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Hand of Sorrow

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This story is No. 2 in the series "Powers of the World". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: Sequel to "Star Spangled Man". Sometimes, the biggest threat doesn't come from without—it comes from within.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Marvel Universe > Avengers
Marvel Universe > X-Men
JadedFR181136,4011528853,69011 Nov 1224 Jul 13No

In which Dawn gets an office she didn't want...

Author: Jaded
Story: Hand of Sorrow
Disclaimer: Joss owns Buffy, The Avengers, X-Men, and the Fantastic Four are owned by Marvel. I write for fun, not for profit.
Summary: Sequel to Star Spangled Man. Dawn and Buffy are finally back in New York for good. New schools, new slayers, and new threats, Dawn, Buffy, and Steve are going to have one interesting year.
Warning: SPOILERS FOR THE AVENGERS! Timelines still wonky.
Acknowledgments: Thanks to Calex, Duchess, Walegrin, Alastor, mandac, CageFire, Angelskuuipo, LiastraLee, RevDorothyL, Harry, Misty, kiwi, & slmncpm for the reviews!
A/N 1: Have a prep day tomorrow for another long-term sub job in February, but after that, I have three days of possible work and then two weeks off! Expect many an update here soon! Also, The Hobbit? Excellent movie! Can't wait for part two!

**SPOILERS FOR THE AVENGERS!**

In which Dawn gets an office she didn't want and Peter finds a mystery

The team decided not to let Buffy know about the little incident, to Dawn's everlasting relief. Steve wasn't particularly pleased with it but Bruce's comment about Dawn being an adult and able to decide for herself what to share with her sister got through to him. A little to well, in fact, as he'd sat her down in his locked art studio and forced her to explain that, as understanding and mature as she tried to be, she really didn't like the over protectiveness.

Then she'd squirted him with some bright yellow paint and they'd gotten into a paint war, so she supposed the evening hadn't been a total loss.

Unfortunately, Natasha and Sif had decided it was time to step up on the lessons, so Dawn had gone from one hour of getting tossed around the gym a day, to two. Her muscles were not thanking her.

But all of that fell away when she walked into the linguistics labs of Stark Tower at nine am Monday morning. Her “internship” had been pushed back for a week so this was really Dawn's first day on the job and she was both excited and nervous. This was her idol and though she'd overcome some of the hero-worship as she'd gotten to know the older woman since their initial meeting, Dawn still had it pretty bad. She really didn't want to screw this up.

“Dr. Monroe?”

“In here, Summers!”

Dawn walked through the maze of tables and whiteboards set up haphazardly throughout the main room of the Linguistics labs. Two walls, one on either end of the floor, were almost nothing but glass windows, giving a truly amazing view of Manhattan. Between the two windowed walls was a large open space, with mostly just the whiteboards and the occasional cubby dividers blocking the view. There were closed off rooms too; conference areas, bathrooms, a few offices, all on the two sides without windows. The elevator had dropped her off smack dab in the center of the floor.

She found Monroe in the largest of the offices, putting up a framed poster of the Rosetta Stone on the wall. Her desk was already covered in papers and files, and the other end, which had a large lab table, held a veritable forest—stacks and stacks of papers, some going taller than her, covered every inch of the thing.

“Dr. Monroe?” She asked, standing awkwardly in the doorway. “Hi.”

“Hi,” the older woman called, stepping down and nodding when she got a look at it. “Think its straight? I think its straight.”

“Yeah,” Dawn agreed and then paused. “Um...where is everyone?”

“Everyone?” Monroe asked, frowning at her. Dawn nodded slowly.

“Yeah, like...the rest of the office?”

“Mary hasn't gotten in yet, she called and said she missed her train,” Monroe answered. “Other than that...we are the office.”

“What?” Dawn asked, eyes going wide. Dr. Monroe chuckled.

“SHIELD linguistics is a small office as it is, all things considered, and Fury didn't think the Avengers would really need a couple dozen people, so...this is it,” She shrugged.

“You, me and, Mary are the entire Avengers Linguistics office?”

“Yup.”

“What does Mary do?”

“Administration and liaison to SHIELD Linguistics.”

“That's...”

“Yeah, pretty much,” Dr. Monroe agreed with a chuckle. “So go out and take your pick. Mary's already claimed the office on the left but there's one on the end that has a fantastic view of the Hudson that I think has your name on it.”

“I don't get an office,” Dawn felt the need to remind her. “I'm an intern!”

The linguist gave her an amused look. “On paper, maybe. In reality, you're my number two.”

“I can't be your number two, I don't have a degree yet!”

