First of all I would like to apologize for how long it took me to post this one. It was a case of computer conspiracy against me and my beta Vanea Taur.
Second of all I would like to warn you that I based Dawn on my little cousin, but she is slightly older so I might have overcompensated on some parts.
And thirdly, I would like to inform you that there are still a few stories that will be included in my New Dawn series, so don't worry. There will be more of IM stories in the foreseeable future. :P
Now enjoy.Badass Princess
There are many things grown men fear. Tony Stark might have been privileged all his life, but that didn’t mean that he had any fewer fears.
He feared for his life, for the lives of his friends, for the Avengers, for mankind and he feared for his wife’s safety. Mostly of all he feared that Pepper would someday wake up and realize she could do so much better than some spoiled billionaire playboy, even though he was a successful industrialist and ingenious engineer that renounced his playboy ways the moment she gave him a chance.
An illegitimate child could only increase the chance that she would leave him.
Staring at the little girl that bumped into him, he told himself that it was impossible. She couldn’t be his daughter. The chance for a complete stranger to share a physical trait with him was 73.89 percent possible after all. He told himself that just because she had the exact same eyes as every Stark in his family didn’t mean that she was his daughter. That was, until the Mommy made an appearance. He would recognize her
The blond that could rule the world, if her attitude was the only thing to judge her by. The blond that forced him to behave for at least one night. The stranger that nagged at his mind every so often.
“You!” He didn’t know her name, but he was fully aware of what she was, the mother of his bastard child.
She looked at him and then apologetically waived with her hand, not really concerned with him. Not really looking like she cared who he was. “I’m sorry she hit you. I hope your leg is alright.”
“Never mind that. But you! I know you. And she has my eyes!”
She took a closer look at him and he could see recognition in his eyes. Finally. Apparently she wasn’t expecting to see him as she stared at him not really knowing what to say. He made another chick speechless. Oh yeah, he might have been married for a few years, but he still had it.
It was the little girl that actually answered him.
“Silly, I don’t have your eyes. You have both of your eyes just where they are supposed to be. Not like Uncle Xander. Uncle Xander only has one eye, because a bad man took away the other. But mommy punished him for that so it’s alright.” She nodded to confirm that it was all true and then looked up at mommy. “Right?”
The Mommy looked down at the little girl, Dawn if he heard correctly, and nodded. “Right, baby.”
She recovered from her Stark induced daze and took a once over of him. And then she grimaced. Why did she grimace? There was nothing to grimace at. He wore the best designer suits and was in top form, exercising every morning. He had to stay attractive in name of all females and especially his wife after all. And then she opened her mouth.
“Huh, what were the chances we would ever meet again? Hello to you to. Long time no see. Nice weather isn’t it?”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah. All rainbows and ponies. That’s my daughter.” Suddenly he had to hear her say it. After all the time he wished he could have a child and suddenly there she was. He couldn’t believe it. She had to be his daughter. Her eyes
“Yes she is. But I hardly think this is a place for such conversations.” She was right. There were too many people around for this kind of conversation. He didn’t want the press to get to this bit of news so soon. And he had one enemy too many not to worry about the safety of the kid.
Still, there was a question that couldn’t wait. If he was right then the girl, Dawn, was at least four or five years old and he had no clue about her existence until now. “Why didn’t you tell me?”
The Mommy raised an eyebrow at him. Apparently she wasn’t too impressed with his tone of voice. Tough luck for her. “And pray tell how
was I to do that? I wasn’t exactly asking about your life story the last time we saw each other. I don’t even know your name.”
That stopped Tony dead in his tracks. He could see the sincerity of her statement. Who in the world didn’t know of him? He was Tony Stark, the owner of Stark Industries, rated the wealthiest man alive, and featured in all the magazines, for God’s sake!
“I’m Tony Stark.”
“Well good for you. Now if you would excuse me, I promised my daughter a musical and an ice cream and we’re going to be late.”
Well, he certainly didn’t expect that. Where did this chick live all her life? Under a rock or something? And where the hell did she think she was going with his daughter?
