_Magic Bonds _by Cordelia McCoy, Aggie Barton, & Jean Grey "There is not enough magic in a bloodline to forge an instant, irrevocable bond."--James Earl Jones/No. No, you can't eat it. Because you can't keep eating peoples stuff, and you really can't keep eating my mom's spell books/. With the large leather bound volume of spells hidden under her jacket, Cordelia headed away from the mansion and out into the wooded area behind it. There was an old, roughly built clubhouse deep inside that no one every used, or at least no one ever used it while she was there. She'd found it while looking for a place to read her books without being disturbed by family members or students, and thought that it was the prefect place given the name painted in messy letters above the door: The Shrieking Shack.
Once she and Skysong were safely inside the clubhouse, Cordelia took her backpack off and pulled out the sealed bowls of water and food she'd brought for him. She also took out her own lunch, Sky's favorite toy, and several borrowed items she'd taken from her mother's and brother's spell casting supplies. Everyone was convinced that her budding powers weren't all together magical, but Cordelia was determined to prove to everyone she was just as much a witch as her mother and Billy. I am a witch, she told Skysong through their mental bond.
"I am a witch and I'll prove it to them. I'll show them, and then, when I get bigger, I'm joining the Young Avengers, just like Billy, and Tommy, and Teddy. Then when I'm a grown-up I'm going to be an Avenger like my mommy was." She went on out loud as she set up candles and incense. "We'll both be Avengers, Sky. I'll be the Sapphire Witch and you'll be my Dragon familiar."
Once everything was in place, Cordelia sat in the middle of the floor and carefully opened the book. She was going to study each and every spell, each and every magical term, concept, and thought. And when she was ready, she'd cast a spell that would prove she was a real witch.
Aggie stepped out of the shower and wrapped a towel around herself and her long red hair. She smiled at the feel of the towels. They were a gift from one of her many 'uncles', possibly because, as Uncle Hank said, Uncle Tony still felt guilty about some things. Twenty years later and she still had no idea what he had to be guilty about but, whatever it was, whenever the subject came up, they all got very quiet and very sad. Either way, he'd given the towels, genuine Turkish towels, to her after she made a joke about having waste water by letting it air dry.
She toweled off quickly and pulled on the clothes she had set out: a pair of jeans and her dad's borrowed Avengers sweatshirt. It was movie night at the mansion and it was her turn to pick. She didn't care how much the boys complained. It was time to watch 'Robin Hood' yet again.
It was a simple summoning spell. She could do this, it was easy, even if she hadn't cast a spell in Roma before. She was a gypsy, she spoke the language, but this looked older somehow. Still, she ran her finger along the verse as she began to recite. The spell called for concentration on an element, so she chose water. As she continued to chant, she started to feel tired, but not a sleepy tired, the kind of tired she felt when her mother was teaching her how to meditate. The air started to feel warmer, the candle light danced a little more wildly against her closed eyelids, and she felt as if she were floating. Even her hair was doing that cool wavy thing that her cousin Aurora's did when she was all fiery. This was cool!
"Damn it," Aggie muttered as he attempted to tame her hair. It had a tendency to curl for some reason and now it seemed like it just wanted to stand on its ends. Even the water droplets seemed to be hanging in the air. Her eyes, as blue as her father's, narrowed in consternation. "Now that's just weird."
Cordelia moved without thought, adding things into the basin of water that was now in front of the propped up book. Oil and herbs all mixed with the water and, unknown to the girl, a strand of her mother's hair.
Aggie's nose twitched. It smelled like something burning in the hallway but maybe it was her imagination. It didn't smell like her shampoo. Somebody was using incense and that always made her..."Achoo," came the ladylike sneeze.
"Bless you, Aggie doll, and hurry about, baby," her father called from downstairs. "We're waiting for our favorite water witch."
Floating several inches off the floor, Cordelia began to chat the spell even more quickly as a sparkling blue glow stretched out from her to the bowl. On the water's calm surface, an image began to appear as if the red haired girl were on the other side of a window.
