Book III: What I Did During my Summers Vacation.
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Thank you for the ringing encouragements and endorsements. As promised here’s Book III: What I Did During my Summers Vacation.
Manhattan, N. Y.
Ten days later over the landing pad of the newly christened Avengers Tower a bright flash of light brought the New Avengers team running.
“Delta Three! Fliers grab the high ground.” Steve was the first one to respond. Steve had made it a habit; or morning ritual for himself and Sharon to have breakfast outside in the fresh summer air.
The two SHIELD agents Jessica Drew aka: Spider woman and Carol Danvers, aka: Warbird responded immediately. They flew as fast as they could over the tower and looked for targets. They both knew that backup was at least thirty seconds away before Colonel Rhodes in his War Machine armor joined them, and another thirty still for Mary Jane in the Sex Machine armor get her shit together. They both had the same thought. ‘Civilian; can’t shoot them, there would be an inquiry. They knew that being late to respond to an alert wasn’t a shooting offense. Captain Rodgers would make her pay during her training session.
Peter Parker the friendly neighborhood Spiderman was right behind them. Both Carol and Jessica approved of the young man. He had a proper work ethic. Black Cat was right behind him.
The two agents rolled their eyes. She was just chasing Peter. “That girl never gives up.” Jessica laughed as she saw the now platinum blonde girl in the black leather outfit run after Spidey.
“I don’t blame her. If he wasn’t already involved with two girls, one of whom is a supermodel, I would have already tapped that ass.” Carol told her friend and fellow agent.
“Not me. Far too young...Will you look at that. The gang’s all back, and they brought friends.” Carol saw that Jessica was right.
They flew in circles while Peter jumped and swung from pole to pole. These were added specially for someone like him, to enable him to use his maneuverability to its best advantage.
The six New Avengers were soon joined by the rest of the team. Logan was still in his shorts and bathrobe. “Oh. My. God. I’m blind. Eww gramps. Will you put some clothes on.” Peter was making faces beneath his mask.
“Ha freakin’ Ha. Kid you’re just jealous ‘cause you can’t even grow chest hairs.” Logan retracted the claws when he saw who had invaded their HQ.
“Welcome back. Everyone stand down please.” Steve continued to study the strangers. He may have told his team to relax, he didn’t, and Jimmie was doing the same. Not until they identified the strangers.
Xander saw how both Steve and Jimmie were acting and inside he approved. “Tony, Alex, Rupert and Jenny say ’Hi’ to your sister’s boyfriend.” Steve saw that four of the eight teens said ‘Hi’, he stayed on alert.
“Where’s Dawn?” he noted that she was absent from the group.
“She and our other daughter are far, far away. In a galaxy nowhere near our own.”
Steve saw that Xander wasn’t smiling. The other kids looked a lot like Clint and Bobbi. He figured that whatever happened to Xander must have happened to Clint and Bobbi as well, “Jimmie?”
“They’re legit. The other brood belongs to Clint and Blondie.”
“That’s Bobbi.” Bobbi gave him a look that said, either get it right or be prepared to lose something very precious. The Slayer vibe she was putting out was not in joking mood. Bobbi had lost her watcher and she wasn’t going to be in a forgiving mood until she got her back.
“Dial it back on the PMS hon. He doesn’t know.” Clint tried to calm her down. All he got was a slap to the back of the head for his troubles. He let her knowing that she needed to vent and it wasn’t these guys fault that Dawn was lost in space.
“Enough already. Where’s Pepper? JARVIS I want four of the greasiest cheeseburgers the staff cook can make. Rhodey, walk with me.” Tony walked away from the pad, and for every step he took a robot arm removed piece of his armor. There was a lot of whirring and buzzing as they robots went to works.
“Mr. Stark we need to debrief...”
“Not now Capsicle. I need those cheeseburgers more than you realize. JARVIS tell cook he’s fired if they’re not ready by the time I’m in the kitchen.”
“I am the cook sir.” JARVIS was busy scanning the changes in his creator and knew why the sudden interest in his new high protein diet.
“Then you’re fired and make sure to leave the burgers on the kitchen counter on your way out.”
“How droll sir. Would you prefer your cheeseburgers charcoal or bloody. I can do both, but nothing in between.”
“Start with bloody and work your way up, and get Pepper out of bed already...” Tony saw Pepper walk into the kitchen in her sleeping gown. She was the most beautiful sight he’d ever seen. He really didn’t know why he flirted with other women when he had a woman like her in his life.
Pepper walked up to her slack jawed man with a bemused smile on her lips. It was moments like these that she knew how deeply Tony felt about her. She slowly closed his jaw and kissed him on the lips. “Welcome back.” She said quietly.
“Glad to be back. Not sure why I even leave...” he was lost in her green eyes again.
“Hopeless. I’m leaving the two of you alone...say, what happened to your implants?” Rhodey had just noticed that there was no glow coming from underneath Tony’s black t-shirt.
“Eloquent as ever I see. I’ll talk to you later when you get your Pepper fix.” Rhodey left the two lovers alone. He went back to the balcony. He was curious about how he could get married and have fully grown kids ready for college in about three weeks. ‘There’s gotta be some kind of strings attached.’ He thought.
Manhattan, N. Y.
