Chapter 1: One
She'd grown up with stories about the man.
Oh sure, when you're four years old and history is about what you had for lunch that day, the stories hadn't meant more than one exasperated Joyce Summers yelling at her mother not to get her daughters any more excited when they're supposed to be going to bed. Which Dawn could have told her mother was not actually the fault of the stories but of the fact Grandma was visiting and could we pretty please stay up late to talk to her more, please please please?!
But hindsight is twenty-twenty and Dawn had never breathed a word about the excitement at having Grandma there keeping her up WAY past her bedtime.
The point was, she'd grown up with the stories. About how the geekiest, scrawniest man-boy Grandma had ever seen had saved the world from an insane Nazi.
And got really hot in the process.
Though to be fair, Grandma never mentioned that part in the stories. Dawn found out about that when they studied Captain America in history and she saw all the videos.
Dawn was pretty sure Buffy had never connected Grandma's stories with the videos she no doubt saw in High School. Otherwise, everyone would have known the woman in the picture in his compass was their Grandma Peggy.
The first time she met Captain America face to face was...an experience. Grandma Peggy had been gone for several years by that point, having passed away just before Buffy had been Called. She'd been buried in New York, in a small cemetery near where Steve Rogers had grown up. Dawn was pretty sure it was the same cemetery his mother was buried in, actually.
After Sunnydale, everyone needed space and, well, time to themselves. Xander headed for Africa, Giles and Andrew to England, Faith and Robin to Cleveland, and Willow and Kennedy to Brazil. Buffy promised Giles she and Dawn would be in Rome by the end of summer, but they needed a quick break, to get back to normal, just the two of them. Things were still strained enough between them that Giles had agreed with little hesitation.
Hence the road trip to New York and Dawn's innocent little suggestion their fourth day in the recuperating city:
“We should visit Grandma.”
Green-wood was a nice cemetery, well-kept, and from the way Buffy'd relaxed when they stepped through, no vampires were anywhere in the vicinity.
Which made sense, as it was the middle of the day. Not even they were so far gone as to visit at night on patrol.
Both of them had flowers and Buffy had a small cross she'd bought in a tiny town in Kansas. Buffy had planned to put it in their soon to be new apartment but after agreeing to go to the cemetery today, Buffy had apparently found better use of the thing.
It didn't take them long to find the right plot, the main office had a nice and organized directory. As they approached the headstone, however, they both slowed down.
There was a group of people already there.
Technically, they were in three groups. A dark-skinned man (with an eye-patch) and a woman who practically screamed military stood to one side. On the other, were two dark-haired men (one of whom looked REALLY familiar), a guy with light brown hair and really nice biceps, a tall man with shoulder length blonde hair, and four women, two redheads and two brunettes. One of the redheads, the lighter-toned one, was hand in hand with the guy Dawn was pretty sure she should recognize, and the smaller brunette woman (who was obviously older than the other dark-haired woman) was leaning into the tall blonde guy, who had a protective arm around her as he kept his gaze forward.
Then there was the third group, which wasn't really a group so much as a sole man standing in front of Grandma's grave. The groups behind him were a respectable distance away, but near enough it was obvious they were there as moral support. He was tall, obviously buff, in khaki pants and a white button down with a tie. She couldn't see his face, but his hair was dark blonde and Dawn was pretty sure she knew exactly who he was. Hadn't she seen the news footage with everyone else? Didn't she know Captain America had somehow come back?
Buffy and she stopped nearby, waiting patiently for him to finish. She saw most of the group eye them a moment before most obviously dismissed them. It was the guy with the eye-patch that caught her attention, though, as his good eye widened and she could have swore she saw recognition there. She glanced at Buffy but her sister was focused on the guy at the grave, brow furrowed. She snorted mentally; apparently history class hadn't been a total loss for her sister.
“Do we know him?” Buffy asked lowly, not taking her eyes off the man as he finally knelt by the gave, gently putting down the bouquet of red roses in his hand.
“Sort of,” Dawn muttered back, taking care to keep an eye on the group she was almost certain were the Avengers. “It's Grandma's ex-boyfriend.”
Buffy gave her an odd look but Dawn barely noticed, she was too busy smirking at the light-haired guy with the arms who'd snorted a laugh before freezing up. He looked over, catching her eye, and she couldn't help but smirk at him. Oh yeah, that's right, I know exactly who you are Hawkeye. Just cause I can't hear you and you think you're outside hearing distance doesn't mean I think you can't hear us.
He gave her an odd look, like he could tell exactly what was going through her head. She felt her cheeks burn because, for all she knew, he could. She very pointedly turned to look up at her sister. “You gonna go say hi or should I?”
Buffy opened her mouth a moment but the decision was taken out of their hands when the Captain finally noticed them and stood up. Dawn sighed. “Never mind.”
“Hi,” he said as he approached. He looked back at the headstone before turning to her. “Are you...I mean...Peggy Carter?”
“Peggy Thomas,” Dawn corrected gently and yeah, he was totally who she thought he was. “Carter was her maiden name.”
“Grandma's maiden name was Carter?” Buffy asked, surprised.
“Seriously?” Dawn demanded, hands going to her hips. “Do you not pay attention at all?”
“I pay attention!” Buffy exclaimed. She made a disbelieving sound and her sister shifted uncomfortably. “When I want to.”
Dawn shook her head before turning back to Steve, holding out a hand. “Dawn Summers,” she introduced herself. “The airhead is my older sister Buffy.” She ignored the affronted sound said blonde made. “We're Peggy's granddaughters. You're Steve, aren't you?”
“You...you know who I am?”
“Grandma told stories,” she agreed. “Heavily edited, I'm sure, but....”
“Wait a sec!” Buffy said, eying Steve in surprise. “You're...Grandma's Steve? I thought he was some scrawny kid she made up to make me feel better about being all awkward when I was ten?”
This time, Dawn really did face-palm.
“That's it,” she decided. “We get to Rome and I am forcing you to read a history book.”
There was a muffled snort from the direction of the group, who'd been slowly inching towards them as they spoke. Dawn ignored the superheroes and, wow, this was her life. She shook her head, turning to look up at the man who could have, if he hadn't disappeared for sixty years, been her grandfather. Grandma had been pretty clear on how much she'd loved him.
“So...how are you?” she asked, grinning up at him in a way she knew could be incredibly irritating. Buffy huffed, obviously disliking being out of the loop. His lips quirked as he looked between them.
“You really are Peggy's granddaughters, aren't you?” he said, sounding awed and nostalgic and just a teensy bit angsty. She brightened and would have probably squealed like a schoolgirl at being compared favorably to her favorite old person in the world but Buffy just had to but in.
“How did you know Grandma again?” she demanded, arms crossing. Dawn let out a huff of her own.
“I told you, he was her ex-boyfriend.”
The two of them ignored the way his eyes widened and he took a step back in surprise.
