Chapter 1: Cover Art
Chapter by Xocoatldreams
Temporary cover until something better comes up
Chapter 2: Outnumbered
Clint grit his teeth as he sighted down the shaft of the arrow. They were out numbered and overrun. It was nearly as bad as the whole Chitauri situation, only this time the God of Lies was on their side. He tried not to growl about that fact, but the reality was, having Loki with them was helping, greatly. Still, even with the Asgard's magic, the Avengers weren't making a dent in the mass of creatures attacking them. Each time one the monsters seemed to be down for good, it sprung back up, attacking even harder. The Hulk was snapping necks left and right to no avail and Iron Man's repulsors weren't having any effect. It wasn't until a stray hit by Captain America's shield removed one's head and the creature fell to ash that Clint released what they were up against, and just how outmatched they really were.
Pulling back slightly, he reached for the very special arrow head he carried, the one he thought he would never have to use. A quick flick activated it and he aim into the air instead of the melee below. Moments later bright light filled the dark sky and short screams sounded as the light's rays hit the creatures, destroying them where they stood. Several confused faces turned to look up at him, but Clint only shrugged. This wasn't the time and place for this conversation.
"Agent Barton," Coulson's calm voice echoed across his comm unit. "You will be explaining your actions once the team returns to headquarters."
"Didn't think it would be otherwise," he replied, scaling easily down the building. He landed beside the Hulk as the green started to fade away and he shrunk back into the more familiar, and comforting, form of Bruce Banner. "Just," he paused and took a deep breath, "can you keep Fury out of this for now?"
"Really, sir," the archer did his best to keep his voice respectful. "It would be better if it was just the team."
There was silence from the other end of the comm but finally he heard the half-sigh Coulson gave. "Fine."
The sea of faces staring at him was unnerving and Clint bit his tongue to keep the flood of smart-alec remarks at bay. He knew the others were just waiting for him to explain what had happened during the battle, and truthfully, he wasn't sure where to start. It wasn't an easy "this is why" situation. So much of what he knew dealt with the childhood and youth he had left behind and he was reluctant to revisit it.
"You may now explain, Agent Barton," Coulson said, sliding into the left over chair near the head of the table.
Clint sighed. "What exactly do you want to know?"
"Why don't you start with, what the hell did you use?" Stark asked, leaning forward to stare at Clint.
"That's probably the easiest answer," the archer laughed. "It's a special arrow head made by a friend of mine. It's basically condensed UV light."
"You have more of those?" the inventor asked eagerly.
"Yes, Tony, I have more, and yes, if you behave I'll see if you can look them over."
"How about we ask a more important question," Natasha interjected quietly, and Clint winced. He knew his ex-partner was going to be pissed that he had kept this information from her. They didn't share everything, but this was technically life or death knowledge. "How did you know that your toy would work?"
"I didn't," Clint admitted. "I hoped though. When the Cap's shield took the one out I took the chance."
"So you know what they were," Coulson stated.
"I have a very good idea," hedged Clint, not willing to make a definite acknowlegdement until he had concrete proof.
"And what was your idea?"
Silence filled the small space for a few heartbeats before everyone went crazy. Tony was laughing; Natasha was glaring at him, a small knife in her hand; Banner was giving him a hurt look like he was lying to them; Thor look confused as did Steve; and Loki, Loki was starting at him curiously. Only Coulson managed to keep his supernatural calm.
"I'm serious," Clint said, his voice just carrying over the din. "I'm not crazy and I'm not lying."
"Clint." The sound of his name on Coulson's lips made the archer start, but he faced the senior agent head on and waited. "Full explanation."
The archer sighed. "Full, huh." He looked around the table. "I don't know how much anyone here knows about my past," he began. "I'll start at the beginning. When I was nine my parents died, leaving my with just my brother, Barney. We ended up in foster homes and group homes for about a year or so before Barney convinced me to run away with him. We joined up with a circus." Clint paused to glare at Tony, daring the billionaire to say anything. "I showed some skills with knives and shit, and was sort of apprenticed to some people.
