot," the salesman said. Xander winced. "This one is only thirty five. Those two are just over one hundred thousand." Xander gaped. "They're both recent years, one 2012, the other 2014. This one's a 2004."
"That's a huge difference," Andrew agreed.
"I like this one first, and the 2014 without the trailer second," Bucky said. "Just because this one has a bathroom for after battle clean ups."
"No more bathing in streams," Andrew quipped. Xander nodded. "You can afford a truck with it too."
"I can't fit a truck in here," Xander quipped. "Maybe a jeep."
"You could ask that one you about his fold up jeep."
"I could, yeah." He blinked a few times. "That's the most handy jeep ever." He looked at the salesman, who looked confused. "Long story." He smiled. He looked at Bucky. "Let's look at the other one again just in case." The salesman nodded, taking them over there. They decided on the bus conversion. It was longer and odder but they could paint it to make it look more like a stretched van than a bus that was converted. He and Andrew could do some work to make it more useable for them. A third of the price, definitely better.
Bucky watched Andrew and Xander make plans. "Leave the other bunks?"
"I was thinking putting a cabinet up for weapons," Xander said. "Taking out the other bunks. Leave one bunk for me, one for you. Then take out the other set for storage." He looked back at him. "You can help since you ride in it a lot with me."
"I don't need to. Thanks." He sipped his coffee. "I can hear the school bus." Andrew pulled out cut up vegetables for the slayers to nibble on until dinner. They went back to customizing what they wanted to do. Including taking two feet from the back to make an external accessible storage area. He heard the words 'stretched' and went to check on why the girls hadn't come in yet. They were all staring at a few girls having a brawl on the sidewalk. He walked out there to separate them. "What are you two doing?"
"The bitch there decided we're all lesbians," the slayer involved sneered.
"She clearly has no idea," Bucky said. "And that's not a reason to get into a fight. Even if you're not, it's not like they put you in jail for it here." He looked at the other girl, who huffed off. "Good riddance and happy growing up." He pointed. "Andrew pulled out stuff to nibble." The girls went inside, telling Xander about the brat. Bucky followed, pulling a few girls out of the bushes where they were making plans to sneak out. "I doubt that'll work. Ask the girls he had to wake up this morning about that." The girls pouted but Andrew put down his foot about the pouting so it stopped before he refused to make dessert.
Xander came back from the meeting he had snuck off to grinning madly. He hugged Bucky, holding a new bag by the handle. "Come help me unpack." He took it outside, carefully putting out everything. Two new swords got put on the porch. Then they looked at the two large shipping boxes of stuff that other whoever had wanted to get rid of. Most of it went into the pantry. Then the large, flat box got looked at. Xander undid it, showing it expanded into a jeep. "It runs on ambient magic, solar, or gas," he said proudly. "One of three prototypes they've made."
"Wow." Bucky stared. "That's handy." Xander grinned with a nod. "We can pack that pretty easily." They repacked things in and made plans for the painting of the new SUV/bus/camper. Maybe Bucky would start to think about a personal vehicle. He was stable and might like having a way to get away from all the bounciness.
Bucky walked into the garage at Stark Tower a few days later. "JARVIS, can you ask Stark and maybe Foster to come down here. Xander said he promised to share this thing he got from someone else somewhere else with Stark but he's got a broken ankle."
"I can and have, Mr. Barnes. They'll be right down."
"Thanks." He looked at the cars in the garage, walking toward one. "What's this?" He looked it over, humming at the older style car. It looked like a car from the forties but clearly wasn't since it had a cd player in the dash. Stark came off the elevator. "What's this one, Stark?"
"It's a Morgan Aero Coupe. Their first one built with a partially aluminum frame. They're a British company."
"She's beautiful. Modern cars have no style."
"Exactly," Darcy said when she walked off the elevator with Jane. "Morgan's are kind of expensive. I looked it up for Steve. There's another car company that does older style cars. Caterham. They're Brits too but sell in the US."
"They do kit cars you can put together yourself too," Stark said. "I love the Morgan but it is expensive. With the options I wanted it was just over one-hundred-sixty-thousand." Bucky winced but nodded.
"Caterhams are about forty," Darcy said with a grin. "Going up to eighty plus extras."
"Better than that. All right. Xander went somewhere and talked to someone. They had the bags that confused you, Stark. He said he promised to show this off but he broke his ankle. Apparently the engineers that worked on this needed the back patting." He unpacked it and stared. "JARVIS, turn off the stuff that blocks magic please?" It went down with a whir of the fan and suddenly the jeep grew. "He said it runs on solar, ambient magic, or gas."
Stark stared at it then at him. "The magic packed it?"
"Huh." He moved to look at stuff. "The engine's different."
"I know nothing about engines," Jane said with a pout.
"But the bag that you've driven yourself nuts over is the same as the jeep frame," Darcy said with a smile for her. She and Jane came over to look. The frame got turned into the roof for the jeep. Tony was reaching for tools to look over the engine. "Stark, don't take it apart. It might not work," Darcy said. "You don't know if they had to lay a protection or anything." They looked at Bucky, who shrugged.
"Magic works on x-rays," Stark said. "JARVIS, send Bruce down with a camera, a filming capable camera, and the hand-held x-ray for metal fatigue. And anything else you can think of that I can't. My mind's running in circles."
"He'd like to eventually put this in the camper thing he just bought for our trips," Bucky said. "He and Andrew are working on it."
"What happened to his truck?" Darcy asked.
"Some woman who hit him while he was parked," Bucky said dryly. "Who it turns out hadn't renewed her insurance. So he sued her." He smirked a tiny bit. "Xander nearly killed her for that."
"Awww. Was she shallow and had a purse dog?" Jane asked.
"No purse dog that he mentioned. He called her tacky and shallow plus stupid."
Stark grunted as Bruce came off the elevator. "Bruce, this engine runs on ambient magic, solar, or gas."
"Huh." He came over to look. "Where did it come from?"
Darcy pointed at the roof struts. "Those made a box around it. It shrank to a flatish box."
Bruce stared at her then at Bucky, who nodded. "Wonderful. I love the insane things that Xander finds." They went over the engine. Andrew showed up to tell them about the spells. If they could recreate the engine at all that would be great for everyone. They could definitely help with the clean energy research that Stark was involved with if they could make their own version.
Bucky went up to talk to Steve. The engineers and scientists would be hours staring at the engine.
Xander showed up to repack his jeep and carried it off. "We need to measure the storage area for it." Stark moaned. "Sorry, we're working on the small bus conversion thing I bought." He grinned. "It's even got a tiny bathroom for when we have to camp."
Stark stared at him. "Why?"
"Point. You do a lot of it. Where's your bus thing?"