“Okay, grandma? Was not a cougar!” Buffy hissed. Dawn's eyes narrowed and out of the corner of them, she saw Steve take another step back, an odd expression on his face.
“Well, technically, he was younger than her,” she started but Buffy cut her off before she could finish.
“Yeah, by like a couple decades!”
“Buffy, he's not as young as he looks!”
Her sister scoffed. “Oh, right, like you're about to tell me he was born in 1942 or something!”
“No, that's when he went missing,” Dawn pinched the bridge of her nose as she heard more stiffled laughs come from the peanut gallery. “Buffy, did you pay attention at all during World War II history?”
“Of course I did, I got an A!”
“Does the name Captain America ring a bell then?”
“Well, duh,” Buffy agreed, looking confused. “He was this totally awesome super-solder guy the US...government...made...”
Dawn watched as she looked up at Steve, eyes wide, and shook her head with a smirk. “Cue lightbulb,” she couldn't help but quip. This time, the peanut gallery didn't even attempt to stifle their laughter.
“Oh my god!”
“Oh my God!”
Dawn sighed, grabbing her sisters arm as Steve was getting somewhat alarmed by the blonde's reaction. “C'mon Buffy,” she said, tugging her past Steve. She gave him an apologetic grin before turning to focus on her sister. “Let's go visit Grandma.”
“Grandma,” Dawn replied firmly, forcing her sister after her. Buffy stumbled over to the ground by the tombstone, the roses in her hand lax as she plopped down, still staring back at Steve in disbelief. The group didn't seem like they were leaving anytime soon so Dawn turned to the grave.
“Hi Grandma,” she murmured, knowing at least one of the Avengers would probably hear her. “Its me. And Buffy. Who's freaking out, but what else is new, right?”
It was a mark of Buffy's shock that Dawn didn't get hit for that crack. Dawn sighed. “I hope you're happy, that mom's with you. I hope you're proud of us, of what we accomplished. What we've done. The good things, anyway. I really hope you didn't see the bad.”
She winced at the very idea of Grandma watching her klepto stage. If the old woman had still been alive, it would not have ended well.
“Apparently the World found your hero again. I think its about time. We need him, the world--”
That was about as far as she got because Buffy chose that time to come out of her semi-shocked state to suddenly glare at the headstone.
“Grandma you lied!” she hissed, just loud enough the watching Avengers would be able to hear. “He's not scrawny, he's a hottie!”
Dawn hung her head as that was apparently as much as the Avengers and Co could take and they all cracked up laughing.
“Ladies and gentlemen, my sister.”
Chapter 2: Two
Story: Star Spangled Man
Disclaimer: Joss owns Buffy, Captain America and the Avengers are owned by Marvel. I write for fun, not for profit.
Summary: They'd grown up hearing the (heavily edited) stories. Never did they think they'd ever get to actually meet the man. Now a WIP
Warning: BATTLE SPOILERS FOR THE AVENGERS! Timelines still wonky.
She'd been honestly surprised about Steve being Captain America. She'd never really paid much attention to the videos in school, just enough to pass the class portion, because, really? Like Captain America was so much better than Granda Peggy, who hadn't had any super-duper powers and still managed to kick Nazi ass.
Still, the moment she'd seen the group at the cemetery, half of whom pinged her slaydar, she knew she had to play this one of two ways (especially once she saw the military woman—seriously, no one should ever send that woman into covert ops). She could play it either strong, alpha female fully capable of going all Peggy on their asses, or valley airhead, nothing to see here, just some vapid moron incapable of much of anything, move along.
And Dawn, bless her, played into that perfectly.
Though you could totally bet they'd be having words about believing in the routine so easily once they were alone.
Seriously, she wasn't THAT bad.
Point was, Steve and his friends relaxed around her the moment she'd made that comment about Steve being a hottie (which, admittedly, was completely honest – it was one thing to think of Captain America as hot in an abstract, oooh, but he's dead kind of way, another entirely to equate this civilian looking guy with the scrawny kid in her grandmother's stories).Which was all well and good cause if they thought she was a vapid moron and she had to take them down, well ... she always did like the look of shock on the bad guys face when they realized their error. Nothing would probably ever top the First down in the caverns after she'd been stabbed, or the expression of Glory's after she broke the BuffyBot, but she had a feeling some of these guys would come pretty close.
Though, she mentally noted as Dawn spoke with Steve and some guy named Clint a few feet away from where Buffy was sitting next to the gravestone, two of them didn't seem to have bought the act. The darker redhead (who didn't ping but kinda reminded her of Faith), and the guy with the eye-patch (who did ping). Both were watching her warily (her) and amused (him), like they knew exactly what she'd done. The pirate (she internally winced at the term, it bringing up painful memories—no matter how much he joked about it, she doubted she'd ever find it as funny as Xander seemingly did) didn't seem to think of her as a threat, exactly, but he wasn't fooled by the routine either.
Hm. That could be a problem. Every time she'd met someone like that, they usually had a reason not to be overly worried about what she could do.
Dawn made plans for the two of them to meet Steve at a small diner a few blocks from their hotel later that evening and then they left. Buffy hadn't gotten to talk to Grandma a whole lot, she had a lot to say and she wasn't about to do it around strangers, but she knew, in an instinct sort of way, that Grandma would be listening no matter where she said it so it didn't bother her overly much.
They took the Subway back to the hotel, not speaking much, both lost in thought. By the time they came to the hotel, Buffy letting them in, Dawn seemed to have come to some sort of conclusion.
“You were totally playing with them, weren't you?”
“Took you long enough,” she snorted. “Seriously, I am not that bad.”
Dawn looked like she was about to disagree but thought better of it. “Why'd you do it?” she asked instead. “Steve's gonna be really confused if you don't play up the airhead routine again at dinner.”
“A bunch of them pinged and at least one of them was military,” Buffy said. “I want them to underestimate me in case I ever have to take them down.”
Dawn got a funny look on her face, the sort she usually got when Buffy's personality or slaying kept her from taking stock of something—like the whole mutant thing when they went to visit Dad after that first year in Sunnydale. Seriously, was it her fault she thought the news was boring and dull and so had no idea that kids were getting freakin' superpowers? And if they'd had any mutants in Sunnydale, there would be little she could do to tell them apart from demons or magic users, sad as that was. It wasn't her fault she hadn't known about the genetic lottery that had been happening, she'd had other things on her mind.
“What did I miss while fighting the First?” she asked with a sigh. Dawn shook her head but pulled out the laptop she'd bought practically the moment Giles had sent them money from England.
“You noticed how New York seems...off?” Dawn asked, typing rapidly as she brought up youtube. “Like, there's massive construction going on in downtown?”
“Its New York, isn't it always like this?” she asked, brow furrowed, as a list of what looked like movie footage of some stellar battle popped up. Dawn scrolled a bit before clicking on one and turning up the volume.
