New Day Dawning: The Director's CutAuthor:
Dawn Summers/Cassie LangDisclaimer:
Someone who isn't me and might be Joss Whedon owns the Buffy people, but I'm not entirely sure. Marvel's copyright and intellectual property rights are a mess, but I know Allan Heinberg and Jim Cheung came up with the Young Avengers. Not mine, at any rate.Summary:
The Young Avengers continue looking for their own.Story Note:
For those of you who were alarmed to see the reboot of another story of mine lately, this isn't the same thing. I sat down with an artist friend recently who wanted to do a piece using Dawn and Cassie from this story and while we were discussing a few changes to their appearances, he'd ask why I didn't do an extra chapter in this spot or comment that it felt to him like that spot should have had another scene to flesh out what was going on. And he was right. So while I was going in to tweak the chapters to fix the girls' appearances, I figured what the hell? I was planning to add a sequel to this soon anyways, so why not do the expansion so I have the best possible base to work from? And the Director's Cut was born. The chapters of this are mostly done and with a beta; when they've all been posted, the original story will be merged into this one. I just didn't want to edit the original and send you all bopping back and forth all over chapters trying to figure out what was new.Joe's Note:
This story is set after Season 7 of Buffy, and after "Season 1" (issue #12) of the Young Avengers. The only change I've made is that Cassie Lang is sixteen, to put her on par with the other Young Avengers. Well, it might not be a change; I couldn't find a concrete reference to her age during Young Avengers. But I've heard guesses that range from fourteen to sixteen and… well, I wanted to make sure it wasn't a squicky story due to a really young Cassie.
Dramatis Personæ:Young Avengers:
Katherine 'Kate' Bishop, Hawkeye (Homo sapiens sapiens
Elijah 'Eli' Bradley, Patriot (Homo sapiens novus
Theodore 'Teddy' Altman, Hulkling (Kree/Skrull hybrid male)
William 'Billy' Kaplan, Wiccan (Homo sapiens superior
Thomas 'Tommy' Shepherd, Speed (Homo sapiens superior
Gisela Weiss-Schäfer, Princess Pulse (Homo sapiens superior
Astrid Jansen, Arachnia (Homo sapiens novus
Jonas, Vision (android)The Pyms:
Henry 'Hank' Pym, Yellowjacket (Homo sapiens novus
Janet Pym née van Dyne, Wasp (Homo sapiens novus
Dawn van Dyne, Hornet (Homo sapiens novus
female)The Wasp Corps:
Regan Blake, Slayer and Wasp-One (Homo sapiens novus
Sophie Johnston, Slayer and Wasp-Two (Homo sapiens novus
Naledi Jackson, Slayer and Wasp-Three (Homo sapiens novus
Kathryn Phan, Slayer and Wasp-Four (Homo sapiens novus
Kimberly Phan, Slayer and Wasp-Five (Homo sapiens novus
Violet 'Vi' Day, Slayer and Wasp-Six (Homo sapiens novus
Cassandra 'Cassie' Lang, Ant-Girl (Homo sapiens novus
Billie Nalpak, Crimson Curse (Homo sapiens superior
female)The International Council of Watchers:
Alexander 'Xander' Harris, Head Watcher - Cleveland (Homo sapiens sapiens
William the Bloody/Spike, Demon Specialist - Cleveland (Undead Homo sapiens sapiens
Faith Lehane, Senior Slayer - Cleveland (Homo sapiens sapiens
Amber Kennedy, Senior Slayer - New York (Homo sapiens sapiens
Tani Satsu, Senior Slayer - Tokyo (Homo sapiens sapiens
Courtney Harrison, Slayer Squad Leader - Cleveland (Homo sapiens sapiens
Elizabeth 'Liz' Crockett, Junior Slayer - Cleveland (Homo sapiens sapiens
Colleen Roberts, Junior Slayer - Cleveland (Homo sapiens sapiens
Ophelia Smythe, Junior Slayer - Cleveland (Homo sapiens sapiens
Mahika Nurandi, Junior Slayer - Mumbai (Homo sapiens sapiens
Bonnie Newell, Junior Slayer - New York (Homo sapiens sapiens
Emma Frost, White Queen (Homo sapiens superior
Celeste, Ivette, and Phoebe Frost, Three-in-One (Homo sapiens superior
Charisse Cram aka Charisse Frost (Homo sapiens superior
Laura Kinney, X-23 (Homo sapiens superior
Noriko Ashida, Surge (Homo sapiens superior
Ellesandra Bishop (Homo sapiens superior
Elijah Bradley looked down the long steel table at his fellow Young Avengers. "So… since I'm coming up with diddly and squat, what do you guys think we should do next? I know Tommy and Billy want to find the Scarlet Witch, but it's been two months now and they haven't had any luck there. Do we just continue on like we are, fighting the common criminals and whichever supervillains the Avengers and Fantastic Four decide are beneath them? Or does somebody here have a better idea? Because seriously, I'm open to suggestions right now."
