Imagine: The List
Fic posted by members of Vo's Imaginings YahooGroup

Story Notes:
I'm not happy with this story. Especially the ending. So I'm going to leave this here until I can figure out how to fix it. Otherwise it's probably as finished as it'll get. Slight crossover, kinda.

Yeah, That's Illegal.

Darcy Lewis looked at the judge in this sealed hearing. Her lawyer and the SHIELD lawyer had both asked to have the hearing sealed from anyone not involved and only audio records being taken. The sides had different reasons to do so, but SHIELD didn't want to be embarrassed by being found to be dumbasses. Darcy's was for her own protection. "Your Honor, before we begin, may I ask a question?"

"Go ahead," he sighed.

"Do you have a security rating? Because I have files pertinent to this problem that they're having and mine aren't classified or marked as classified, but the incident itself has been classified as it let them find multiple dirty agents." She pulled out a stack of folders to hand to her lawyer, who smirked a tiny bit at that. "As I know my lawyer has a very small clearance I was not at liberty to share those with him until this point when it became necessary."

"I'll have that noted in the records so he doesn't have agents show up on his doorstep in the middle of the night," the judge agreed patiently. "And I have a security rating of 8, Miss Lewis."

"This was classified at level 10 by the Secret Service." The lawyer for SHIELD started and stared at her. "Apparently no one at SHIELD has that high of a clearance or they're as illiterate as I thought they were."

"I think, if it is pertinent, then that will be all right. May I glance through it before ruling on it's pertinence?" The lawyer held it out for the bailiff to take. "Thank you, Mr. Murdock."

"Welcome, Judge Henrys." He turned his head toward his client. "Really, now?"

She patted him on the hand and leaned closer. "That's only one section," she said in his ear. "The rest is rated at level 19 and above only. It let them find over twenty dirty agents in three agencies and their ties to not only terrorist groups but a few different flavors of the mob." He winced but nodded once. "And it's going to get messy," she said less quietly. She sat up again, looking at the judge while he read.

He paused at one thing and was staring at it then swallowed and moved on. Darcy figured he was maybe halfway to the really bad shit, but she'd let him find out for himself. The judge paused again, staring at her. She shrugged a bit so he went back to it. Clearly the next page started the really bad things as he went pale and sipped some water. Then he closed the file.

"Why is this pertinent, Miss Lewis?"

"Because they're trying to force me to go undercover in that same manner to help three agents who they stupidly put there without having read up on the history, Your Honor. The first I knew of it, I had Director Fury walking smugly into my present job and trying to blackmail me into going back.

"Apparently he was under the impression that I had *participated* instead of being a victim of it. When I pointed out that he had faulty information and that clearly he hadn't read a thing he said he had read enough. Thereby proving his illiteracy. Because if he had read even as much as you did, he wouldn't have been in my face trying to force me to go back there."

"No, he wouldn't have." He put the file aside. "And we're here because you're suing them for that?"

"And for trying to kill me by putting out my address. Again. Which meant I had to actually be saved by *two* Avengers members and a few others who wear costumes in this city." He winced but nodded once. "Not to mention I had to break my vow not to spill blood to do just that when I had to shoot three agents my own self." The SHIELD lawyer moaned.

"Frankly, if they weren't illiterate and had chosen to have someone at least glance through that file, and the full one that's in their files as well as the FBI's, the Secret Service's, and the NSA's, then they might have saved us all a lot of problems and they wouldn't have lost sixteen agents in the last two weeks.

"Mostly to injuries and jail but three they've lost permanently. And one of those was me defending myself when they broke into my apartment to steal me. I asked and taped it." She pointed at the tape on the table. "In front of NYPD officers who responded to my alarm."

"Shit," the judge muttered. "All right. I'm going to provisionally put this into evidence. If it comes up, I will allow the SHIELD people to see this version so they can compare it to their own or another agency's version."

"We have no information on anything like that, sir. She's just a lab assistant!"

"Clearly you haven't read anything either," the judge snapped. "Miss Lewis, would they know?"

"If they had done a search on my name, which they'd have to do to put me together with that incident, then yes it would've popped up. Hell, even HYDRA knew that because one of their dirty agents tried to call me by my original name until he died of Thor hitting him to save me and Dr. Jane Foster."

The judge blinked. "You know Thor?"

"I work for his ex-girlfriend, Dr. Jane Foster, Your Honor."

"Okay. That's good to know. Was he the avengers member that helped you?"

"No. He's not down here right now. Hasn't been for three weeks." The judge nodded, making a note of that. "I can ask them to appear if you request."

"No, that's fine. It'd make it a spectacle." He looked at the SHIELD lawyer, then at the man sitting next to them. "Director Fury, do you know her original name?" He nodded once. "Then look it up please?" He did and saw a file he let the judge see. The judge handed the tablet to Darcy, who got into the right file and handed it back. "Oh, he misspelled."

"An extra 'E' that most people put on there. I had teachers do it for years," she agreed.

Nick Fury read that file, grimacing. He looked at her. "You could still help."

"Apparently you're still illiterate, Fury. Keep reading until you get to November of that second year." Fury glared but did that and sat up suddenly. "That's probably July, when I figured out their little trick." He kept reading. "Your Honor, would it be permissible to offer up a suggestion that SHIELD change directors?"

"Probably not," he said dryly. "That's not my jurisdiction, young lady."

"That's fine."

"The one you want is dead," Fury shot back.

"Bullshit. Saw him in London during the clean up of the mess we made defending the city since SHIELD never answered," Darcy shot back with a grin. "Have pictures to prove it." Fury glared. She stared back. Then she smiled and waved a hand. "You're clearly not at November yet. You haven't thrown that tablet."

"I've read enough."

"Keep going," the judge ordered. "Were you put into witness protection due to that incident or another one?" the judge asked her.

"I was put into witness protection because a few of the agents that weren't dirty sold my address, name, and information to the people I had turned in. Which then let them arrest another nineteen agents." The judge winced at that. Matt Murdock patted her on the arm.

"They had to protect me from three different flavors of mafia, plus the original problem, and other agents who got mad that I had turned in ones for light little offenses like child sexual assault and murder. I'm told the NSA agents who did the sending out were very sorry when their bosses shot them a week later because they were of no more use to them. Which is when an agent showed up at my door and told me I needed to go into hiding and my name was now Darcy Lewis."

Nick Fury stiffened and glared at her. "That was you?"

She looked at him. "If you're in August or September, all I did was report that I saw an agent there and why. The agent I talked to was dirty as well apparently because he warned the other one. So I looked up and called the tip line at the Pentagon because there was a general there, and then I called the one for NCIS, and they broke down doors. If you're in October, I managed to get myself free and escape back home. Keep going though." She waved a hand, staring at him. He glared but put the tablet down.

"Do keep reading, Director," the judge ordered. Fury huffed but did and did throw down his tablet on the table and get up to walk out and swear in the hallway. "I believe he found it. Mister Rodness, is that in November?"

He looked at the tablet. "Dated October 12th, Your Honor."

"The day I got kidnaped," Darcy said dryly. "Thankfully I was too pretty and wouldn't make as much money if they hurt me the way they wanted to." She glared at Fury when he came back. "Keep going. Please," she said with an icy smile. "There's much more than that." He sat down to read with a huff but then groaned. "Wow, you made it to November." Fury glared and kept going then winced and put the tablet down carefully. She looked at the judge.

The judge looked at Fury. "Your idea of getting her involved to help your agents, would that be suitable with that file?"

"No," he said bluntly. "Had I known this, I would have handled things differently, Your Honor."

"Coulson knew," Darcy said. "He found out in New Mexico and asked me about my former life and I told him it was classified for a reason then I told my oversight agent to talk to him. He did not like that talk apparently. I told you to talk to him too, and you refused."

The judge looked at her. "I have no reason to tell you to calm down, but please do not snap at him in here, Miss Lewis. Clearly he wasn't doing his job correctly as an intelligence agent, but this courtroom is not to be sullied by a shouting match if we can help it."

"Not a thought I had, Your Honor."

"Thank you." He looked at her lawyer then at the other lawyer. "Is your client going to conceded that they caused that level of problem and just give in? It may be the best for everyone."

Nick Fury considered it then nodded. "Within limits. She asked for an excessive amount of damages."

"I gotta live somehow when I have to change identities again," she quipped. "Not like I can stay with Jane now."

"We can take all that out," Fury told her.

She snorted. "No you can't. Your dirty agents have passed it on to the mob. I had to get *Avengers* members to save me, Fury. Plus two others in costume. Hell, I ran into Deadpool and he had heard!" Fury grimaced but nodded once. "There's no way you can undo your issue this time in a way that means I'm safe and Jane's safe around me."

"We can try. We can move her to a safer location with you."

"Foster doesn't work for you. You proved SHIELD's intent by stealing all our stuff. Then trying to weaponize her work. Even if it would save Jane I'd have her go to Asgard instead. Shit, I'd have her go to Loki and ask to be a concubine." Fury glared. She stared back. Matt patted her on the arm.

"Frankly, Your Honor, I'm going to have to move for my own safety. Before the people coming after me harm more innocent people like they did yesterday firing on the cab I was in on my way to a safe house, which they followed after trying to shoot me and the driver. Which is how I ran into Deadpool actually."

The judge considered it. "Director, would you agree that's a logical outcome?"

"I'd like to think we could protect her."

"I'd like to think that the director is living in a fantasy world," Matt Murdock said. "I was witness to the attempted shooting last week, Your Honor. That's when she hired me as her lawyer. When we had Hawkeye and the Punisher both saving her from the mob."

"Two mobs," she quipped dryly. "With a third coming in to help."

Fury huffed. "We can move you to a safe location with Foster." Darcy snorted, looking over at him. "We can protect you."