“You can’t expect me to just let you leave now.” Not now, that he found out he had a daughter. A daughter! What did little girls actually like? Pink, lots of pink. That much he still remembered from his youth. Would his daughter like pink? He hoped not. Maybe he could convince her that red and gold were prettier. He was interrupted by the Mommy.
“You don’t really expect me to believe you wouldn’t be able to find me again, do you? I admit that I wasn’t really paying attention to celebrities in the last few years, but even I know you’re a genius. However, if you are so concerned about that, you are welcome to come with us. Dawn tell the nice man what we are going to watch.” The Mommy – and he needed to stop calling her that – looked at Dawn and smiled at the cute little kid.
Dawn started to jump up and down and suddenly grabbed his hand. “We’re going to go see Cinderella! I have to make sure Aunty Willow makes Cinderella pretty!”
He crouched to Dawn’s level and smiled. She really was a cute kid. Little bit scrawny, but she would grow up into a heartbreaker. “Oh you do? And what’s Aunty Willow going to do to make her pretty”
Dawn in turn frowned at him, like he was stupid. Funny how similar it was to the look the Mommy gave him not a minute earlier. “She’s gonna use magic and turn her dress all pretty and sparkly. And she will make pretty braids and put a tiara on Cinderella’s head!”
It was really adorable how excited she looked when she talked about it. Still, Tony wouldn’t be Tony if he didn’t poke at people, even if they were kids. “I thought that was Cinderella’s fairy godmother.”
Dawn shook her head, her face very serious. “No, it’s Aunty Willow, but pshhh.” She pressed a finger to her lips. “That’s a secret. If everybody knew it was my Aunty Willow they would bother her to make them pretty all the time and she wouldn’t have time for me anymore.”
“My lips are sealed.” Resigned that he would have to go and see a kiddy show if he wanted to spend time with his daughter he looked around and then said. “What do you say we call a limo and go see the musical?” It would be that much of a hardship, going to see a kiddy show. He would miss the S.H.I.E.L.D. meeting and that was always a good thing. He had enough of boring meetings for one day.
The little girl’s frown deepened and she shook her head again. Of course she wouldn’t want a stranger to tag along when she and the Mommy were spending time together.
“We can’t go there with a limo. We have to walk there or it won’t count.”
He was relieved that she didn’t have anything against him coming along only with the means of transportation to get them there. “How so?”
She smiled mysteriously. “Just because. It’s more fun this way. But we need to buy ice cream first, right mommy?” They both looked up at the blond that looked very amused with their conversation.
“Indeed. Ice cream first or it won’t count. So Mister Stark, which flavor would you like?
“Of course you like lemon.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” Tony wondered whether he should be offended. Her tone of voice indicated his choice of the flavor as something bad. How was lemon a bad choice?
“I like lemon too! But I mix it with chocolate,” exclaimed his little daughter while jumping excitedly around him.
Lemon and chocolate? He almost shook from disgust. That couldn’t possibly be good. “Why would you mix a perfectly good ice cream?”
“Because it’s yummy, silly.” She blew him a raspberry and giggled. “I like to pick out the big chocolate chunks.”
Looking up at the blond, he could see that her daughter’s taste buds disgusted her too. That reminded him. “So, Dawn, is it?”
The girl nodded.
“Can you tell me something?”
She gave him a sideway glance and bit her lip. “That depends on the question.”
He winked at her and then leaned closer so that he could whisper in her ear. “Can you tell me your mommy’s name?”
The girl giggled again, looked at her mom and then whispered back. “It’s Buffy.”
Tony gave her a look that he hoped was amused and then mock whispered. “You are pulling my leg, Miss Summers.”
She shook her little head furiously. “Nuh uh, I’m not pulling your leg. Mommy said Grandma was high when she gave her the name. I asked Uncle Xander what that means, but he didn’t know. Do you know?”
Oh, did he know what that mean. He knew it very close and personally.
Buffy, who was until now listening to Dawn’s antics, quickly interfered. “We’re going to be late if we don’t go now. Or don’t you want your ice cream, Dawn?”
This day wasn’t exactly going as she expected when she woke up that day. A chance meeting with the father of her baby, that she never met before and him being Tony Stark? Nope, not on her day planner. At all.