Seeing as how she lacked anything worthwhile to contribute, Cassandra Lang opted to instead lean back in her chair and stare upward, amazed as always by the overall size of their meeting place. The high ceiling's support beams seemed oh so far away, beyond even her long reach, although logically she knew from past experience that they were very much within her ability to touch. Three months ago, the Avengers had given the teens their tentative approval to operate in New York City - or perhaps it wasn't so much approval as the adults coming to the realization that there was no real way to stop their younger counterparts from coming together to fight crime - and the Young Avengers had taken to meeting in the old Bishop Publishing building that Kate had acquired for them. Between Kate's money and Vision's abilities, what had started as a dingy warehouse… well, it was still a dingy warehouse on the outside but it was a high-tech base for their super group inside.
Tilting her gaze back down to the table, Cassie watched as the last of the Young Avengers - the perpetually tardy Thomas Shepherd - threw himself into a seat across from her. How a speedster could manage to be late to every single gathering of theirs - be it mission briefing, casual get-together, or downtown villain fight - continued to baffle her and she shook her head in amusement. Tommy shot her a wink, to which Cassie rolled her eyes. At first, the attention had been flattering, especially since she got so little of it at school. Then she'd come to the realization that he flirted with anything with a pulse - and, amusingly enough one time, a girl without one - and it hadn't seemed so fun anymore. Dismissing those thoughts and Tommy himself, Cassie looked up and down the table at the people she'd come to regard as her surrogate family.
As the leader of the group, Eli had staked his claim on the head of the table with Katherine Bishop to his left and Theodore Altman to his right. Hmm. What made him the leader of the group? They'd never really voted on it or anything. And Eli had followed Iron Lad before he'd gone back to the future, so it wasn't like he'd been chosen from the start. Why wasn't Vision the leader? He was Iron Lad… kinda. Was it the costume, then? Captain America led the Avengers and so his Mini-Me got to lead the Young Avengers? Did that mean if she traded black and red for stars and stripes, she could be in charge?
Mehh. Then she'd actually have to lead. Being a peon was much easier.
Kate… Cassie was never quite sure what to make of the current holder of the Hawkeye codename. They came from two totally different backgrounds: she was the middle class girl whose step-father was a cop, mother was a housewife, and father was constituent atoms scattered across a crater near the old Avengers' Mansion, while Kate lived in an upscale home with her rich parents and got more for allowance in a year than Blake brought home from the NYPD. They got along well enough, spending time together away outside of spandex, but Cassie could never quite shake the feeling that the dark-haired girl was only interested in her companionship because they shared the same plumbing.
As for Teddy, he was a sweetie and if he was even remotely heterosexual, Cassie would have… well, flirted in a bumbling and awkward way with him. Even if he was half-Skrull, half-Kree, and not at all human, it didn't really matter to Cassie. After all, she let a robot with the memories of her first crush try to court her in his own awkward way. Teddy's only problem was that he took his direction all too eagerly from Eli and… well, sometimes Eli's judgment was lacking.
Like on days that ended with 'Y'.
Sitting between Teddy and Tommy and rounding out the boys' side of the table was a boy who connected them: Tommy's twin brother and Teddy's boyfriend, William Kaplan. It was a bit amusing, Cassie thought, that if Eli moved over to the girls' side, the two sides would then be split between those who had come by their powers naturally and those who'd acquired them via science or, in Kate's case, had no powers whatsoever. Well, Vision would have to stay at his spot at the end of the table opposite Eli for it to work. After all, he got his powers from science… but he got his 'life' from science as well, so did that really count?