It was...intense was too simple a word. The flying alien things, the fighters fighting back (and wow, did that one redhead reminding her of Faith suddenly make sense), if you ignored the fact it was all obviously taken with a cell-phone, it looked disturbingly real.
Then one of the whale-eel-things crashed into a building, gouging out a hole, and Buffy realized she'd seen that building the day before, with that exact same damage.
“Yeah, that about sums it up,” Dawn agreed, clicking on another video. This one had more footage of Captain America in it and Buffy could tell at a glance it was Steve; they moved the same way, had the same body type.
“Who are they?” she demanded. “What are they fighting?”
“They're called the Avengers, Captian America, Iron Man, Black Widow, Hawkeye, Thor, and the Hulk,” she explained as they watched Steve—Captain America?--deflect a blast of energy from one of the alien thingy's staffs. “They're a team of superheroes meant to protect Earth. As far as the net can tell, Black Widow and Hawkeye – that's the redhead and the light-haired guy with the bow – don't have any special powers, though they're kick ass fighters--”
“No kidding,” Buffy muttered, enthralled at the footage. “And the guy – Hawkeye? – is a freakin' amazing shot!”
“Seriously, right?” Dawn gave a quick grin and Buffy flashed back to the cemetery, where she'd been talking with the guy with Steve. She made a mental not to nip that in the bud, she had no desire of a repeat performance of Dawnie with a Crush on an Older Male (copyright pending). Dawn pulled up another video. “Anyway, they're the ones without the powers. The Hulk, the big green guy, is, well...you can see.”
“Uh huh,” Buffy agreed, watching as he slid down the side of a building, knocking out the bad guys left and right. He would have been insanely useful in the caverns. The video ended and Dawn clicked on yet another, this one of the blonde guy, though he had a cape and some weird outfit on.
“This is Thor, as far as I can tell, he's the Norse God of Thunder,” Dawn said as he used the the Empire State Building as some sort of lightning conductor. “He's a good guy, in all the myths he was a defender of mankind. Nothing like Glory.”
That explained the familiarity about the ping he kept setting off. She wondered absently if all Gods would feel that way.
Another video, another fighter, this one in some weird red and gold armor that covered his entire body, including his head. “This is Iron Man, also known as Tony Stark, billionaire playboy.”
“You mean like Batman?” she asked, cause seriously, she'd went to high school with Xander. She knew a little bit about superheroes.
“In a way, I guess,” she agreed. “According to what I found out, he initially made the armor to escape Afghanistan but now its, like, fused to him or something. I don't know, the science went over my head, but basically, he has some serious fire-power and the US government's been gunning for it.”
“Pun intended?” Buffy asked wryly, as on screen, Iron Man had just shot some sort of energy from his hand at one of the alien things. Dawn snickered. “What are the things they're fighting anyway? Not demons?”
“Not according to the net,” she agreed. “According to statements put out by the military and some group named SHIELD, they were an pan-dimensional alien race or something. I don't know, the moment they said alien I kinda clicked out of the article cause Andrew came in and yeah. Not happening.”
Buffy chuckled, just imagining Andrew's reaction when he found out. She wondered if he had. That brought another question to mind: she certainly hadn't heard about any of this, so how had Dawn?
“Unlike the rest of you, I was bored in LA,” Dawn shrugged when Buffy asked. “You guys were busy with the new slayers and the wounded and everything and I knew I'd just get in the way, so I let you guys do your thing and hid in my room watching TV. I saw the news footage, borrowed the laptop Wesley loaned us, and, well, researched. I knew you'd all find out eventually and I wanted at least one of us to be up to speed when you did. God knows it'd be less crazy that way.”
Buffy turned to look at her sister a moment, studying her. She looked the same, for the most part, hair still brown, eyes still big and blue, but there was something...she suddenly realized what it was. Dawnie wasn't twelve anymore, she wasn't fourteen, in fact she turned seventeen in a month or so, the same age Buffy had been when Angelus was released. But...she didn't look that age. She looked older, maybe nineteen or even twenty. It was mostly in the eyes, physically it was obvious she was still a young woman, but...she'd matured, seen more than any girl her age should have. From mom dying, to Glory, to Buffy's death and resurrection, Willow's addiction, and then the First, she'd been through so much, she'd lost that innocence of childhood. Buffy'd known that on some level when Dawn had stubbornly come back to Sunnydale with Xander, but seeing it now....
Little Dawnie wasn't so little anymore.
“You're gonna be the best of us,” she whispered, tears filling her eyes as she smiled at her sister's suddenly alarmed expression. “You know that, right?”
“I'm serious, I'm so proud of you,” she whispered, a hand coming up and pushing back her hair, like she'd used to do. “You've grown up into an amazing young woman.”
Dawn didn't say anything, she just sort of launched herself across the laptop and into Buffy's lap, arms wrapping around the blonde in a huge hug. Buffy hugged her back, burying her face in her sisters arms. “Mom and Grandma would be so proud of you.”
“Well,” Dawn said, sniffling, “I had a good teacher.”
“Who, Willow?” Buffy asked and then yelped when Dawn pulled back and punched her arm. “Ow!”
“You, you doofus,” she sniffled. She suddenly looked stricken. “Oh God, I'm so sorry!”
“What, what for?” she asked, alarmed. Dawn's eyes filled with tears. “Dawnie...”
“I kicked you out,” she whispered, biting her lips hard enough to turn them white. “I kicked you out, I threw you out of the house just like mom....”
Buffy's heart constricted and not just because of the utter horror on her sisters face. It hadn't occurred to her before but yeah, the whole kicking out of the house thing had had some serious Joyce and Angelus undertones. No wonder she hadn't dealt with it well. She shook that off, grabbing Dawn back into a hug. She'd deal with that revelation later, right now she had to calm down her sister before she hyperventilated or something.
“Shhhh, honey, don't worry about it,” she said, trying to calm her down. “I get it, I do, but thank you for saying it. It means a lot.”
And while she would never forget what happened, the feeling of utter humiliation and betrayal at their actions, she was not going to hold it against her sister. Dawn had been scared, they all had been, they'd been fighting a war and losing. And Buffy, by no fault of anyone's, had become the focus of that fear, an easy scapegoat. That didn't make it right, Buffy knew, but she understood it.
Hadn't she done much the same, when it came the Initiative? She'd blamed the entire Adam fiasco on the operation, when most of the men and woman involved hadn't had anything to do with him, had been as much a victim as she. She still didn't think the military should involve itself in the supernatural, but she'd come to realize that most of them had only been trying to understand, to help and to protect. Even Maggie, in her own twisted way, had been trying to make the world a safer place. It was a fault of the system, not necessarily the people, just like the entire fiasco with the First.
Still, she could be a little bit selfish when it came to Giles, Willow, and Xander. Dawn was still young, sixteen, she hadn't been in the fight for as long as they had. Fear or not, Giles at least should have known better than to put the blame on her, especially when he was the one insisting she be the general.