"Ha ha, Daddy. You and Cap keep your pants on," she called down with a giggle. They'd all seen the movie thousands of times but they humored Aggie when it was her turn. She was her father's daughter and, damn it, there was archery in that movie! She stepped forward, through the door of the bathroom, but it felt like when she entered any amount of water that had enough volume. She felt her body shifting, as if she was becoming Hawkeye's partner, Panjia.
Something felt strange, out of control, threatening. She couldn't handle it, yet she couldn't stop it. She'd meant to summon the pretty sculpture with colored water in it that her mother's friend Hawkeye had given her, but as she reached into the bowl of water it felt almost as if a hand were grasping her own as she pulled.
With a yelp, Aggie felt herself falling, shifting into her water form even as she fell. Then she landed. Hard. "Ooof."
Cordelia wasn't sure what freaked her own more: that the spell got the better of her, that it worked, that she was powerful enough it seemed to pull it off, or that there was a strange wet girl on top of her who seemed to come out of the bowl. "Get off!"
Aggie shoved but good, pushing herself away. It had taken her long time to perfect making herself solid at times so that she could do so but it was worth it. Otherwise, she was of no good to the team. "Who are you? Where am I?"
"Argh!" Cordelia moaned as she got to her feet. "I'm all wet. Man, my mom's gonna have a cow if I ruin another sweater." Sighing she looked up at the girl and blinked. She was real, she'd pulled a real person out of that bowl, or at least she looked real. Walking over to the other girl, Cordelia poked her. Yeap, real. "Oh crap." She bit her lip as she looked into the girl's face. She was older, a lot older, and in a strange way she looked like someone. "Who are you?"
Aggie just barely held back the punch she had readied. "Back off," she hissed. "Don't touch me again or you'll regret it."
"Okay apparently you're a bully," the blue and white haired girl replied. With hands on her hips, weight leaning on her left leg, and looking very much like her mother huffed, "Do anything and you're toast."
Flying over, Skysong landed on Cordelia's shoulder then snorted out just enough flame to look menacing.
Aggie glared. This was insane. She had no time to scout it out but this wasn't safe. Something had to be done. Somebody had to warn the team waiting downstairs. Without another word, water twisted and flattened until the shape of a beautiful young woman became a stream, one that flowed swiftly under the crack of the door.
Cordelia stared as the water slid under the door crack. "Okay that was cool." Skysong chirped her agreement as Cordelia followed the water girl. Stepping outside she looked around, wondering if the water girl would become mud girl if she did that sliding thing along the dirt packed ground.
Quickly and quietly. While she might have learned her ABCs at the private school near the mansion, Aggie learned hunting and hiding at home from the best of the best. She needed to find a scouting spot and figure out just what was going on. With a leap, she flipped up into the branches of a tree. The leaves curled about her, bending toward the source of moisture.
"Are you a new student?" Cordelia asked as she looked around for a water trail or something, as if the girl were a slug. "I was trying to get something out of our apartments in the family wing. Guess I was thinking water a little to much. Are you going to turn to mud?"
Good, Aggie, told herself. Keep talking, brat, and I'll learn more. So far she knew that this was a school and that the kid lived there with her parents or, at least, her mother. The hell? The only place she knew of like that was Xavier's and she had never even been there. Her father had adamantly refused. Now she felt automatically toward her quiver and cursed silently. Of course it wasn't there! She was going to watch movies with her father and...oh, god! Did they even know she was gone?
/Don't be stupid, she can't smell like chaos magic, I can't use chaos magic. And she does not smell like flock/, the girl replied mentally as Skysong sniffed the air. Going back into the clubhouse she gathered all their things, picked up the basin of water and took it outside to dump. "I need to get back, if you're new you really shouldn't be out here alone. It's easy to get lost if you don't know the grounds."
/"I'm telling you, Hank, I heard a thump," Clint grumbled as he stomped up the stairs. "What if Aggie hurt herself?"
"Your daughter is an Avenger, old man," the blue furred man replied calmly. "You're concerned if she tripped in her home?"