"I'm not getting into that," he shook his head. "We had been with the circus for about two years when I first met Sp-William," he caught himself. "It seems William's family had looked out for mine since the 1700s."
"That's a long time," Bruce remarked.
"Yeah," Clint shrugged. "He took us away for awhile, taught us some things. Truthfully, he and his wife are why I'm so good with a bow. William's the one that taught me to be accurate. Always said missing gets you dead." He stopped and took a breath. "We kept in touch until a while back when he disappeared."
"Disappeared?" Tony questioned.
"Yeah, I'm not getting into that," Clint told him. "Just yeah, he went off the map for a few years, then about a year ago I heard from him again. He works with a group that deals with the supernatural: vampires, werewolves, demons, etc. And yes, Tony, I said demons."
"Clint," Natasha started, but the archer shook his head.
"You've trusted me before, Nat," Clint said quietly. "Trust me now." The redhead stilled for a moment, then nodded. "Thank you."
"Why are you telling us this, Agent Barton?" Coulson asked.
"Because I want to call William and his team in."
Chaos reigned again as everyone tried to talk over each other except for Clint, Coulson, and Loki.
The Trickster god met the archer's eyes and nodded. All this is beyond even me, the Asgard whispered in Clint's mind. I support your idea to call those who know more in. He shivered as the feeling of Loki's mind left his.
Don't do that again, he shot back.
The dark god raised an eyebrow. I'll keep it for extreme situations. Clint grimaced but nodded.
"— Barton?" Coulson's voice called him back to the loud discussion taking place.
"Are you certain that your contact will help us?" the senior agent asked again.
"This is what they do," he replied.
"Do it then."
Sitting back with a groan, Clint wondered just what he was going to say. This was going to be a very interesting conversation.
"ISC, if you don't know what that stands for, why are you calling?"
Clint smirked at the cheerful insult. "I need to speak to Spike, please."
"May I ask who's calling?" the girl on the other end chirped.
"Tell him the little Hawk needs his nest mate."
Clint could almost hear the confusion in her voice. He wondered idly if she was a slayer, or just some lucky girl stuck answering the phones for the Council. Hold music played softly in the background and he focused in on it instead the of the waiting faces of his teammates.
"You fledged long ago, little Hawk," the familiar British voice echoed down the line. "Why are you calling for help now?"
"Hello to you too, Spike," Clint laughed.
"Yes, cheers, what do you need?"
The archer sighed. "We ran into a major mass of vampires last night," he told his old friend. "And some lesser demons too."
"Pet, there are always vampires and demons in the Big Apple," Spike reminded him, speaking slowly as if to a child.
Clint rolled his eyes, forgetting that Spike couldn't see him. "I know that, but nothing like this. I know you're aware of what I've been up to—"
"Playing hero," the British man snorted.
"-and you know what my team is capable of, but we were overrun this time," he continued as if Spike hadn't interrupted. "There were easily over a hundred of them."
"Bloody hell," Spike groaned. "Did it seem like a massing, or organized?"
He thought back, pulling up images of the battle in his mind. "They were organized I think." To the side he could see Coulson nod in agreement. "Yeah, they were organized."
Colourful cursing filtered down the line. "You got a clear place for us?"
"Us?" he asked, then shook his head. "Never mind, how many?"
There was a quiet discussion on the other end, the words just below his hearing range. "Five. Possibly six."
"Can you get a fix on me?"
"Had my Niblet do that as soon as you called, Pet," Spike laughed wickedly. "You only call yourself little Hawk when you're in trouble."
"Yeah, yeah, whatever," he retorted childishly. "How long?"
"Give us an hour and a good clear space," the other man replied. "And have fun explaining our means of travel to your team."
"Fucker," Clint swore as the dial tone rang in his ear. He carefully put down the phone and looked around.
"Agent Barton?" Coulson said in opening.
"They'll be here in an hour."
"Where are they coming from?" Steve asked, speaking for the first time since the fight. Clint noticed that the super soldier was still looking shell shocked.
"Cleveland last I knew," the archer shrugged.