"No you can't. Or actually, you won't. You'll let the security slip one night, in a few months when you think it's more safe for me. And it'll get most of whatever facility taken out, probably including Jane. Then you'll blame your agents who failed, who were probably already dead, to get out of it." She stared at him. "I'm not the naive one I was at fifteen, Fury. I know how much the system doesn't work and doesn't care about one woman. Or even one kid.

"I used to believe in justice and all that, and then I had to deal with it." She stared at him. "To you, I'm an inconvenient obstacle you need to sweep under the rug before the new Security Council bites you. Since the files named two of them originally...." She shrugged. "I knew in New Mexico I couldn't trust you. Your thugs proved it, and they proved it again this last month."

"We can move you both to somewhere no one would look."

"I don't want to go to the other eight realms. I might run into more of those elves we had invading London and have to fight them again. I'm not built for that."

"We'll get you back to Stark tower tonight."

"No we won't," she shot back. "Because they tried to bomb it last week!" Fury winced sharply. Matt patted her arm again so she calmed back down. She took a deep, calming breath then looked at the judge. "I need to talk to my oversight handler, Your Honor. That way I know if he has plans."

"He got car bombed yesterday," Fury said quietly.

She glared at him. "If it was your people I'm telling his wife and kids."

"It wasn't us, Lewis. We're not the evil in the universe."

She snorted. "Sure. That's why we had to defeat a whole lot of stupid your people brought on my head." He sat back again. She looked at the judge. Then behind her at the three agents there. "Does that mean one of you is my new oversight handler?" One raised a hand. "When am I going?"

"Tonight," he agreed. "After this. Foster packed your things. You're going uptown for right now to a safe house." She nodded once. "She said she stole your stuffed cat?"

"I can't have a real one with her."

"Point I guess." He looked at the judge. "Your Honor, we're going to have to take some pretty unstandard moves to get her safely out of harm's way this time. And we do not mind that she shared that file with you. We thought she was a standard witness until about three hours ago when her file was handed over by the higher ups who had been hiding it." She rolled her eyes but he smirked. "One of them thought there wasn't any more danger. Then he looked at it and realized we're still dealing with that issue." She nodded then sighed. "So we've got to evacuate her soon."

"That's fine. Unless there's new evidence of how it wasn't SHIELD that managed to set off this incident, I think I've heard about enough."

"No, Your Honor, I did not read well enough to know anything about this. Our files were hidden. The one she accessed wasn't in the data dump done before HYDRA collapsed us. We rebuilt our system with those first and the other sources of files were put back as secondary level. I did not do my due diligence to read the entire file."

"Thank you. I find her in favor, and I hope she finds some safety sometime soon. Good luck, Miss Lewis."

"Thank you, Your Honor." She got up and grabbed her messenger bag, letting the agent walk her off. Until they ran into the guy with the gun coming in through the emergency exit, then he forced her back into the courtroom and she got evacuated by Matt Murdock when the shooting started. "He's in dark blue uniform, like the ones we saw in London," she told the bailiff, who called that in. "Handgun, an automatic since I didn't see a revolver cylinder, and he had something strapped to his back."

"Got it," the bailiff said, getting them out a side exit with the judge. Director Fury was behind them and got them to a safer car to take them out of the way. The bailiff, who was a SHIELD agent, called in that the one they wanted had managed to get out of the building. The one shooting went down pretty fast, thanks to an unknown shooter. By the comms system, that same unknown one stopped the SHIELD SUV and got Lewis out to get her and Murdock to safety away from Fury. So a great bit of hell there.


Darcy nearly fell through the door to the safe apartment, sliding down the wall to hug her knees. "Fuck."

"Yup," her rescuer said dryly, walking in with Murdock behind him. "Make yourself at home."

"No, I don't want to throw up in a corner," Darcy quipped, sounding exhausted. She looked up at him. "Thank you, Frank."

"Welcome, Lewis." He smirked. "The bailiff was an agent of some kind."

"I noticed the body armor," Matt said, sitting on the couch. "It threw off his body sounds." He looked toward where Darcy was. "Away from a window, Darcy." She looked around and shifted over. "Thanks. Just in case." She nodded, curling up around her bag for now. She needed to rest and not cry. She had to make sure she didn't cry. He looked at Frank. "Who were they?"

"Russian mob. Above the track suit ones that Barton keeps dealing with." He got them both something to drink and sipped his. "Now what?"

She shrugged. "I don't know. The guy with me was supposed to be my new oversight guy."

"He's alive, just injured. Shoulder shot," Frank said. She nodded, relaxing again. Someone knocked so he walked over, hand on his pistol. He looked then let the blonde in. "Karen, what're you doing here?"

"I came to help. You're both protecting some lady." Darcy waved a hand then let it hit the floor. "Okay, that lady."

"That's Darcy Lewis. Jane Foster's assistant," Matt Murdock told his former paralegal. "She helped bring down a child trafficking organization full of very pretty young women who were models. Which meant they found a lot of dirty agents."

Karen winced but nodded. "Sure. We can hide her."

"I need to see where Jane put my stuff," Darcy said. "I'm going to be switched in protective custody." She blinked at Karen. "But thank you."

"Welcome, kiddo."

Darcy grinned. "We're probably about the same age. I'm twenty-nine." She sat up then ducked back down at the sound of a shot outside. "And paranoid. This is seriously raising my usual anxiety up. Jane hopefully packed my valiums too."

Karen smiled. "I know that feeling very well. You should drink." Darcy nodded, taking the bottle of water to drink. Then she curled up again to rest. She really did need a nap. Running for your life was hard work.

Frank and Matt shared a glance then they looked at Karen, who made notes for who to go talk to and what to ask. She was good at that and it'd make her safer.


Nick Fury looked at his agents. "Who took out the shooter?" he demanded.

Clint Barton grinned. "Looked shitloads like Frank Castle, boss." Fury spun to stare at him. He wiggled his fingers. "And it was. Whaddya know, he was tracking some of the mob he's after. I was dealing with some of the Russian mob I was having problems with, and we ran into each other when they converged to take out Lewis."

"So what the hell did you do?" Stark demanded from beside Barton. Natasha was on his other side. "Suddenly she's more wanted than the hot new flavor of donut by everyone who's dirty in this city."

"Not just this city," Clint said dryly. "Natasha traced it back to the actual Russians in the Russian mob. So what happened?"

"It's got a high security clearance rating," Hill said as she walked in. She handed over the files Lewis had handed the judge. "I had the agent take them from his desk and leave a note that we had taken them to make sure we had copies then hand them back to her." She looked at her boss, and old friend. "I'm fighting the urge to hit you, Nick. I'm not going to lie." She looked at Barton. "Castle's gone to ground at his backup apartment and her lawyer, Murdock, is there too."

"Can't be much safer than the Punisher and Daredevil," Stark said. "So what the fuck happened?"

"Lewis used to be a teen model," Hill sighed. "She was pretty, kinda picky about her jobs, but pretty enough. Her agent was involved in the trafficking trade however. She found out and turned it in, which went to a dirty agent. So she turned it in to others. Who did step in and helped and we found about thirty bad agents. Then they tried to retaliate by making her testify in person during the trial and publishing her address and things.

"Which found another nineteen dirty agents across a few agencies. Not SHIELD but NSA and FBI mostly." Stark nodded at that. "So they put her into protective custody and let her form a new identity as Darcy Lewis. And now that group has basically gotten big enough that they've gotten notice. We were supposed to ask her to help us get them again but someone didn't read the files and tried to blackmail her into helping us bust them."

She took a calming breath. "Even after finding out she was a victim of it the last time. So one of our presently dirty agents, who is dead now, told the ones who wanted her last time. She embarrassed and helped bring down a multi country, multi billion dollar in eighties and nineties money, trafficking organization. When the higher ups in the mobs in Europe needed a new concubine or breeder, they went to this group. There's a lot of hidden concubines of higher figures from them."

"So she busted them and they got mad," Stark said. "Then the dirty agents got into it and got mad that she took them out." Hill nodded. "And now they're back again because your director is an asshole? Did I get that right?"

Hill nodded. "He didn't read the secondary level files apparently." She looked at him then at Stark. "And she outed in the court that she knew someone was alive."

Fury grunted. "I heard." He looked at Stark. "I offered to have her moved somewhere safe."

"There's nowhere safe with your agents looking over her shoulder," Stark said. "She can't guarantee that they're any less dirty than the other ones were."

"Hey!" Clint complained.

"Not you."

"I know I'm not."

"Yeah but you can't go with her to guard her either."

"No, I can't. I would. I like Darce. She's a neat lady and a good friend."

Stark nodded. "Yeah, she is. Foster is moping hard. She'd probably go with her but that'd mean giving up science."

"We'll have to tell Thor," Natasha said quietly. Stark and Barton both winced and so did Hill and a few other agents. "So how do we fix this screw up without having to take out most of the mafia groups in the world in under a week?"

"We'll probably have to take out a good many," Hill said. "Plus find her somewhere absolutely safe to hide." She looked at Fury. "You have any ideas who could help her? I doubt Castle can handle it for too long. Lewis is too bouncy and active for someone like him."

"Put her on the Raft?" Fury offered. "Surrounded by all the degenerates but they can handle an assault to get her if one happens."

She grimaced. "That's asking to have her murdered, Nick." She looked at Stark. "Did the bomb do damage?"

"To the front entryway. Thankfully nothing more than a few people knocked down. I'd like to talk to that group too if I could."

"Russian mob," Clint told him, shifting some. "Not the one that lives in town but the higher ups with the actual hitters and strategy people. They tried to get in before to steal an arc reactor and failed."

"They were amusing," Natasha said. "For about ten minutes. They also underestimate a woman's value."

Stark grinned at her. "Thanks. Let me know next time?"

"If I must. I told Pepper."

"I'll be talking with her later about that. I can't design good security if I don't know what I'm up against."

"Fine," Natasha agreed.