“It's SHIELD, degrees don't always mean a damn thing around here,” Monroe reminded her. Dawn stared at her uncomprehendingly and the older woman sighed. Pushing her out of the doorway, she pointed. “Pick a damn a office,” Monroe ordered and Dawn gaped when she turned back to a box on the floor, pulling out a Ming dynasty vase. “Now where to put you...”

After about five to ten minutes of standing there as Monroe put her office together, Dawn realized she was serious and left in a daze.

And almost ran straight into Bucky and Clint. “Wha—what are you doing here?”

“We brought decorations!” Clint grinned, holding up a giant box as Bucky smirked behind him.

Dawn's eyes narrowed. “Decorations?” she asked, suspicious. This was starting to smack of Tony all over.

“Yup,” Bucky agreed, wrapping an arm around her shoulders. “Tony said you get an office.”

Definitely Tony-smelling.

“What, did he tell Fury only three people for the entire floor?!” she demanded.

“Of course not,” Clint snorted. “Dr. Monroe's getting more people but Tony made this place specifically for you—he wanted to make sure you got your own space first before the rest of the lab monkey's started coming in. Stark's stipulation with Fury was that you get your own office.”

“He does know the meaning of the word 'intern,' right?” she asked and Clint snorted.

“Whoever said you were an intern?” he asked. “You're our linguist.”

“That is not how this works in the real world,” Dawn informed them, exasperated.

“But it is how it works in Stark's world,” Bucky grinned and Dawn had to concede that the man had a point. “C'mon, let's find you an office.”

“I have a sneaking suspicion Tony already chose one for me,” Dawn said, remembering Dr. Monroe's comment about the office on the end. They went snooping and sure enough right next to the double doors that led to one of the larger offices was a gold nameplate with “Dawn Summers, Awesome” on it. She pushed the doors open and stared.

“I'mma kill him.”

~~*~~

“ANTHONY EDWARD STARK!”

Peter looked up, alarmed, when he heard what sounded suspiciously like Dawn shouting his boss' full name. He was sitting on the couch in the corner, working on some of his summer homework while Stark worked on his armor because Stark didn't like anyone but him or his team closer than five feet of any part of the suit when he was working on it.

“What did I do now?” Stark asked, not looking up when Dawn slammed into the room.

“An office?!”

“You're mine, you get the very best, I thought we'd been over this before,” Stark said, ignoring the apparent danger he was in from the enraged woman. Peter might have been pretty pathetic when it came to the opposite sex (Gwen's words) but even he could see that was not the right thing to say.

“It has a television!”

“It also has a smart board and half the books Willow said were on your wish-list,” he added. Peter hid a smile when he saw Dawn make a face and smack the back of Stark's head.

“Look at me when I am speaking to you, Dad,” she ordered and Peter choked. Stark finally set aside his armor and turned around. The older hero merely frowned at Dawn, though, not at all put off .

“You cannot use that term when you're mad at me,” Stark informed her. “It's not fair!”

“If it gets your attention, I'll use it all the damn time!” she screeched and Peter had to turn back to his book to keep from laughing at the half-alarmed, half-pleased expression on his boss' face.

“You know what, no, we're gonna find you're actual dad,” Stark said and Peter looked up in curiosity just in time to see Dawn go pale.

“Wha...?”

“It's about time, don't you think?” he asked, getting up and clearly energized. “Time to find the other half that made my favorite teenager.”

“I'm you're only teenager,” Dawn pointed out, obviously distracted from what she'd come here to yell at him about. “You cannot find my father.”

“Why not?”

“Because!”

“That's not a reason.”

“It is to me!”

“No kidding,” Stark muttered.

Peter hedged back to the corner of the lab, books and notebooks in hand. He really didn't want to get pulled into this fight.

He and Gwen had been interning with Stark Industries for a week now and things were so far from what either of them had expected as to be laughable. Gwen had expected a routine roughly what she'd had working with Connors. She hadn't gotten it. For one, she was bouncing between Foster, Banner, and Ross and her primary job, the thing she absolutely had to make sure happened as far as Miss Darcy was concerned, was to get them to eat at least once a day, if not more. Gwen was finding it increasingly harder to find ways to make them do so. Foster, Gwen complained when she'd come to have dinner with him and Aunt May, seemed to think she could live on Pop-tarts alone and Banner was a vegetarian so getting him to eat always included explaining what, exactly, was in his food. Ross was the easiest, apparently—she'd eat anything put in front of her as long as it wasn't tofu or sushi.

The other part of her job was to keep all the files and papers organized and up-to-date since no one actually expected the scientists to do so. Sounded easy but in reality was almost as difficult as getting them to eat. They all had the bad habit of writing on whatever was handy, including but not limited to napkins, shoes, and, on one memorable occasion, each other. Since SHIELD and SI expected actual 8x11 paper reports, Gwen spent several hours each morning typing up (and taking pictures) of whatever they'd scribbled down the day before. Even putting a writing pad on each of their desks did little to curb Gwen's typing in the morning, as they all seemed to go through one entire pad a day, if not less.