"In an hour?" Tony scoffed.
"Well, actually in a few seconds, but it'll take about an hour for them to get ready," Clint told him seriously.
"How?" the billionaire asked, still looking sceptical.
"Magic," Loki offered with a sly grin.
Clint nodded. "Exactly."
"Magic?" Stark seemed to be tasting the word. "Really? Like Loki's magic?"
"Um, kinda, but different," he scratched his head. "You'll understand when they get here."
"Where are we meeting them?" Coulson asked.
"Somewhere with lots of room," Clint answered.
Loki tilted his head in thought. "If they are coming in the means I believe they are, I know a place that would be ideal."
Everyone looked at the Norse god. "No tricks or traps," Coulson commanded. "Everyone be there in 45 minutes."
The senior agent left the room and Clint slouched under the weight of all the eyes on him.
"Great," he muttered to himself.
The clearing Loki led them to was a little known area of Central Park. Clint stood off to one side, ignoring the glares his teammates were sending him. After Coulson had left, the archer had refused to answer all questions the others threw at him. Even Natasha had asked several pointed questions. There was no way he could answer even one without opening a whole new can of worms, so he decided it would be easier to just answer none and wait until all the pieces and people came together. Coulson stood beside him, arms crossed as they waited for Spike and his group to arrive.
Suddenly, Loki's head snapped up, then the air seemed to pressurize and electrify. Clint shivered as the pressure grew and a faint green light formed in the center of the clearing. All eyes focused on the light as it solidified into a small group of people standing in a circle, all facing out, all with weapons in their hands.
"Nice friends you got," Stark commented, hand absently reaching for the Iron Man suitcase by his side.
"All pays to be prepared," Spike snarked, stepping away from the group. The others formed a line behind him. Clint recognized Xander, standing tall behind the blonde man, single eye scanning the group, and Dawn beside him, still thin and coltish. The two women behind them were unknown, but Clint though the taller, pale skinned one was probably Faith from what he heard. The dark skinned one was more than likely one of the younger slayers. "Hey, little Hawk."
"Spike, you're an ass, like always," Clint sighed.
"If he wasn't, he wouldn't be Spike," Xander grinned. "Nice to see you, Robin."
"Xander, you're almost as bad," Clint laughed.
"Long time exposure," the one-eyed man shrugged. "Gonna make with the introductions?"
Moving to stand between the two groups, the archer started. "This is Natasha Romanoff, Dr. Bruce Banner, Tony Stark, Captain Steve Rogers, Thor Odinson, Loki Laufeyson, and Agent Coulson," he pointed to each of the Avengers. "On this side we have William aka Spike, Xander Harris, Dawn Summers and two lovely ladies I don't know the names of."
"I'm Faith and this is Rona," the light skinned one smirked. "So, you guys are the famous Avengers." There was something wicked in her gaze as it swept over the team.
"Faith," Xander sighed. "Behave until they're used to us."
"Whatever you say, Boytoy," she shrugged. Clint had a sudden image of her and Tony ganging up on everyone and groaned. Xander smirked knowingly at him.
"We should move this to a more secure location," Coulson said stepping forward.
Five pairs of eyes-well, four pairs and a single-focused with eerie intent on the senior agent, and something unspoken passed through the small group before Spike took another step forward and nodded. "Lead the way."
A barely-there smirk slipped over Coulson's face before the man turned and led them toward the group of SUVs waiting to take them back to the Avengers HQ. Coulson had kept his word and hadn't told Fury about it, so they couldn't use SHIELD sanctioned areas for the meeting. Thankfully, Avengers HQ was owned by Stark and the man was too paranoid to let SHIELD add anything to the security. When they reached the vehicles, Clint was mildly surprised when Spike's group willing spilt up. He was almost certain that the vampire would want to keep them all together, but only Dawn stayed with the vampire, getting into the car with Clint and Coulson, while Xander joined Bruce, Thor and Natasha, and Faith and Rona went with Tony, Loki and Steve. The mash up was strange, but Clint was certain they did it on purpose, even if he didn't know the reasoning behind it.