"What about more Young Avengers?" Kate's voice pulled Cassie from her thoughts and back to the here and now. "I know that there are usually seven Avengers and there are seven of us, but I think it might be a good idea to have a few more of us around. For if we need to split into two teams, or if someone's sick, or if one of us gets stuck at college or work and can't drop everything and hop into their costume. The Avengers had reserves, so why can't we?"
Vision tilted his head to the side. "A most intelligent suggestion. There were thirty-four candidates as part of the Avengers Failsafe Program. Including Thomas, we have only three of them as part of the team at present: Theodore, William, and Thomas. Four, if you're willing to count Elijah in place of Josiah. That leaves over thirty potential members to evaluate."
Teddy, Eli, Billy, and Tommy looked at each other. "I knew there were more after we found Tommy, but I never thought that many." Teddy grinned and leaned forward, waiting for the holographic projector to spring to life and reveal its secrets. "So… who else is floating around out there? Tony Stark's daughter from a one-night stand? Mockingbird's second cousin once removed?"
"As a matter of fact, due to their promiscuity, Tony Stark has impregnated several women, three of whom have given birth to mutants, two of those children being listed in the program. Additionally, his on-again off-again lover Emma Frost has a set of clone quintuplets - two of whom are now deceased - and a natural child that the original Vision included in his files." The holographic projector whirred to life under Vision's command and a waist-up shot of a pale, freckled girl with red hair and green eyes appeared, slowly rotating and shifting to her diamond form on every other revolution. "My predecessor listed her as being a member of Homo sapiens superior
like her mother, William, and Thomas. As of the last update to the program, she was manifesting telepathy and transmorph abilities akin to her mother's. This is theoretically what she looks like, extrapolating off of photos taken from several databases and overlaying the changes her mother undergoes when she transmorphs. However, if you'll indulge me, I'd prefer to postpone any attempt to locate Charisse Frost in lieu of someone I feel could be a more useful addition to the team: the daughter of Hank Pym."
At that, the bust of Emma Frost's daughter dissolved away and was replaced with a globe, which quickly flattened out as it zoomed in to display the United States, then Ohio, and then… Cleveland? "Or rather, I believe her to be the daughter of Hank Pym." Vision tilted his head to the side and the map disappeared to make room for lines of text. "The file is more complete than most, but while it indicates that she is the daughter of 'Pym', it does not specify which Pym. To the best of my knowledge, though, Hank has no relatives and Janet was never pregnant, which limits the possibilities quite a bit. Her powers are a bit of an enigma, however. It says that she has height multiplication and reduction powers like Cassie, but 'flight' and 'stingers' are also listed with question marks."
Leaning forward, Cassie stared at the holographic text as if it would reveal some sort of secret to her. After almost three months of fighting with the team, she'd gotten over most of her insecurities… being the youngest, being one who wasn't a 'real' Young Avenger in the computers. Now, faced with the prospect of a girl who was part of the program, and could be smarter, prettier, more powerful, or all of the above… they were all coming back. "Who is she? Is she why I wasn't part of your little program? Did Vision decide he liked Hank Pym better than my father and so that means Hank's daughter is somehow a better pick than I am?" All the thoughts swirling through her head made her scowl.
Billy cut in before Vision could respond. "And how would she fly or have stingers? That was the Wasp's thing… well, and Yellowjacket's now I guess. But aren't his something that's a part of his suit? I could see her getting Cassie's powers if the Pym particles passed to this girl like an X-gene because his body's been chock full of them for so many years, but how would his daughter be able to do anything else?"
"An excellent question and one I have not been able to answer. Perhaps Vision presumed that in the event the Avengers fell, his daughter would take up his own mantle much as Cassie has taken up her father's, imbuing her with the additional abilities inherent in his costume?" Vision sounded a bit unhappy at the admission, as if his predecessor's failure to leave complete information reflected on his own skills. "And Cassie, your question is another that I cannot answer. Perhaps, as I have suggested previously, even my former self was unaware of your theft of Pym particles and was unable to predict that you would manifest powers while he was aware of this girl? The only reason I suggested her was because Ant-Man and Wasp were founding members of the Avengers, and were active together for long stretches of time. Clearly, the powers are useful enough for the original Avengers to use two members with them. We have our Ant-Man analog. Why not a Wasp?"