She shook that off, her issues could be dealt with later. She glanced at the clock in between the two beds, taking in the time.
“Come on, I'll let you have the shower first,” she said, pulling back and wiping her cheeks. Dawn swallowed, looking at her. She motioned at the bathroom. “Go on, we only have a few hours before we have to wow this guy with stories about Grandma being badass.”
Dawn gave a soggy laugh, wiping at her nose with a tissue. She looked up and Buffy was relieved to see that some of the spark was back. “Should we tell him the submarine story?”
“Of course!” Buffy grinned. “That's one of the best ones! Seriously, how could he not be proud that she stole a high-tech Nazi submarine right from under Hitler's nose?!”
Story: Star Spangled Man
Disclaimer: Joss owns Buffy, Captain America and the Avengers are owned by Marvel. I write for fun, not for profit.
Summary: They'd grown up hearing the (heavily edited) stories. Never did they think they'd ever get to actually meet the man. Now a WIP
Warning: I don't think there are any major spoilers for Avengers in this chapter, but....yeah. Read at your own discretion. Timelines still wonky. Based ENTIRELY in the movie universe. Just FYI.
Steve wasn't sure what to think.
He'd known Peggy had moved on, Fury had gotten her personnel file from SHIELD for him to look at. There was nothing classified, nothing about her missions, just the basic information. Which had been more than enough for him at the time.
She'd married Todd Thomas about six years after Steve had disappeared, had three children, a son, Michael, born in 1953, and two daughters born five and ten years later. Todd had died when Joyce, the youngest, was eighteen; Peggy had never remarried. She'd remained an active field agent till 1975, though her husband was a civilian and had no clue about her actual job (he'd thought she was a government assistant). After she retired from active field life, she'd worked in the administration, as a handler for new recruits, training them before they'd gone into the field as agents. She'd died in 2006, at home in New York, surrounded by her children and their families.
So it was one thing to know, on an intellectual basis, that Peggy had had children—it was another thing entirely to actually meet two of her granddaughters.
Dawn seemed the more level-headed of the two, would have to be with a sister as, er, distracted as Buffy appeared. She had the same shade of hair as Peggy, looked a little bit the same, not a lot, but just looking at her he thought he would have known she was related to his former...girlfriend? They'd never really dated, just worked together, but there had been emotions... Girlfriend worked, he decided, as he sat at the diner he was meeting the two women at.
Buffy, on the other hand, looked nothing like Peggy. It wasn't just her blonde hair, that Natasha was fairly convinced was actually dyed. Her facial structure, her body, nothing about it said Peggy to him. Peggy had been no nonsense, though she'd had a hidden sense of humor most people didn't know about, and she never would have been so...Tony had called Buffy an airhead, and though the colloquialism wasn't one he was familiar with, it seemed to fit.
And yet...there was something. Something that told him she saw a lot more than she let anyone think. Natasha hadn't been convinced she'd been herself, had flatly stated that Buffy had been playing a part, and she and Tony had gotten into an argument about it all the way to the Tower. Tony didn't seem to think anyone could “act that airhead without actually being that airhead,” whatever that meant.
When Thor asked if he would be meeting with the girls again and Steve had explained he'd made plans to have dinner with them that evening to hear more about Peggy, most of the team had been uneasy. Stark had suggested he take backup, said something about crazy fans, and Natasha, he suspected, had actually taken the suggestion seriously. He wouldn't be surprised if she showed up at some point or was watching from elsewhere. It annoyed him but after the press fiasco when he'd first been unfrozen, he understood their concern. Captain America returning was still really big news, and people could get a little...enthusiastic...when confronted with their personal hero.
And yet, there was Fury. Everyone had been talking, Tony offering up some weird scenario about them being secret agents with nefarious purposes (Steve was pretty sure he was still on an adrenaline high from the fight with Loki and actually wanted action). Fury had finally broken in, effectively silencing the limo.
“They're who they say they are,” Fury announced firmly and everyone turned to him in expectation. “We've kept an eye on Agent Carter's family, per her request, since before she died.”
“Agent Carter had a lot of enemies by the time she died,” Maria Hill agreed. “It was the smart thing to do; more than one would have had no problem using her family for revenge, dead or not.”
“There's more.” That was Natasha, all flat emotion again. She was staring at Fury, eyes narrowed.“You know more.”
“I do,” he agreed after a moment, glaring at them all. “But that's between me and them.”
No matter what they said, he refused to divulge anything more, and by the time they stopped at the Tower, Steve was pretty sure Stark had decided to investigate them and Banner, Dr. Foster, Ms. Potts, and Miss Lewis thought they were agents themselves.
Steve wasn't so sure. They just didn't give them the feeling of being agents. Soldiers, maybe, but not agents.
The bell above the door of the diner tinkled and he looked over hopefully, a smile coming to his face as the sisters walked inside. They'd changed out of what they'd been wearing at the cemetery, as had Steve; instead of the simple sundresses they'd been in before, they were now both in jeans and blouses, red and blue. He spared a moment to wonder if that was on purpose, they were his colors, but then dismissed it. It wasn't relevant.
He stood up as they saw him and walked over and Steve suddenly understood why Natasha hadn't bought the airhead act from Buffy.
For one, she didn't move like a normal twenty-something. In fact, he thought she moved a bit like a predator, but not in a stalking way. More like she was perfectly aware of everyone in the diner, probably everyone passing by outside, and had complete control of what her body could and was doing.
Peggy had moved like that, though not nearly to this extent.
Then there was the way her eyes roved around, taking in all the windows, entrances, exits, even as she put Dawn in between her and the back of the diner, away from the large windows, the safest place the young woman could be in this location.
They got to the table and Steve tried to smooth his face out but from the expression on Buffy's face, he knew he'd been caught. She made a slight smile at him, eyes amused, and held out her hand.
“We didn't get introduced properly back there,” she said, and it was like she was a different person, the airhead act was completely gone. Natasha had obviously been right. He wondered why she'd decided to drop the act. He took the hand and blinked when she began squeezing. Not many people were so forward with him; either people had gotten a lot less firm in their handshakes in the past sixty years or they thought he was made of china and reacted accordingly. He was starting to think it was the latter. “Buffy Summers, Peggy's granddaughter.”
“Steve Rogers,” he introduced himself, looking curiously at the hand she was still squeezing. He wasn't the best at figuring these things out, but he was pretty sure she shouldn't be that strong; a normal person would have been crying mercy by now. She smirked and abruptly let go. He shook his hand to get the blood flowing again.
“Really, Buffy?” Dawn asked, shaking her head as she sat down. Buffy followed her lead and once they were both sitting, he joined them. It might be old-fashioned, but some things weren't gonna change with him and waiting until the women sat was one of them.
