Disclaimer: I don't own either the Buffy verse or the Marvel verse. See previous disclaimers.
I would like to thank my Beta MissE.
And a big thank you to all those who reviewed.
Space, Portal above, Stark Tower.
'It's fucking beautiful.' Very few things in creation could compare. The sun bouncing and playing off of Pepper's hair in the morning after a full night of fun and games. Her face glowing as the beautiful smile of contentment that only dreams of joy and peace can bring. This was good too, in a different way. 'Mental note: Propose to Pepper, and screw Faith.' Tony's mind shutdown after that final thought. He finally reached a limit where the input from so many mental paths overwhelmed his conscious thoughts. A few seconds after, his power armored suit shutdown.
For the first time since the cosmic incident on the SHIELD Hellicarrier his body finally had the chance to fix itself.
As the magnetic containment field that held the shrapnel in his heart steady; failed for the first time. His body's new regenerative ability started the slow process of fixing his heart.
The shrapnel was slowly expelled. It cut its way out and where it went; the heart repaired itself from the self inflicted damage.
Outside his body and suit, Tony was pulled back to the portal by the gravitational pull of the earth through the still open portal.
As he neared the opening it began to shrink. Slowly at first, but more rapidly the smaller it became. At the same time the smaller it became the stronger the pull. At the last second he was sucked through the portal like a small pebble through a straw.
As he fell through the rip in space, it closed behind him. He was the last being to cross the boundary between the dimensions.
He plummeted to earth. The weight of his armor pulled him down even faster.
"He's not slowing down. There's no power and he's out of control." Xander was along with Faith able to see all that without difficulty.
Natasha rose slowly to her feet, she suppressed a groan. After she closed the portal she fell. The changes done to her body by the spear were over. With her new and improved constitution she was recovering rapidly. She tried to let go of the spear, but it wouldn't come off. While she struggled silently to drop the spear; Tony Stark, the Iron Man plummeted to earth. Possibly to his death.
Bruce transformed back to the Hulk and was about to jump and catch one of his new friends before he killed himself on his return from his suicide mission.
Thor twirled the Hammer and was about to launch himself into the air as well. "Webs don't fail me now." Peter put his last web fluid cartridge in his web shooter.
"Stand down gentlemen...Dawn. Could you please fetch our wayward techno-wiz kid?"
"Sure. Xand. No prob." A small green portal opened beneath Tony Stark and swallowed him whole. Another portal appeared on the roof and spit him out but with the velocity and direction going up, instead of down.
Peter's trigger haired reflexes went to work first. Without even thinking about what he was doing he fired a pair of web lines and snagged the billionaire in mid air and reeled him back in. He released the web lines and caught Iron Man, before any of them could react. 'Uh Hun! Oh yeah! I am...that good. Thank you very much ladies and gentleman.' he put Tony down gently. He wasn't moving. "How come he's not moving?" he asked, his head turned slightly in puzzlement.
Thor was the first to kneel down. He ripped the face mask right off.
Tony Stark was still. His face lay unmoving.
"NO!" yelled Bruce. "AAARRRRGGGHHH!" Growled the savage Hulk. The shock was enough to snap Tony awake. His body was still working on repairing the damage left behind, by the expelled shrapnel. It hurt like crazy, but he was alive.
“Aah. What just happened? It feels like someone just ripped out my heart and put it back, only they got it backwards.” Tony saw Thor, Steve, Xander, Spider-Man and the Hulk clustered all around him, “Please tell me no one kissed me...”
“You wish...” giggled Faith from behind the Hulk. “...We won, if you’re wondering.”
“That we did.” agreed Steve.
“Yeah, but what the hell did we win?” Peter asked. “I mean have you looked at New York lately?” he gestured in hundred and eighty degree arc to include all the damage the city had suffered during the invasion. “So is this like...it. They come in like soccer hooligans, trash the joint and get their strings cut and drop down for a bit of rest like nothing happened?”
“That’s war kid. Not much you can do about that. Consider yourself lucky to come out alive when the fighting’s done.”
“You know gramps, I just can’t accept that.” Peter looked ready to rip into someone. He just didn’t know who to go after.
“Aw enough. We won and I know people. People, who can and will do something about this little invasion, from where-ever. I’ll promise you this... Whoever did this? Well let’s just say his time is coming.”
“Uh oh. My spider sense is tingling.”
“Maybe you should consider using an ointment for that.” Faith giggled, and that set off the rest.
“I am not kidding here...”
“Kid, all you do is kid...” replied Logan.
“Will you guys knock it off? My danger sense has never been wrong, and it has never let me down. When I say there’s danger, you can take it to the bank that something is just not kosher in the land of the big apple.”