"Hawaii." He smiled and left back to the Council building then back through the portal. The jeep got hidden in its new space. "Locasta, don't magic the jeep," he said.
She felt it then put protections on it. "That way no one else can magic the jeep." He kissed her and went up to look at the small bit of stretching she had done inside. The galley counter now had a room for a toaster oven and a two burner stovetop. The designated weapons storage areas had been stretched a lot. The bunks had been given more room since they were underneath the weapons storage areas. The shower/bathroom area had been expanded so he and Bucky could fit inside it easier without hitting walls and probably breaking the fiberglass that made up the waterproof walls and sink. Andrew had put in separate tvs with dvd players in each bunk's end. He and Locasta had done the hiding spells for the weapons areas.
He had put in lock down systems for the handguns and knives in the top bunks areas. The walls now had pull down shelves to open up overtop of the bunk, which now held a padded gun and knife bench with straps to hold them in place. The bench itself folded up so nothing was hanging over their heads while they slept. Xander's had a space for his axe too so it wouldn't feel neglected. He walked up to the front, nodding at the recovered seats. Not leather, which got sticky in the high humidity and heat they often hit while traveling. Now they were nice, soft fabric that was washable. There was no need to go outside to walk up to the drivers and passenger seats. Just down a step and sit down. He checked things, adjusting the seat so he was comfortable. He sank into it, staring out the front window. It was a lot bigger than he wanted to have but it was useful. It just needed to look less like a bus.
Locasta walked up to him, making him look up. "It's huge but it's a good selection." He smiled and nodded. "The girls will love getting out of the heat. Their parents may laugh about you not camping but it's better for you. Especially with all the healing you did. You can put protections on it too. I know the tent had some until it ripped." He nodded she was right, pulling her into his lap. She stared at him. "You're cuddly."
"You're a man. You're all that way."
He grinned. "Not about that."
"Uh-huh." She let him cuddle for a bit then got up and led him back to help her put up the solar panels and the protections around the camper. Dawn had shown up to help Andrew with those too. Bucky showed up after grocery shopping to take over packing the necessary things that weren't weapons into the back access area.
"The tent's ripped," Xander called.
"I fixed the two holes and redid the marks," Bucky called back.
"Oh, okay. I had no idea how to patch vinyl that way."
Bucky looked around the edge of the camper. "It's not that hard. They make kits. It takes an iron."
"We have an iron?" Xander asked, looking confused.
"He borrowed," Andrew called. "Giles has an iron."
"Yeah, he would. He wears pressed stuff." They got back to painting marks on. "Shouldn't this go over the new paint job?"
Dawn groaned. "You're painting it?"
"I thought we were," Andrew said. He shrugged. "We can paint it later if we have to. White will deflect heat."
"It'll be tan from all the dirt anyway," Bucky agreed.
"Should we think about a lift kit to go through standing water?" Xander asked.
Everyone else stared at him. Then Andrew sighed but nodded. "We should but I have no idea who could do that. I'll ask around." They got back to work. Xander grinned, doing his own section of marks. At least until something showed up to offer him flowers. Xander stared at him. Andrew cleared his throat. "Xander doesn't usually get courted with flowers. He's not a girl."
The demon stared down at Xander. "I wish to date the slayer Bethie."
"You have to ask Bethie," Xander said. "And be peaceful and not harmful. Are you? I haven't met you before."
"That is why I showed up. So we could talk as men and you could give me approval."
Xander nodded. "We can do that. Pull a chair over to sit and talk with me while I do this."
The demon looked at the chairs then shook his head. "I would melt plastic. I will sit on the sidewalk." He sat down. Xander moved to paint the marks there and talk to him. Andrew texted Bethie to show up to talk to him herself. She got sent by Willow and settled on the porch stairs to talk to her suitor. Who had not a clue about more than her being pretty during battles and patrol. But sure, she could learn about him to see if he really wanted to court her. Xander was smiling while painting protections.
Bucky was sitting up that night looking up the two car companies Darcy and Stark had mentioned. He couldn't see him driving a modern, no style car. Especially not a Cube. That thought made him shudder and hope he died before he had to. Something with a bit of style, a bit of class. Something that reminded him of the cars he had seen growing up would be great. He smiled at the Mogran cars but the Caterham cars were all sporty sorts, the sorts that dames liked and he remembered he liked dames a lot. He had even tried to pick up a few recently but hadn't managed it before something huge had went down that he had to handle. Long live HYDRA for cockblocking him, and SHIELD with them. Well, hopefully not, he'd like to have them both destroyed soon for cockblocking him.
There was one nice car. A Caterham Seven 620R. Some speed, and he could probably get a better engine put in it to go faster. Nice styling. Could get things like a roof put on it so he could drive it in other than sunny weather. An optional radio. Looked like a race car. It also looked like the old style roadsters. The Morgans were better for that but he wasn't sure if he could handle a mostly wooden frame and they were twice as much. The thought of that much money made him shudder. He probably wouldn't have made that much in his whole lifetime, even if he had stayed in the army for life. Now he had backpay from when he was a POW. Like Steve's pay for being in the ice, they had put it into an account when he had gotten his files straightened out and it was making interest. Or baby money as Xander called it. He had baby money from the HYDRA money too.
He had enough to afford any car he wanted but that was a huge amount. Maybe used? Used was fine with him as long as it ran. Or maybe he'd stick with a motorcycle. He looked those up. Some of the bikes made him grimace. A touring bike looked like a mini car without sides to him. He heard Xander get loud with himself and sighed. "Maybe I should get my own house," he muttered. "So I'm not sponging off Xander all the time." He looked at local real estate. If he had to live anywhere other than Brooklyn, he really wanted to live here.
Unfortunately he spotted the prices on the local houses and nearly had a fit. Something like this house was worth over a million dollars? Wow! He looked up Brooklyn instead and found it just as expensive but without the scenery and fruit trees. Something selling on his old block was put up for seven hundred thousand. For a condo. The world was screwed up when houses cost that much and that building wasn't even all that nice. He looked up ones near the tower in Manhattan and had to put the computer down before he horrified himself. "Manhattan, where you can spend a million just to have a parking spot for your three million dollar studio loft," he complained.
Xander came out to stare at him. "That's why half of New York lives in New Jersey."
"Don't make me make a bad joke about that."
Xander patted him on the arm. "It could be worse. Housing prices went down when the stock market and housing bubbles burst plus it went down again in Manhattan after the invasion."
"Yeah. That's down," Xander said with a smile. "Interest rates are still down so it's a good time to buy too."
"Not at those prices."
"Singapore's worse. I had to help find the slayer apartment for that house over there. London's even worse because it's so crowded." Bucky grimaced. "It could be worse. A lot worse."
"I guess." He slumped. "How do people live in the city?"