Still, stranger things happened to her and many of them were much less pleasant for her than this.
Before Dawn could answer, Buffy’s bag started to vibrate. Despite being in the middle of a busy street, both, Buffy and Dawn could hear it. Buffy pulled the offending machine that vibrated out and answered. “Andrew. This better be important or I’m going to melt your Star Wars collection.”
The voice on the other end hesitated for a second. “Buffy, I’m so sorry, but Giles is missing. He went for a jog this morning and didn’t come back.”
She sighed. This wasn’t good news. Not that she expected one when she answered the phone.
“Don’t get me wrong, but isn’t this Willow’s area of expertise?” She could here ruffling of papers on the other end and assumed that he was going through the more urgent paperwork that Giles was supposed to do that day. The blond geek really grew in the three years away from Sunnydale.
Andrew quickly agreed. “She came to Scotland this morning and got together with the coven.
They tried all the location spells they could think of. They got no results.”
“You don’t think he’s…”
Before she could even finish that thought Andrew shouted. “No! Willow said that they were blocked, which means he must still be alive.”
Ok, she could live with that. Still, whoever was responsible for this wasn’t going to like what was coming his or her way. “Do we have any idea what we are dealing with?”
“Willow’s suspecting Luthor Corps. The Big Cheese was awfully curious about us a few weeks back. He was added on The List.”
“That bad?” The List was after all an account of people who rated between Maggy Walsh and Mayor Wilkins. Evil, insane or both. The Luthor guy must have hid his evilness pretty well. She never suspected anything when he took her out on a date. Maybe that should have been the first clue. “He likes Kansas, right?”
“He has his headquaters there, yes.”
There wasn’t much to do, until Willow did her magic, but she could probably check a few demon bars and remind people what happens if they mess with the wrong people. The real question was how overboard she should go.
“Ok, this is what we are going to do. You are going to assemble all the teams. I want two additional teams per hot spot just in case. Prepare Eagles, Hawks, Sparrows, Panthers and the
Howlers to move out as soon as we got a concrete target. We’re going to send a message. Nobody messes with our own! I just need to get our things together and then Dawn and I will take the Pineapple transport to you.”
There was a loud bang on the other side of the phone followed by some shouting that ended with another bang. She guessed that younger slayers were doing there famous pacing-and-not-being-able-to-stand-still routine. Andrew sighed before continuing. “How long will it take you?”
She quickly made the calculations in her head. “Maybe an hour. I’m quite a few miles away from the apartment. Tell Willow I’ll call when I get there.”
“Ok, see you soon. And I’m really sorry. I know you and Dawn are on vacation.”
“It’s ok, Andrew. I’m sorry I threatened your Star Wars collection. Bye.”
She hung up and sight. There went the vacation flying out of the window. Her daughter knew it too. Buffy wished Dawn could have a bit more normal childhood; she deserved more than this, more than just jumping from one bad situation to another.
“I’m sorry sweetheart. We won’t make it today.”
She didn’t tell Dawn what was wrong, as Dawn heard both sides of the conversation. During the years, they found out, that female children of Slayers inherited some of their mother’s gifts. Dawn had enchanted hearing and the spidey senses. Willow had a theory that they would become Slayers too, when they reached their womanhood.
Dawn’s eyes watered, but she only nodded. Bad guys didn’t wait for when the good guys had time. That’s why they were bad guys.
“It’s ok. You have bad guys to catch.”
“I could take her to see the show.” Tony listened to the phone call quite patiently. He got the gist of it. Something was wrong and she had to go. And his daughter was disappointed. That just wouldn’t do. What a Stark wanted a Stark got. And if the youngest Stark wanted to see a kiddy show she damn well will. That is, if Mommy dearest allowed it.
He could see her consider it. That was good. At least he wouldn’t need to kidnap the little shrimp. Pepper would have problems with that. She’s going to raise a ruckus anyway when she finds out about Dawn.
The Mommy finally looked up from their daughter and looked him in the eyes, searching for something. She must have found it as she started to ask stupid questions. “Are you sure? Because a five year old isn’t like some robot, doing whatever you tell it to do. You need to pay close attention to her all the time or she’s going to start making chaos.”