“I wanted to see what he'd do,” she shrugged and apparently the airhead act really had been an act; there no sign of that woman here now. She smiled thinly. “Grandma said your strength went through the roof after you became the Captain.”
He shrugged uncomfortably. “It was the serum,” he told her; before he'd left, Fury had pulled him aside and told him he didn't have to side-step questions with the sisters. He'd said something about gaining trust before he'd abruptly cut himself off and ordered Steve to make a good impression. Steve continued softly, “It enhanced a lot of things.”
For some reason, that turned Buffy slightly pink and Dawn had a sudden fit of the giggles. He had a feeling he was missing something here, something Tony would have understood and teased him about.
“Sorry,” Dawn told him, calming down after Buffy had smacked her (lightly, he noticed, obviously holding back her strength). “Prior conversation.”
Buffy was still pink so he decided, for her sake, not ask. He was pretty sure he didn't want to know, anyway.
“So what is it you do?” he asked, looking at the two of them. “I mean...you obviously know about me.”
Buffy cleared her throat. “I used to run a home for teenage girls, mostly runaways,” she explained.
“That sounds like it'd be a lot of work,” he noted, frowning. It wasn't something he'd have expected a twenty-two year old to do, in his time or this one.
She gave a delicate shrug. “After mom died, I just kinda fell into it, first with Dawnie, then with...others.” A shadow crossed her face before it cleared and she smiled. “I may not be the best, but I think it worked out okay.
“Yeah, I'm not in prison,” Dawn snorted. Steve looked at her and she shrugged. “I had a bad year after mom died.”
“We both did,” Buffy agreed, hand going over to squeeze her sisters. Dawn relaxed slightly and Steve saw her squeeze back.
A waitress came over then, asking if they wanted anything to drink. Steve ordered water, Buffy the same but with lemon, and Dawn took an iced tea.
“Okay, that's it, no more time with Giles.” Buffy made a face. To him, she added, “Next thing I know, she'll be wearing tweed.”
“It's iced tea, Buffy, not a change of citizenship,” Dawn rolled her eyes at her sister. Steve was at a loss and it must have shown on his face, because the brunette smiled at him. “Buffy's mentor since high school is British and likes his tea. Buffy teases him about it all the time.”
Another shadow crossed Buffy's face before it disappeared. She gave a bright smile, obviously covering up whatever had gone through her head. “Yeah, Giles is the epitome of Britishness. He wore tweed even during the summer. It was horrendous.”
“And smelly,” Dawn agreed. Steve suddenly flashed back to Peggy talking about visiting her uncle's house when she was a child and how the smell of sweaty tweed got into everything. He smiled slightly.
“Do you know what you want to order?” he asked, picking up the menu. He'd looked it over earlier, grateful he actually knew some of the things on it. He'd gone to dinner with Tony, Ms. Potts, and Dr. Banner a few nights ago and hadn't recognized anything. Ms. Potts, who'd been sitting in between him and Tony, had noticed and gave suggestions under her breath when Tony was distracted by Dr. Banner.
The girls – women – picked up their own menu's, looking through them. “Mmmm, pizza,” Dawn grinned.
“You had pizza last night,” Buffy reminded her. “What about the salad?”
Dawn's wrinkled nose told everyone her opinion on that idea. Buffy rolled her eyes.
“Fine, just don't get anchovies this time, they're gross,” she said, eyes going back to her menu. Steve saw Dawn duck down, a smirk playing on her lips, and he had a feeling she'd only ordered anchovies the night before to bug Buffy. He smiled. It was weird, but he was getting some severe flashbacks to him and Bucky, though he wasn't sure who was who in this particular scenario.
A flash of red hair caught his eye and his jaw tensed when he saw Natasha walk in with Clint. Buffy and Dawn didn't notice, too busy throwing food suggestions at each other. He stood, up, giving them a small smile. “I'll be right back,” he said and walked over to where the duo were sitting down at the bar. In the mirrors above the back, he could see Buffy and Dawn glance over, recognition on both their faces before they turned back to talk to each other, heads together.
He stopped just next to them, arms crossing as he glared. “What are you doing here?” he demanded.
Natasha didn't even attempt to look contrite, though Clint had an expression on his face that told him he'd been an unwilling participant in this. “You needed backup,” she said firmly, glaring right back at him. “I don't trust them.”
“Director Fury does,” he pointed out, jaw still tensed, arms still crossed. Clint snorted.
“You think that's gonna stop 'Tasha?” he asked and Steve frowned. “Just cause he said so, doesn't mean she trusts him. She doesn't trust anyone.”
Steve knew that wasn't true and he knew Clint knew it too. She never would have gone into battle with them if she didn't trust them to watch her back.
“Well, that's good cause I don't trust anyone either,” Buffy said, popping up next to them and startling Steve and Clint. With Clint, it wasn't obvious he hadn't noticed her coming, just a minor twitch, but Steve was starting to think there was something seriously up with Peggy's granddaughter. He wondered absently if Director Fury had lied about none of the serum's they'd been trying after him having worked. There was no way she was fully human.
He turned to his...what was she to him, exactly? He shook it off. Later, he told himself firmly. Much later. When Natasha wasn't glaring at Buffy like she was part of Loki's ilk. Buffy simply smiled at the duo. “Would you care to join us instead of stalking from the bar? We're about to order.”
“No more airhead,” Natasha noted coolly and Buffy shrugged.
“What can I say, I'm a good actress.”
“Too good,” Natasha noted. She stood up. “We'll join you.”
“This is not gonna end well,” Clint muttered to him, eying the two women who hadn't taken their own eyes off each other. Steve looked between them and nodded his agreement as the archer moved to say hello to Dawn.
Clint was right, he sighed. There was no way this would end well.
Story: Star Spangled Man
Disclaimer: Joss owns Buffy, Captain America and the Avengers are owned by Marvel. I write for fun, not for profit.
Summary: They'd grown up hearing the (heavily edited) stories. Never did they think they'd ever get to actually meet the man. SPOILERS FOR AVENGERS.
Warning: SPOILERS FOR THE AVENGERS! Timelines still wonky.
A/N 1: This is set in the movie verse, thus, I'm running on the opinion that Natasha, though slightly faster, stronger, and more agile than a normal woman, is nowhere near the strength of the Cap or Thor or Buffy.
Nick Fury was a man on a mission.
Well, technically, he was a man on way too many fucking missions all coming together at once. Between the Avengers Initiative, the whole Sunnydale fiasco, fighting with the council to not take the Avengers into custody for letting Loki go with Thor (not to mention the Tesseract), and now this apparent...issue...at the diner Rogers had been meeting the Summers sisters at, he was ready for a vacation.
And that was before Tony Stark called and asked why he seemed perfectly fine with letting Rogers go to dinner with a woman who's police record was so shady. He made a mental note to have her records cleaned after he got through with this mess.