"Watch it, furball," Cap added. "That's my goddaughter you're talking about."/
/But their much adored water witch was nowhere to be found, to the point where Clint glared at Stark until the man agreed that a search was necessary. Somehow or another, an Avenger was missing./
After pouring the water into the grass Cordelia went back inside and packed the bowl away. With her backpack on her back, her dragon on her shoulder, and her mother's spell book held tightly to her chest she went back outside. "I'm going now," she called out into the trees. "You can walk with me if you'd like. Just do me a favor and don't tell anyone what happened. I'm not supposed to be playing with my mom's spell books and I'm not ready to show everyone what I can do yet."
Cripes, Aggie, thought. I get sucked into God knows where by a kid? Damn it, Daddy was right about magic. With the natural grace of her genetics honed by years of training, she dropped to the ground easily and stomped after the little Harry Potter girl. "Send me back, kid. There will be people worried about me."
Cordelia looked at the older girl as if she were nuts. "Send you back where? All I did was summon you from the mansion."
"Then send me back, Harriet Potter," Aggie hissed. "If you knew enough to pull me out of 890 Fifth Avenue then put me back. "
Her mother's blue eyes blinked as Cordelia titled her head a little to the side, which made her look very much like Hank. "But that's the Avenger's mansion, not Xavier's. I pulled you from the dorms at Xavier's." The girl stopped walking and turned to look at the older girl. "Didn't I?"
"Right. The Avengers Mansion, which is where I live, along with father and a bunch of, by now, pissed off uncles." Aggie stared down her nose at the girl, odd considering her face was water formed at that point. "Home. Now."
Cordelia crossed her arms as she looked up at the other girl. "That's impossible. One, my powers aren't that strong. Two, I happen to know the only people living at the Avenger's mansion right now are Mr. Stark, Jarvis, Kevin, Teddy and my brother."
Watery fingers were extended as Aggie listed a few of her uncles. "Me, Daddy, Uncle Hank, Uncle Tony, and Cap," she began. "Jarvis is dead. He died last year and Uncle Tony was quite upset and so were the rest of us."
"Jarvis is not dead, he's taking care of his nephew Kevin," the younger girl huffed. "And my Dad's no uncle to you, I don't even know who you are!"
"Kevin? If you mean Kevin Mac Donnell, he took over for Jarvis a few years ago after he retired," Aggie replied. If she had been in her physical form, she knew her heart would have been fluttering in her belly. As it was, there was barely a ripple in the 'skin' of her watery body but the water grew cold, very cold. "Who are you?"
"Cordelia A. Maximoff-McCoy," the girl replied. "Who are you?""Agatha Magda Barton," Aggie said carefully. No way. No, Uncle Hank was a bachelor. No. "I live at the Avengers Mansion."
"That's so cool," the eleven year old laughed. "Agatha's my middle name, I've never met anyone with it before. It's a really old name, it was my mom's old mentor's name. Ya know, I know a Magda too. Or, at least I know of one. My grandmother's name was Magda. She died though."
Alright, think, Aggie, think like they always taught you to. You get more flies and info with honey than you do vinegar...even if you do want to smack Harriet Potter here with a stick. "It was my grandmother's name, too," she replied with a watery smile. "But it's just me and my dad and my uncles now."
Cordelia shook her head. "It still can't be possible. There's no girls living at the mansion and the only girl Avenger is Kate and you're not Kate."
"Kate hasn't lived..." Aggie shifted back to her physical form, not a drop of water wasted and her clothing completely dry. "Trust me, I'm the only female there right now and all the men stay way away from my bathroom. Look, is this the same Xavier who...crap, what year is this?"
"2425," Cordelia replied. "Why? Is there something wrong with you? Did the Cuckoos mush your mind or something?"
Aggie sucked in a breath and wrapped her arms around herself, grateful she wore her father's sweatshirt because she suddenly felt cold, very cold. "I want to go home."
"You're not from the school are you, Aggie?" Cordelia asked, her heart being to pound. She was in so much trouble is wasn't funny.