Clint nodded. "I can hand you what I have on the local ones. They're not real bright though. Their cheap gold chains gave them gold poisoning and it's rotted their brains." Nick Fury stared at him oddly. "They like to try to claim the neighborhood where my off-duty house is," he said dryly. "We're not happy neighbors. But I got a dog." He smirked.

"Lucky is a very good and smart dog," Natasha said with a nod. "I appreciate him more than I do many agents I have to deal with daily. At least when he tries to kiss me it's because he's happy to see me." A few agents looked away from her.

"Go ahead and mildly injure them," Hill ordered. "That way we know to put them in for retraining." She glared at a few agents herself. "Two teams, go stake out Castle's neighborhood to see who's coming and help protect Lewis." A few team leaders nodded, heading off to do that. It was more than two teams but that was fine, they could work that out. She looked at Natasha. "Go find out her plans for us? That way we can help her?"

"I can do so," she agreed, strolling off with Clint behind her. Stark followed since he couldn't really fix things this time. "Stark, can JARVIS remove all mentions of her from the internet?"

"He's been trying but her former modeling jobs have recently gotten some attention with the return to some pin ups and heavier models again. There's even a few agents who showed interest in her if she still had what they needed. She's kept her former identity open on instagram so no one would be looking for Darcy herself. It led the idiots away from her current identity."

"Huh." She nodded. "I'll let her know that." He held up keys, making her smile as she took them. "Thank you. See if you can get the information on her out of there even if her modeling portfolio is more open?"

"I've been trying all night. JARVIS was most amused by the dark web and how little they actually have on there." He walked off to get another way home in his suit.

Clint went with Natasha, they could both make the SHIELD agents set up efficiently so it didn't look like they were quarantining the neighborhood. Which it did. They made the agents fade back to a more hidden watching status so they quit freaking out the normals who lived there.

Natasha knocked on the right door, getting Castle and his gun answering it. "We came to help." She walked around him, Clint nodding as he walked in. She spotted Darcy and sighed. "Good, she needed the rest." She looked at Frank then at Matt. "Any ideas on upcoming plans?"

"Not yet," Matt said. "She had some water and took a nap."

"She's probably not been sleeping well," Natasha said, sitting on the same couch as Matt was. She looked at Frank. "You have backup at the moment."

"I saw," he shot back, grimacing at her. "Why?"

"Nick Fury is very embarrassed and Maria Hill wants to punch him for not reading the files," Clint quipped with a grin. "Nearly did it in front of lesser agents too."

Matt snickered quietly but grinned at them. "That sounds nice of her."

"It does," Frank agreed. "Too bad Lewis didn't hit him in the courtroom."

"He did not like the files she handed the judge," Matt said. "She noted they were rated as level 10 classified after asking about his clearance level." Natasha snickered, nodding some. "Then she told Fury he was illiterate but the judge made him read them and he nearly threw a fit. Got up and stomped out to swear once."

"Good," Natasha said. "Hopefully he won't be that careless again. It was a rookie mistake."

"Then are you sure it's Nick Fury?" Darcy asked, blinking at her. "He's Dumbledore, he's always got a plan up his eyepatch." She sat up. "Are you sure it's him and not his dumb clone?"

Clint texted that and got sworn back at by Hill a moment later. "That is not him. It's his LMD." Natasha sighed. "She's going to fix that as well." He put his phone up and grinned at her. "So, plans?"

"Hiding forever and ever and subtly emailing Jane every now and then to tell her I'm still alive? Unless you can go borrow the Sorcerer Supreme or something to go back to stop him?"

"Stark is putting JARVIS on the matter," Natasha said. "He's removing everything about you from the internet but he's blocked by some of your pictures having a renaissance."

"Fat girls are back in so I'm popular again?" she quipped. "Great!"

"You are not fat," Natasha and Clint both said, followed by Matt.

"Guys, in the modeling world, plus size is size six and I'm a size eight. Yeah, by their standards, I am. And I'm okay with that." She heard a shout and ducked down again. "Maybe I should go do porn, then no one would be looking for me."

"Only creepy guys," Frank reminded her. "And maybe stalkers if you're good at it."

She grinned. "Thanks for the vote of confidence, Frank." He smirked back. She looked at Natasha. "I could probably go buy a small island somewhere. There's a house hunters type show about people buying small islands for homes. Some of them are as low as two-hundred-grand for ones up in Canadian lakes. Though a lot seem to want to go to Roatan for some reason."

"Maybe a boat instead?" Clint offered. "That way you can move when you need to?"

"That could lead to people taking over the ship," Matt said. "There are modern day pirates."

"You could put a security grid up on a small island," Frank agreed. "A ship might be a good idea though and if she does bring Foster with her, that would let her take her science stuff in multiple areas."

"I have no idea how to sail a ship," Darcy said. "I barely remember how to drive since it's been nearly two years now." That got a grin from Natasha. "And I get sea sick something hellish."

"Okay," Clint agreed. "So maybe a boat as a side plan. Maybe with Foster's machines so she can do testing by herself when she wants to."

"She'd hate being alone so often," Darcy said. She looked at Natasha, who was considering it. "Do I need to make more plans beyond moving?"

"That we may have to find out," Natasha admitted. She crossed her legs, looking at Clint and Frank. "Can we get those groups to give up?"

"Not likely, and taking them out would make her a bigger target in retaliation," Clint said, leaning against the wall near where Darcy was settled. "Plus the dirty agents. No telling how many of those there are."

"We know that the ones who were in jail for the first incident are still mostly there," Natasha offered. "But two have gotten compassionate releases for cancer." She looked at Matt and Frank again. "If we could set up a safe location for her, it would help. We'd have to vet the guard team however."

"I can't afford a guard team even if I do get all the money I tried to get SHIELD to pay for this," Darcy said quietly. "I'm doubting I'd get over a few hundred thousand. Enough to set up a house maybe."

"We're going to talk to Fury later about that," Natasha assured her. She texted Hill that to see how much the awarded amount was. She did suggest Darcy get the equivalent of the salary of any agent that falls due to being dirty with this incident. Hill's response said they hoped it wasn't more than two of them. Natasha pointed out the ones she figured were dirty to the same groups. Then she suggested they needed to set Lewis and Foster up somewhere safe. That's what had brought up that question. She put in a quip about that island house hunting show too. Hill's response back 'that's not a bad idea, give me twenty'. "Hill has an idea on an island she thinks." She smirked at Clint. "She thinks we'll only lose two agents."

He snorted. "We've already lost eight." Darcy went pale. "We'll figure it out and wound them for you, Darce. We have agents in the neighborhood watching your back right now."

"They're flashy and visible," Castle agreed. "Easily spotted."

Natasha nodded. "They're young." Castle rolled his eyes. Her phone beeped with a file downloading so she opened it to stare at it. "Nicknamed Scooby Island," she read. "Huh. Multiple paranormal tinted events there, with portals." Darcy stared at her. "Ghostly images showing that it's connected to another place. So many things for Foster to complain about." She scanned through it. "The satellite focused on it has shown a few flying things that look like dinosaurs?" She shook her head quickly. "But they disappeared within a day."

"Bermuda Triangle?" Frank Castle guessed.

"Off the coast of South Carolina," Natasha corrected. She looked up. "It sits on energy lines." He shuddered, shaking his head. "But it does have a house that could use some cleaning at least.

Clint grinned as he shook his head. "I was on the team that went to set up the surveillance when it appeared. Totally freaky, has a closet door that leads to an island in the Mediterranean because we had to fly back from there. The door closed and wouldn't reopen from that side." He grinned at Darcy. "Small plantation style house with a big porch. Not a lot of land but plenty of room for Foster's weird machines with all the duct tape supply in the world and you. I'd suggest a dog too. I know there's monkeys. They were there when we were. They were happily eating the apples in the trees."

Darcy blinked a few times. "Wow."

"Yeah." He grinned and nodded, taking the phone to send Maria Hill notes he remembered about that place and she'd still need to be able to fix it up because the house didn't have electric or running water. Plus she'd need a good garden area to live off of and for the monkeys to steal. He handed the phone back. Natasha added that it would be good to dump it as part of the settlement to rescue her, the other funds could go to updating and living needs. Hill took a minute but agreed it wasn't a bad idea to put that as part of the settlement. That Foster could deal with the portals all she wanted.

"South Carolina's hot, does it have fans at least?" Darcy asked.

"We can put some in and probably central air," Natasha said. "Or at least room-by-room systems once we put in electricity and running water."

"I remember we had waves of the electronics with us going out," Clint said. "Something with some interference some nights. Seemed to be about the moon phase."

"Jane will be overjoyed," Darcy said sarcastically. Natasha snickered quietly, but nodded. "Does it connect to Asgard too?"

"Not that we saw," Clint admitted, leaning against the wall. "But you never know about weird islands. Look how many have movies written about them."

"Point," Darcy agreed. "Yeah, that might be okay I guess. If it's safe?"

"It probably should be. Castle could probably go with you for a few days to make sure the monkeys don't invade." He looked at him, getting a shrug back. Murdock looked amused. "At least monkeys won't pet you, Murdock. It'd ruin your prettiness." That made the lawyer laugh.

Castle shook his head but looked amused. "Sure, I can handle monkeys if they try to get too grabby." He looked at Darcy, who was yawning. "Go back to sleep, Lewis. Not even the Russian mob is stupid enough to walk into this neighborhood with all the weapons here." She nodded, laying back down. He looked at Clint again. "Monkeys?"

"Yeah, whole tribe or whatever you call a herd of them." He grinned. "Cute things. Dark faces, light gray bodies. Darker gray cap on the head. I looked 'em up and they said something like velvet or something." He shrugged. "There were a couple of orange ones too. Tamarind like the food in Asia or something."

Natasha looked up that report. "Vervet monkeys are the light ones and golden lion tamarin are the orange." She let Frank see their pictures.

