Well, I do believe this is an entirely new twist on the "who's your daddy?" obsession most people seem to have with every single character in the show. JoeHundredaire: the weirdest lunatic on Twisting the Hellmouth. Accept no substitutes.
Dawn whistled and kicked her legs as she sat on the edge of a lab table. "Are you sure you know what you're doing?" Reed Richards looked up from his work and blinked. "What? I kinda doubt that you do superhero paternity tests very often. It's a reasonable question. Sorta. Kinda. Maybe. Okay, shutting up now."
This was weird. This was beyond weird. She was having a paternity test done by Mr. freaking Fantastic. After a second call from Vision to the Baxter Building, Wiccan had done some sort of gut-wrenching teleportation that had left Dawn feeling like someone had tried to pull her apart at the atomic level and shot them from the school's lawn to one of the building's public areas. From there, she'd gotten her first glimpse of one Hank Pym as she'd been grabbed and shuttled off to a lab. Arms stretching and twisting inhumanly, Reed had drawn blood and set one of his incredibly expensive looking machines to work on her test with incredible ease.
Chuckling, Reed leaned back in his chair. "I've actually had to do an absurd number of these tests. Being a superhero is comparable to being a celebrity. Actually, we've evolved into a very similar community that parallels theirs in terms of behavior. Some superheroes actually have stable relationships with normal members of society, and then you see the very Hollywood-esque short relationships between superheroes. Generally not the marriages, though, because that requires paperwork and using your real name, something most heroes are loathe to volunteer. Not to mention the assorted one-night stands between superheroes and people they save or natives when they visit foreign lands. I've gotten in the habit of including Wolverine and Iron Man's DNA samples in every test I do just because they seems to be the most common culprits when it comes to illegitimate children. I ran you against the broad spectrum Avengers database, which includes every member they've ever fielded plus a number of close allies who allowed me to sample their DNA, just to see if there were any hits in the event Hank wasn't your father."
The machine beeped and Dawn hopped off the table, wandering over so she could see. For someone with the largest IQ on the planet, his computer programs were remarkably user-friendly and it didn't take her long to decipher the text and little graphs on the screen. "You've got to be kidding me…"
Cassie grinned as her body grew to nearly thirty feet tall, before reversing the process and shrinking far down past her normal height. Up! The numbers on the helmet's display rolled upwards to match her increasing size. Down! The numbers spiraled back down as she shrank again. Even though she logically knew he couldn't see her face, she smiled up at Hank Pym anyways. "You're right, this is so much easier. I can't believe Mr. Stark kept me from being able to do this. We should go break in and steal my dad's helmet back."
Snorting, Hank tapped something into the Palm Pilot he was holding and Cassie watched as the world grew back to normal size around her. "An override. We've had some problems with people stealing my work, so I build it in to all my equipment. And I'd recommend against trying to break into the Stark Industries warehouse where Scott's helmet is stored. It'd be much simpler for you to just keep this one."
"Are you serious?" Cassie yanked off the helmet and stared at Hank. Then she caught her reflection in the silvery, ant-inspired device. "Blehh, helmet hair!" She ran one hand through her hair as her teammates laughed, trying to restore some semblance of order to it. "But you're serious, I can keep the helmet?"
Hank nodded and dug into the bag he was holding, withdrawing a second Palm Pilot and offering it to her. "There are three security levels. Your helmet is on the lowest rung. This can override it if someone steals it. And I can override your helmet or your Palm Pilot if you or the Young Avengers go rogue and need to be taken down. I trusted your father to use his power responsibly and now I'm extending that trust to you. Make Scott proud."
Her eyes teared up, but Cassie was saved from truly embarrassing herself by the return of Dawn and Reed Richards. For some reason, Dawn was the more composed of the two; Reed was pale and babbling to himself in six-syllable words that Cassie had no chance of understanding. "The test results are in." Dawn held up a piece of printer paper proudly, managing a passable imitation of Maury Povich's voice. "Hank… you are not the father."
Sighing, Hank looked a bit relieved. "Well, considering I never cheated on Janet, I didn't see how it could be possible. Although it puts us back at square one as to why you were part of the Vision's program. Who's out there other than me who you could have gotten powers from?"
Dawn turned to face the wall… which had someone leaning against it. Cassie blinked; she'd never even noticed Janet Pym standing there and the Young Avengers had been visiting the Baxter Building for over an hour. Christ, how oblivious was she? "Janet… you are the father."
Thump. Janet fainted, collapsing to the floor.
Sitting next to her bed, Dawn stared down at Janet as she waited for the woman to wake up. She'd chased both Hank - she wasn't sure if he counted as her step-father now or what, given his variable relationship with Janet and the uncertainty of her own future relationship with her 'father' - and the Young Avengers away so Janet could recover in peace. For some reason, there was a loud argument going on out in the hallway between what seemed like every superhuman in the building. Moronic fuckers. It wasn't like this affected any of them, save perhaps Hank. So Dawn ignored them all, instead choosing to spend her time thinking about the newest bout of bizarre to rock her strange, strange world.