Cassie's scowl slipped a bit as she realized that Vision was right. From the beginning, Hank Pym - and then her father - had been forced to share 'their' power set with Janet Pym. If they could do it… well, why couldn't she? Besides, they weren't really her powers to share… she'd stolen them from this girl's father after said father had entrusted her own father with them. She should consider herself grateful that she had the opportunity Hank's creation had given her, not angry that someone else had been given the same chance too. Someone who actually had a claim to the powers, unlike her. "True. But we don't know what this girl can do or if she'd join us. And she's in Ohio! At least the rest of us can ride the subway or something."
Nodding, Kate pushed her chair back and stood up. "True. Who knows, though, maybe she'd enjoy spending some time in the Big Apple. I could always put her up at my place if she does; Lord knows we have the room. But we won't know any of that if we don't talk to her. Billy, we're going to need your help getting to her obviously. I'm free for a couple of hours. Anyone else want to come?"
"I'm sorry, I was under the impression that I was the leader of this team." Eli stared up at Kate and one eyebrow slid upward. "Did I say we were going somewhere?"
Cassie sighed and leaned back in her seat, preparing for yet another round of fighting from the two most dominant personalities on the team. Regardless of how he'd ended up in the position, Eli clung to his leadership role with an iron fist and Kate wasn't used to anyone short of her parents trying to control her… and even the elder Bishops couldn't keep Kate in line if she really wanted to do something. It inevitably led to fighting between the two, but in Cassie's opinion? The two seriously needed to just kiss and get it over with. It was like watching elementary school children on the playground: Eli would pull Kate's metaphorical pigtails, Kate would rise to the bait, fighting would ensue. At least half the time, Tommy would wait until things started to even back out before tossing in a comment that set Kate and Eli off all over again. It was times like this that reminded Cassie that, despite being superheroes, they were still teenagers under all the spandex and superpowers.
Somewhere in Hell, though, a penguin was ice-skating. Defying her normal pattern of behavior, Kate just grit her teeth for a moment before pasting on a very fake smile. "I'm sorry. Eli, do you think we should go investigate this new girl that Vision is interested in recruiting, seeing as how we all agree that reserve Young Avengers are a good idea and we all happen to be free this afternoon?"
After a moment, Eli nodded. "Sounds like a good idea, Kate. Billy, are you actually free to teleport us?" The brunette paused for a moment of thought before nodding. "Alright, who else wants to come?"
The others voiced their assent and Vision rose from his seat as well. "Cassie, we do not need to do this if you're uncomfortable with it. My motives are exactly as I stated; I am not attempting to push you off of the Young Avengers just because we found someone who has your powers and is part of the failsafe program."
"Don't worry about it." Cassie did her best to smile in spite of her uncertainty as she rose from her chair. "Besides, if she really is Hank Pym's daughter, we should probably find her before she ends up having a wardrobe malfunction like I did. Because you know the Avengers are waiting for a reason to come down on us and I'm not sure how, but we'd so end up taking the blame for a giant, freaked out girl running naked down the streets of Cleveland."
The group paused before offering a collective nod, following Cassie's lead and rising from their chairs. On the far end of the warehouse, a circle had been painted on the floor and carefully warded against the excess energy given off by Billy's spells - mostly teleportation these days, with some conjuration and enchanting mixed in. Their resident spell caster was the last to join them, spending an extra minute reading the data file before approaching the circle. While he no longer required a staff of any kind to focus his energy, he still used it for teleportation spells simply because it was easier to move them all when they were in contact with them… and it was a bit less 'queer' than a group hug, according to Tommy. Billy held the staff out and one by one, each of the Young Avengers grabbed hold. Closing his eyes, blue energy played over the shaft of wood as he focused his powers and began to chant.
"IwanttofindDawnSummers, IwanttofindDawnSummers, IwanttofindDawnSummers…"