"How would they get to South Carolina?" He followed their links. "The tamarin are from Brazil. The others are often found in Ethiopia and Somalia." He handed the phone back. "At least it's not the nose monkeys or the ones that're always screwing."

"Proboscis monkeys are cute," Darcy said quietly. "All big, floppy nose and all." She blinked at him. "Bonobos are cute too, even if they do screw like humans for any special feeling instead of being in heat." She grinned. "Monkeys are cute but can be a problem according to some of the guys in Tromso who had worked at an observatory in India."

"I'd be laughing too hard to pay attention to anything else when their noses were bouncing around that way." She grinned back and went back to resting.

Clint grinned at him. "They stole all our ration bars. Hated 'em but stole 'em because they're shiny." Frank just nodded at that and sat down. "So we can talk Hill into that?"

"We probably can, as long as she does give her enough of the settlement to live on. I have also suggested that Darcy get the yearly salary of any agents we find dirty due to this." She looked at Matt. "You can draw up the official paperwork for legal reasons?"

"Of course. It's not that hard. We'll hear her suggestions and then counter with double or triple the amount of money so Darcy has enough to live on and keep Jane in science things."

"Jane works for Stark so they can probably help there," Natasha said. She looked outside. "There's someone very brave out there. Who is Italian mafia." Castle groaned. "Let me go talk to him." She got up and strolled out to talk to that man on the street. "You're in a dangerous area today."

He looked at her. "I know of you, Black Widow. I come in peace today." He held up his hands. "We heard about that young thing's problems. Didn't like that it had to happen to stop that sort. Our higher ups are disgusted by what she had stopped." Natasha smiled but nodded slightly. "And the three of ours who were going to help will no longer be available for that. Mr. Giana has said that stopping that is a higher cause and a good thing for anyone to do, especially girls protecting themselves. He wanted her assured that no one was going to come against her from our people."

"I'll let her know. Thank your overseer for me."

He grinned. "Technically our areas start about a block that way," he said with a point. "We're not the ones that have the beef with Castle either." He tipped his head and got into the car to drive off.

She went upstairs. "Mr. Giana had to stop three of his people from aiding those after Darcy but he's stated he hates what she had to stop and would not allow that to go on around him." Castle grunted. "And that his people weren't the ones you had beef with but their neighborhoods are a bit safe."

"He's not bad. Real uptight. Formal. Not into the same things the Irish mob is." He grimaced. "But it's nice he's not going to help them."

"Giana is a strong, steel hand and doesn't hide it," Matt Murdock agreed. "His people wouldn't dare go against him."

Castle nodded. "I've never had a problem with one of his. But he'll buy stuff from tax and death sales." She smiled as she sat back down. "The agents hiding better?"

"No," she admitted. "They brought an assault vehicle to this." Castle rolled his eyes. "Exactly. They're young."

Clint nodded. "Very young." He shook his head with a sigh, sliding down to sit next to Darcy. She looked at him. "You can rest. I just needed to sit." She nodded, going back to resting. He petted her ankle until she fell asleep. He looked at Natasha. "Will it be safe enough?"

"Probably. It's hard to get to so the casual asshole won't want to. It would make Jane safer as well."

Clint nodded. "That's a good idea too. Jane nearly got pounced by people who wanted to know how bad Thor was in bed. Fangirls, yay!" he finished sarcastically.

"They don't try that with Pepper."

"Pepper's scary," Clint quipped. "She'll stick her high heeled pump up someone's face."

"True. I admire her for that strength." She looked at Darcy when she moaned in her sleep. Clint went back to petting her ankle so she calmed back down. They could handle it for the night.


Jane looked up as Stark sat down across from her in the kitchen area of the lab. There were guards on the doorway to keep any nosy people away. "Is Darcy safe?"

"For tonight. We just had a second meeting because Romanoff had an idea. Darcy quipped about using the house hunters for island houses show to find somewhere safe and defensible. Thankfully, SHIELD knows about one that's got some really wacky things going on that's got a house, monkeys, and apparently at least one long term portal and sometimes a few flying dinosaurs." She looked confused but shook her head slowly. "Yeah. But it's safe. No one wants to go there. It's not that far away from a town once you're off the island. It's got a house that needs some work." He slid over a copy of the report.

She read it carefully. "That would be so weird."

"We were thinking that you'd probably like to go with her, because that would be safer for you from the fangirls too." She grimaced but looked at him. "And you could study the portals or whatever they are. That way Lewis doesn't turn into a Victorian horror novel heroine by herself. Or an evil overlord with monkeys instead of cats." He slid over a second folder. "From all the other places that had a report on it."

She read those over. "That's really weird. Would it mess up my machines?"

"They might already have a portal to Asgard," he quipped. "No idea. We'll need to fix it up for her. There's no running water right now. Or electricity. We can put up a solar system for the house and for your machines."

"Mine use a lot of energy, Tony."

"I know. We'll figure it out." He grinned. "It'll take a few weeks to get the house set up and fixed. And make sure the monkeys aren't sentient and trying to take over the world." He leaned on the table. "We need to know if you're going with her."

"I..." She looked then nodded. "She'll be miserable without people. What about her instagram thing with her new pictures?"

"I spotted those recently. She looked hot." He grinned. "You can turn off location on pictures, Jane. Or we can set it up so it leads them to Alcatraz or something."

"She might like that. She likes feeling pretty." She considered it. "I wouldn't mind going with her. It would be safer and there'd be less interference with seeing the stars at least."

He nodded. "That's what we figured." He tapped the table a few times. "We'll send you down with guards at first, for at least a week, to make sure the security's tight. We'll make sure it's workable and you guys have what you need. Apparently it's got good growing land because the packs of monkeys have been eating from apple trees." She shook her head quickly. He showed her pictures. "Barton was on the survey team. He found both those types of monkeys."

"Breeder let them loose or something?"

"No clue." He grinned. "Have fun finding that out?"

"I'm pretty sure I will. That's really weird."

"It is. But that's your sort of science anyway."

"Point." She smiled. "Thank you, Tony."

"Welcome. We'll miss Darcy nagging you and Bruce to eat and sleep." He got up and walked off. The guard went with him since they didn't need privacy anymore. Jane got up to start her cleaning up of her lab to move it to South Carolina.


Darcy looked around the temporary safehouse and then at the guys with her. They both shrugged. She sighed and headed into the kitchen then came out with a list to hand over. "Groceries please?"

"Of course, Lewis. Safer than getting things ordered." One of them went to get them and the other stayed with her in case one of the idiots had found them. He'd wonder about the baking supplies but some people did really bake and cook. Darcy Lewis apparently stress baked.

They'd so need the gym after a month of watching over her.


Frank Castle came back from scouting the island, shaking his head. "So very weird. The monkeys are cute and up trees, and on the porch. They just stared at me like I'm stupid for walking upright." Darcy nodded, getting off the small boat they had bought for trips into town. She and Jane followed him up the pathway, which was nicely paved with brick paving stones, to the house.

It was an old, blue house with a porch that went along the whole front of the house. The windows were large and evenly spaced in sets along the front of the house. The doors were a double set that had a brass handle with an old style key. Frank had the key so he opened the door and looked around before letting the women in.

Jane looked around the open rooms on either side of the doorway. "Sitting rooms?"

"They call them parlors," Darcy said. "Rooms for formal sitting and important but not family meetings. The same as the windows are so large because they used to tax doors. So they made the windows accessory doors to avoid it." She smiled at Frank. "Who picked haint blue for the house?"

"What now?"

She waved a hand. "My grandma was from Georgia. Haint blue is from this area and it's usually used on a porch ceiling to confuse spirits. They won't try to come in since they think that's the sky's color instead of a ceiling. They won't try to haunt an area."

"So painting the house that color means any spirits would avoid it?" he said. She smiled and nodded. "Good to know. Murdock might like that shade of blue."

"The only thing haunting him is his ex-girlfriend," Darcy quipped. "I met her last week when she tried to sneak in the wrong window. She thought we were dating and I had to straighten her out about you two guarding me for a few days, then that he was up the hall by two doors."

"She nearly missed and knocked on my door," Frank complained. "But thankfully he kept her from shrieking with whatever he did to her." He walked them around. The formal dining room was nicely large with more windows. And an old style wooden table with eight chairs. Darcy pushed in one slightly since it was askew. The kitchen was on the other side of a swinging door and it was large, bright, and shiny. Frank looked. "Looks like Stark fixed in here too. It looks like a spaceship."

Darcy nodded. "Car bumper. Stainless steel always reminds me of car bumpers or restaurant kitchens." Frank laughed, nodding that was true. She looked at the counters. "That's marble. Janey?"

She looked at the counter behind her. "Not marble but some sort of stone," she said, running her fingers across it. They spotted the small table in the kitchen and pushed the chairs in as they walked past it to the back porch. Which covered most of the back of the house but missed one area to the right side. Jane looked then at Frank, who had a map. "Mine?"

He pointed out back. "Garage." She strolled that way to look. Darcy and Frank followed, just in case. All her machines were in there but the boxes had been ripped into. All her pens were scattered around the floor.

"Monkeys," Frank decided. Jane picked them up and closed the box again then they went back to the house. "Enclosed pool house," he said with a point. "Surrounded by plants." Darcy went to look in a window, nodding. He looked over her shoulder. "That's gotta be one of the people from that other portal." The girl squeaked and yelped, then dived down in the water. They walked on.

"I wonder if we look ghostly to them," Darcy said, looking at Jane.

"Probably," she agreed. "Most likely it's a very thin protection between the portals."

Frank led them back inside. "Foster, your bedroom suite is down here." He walked them that way. Jane sighed in pleasure at the room. It was decorated in her own furniture from her mom's place, and looked comfortable. It had a fan above the bed moving slowly. There were two free standing wardrobes, some built-in shelves, and a door to her bathroom. Which had an ancient looking claw foot tub.