Joyce Summers was dead and gone, but she wasn't really Dawn's mother to begin with. That didn't mean Dawn didn't miss the woman, but given that she knew all memories apart from maybe six months or so were fakes created by the monks… it made it easier for her to distance herself from Joyce and move on. It was probably how foster children felt, Dawn decided. Joyce was nice and all, but Dawn knew the woman wasn't really her mother and so Joyce was just that in her mind: a nice woman.
Her actual biological mother… they weren't even going to go there.
On the paternal side, there were fake memories of Hank Summers and the two times she'd met him for certain after her magical birth. He hadn't impressed her. Giles had certainly filled the role in her life that a father would have but, like Joyce, Dawn had known he wasn't really her father and so he was a nice man but nothing more. Because despite what Buffy's little Scooby group thought, family of the heart wasn't everything. Blood mattered a great deal. Buffy's swan dive off Glory's tower should have taught them that.
Finally, the mystery of her real father was solved… and it was Janet Pym. Founding member of the Avengers, their leader at times, and capable of superheroic feats that even Buffy and the other Slayers were jealous of. Outside of the spandex, she was a ridiculously rich and world-renowned designer. On paper, she sounded like a perfect father… well, apart from the fact that she was a she. But Dawn was nowhere near that petty and materialistic… anymore. If Janet wanted to get to know her and try to be a part of her life, that was fine with her. But she wasn't going to beg for it, she wasn't going to force it on Janet, and she certainly wasn't going to try and leech off the woman.
And somewhere in the middle of mother and father sat Illyria… and that was another subject that Dawn wasn't eager to touch. Because really, Joyce… Hank… Buffy… Janet… four parents was a bit much but not unheard of, especially with how common divorce and remarriage and split custody was. But five… five was getting a little out there.
On the bed, Janet stirred, pulling Dawn out of her thoughts. She opened her eyes and Dawn leaned over her, staring down into the same blue eyes that she saw whenever she looked in the mirror. "I'm your dad?" Dawn just nodded. "How? Why? What?"
"I'd make a joke here about the birds and the wasps, but it's nowhere near that simple." Dawn chuckled softly as Janet stuck her tongue out at her. "Hmm. Can't do 'when a man and a woman love each other very much'… what about 'when a pipette and a petri dish love each other very much'?" Janet didn't look any more amused by that and so Dawn sobered up… slightly. "Does it help if you try to think of yourself as my mother instead of my father?"
Janet shook her head. "Considering I was never pregnant… it's slightly less freaky than the idea of fatherhood, which requires plumbing I don't have, but still pretty strange. Honestly? I'm pretty sure there's no way to make this any less bizarre, at least to me. Although you seem pretty calm… I assume you know how all this happened?" Dawn nodded again, letting Janet proceed at her own pace. "Are you some kind of, I don't know… villain-grown hybrid of me and another Avenger that's supposed to be able to beat us all and help your master take over the world?"
Laughing, Dawn leaned back as Janet sat up. "Yes, I know how it happened. Well, vaguely. And no, there's no labs, villains, or world-taking-overage in my plans for the future. Unless taking over the world helps me get into a good college?" Janet frowned at that one. "Right, no world domination jokes in front of the superheroes. So… where do we go from here?"
"Did you figure out your powers yet?" Janet stretched before swinging her legs over the side of the bed. "Hank told me that's why the Young Avengers found you in the first place. Although I'm guessing that flight and stingers seem a lot more likely now than they did… how long was I out?"
Dawn down looked at her watch. "Half an hour ago. And no, I didn't. So I ask how you want to handle the fact that you're my father, and you want me to go play with whatever powers I have?" She sighed. "So we'll be going with denial or avoidance. Gotcha." She rose from her chair and headed for the door. Honestly, she should have expected it. What rational person would welcome their long lost lesbian love child with welcome arms? Well, she'd gotten by without Hank Summers in her life for this long. She could get by without Janet. "Well, I'll go let them know you're okay and see if Hank will lend me a helmet even though I'm not his."
"Wait!" Janet scrambled off the bed to follow Dawn. "I'm not denying or avoiding. I just need time to process all this. I mean, the Young Avengers said you knew that your father wasn't really your father. Before today, I didn't even know there was a Pym child out there… much less that I was the father. Although I think that'd technically make you a van Dyne." Dawn shot her a confused that Janet read properly, elaborating for the younger girl's benefit. "My maiden name. Since you're not mine with Hank and I'm evidently your dad, that'd probably make you Dawn van Dyne, not Dawn Pym. If you were changing your name, which I'm not asking you to because half an hour ago, you… probably knew I existed unless you lived in a cave, but had no idea we were related. Anyways, my roundabout rambling point here, Dawn, is that I need a bit to figure this out and if I think while I teach you how to use your powers, that way you're not just sitting around while I brood. Besides, I've been a superhero most of my life. When all else fails, don a costume and do something useful with your time. I guess you can take the Wasp out of the Avengers but you can't take the Avenger out of the Wasp."