"They spend all their money on housing and food," Xander said dryly. "Anyone who doesn't make at least fifty thou a year probably can't. That's why it has a lot of very bad public housing areas." Bucky grimaced. "Seriously."
"Great." He looked out then up at him. "Did whoever sneak out the back?"
"I'm sure you've heard about masturbation by now," Xander said dryly, smirking at him. "Especially in a war full of guys."
"There were dames here and there."
"Yeah," Xander said dryly. "But ninety percent of the time you were with guys. There's only a few ways to celebrate living through a battle." He walked off. "You're welcome to stay here."
"I feel like I should pay rent or something."
"The house is paid for. Pay for some of the bills since you use all the water."
"I can do that," he decided. He got up to find the water bill. "I use that much?" Xander walked past and pointed at the price per gallon note. "That's bad."
"It's an island."
"Can't we clean it from the ocean?"
Xander looked at him. "With what's been spilled in the ocean? I hope not. Eww! It's bad enough that New York cleans harbor water." He shuddered. "Now I need a shower." He went back to Cleveland to take one in water he was sure was more clean than anything out of the ocean or New York's harbor.
Bucky grimaced. "Yeah, that is a nasty thought." He went to take a shower but sniffed the water for a few minutes before he got in. He couldn't tell any contaminants other than chlorine to clean it up.
Steve and Bucky were talking over skype a few days later. "I got asked to do a USO tour," Steve said.
Bucky stared at him. "Are they going to make you put on the tights again?"
"I hope not." He grimaced. "They want me in the middle east to cheer up the remaining troops."
"Which is really dangerous," Bucky said. "Need me to come help you?"
"No one's asked for you yet," he said with a grin. "But I'm not sure if they'd allow me to have a bodyguard. It might make me look bad to the troops."
Bucky stared at him. "Want me to come babysit?"
"Yeah. Or I can arrange it for during summer camp time since I heard that's coming up soon."
Darcy leaned into view and waved with a grin. "Ask Xander if he had a vision about this?"
"I don't like to prompt them. They're dangerous and cause damage," Bucky said. "Xander, did you have any visions about Steve on a USO tour?" he called.
"Yup, sure as shit did," he called back. "I sent it to him two weeks ago. And to you and to Stark."
"I didn't get anything from him."
Xander came out to look over Bucky's shoulder. "That's pretty clear since the summer camp stuff was emailed a week later."
"I did not get that either," he said.
"Or the email asking if you had gotten it," he said with a grin. "Want me to tell the big guy that they're screwing with his computer for fun?"
"Um, no," Steve said. "Can you send it to Darcy?"
"I haven't gotten any emails in two weeks either," Darcy said.
Xander grinned. "You know what this means?"
"People are screwing with us," Darcy said with an unholy gleam in her eyes. "Let me go talk to others." She skipped off humming.
Steve watched her go then looked at the duo on that side. "That's really mean, Xander."
Xander smiled. "Her or me, Steve." He walked off. "Speaking of, McGarret's here."
"Tell him I said hi," Steve said. He looked at Bucky, who shrugged. "He needs a date?" he asked him quietly. Bucky nodded. "Maybe you can introduce him to someone. Or have McGarret do it."
"Maybe. I think a few of his are on the island." He waved and hung up, going to see what the officer wanted. "Huge problems?" he asked at the bad look on the guy's face.
"Yup. They're trying to frame me for stuff."
Xander smiled and hugged him. "It's okay. The one doing it is going to be sadly mistaken soon." Steve moaned. So did Bucky. Xander smirked. "Because I'm being fucked with too and I hate it." He strolled off. "By the way, the egg babies you had miss you. Danny brought them here so they could come home to daddy."
"Please don't use them on this or any other island," Steve called after him.
Xander smirked back at him. "Why would I damage my poor egg babies or any other babies I may have, Steve? That's what poker debts are for." He got into his jeep and drove off humming.
"It's been a bad week," Bucky said.
"I can tell." He looked at him. "They may try to frame me for more things or try to arrest me again."
"Let us know. We can afford bail money, probably."
"Thanks, Bucky." He shook his hand and drove off to check on his teammates. On the way his car radio started to whine about a man being held on a leash by a demon confessing to many crimes. "Ask him if he's doing it of his own free will," Steve muttered. "Please make sure it's a legal confession." Yup, the demon did that. That was so nice of the demon and Xander. Then they heard Xander complaining he hadn't even gotten to use a poker debt to go after the guy that had set some of his friends up for bad crimes. Steve smiled because you had to smile when you had the crazy white knight on your side.
Darcy skipped into Stark's lab, making him look up and slowly back away from her. He had only seen that look one time on one woman's face and the reason his mother had worn it had been very bad. "What's happened?"
She smiled, making him shudder. "None of us have gotten emails in two weeks. Including the stuff Xander and Andrew sent to Steve about slayer summer camp and a vision Xander had of Steve being kidnaped on that USO thing." He moaned. "JARVIS, are you being hacked?"
"I had no idea I had diversions and they're not within my systems or the systems here at the tower," the AI said. "They're diverting from outside us, sir. From the connection to the internet itself instead of us."
"Who?" Stark ground out, staring at Darcy, who still looked too happy.
"I cannot identify a being who is doing so, sir. I can tell it's not an agency that is legally employed. I have tracked it to six people."
"Are they against the Council or against the Avengers?" Stark asked.
"By their social media blatherings, both," the AI said. "Though they seem to hate the Council more, sir."
"Can we block them?"
"Yes, I can. I have and now I'm working on destroying them. Oh, dear, they're part of the Humanity Only group. They're trying to fight back."
"Half of them were Rising Tide," Tony said, moving to his computer. "JARVIS, link in all the hackers in the SI system and Coulson's little pet hacking bitch. Let's deal with them."
"Yes, sir, connecting the together in a room now. There you are, entered and she's getting online thanks to a text message." JARVIS put down what was going on and showed them what he was 'seeing'. The hackers all attacked back. Someone was not pleased.
Darcy got him extra special coffee and some cookies she had hidden from Thor for that.
Pepper smiled at the agent who was admitted to her office without an appointment. He had said it was important. "How can Stark Industries help you, Agent...."
"Powell, Miss Potts."
"How can we help you today, Agent Powell?"
"It appears a great number of your employees decided to hack the CIA today."
She leaned back, considering that information. "Really?" He nodded. "You have proof it was them?" He laid down the tracking notes. She looked it over. "Interesting considering that they were stopping the people that were blocking important emails to some of our employees and some of the Avengers." He sneered. She stared back. "I don't believe that's legal, even in this age of digital spying."
"I think you don't know what you're talking about."
"JARVIS?" she called.
"Yes, Miss Potts?"
"Why were the employees hacking earlier?"