It had a few scratches so it wasn't new, and it was deep enough for Thor to sink up to his shoulders. The pretty pedestal sink was across from it and the toilet was in a separate room with a fan. She had a full length mirror on the water closet door and a small set of shelves for towels, washcloths, and anything she needed for girlish needs like tampons and makeup. There was a tray waiting on top of the sink for when she was in the tub too.

Jane smiled. "This is beautiful. Someone did great."

"I can't believe this is my first house," Darcy quipped, heading out to the main staircase by the front door, heading up to see her room. Frank followed casually. Darcy opened a few doors to find empty bedrooms until she found hers. Single, unassuming door. Kind of looked like a linen closet. Opened into a bedroom the size of a ballroom. There was a large pecan wood four poster bed with mosquito netting around it.

Her brass vanity table was in one corner, between windows so she had good light but it wasn't direct. She had two ceiling fans to move the room's air. Hers had lights too. She looked in her dresser, which looked extra cheap next to the fancier furniture. There was a dresser in there so she might switch things over later.

The bathroom had smaller double doors, which led right into a huge tub. Still a claw foot tub but it was huge, big enough for three Thor's to sink into up to their armpits side-by-side. And another ghost. Who stared at her. "Hi, I'm Darcy Lewis. I just bought the house on this side of the portal or whatever is joining us." She smiled. "This is Frank Castle, he's guarding me and Jane for a few days. She's got a room downstairs."

"I'll tell the guys in charge about that," the woman said. "We knew something was weird. Especially after Katya went squealing that she had seen people in the pool."

"That was us looking in probably." She grinned. "We can talk later? We just got here and apparently this is my room. We can share. I lived in a dorm so I can share the bathroom. Totally not a problem for me."

"Cool. We'll talk later tonight, Darcy Lewis." She smiled. "Be safe and watch out for your monkeys. They like shiny things."

"They tried for Jane's pens," she agreed with a nod and a grin. "Jane's a scientist so you guys can talk to her later too."

"That's fine." She waved a hand. "Go rest, girl. You look exhausted."

"It's been a bad month," Darcy admitted, going back to the main bedroom, closing the bathroom doors. "She seems pretty nice."

"She did," Frank agreed. "I'll make sure Foster knows that they'll show up to talk later." He went to do that while Darcy finished her unpacking. The dresser had clothes already so she didn't move hers over yet. She did lay down to rest. When she woke up it was dusk, so early evening, and she had two monkeys staring at her.

"Hi," she said quietly. "Are you friendly or mean?" She smiled and held out a hand. One of them sniffed it and they ran off. "Okay, sorry I stink like a human. I'll wash my hands in a minute." She got up, knocking on the bathroom door before going in to use the enclosed toilet and then wash her hands and fuss with her hair. She put back on her shoes to go downstairs.

She'd go shoeless when she was sure there wasn't a reason for her to worry about having to run outside. She walked into the kitchen. "Two monkeys sniffed me but they must think I stink since they ran off." She sat at the table with Jane. "Did he tell you we met one of the other people?"

"He did." She sipped her cup of coffee. "We went looking at the other doors and ran into one that goes to a shower instead of a closet pantry place." Darcy giggled, shaking her head. "Seriously! Warm, bright, stone shower. No one in it though."

"Huh." She got up to look at their groceries. "What am I making for dinner?"

Frank grunted but shrugged. "Make something, Lewis. I'm not that picky."

She looked at him. "I'm a pretty decent cook, Frank." She looked at Jane.

"Not chicken?"

"I actually suck at frying chicken. I never learned the right way so it comes out weird." She looked again and got into making the frozen ravioli and some sauteed vegetables for now. It'd go well. She brought over bowls once she was done, letting Jane unpack plates, cups, and silverware. They settled at the table in there to eat, Frank Castle staring at the ravioli. "It's small batch, hand made but frozen for easy shipping," Darcy told him. "They do it in St. Louis, the same people that make the baked raviolis that're real nice to nibble on."

"Never had those," he admitted, eating his first bite and chewing slowly then nodding. "Weird it was frozen but not bad."

"I don't have a pasta roller," Darcy quipped. "I have a mixer that could use an attachment for that but it's in storage." Jane pointed so she went to look, hugging her mixer and blender. Then she came back to go back to her dinner. "Anything else weird we found?"

"Not yet," Frank admitted. "That shower closet needs watching and I locked the door so they can't come through."

"Thanks, Frank." Darcy grinned. "The overall security system?"

"Tight," he agreed. "Outside anyone from that other portal area. Or however they had the flying dinosaurs."

A male voice sighed as he walked into the kitchen. He was clearly from that side of the portal. He had an eye patch, dark brown hair, was a white guy who looked pretty fit but not overtly muscled. He looked like he could be Frank's younger cousin. "Technically that portal can open twice a year, summer and fall solstice." He got some coffee and sat down. "Hi, Xander Harris." He grinned.

"Darcy Lewis, Dr. Jane Foster, and this is Frank Castle. He's guarding us." Darcy held out a hand, letting him shake it. "You guys are a lot more solid than I thought you'd be."

"The portal's semi thin today," he admitted. "So what brings you to South Africa?"

"We're off South Carolina."

"Huh." He nodded once and sipped his coffee. "Damn, someone does that great." Darcy beamed at him for that. "I gotta learn how. Rotten coffee happens too often in my life." He took another sip, looking at her. "So why the relocation to a mystical powerpoint of stupid things?"

"I'm under protective custody," Darcy said. He winced but nodded. "The house and island are part of the settlement."

He grinned. "That's cool. We're pretty chill neighbors most of the time. Almost nothing on our side attacks our house." He looked at Castle. "You look like a comic book we have. The Punisher but he had just turned into Deadpool when he accidentally got joined by some Watcher in the universe."

"Well, I am the Punisher," he admitted. "But Deadpool's pretty weird and I'd hate to be joined to him in any way. Wade gives everyone headaches."

"I liked Wade the few minutes I talked to him," Darcy complained.

"Yeah, I've had more than a few minutes talking to him, princess. He's weird." He looked at Xander again. "Would the comic book thing be you over here?"

"I have no idea. I haven't broken through that portal yet. Nearly to go put the dinosaurs back. By the way, they're Pterodactyl." Jane moaned but nodded once, sipping her coffee. "We have a few that pass onto our side but we let the demons eat them mostly so we're not using crossbows on them."

"No guns on your side?" Frank asked.

"Yeah, but crossbows are really handy when you're hunting demons and I deal with training the young women who hunt problematic and dangerous ones." He grinned. "I'm a watcher, no matter how much I don't want to be."

"I saw.... they had a poster with you on it on Asgard. Something about a slayer trainer." Xander grinned and nodded. "So you're a comic book on Asgard. Okay, that makes some sense. Is there a portal to Asgard here?"

"No. Thankfully. We had one on our side and got sneered at until two teenage girls took down all those warriors and then saved their asses. They were not amused to slink home before the girls decided who'd get to claim them as warrior boyfriends." He grinned. "They didn't want to deal with warrior teenage girls. They have that problem a lot."

Darcy and Jane shared a look then Darcy grinned. "We'll pass that story on to the Asgardians we know so they can go find those guys." Xander grinned back. "Jane's got her lab out back in the garage. Will that bother you guys?"

"We don't have a garage. We have a hellmouth." Jane raised an eyebrow. "Not named by us but it's a thin spot between realms and many of them are considered hell realms."

"So is earth sometimes," Darcy said.

Xander grinned and nodded. "Yeah, we're considered one too." He finished his coffee. "So, first night in?" They nodded. "Only one type of the monkeys are from ours. The gray ones came over the last time the portal was too thin."

"The orange ones?" Frank asked.

"There had been a zoo near here but there was a huge storm and the animals got out. On your side. They caught most everything but some of the birds and your orange monkeys. There were only four at that time but hey, babies." Darcy smiled and nodded. "Ours were about twelve but again, babies do happen." He looked at Frank.

"There's not much weird things that'll cross over. Usually. Now and then a demon may but most of them are higher level and thinking, speaking, reasoning beings instead of grunting, attacking, or sacrificing sorts. Including one of my girls' boyfriend. He's nice, but the's huge, blue/purple with a teal face marking, and super hairy. But he was a literature major and wooed her with poetry." Jane ducked down to hide her smile from that.

"We can learn to get along, ladies. I'm surrounded by girls all the time, I learned how to get along with women." They smirked at him. "The one you met earlier, that's not her room, she was waiting. On our side, that room is never used because the hellmouth seems to radiate into it. The girls sometimes sneak in to use the tub, because it's huge, but otherwise we don't use that bedroom."

"Jane's is down here," Darcy said with a point.

"That was Sophie's room, but she's off at college for the next four years and probably won't be coming back here if she doesn't retire. I can keep the girls out of there, Jane."

Darcy waved a hand. "If the girls want to use the pool I'm okay with that. I won't usually run over anyone if I'm swimming so that's cool if they want to use it even if we're in there. I don't want to displace you guys."

"That's nice of you." He smiled. "It's kinda hot down here."

She nodded. "It probably is just as hot here in South Carolina." He nodded he agreed. "They said they found a closet that led to a shower?"

"Not on our side," he said. "We've found all the thin spots. There's one in the pantry, and the girls will steal cookies if they find any. Where is that one?" Frank got up to show him. He held up a hand and walked off, coming back with a small device and a laptop. "That's on your side to your realm, not to here. You have another one around here." He went to find it and opened that door to show Frank, who groaned as he closed it. "I'm hoping that's a burger factory."

"I can set up a camera to make sure," he promised, leading the way back into the kitchen. "That's to a shower in our realm."

"Great!" Darcy said with a grin. "Can we lock it before some sweaty, fat, balding guy comes through in just a towel when we're pre-coffee?"

"Gladly," Frank agreed with a nod. Xander's laptop beeped so he went to lock it down now and block the doorway.