Tony was confident. It couldn’t be that hard. She was what, 3’6’’? How much chaos could she make? Well, she did have him for a father, so she shouldn’t have that much trouble with it – the ability to start trouble was after all passed down the Stark family line. But he was older and more experienced in starting chaos; he would just have to reverse engineer it. “I’m sure.”
She bit her lip, apparently not reassured that he could handle it. “I don’t want to interfere with your schedule.”
“I’m the owner of my company. I think I can rearrange my schedule as I please.” At least until Pepper found out what he did and started lecturing about responsibilities. Again.
Coming to a decision, whatever it was, she nodded and started to steamroll over him. “I won’t be able to pick her up myself, but I’m sending someone here the minute I get on the phone. No offence, but I don’t really know you and its Dawn’s safety we are talking about.”
Responsible parenting was apparently her fortress. Good, because he didn’t really care about responsibility that much. He figured Pepper was more than enough responsible for both of them. “Good. Send whoever you choose to the Stark tower. Dawn’s things too. It’s probably safer for her to be away from whatever is going on at your end.”
She raised an eyebrow at him. Cute. “Send Dawn’s thing’s as in staying with you for a few days?”
He shrugged. “Yeah.”
Wrong thing to say apparently, as she crossed her arms and gave him a stern look. “Sorry, Stark, but I don’t think I’m comfortable enough with you to leave Dawn in your care for that long.”
Maybe he should reassure her a bit. Women liked that shit. “It’s not like it’s going to be just her and me. My wife is going to be there too. And the Stark tower is always filled with researchers and other people.”
She didn’t look that much more reassured. “Nope, still not convinced. But I’ll make you a deal.
You can spend whatever time you want with Dawn, but she’s going to be taken care of by one of my people.”
He could live with that. A babysitter wasn’t that much to deal with and if it made the Mommy feel better all the more reason for not arguing.
“I have enough rooms in Stark tower to house a sorority. And it has safety precautions.
She paused for a second, her face set in a frown, then nodded. “Ok, that’s probably for the best. But remember this, Stark. Anything happens to Dawn and they won’t found your body.”
Tony nodded and turned to his daughter. “Your mommy is a scary lady.”
Dawn giggled and then hugged her mom. “Be careful, ok? No funny business!”
Buffy smiled and hugged her back. “Promise. You be good, ok? I’m gonna send Chao-Ahn, so you can have a girl’s night. I expect to hear only good things from her when I come back, are we clear?”
Dawn only nodded and hugged her even tighter. She was still a kid, but she was smart. She knew that what mommy did was dangerous and that mommy could leave now and Dawn would never see her again.
Buffy nodded at Tony. “Thanks. I’ll call every couple of hours to check in.”
They quickly said goodbye and then parted ways. It didn’t take long for father and daughter to find the nearest ice cream parlor and get their ice creams. Dawn insisted that they sat down on the first bench they saw so that she could observe other people who passed her.
Tony was deciding which question to ask first when Dawn surprised him. She gave him a sideway glance and then started to talk in that matter-of-factly voice. “So, you’re my daddy.”
Tony didn’t actually expect something like that to pass his daughter’s lips. At least not this soon. “Yes, I am.” He didn’t even think of deflecting or denying it. If Buffy had a problem with that she should take it up with her daughter. She started the conversation not Tony, after all.
She looked lost in thoughts. “I never had a daddy before. I have Grandpa Giles and tons of Uncles, but I never had a daddy.” She liked the melted ice cream slipping down the cone she was holding.
“Did you want a daddy?”
Looking at him she shrugged. “I don’t know. Mommy’s daddy wasn’t nice, Uncle Xander’s and Aunty Willow’s weren’t either. Spike and Andrew don’t have any daddies. I guess I wanted a nice daddy or no daddy at all. Are you going to be a nice daddy?”
No real father figure than. He could understand that. His father was a good man and Tony had great respect for him, but Howard Stark didn’t really know how to be a dad. Not for lack of trying.
“I never had to be a daddy before, so I don’t know, but I’ll make a deal with you ok? I’ll try to be a nice daddy. Is that ok with you?”