"We had detected an intrusion into our systems when people went lacking emails that had been sent. We deleted that intrusion most harshly and then we ended the virus they had tried to infect me with twice now. By the way, the emitting thing in your pocket quit working the moment you stepped into the building, Agent Powell. We invented that technology. It's not like we'll fall victim to it."
"We never put out anything that we can't defeat," Pepper agreed with a smile. "You have a great day, Agent Powell. I'll be sure to note how concerned you were about our employees having to stick up for themselves." He stomped off. She smirked and waved at his back. "JARVIS...."
"The head of Legal is on her way up, ma'am, and so is the head of security," the AI said. "Mr. Stark is waiting to teleconference in with that information. Those tracking nodules were not all that effective. They didn't catch half the people involved. However, we did track them and all the information from that event has been saved down for future needs."
"Thank you, JARVIS, and tell Tony to call me."
"He is doing so now, ma'am."
She answered and looked out at the head of Legal. "Come in, Gloria." She walked in and sat beside her so they could both talk to Tony. The head of Security stomped in looking disgusted. He came over to talk too. He hadn't known but one of his people had just greeted the agent fondly. Pity, that one had a bright future as a guard. Not too bright of a being but he could've had a career.
Skye hung up on the hacker conference and rolled her head around, looking at Coulson. "We just upset the CIA."
"Oh, dear," he sighed.
"Yeah, exactly." She smiled. "Someone blocked Council emails and Avenger emails. No one with a Stark Industries address had gotten anything for two weeks."
"Related to the attempts on the slayers?"
"Oh, yes." She smiled at May then at him. "Oh, so yes." He nodded once. "By the way, you're missing some of yours as well." He stared at her. "So is Agent Hill."
He nodded. "We need to talk to her."
"Yup, we can," she said, logging onto the wifi signal they had through satellite hookup. Then into the communication software SHIELD used. "It's us," she said in greeting and sent over the information. "Someone at Stark found out they were being hacked. So were you. That's who we found doing it."
Agent Hill blinked. "Why was I being hacked?"
"They did the Council too."
"Oh, dear." She read it over, grimacing. "Sir, we've had problems and intrusions into our system."
"Is that why the CIA director just called to bitch?" Nick Fury complained, coming out of his office.
Skye smiled and nodded. "Yes, it is. We caught them with their hands in their panties and the panties of HO."
"What's HO?" Melinda May asked.
"Humanity Only," Coulson said. "A virulent pox of bigots who hate demons and slayers for handling demons. Especially since they won't kill them all, just the dangerous ones."
Fury grimaced, reading over the information. "Who did the tracing back?"
"A lot of us," Skye said. "Including Mr. Stark."
"Good!" He stared at her. "Wells?"
"No, I haven't talked to Andrew. One of the slayers is an intern at Stark and she helped."
"Even better. Have they tried the Council in other methods?"
"A few minor protests, a lot of online complaining," Coulson said. "They're gearing up toward something for the usual spring apocalypse from what we can tell, sir. As far as we know, they haven't done anything *too* horrible yet."
"They blocked Xander sending in visions. Including one about Steve Rogers being kidnaped on a USO tour they asked him to go on."
"Wait, he's doing what?" Hill demanded, dialing his number. "USO tour?" she demanded. "Who suggested that?" She wrote down a name. "No, you may not. Even without a vision you may not. We can arrange for you to go talk to the troops without the USO. They have minimal security and would probably try to make problems for you, Rogers. Come talk to us tomorrow about that and the hacking. No, I hadn't gotten anything from the Council in a few days at least. Summer camp registration?" She checked her email. "Not a bit. I'll have our systems checked. Tomorrow's fine. We're in DC and can be up there tomorrow." She hung up, looking at Fury then at the monitor. "Coulson, report back tonight."
"We're just off a mission," he said. "We can be in New York tonight."
"Good." She hung up and looked at Fury.
"Find them. Stop them. Stomp them fucking flat," he said firmly.
"Yes, sir." She walked off with that information on a disc so it couldn't be erased by anyone. Three people in computer services gave her scared looks so she went around them and the one sneering. He had never liked having women above him anyway. She looked at one hacker. "Our systems were interfered with. That is a federal offense. Here's who we found doing it. Find them. Hurt them so the Director is amused." She handed over the disc.
"Yes, ma'am." She turned to run it, staring at the information. "Ma'am, I cannot. I'm involved since one's my sister." She looked up. Then at her coworkers. "I can get one of our people from the HUB, ma'am."
"It'll take too long. Are you going to cover for her?"
"No, ma'am. They saved my butt last year. I'm not going to do anything to hurt little girls who were born with a birth defect like being chosen."
"Thank you for that honesty. Find them, conference in someone who we know isn't part of that new radical group. Find that radical group and find me people lists."
"Yes, ma'am." She called someone. "It's Helen. Agent Hill just gave me an assignment and I need help. A radical group against SHIELD, the Avengers, and the Council. Yes, them." She got hung up on. "Agent Hill," she said, calling her back. "The head of technology out at the HUB just hung up on me when I said that."
"Charming! Find one of the hidden ones."
"Yes, ma'am. Permission to lean on Skye?"
"Go for it. She helped earlier." She walked off again.
A few hours later, that same tech support geek ran up and into the office. "Sir, I was reporting to Agent Hill on her way home and she was attacked just outside the building. Just out of range of the cameras to the east. I sent out an alarm but it's not sounding." He got up and got agents to go help him. She laid the report on his desk and stapled it to it just in case. Then she closed the door and left.
Nick Fury came out of the building, staring around. "Sir, I need to surrender my firearm for the investigation," Maria Hill said quietly but firmly. Around her were three bodies.
"Were they attacking you?"
"Then there's no investigation, Hill. Put that away." She put her gun back into the holster. "You okay? Need the infirmary?"
"A few bruises but I can treat them at home."
He tipped her chin up. "Not what I asked," he said quietly.
"I'll be fine, sir. It's not the first time someone's attacked me for being a slayer."
"They did? You sure?"
"Yes, sir. They said so as the blonde one attacked." She pointed at his head, that was a few feet away from the rest of him.
"Director, there were two more heading this way but we caught them in the parking lot," a male voice said. "We were not amused at their intentions so stopped them."
Fury looked at him. "They dead?" Coulson nodded. "Good. Someone identify the not missed ones while we take a report." He led them upstairs. He found his office door open and an agent standing guard. "Something happen?" he demanded.
"Yes, sir. Someone tried to break into your office to steal the report that was left there, Director. He's sadly in your closet awaiting you to question him as I'm not any good at that."
"Thank you." He spotted the report. "She stapled it to my desk calendar."
"That's one way to make sure it doesn't disappear easily," Coulson said. He opened the closet door, finding a dead body. "Did we hit this one?" he called.