Xander grinned. "You never know, they might be cute."

"Maybe," she agreed with a grin. "But men around Jane are often scared of her brains."

He nodded. "So am I but that's just trauma from my former best friend." He grinned. "She's super smart and a witch."

Jane shuddered. "Oooh, that's a bad combination."

"Yeah, just a bit. But being a dog is fun," he finished with a smirk. She shuddered. "I'll show up to let Darcy pet me if she does it again." Darcy nodded, patting him on the hand. "But we'll learn to get along."

"Can we ease the portals so they're not dangerous to your people?" Jane asked.

"No idea. The only thing I deal with about the hellmouth is swearing at it when it wakes me up or when it tries to cuddle me because apparently it's having nightmares." He shrugged but grinned. "I wouldn't mind if you worked on that. As long as it won't hurt us. We're used to weird. It's kind of our calling you might say."

"She's rebuilding the Rainbow Bridge to Asgard," Darcy said.

Xander grinned. "Proventhal and Miran. Sometime in the sixteen hundreds." She wrote that note on her phone. "If you can't find it, let me know and I'll try to find you a copy. May not be for a few weeks. We have a battle in about two days." He grimaced but looked at Darcy. "Nothing should come through."

"Frank will still be here then and we can both fire a gun."

He nodded. "Won't help a whole lot. Heads have to come off, dear." He grinned. "Use a bigger gun."

"I have two," Frank called.

"Thanks. We have a battle in a few days."

"Good luck, kid."

"We do try to win." He looked at Darcy again. "You guys settle in and rest. It's a big stress on moving day." He winked at her and got up, taking his laptop and machine with him to go talk to his girls. That way they didn't bother Jane or Darcy. Or flirt with Frank. He looked like he'd be annoyed at flirting.

Darcy looked at Jane. "So this is my first house." Jane hugged her but got up to go check her lab and start the setting up process. She got Frank more coffee, going to hand him the cup. "Here. Do we need stuff to pick up tomorrow? I can do a pick up order from Target or wherever."

"Probably not. I've got a remote camera we're borrowing to see that one area to make sure it's a meat packing plant." He took his coffee to sip. "Go rest, Lewis. We'll explore the lands tomorrow." She nodded, going up to her room to arrange things. He shook his head, sending in a report to Maria Hill, and Tony Stark because he was nosy. He'd hack it anyway.

Darcy looked in the dresser that had been left, finding different clothes now. "Thank you, whoever left me those. I don't think they'll fit. They're for skinny bitches, and I'm more thicc." They shimmered and changed to flirty nightgowns. "Those are adorable but no boyfriend here, dear. Thank you. Maybe tomorrow, once we're settled in?"

The nightgowns stayed so Darcy stripped down to her bra and panties, climbing into bed that way. She heard someone yelling about the hellmouth being flirty and matchmaking like an old auntie but it was a young woman's voice. Darcy snickered. "I'd never hit on a girl, sorry, hellmouth or whatever you're named. You have to tell us if you have a name. Jane will want to know."

Out in the lab, a pen scrawled a name on the wall, making Jane stare at it oddly. She took a picture of it to show Darcy tomorrow. "Sure, I'll look that up, portal thing. Thank you for giving me that information." The pen dropped.

Frank heard a voice from that shower portal. "I tell ya, it was glowing," the male voice complained. "It's weird and it glowed like around a doorframe." Frank moaned. They sounded young and that guy sounded like an Eastern European.

"It's probably something sparking behind the tiles," a male, Australian voice complained. "The house is old, Tompkins. It's not that weird." Frank considered it then moved the blocking board to let it ease open a tiny bit. "Shit! What is that!" the Australian voice complained. Frank made sure it was shut and blocked. He loved fucking with dumbasses. It'd frustrate them for years. Or they'd abandon that house so it'd be less dangerous for the ladies.

Frank made sure to turn the lock loudly enough that it was heard on that side. So yup, they'd be leaving that house. The Australian one had said so as he stomped off. Frank grinned to himself. That was very good to know. That camera came active so he sent a note to Hill to log into that camera. She did and got disgusted and sent police there to stop them. Yup, it was in their realm, not Harris' realm, and the police were disgusted too. But they quit putting people into the meat grinders.


Maria Hill looked at the first night report, blinking at it. "Where do I know that name from?" she muttered, looking it up. "Damn it, it's a comic book world," she complained quietly. "Phil?" He came out of the office from nagging Nick Fury about leaving his LMD while he went on a mission. "Know anything about these sorts?" Coulson was a comic book geek from childhood. He might not know much but he'd probably heard about it at least.

"Hmm. Slayers. Mystically chosen female warriors, though they're usually called as teenagers. The series was about one who was called in high school and her team of fellow teenagers. If they're older then it's probably past the time of the comic books as they ended about a year after they graduated." He looked at her. "But they're good guys who fight demons."

"Great. Would anything in that explain the portals on that island?"

"Yes. They're sitting on top of a mystical sinkhole or something called a hellmouth if I recall correctly." He looked it up. "Yes, it is. It's a thin spot between realms." She moaned but nodded. "I'm sure Foster will have some fun with that."

"She probably will. Lewis won't mind the company. The dinosaurs?"

"Film taken look like Pterodactyls." She blinked at that. "No clue why. We can send someone to talk to them?"

"Maybe. If it happens again."

"That's fine. Did Lewis really out me?"

"Not by name. She mentioned she had an idea to remove Nick and he shot back that you were dead. She apparently has pictorial proof from the London cleanup."

"Charming of her." He walked off to go back to nagging their boss/friend.

Maria Hill sent Castle an email about things, getting one back about what the kid had said. "Oh, the Pterodactyls come every summer and fall solstice," she said loudly enough to be heard in the office. Phil Coulson looked out at her. "I'll make sure they have a weapon and someone to use it," she decided. "Summer solstice is in three weeks." Coulson withdrew with a smile. It wasn't his duty at least.


Frank came to the kitchen the next morning for his coffee, pausing by the two portal doors. The one to the meat grinder place was quiet. There was a voice but it was saying cop things so he left them alone for now. That door rattled so he opened it and stared back. "It's a portal to South Carolina. That's why we called you." The officer there just nodded and backed away slowly. Frank grinned. "The ladies who live here don't want any problems or anything like that going on around them, guys."

"Gladly, sir. Can we shut that down?"

"Not sure yet. It's locked and blocked on this side." That got another nod so Frank reclosed it and reblocked it. He listened at the other one. There was some new guy, American, New Yorker if he was right, complaining about his shower being haunted. He laughed loudly, making someone on that side yelp and run away loudly. Frank smirked at the 'what the fuck'. Yup, it was a New Yorker about to have conniptions. He could run him out of that house there. That way Darcy would be safer.

He went to start the coffee maker Darcy had set up late last night when she had gotten up thanks to the monkeys. It was still great coffee. Though two cups were broken so he'd have to do something to keep the monkeys out of the house. He did clean up the mess. Foster wouldn't notice anything before coffee and Darcy might not if she was still tired. Jane stumbled in so he handed over the mug he had waiting on her. She grunted and inhaled the first cup. Then she moaned before going to sit down.

Frank heard the door to the shower area rattle so he got a gas canister from his kit and set it off with the nozzle under the door. He heard whoever that New Yorker was choke and splutter then order people to leave it alone for now. That worked for his needs.

A big, hairy creature showed up to sniff at the door. "Good prey. We'll have fun with them." Then he grinned and winked at Frank before disappearing again.

"Thanks," Frank told him quietly. That did probably help whoever was on that side flee for their lives. He went back to start more coffee. Jane was asleep on the table. Darcy was coming down the stairs slowly. "I'm making a second pot."

She came in with a grin. "Thanks, Frank. Jane's...." He pointed. She sighed but nodded. "Pretty usual whenever we go anywhere. She learned that move from conferences." She got her own cup, frowning in the cabinet. "Were some broken?"

"On the floor when I came in."

"Damn. I need to get a few more." She made a note on her phone about what she needed. "Can we find a way to keep monkeys out of the kitchen?"

"No clue yet. We'll have to check with someone like a zoo."

"If I knew a zookeeper..." She sighed but sipped and moaned. "Nice job. Thank you." She patted him on the arm. "I saw the boards?"

"Blocking them. The one to the meat packing equipment is still filled with cops. I scared the shit outta them. So they'll leave it alone. We can remove that board later." She nodded. "The other one...." He smirked before taking a sip of coffee. "Well, I tried to scare 'em off."

"I like that you're scary to bad guys but not to everyone." She patted him on the arm, going to the table. "Jane, it's morning," she called loudly but out of reach of Jane's swatting at her. "Jane!" She blinked at her. "Good morning. You're in the kitchen."

Jane sat up, pushing her hair back. "At least I wasn't having a Thor dream." She got up to get more coffee. "Thank you, Frank."

"Welcome, Jane." She went back to the table with her new cup and stared at Darcy until she sighed and got up to cook.

Frank wouldn't say anything about Jane expecting Darcy to do all the wifely things for the pair of them. It wasn't his place. Jane needed to do some science later. Darcy clearly wasn't mad about it. So not his business at this time.


Jane came in that night. "I'm replacing you with three monkeys. They all helped today by handing me things I needed and only got it wrong twice."

Darcy stared at her. "Sure, they can make you coffee too." Jane rolled her eyes but hugged her. "I'm getting babyproofing stuff to keep them out of the cabinets and pantry."

"That's fine. Teach me how to open them?"

"Probably, yeah." She looked at the monkey in there. "Hey! None of that in here!" She pointed. "Do that outside!" It ran outside to finish peeing. Darcy got to go clean up the mess. Jane was laughing. "Not like I want them to do that in here when I'm making us food, Jane."

"No, I wouldn't either." She settled down to watch Darcy do things. "What did you do today?"