Xander looked around with his senses open. The only thing that he could detect that was out of place was the invisible floating man. He pointed his Uzi at him and said, “I don’t know who you are? But you’d better land and drop the invisibility.”
“No need for the hostility friend. I will do as you say...” Dr. Stephan Strange landed on the roof of Stark Tower and cancelled the invisibility spell. “...I come in peace.”
"Hey, I know him. Xander he's that Marcie wanna be I told you about, but he was like helping out and stuff. I think he's okay?" Dawn still wasn't too sure about the man, but she'd wait until he proved either friend or foe for sure.
"Hey Doc. What's up. Maybe you can convince these guys to take this seriously. My senses say there's a danger here, but I just can't tell what kind. Maybe you can do that mambo jumbo thing that you do." Spidey wiggled his fingers about at Stephen Strange.
“Aw come on Spiderman. Just drop it. In fact let’s take the rest of the day off, don’t even come in to work tomorrow. I hear there’s a Shawarma place nearby. Come on, my treat. I don’t know what a Shawarma is, but it sounds like it could be a fun food.” Thor helped Tony to his feet. He was feeling better by the minute, and the suit had started the reboot sequence. It would be back online in a matter of seconds.
Xander ignored the by-play. It looked like the guys were bonding, and he’s was missing getting in a few puns of his own. “Dr. Strange. I know who you are. What’s with all the secrecy?”
“Do you know who, and what she is?” he pointed at Dawn.
“Yes, I do. Do you?” Xander’s stance changed in a split second. He went from just being cautious to a full red alert. Faith and Bobbi immediately pick up on that and took their usual back up positions.
“That is the ‘KEY!’” he shouted.
“Why don’t you say it louder? I don’t think they heard you in Jersey.” Xander by this time was openly pointing the sub-machine gun at Strange.
Strange calmed down and came in for a slow landing. He ignored the open hostility. “I see you do know the full implication then. What the hell are you thinking taking her into a combat zone like this? She should be in protective custody. You will have to leave her with me. I know how to fully protect her from what’s coming...” Strange tried to grab Dawn, but she quickly backed away from him.
“Get away from me you crazy mage. I am not a thing and you so can’t just grab anyone you want like that. There are laws you know.” Dawn wasn’t too worked up about the crazy mage. They came across them all the time. Sure he was more powerful than most, but they could handle them.
"You must come with me. It's for your own safety child. My master and I have been looking for you from the moment you disappeared. He will make sure you are safe and in your proper form again." Strange thought that was a reasonable request to make. After all who would want the Key to the multiverse running around in the body of a young woman who ran towards danger and not away from it?
While Xander and the unknown mage faced off. Bobbi called Willow and explained quickly what was going down. Willow and her team had just finished fighting an Apocalypse of their own. She didn’t need to rush another one this soon. But Dawn was family, and so she gathered her energy and looked for Xander’s signature to home in on.
“Man step back. This is not the place to have this discussion. You will stop talking about Dawn like that and I mean now. This is your last warning.” Xander was ready to go to war again. After the battle he just fought he thought that he would be exhausted. But it looked like stamina was one of the new improvements made by the spear.
“This situation is not acceptable...” Stephen detected a massive amount of magical energy coming his way and immediately erected his strongest defensive barriers. Willow Rosenberg and her partner the slayer Kennedy had teleported in right behind Harris. “...Miss Rosenberg...”
“Dr. Strange...what are you up to?” she asked nicely. She always did everything nicely. The velvet glove could always come off, later.
“The Key must be returned to her rightful guardians. That guardian is the Sorcerer Supreme of this dimension my master the Ancient One.”
“With all due respect to both you and the Ancient One... I don t think so. Dawn is family. Not a thing. Besides, she's no longer the Key. That energy has been expended when Glorificus released it in an attempt to open her way home a decade ago."
"Don't fool yourself. You are the 'Avatar of Gaea.' you should be able to sense her true form no matter what she has done to hide it.
Willow saw that Strange meant every word he said. She stepped back and looked at Kennedy and Xander. They knew the look, it said cover me in the Scooby code. She rescanned Dawn again, and again the scan tuned up negative. "Are you sure? Because I can't see any difference from the last time I gave her a check up."
Dawn's cheeks turned red as she remembered that checkup, but she held her tongue.
"Of course I am sure. It's hard to miss when she was a hundred and fifty feet tall..." he replied, but just to be sure he scanned her again. This time his scans turned up negative as well. "...strange. She doesn't show up as the Key anymore. Are you shielding yourself?" he looked at Dawn, who back away from him again. Xander and Faith stepped on either side of her to reassure her that they would be with her no matter what, and Bruce backed up Faith. And he was a lot of back up in his Hulk form.