The agent leaned in. "No, sir. Is he dead? Pity," he finished blandly. "Probably didn't want to live with the shame of being a disgrace to his agency." He walked off.
"Probably," Fury agreed. "Someone identify this one too." Another agent came in to gather them while he took a statement on what had happened.
That night, Buffy stepped out of the house, going to lean on the slayer compound's gate so she was still safe. "Guys, I know I called you here but Willow's still insisting that I give a prepared statement she hasn't written." They mostly smiled at her. "I can give it off the top of my head but it might not sound the best because I'm pretty mad at some humans. Well, they want to say they're humans but I kinda doubt that they qualify most of the time."
Xander walked out to look over her shoulder. "Hey, Miss Bethany?" Her head popped up from behind her camera. "Your aunt was just identified as someone who attacked SHIELD earlier. We got a head's up." She shook her head slowly. "She attacked a slayer who is an agent with SHIELD. Has been since before the mass calling. Unfortunately that agent had to protect herself. I'm sorry but we got warned and I knew you'd be here. I'd normally have pulled you aside but it's kinda related."
Buffy looked up at him. "Which one?"
"The one in the higher position."
"Oh, dear. Is she okay?"
"Yeah, she says she's fine."
"Good. I'll call her later to check on her. I do that with the slayers." She looked at them again then smiled at Xander. "You do this better than I do."
He snorted, staring at her. "You're the one with public speaking experience from being a cheerleader." She pouted. "Not going to work. I'm going to help Andrew with dinner." He walked off happier that he wasn't giving the statement.
Giles came out with a sigh and opened the gate, letting it close behind him. "As Willow has failed to reign in her anger, I'll give the statement we've been working on since we found out that a group of beings has been blocking us sending out pertinent information."
"And slayer gossip," Buffy added with a grin. "It helps cheer up some of us."
"That as well. As this Humanity Only group has stopped a vision of a kidnaping from being shared with the intended victim," he started.
"Wait, the freaks who think all demons are a hallucination?" one of the reporters asked.
"They do?" Buffy asked back. "I have no idea. This is the first I've heard about any of it. Xander?" He came to the doorway. "They have a hard-on about demons being a hallucination?"
"No, that's the other group." He came out. "That's Humanity First. Humanity Only is a 'wipe them all off the face of this realm' group and has ties back to the agents that made us protect the slayers against being attacked. Including the hacking agents today." Giles held out the papers. "Not on your life. I'll use a wish demon to make your ass immortal, Giles." Giles huffed but gave the prepared speech. Then the reporters got to ask questions. Most of which Andrew got to come answer so Xander didn't have to. Buffy could watch and learn. Giles could learn how to be less stiff. Xander just got to hide from it again.
Steve was watching the news when they covered the statement, smiling at the goings on. "They really do handle that better than I do."
Clint nodded. "Easier than most of us do, Steve." He shifted to get more comfortable. "Huh. I didn't know there were two groups. JARVIS, save that down for Stark?"
"I have, Mr. Barton."
Darcy came off the elevator with Suzette and Larissa babbling at her about dinner. The girls ran over to hug Steve then went back to learn how to use that magical invention that fed them slayer-needing food - the stove.
Steve smiled at their backs. It was good the girls had a good female role model. "Did you call Peggy today?" he called.
"Yup," Suzette called back. "She was napping."
"Okay." He watched the rest of the news, taking the plate Larissa carried out for him. "Thanks, Larissa. How's things going?"
"He's really nice and his housekeeper is great about teaching me cooking stuff too." She grinned. "Plus Katie's an excellent big sister who helps me polish my new knife." She ran back to the kitchen so they could eat together with Darcy.
"Clint, come get dinner for yourself and Natasha," Darcy called. "I know she hates to have dished up food handed to her."
"Sure," he agreed, going to make them plates. Natasha showed up so he handed her some. She smiled slightly and went to eat on the porch to watch the sun set over the skyscrapers.
Stark came storming off the elevator and headed for the kitchen. Larissa smiled and held up a plate. "Did you run away again?"
She pouted. "NO!"
"Stark!" Darcy hissed. "Her dad's out of town tonight so she came to eat and play with Suzette, who's barely ungrounded."
"Sorry, bit tetchy from hunger," he said, taking the plate. "Thank you, Larissa and Suzette." The girls both almost smiled at him. Mentally he sighed because he was probably the reason Larissa was going to turn into a bitch in heels with weapons some day instead of being a nicer girl like Suzette was going to be. He always said the wrong thing. He looked at Darcy. "There's two groups?"
"One of them is the ones that like to picket here for believing Thor is himself."
"Oh, them." He stuffed his mouth before walking off. "Nice job, girls."
"Thank you, Uncle Tony."
"Thank you, Mr. Stark," Larissa agreed.
He backed up to look at her. "I can be Uncle Tony, Larissa. I may be an asshole but not that sort." He walked off eating again. The girls hugged and finished dinner so they could work on the cake Darcy was teaching them for class tomorrow. They had to make three, so the one for the class wouldn't be stolen by anyone in the tower.
Darcy looked at Jane that night. "Maybe for next Halloween I'll go as a dominatrix with Science on a leash."
Jane choked, staring at her. "Don't say things like that!" she complained.
"I can put a nice stuffed animal with a 'Science!' t-shirt on it on a leash," she said with a smirk. "Since I seem to be the only one that's whipping science instead of being the sub of it like most are around here."
Jane walked off moaning but eating the plate of food Darcy had brought her; she had been ignoring the nagging about eating until Darcy went that weird. She went to complain to Stark, and Steve and Thor since they were in there. "Darcy needs a few days off, Stark. She just suggested we're all submissives to science and it's beating us sexually."
He spluttered then nodded. "I'll ask Pepper about her favorite spa in the area and book her a treatment day, Jane."
Darcy leaned in then walked over her tablet, showing Thor. "I'm going to wear that for Halloween and have a little stuffed friend on a leash that's wearing a science name tag."
He hugged her. "I believe Jane is right, Lady Darcy. You need a long rest. Go rest and I'll make sure Jane finishes her meal and gets some rest until at least noon tomorrow."
"She's got a meeting with that grant guy at ten. We both do." She patted him on the arm. "Make sure she showers and all that too." She smirked at Stark, showing him. "That? Or in black?"
"I think I have thoughts I shouldn't have and I'm wondering if this is sexual harassment, Lewis."
"Nope," she said with a wicked smirk. "Sexual harassment means that you have power over that person. I don't have power over you. Then again, if you guys took power over science, it might help. You've had one meal today?" She strolled off looking smug. "I'm going to get Bruce's opinion."
"Thor, go put her into her suite before she embarrassed Bruce enough to go hide from us," Stark ordered. He nodded, following her to carry her off. "Maybe we put too much pressure on her, Jane."
"Maybe. I try really hard." She sat down and finished her dinner. "I don't know how to do what she does."