"I feel ridiculous," Dawn complained, looking down at her body. After some coughing and blushing and stuttering on Hank's part, Janet had taken Dawn aside and informed her that it was hard even for experienced users like her to shrink or grow clothes that weren't skin-tight and so for her first try, Dawn might want to wear something she wouldn't explode or shrink out of. Janet had shrunk down and fluttered out the window, returning twenty minutes later with a handful of costumes. Despite the two inch height difference - and where did she get her height from, if Janet and Buffy were both so short - the catsuits had enough give to fit suitably and so Dawn had picked out the one that offended her sensibilities the least: a twin to the costume Janet herself was currently using.
Once the issue of attire had been taken care of, Hank had approached her with a yellow-lensed visor to use instead of the massive creepy looking silver helmet that Cassie was treating like the Holy Grail. The Holy Grail. She was still expecting that to pop up someday as a coffee mug that said 'Jesus' in big letters. Wait. Focus. Dawn looked at the visor and scrunched up her nose in distaste. It was better than the damn helmet, but it looked like something out of Andrew's anime collection and the idea of having to wear it offended her sensibilities. Ugh. She couldn't wait to prove them wrong about her powers so she could get back into real people clothes.
Janet snorted as she emerged from the locker room, clad in the same costume. "Hey, no making snide remarks about my costume. Just be glad I'm a designer and you're not stuck with some of the stuff Hank has cooked up for himself. Or one of Simon's outfits."
Shuddering, Dawn thought about some of the images that were in the Council's superhuman database. The Slayers seemed to excel at visual threat recognition while overall memory varied from girl to girl, much like a normal human and so it had become standard practice to show the Slayers a picture and say 'stay away from that' than try to make them memorize actual information about which superhumans were good and which were evil and which sorta skirted the grey line in between. Dawn had spent a lot of time maintaining the database… and boy were there some horrible costumes in there. "You're right. I guess it could be worse. I mean, look at Kate's outfit for instance."
Kate looked down at her purple costume and then frowned at Dawn. "What's wrong with my outfit? I'll have you know all of our costumes were made by professional designers for us!"
"Asymmetrical is so 2003, to start." Dawn tapped Kate on her bare shoulder before swinging around behind her as she circled the brunette. "And since you've got no defensive powers at all, I'd be trying to cover as much flesh as possible if I were you. Maybe do something with a layer of kevlar or nomex. Not adding little skin cutouts and stuff. Attention whore much?"
Janet rolled her eyes and smiled. "Oh, this takes me back. After all, it's not the Avengers without bickering and insults flying back and forth. Anyways, I want to try and walk you through a minor size reduction. Just a few inches, to see if you have any wings like I do. Well, assuming you can grow or shrink at all. Once we know what powers you have, we can figure out how to train you up."
She wasn't so sure she wanted to be trained to use any powers she had, but Dawn didn't vocalize that. It was a bonding activity, she told herself. "Right, so how do I do this? Just picture myself being smaller? Should I try and picture myself with wings too?"
"Think small." Janet waved one hand at her husband. "I know Hank pictures his surroundings growing or shrinking… I focus on my own size changing… whatever works for you, really. Cassie seemed to find the helmet makes things easier for her, but I've never used one in my life. It's all mental. Your brain controls your powers, and so the less at ease you are with them, the harder it'll be to use them. Just relax, think small, and see what happens."
Dawn nodded sagely. "So think small, be small." Janet suddenly shrank a few inches in height and four translucent wasp wings emerged from her back. "Woah. Cool. Okay, think small. Think small. Think small." The world warped around her and everyone seemed to grow around her. There was a strange prickling on her back and Dawn stopped. Looking at the data on her visor, Dawn blinked. 4'8". She'd shrunk close to a foot. She looked around to find everyone staring at her. Or rather behind her. "What?"
Looking back over her shoulder, Dawn discovered what the prickling on her back had meant. Well, she definitely had wings. And they were just like Janet's, too: four diaphanous insect wings, riddled with slightly more opaque veins and definitely not something she'd ever expected to see stuck to her body. Apart from on Halloween, that was. It was like having two new pairs of arms and figuring out how to move them took Dawn a second, given they were appendages she'd never before had, connected to muscles new to her body. Slowly, her wings rose into the air and then vibrated, sending a burst of wind backwards that ruffled the hair of the Young Avengers. "Whoa. Cool."