The family grows...
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Manhattan, New York.
The Stark Tower.
"Oh wow!" Willow was awed. Mother was tricky. Xander ever attuned to his Willow heard her.
"Excuse me, please." he told Pepper. He walked over to Willow, "What's up Wills?"
"He's just like you." she pointed at Logan in wonder.
"How's he like me? He's hairy. I'm not. He's short. I'm not. He's..."
Willow raised her hand. Xander stopped his rant, the smile on his face told her he wasn't serious. "He's an'Anti-body for the Mother, just like you and through you the 'New Pack' these Avengers of yours." she explained.
"I'm an 'Anti-body'? Since when?"
"Since the trip to the zoo. Remember what Giles said back then. It was a spiritual possession, not demonic."
"Why didn't anyone ever tell me?" he was miffed.
"Hey! I just got the memo now. What do you want? An announcement with flashing bells and whistles? I told you as soon as I figured it out." she was peeved her Xander was being such a Xander.
"What do you mean why now? I just told you I figured it out a couple of minutes ago."
"Figured it out, or someone in a green dress dropped a hint."
"What are you implying? Take that back you meany."
"Nuh uh. Call home to Mother and find out." he demanded.
"No!" she used her resolve face. She gasped. Xander had used his resolve face to counter. 'He never uses his resolve face, well except that time he wanted that Twinkie, but they were six and he had held the rest of my Barbie collection hostage until I capitulated.' she had learned early on, never get between Xander and a Twinkie. She would never like the outcome. "Okay." she said quietly.
Xander nodded and waited. He didn't gloat. He never gloated the few times he made her back down.
Willow sat down on the couch beside Logan. She absently caressed his hair. It was both soft and wild. It made reaching the Goddess easier. It made sense. He was one of her agents in a way. When she made the connection her senses were assaulted by a multitude of images and ideas. She was being told what was, what is, and what will be.
When she came out of the trance, she fell sideways on top of Logan. Xander was instantly by her side, as were Dawn and the Slayers.
"Wills..." Xander's voice was full of worry and concern for her well being. She gave him a strained smile to say that she was okay. She wasn't. Physically, no problem. Mentally, oh boy.
Xander wasn't buying. Just as she could read him like an open book, so could he. He read her and knew she was worried.
"Gimme' a minute to catch my breath. She threw a lot at me , all at once. She's never done that before." Xander agreed and using the Slayers silent language told his team to give them some breathing space. Faith and Bobbi did just that, but Dawn stayed by his side. Willow didn't mind.
Using the silent code, she began her tale, "Mother showed me glimpses of what was, what is, and what will be. Everything we've been through up to this point was to make us stronger. The invasion in a way was your graduation. You're ready to go out on your own and gather some badly needed information." she pointed at Thor. "In a way it's all his fault." she accused the Thunder God.
"My fault? Would the Lady explain her reasons for such a blatant attack?"
"Mother needed a way to get the ball rolling and she reached out to you her son to start the whole thing. The thing between you and your brother was a part of it. It would has eventually played out the same, but she took advantage and made it happen earlier, faster, nastier."
"Why? Why would my Mother do such a thing?" he demanded.
"Survival." she said quietly. "Hers, yours, ours. A lot of scary shit is coming to town, some of it already started, and it's about to get a lot worse before it calms down. Mother used her 'Anti-bodies' and made sure they were ready. She tested all of you under the heat of battle. Like a blade forged under extreme heat, and cold. You passed the first round. Are you ready for what's coming? Oh stop that ." she told Loki. "If you promise to hold your tongue I'll remove the curse." she promised.
Loki nodded his head without saying a word. He could always get back at the witch once he was free.
Willow twitched her fingers and bright twinkle-y stars covered the rabbit. When they were used up, the rabbit was still there. Loki was fit to burst. He gathered his will and forced the change back to his original shape. This time there was no resistance. The witch had tested his mettle again. She was toying with him. However be held his peace. She had made her point. He would not offend a God, or in this case a Goddess in the making, in her own domain.
"Why did my Mother do this?" Thor demanded again.
"Because she had to. And you are her champion. Are you not?" she pinned him down with her gaze. He had the sudden urge to croak for some reason. He too held his pease. He didn't want to be known as Thor, the frog of thunder. Because he could tell that was the road he was traveling on if he kept up this method of belligerent questioning of his Mother actions. The Avatar would explain in the fullness if time. He would not antagonize her needlessly. He also felt she might be key in getting him and his brother back to Asgard. Thor kept his own council for now.
Willow saw him back off and gave him a graceful out, "Your Mother needed you, and you came. For that you have her love.
Thor acknowledged the message. He grabbed Loki and pulled him out of the grand if slightly damaged chamber.