"We'll make sure she's got a nice few vacation days," Stark said, patting her on the knee. "We're going over our various hate groups."
Jane looked and pointed. "That's where the grant giving guy tomorrow is from."
"Oh, charming." He smiled. "We'll look into that and maybe interrupt your meeting." She shook her head, pouting. "After you've talked about the grant stuff, Jane."
"Thanks, Stark." She stood up. "Let me go hide from the nasty thoughts she gave me." She went up to her shared room with Thor. He came in to tuck her under his chin and help her sleep. It was sweet of him.
Steve kept from smiling by long force of will. Sometimes, Darcy had the right idea to goad the science teams into something they needed to do. Even Stark was ordering himself dinner so he didn't have to make Darcy nag him again.
Down in Washington, DC, Sam Wilson was reading an email in confusion. "Why would I help her set up a symbolic 'taking power back from our evil thing' scenario? Especially against science? And why is science capitalized?" He frowned, sending her back an email to please explain that idea further. "The girl clearly needs a break and a guy." He shook his head and answered one from Larissa about how he had learned to do what he did. He liked the plucky little one and he could definitely see her following in his footsteps, though she'd have to give up tying people up before then.
Xander answered his first email in weeks, sending out the information on slayer summer camp again, with an explanation about why it was a resend. Some of the parents would love to help stomp on those sort too. If some thought it was snotty sounding, as one told him, he explained he was just frustrated since they had blocked them sending out visions, which meant someone had gotten hurt. Not one of the slayers but the cousin of one that the idiots thought was the slayer in the family. "Maybe I need to start calling them personally to make sure they got it." He went back to answering questions about summer camp. He and Andrew had a lot of fun with slayer summer camp, and the big slayers that helped usually did too.
Darcy came out of the attempted grant meeting/attack to get Jane so they could make Thor give himself up meeting and smiled at the staring guards. "Problems, guys?"
"One," one of the guards said. "He's an agent."
"Who just tried to illegally gain custody of Jane. There was no warrant or any other legal statement that would have allowed them to move her from the room, much less the building. Frankly, the guy told us that he was going to make Thor give himself up so they could torture him to find out what sort of enhancement he used, since they don't believe he's Asgardian or that Asgardians exist, so they could give it to the ones they want to have it." The guard winced. "Beyond that, why are you here? The last time I knew, Stark Security had uniforms that weren't tacky suits."
"It's designer," he sneered.
She stared back. "Color me unimpressed and bored," she snapped. "Why are you here? No, Jane. Stay. We have an agent here bothering us." Jane went back into the room. Stark came out with Barton, who had been helping get the idiot out of the meeting room. "He tried to tell me that I'm not supposed to protect Jane from kidnaping attempts, Stark."
"Hell no," he sneered. "And who is this guy?"
"No idea. He's here with the guards." She pointed at them. "Though I don't recognize most of them. When I sneered at his cheap suit, he decided it's *designer*."
Stark looked it over. "Off the rack higher end suit, not personally made designer." He stared at him. "Why are you in my building?"
"I don't have to tell you anything, Mr. Stark, and interfering with an agent doing his job will get you arrested."
"Do you have a warrant?" Darcy asked.
"I don't need one."
"Yeah, you do. That is the law."
"If I consider her a possible enemy combatant I can take her in any time I want," the agent sneered. Barton shot him in the stomach. "Who the hell do you think you are!" he shouted. He was holding his stomach and slowly trying not to fall to his knees.
"Agent Clint Barton, SHIELD," he said, staring down at him. He pulled out his phone. "Widow, got an agent here who thinks Jane's assistant is a terrorist for protecting her. Stomach injury but I'm sure you can work around that. Coulson or whoever can pick him up when they get back here." He hung up.
A few minutes later, the elevator opened to show Natasha in yoga pants and a sports bra, with a towel around her neck. "This is a nice reason to take a break from my workout." She hauled him up with Clint's help. "Come, let us talk like agents," she said, hauling him off.
The agent gasped at the man coming off the elevator. "Help me, Captain. I'm just doing my job."
"Son, I don't have anything to do with questioning. That's not the sort of soldier I am. That's their job, because they're very good at it. Is there a reason, Agent Romanoff?" The agent burst out sobbing.
She nodded. "He tried to get a certain assistant to not save Jane."
"Interesting. I'll call someone to come clean up the mess she probably made."
"We made it so she didn't have to," Clint said with a smile.
Darcy waved a hand in the air. "I was all for clawing them to death but they saved me from ruining my nails."
Steve nodded, smirking slightly. "Natasha, can you clear this up before school gets out?"
"Yes, I can," she said. She dragged him onto the elevator and down to an easily cleaned up room. She'd even get someone to treat his injuries.
Steve called someone. "Skye, can you tell Coulson that we have an agent here at the tower who was threatening Darcy? No, if he's in the meeting that's fine. Natasha has him right now. Thank you." He hung up and looked at Darcy. "You look nice today."
"Thank you. All thrift store stuff but I like it a lot." She smiled, patting him on the arm as she walked past him. "It's safe, Jane." She peeked out then came out to follow Darcy back to the labs two floors down.
Stark looked up at the alarm. "JARVIS?"
"Sir, there's a few agents who just came up onto the lab floor with weapons drawn," the AI said. "The elevator's locked by them." They headed for the stairs, with guns coming out before they came out the doorway. No agents. A lab-by-lab check revealed two in Bruce's lab but he had clubbed them both with a baseball bat he had in the corner and he was breathing hard so he could keep calm.
"Foster?" Clint yelled from her lab doorway. No answer. "Darcy, Jane?"
"Help," Darcy called. "They zapped Jane and I'm struggling here. Heels are bad."
Clint walked in carefully, getting the two agents trying to get past her. "You do look nice."
She pushed her hair back. "I need to quit dressing up."
He grinned. "Nah, we just need to handle this." He looked. "Get Jane to the infirmary." She nodded, helping her up and dragging her up the hall. Stark was helping Steve get the ones in his lab. They were obviously trying to look for something. They weren't liking the automatic lasers that came down to shoot them.
Skye pounded on the door between the two agents trying to stop her then kicked in the door. "Coulson, agents just tried to kidnap Dr. Foster. Natasha has them and my phone just beeped with an alert that there's agents trying to take out Foster and Stark in their labs." He got up and hurried out, with her behind him, to the cars. She called in help. "Melinda, attack on Avengers Tower. We are. Heading for the garage." She hung up. "I got called about that first one but the agents didn't want to even let me slip a note under the door. Then I got the emergency one a few minutes later."