“Sir, they’re back, and they’ve got company.” Maria Hill reported in person. She had run straight from the bridge to his office. At the moment SHIELD was having an infiltration problem. Most were from other branches of the U.S. government. The few serious cases were from Hydra and other enemy organizations. The Pack effect had made it hard for the infiltrators to ignore what was going on all over the world. Their planet was under siege, and the Pack was the only true option they had to defend it.
What no one at SHIELD knew was that Gaea was using the Pack effect to make sure that she had a homogeneous group of defenders without any weaknesses that would destroy her new line of defense against attacks from space. The current defenders she had in the form of the Slayers and other groups were adequate for any demonic threats, but not for ones that would come from outside.
“Show me.” Fury stepped back and let Hill do her job. ‘Three weeks. It’s too soon for a long mission and too late for a short one. All they had to do was drop Loki off and come back, and maybe sign a treaty of some kind with the Asgard. Any kind of treaty would do.’
“As you can see they’re missing a member, Dawn Summers, and they have eight other with them. I’m running face recognition software, but so far the nearest hits come up as; Harris, Lehaine or Summers...”
“That young man might as well be Alexander Harris in his teens. That one looks a lot like Barton fresh out of boot camp...Leave it be for now. Something funky went down. Let’s see if they tell us, or we have to drag it out of them.”
“Do you want to send agent Coulson?”
“...” Fury took a few moments to recall what Phil was doing for him right now. “Not yet...tell Phil to report when he comes back from his latest mission.”
“Yes sir.” Maria knew she was being dismissed. She left and went back to her station. She knew that Starks AIs kept the Tower clean, but they were able to use other external assets to keep an eye on the New Avengers. She would re-task those with a greater priority on gathering Information. She didn’t like surprises, and eight new mystery people with ties to the Avengers were eight too many. She might even try to use some of the new telepath that cropped up among the SHIELD Pack agents.
Manhattan, N. Y.
All the Avengers new and old sat at the breakfast nooks. JARVIS had been kept busy feeding them. He had to send for supplies twice. He didn’t anticipate the demands of feeding his master’s new appetite, or those of his guests.
A buffet was being wheeled by the robot drones and the diners almost attacked the steam tables. Xander had stepped away after his second helping, and joined Steve and Rhodey in the large living room area.
“Okay Steve. You’ve been a good scout, so fire away.”
“How?” was Steve’s first question as he looked at the young men and women.
“Timeless Limbo Land.” Xander raised his hand to stop Steve from asking for clarification. “Loki got kidnapped and we went after him. His kidnapper was his cousin as it turned out and instead of one dead Loki, he was married to his cousin, he also lost his memory in the process...” again Xander anticipated the interruption and stopped his audience from interrupting, “We’re not sure how, but his father the All-Father put his best healers on it. I’m not sure if they want the old Loki back. That guy was an ass-wipe, the new one is a very good friend, family you could say. His youngest son married my Joyce my youngest girl.”
“And you’re okay with that?” Steve couldn’t see how someone like Xander would have anything to do with Loki. Xander was ready to kill Loki, if it wasn’t for Thor, and Fury.
“I spent twenty one years with the man. Never saw the bitter trouble child even once during that time.”
“Did this happen to all of you, or just some?” Steve had noticed that only Xander, Clint, Faith and Bobbi, and obviously Dawn were affected, but the rest...
“Not all of us, just me, Dawn, Faith, Clint and Bobbi. The rest stayed behind to make sure that we would have a safe place to come back to.”
“How long was it for the rest?” Rhodey asked before Steve could continue with his line of questioning.
“Not more than three days I’m told.” Xander looked at Steve to see if he had any more questions and Steve let him know that they did. “Let’s move this someplace more private.” Xander’s paranoia meter was rising and his cosmic awareness was telling him that something or someone was bombarding them with some kind of low frequency energy. He didn’t say anything else at that point. He may trust Steve, up to a point, and Tony trusted Rhodes, but that didn’t mean he trusted Rhodes. He would share something and leave private information out, at the very least. Anything that could be independently verified by others he would have to disclose unfortunately.
The three men spent the rest of the morning in the secure meeting room that Tony had installed in the Tower. Xander gave out more information that he was comfortable with, but finally he put a stop to it. He looked at Steve and said, “I need to contact Dawn’s family.”
“I understand.” Steve agreed and called for a break.
Xander wasn’t coming back. Let the other give their accounts. He knew that Nat and Clint would have to report obviously, but he and the archer had come up with contingency plans before they even left the ‘Lands of Timeless Mists.’
“Can you guys give me a few moments here...” he said as he pulled out his Willow cell phone.
“Yes of course. Please give my regards to Buffy, and tell her that if there’s anything she needs all she has to do is ask.”
“No one like an ass kisser Steve.” Xander smirked to let the other man know that he was kidding. Steve was almost a family member. He was dating Dawn’s estranged daughter Sharon after all.
“You’re such an ass Harris...” Colonel James Rhodes didn’t like the way Xander was treating Steve. Captain America was one of his boyhood heroes and more important a team mate.
“Let’s go Rhodey.” Steve led the other man out of the room. He knew why Xander did what he did. He wanted to insure that he had absolute security when he called his family. When it came to family Xander Harris could teach Fury a few things about paranoia and going to extremes.