“What the hell happened?!” he demanded when he got out of the SHIELD car to find the diner was in shambles. Oh, the building itself was perfectly intact (for the most part, there was a suspiciously Rogers sized hole in one of the walls), but inside was another matter entirely. Tables and chairs were overturned, light fixtures and parts of the ceiling were hanging down or on the floor, there was food splattered on the windows that weren't shattered, and the owner was shouting bloody murder as Rogers tried calming him down.
Nearby, snickering together even as they patched one another up, were Barton and the younger Summers. Their injuries were relatively superficial, most likely just from exploding things (or in Barton's case, trying to calm Romanoff down). They seemed to both be in relatively good spirits, all things considered.
So did Romanoff and the elder Summers, he realized, frowning at the two women as they sat in another section of the diner, talking quietly and laughing as they compared wounds. He did a slight double take at that. What the hell?
“I know, right?” the younger Summers said suddenly. He turned so he could see her more clearly, she'd come up on his blind side. She smirked up at him. “They've been right as rain since they stopped fighting.”
“It was like a switch went off,” Barton agreed. “'Tasha didn't win, Summers is just too strong and fast and their fighting styles are too similar to be used as an advantage. They've been like that since they called a truce.”
“It wasn't a truce,” Dawn corrected. “It was Natasha not wanting to get her ass kicked by Buffy and tapping out.”
“Yeah, I'm not saying anything like that cause I prefer my partner not kill me,” Barton replied dryly and Dawn smirked again. Fury took a deep breath. Why did he get the feeling these two together were going to give him just as many headaches as Stark and Rogers?
Barton straightened at the tight command. To Fury's amusement, so did Summers.
“Natasha didn't trust the sudden appearance of the sisters so she dragged me here, supposedly as backup to the Cap,” Barton replied. “Only she didn't even try for subtle, just walked straight in.”
Dawn took up the tale. “That's when Buffy invited them to join us for lunch....”
“So, where are you from?” Clint asked once they'd all sat down and the two had ordered drinks.
“Sunnydale.” Dawn and Buffy answered at the same time. Natasha's eyes narrowed and even Clint straightened in surprise.
“The town that sank a month ago?”
“One and only,” Buffy agreed. Dawn saw her eye them a moment before a smirk began playing on her lips. “Hear you had your own sort of excitement around that time.”
Clint's body tensed before he very specifically relaxed. Natasha was still tense so all she visibly did was raise an eyebrow. Dawn barely noticed, she was too busy wondering what had happened to tense the archer up like that.
“What happened in Sunnydale?” Steve asked, trying desperately to calm things down. Dawn could have told him that wasn't gonna happen—she was getting some serious Buffy/Faith vibes here. There was no way this wouldn't end in violence.
“Well, don't you know, the entire town was built on sinkholes,” Buffy said, her voice slightly bubblegum. Dawn snorted a laugh.
“Bull,” Natasha noted.
“Yeah, it is,” Buffy agreed and there went the valley girl persona. “But unfortunately for you, I don't plan on telling. It's none of your concern.”
“If you're a danger, then yes, it is my concern,” Natasha replied coolly.
Dawn frowned and leaned slightly towards Clint. “She thinks we destroyed Sunnydale?” she asked and Clint nodded, frowning slightly at his partner.
“Well, we didn't.” And technically, it wasn't even a lie. Spike had imploded Sunnydale, not the two of them.
“Hey, Fury said they were fine, calm down Natasha,” Steve said. Dawn wondered how long it was going to take for him to realize his mistake. Not very long, if the narrowing of Buffy's eyes was any indication.
“Who's Fury and how does he know who we are?” she demanded, eyes cold. A startled look crossed Steve's face. Natasha's expression didn't change and Clint was just watching in bemusement.
“Director Fury is in charge of SHIELD, the agency Peggy helped create,” Steve finally answered. “He's kept an eye on your family as a favor to her.”
“She had enemies who would have used us?” Dawn asked, getting it very quickly. Buffy, however, didn't relax, even when Steve nodded. Buffy had never liked the idea of being on surveillance, especially from people she didn't know. She had enough issues with the initiative remainders keeping tabs on them, which they all knew they'd done (Riley was not as subtle as he would have liked).
“So, did they see anything interesting?” she asked, trying to diffuse the tension herself. She knew it was futile but damnit, she wanted to make a good impression on Steve! He could have been her grandpa!
“Not that I know of,” Steve answered honestly. He gave a pained grimace. “According to Director Fury, Agent Coulson was in charge of the surveillance.”
All three of them seemed uncomfortable and upset by that and Dawn knew Buffy had caught it as well. It was the same way everyone kept looking when someone mentioned Spike or Anya back in LA. This Agent Coulson must have died, and quite recently too. A quick glance and they mutually decided not to ask.
“So you kept an eye on us...why?” Buffy asked instead. “What made us so special?”
“Good question,” Natasha said. “Fury wouldn't have wasted the resources on one agents family.”
“It was Peggy, Natasha,” Steve said sharply. “She co-founded SHIELD.”
Natasha looked only a bit contrite, but Dawn could tell she still didn't think that simple reason rated the attention of the Director himself. Sad thing was, she wasn't wrong but there was no way Dawn was gonna tell her that.
“It was me,” Buffy said suddenly and Dawn saw Steve and Clint both focus on her sharply. “I'm just that fabulous.”
Dawn couldn't help but snort a laugh. Under the table, Buffy kicked her. She winced, rubbing her shin and Clint snickered next to her.
“While I agree it has to do with you, I don't think its because you're...fabulous,” Natasha said, ignoring the byplay. “What are you?”
“I've studied human movement all my life,” she said, ignoring Clint to stare at Buffy. “You don't move like one.”
“Neither do you,” Buffy said. “Funny how that works.”
Dawn knew what was about to happen before it happened but it still managed to catch her off guard when the two of them suddenly lunged across the table at each other.
“Stop!” Steve shouted as the other patrons and the wait staff all stared in shock and horror. Neither woman listened, both too busy standing on the table and fighting. Buffy got a grip on Natasha and tossed her. The agent landed in a skid along the diner bar, knocking food and drinks everywhere as the crowd seemed to finally realize they should leave. Buffy dropped from the table and went towards Natasha, who'd flipped back to her feet on top of the bar. The redhead gripped a hanging light from the ceiling and used it as leverage as she flew towards Buffy, feet first. Feet meet chest and Buffy flew back several feet. Natasha kicked out but Buffy ducked and there went the first window. Shit.
Clint went to go help but Dawn threw out an arm to stop him. He looked over at her, expression blank, and she shook her head in resignation.
“Trust me, you don't wanna do that,” she informed him. Steve managed to get past her and when he tried getting the two women to stop by separating them, they both kicked out, pushing him threw one of the walls. Dawn winced. Oh yeah, there went their good impression.
Fury shook his head when Barton and Summers finally finished relaying what had happened. He noted in the back of his head that if you ignored the occasional side note, Summers had been practically textbook agent-like in her report. That might not be a bad thing, all things considered. “You two, stay here,” he ordered. “I'm not finished with you yet.”