"I found the colony's trees. They're by the other dock. Frank thought they might like a tree house to inhabit instead." Jane nodded once, staring at her. "I called a zoo that's known to be good and asked them if I should be wary of planting anything since there's a wild monkey here. They were not amused about wild monkeys but I took a picture of it and sent it. They're still not amused. They said we should be okay with any plants and they'll pick what they want." Jane nodded again.

"They wanted to come gather them but I pointed out they were settled here and they weren't *much* of a nuisance. They had broken into the kitchen to break a few coffee mugs but otherwise they were probably okay. They'd been here for years. So we may get a zoologist here in a few days. I admitted that we had more than one and took better pictures when he caught that slip." She grinned. "He groaned so nicely. He's cute on the show about that zoo too."

Frank came in. "The zoo guy was not happy we had wild monkeys here but at least they haven't really spread to the mainland. He's thrilled that Darcy's trying to be good with living beside them at least."

Darcy nodded. "He was happy I'm thinking about things that could hurt them. I asked about babyproofing the cabinets and he agreed it might be a great idea." Jane nodded again, staring at them. "And we found the portal for the pterodactyls. It's got a proto portal that you can barely see through." Jane moaned. Darcy grinned. "We need to build stuff for the monkeys to fiddle with. The zoo guy suggested a few balls or something and planting more fruit for them to steal."

Jane nodded at that. "That's fine. I know you're looking forward to having a garden." Darcy grinned and nodded. "We can plant some berries or something if you want. You can buy berry bushes and fruit trees at Lowes."

"We can do that." She looked at Frank, who nodded at that. "Do you think we can figure out how to plant them?"

"Probably not that hard. You can plant bamboo too but it'll be an invasive species that'll take over the island." He watched her clean up. "Monkey?"

"Yeah. I have no idea how they got in last night."

"There's an open window in the attic."

"Is the attic super creepy like a horror movie?" Darcy asked.

"No clue," Frank admitted. "We can go look up there tonight." She nodded and they went to make sure all the windows and doors were closed. They found the attic door open and Frank went up first then waved Darcy up. They looked at the stuff up there in boxes, which had been left by the last people. Frank found the propped open window and closed it with a sigh.

A monkey out there threw a monkey fit but oh well. They didn't need in the house without warning. Darcy had to change her sheets thanks to monkey spot marking. She got to flip the mattress too with Frank's help. Then they closed all the doors and windows before going to check the other rooms. One other open window got shut and they went down to eat on the back porch. The monkeys would get used to that.


The zoologist and veterinarian showed up together a few days later. Darcy met them at the dock, smiling and waving. "Hi, guys. I've seen you both on the show. Welcome to my hiding spot from people who want to take me out."

They nodded. "We won't note where the island is," the vet said patiently. "You're Miss Lewis?"

"I am. I'm Darcy. Frank's up there on the porch staring at the portal where the pterodactyls are. The monkeys are presently trying to help Jane by picking at her duct tape. They hated the ball by the way." She led them up to the house. "Frank? It safe?" she called.

"Yeah, it's fine. I've got six baby monkeys trying very hard to use me as a babysitter. I'm not like Barton, guys. I don't really understand monkeys. I only get dogs." They yelled at the new people. "That's good you do that, guys. Settle down for now?" He petted one and that one glared at him but stared at the new people. "Foster!" he bellowed. "Vet's here!"

Darcy got something out of the house and came out to open the jar. Suddenly, a lot of monkeys were getting nosy and coming to see why. She put the jar down, letting them tip it over to get the nuts and then play with it since it was a plastic jar. She looked at the zoologist. "We've been here for four days now."

"That's not a bad thing." He picked up one of them to look at. "They're not scared of people."

"No, Crappy there isn't. A few still are. He likes to try to crap in the corner of the kitchen," she told them at the curious look.

The zoologist smiled. "They can do that." He settled down to look at the rest of the pack of monkeys. "The troop looks pretty healthy. How did they get here?"

"The gray ones, they came through a portal apparently. We're told the tamarins came from a small zoo like place that got destroyed in a storm."

"We heard about that and that they had missed a few of the birds and a few monkeys. They thought they had died," the zoologist said. He let one of the tamarin sniff his hand, getting it batted at. "I know, I'm a human and I work with a lot of other monkeys too, scout. Can I look at you?" The tamarin climbed up Frank's shoulder, getting a look from him. It tried to groom Frank's hair, getting a head shake for it. But he did let them see the babies that were treating him like a toy. "They all look pretty healthy. No fleas or any other parasites I can tell. Is that portal still open?"

"No. We get some ghostly people." She pointed. "She's from over there. Hey, can Xander come talk about the monkeys?" she called.

"Better than him grumping at us about training," she called back. She grinned and waved. "Hi." She disappeared as she jogged off.

"All we know is that's not here," Darcy said. "And over there is somewhere near South Africa."

"That explains how African monkeys got to South Carolina," the vet said. He checked another one, getting an odd look for it. "You look healthy. You've clearly got a good diet since you're chubby."

"They've been eating a lot of the apples," she said with a point at a nearby tree. "Can I plant grape vines for them?"

"They eat a lot of fruit and vegetables. They'll probably steal out of your garden," the zoologist said. Then a guy who looked ghostly came over. "How long have the monkeys been here?"

"At least two years." He sat down, waving at one. "I saw one like you earlier. It tried to cook itself by climbing into the oven." He looked at Darcy. "You good?"

"So far. We're planning on planting things."

"The ones near us hate lettuce. Then again, so do we. Even the girls." He grinned. "They do eat bugs too."

"If they'll eat flies and mosquitos that'd be great," Darcy quipped with a grin.

The vet nodded. "They could. Possibly up to mice." He checked another one. "You've had a broken finger." Darcy looked then sighed. "It's fine, it's healed, but it broke sometime in the last few years. This one's probably about five."

Darcy looked. "Crappy, stop it! Use the grass!" She pointed. "Now please! No peeing on Jane's things! She'll growl at you!" She stomped a foot and pointed again. It ran into the grass to finish peeing. "Thank you! Good boy." She got a few nuts for him. She gave the staring duo a sheepish look. "I don't want them peeing in the house. I'll have to clean up a mess daily. They managed to sneak in last night somehow and one tried to pee on a couch. I had to flip my bed over thanks to one. I had to defend the kitchen. I don't mind the monkeys but I can't stand to clean up that much pee."

"Most of them would probably pick a spot to use so that's not a problem. Training them like dogs, well, we don't do that and we try to be more hands off but you can't really do that down here." He looked around. "Is this all of them?" Xander and Frank both pointed at a tree, letting them look at the adults up there. "That's a lot for this island. We might have to thin the troop."

"We've had three that tried to get onto the boat when I ran out for milk," Darcy said. "We had to keep Frank on the boat to hold the one that did manage it without us noticing."

"The young adults might be easier. They're mostly a separate group," Frank offered. "That group is mostly ignored by the main herd."

"It's a troop," the zoologist said with a smile.

"They run and flee like horses when the phone goes off," Frank told him. That got a nod. "They're mostly good but I found two of them playing with my knife earlier." He glared at that one, who laughed at him. "Yeah, you."

Darcy grinned. "If I get a dog, will they hurt it?"

"No, they shouldn't. They might play with it," the vet said. "Are there other animals?"

"Some birds," Darcy said. "The portal that opens twice a year to some sort of dinosaur isle."

Xander snickered. "We sent through a probe and it's a south pacific island. Has pterodactyls." They gave him such an odd look so he led them to it so they could see. The vet moaned and nodded. The zoologist was just staring. "It opens on summer and fall solstices. Last year we almost came all the way over to fight them because they were being little destructive assholes.

"Oh, and she does have some bats on the backside of the island." He pointed that way. "There's a small colony of them back there because we ran into them by accident. It made the girls freak out and run for their lives." He led them back to the house, letting them check the rest of the monkeys. "Did you manage to keep them out?"

"Almost. We still had a few that got in somehow. They were in the kitchen when I got up."

"I checked all the windows. They got one open somehow," Frank agreed.

"I'm not against thinning the troop if it won't hurt them," Darcy told them. "I'd never want them hurt. I have no idea what to do if one falls and breaks their arm or something. That's why I wanted to get some advice on things."

"Well, the island can probably hold about two troops," the zoologist said, petting the monkey trying to climb him. It tried to get his glasses. "No, I need those," he said gently, petting it. It made some noise and tried to get them again so he moved them to cuddle instead. It flipped over and he let it then patted it on the back, eventually moving to use his nails to pet him since he seemed to like that. "You've probably got about four troops here. So we should thin the troops to keep them healthy. Taking the outcasts and the young adult troop would probably handle most of that." The vet nodded. "They seem healthy enough, unless something about those portals have affected them. Then they might get a bit sick for a few days without it."

"If so, we can bring them back," the vet agreed. "The rest should be fine. They should get some yearly shots against West Nile virus and rabies. Maybe a vitamin one too. How are you going to handle winter?"

Darcy shrugged. "No idea yet. Will we get snow?"

"Probably not a lot," he admitted. "Is there a basement area?"

"Yeah, there is," Frank agreed. "They've made some nests down there so I left those windows alone."

"So they'll probably hide if they get too chilly?" Darcy guessed. The two people from the zoo agreed by nod. "I know they probably need more vegetables."

"When you plant your garden they'll steal some of it," the vet assured her with a smile. "Plus any fruit you have."

"We've seen that with apples. Are diets like that healthy for them?" Frank asked.

"They could probably use some diversity but they can handle that themselves mostly, they do in native environments," the zoologist said. He petted the one in his lap again. "You snore?" he asked with a grin. "That's cute." He looked at Darcy again. "I appreciate that you're trying to do what's best for them and leaving them native is good for them. It's a wise choice to let us thin the pack some. And some zoos really could use the new blood." She nodded. "Are you intending on living here for good?"

"Probably. I'm in protective custody and bought the house to hide here."

"That's fine. It means you can keep track of the birth rates and the like."

