Authorís Note: This was written as a RPG (roll playing game) between co-authors Hope1iz and BlackFox12. Set after the season one finale. Thirty-first in the Redeeming Grant series.
Summary: Sometimes it's hard for someone to believe they're really accepted when something happens
Disclaimer: We don't own anything from the series Agents of SHIELD or Avengers movies and we're not making any money from this fic.
Warning(s): Spanking; spoilers for the first two series of Agents of SHIELD; major spoilers for Avengers: Age of Ultron; AU
Co-Authorís Website:BlackFox12's fanfiction.net page
Wanda had woken fairly early, though both her father and her brother were already awake and had left the bedroom, leaving a note to let her know they were heading out to pick up breakfast for the whole extended family.
After getting dressed, Wanda considered going into the gardens. But she knew her father wanted her to develop her own fighting skills, rather than just relying on her abilities all the time. With that thought in mind, she headed to the training room... knowing that there was likely to be at least one person there she could try sparring with.
Tony had missed his early morning training with his father and uncle...and cousins. He'd debated skipping the training entirely and going straight to the lab to see if Bruce was there, but he knew if he did that, it would be easier to make an excuse to skip the next day and the next and he was improving remarkably in his defense and even some of his offense skills. He didn't want to slack off. Not really. So he went to the training room, figuring he'd have to work out on his own. Instead of being alone, he found his cousin's daughter.
"Hey, kid." He smiled at Wanda as he walked into the room.
Wanda smiled at Tony in response. Since joining the family, both she and Pietro had found that Tony was vastly different to how they'd viewed him. Although there were still scars from their parents' death, having a new father was helping them both to heal. "Are you here to spar?" she asked.
"I'm here.... hadn't actually thought about what I'm here for, though," Tony admitted with a laugh. "If you'd like to spar, I'm game, though."
"I don't get many opportunities to spar, so if you're game, that's good." Wanda hesitated, a little unsure of how to start. Clint had been taking her through some moves, but she wasn't sure how to actually start a sparring session.
"You want to come at me first, or have me go at you first?" Tony smiled at her, sensing that she wasn't sure how to start. "How much has your dad showed you, by the way? I've been doing this a few months now, so I don't want to pull any moves that you haven't learned a defense against yet. That'd be unfair. Not to mention dangerous, since there isn't anyone here spotting us."
"He's shown me quite a few moves... mostly defensive ones," Wanda replied. "Maybe if you come at me? That'll give me practice at defending myself."
"Sounds good..." Tony nodded. Then he was moving, trying out one of the moves Natasha had taught him for taking down an enemy that you didn't actually want to harm.
Wanda focused her attention on blocking the move, recognizing it as one that her father had taught her the defensive for.
Tony was making certain to move slowly enough that she could practice the move a couple of times before he made her do it without 'going easy' on her. It helped him as well, since he hadn't tried that move on his own without Natasha there.
Wanda was actually enjoying the opportunity to practice some more, very careful not to do anything she hadn't been taught. Partway through the session, though, an explosion sounded... loud enough for Wanda to jerk and her abilities to react subconsciously... just as she'd gone to push Tony gently away so he couldn't grab her.
Tony didn't even have time to yelp before he was hitting the wall and then landing on the floor. Stunned, he blinked his eyes then began the mental checklist he always went through when he'd taken a fall. It didn't feel like anything was broken; he'd actually hit the wall in such a way that the only damage was he'd been winded; and he might have some bruises. 'Ow,' he mouthed silently, before carefully standing back up and putting both hands behind his back in a stretch, taking a deep breath. "You ok, kid?" he finally asked Wanda, worried when she didn't say anything to him.
Wanda stepped back, her eyes growing huge as she realized what had happened. There was a reason why she didn't spar... and she'd let herself forget that. She wasn't normal... and they were all going to realize that and make her leave. "I... I'm sorry... I have to go..." Quickly, trying to hide the tears welling in her eyes, she spun round and ran from the room.
"Wh...what?" Tony blinked in surprise at her reaction. "No! Wait! Kid! Wanda!" Tony attempted to run after her, but his back seized up just long enough to slow him down. By the time he got the kinks out and ran into the hall, she was nowhere he could see. Sighing, he went to check on the lab and make sure no one was hurt, assuming Wanda would seek out her brother.
Wanda didn't really think past trying to get away before she was told to leave. As she reached the front door of the mansion, she pulled it open and quickly headed outside.
Pietro had helped to carry the groceries into the mansion and then grabbed a coffee. Hearing the front door slam, he went to check it out... in time to spot his sister getting into her car, that she'd bought since she couldn't always rely on her brother to take her places at super-speed.
As the car began pulling out, Pietro glanced over his shoulder, muttered a curse, and sped after it... after checking to make sure he had his cell, so he could call their father as soon as he'd got his sister calmed down.
"I can't believe you blew up my mansion..." Tony grumbled at Leo, once he was assured of his nephew's well-being. His voice was teasing- he obviously didn't mean anything by it- but it was the tenth time he'd said it.
Jemma huffed. "Really, Uncle Tony! It was only a beaker. It made a big noise. Nothing was blown up! And why do you keep rubbing your back?!"
Bruce had just walked in to catch his daughter's words. "Did you hurt yourself sparring, Tony?" He walked over and began to examine his brother, while Tony tried to squirm away.
"No! I'm just a little stiff. I'll be fine! Wanda and I had a little mishap, but it wasn't her fault. The mansion being blown up startled her!" Tony huffed and finally gave up trying to get away. "I need to go find her and let her know everything is ok..."
Leo blinked. "She didn't stick around?" He cast a worried look at his father, wondering if Wanda had done what many of the others seemed to and taken off. "Should we tell Clint?" he asked.
"Yeah." Tony looked more worried when he thought of the fact so many of them had run off at least once after being adopted. "Now that you mention that little family quirk, we should. I'd been thinking she was just with her brother, but it's a bit odd he hasn't popped in long enough to find out what happened so he can reassure her...." He looked up and opened his mouth, as if about to say something, then sighed sadly. "Any of you know where he is?" he finally asked.
Jemma gave him a sympathetic look, but didn't say anything about the fact he'd been about to talk to JARVIS. "I think he was with his dad...and Uncle Phil was making a grocery run, so I'm thinking they'll be at the shops by now...."