The little girl gave it a minute to think about it and then nodded. “I guess it’s ok. But if you aren’t nice, mommy will
punish you.” It was accomplished with a stern look that he got from the Mommy no more than an hour ago.
That was one thing that nagged at his mind. “What does your mommy do?”
She continued licking her ice cream, not really concerned with his question. “She hunts monsters, so that they don’t anybody anymore.”
That was an interesting way to put it. Was she a cop or perhaps a bounty hunter? She didn’t really look like a cop, so probably a bounty hunter. And hurt anybody anymore? That didn’t sound that reassuring to him.
“Do you ever get hurt by the monsters?”
She didn’t answer for a while. Tony already thought she wouldn’t say anything when she nodded. “When I was still a baby. Mommy said a bad lady wanted to kill me. She was really crazy.”
He would need to look into it. “What happened to the lady?”
“Mommy and Grandpa Giles made her go away. I don’t remember her, so it’s ok.” She looked so vulnerable though. Tony vowed that he would do whatever needed to make her safe. He knew what it was like to feel vulnerable.
“What about after that? Did you get hurt anymore?”
She shook her head and continued to lick ked ice cream. “No. Mommy always makes sure nothing gets near me. She makes Spike watch me. He’s funny. He paints his fingers black, but once, when he fell asleep, I painted them pink.”
Who the hell was Spike! “Is Spike Buffy’s brother?”
Dawn giggled and then answered in a lecturing tone. “No. Spike was the Big Bad before I was born, but now he’s just a big teddy bear.”
“Spike was bad?” He started to doubt that Buffy was making the best decisions concerning their daughter.
“Uh huh. He was really bad. But then he fell in love with mommy and he got good. And now he helps mommy fight the bad monsters.” A dog caught her attention and she followed it with her eyes. Tony saved that for future references. Every kid needed a dog. But no Chihuahuas.
“Is he her boyfriend?”
She giggled again. “Nooo. Mommy didn’t want him as a boyfriend.” She looked around and then gave him a conspiring look. “Now he kisses Andrew, when nobody is watching. But I saw him and now he has to give me cookies or I’m gonna tell.”
She gave him a toothy grin, which Tony answered.
“That’s my girl. Milk him out good. I’m gonna make a real business woman out of you.”
She shook her head theatrically and then jumped from the bench. “I’m gonna be just like mommy when I’m big.” Somebody had to make sure mommy got home when she was fighting the bad monsters.
Tony grinned. This was going to be quite the challenge. “Is that right? What about being both?”
She had to think for a minute. “I guess that could work.”
His grin got even bigger. “So let me ask the really important questions.”
She looked at him with raised brow. A pure Stark gesture.
“What’s your favorite color?” It was a really important question. All his presents were going to be based on the color scheme and he didn’t want to use the wrong colors.
She didn’t have to think. She knew what she liked and didn’t care if other girls thought her weird because of it. “Green. And silver. But green is still better.”
At least it wasn’t pink. He could live with that. Still. “Red and gold are better.”
“You’re a Gryffindor,” she exclaimed excitedly.
“I’m a what?”
Another Are-you-stupid look was sent his way. “A Gryffindor. From Harry Potter. I’m a Slytherin. Mommy doesn’t want to admit it, but Spike agrees that I’m totally a Slytherin.”
Harry Potter. He heard about the books. But it was before Iron Man and he didn’t pay any attention to it. Wizards and witches and magic? Not really his thing. He liked physics well enough, thank you very much.
“I never read the book.”
The little tornado stopped in a middle of a spin. “What? We have to buy them for you. Aunty Willow says that Harry Potter books are the most important books in the world. They are sacred!”
Apparently he would have to read them. Should have stayed quiet. “Sure thing, princess.”
That raised her hackles. “I’m not a princess!”
Sure she was. It was a matter of lineage. “You’re a Stark. That makes you a princess.”
She crossed her arms and gave him a look that screamed not to argue with her. “Ok. But I’m a badass princess.”
“Deal.”Hope you liked. I would be really pleased if you commented, because this story gave me hell. What was your favorite part? Did you laugh until you cried in some parts? I wanna know, I wanna know!
Elza C. Boe