He made his way over to the two women responsible for this mess, but not before he heard Summers pause and then mutter, “I definitely spent too much time with Anya.”
Anyanka, or Anya Jenkins, formerly the vengeance demon of scorned women. At one point she'd been engaged to Xander Harris, was blunt and tactless and, if the one report was correct, was obsessed with sex and money.
He replayed his last words in his head and grimaced.
Why did he want to hire her once she hit eighteen again?
“Director!” Agent Romanoff shot to her feet, expression blank as she stood to attention. Summers got up as well, but seemed more interested in inspecting him than trying to show any sort of respect. Just like the psych eval had said. At least the shrinks hadn't screwed that up.
He glared at the redhead. “Agent Romanoff, I thought I told you to stand down.”
“Sir, a good agent knows when to go with her gut,” she replied and Fury mentally smirked at how she'd turned his own words from way back when on him. Outward, he just glared. She didn't back down. “I had to know sir.”
“And to find out, you had to destroy a diner?” he demanded.
“Hey!” Summers the elder finally broke in. “It wasn't all her fault—I had a hand in it too!”
“I'm sure you did Ms. Summers, but Agent Romanoff had her orders,” he said. “I don't take kindly when my orders get ignored and I have to pay the bill.”
“Just because you're the boss doesn't mean the bill's coming out of your pocket,” she replied stubbornly. “Sometimes you have to do what you have to do. And you can't blame her when it wasn't all her fault.”
He looked between them, eye narrowed. “I thought you didn't like one another,” he said. The two women glanced at each other and Fury was surprised to see them both smile, though Romanoff's was far more restrained than Summers'. There had to be something he hadn't been told about the end of the fight, something Barton and the younger Summers didn't know either.
“We...have an understanding,” the blonde finally said, smirking at him.
Inwardly, Fury crowed. That was exactly what he'd been hoping to hear.
Chapter 5: Five
After Director Fury (and wow, that was one guy who fully lived up to his name, didn't he?) had come over and yelled at Natasha and Buffy had opened her mouth, the guy apparently decided they needed to talk.
Perhaps becoming buddy buddy with Natasha hadn't been her smartest decision ever, but the moment Buffy had let the Slayer out to play, Natasha had seemed to realize who she was. How the redhead knew about Slayers was another question entirely but the whispered “slayer” she'd let out before abruptly jumping off Buffy been a big hint she knew about the nightlife. Not only that, but Buffy had realized she really was just concerned about Steve and whether or not Buffy was a threat to her and those around her. Those two things were all Buffy needed to know that though she could be incredibly dangerous, Natasha wasn't a threat to Buffy or Dawn and so she'd let it go, joking about the kick the redhead had gotten through her defenses.
Oh yeah, violence aside, it was a much better first meeting than the one she'd had with Faith.
Unfortunately, after that little show, there was no way Steve didn't know Buffy wasn't normal.
Standing outside what she suspected was a military cover building, Buffy stopped, pulling Dawn with her. Fury turned around, annoyed, but Buffy ignored that to glare at him.
“You obviously know who I am.”
“You know who my friends are.”
“So you know if we disappear, it won't end well for you.”
“I can assure you, Ms. Summers, I have no intention of incurring the wrath of your team,” Director Fury assured her, even as he rolled his good eye. “Now can we please step inside?”
“Just so long as you know the consequences, sure,” she agreed and they headed inside.
“Buffy, Stark, dead ahead,” Dawn whispered suddenly and Buffy let her entire body relax, a look coming onto her face that was reminiscent of her Hemery days, as she stuck the stick of gum Dawn handed to her into her mouth and began twirling her hair as she looked around the room like a tourist. All of this happened in the span of a few seconds, so that by the time Tony Stark turned to see them, he had no idea what had happened. Behind her, walking with Dawn, she heard Agent-Barton-call-me-Clint snort a laugh at the same time she saw Natasha hide a smirk. Steve had no expression and she spared a moment to worry about that.
“Ah, Director Fury and...guests,” Stark called out, approaching from where he'd obviously been trying to charm the lobby attendant. His eyes took in Buffy and Dawn and he frowned. “So we're showing our super-secret bases to delinquents now?”
“Well, duh, you're here,” Dawn sniped and there was another muffled snicker, though Buffy was fairly certain that wasn't from Clint but one of the other agents surrounding them.
Stark paused a second, taking that in, before he focused on Buffy and ignored Dawn. “So. You burned down your high school gym.”
“Okay, they totally couldn't pin it on me cause there were these, like, mice and somehow they got cigarettes, and it was this whole big thing,” Buffy shrugged, all wide-eyed stare as she waved her hands erratically. More than one person looked at her skeptically. “What?”
“Smoking mice?” Stark asked skeptically.
“Dude, you work with a demi-god, a guy with epic anger management issues, and Captain freakin' America,” Dawn said, coming up beside Buffy with her hands on her hips. “And you're saying smoking mice are weird?”
Again with the snickers, though this time Buffy had a feeling it was because of the quick taken-aback expression on Stark's face. Apparently he hadn't been prepared for the spitfire that was Dawn.
A slow smile filled his face, however, and Buffy got a little worried. That couldn't be good.
“I think I'm gonna like you,” he said to her and then looked at Buffy doubtfully. “You, I'm not so sure of.”
“You're going to adore me,” Buffy assured him, bouncing slightly on the balls of her feet. Being an airhead was fun. “Everyone does.”
“Even when they shouldn't,” a familiar voice said, amused, and Buffy snapped her attention to where a trio of people were approaching.
“GRAHAM!” Dawn squealed and took off, barreling into the short of the two men. Buffy's lips curved into a smile as he picked her up in a circle, laughing. Inwardly, she relaxed somewhat. This SHIELD place was looking more and more like it was on the up and up; after Sunnydale, she trusted both Riley and Graham would never involve themselves in something like the Initiative again.
“Hey Dawn,” Riley greeted her sister, giving her a quick hug, before Dawn went back to pestering Graham. Her ex and his wife approached her, slight smiles on their faces. Buffy had a moment thought—should she continue the airhead act or go back to normal?
A quick glance at Stark gave her her answer.
“Riley, like, OMG! I haven't seen you in forever!” she said, bouncing forth to hug him. More lowly, she murmured into his ear, “I'm messing with Stark, play along.”
She turned to Samantha. “Sammy!” she cried, wrapping her in a hug. More lowly she added, “Play along and Riley'll explain later.”
Riley was shaking his head in fond amusement when the two women let go of one another. “You haven't change a bit, have you?” he asked and wow, wasn't that a loaded question. Dawn snorted, dragging Graham over.
“Let me guess,” the other soldier said. “You came to New York to shop for shoes.”