"Yeah..." Tony stretched again with a tiny wince, feeling his age. "Leo, could you go get your grandfather? I get the feeling we're going to be needing a search party. Jemma, if you could call Clint? Brucie? You have any of that miracle bruise cream left that Loki concocted? I don't want Wanda fretting, thinking she hurt me really badly...."
"As soon as I'm positive you weren't hurt really badly, I'll put some on you...." Bruce promised, continuing to check his brother for injury.
Leo nodded, quickly leaving the lab so that he could find Steve. As he searched out his grandfather, he looked around for Wanda, too... but wasn't surprised not to find any sign of her. Or her brother. Had Pietro gone with her? Leo found himself fretting about the twins... hoping they were both all right.
Steve had ended up in the rec room, playing a game of pool with Bucky. The moment Leo came in, though, he realized something was wrong. "What happened?" he asked the young scientist.
Bucky straightened up, his eyes narrowing slightly. "That explosion we heard... was someone hurt?" His own voice was worried.
Brock and Trip had been out jogging and, upon returning to the mansion, had gone in search of other family members. Steve, Bucky and Leo were the first members they saw. "Hey," Trip said curiously. "Any reason why Wanda was tearing off down the drive like a bat out of hell, with Pietro chasing behind her like a puppy bent on tire domination?"
"No one was hurt in the explosion," Leo said, darting a worried look towards Trip and Brock. "But Wanda and Tony were sparring... and I think the explosion startled her into using her abilities." He grimaced. "We suspected she might have taken off..."
Steve quickly became alert. "We need to organize search parties... in case Pietro can't or won't contact us once she finally stops. Where's Clint?"
Tony slowly walked in, tugging his shirt back in place; Bruce had covered his back in the cream Loki had made and he was moving much more easily. "I believe Clint is with Uncle Phil, shopping for food...." he said. "I shouldn't have let her take off. I just thought she was going to find her brother and she was moving so fast that I couldn't keep up...."
Bruce frowned from his position next to Tony. "It isn't your fault you couldn't catch her, Tony. You're lucky all you have is a few bruises and strained muscles. If you'd landed wrong, it could have been worse. It's no wonder you were moving too slowly to catch her...."
"Don't tell her that..." Tony frowned back at his brother. "We do actually want her to come home. Odin's beard, I feel old!"
Trip blinked at Tony's choice of epithet then shook his head. They'd all been spending a lot of time around Loki. Some things were bound to rub off.
"I'll let him know... in case he and Phil can spot either of them." Even as he was taking out his cell phone to dial Clint's number, Steve moved closer to his son, placing a hand on Tony's shoulder and squeezing gently. "It wasn't your fault, Tony. From the sounds of it, she panicked." He kept his arm around his son, even as he finished dialing Clint's number and then put the phone to his ear.
Tony relaxed under his father's touch. He knew, logically, he wasn't to blame for her running. He couldn't help but feel somewhat responsible, though.
Clint answered his phone on the second ring. "Yeah, Uncle Steve? What's up?"
"We've had a bit of an incident here," Steve said, his voice calm, even though he knew what he was about to say would really worry his nephew. "There was a slight explosion in the lab... nothing too serious and no one was hurt. But Wanda and Tony were sparring at the time. She was startled and used her abilities. Which means she's panicked and taken off. It sounds like Pietro went after her... but I'm not sure when she'll stop and how quickly he'll be able to call."
The phone line was quiet for a bit then Clint was answering as calmly as he was able. "Thanks for letting me know. We were just about to check out...We'll be able to get home in thirty minutes to help form search parties if Pietro hasn't called before then. And we'll also keep an eye out for them here, in case they come within sight of us...."
By this time, more of the family had made their way into the rec room, some inner sense telling them that something big was going down and they were needed.
"Do we want to break up into groups of two or three?" Mack asked curiously. "Do you think we'd be able to see them on regular traffic cameras and such?"
Kara bit her lip, speaking up hesitantly. "If she ran because she's afraid of hurting us, convincing her to stay still long enough that we can talk her into coming home will be difficult. I know I wouldn't stay still long enough to listen to anyone talk if I was running for that reason...." She glanced toward Fury, before looking at the floor.
Loki smiled crookedly. "Which is why it is good her brother is with her. Hopefully, he will be able to talk her into listening...."
"Wanda's in a car. I assume Pietro is moving as a blur, which means he's unlikely to be picked up by traffic cameras," Steve said. "I think splitting up into small groups would be a good idea. Someone should also try to text and call Wanda, at least... I don't want Pietro too distracted from following her." Because if he lost her, they might not be able to find her again.
"I'll hack into the traffic cams... if someone can tell me which car Wanda took," Skye offered.
Fury placed a hand on Kara's shoulder. "She might have run because she was scared she'd be told to leave, as much as being worried about hurting any of us," he said. "She's not going to be thinking clearly... maybe not at all."
Grant frowned at Fury's words, knowing that was a big possibility. "She probably was afraid we'd tell her to leave...especially if she thinks she hurt Tony even a little bit. For the first few months after I was adopted, there were times when I was positive Dad would wise up and send me packing because of all the stuff I'd done. If I'd accidentally hurt someone during that time, I would have been packed and headed out the door...."
"So we just convince her, like your dad convinced you, that it doesn't matter what she did...or what she does...we aren't going to make her leave." Tony's voice was firm with his conviction. "And...since I'm the one she ran from originally, I'll be the first to call her. I'm glad we insisted on her car being Bluetooth capable. In her frame of mind, I definitely wouldn't want her trying to answer the phone the normal way while she's driving...." He took out his own cell phone and searched through his contact list till he came to his young cousin's number and hit the button to call.
Steve began organizing everyone into teams, making sure they were in groups of at least three. He checked with Brock and Trip about which way they saw the car headed and then directed Skye about which traffic cameras to hack into.
The phone rang, but Wanda was either ignoring it, or had turned it to silent, because it clicked over to the answerphone message.