When the two Asgardians were gone, Willow went back to Xander. "Anyway, your friend here is out of balance." she looked at Sharon, "Honey, please no more playing with other peoples memories until I've had a chance to teacown you how it's done properly, and more importantly, when, promise?"
Sharon reluctantly said, "Yes ma'am."
"Good girl." Willow gave her a bright smile to show that she approved of her. "We need to get him rebalanced as soon as possible. He's important to the Mother and to you."
"He's one of gramps' friends, and he's an okay guy, but why's he so important?" Xander got along with most people he met, but he was curious about the mutant's importance.
"He's almost immortal. He'll be one of Gaea's champions for a very long time, as will the rest of us." she waved her hand to include most of the people around her.
"Enough with the delays. Playboy propose to the girl already. I want another shot of this fine scotch, and I can't do that if you back down." Faith growled.
"Playboy?" Pepper was amused. "Just what have you been up to while I was away?"
"Hold it Red Hot. Until you get your brand on him he gets a pass for today."
"Red Hot. Do you have labels for everyone too? And why Red Hot?" Pepper asked.
""You got it. Willow's Red Tree, Dawn's little D., Xander's Boytoy..."
"Ha ha ha, why Boytoy?" she asked.
"He's my 'Boy, and he makes a fine 'Toy' if you know what I mean?" she was dripping lechery when she gave Xander the up and down treatment.
"What about me? Are you dropping me so soon. Not even a date." Bruce smile to show he wasn't serious. The Hulk might consider the spitfire his mate, he was still in love with Betty. And since she was airing out the dirty laundry, this was the best time to find out what's what?
"Are you asking to join our group Brucie?" she teased.
"Is there room for one more?"
"Sure. Got anyone in mind?"
"Yeah I do. A girl, her name's Betty Ross. She risked a lot for me over the years, and I love her." he explained quietly.
"Cool. She a looker?" Faith wanted to know. This may be a Pack thing, but a girl had standards. Not high standards, but standards just the same.
"Then bring her on by."
"Might as well what I need to do can then include her if she agrees." Willow added.
"What are you planing Wills?" Xander asked.
"Not so much me as who I work for."
"Last time I checked we worked for the same people." he told her.
"Yep. What I said." she confirmed.
"Wills...out with it."
"I told you. Mother got plans and in order to rebalance her champion he needs to join a pack, his family, if one's available..."
"His grandson was fighting with us. Spider-Man. Julie hooked up with him and she just tricked him into becoming her slayer. She then did this combined wish with Spider-Man's friend and now we have ourselves for the first time in history a male slayer."
"Wow. I wonder what Mother has on D'Hoffren? Anyway I've already checked him out. He's a Spider Primal so he'll do fine. Normally I don't like combining totems, but for some reason Mother wants it this way. Call him over. Looks like they'll be joining the 'Party' and as for you two..." she pointed at Tony and Pepper, "Unless she's part of the pack she's gonna have problems."
"What's this 'Pack' about?" Pepper asked the other Redhead in the room.
"Come on. I'll fill you in." Tony told her, "He saw Xander pull out his cell phone, it was an odd piece of tech he wasn't familiar with, "Might as well put that away. I doubt any Cell Towers survived the..."
Xander held up a hand to Tony while he talked with Julie, "That's right. Are the three of you still at the Coffee shop...great. I'm sending someone over right away...uh hn, yeah okay..." he disconnected the call and turned back to Tony, "What's up?"
"That a Sat-Phone?" he asked.
"Nope. Sat-Phones aren't all that reliable in a disaster area. This is an in house brand." Dawn was the one who provided the explanation.
"Who's the designer? And how does it work?" he asked as he held out his hand for Xander to pass the phone over.
"Designer's little ol' me." replied Willow.
"It uses the Ley line net that covers the planet. It's slow to make the buggers without a factory, every piece is made by hand, 'sides, I doubt they'd work if they were mass produced.
Tony studied the 'Runes and Swirls on the inside of the phone's casing. He saw that it had a water-proof seal and the case was pretty tough.
"This really works?" he asked intrigued. This was something he understood.
"Yeah, it's a bit of magic tech we're playing with. Why? Are you interested?" she asked.
"...I guess I am..."
"Could you be interested after you come back from picking up the kids from your new Coffee shop?" Xander asked.
Xander shrugged, "Looks like this might be one of those deals that gotta be done right away...Bruce have your lady friend get ready for pick up as well, if she's interested in joining you. C'mon people hop to it." Tony gave Xander back his phone and flew out, back into the devastated city.
"So. About this 'Pack' deal..." Pepper asked Xander.
He patted the seat next to him, and she walked over and joined him. Bruce made his call and Faith eavesdropped on Phil and Natasha. Looked like their boss was giving them a hard time.