"He probably had a backup force," he said. They came off the elevator to meet up with agents loading into agent SUV's. "People, this is Avengers Tower we're talking about. On the lab floors. Remember, we will have a group of scientists that may not realize you're there to save them." Everyone nodded. "Also, there are agents already there." He got in to drive and headed out quickly. "Hopefully Stark leaves us some."
They got there in time to see one agent come plummeting down from a window that looked like a small explosion had opened it. Not theirs by the cheaper suit. Then a second one got tossed out and he noticed it was Captain Rogers throwing them out. "That's a really bad thing," he said, hurrying up there.
"The elevators are broken," JARVIS said. "I can get one industrial one open, Agent Coulson." He led the way to them and they went up to help. JARVIS got them to the right floor.
"Thanks," Skye said, following her boss out. She went into Jane's lab first. No one but a guy pawing through her files. She hit him on the back of the neck and he grunted but didn't fall. She fought him until he knocked her down but it was a lucky thing since the guy got shot from the doorway. She looked back. "Thanks, Barnes."
"Welcome." He walked in to haul him up and out. "We're gathering them in the gym so Natasha can have a talk." He walked out and they let the agents take the idiot. The other ones got tossed down the stairs until someone found the device locking the elevator and turned it off.
Steve came out of Stark's lab dusting his hands off. "I'm going to have to talk to someone," he said quietly.
Skye looked at him and slowly backed up. "Captain, did they hurt you? I can get Coulson. Or help you get to the infirmary."
He smiled a tiny bit. "I'm fine, Skye. Thank you anyway. They just said they wanted my daughter in their custody." He looked at Bucky.
"They're not HYDRA that I recognize."
"The one I asked sneered that I'd confuse people trying to be good and help humanity with them."
"Fuck," Bucky muttered. "Another one?"
"He was horrified she's a future slayer," he said more quietly. "Said that made her immoral and tainted so she was to be killed instead of studied to see if my serum passed on."
Bucky growled. "That sort." Steve nodded. "I'll get her from school."
Xander appeared with his axe. "I'll go get her from school. You guys deal with the filth before I deal with them because they just tried to fire a land-to-air missile into the slayer house in Cleveland. All the minis that are in residence are there today, they were squealing in the backyard when they did it."
"They'll recognize it's you," Bucky said.
"Not like they don't know you," Xander quipped.
"But I'm known to be in and out of here. They won't connect her to slayers." Bucky stared at him. "Go help Natasha, Xander. She's in the gym." He nodded, heading to do that. Bucky shuddered. "Let me go guard the girls." He left, heading for Steve's bike. An agent stared at him. "I'm going to make sure Steve's little girl is fine." He started the bike and roared off.
"The Captain has a kid?" the agent asked the one next to him, who nodded. "How?"
"Some lab in Russia by the scuttlebutt," he said with a grimace. "She's cute, but one of Harris's minis. She's the reason he nearly left the US when they were threatened." They stared at the girl getting out of the cab with a bow and a bag. "Ma'am, do we know you?"
"Yes, you do," she said with a smirk. "I'm Kate Bishop, also known as the second Hawkeye. My fellow archer needs some help." She walked in and hiked up the stairs. She came out on the gym floor and handed Clint her bag. "Specialty arrows?"
"Always appreciated. Thanks, Katie."
"Welcome." One of the waiting people roared and rushed at her so she shot him in the throat. "Hi. How are you today?" she asked with an evil smirk. "Pity but you got into my moment of archer PMS. Pity." The man was choking and gasping.
Natasha pulled out the arrow. "You must be able to push that aside or channel it into something useful, Kate. Not just use it to destroy idiots who set you off. If you do not have good emotional control you'll only ever be an archer." She hauled that one off to the changing room to talk to him. Someone in there screamed. She stared. "Xander, is that thing necessary? It's a bit...weird."
He grinned. "It's a flesh eater. It's cleaning up his injury for him. The spit is acidic but healing. I'm being nice."
"I can see how that would help, yes." She looked at the one in her hand. "Him or me?" The man tried to hide behind her. "I thought you would want to talk to me." She hauled him into the showers, where she was working, and had him talking within moments.
Bucky walked into the school and into the office. "Avengers Tower was just attacked by people who vowed they wanted Suzette to test on." The principal came out of his office, staring at Bucky's weapons. "They're necessary."
"You can settle her and another one that thinks what you do is nice in the interrogation training room," he said. "So you don't freak out the other students. Please?"
"Agreed. Bring that one to me."
Bucky headed for that room. He remembered where it was. It was across the hall from the sprout's classroom. He knocked and leaned in. "Suzette?" She lifted her head and stared at him. "C'mere for a few. Not you, Larissa. No one that tried to get Darcy knew about you."
Larissa grimaced. "Fuck them then." The teacher gasped.
"Exactly, though language. Even though Steve's swearing too," Bucky said with an evil smirk. "C'mon, kiddo. We'll go sit and talk to make sure you're safe and if they show up here I can handle them for the guards."
"Okay. Can I bring my test?" she asked.
"That's fine. I'm fairly certain he wouldn't let you cheat. Bring all your homework to do."
"Her dad would yell at me if I let her cheat." She gathered her stuff and joined him across the hall. The other student knocked then let herself in. "Who're you?"
"I'm Agent Miller's second daughter, sir, and I think I want to follow your footsteps, without the bad parts, to be an agent. I was going to ask my father to see if I could talk to Agent Barton about it. Can we chat?"
"We can talk. Quietly and subtly." He pointed at the kid.
She nodded. "I can do that." She came in and pulled down a table for her. "Use that, Suzette." She grinned and went to do that. She looked at him. "I want to be a sniper."
"Can you shoot?"
"Yes, I can. I'm on the school rifle team. I'm not the best I can be yet. The rifles we're forced to use are awkward for me. I was hoping for some ideas on how to fix that as well.
Bucky stared at her. "We can go over that easier. Suzette already knows a lot of weapons."
She smiled. "I figured she would with being around people like Agent Barton."
"I can't touch his bow yet," Suzette said without looking at them. "But he has been working on my crossbow work."
"That's handy in your future life," Bucky agreed. He looked at the young woman. She was plucky, she had ideas. She had some experience but not the sort you'd need to be a real sniper. That would unfortunately come when someone tried to break into the school. The school went into lockdown and they rushed out to handle it while Suzette hid in a closet with her favorite knife in case she needed it. By the end of the attempted attack, the young girl had the sort of experience that made most agents hate themselves. She stared at the blood on her hand then nodded once and went to a trash can to puke, but stayed calm. Bucky walked over to her. "It doesn't get easier unless you lose your soul."
She finished and spit a few times then stood up. "Good. I needed to hear that."
He nodded. "Talk to Hill later. She can set you up with a mentor to get you through your training phases."
"Is she coming?"
He pointed up the hall. "Hill." She paused. "This is Miss Miller. She wants to be a sniper. She helped a lot."