"Hey, kiddo..." Tony's voice was soft and as reassuring as he could make it. "Tony here.... You bugged out of our sparring session rather quickly and I just wanted to let you know that I'm alright. Quite a bit worried about you, if I'm honest- you ran so fast, I wasn't able to make sure you were alright... but I'm alright. And so was everyone in the lab; it was just a very loud beaker that wanted to pretend to be a massive bomb..." He winced. "Anywho...Do you think maybe you could come home, so I can see for myself you aren't hurt? Feels like it's my fault, somehow, that you're so upset...and I'm not going to be able to relax and calm down until I can see it with my own eyes that you aren't hurt. And when I'm not relaxed and am not calm, I tend to do things that get me into trouble. You don't want me doing anything that will get me into trouble, do you?" His voice was teasing. "So...yeah. Please come back? Or...you know...pick up your phone?" Tony sighed. "Ok...I'll try again later...." He disconnected the call.
Pepper was giving her fiancť a look that was equal parts impressed, amused and worried. "You are entirely too good at that." She shook her head.
Tony wrinkled his nose. "You don't think it was too manipulative, do you?" he asked seriously. He wasn't above using a bit of manipulation to get his cousin's attention... but he didn't want her to feel more guilty or worse.
Pepper shrugged faintly, not sure if it was or not. "Which of us are staying home, just in case she returns on her own?"
"I'll stay. I can work easier on the cameras here anyway." Skye had very quickly retrieved her laptop and was working on the traffic cameras... as well as looking to see if anyone had reported a blur of movement or a gust of wind.
Steve nodded in agreement. "Nick... Kara... why don't the two of you stay here as well?" Really, it was mainly Kara he was thinking of, since Pietro and Wanda had originally brought her with them... but he felt certain his brother would want to stay with the woman who might as well be his daughter.
Kara blinked at that, not certain if she should be upset that she wouldn't be able to help look for the young woman who had helped her break through her brainwashing. Then again, maybe they were afraid that if she found Wanda and Pietro, Wanda would convince both of them to join her in running, instead of her convincing Wanda to return home. She hadn't exactly integrated all that well with the group, through no fault of their own. She had felt uncertain about her place, since the only things she could remember were the horrible things she'd done for Whitehall. She hadn't told anyone what she'd done. She didn't want to see the looks of disgust. Even though she knew it hadn't been her choice to do them and no one held her responsible for her actions while brainwashed, she just couldn't forgive herself and it had affected her ability to connect with the others... she'd remained aloof, beyond latching onto Fury like a baby animal holding onto its mother. Sighing softly, she nodded her head in agreement with Steve. If they didn't want her searching, then she'd do what they did want.
By that time, Clint and Phil had gotten home...rushing into the house without bothering to unload the car. Clint glanced at Steve, noting the man was in 'Captain' mode. "You've already got search teams formed?" he asked, though it was less a question than an acknowledgement.
Steve nodded, turning to Clint and Phil, seeing how worried the two of them were. "They're just about to go out," he said, his voice calm and reassuring. "Skye, Nick and Kara are going to stay here, in case she does come back." He quickly ran through the teams, in case Clint or Phil thought they should be different.
Clint didn't have any problems with the teams Steve had chosen. He was frantic with worry about his daughter, so it was a relief that his Uncle was taking charge of the search; he wasn't certain he would be able to focus enough to direct it. He gave his father a stressed, worried look. "We'll find her....right?"
Coulson wrapped his arm around Clint's shoulders, hugging him tightly. "We will," he promised, pressing a kiss to the side of his son's head. "Come on... we'll search together." He was very worried about his granddaughter, but knew Clint was going to need him to be strong.
Soon, everyone had left in various different vehicles. Kara looked at Skye, who was working on searching through all the cameras available to see if Wanda could be located, then looked at Fury. "I don't understand why she'd run. Out of the three of us, she seemed like she had adjusted the best...she knew immediately that she wanted to be Clint's daughter and stay here with everyone." She was confused...but she couldn't help but wonder if part of her confusion was due to her memories being so flaky; and not having any clue to who she really was as a person. Someone had suggested that Wanda had run because she thought they would all hate her and want her to leave after she accidentally used her powers on Tony. That didn't make any sense, as far as Kara was concerned; hadn't they all known of her powers and abilities before she'd come to live with them? They were smart people- they had likely taken into account the fact that her powers might accidentally be used against one of them at some point... accidents happened, after all. Then again, maybe that's just how Wanda had been treated in the past. Who's to say, if Kara actually remembered her own childhood, she wouldn't have some hang-ups that would cause her to run if certain things occurred? Not that she was all that worried about the family caring about if she left or not. She'd not allowed herself to get as close to them as Wanda had.
Fury still had his hand on Kara's shoulder and he spoke quietly to her. "Sometimes logic has no place when something happens. If people have pulled away from Wanda in the past due to her abilities, then accidentally hurting someone could very well bring back those insecurities." He shifted his arm so that it was around Kara, gently drawing her in close. "It's happened before. Something goes wrong and a family member forgets that they have a place here... no matter what." Eyeing his daughter (and she was that to him), Fury added, "Even when they keep their distance from the family."
Kara couldn't help but look up into Fury's eyes at the last comment, knowing that he was referring to her keeping her own distance. Her smile was more of a wince, guilt flashing across her face before she looked down again. Fury had been nothing but kind and accommodating with her since she'd come under his protection. And she had to admit, there was a part of her- a rather large part of her, if she was honest- that wanted to give in to his gentle urging to join in the family. She'd seen how all the parents were with their kids and she knew instinctively that Fury had decided she would be his...if she'd allow it.
The problem was, he didn't know everything she'd done. Brainwashed or otherwise, the things she'd done were horrible. At first, when the memories started resurfacing, she'd shared them with everyone, in case they could get some sort of information from them. The last few days, though, she'd been remembering a lot more...and she hadn't been able to share it, because it was just too horrific to think about, let alone share. And she wasn't fool enough to think that she could accept being his daughter and keep hiding all those things...so she remained withdrawn; and while she wasn't really aloof, she didn't go out of her way to be friendly either. She was afraid to form attachments.
She supposed she could understand why Wanda ran, after all.
Clint took a deep breath, glad that his father was with him in his search. "I thought she understood that we accepted all of her...I thought I'd made that clear. How did I fail so badly?" he wondered out loud.