"No, no I'm not. I'm Panjia, Hawkeye's daughter. We're Avengers."Cordelia blinked. "Hawkeye? As in Clint not Kate? Ohboyohboyohboyohboy." Turning she glared at the snickering little dragon. "This isn't funny, Skysong! Yes I know, you were right--chaos magic-- now just shut up! I have to think."
"Look, kid, you got me here now send me back. This is the wrong time, place, time zone...whatever you want to call it, I don't care but I do NOT belong here!" Her voice was rising steadily because she was getting truly angry. "This is not damned game, Harriet Potter, so quit screwing around."
"My name is Cordelia," Cordelia spat back as she looked at the older girl. "And I don't know if I can send you back, I don't know how I brought you here in the first place!" She sighed as she ran her hands through her hair. "I was just trying to get the pretty sculpture that Clint got Mommy for her birthday when she was still an Avenger, I didn't mean to bring anyone here from there. Wherever there is."
"Then you damned well better find out how because my father's lost enough in his life and I'm the last one he has left," Aggie said wearily. "He doesn't lose me."
No matter how much she wanted to hide this she knew she couldn't. "Ok, I guess we ask my mom. She's the one who knows about chaos magic. She'll know what to do."
It was starting to creep her out, this magic business. It reminded her of how sad her father would get when he thought about her mother and how the others just wouldn't talk about her at all. "I don't care. I need to get home. I have movies to watch."
Cordelia started towards the house yet again, this time with a huge knot in her stomach. This was really, really bad. Smiling a little in an attempt to be reassuring, bright eyes looked up at the girl with her. "Don't worry, if any one can figure this out it's my mommy. She's the best after all, not even Billy can match our mom. She's the Scarlet Witch after all."
Aggie stopped dead in her tracks as all the color fell from her face. "No," she said weakly. "That can't be. She's dead. She killed herself..." It hit her like a physical blow, one that neither Aggie nor Panjia could stand and Aggie swooned to the ground.
"Um, no she's alive, she made chocolate chip waffles for breakfast so she was in a good mood too," Cordelia replied before hearing the soft thud. "You ok?"
If she didn't move or think, she'd wake up in bed. Maybe she had a cold or something or maybe she'd wake up with her head on her father's shoulder, having fallen asleep during the movie because she was so comfortable. Blue eyes fluttered closed and stayed that way.
For several seconds Cordelia just stood there before finally asking softly, "Um, Aggie?"
She was curled up under the woven throw she'd has since she was a ten year old, a Winnie the Pooh one that poor Jarvis had mended way too many times. Her father's arm was around her as they simply relaxed after a hard day. Comfy and safe.
"Aggie?" Cordelia tried again. "You want me to get my mom and bring her here? I don't think she'll believe me until she sees you."
"Cut it out, Cap," she muttered. "You snore."Okay, the girl was nuts. "Ok, so, maybe not my mom. How about Ms. Frost? Or Aunt Jean, or a shrink?"
"Go away, I'm sleeping. Tell somebody else to shoot Galactus."Closing her eyes tightly Cordelia thought really hard, hoping one of the telepaths would pick up on it. She sighed in relief when it was Jean's voice that said she'd be right there. "My aunt Jean is coming. She'll know what to do."
Dead. She's dead. I don't know her. She killed herself because she was afraid. I have Daddy and the others. No Genosha, no boarding school, nothing like that for Clint Barton's baby girl.
"Cory?" Jean called out as she made her way towards the girl."Over here," Cordelia replied. When Jean was close enough she looked down at Aggie and pointed. "I think she's broken."
Jean went right over to the young woman on the ground. "Cory, what happened?"
"She fainted, I think, though she's kind of babbling." The girl replied as she stood out of the way.
"Who is she?" Jean asked as she examined the girl."She said her name was Agatha Magda Barton," Cory answered as she tried to stuff her mother's book into her backpack.
"Agatha?" Jean called softly. Barton? Could that be as in Clint Barton? How'd the girl get past the school defenses? "Agatha, can you hear me?"