“Well, duh!” she answered, giving him a quick hug. She pouted. “My entire collection is under like a gazillion pieces of rock, can you believe it? A gazillion!”
He simply chuckled.
“Agent Finn, Agent Miller, Agent Madison, don't you have somewhere to be?” Director Fury asked and the three of them went to attention. Buffy wondered only briefly at the Madison, but figured it must be Sam's maiden name—using it made more sense than Finn when she worked with her husband. Less confusion that way.
“Yes sir, I simply couldn't ignore the opportunity to say hello to an old, uh, friend,” Riley said and Fury nodded. The Director had to know their history.
“So, super secret agent of SHIELD knows blonde Buffy,” Stark broke in, apparently sick of not being the center of attention. “Anyone else think that doesn't sound right?”
“He was Buffy's TA in college,” Dawn said, shrugging. “He was the only reason she got through psych.”
Riley and Graham both coughed and Buffy inwardly applauded her sister's sense of humor. Oh, he got her through psych alright, just not the psych the rest of them were thinking about. Well, except Fury. He was smirking so he probably understood the double meaning.
“And Gray babysat me a couple times when they were...studying,” Dawn continued and from the wicked glint in her eye, she knew exactly what she was doing, the little brat. Riley blushed as quite a few people stared at him.
“Sir, we should get going,” Sam said, smirking slightly at Buffy. The two of them weren't what you would call close friends, but after calming down from their initial meeting, Buffy had emailed the other woman a few times, and she'd emailed back, usually when Riley was being a pigheaded jerk and she needed to vent to someone who understood. Buffy had long ago put aside her anger at their quick marriage. It wasn't Sam's fault she and Riley hadn't worked out and blaming her was just plain stupid. She inwardly sighed. Adulthood, how I loathe thee.
Shaking it away, she smiled brightly at the brunette. “Sammy, we totally have to go shopping while I'm in town,” Buffy told her, holding onto her arm and giggling at the alarmed look on Riley's face when Sam nodded agreement.
“How long are you in New York for?” she asked, shifting slightly when Buffy let go.
“I don't know, it, like, totally depends on how long it takes the US Government to get me a new copy of my passport,” she said. Willow, after she'd rested, had gone back to the crater and done a little hocus pocus to try and get all their really important things out, like birth certificates, ID's, and social security cards. For the most part, the witch had succeeded. The only real issue came with Buffy's passport; hers had been a terrible mess and she'd known she needed a new one.
“Here,” Riley sighed, pulling out a card and handing it to her. It was white, with just a single phone number on it. “That's my cell. Call me when you're done here and Sam and you can plan your not so little shopping trip.”
“Sweet, thanks!” she threw her arms around him in a hug, kissing his cheek. She pulled back and weaved her arm through Dawn's as the three soldiers headed out. She waved, unable to help herself as she called, “Bye Riley, have fun storming the castle!”
His groan was almost drowned out by the laughter of those who caught the reference.
“Are you done?” Director Fury demanded, looking like he was quickly losing patience.
She gave a sloppy salute. “Sir yes sir! Lead on, sir!” he huffed but began stalking towards a bank of elevators. The rest of the group followed.
“So, you slept with the soldier,” Stark said once they were in the elevator and going upstairs. “Why was he in your little hell-hole anyway?”
“He was getting is graduate degree in Psychology,” Dawn answered before Buffy could. Deciding to let Dawn handle the questions for now, she leaned forward towards the shiny doors, using her reflection to keep an eye on others while checking how she looked.
“I bet he was in a fraternity,” Stark said. “He looked like the kind of guy who was in a fraternity.”
“And what exactly does a frat guy look like?”
Slayer healing had already dealt most of the outward damage. Buffy's split lip had healed on the ride over, all of her visible bruises were gone (she could feel a couple under her clothes that were still being worked on), and the tiny cuts she'd gotten from the shards of glass were as if they'd never been there at all. It was quicker than she was used to, but considering she'd managed to fully heal from a gut wound in a matter of hours, she had a feeling Willow's spell had really upped her healing. Faith had noticed it too but they hadn't mentioned it to the others. No use doing so when they didn't know if this new healing rate was permanent or just temporary.
Natasha looked worse off, with a split lip and various cuts and bruises along her arms and shoulders. Her face was relatively injury free but Buffy knew she had to have bruised ribs at the very least. Dawn and Clint had small nicks from flying glass and she felt a pang of guilt at the sight; she shouldn't have forgotten her sister in the fight, should have made sure she was okay. Instead, she'd been focused on Natasha and figuring out how much of a threat the other woman could be.
The doors opened and they all got off, Dawn and Stark still arguing over what a fraternity guy supposedly looked like.
“Stark, this is where we go our separate ways,” Director Fury said, breaking into the argument.
“Wait, what?” he demanded. “It's Avengers business, I'm an Avenger, I should be in the meeting!”
“You actually want to be in a meeting?” Natasha asked skeptically and Stark frowned at her.
“When it's not boring, yes!”
“Be that as it may, this is not an Avengers meeting, this is a SHIELD meeting, which means you're not needed. Go away,” Fury said and Buffy had to turn around, pretending to check out a soldiers ass, just to hide the grin on her face at the way Stark was pouting. He was nearly as good at it as her.
It took Fury having Stark almost forcibly removed from the conference room, but finally they were alone and sitting at the table. Fury was at the head, with Steve on one side of him, Buffy on the other. Dawn sat next to her, with Natasha across from her in between Grandma's ex-boyfriend and Clint.
“Alright, I'm sure there are a lot of questions,” Fury said. “Ms. Summers, I have a feeling Agent Romanoff already knows, but perhaps you might want to explain to Captain Rogers and Agent Barton who you are before we go any further.”
Buffy had known that was coming but that didn't mean she had to like it. She opened her mouth to say something, she wasn't entirely sure what, but Steve interrupted before she could.
“You lied to me,” he said, hands fisting on the table as he glared at Fury. “You told me they never found a workable serum that didn't mess up in some way, like with Dr. Banner. You told me I was the only super-soldier you had.”
“And I didn't lie, Captain Rogers,” Fury responded and Buffy could see his remaining eye twitching in aggravation. “Ms. Summers is not a super-soldier, not in the way you're implying.”
“Then how does she have my strength?” he demanded, voice still quiet. “My fighting skills. She's just like me. That shouldn't be possible.”
“But it is,” Buffy broke in and she knew she had to tell him. Dawn and she had agreed before they got to the diner that this team, though they were understandably wary about their employers, might just be what the world needed at the moment. If Captain America got pissed off enough at what he thought SHIELD had done, especially to one of Grandma's granddaughters, he might leave and she couldn't have that on her conscience. She had the power to assure him and keep him where he was needed and she wasn't about to screw that up.
“Then how?” he asked turning to her and looking angry, upset, confused, and just a touch desperate. “How are you just as strong as me when you shouldn't be?”
“Because I'm the Slayer.”