Coulson wrapped his arm around Clint's shoulders, drawing him in tightly. "You didn't fail, son," he said, his voice gentle, but still firm. "Sometimes, even when you do everything right, something happens and brings old insecurities back. I remember that Grant panicked and ran... I suspect this is a similar situation."
As Coulson finished speaking, Clint's phone began to ring, Pietro's number flashing up on the screen.
Clint held onto his father tightly and took comfort from the words. He could only hope that he'd be able to find and bring his daughter home like his father had done for his brother. When the phone rang, he answered quickly, a white knuckled grip on the phone and another on his father's arm. "Hey, Speedy.... I want to come get both of you.... Will she let me come get both of you?" His voice was soft and not accusing, instead filled with worry and faint hope.
"Yeah, Papa." The use of the name that Wanda used was the only indication that Pietro was emotionally affected by what had happened. "She's still scared... upset... but she wants to come home." There was the sound of whispering and then Pietro apparently addressing Wanda. "I'm not going to ask. They do want you to come home."
Clint's anxiety rose as he realized Wanda didn't think they wanted her. "Son...can you tell me where you both are so your grandfather and I can come get you? And then let me speak to your sister?" he asked gently. He knew Pietro hadn't been the one to want to leave, but the boy was obviously unsettled and upset; his normal carefree and joking tone wasn't there.
"We're on the outskirts of town," Pietro replied... and then his voice grew a bit more distant as he apparently held the phone out to his sister. "Papa wants to speak to you."
There was silence and then a very soft, "I'm here..."
Clint's voice noticeably dropped and softened as he responded. "Hello, Princess... I'm so glad you aren't hurt...that you called me. I'm coming with your grandpapa to bring you and Pietro home. I love you so much, sweetheart...."
"...I hurt Tony..." Wanda's voice was quiet and filled with guilt. "You... still want me?" She sounded close to an emotional breakdown, but at least she wasn't still running.
"I will always want you, Wanda. Always." Clint was focusing on the conversation with his child, letting his own father take charge of the car and getting them to the kids. "And Tony would be the first one to tell you, it wasn't your fault and no one blames you. In fact, he is very worried about you and feels like he failed because he didn't stop you from leaving. Everyone wants you...and I can't imagine not having you with me. It would break my heart," he admitted, his voice slightly hoarse at the thought of her leaving and not returning home.
Having overheard Pietro tell his father where they were, Coulson was focused on driving as quickly and carefully as possible, so they could pick up the two younger family members and take them back home.
"I'm sorry..." Wanda sounded like she might be about to start crying.
"Oh, sweetie... it's alright. Everything will be fine. We're almost there and we'll bring you home and we can talk about what happened. You can see for yourself that everyone cares about you. What happened was an accident and no one blames you. They all understand...." He attempted to soothe her, his anxiety rocketing as her unhappiness seemed to rise. He was afraid she might decide to leave again before he reached her.
Coulson glanced sideways at his son, recognizing that Clint was growing more anxious. Knowing it was important to get to his granddaughter, he put on more speed... still carefully driving, but trying to get to his grandchildren as quickly as was safe to do so. Within moments, they were nearing the outskirts of town... where Wanda had stopped long enough so that Pietro could talk to her.
Wanda gave a quiet sob, but didn't hang up the phone.
Clint could see the Wanda's car on the side of the road, Pietro pacing by the driver door. "I love you, Princess. I wasn't lying when I told you that before. And I wasn't basing my love on some misunderstanding of you and what you were capable of doing. I love you; every part of you, including your powers." Clint prepared to jump out of the car and get to his children's sides as soon as his father stopped.
Coulson stopped the moment it was safe to do so, knowing that Clint needed to get to his children. Although he got out of the car as well, he stood back so that Clint could reach them uninterrupted.
Pietro looked up, the relief on his face obvious the moment he saw his father and grandfather.
Clint latched onto Pietro the moment he saw him, tugging the boy in close and tight in a hug and kissing the side of his head. At the same time, he was glancing toward the car and holding out his hand to his daughter, a pleading look in his eyes, hoping that she would get out and come to him.
Pietro immediately latched onto his father, hugging tightly... the way he almost clung indicating just how unsettled he'd been by what had happened.
Wanda slowly got out of the car, approaching her father and brother. She wanted to cling to Clint, but she still wasn't sure... even though she desperately wanted to believe he still wanted her.
As soon as Wanda was within range of his grip, Clint took hold of her arm and tugged her toward him, wrapping his arm around her tightly and holding her close, kissing her forehead. "I was so scared..." he finally admitted out loud, his eyes becoming watery as he thought about the fact that his daughter could have taken off and he'd never see her again. "I love you both so much....Don't ever leave me like that again! I can't...I can't take it...." He swallowed hard, hugging them both tightly again.
Wanda responded by wrapping her arms around her father and just hugging on tightly, burrowing in close. "I'm sorry..." she whispered, beginning to cry.
Clint just continued to hold his children tightly, kissing the top of their head or their cheek every so often, reluctant to let go of either of them. Finally, he stepped back enough to allow his father in to hug them; and to look toward Wanda's car. "I'll drive back home with you, sweetheart..." Clint glanced at Pietro. "Do you mind keeping your grandpapa company, son?"
Pietro nodded, hugging Coulson as he did so. "I can do that," he said softly.
Coulson held both of his grandchildren a few moments, then kissed each of them on the forehead. "Let's go home," he said affectionately to Pietro, wrapping an arm around his grandson's shoulders, even as he gently squeezed Wanda's hand. "It's going to be all right," he said reassuringly to her.
Clint smiled at his father and son, wrapping his own arm around his daughter and leading her back to the passenger side of her car. "I'll drive, sweetie." Kissing her on the cheek again, he helped her into the car before going around and getting in himself. Soon, they were on their way back to the mansion.
Wanda got into the car without argument, her eye still somewhat damp. Even with her seatbelt on, she shifted as close to Clint as she could get, taking hope from his promise that he still wanted her.
Clint reached out with one hand to take Wanda's hand and squeezed gently. "We'll go home and you and I can have a talk. I want to know what you're thinking..." Clint said softly, turning to face her long enough to give her a sad smile, before looking back at the road.