In contrast, Peter's job was a cake-walk. Stark didn't “believe” in pencils, pens, or paper so Peter never had to write up his notes and scribbles—JARVIS kept tabs on all of that. Like Ross, when he was working Stark would eat or drink anything put in his arms reach so long as it wasn't handed directly to him. Most of the time, Peter's main job was (with Ms. Potts blessing) to order JARVIS to shut down whatever project Stark was in the middle of and corral him to his penthouse to take a shower and then make sure the man got to whatever meaning he had to be at. The biggest problem always came in the lab when Peter gave the order to shut everything down—once they got out of the lab and in the elevator, Stark was surprisingly willing to do what needed done.

Aunt May, when he'd mentioned that to her and a glowering Gwen, had commented that without the temptation right in front of him, Stark was probably able to think better on other things.

Despite all that, Gwen and Peter were having a blast working at SI. Though she complained about the typing, Gwen was always excited to see whatever the trio had been working on with her own eyes and getting them to eat appealed to her desire for a challenge. Peter's internship meant less running around then he'd been expecting AND he got an advanced AI who was willing to help him with his summer homework and keeping his boss healthy. He was also getting tons of ideas for Spiderman, which he'd start implementing as soon as he could get the materials he needed.

The most confusing part of his job, he'd found, were the D-Twins, as he'd overheard some of the SI employees call them. Darcy Lewis had no official title with SI but was quickly becoming known as Stark and Potts right hand in running the company. The only official job Peter knew she did have was being in charge of the internship program. Everything else they'd seen her involved in seemed to be more her meddling than it being an actual job.

Peter knew her a bit, because Darcy liked to visit Stark in his lab and was one of the few who seemed to have unfettered access to him. Occasionally she did his job for him and got Stark to go out to lunch with her and Ms. Potts, or her and Dawn. Half the water-cooler talk seemed to be bets and gossip on whether or not Stark was cradle-robbing and/or having a long-term threesome/foursome.

Then there was Dawn Summers. She was a year older than him and Gwen and attending Columbia in the fall. Technically an intern of SHIELD, she knew Stark well enough that she'd scored her own place in the Tower to live. Despite having her own apartment in the building, she ate in the Tower cafeteria for lunch every day, sometimes with her own boss, Dr. Monroe, and sometimes with one of the Avengers or their SHIELD staff. Most often, though, she was with Darcy, the two laughing and talking as they ate lunch in a corner of the cafeteria that seemed to be reserved specifically for them, since no one else ever seemed to sit there.

Rumour was, Ms. Potts had been her speaker at her graduation, an honor that Stark himself had hoped to do. Stark had even, according to Ruth, one of the accounting interns, given her a full scholarship to go to school and had bought the apartment building she'd rented at to make it safer for her. This, at least, Peter'd been able to partly confirm for himself. He didn't know if Stark had actually bought the entire building, but he was renovating Dawn's loft apartment to make it safer.

Point was, neither he or Gwen (nor most of SI, for that matter) knew exactly what the two young woman were to Stark and it bugged them so they talked. It was kinda funny to watch, actually.

Peter's interest in who Dawn was had only grown, of course, after he'd saved her from getting mugged. Well, he admitted silently to himself, saved was not really accurate. She'd seemed fine to him, holding her own and not nearly as terrified as anyone else in the situation might have been. She'd given him the time to sneak up without catching the mugger's attention and then, to top it all off, she'd thanked him and told him to tell Gwen not to speak of it in the Tower! It was not really the reaction he'd been expecting and he really wanted to know why she hadn't been afraid of the mugger or him. She'd been nervous, of course she'd been, but not afraid.

It was a mystery, one he was determined to crack.

“...Fine, you wanna find my dad, go ahead,” Dawn was saying when Peter slowly came back out of his thoughts to find Dawn standing toe-to-toe with his boss and poking his chest as Sergeant Barnes and Agent Barton stood in the doorway watching and laughing. “Just don't expect me to be the one to tell Buffy or Pepper and don't get Steve to do it either—it's your idea so you get to tell them.”

Stark didn't seem to like this plan, if the babbling was any indication. Dawn merely sniffed, turned on her heel, and flounced back out of the lab, dragging the two snipers with her.

It was official, he decided as Stark ordered JARVIS to email Pepper and Buffy about his plans to find Dawn's dad so he didn't have to do it. Dawn, like Gwen, was someone he didn't want to mess with.

Despite the mystery of who she was, he kinda liked that about her.

End Note: Anyone want to make a header for me? I don't have access to Photoshop anymore, even slightly, so I only can use paint. Thanks to anyone who attempts!
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