God that sounded like Mrs. Griffin, the nurse at the school she went to, who always complained when Aggie came in with a black eye or a bruise. It wasn't ladylike behavior and Aggie hated her, enjoyed the look on her face when she and her father showed up for the father daughter dance and looked so perfect. "I'm sleeping in class, so what? We beat up Galactus last night."
Galactus? He hadn't been around for decades. "Agatha, my name is Jean Grey, you're at Xavier's. Can you open your eyes and sit up for me?"
Damn it. Damn it. She really was stuck in this freaky world? Aggie sighed and blue eyes fluttered open as she pushed herself up. "Who are you? Harriet Potter's boss?"
"My name is Cordelia," Cordelia sighed. "No, I'm her aunt and one of her teachers," Jean said softly. "Yeah, Miss Avenger from another world, she's the Phoenix," Cordelia added. Jean blinked."Great, more dead people," Aggie muttered. She sighed and pushed her from her face. "See, you're dead, too, and the little demon child there dragged me out of my nice comfy home to Bizarro world."
"I haven't been dead for quite some time," Jean said softly as she gave the girl room to get to her feet. Turning to Cordelia she asked, "What happened?"
Cordelia swallowed hard and then sighed. After taking a deep breath she began to explain the last hour.
"I'm Agatha Barton, lady," Aggie said proudly, "Clint Barton's daughter and I don't care how this little amateur did it but I want to go home."
"Cory, your powers aren't..."The girl cut the redhead off. "Magical?" She pointed to Aggie. "I performed a summoning spell out of one of my mom's books, which no one but a witch would understand, and poof, I summoned Ms. Water Avenger with the 'tude over there."
Aggie let out a sigh. "Look whatever she did, it has to be undone. Life sucks enough without this happening. First my father dies and comes back and then he finds my mother, who is quite dead, and that's where I come in. Oh and did I forget the part where mother kills herself because she was crazy as a loon and afraid she'd hurt me?"
"We'll need to speak with Wanda since it was a spell from her books," Jean replied. "Something like this could only be chaos..." She paused when the images came, memories of the girl's life, of the child listening to stories about her mother. "Oh dear."
"Did I mention the reason my father died to begin with is that my mother killed him? This magic BS is trouble," Aggie said darkly, sounding so very much like her father.
"Hey!" Cordelia huffed. "No one's putting down your stupid water powers. Just cause some loon where you come from didn't know what she was doing doesn't mean magic is bad. My mom and my brother are both very good at magic, my mom's one of the best!"
Jean laid a hand on Cordelia's shoulder. "Let's get up to the house. We can't do anything out here."
"Wanda Maximoff was a lunatic, chickie," Aggie countered. "She hurt a lot of people."
Blue silver orbs began to form in Cordelia's hands. "My mom's not a lunatic!"
Before Jean could react, one of the blue silver orbs she'd never seen the child form before, was thrown right at Agatha. "Enough! Cordelia, go to the house. Now. Agatha, I know this is a very upsetting timing for you, but please watch what you say. Now, please come with me."
"Lady, you are neither my parent nor my team boss so let's not act like it," Aggie began, straightening up after dodging the missiles. "You people shouldn't let kids play with fire."
"And you, young lady, are in a place and position where your parent and team members will do you little good," Jean replied. Now she remembered why she didn't like Hawkeye, he had the same attitude problem.
"Bug shit crazy just like Mrs. Griffin," Aggie muttered. "Where and who are we seeing?"
Jean sighed. "Possibly the only person who would know how to get you home.""Who?" Aggie asked again. "If I wanted mysteries, I'd let Uncle Tony pick the movies."
"Our Wanda," Jean answered honestly."Crap," Aggie muttered, even as she fought down the queasiness that always arose at the thought of magic. She didn't even like magic shows.
Jean felt bad for the girl so she softened her voice. "Come on, let's go up to the house."
/Clint sat down on the bottom step of the winding staircase rather heavily, mussing up graying blond hair as he ran a hand through his hair. "How can one twenty-year-old girl just disappear?" he asked the world at large.
"Relax, Clint," Tony tutted. "We're on it." / / /