Wanda bit her lip, glancing down. "I'm sorry I ran," she said, very quietly. "I didn't... I was scared... I thought you all might want me to leave," she whispered, hunching in on herself, but still clinging tightly to her father's hand.
"We aren't like all the other people you've met in your life, sweetheart. Tony knew immediately that you didn't mean to throw him. He was more worried about you than himself- and he would never have wanted you to leave because of what happened to him. None of us would ever ask you to leave because of an accident. We'd never ask you to leave, period... but definitely not because of an accident." Clint's tone was confident and firm.
"...I got scared..." Wanda whispered. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to hurt you." Her voice wavered, still very close to breaking down into tears completely.
"I know, sweetie." Clint squeezed her hand again gently. "I understand being scared and just reacting; but that's really not a safe thing to do. We have so many enemies that would like nothing more than to hurt you to get at me...at your grandfather...running away from home can't be the first thing you think to do when you get scared." He spoke gently, but his voice was still stern. He didn't even want to think of all the things that could possibly have gone wrong or hurt her.
"I know..." Wanda said quietly. "I'll try... to do better next time." She darted a glance at him, swallowing, half-afraid to ask and have it be confirmed that he was going to respond to what she'd done the same way he'd responded to Pietro's actions.
Clint could feel her glancing at him and forced himself to keep watching the road, not wanting to make her nervous. A tiny smile graced his face, though. Now that she was no longer scared or believing that he wanted her gone, she was reacting very much like he himself had reacted after doing something he knew Coulson wasn't happy with. It made him feel happy inside that they had similarities between them...even if it was for something that neither one would admit to anyone else. "I know you will. I'll help you to remember to do better..." was all he said; but he figured it would be enough to let her know there would be consequences for running away.
Wanda swallowed, somewhat nervously... but still didn't let go of her father's hand or withdraw even a little. Now that she wasn't scared, she wanted to stay close to him. "Like how you helped Pietro remember?" she asked quietly.
Clint did glance at her this time. "Yeah. Exactly like that." He smiled to take any sting from the words that might be there, but he was speaking gently enough and with enough love in his voice, he didn't think she would be too upset at the news.
"Okay." In a way, Wanda looked almost relieved... that she wasn't being treated differently to her brother; that she could tell there weren't any differences in how their father viewed her and Pietro. She gripped his hand a little tighter. "I love you, Papa... thank you for coming to find me," she said quietly.
"I will always come and find you, Princess. Always..." Clint said firmly. Giving her hand one more squeeze, he turned the car onto the drive and headed back to the garage where he parked next to his father. Carefully getting out of the car, he went around and opened the door for Wanda, wrapping his arm around her shoulders once she was out. "Dad, if you could let the others know that we found her and have her back home... Wanda and I are going to go have a little talk in the office. Please make sure no one disturbs us?"
Coulson nodded, getting out of the car and giving his son and granddaughter a quick though tight hug each. "Of course," he promised, taking out his cell phone to do that, even while he wrapped his other arm around Pietro's shoulders to guide his grandson into the house.
Wanda leaned into her father, not saying anything... though she did smile at Pietro, to indicate she was feeling happier.
Clint smiled at his son, watching them go into the house. Turning to face his daughter, he kissed her on the forehead once more then began to lead her into the house himself, taking her through to the office. Closing the door behind them, he then led her to the couch and sat down carefully, pulling her down beside him. "I love you, Wanda. You are my daughter. I...I was beside myself when I found out you had run...I have never felt that way before in my life and never want to feel that way ever again. Running was dangerous. If something had happened to you, no one would have been able to help you. If it hadn't been for Pietro following you, no one would have even known if something had happened. You can't do that, sweetheart."
Wanda followed without protest, sitting down next to her father. She looked close to tears again... this time hearing how much her running had affected him. "I'm sorry, Papa," she whispered. "I know I shouldn't have run. I... panicked." She hung her head. "I thought, once you all knew how dangerous I was, you wouldn't want me here..."
Clint quickly drew her into his arms and just held her. "I know, sweetie," Clint soothed. "You wouldn't be the first in the family to panic. You wouldn't even be second or third." There was a hint of a smile in his voice. "Learning not to react to your panic by running is something you have to learn...just like learning that the family has your back and won't abandon you because of accidents or mistakes. You'll learn to trust the family because they'll prove themselves; you'll learn not to run through a bit of reinforcement from me...."
Wanda quickly wrapped her arms around Clint, burrowing in close to him. "I know it was dangerous to run," she whispered. "And I hurt and worried you... I'm sorry, Papa," she said again.
"I know you are, sweetheart. We'll take care of it and then we can move past it- you'll get a clean slate." Clint kissed her on the forehead again, holding onto her tightly for a few more moments. "Let's take care of it," he said gently, before helping her over his lap.
Wanda whimpered softly, but didn't fight the position. She reached down, gently grasping her father's ankle... both to keep her supported and also because she needed the contact with her father.
Rubbing Wanda's back gently for a few moments, Clint finally tugged her in close to his stomach, holding her securely. Then, quickly baring her, he raised his hand and let it fall with a firm swat. Raising his hand again, he swatted again slightly to the side of the first swat, then again next to that one...keeping all the swats at the same firmness; not hard enough to bruise, but hard enough to make an impression. He continued swatting from the top of her bottom to upper thigh.
Wanda jumped, an almost silent gasp escaping her as the spanking started. Somehow, even though she was sure Clint was holding back on the force, she hadn't expected it to be so hard. Her grip tightened on her father's ankle as the tears, already so close to the surface, began falling.
Clint didn't say anything at first, letting her focus only on the spanking. When he began the second circuit, he finally spoke. "I love you, Wanda and I take my responsibility to you seriously...my responsibility to care about you and protect you, even from yourself. Running away because you panicked is understandable; but it is not acceptable. Running places you in unnecessary danger- which is never okay. Any time you run away from your family and the protection they can give you, I will find you and bring you home... And I will respond in this way. Do you understand?" While he had been speaking, he had continued to swat, each smack emphasizing his words.
As much as she tried to stay still and accept what she knew she deserved, Wanda couldn't stop herself from squirming as her father started a second circuit. She forced herself to respond through her tears. "Yes... Papa... I understand... I'm sorry!" she sobbed out.