She looked at her then nodded. "We'll set you up with a mentor that's a normal sniper, not Barton. He's a bit weird and he'd give you bad ideas." She patted her on the arm. "Go clean up in the gym, Miller. Thank you."
"They shouldn't be after little kids. My dad would be horrified." She walked off.
Hill looked at him and he nodded. "She calmly stared at the blood for a minute, puked calmly, and was talking."
"Her mother heads the interrogation team and her father's a handler. I'll be glad to welcome her into the service if that's what she wants. Thank you." She walked off to check on everyone. Bucky went to clean himself up and then to get Suzette.
Larissa looked at him. "She's coming home with me tonight. She can stay over, Uncle Bucky. That way no one tries anything weird. Dad said so."
"Okay," he agreed. He texted that to Steve, who agreed. "Steve said it's fine, girls." They grinned. "Is it almost the end of the day?"
"Dad's coming to pick us up," Larissa said. "I'm not sure we could both ride the motorcycle with you." He smirked. "It makes me nervous."
"I'm a good driver."
"Yeah, but Suzette likes things like that and I don't."
"That's fine, kiddo. Relax. They're gone."
"Okay." She let Suzette out of the closet. "He's done."
She came out to look up at him. "Is Dad okay?"
"He's really mad. He helped shove a guy out a hole he made in a wall he's so mad at them."
She grimaced. "Make him have stuff for dinner that makes him happy."
"I will." She nodded and took Larissa's hand to cuddle her until her father got there. Then they ran out to the limo to go to her house. It was safe and had nice rooms to safely play in.
Bucky nodded at the teacher and left to help Hill, who motioned for him to go. He went back to the tower. Everything but the blown windows were fixed. No blood on the floors or walls. The agents had mostly thinned out. Stark was talking with Coulson when he made it up to the lab. "The girls are hanging out together at the other kid's house."
"Bishop's a good guy," Stark said. "I looked into him and Kate when she showed up." He looked at Coulson.
"He's a strong parent too. Kate's a good girl. Even if she does want to be Barton sometimes." He looked at Bucky. "You good?"
"I'm fine. Had some help from a young girl who wanted to talk about being a sniper."
"Miller?" Bucky nodded. "I have no problem with that but I think she might after a while. She seems to have her mother's detachment issue. Though that's not really a hindrance but it tends to make a life miserable at times." He looked at Stark. "What were they trying to get into?"
"They were pawing Jane's desk when I got that one," Bucky said.
"There's nothing on her desks that would help the humanity only people," Stark said. "What about that other group?"
"A few showed up to protest during it. I had the agents send them off. Then Thor flew in wearing his full regalia and landed near them before stomping in. I think most of them saw it. They may think he's a mutant but probably not," Coulson said. "Most of them don't seem to be willing to deny what they've witnessed, just how they see the world. Most of them are religious too and use that as their baseline for denying because the bible doesn't say anything about other realms or planets."
"So the same ones that deny the moon landing?" Stark asked.
"And others who aren't quite that bad," Coulson agreed. He stood up. "Let me know what they were looking at so we can track back a reason for it. That group had no reason to want scientific research so it's an anomaly until we find out."
Stark nodded he would. He looked at Bucky. "Steve's in the kitchen."
"Thanks. Need me, Coulson?"
"No. Thank you for the help, Barnes." He shook his hand. "Let me check in and then I'll check on Harris and Romanoff." He walked off.
Barnes nodded. "I'll go calm Steve down."
"Have fun. I've got to figure out what they were trying to get."
"Why you and Foster?" he asked.
"That's a good point." He went to look at her desk to see what they had been pawing through. It might help narrow his stuff down since there were four other ideas there.
Maria Hill walked into the cellblock that night, staring in the cells. "I can tell there's a demon," she told the staring guard. It pointed at the thing that was slowly licking an injured person clean. "Oh, one of them. They're handy and they do heal but it stings since it's acidic." She walked in to grab it and carried it off. She came back for the two fuzzy imp things that chewed on people. They could all go to the demon bar with her when she went to see if the poker circuit knew anything about this group.
The guard went to pray in a corner while his partner watched the prisoners do the same thing.
Xander showed up at the main house that night, looking at the small mess. The shields had held, mostly. The front of the house was chewed up by the explosion. The door and windows had been blown in. He walked in and stared. The case in the hallway was knocked over and broken. He picked up Mr. Pointy and put it on the desk as he walked past it. The kitchen was okay but Andrew wasn't in there. He came out to the front rooms again. No one was there. Which he expected and agreed with. He turned when he heard a footstep, nodding at the officer.
"Sir, we've had the house cleared."
"I came to make sure things were handled. I've been helping the one in New York."
"Another attack like this?"
"On Avengers Tower."
"They're dumb then. Who knows what Stark could pull out." Xander nodded. "Sir, we're going to keep the house closed for the night."
"That's fine. Are you guys going to watch over it to make sure no one loots?" The officer nodded. "Let me get a few things. Not that we don't trust you but I need to check the armory and get Mr. Pointy." He got the stake again and checked the armory. He locked it so no one but him, Andrew, Kate, and Bucky could get into it. Mr. Pointy went in there. It was fire proof, blast proof, and magic proof. The only way to get in was the DNA coded lock. Then he activated the magical hiding protections. That sent it intangible until Andrew or Willow got there. He checked upstairs, packing a few bags for the older girls. Including Buffy's makeup kit. She'd fuss about it and no one needed to hear her fuss. He got a bottle of soda from the fridge and locked the kitchen down too. Then he walked out with the bags. The officer had gotten him a cab and he went to their fallback locally. He walked in and handed over bags. "Mr. Pointy's in the hidden and protected armory."
She smiled. "Thanks, Xander."
"Not a problem. Kendra was a good girl and we should remember the hell she and the girls like her went through." He handed over one last bag. "The armory has both sets of protections, Andrew. I locked the kitchen down too so no one can tamper with the food unless they did."
"Thanks," he agreed, giving him a hug. "You okay?"
"I'm good. I quit being mad a while back while I was in New York." He waved Giles, Buffy, Willow, and Faith in. "For some reason those same yahoos were trying to get into lab stuff that Stark and Foster have."
"Foster?" Faith asked.
"Jane. Darcy's boss. She's with Thor," Andrew said with a slight grin. "She's rebuilding the rainbow bridge."
"The one they wanted over that portal research," Buffy said. Xander nodded. "Stark doesn't deal with that."
"Why would a group that's against the slayers and demons want scientific information on how to get to Asgard and whatever Stark was working on?" Willow asked.
"That's what I was wondering," Xander quipped. He smirked at her. "I think we need to know. It feels like we're a coverup."
"That's a very interesting question," Giles agreed. "We'll have to figure it out."
Congrats On Having To Change Things.