"At least you don't have to do what Jane Goodall did," the vet said. "She had to build it from the ground up, you've got things that're already known and studied so you can figure out work arounds. They could probably use more play things and places to climb." Jane came out shaking her head with three monkeys on her back. She let them jump off into the trees.

Darcy looked at her. "The three you wanted to replace me with?" she guessed with a smirk.

"Threw poop at a proto portal we almost opened by accident. They got very upset at the new portals." She settled into a chair. One of the three came back over to pick through her hair for her. "Thank you. That's very nice of you," she said, patting him on the leg. She looked at the vet. "They've been very helpful dealing with shiny things for me today."

The zoologist smiled and nodded. "They all like shiny things. They could probably use something like some ropes strung up randomly through the bigger trees. They'd be used to vines. We give ours things like balls to play with sometimes but half of them don't like them. Enrichment can be just boxes with treats inside sometimes. Training them to not use the bathroom in the house would probably be easily enough done. Childproofing the kitchen is a great idea." He looked at the one on his lap. "Would you like to come back to the Bronx with me?" It snored on. "Are any nursing age?"

Darcy shrugged. "I haven't seen any." She looked at Jane and Frank, who both shrugged. "We haven't seen it going on."

"So no tiny little babies then," the vet said. "Taking the middle of the groups' age would be the easiest." He looked at his coworker, who nodded.

"Things like the vaccine, is there a way to put it into a grape or something we feed them? I've seen you guys doing that on the show."

"Those are usually shots," the vet said. "It's an interesting idea if we could. I can look into that definitely. You said you were thinking about a dog?"

"Something cuddly to play with and maybe to guard a bit if someone shows up." She grinned. "Frank's dog is very cute and I nearly stole him but Dog loves him too much." Frank rolled his eyes. "But I was thinking something bigger and less than yappy but happy to cuddle and nap with me."

"The monkeys should leave them alone. A few might try to treat it like an odd beast. One or two might try to be meaner to make sure it knows who is in charge," the zoologist said. "But we haven't tested that."

"The animal ambassadors only have a few monkey species." He looked it up. "Hmm. One zoo in Germany has a tamarin ambassador for programs. It doesn't note anything like aggression to service animals but it did note that they're highly confused by wheelchairs." He kept looking. "I don't see anything on them and service animals so probably not. At the worst, try it and see and you can train them off the dog." He looked at her. She was beaming. "If you go to an exotic vet in the area they could probably handle the monkey that breaks an arm." Darcy nodded at that. Xander faded out then back in. "You okay?"

"Yeah. This isn't the weakest spot in the portal between our worlds." He shrugged. "That just means one of the girls did something with another part of it. Most likely she broke into the pantry to look for cookies."

Darcy grinned. "I did make some and leave them in there. It's like making friends of your new neighbors." She looked at the vet. "But I'm doing okay so far?"

"So far you're doing good. They're healthy. You've got decent enough plans for food for them and you've got good ideas on what needs to happen with them. We can gladly come separate out the bigger kids so they can form their own troops. It'd help a few different zoos." She beamed again and nodded. "For right now, let's get them set up to rest for the night.

"Bedtime, monkeys. Go back to your trees?" They fled and went up the trees to watch the humans. She got up. "We have a few spare rooms and I was going to work on a salad with chicken for dinner?" They nodded, going in with her. Frank figured out how the monkeys got in. One was hiding in a lower level room and let the others in. He got that stopped and put that one outside, closing the door after them. He checked all the doors and windows then went back to the kitchen.

Jane was helping by doing the grilling. The two others were making notes. Frank put in his to Hill and Stark. Hill was not amused at zoo people but agreed that thinning the monkey troops would be healthy for them. And that if Lewis wanted a dog like Frank's Dog, they could gladly send her a few. He agreed and Hill said she'd work on that tonight. She agreed the Bronx zoo wasn't a bad idea to look over the monkey troops and they did good by what she knew of them. So that was fine.


The two zoo people met with their director when they got back, while taking carriers out of the truck. They noticed the agent that showed up and held out a letter. "Agent Hill?"

"I am." She took the scouting report that Castle had done. "That's good. The monkey population is stable?"

"Very," the vet agreed. "We thinned the troops a bit but otherwise they're good."

"That's excellent. I know you won't be asked about where she is." She smiled. "If there's a problem with anything down there, let us know. We're protecting her to make sure no one tries for her again."

"We can do that." She nodded and left. The vet looked at his director. "The lady that called me is in protective hiding. She just bought the house down there and had it fixed up, got down there, and found monkey troops."

"Great." He helped carry in the last few carriers to the quarantine habitat they had set up. He looked at the carriers. "How many were there?"

"Fifty-eight monkeys between two breeds," the zoologist said with a grin. "Some sort of portal thing brought some vervet from South Africa and that zoo we heard about down there that got destroyed during a hurricane gave her a few golden lion tamarins. They've all been successfully breeding. We brought the outcast male troop and the group of young adults that had already split off. Including the one that kept sneaking in to mark his spot in her new kitchen."

"That's good." They got the monkeys set free, watching them explore the large enclosed areas. They seemed pretty happy. They found the trays of fruits and threw some of it but dug into the rest. "Is she set up to handle the ones you left?"

"She's just barely there and is planting a garden. She's making sure nothing will hurt them when she plants more fruit trees. She was trying to train them like dogs not to have natural functions in the house." The director smirked a tiny bit at that. He pointed. "She named that one Crappy for his habit of using the kitchen's corner."

"I can see why." He watched them find new spots to rest and curl up in. "Will they be fine?"

"As far as we can tell, the native energy there hasn't warped them any and she said if we found out they were, she'd gladly take them back. I promised to put in contraceptives first if we had to send any back. They had fifteen babies across all the families." That got a nod. "She's getting a dog or two too. She wanted to make sure they'd go well together."

"As far as I know. Are we going to thin the troop next year?"

"Or the year after next," the vet agreed with a nod. "She's doing her best to be responsible and understands they need to be in bigger areas but she's got forty acres of woods there. She'll keep track of birth rates and send us anything that she finds out about them or if one gets hurt. I found her a vet in the area who could handle it if one of them broke something or got hurt." He looked at his boss, grinning some. "They have a twice-yearly portal that goes to somewhere that has pterodactyls too." The director moaned, shaking his head quickly. "And it's a thin spot between us and another realm. The vervets came from over there."

"Okay, so weird things and we'll make sure they aren't harmed by the weird things or weird energies. How many zoos have vervets?"

"About seven or eight. Golden lion tamarins are a bit more common. I already gave vaccines last night and I took swabs for DNA testing. I'll send them tonight." That got another nod. One of the monkeys hiccuped and the others yelled at them but that one calmed down and got comfy again. The zoologist put in some extra water feeders and hooked on bowls for them. More food and some hay got brought in. They liked throwing the hay around.

They watched as the monkeys had some more fun. The vet smiled at the woman coming in. "They're not people reactive. They'll sit there and stare at you until you let them sniff you or hold out something shiny for them. Two of them were being petted last night. They showed up to cuddle in our laps and get petted. They demanded to be petted by pulling our hands onto them."

"So they're going to be program animals?" she asked.

"Not necessarily. They were living in family troops. They're not scared of humans but will scream at ones they don't like." She nodded, moving closer. One of them jumped over to the cage around the enclosure, reaching over to her. She cooed, moving closer. It stared at her earring. She held one out for it to feel then it chattered and went back to playing with the hay. She came back to the group and put her feathered earring back in. "Yeah, they're good. They're friendly monkeys. But they did protect the babies from us getting near them to give vaccines."

"We vaccinated all the ones we spotted," the zoologist agreed. "She's doing good trying to balance things and make sure the monkeys there are protected. I like that about her. That's why she called us."

The vet nodded. "She's not trying to domesticate or anything like it outside anti-house training."

"I appreciate that. If she moves will she give us the rest?"

"Probably. If this goes well. I looked for zoos down there. The North Carolina Zoo is the biggest near to her but don't have those two species. They do have two other primate species. They're state owned. I think they're AZA members but I didn't look that part up. There's a primate protection group down there. There's the Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia that has the tamarins but not the vervets. They are AZA members and a small zoo. The vet I found down there in case she needs one worked with North Carolina Zoo as a resident so he's got contacts. I talked to him and he agreed he'd be able to treat one if she had a big problem."

"So we're treating it like an escaped troop that's settled in place," the director said. They nodded. "That makes sense if they're not hurting anything."

"Outside her needing a new mattress thanks to Crappy in there?" The vet smiled. "She doesn't want to make them pets. Or to interfere with their natural lives. If she was that sort I'd be alarmed and talk to someone to get the troops from there."

"She's really sensible and highly overprotective of her lands," the zoologist agreed. "She doesn't want to change many things outside them using the bathroom in the house. They had already set up storm shelter in the basement and she agreed they could keep it and she'd set up more sleeping areas and maybe put up a few tree houses for them in the woods around the islands. They don't mind the bats on the backside of the island. We did decide to bring the two that kept trying to escape the island to see what else was going on. They snuck into the boat until we put them in carriers. They seemed okay with that."

"Good. Have we talked to the other zoos that have these two species?"

"I figured we'd do that most of the way through quarantine. That way we've got the genetics tested and all the health checks done. They're easy to like. We sat on the porch and they kept cuddling us until Darcy threw some vegetables outside for them. She did ask if there was a way to do vaccines by grape inserted meds. Which we haven't thought of."

The director nodded. "If you could figure that out, a lot of people would probably like that. It'd mean easier vaccine pushes." He walked off. "Keep me informed and keep good notes on that in case something happens. They get hurricanes hitting down there."

"Of course." He went back to watching the monkeys acclimate. The primate keepers came in to help him. "They're good but cuddly."

The head keeper nodded. "I can see that." The vet grinned. He could leave the monkeys with them for now.

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