"I hope you do, honey....because I couldn't take losing you. A part of me would die inside." Clint's words were serious but loving. Wanting to finish so he could hold his daughter, he tipped Wanda forward slightly and began focusing the swats on her sit spots.
At the reminder of her father hurting, Wanda sobbed harder, going limp over her father's lap as the fight drained out of her. She was crying too hard to talk properly, but the words, "Papa," and "Sorry," could still be heard.
Immediately, Clint stopped spanking and pulled Wanda up into his arms. Holding her tightly to him, he began to gently rock her back and forth, rubbing gentle circles onto her back, kissing the top of her head and trying to soothe her. "I've got you, Princess, it's alright...I forgive you and I love you so much...I've got you."
Wanda latched on tightly to her father, pressing as close to him as she could possibly get. The tears weren't from the pain of the spanking so much as the emotional upheaval and being so unsettled. She clung tightly to him, speaking quietly once she could draw breath to do so. "I love you, Papa... I won't run again," she promised.
"Good...I'm very, very happy to hear that..." Clint whispered gently, kissing the top of her head again, and continued to rock her.
Wanda slowly calmed down, her arms wrapped tightly around her father. Eventually, she pulled back enough to wipe her eyes and adjust her clothing. "I think Pietro was really unsettled by what happened..."
"I imagine he wasn't expecting his serious, responsible sister to just take off without warning, even to him." Clint smiled, reaching up and pushing a lock of hair behind her ear. "Why don't you go find him and let him know that everything is okay now? Everything is okay now, isn't it?" He slanted his head, looking into her eyes to see if she was feeling better or if she still needed his comfort.
Wanda nodded, carefully slipping off her father's lap... even if she did still stick close to him. "I feel better..." she said. "Thank you, Papa. For not letting me leave. I love you."
Clint stood and wrapped an arm around her shoulders, gently leading her out of the office. "I will always come for you. I love you too, Princess." Leading her through the hall until they were in the main part of the house, he gave her one last hug. "I'm going to go start working on dinner, if you need to find me." He kissed her on the cheek then headed for the kitchen.
Wanda hesitated, but still felt quite uncertain about approaching Tony. She did want to apologize, but she was uncertain of how it would be taken. She decided to track down her twin first and then see if she could gather her courage to approach Tony.
Finding Pietro was easy. Having spent time with his grandfather and uncle and aunts, Pietro had gone to the kitchen to grab a drink and met his sister on the way back. He quickly looked her over. "You're looking a lot better."
Wanda nodded. "I feel a lot better," she replied. "I'm sorry I worried you... and that you had to come after me."
Pietro shrugged. "I figured logic would come into play eventually. Just thought I'd give it a helping hand."
Tony had been watching and pacing...and pacing and watching, ever since Clint and his Uncle Phil had returned with the kids; waiting for the moment he could go see with his own two eyes that Wanda was alright and that she wasn't mad at him. Oh, sure, intellectually he knew none of the unfortunate events had been his fault (a rather unusual occurrence, he thought to his chagrin), but emotionally, he felt like it was at least partly his fault. If he had enhanced powers or extreme flexibility and physical prowess, he wouldn't have hit so hard...maybe. At least he would have been able to land in a way that would look like it wasn't painful and she wouldn't have been so horrified.
He was watching and pacing in the kitchen, so the minute Clint came in he took off looking for his youngest cousin, ignoring the surprised and slightly worried look Clint shot him on his way out. Clint glanced around at the other occupants of the kitchen. "He ok?"
It took Tony a little longer than he would have liked to find Wanda and Pietro. He really missed JARVIS. As soon as he had found the twins, though, he was bearing down on Wanda. Not saying anything or giving any warning, he threw his arms around the girl and hugged tightly and just held on.
A little worried to see Tony coming towards her without any warning, Wanda relaxed and wrapped her own arms around her cousin when he hugged her. "I'm sorry," she whispered, still feeling somewhat guilty... even though the edge of that was gone. "Are you all right?" Although she'd been sure he hadn't been hurt too badly when she'd taken off, she still needed to make sure.
"I'm sorry..." Tony blurted... "If I had moved faster or been less focused on that explosive noise, or was less of a clutz..." He stepped back far enough to do a quick scan over her with his eyes, looking to see if she was hurt or still upset. He relaxed fractionally when he couldn't see any evidence of her being hurt or still being upset. "I didn't mean to scare you so bad you'd run...." His voice was low and hesitant and full of regret. "I'm going to work with Natasha more...learn how to land more gracefully so I don't give people heart attacks when things happen to me that don't really hurt me...."
Wanda looked surprised, but quickly shook her head. "It... wasn't your fault. I'm not used to being accepted into a family like this," she admitted in a quiet voice. "I figured you'd all see me as dangerous and not want me around... I know better now."
"Not....not want you...?" Tony spluttered, honestly shocked at her words, then his facial expression evened out as realization shown in his eyes. "Yeah. Ok. You wouldn't be the first to feel that way...I'm glad you learned your error." Huffing slightly, he pulled her in for another tight hug. "If the family can accept an egotistical head-strong mad-scientist in the family, I don't think they'd ever have a problem accepting you. At least your accidents aren't because of your refusing to realize there are some things you just really shouldn't attempt...." Sighing softly, he pulled away and stepped back, then reached over and clasped Pietro on the shoulder.
Wanda smiled, looking much happier. "I can't promise nothing else will happen... but for now, I know better."
Pietro snorted softly. "I could do without another heart attack like that."
Tony grinned at Pietro. "I'm pretty sure that's what my father is thinking anytime I start a project..." he teased, hoping to lead the conversation onto less emotional ground. "Speaking of which...Do you think you could help me upgrade my bodysuit? Not the armor- that's already as 'bang' proof as I can get it- but the actual body suit I wear under the armor. I'm thinking maybe if I can get it so that it absorbs impact better, then even if my suit is destroyed and I'm left in my figurative skivvies, I'll still have some protection against the big bads we fight." He glanced at Wanda, even as he was reaching to give Pietro a noogie and was turning both of them toward the door so they could all three head to the kitchen. He was fairly certain it would be dinner time soon.
Wanda went along with Tony willingly, even as she was thinking through Tony's comments. "Did you have anything in mind?" She was wondering if there might be a way of applying her abilities, to give the family some added protection as a whole.
"Well...I figure, if you want to practice your abilities by throwing me against walls- with, you know...appropriate people in attendance to make certain we both remained alright- it could be beneficial to both of us. While I use the information gathered from you throwing me to improve my under-armor, you would get practice in control. That ability of yours will be really useful in any fights we have, but I get the idea that you don't really use it that often, which means it can drain you quickly... or you have other problems with it. Practice would help your stamina and control... and like I said, I'd be able to use the information gathered when I hit the wall to improve my own protection. I've thought of having Brucie help me test out my body-armor...but he really doesn't like turning into the Big Guy unless it can't be avoided...." Tony rambled, using wide hand movements and gestures to emphasize his point. He was grinning the whole time; he loved taking a problem and solving it... or in this case, taking a possible obstacle and making it a vehicle for success.
Wanda darted a look at Tony that was horrified, even if the thought was intriguing... just not the idea of testing her powers out on a member of the family. "I don't like the idea of using you to test out my abilities... or anyone else," she said. "Couldn't you get similar readings by using something artificial? Like a dummy made up with the weight ratio a human might have..."
Tony blinked, the thought actually having never occurred to him. They had been walking while they discussed his idea, so as they entered into the kitchen, Wanda's horrified look and his flummoxed look was the first thing Pepper saw when they walked through the door.
"Oh, Tony... What did you do now?" she asked in a long suffering tone, not phased in the least when Tony's look of confusion turned into offended ego and childish pout.
And Tony could pout with the best of toddlers. "Why do you assume I did something, Pep? We were just talking!" He eyed Wanda nervously, uncertain if she would tell the rest of the family about his 'brilliant' (although after she pointed out they could use a dummy, it didn't seem as brilliant) idea.
Wanda darted a look round at the others. "We were just... discussing testing my abilities out. On a dummy." Which was mostly the truth... just not mentioning Tony's first suggestion.
Steve, knowing his son and putting Wanda's look together with that knowledge, stepped over and wrapped an arm around Tony's shoulders. "Would I be right in assuming that your first suggestion wasn't using a dummy?"
Pietro, looking much happier now that he knew his sister was feeling better, joined his father. "What are we eating, Pop?"
Tony gave Wanda a grateful, if chagrined, look, before sighing and leaning into his father. "Well...you're almost always right, dad...." he admitted, without actually admitting anything.
Clint glanced at his two children, his smile widening. "We're having pasta, salad, homemade rolls...." He glanced at Wanda and then at Tony, his eyebrow going up slightly, but he didn't say anything. Not yet anyway. It wasn't like he hadn't joined Tony in numerous hair-brained schemes himself.
Steve tightened his embrace around Tony's shoulders. "I think you should run any schemes you come up with by me first... and by Clint, if it's going to involve one of his children."
"I'll set the table." Pietro started moving at super speed to do so, finishing in seconds what would take a person moving at normal speed much longer.
Coulson headed into the kitchen, Natasha next to him, in time to catch his grandson finishing off. He raised his eyebrows, but didn't say anything. As long as Pietro wasn't putting himself or anyone else in danger, it was all good.
Tony's slump and the look on his face was the perfect picture of teenaged 'but daaaad...'; more perfect than a nearly fifty year old man should have been able to pull off, really. He didn't say that, though. He just sighed slightly, nodded his head and agreed. "Yeah...Ok, dad."
"I appreciate it, cuz..." Clint said, giving Tony a smile. "When I think about some of the stuff you and I did before the parents got so strict, well- thinking of Wanda or Pietro doing anything like that will make my hair white or lose it all together." He chuckled and shook his head.
Bobbi had sat down next to Lance and, catching onto the conversation quickly, gave her older brother an innocent look, before looking to Natasha and asking sweetly, "Is that what happened to daddy?"
Grant sat on the other side of his baby sister and patted her gently on the back. "You know it is, although I'm sure they'll find some way to blame us...." He grinned impishly at his brother.
Trip huffed. "Sadly, I can't blame anyone else. Mine was bald before he got my siblings...." He darted a look at his father, preparing to duck or jump out of the way of a swat for being a smartass.
Kara nearly choked on the water she was drinking.
Sitting down next to Grant, Natasha taking a seat next to him, Coulson gently nudged his two youngest. "That's enough of that," he said, though he wasn't offended and the look he directed at all of his children (and grandchildren) was loving. "But there are all sorts of stories that your brother and sister can tell you both, I'm sure," he added.
Fury gently thwapped Trip on the back of the head. "I don't think I should let you get away with talk like that." His voice was amused more than anything else.
Steve kept his arm around Tony's shoulders and wrapped his other arm around Pepper's to lead both his children to the table. "I'm just waiting for the day it happens to me..." he joked.
"I dunno, dad... given Tony's penchant for trouble, I would have thought it would have happened by now if it was going to...." Pepper teased lightly, snuggling closer to her father, before sitting down next to him at the table.
Trip rubbed the back of his head melodramatically. "Dad! You want to give me brain damage?"
"Not possible. You'd have to have a brain to damage..." Brock mumbled on his way to his own seat and deftly avoiding the punch Trip aimed at his arm.
Loki had sat down, not really paying attention to who he was next to. He was watching the interplay with amusement and a bit of wistfulness. He loved his brothers dearly, but he wished he'd had a relationship with Odin that allowed for the easy banter he was watching. He was still uncertain of his adopted father's love.
May shook her head and had Skye sit down, before taking her own seat across from Coulson. "My mother is still nag..." She cleared her throat, smiling crookedly. "Asking for us to visit; she wants to meet all the family. I'm thinking she doesn't know what she's asking for... but I thought perhaps Skye and I could at least honor part of her request. Once she's met her granddaughter, I could bring her back here to meet everyone else. If there are no objections?" She glanced around the table at all the other parents, figuring the children would go along with whatever was decided.
Thor, seated between his two brothers, noticed Loki's wistful look and gently pressed his arm. He'd already been considering taking both Loki and Mack to Asgard. He wanted to see his father and brother repair things between them... and he wanted his father to meet the Midgardian he and Loki had adopted as their brother.
Coulson smiled at May. "I think that sounds like a good idea." Looking around at his children and grandchildren, he added, "I was thinking it might be good for us to go on holiday together... perhaps visit some of your other family members."
Bobbi blinked, interested at her father's words. "Other family members?"
Grant looked as interested as his sister. "I'd like that...."
"I'd like it too, actually. Will give Wanda and Pietro a chance to get to know their aunts, uncle and grandfather better, too...." Clint glanced fondly at his son and daughter, before directing them to sit and beginning to bring big bowls of food to the table to be passed around.
"If everyone else is going on a vacation, I want to go on one too...." came from beside Steve. To a lot of people's surprise, it wasn't Tony who said it, though- it was Pepper.
Coulson nodded. "There's your grandfather the four of you should really meet..." Although Coulson had talked about his father, the man was older and didn't find travelling as easy. With everything that had been going on, it hadn't been the right time to suggest a vacation, but Coulson did want to take his children and grandchildren to meet him. "And you have an aunt and uncle who I know want to meet all of you as well."
Steve slid his arm around Pepper's shoulders and squeezed gently. "Is there anywhere in particular you'd like to go?" he asked her.
Bobbi perked up at the knowledge that she had a grandfather and aunts and uncles she hadn't yet met. "When can we go?" she enthused.
"No particular place...just somewhere the media can't hound us...and where we can be together...." Pepper admitted. "I'm tired of dealing with the media...."
Tony frowned thoughtfully. "We could always go to the island..." he suggested. "Bruce and his kiddies and Bucky and Lance could come too. Media won't find us there very easily, since it's a private island...."
Trip glanced around the table then looked at his father. "If everyone takes off on a vacation, we'll have the entire mansion to ourselves... unless you want to go camping again?"
"I liked camping." Brock nodded enigmatically.
Kara didn't say anything. She figured if everyone took off on a family vacation, she'd use the time to find out a bit more about what had been done to her. She didn't even consider that they'd want her to join them.
Coulson smiled at Bobbi's enthusiasm. "We'll need a couple of days to get everything in order and packed, but it won't take long before we can leave. I can call ahead... let them know we're coming."
Steve smiled at the idea. "Spending some time on the island sounds good," he commented. He glanced around at his other son and his brother, wondering what Bruce and Bucky thought of the idea.
"We can go camping," Fury agreed. "All four of us." He focused on Kara, wanting to make it clear she was part of his family... that he, Trip and Brock wanted her to join them.
May's smile was slight, but it was there. She glanced at her daughter and mouthed, "Told you so...." She'd had a feeling that when she mentioned taking a vacation to see her mother, the others would make plans of their own. It was partly why she had done it. She'd seen all the stress everyone was under lately and felt like everyone needed a break to unwind, get to know their immediate family better, relax. They'd done exactly what she'd thought they'd do.
Grant grinned at his father. "A couple of days? I'm tempted to just pack the necessities and buy whatever I need once we get there, so I can blend in better. Where do Grandpa and our aunts and uncles live?"
Bruce smiled at Steve. "I don't see why we couldn't take some time to relax on a private island. It sounds heavenly, actually."
"Amen to that..." Bucky chuckled, nodding at Lance. "We haven't really had a vacation since we went camping...."
Trip grinned at his father and dug into his food.
Brock did the same, although he did let his gaze linger on Kara for a moment longer, wondering if she was going to protest. She didn't seem as enthused about a camping trip as he and Trip.
Kara opened her mouth to say she already had other plans; but that would have sounded strange, considering the trip had just been planned. Fury would most likely ask her what those plans were- and she didn't know if 'hunting down the Hydra bastards that tortured and brainwashed me' would be an answer he'd readily accept. She was pretty sure it wouldn't be acceptable to him. Closing her mouth again, she just smiled, then looked down at her plate and began to eat. She didn't have to make plans right this second, after all.
"Does that mean we will have the mansion all to ourselves?" Mack asked curiously, looking at Thor, then at Loki, after he looked at the rest of the family.
Skye smiled, but didn't actually say anything... though she leaned a little against her mother as she began eating, looking forward to spending the time with May... even if she was a little nervous about meeting another member of the family.
"My father retired to a farm... similar in some ways to the area I own and we stayed in," Coulson replied. "It's fairly out of the way... quiet... we'd have to fly to the nearest airport and then take a car there."
Lance nodded. "Think we could do with something."
Leo smiled at the thought of going on vacation and dug into his food.
Fury focused on Kara for a second, the look on his face concerned, before he began eating his own food.
Thor looked at his brothers... and especially at Loki, taking a few moments before speaking. "I thought, perhaps, we could visit Asgard." He placed a hand gently on Loki's shoulder. "I do not believe Father would be unhappy to see you," he said quietly.
Mack blinked in surprise and tried to ignore how a lot of the rest of the table had gone quiet at Thor's suggestion. "Am I even allowed up there? I mean...I vaguely remember Jane complaining about how everyone acted like she wasn't supposed to be there and she's your lady...."
"Shortly after you joined our family, I indicated to Father I would like to visit with both of you," Thor said. "He was not adverse to the idea." In fact, even though Thor tried to hide it, he worried about Odin. With the death of their mother, it seemed a lot had gone out of their father... and Thor hoped they could help each other to heal.
Loki blinked in surprise at the news. "He was not?" His voice sounded slightly worried; even if Odin had forgiven him, it did not sound like his father to welcome non-Asgardians to the realm.
"A lot has changed, Loki," Thor said. "I will not force you to go... or even to stay, if we do visit and you find yourself unhappy. But I believe it could help."
"No...I want to go!" Loki quickly protested, afraid that his brother had misunderstood his worry.
Mack grinned crookedly. "If it is really alright for me to be there, I want to go too."
"And here I thought my private island was going to be the most exotic vacation..." Tony grinned then laughed, before going back to eating his food.
Thor smiled at his brothers and placed a hand on each of their shoulders, squeezing gently. "I will send a message to Heimdall to arrange the visit, then."
Clint chuckled, grinning at his two kids, before smiling at May. "I know you planned this to happen... thanks."
May just smiled serenely back at him, finishing her food.