This is a series of one shots that ties in with my story Crystallize. Unless you've read Crystallize it won't make a great deal of sense. But still a fun little read.

Jared wove his way around the crowd, holding 3 cups of beer in his hands. He shot off an annoyed look to a few of the STRIKE guys crowding around the doorways. The music was thumping loudly, even for the relatively early hour for this keg party. Jared had no idea who's house he was at. All he knew it was a STRIKE keg party and he wasn't going to miss it for the world. Even if he wasn't STRIKE. Something Natasha had been more than smug about to point out several times already this evening.

"Holy fucking shit, just fucking move," Jared swore under his breath as he shoved his way through the crowd. A few of the guys he'd pushed out of the way went to send him a glare, or snappy remark but stopped as soon as they saw who it was.

Jared just smirked and kept on walking. He loved the reputation he had in SHIELD. A cool look that would make Natasha proud was enough to get him through nearly anything. When that didn't work, a charming smile usually did. He finally found his drinking companions in a quiet corner tucked away in what looked to be a living room. It wasn't deserted by any means, but a lot quieter than the rest of the house.

"Beer for the Widow," Jared handed Natasha her cup. "And one for Barton. I'm seriously just going to teleport next time and bring the keg here. Why is it so fucking crowded tonight?"

"New lot of STRIKE boys in, have to break them in," Clint chuckled taking a sip of beer and then pulled a face. "Fucking gross, who was the cheap ass getting the nasty shit?"

Natasha eyed the cup like it was going to bite her. She set it down on the table and reached into her jacket instead. Producing a bottle of vodka she smiled.

"I'm not drinking that shit," Natasha uncapped the bottle and took a swig straight from it. "Isn't your sister meant to be coming tonight?"

"Apparently," Jared shrugged. He pulled his phone from his pockets and checked it again. The last message from Kari had been 2 hours ago when she stopped for fuel. She'd only be another hour away. Or less if she drove like the crazy person Jared knew his twin was. She'd left straight from work to get here by a respectable hour to spend a rare weekend together.

"Why don't you be a good twin and go and get her?" Clint asked snatching the bottle off Natasha. "We've known you 3 years and still haven't met your sister."

Clint took a swig from the vodka bottle and passed it to Jared.

"Because she hates being teleported," Jared pulled a face at the offered bottle, but took a drink anyway. "And besides, why are you so keen to meet her?"

Jared had to strangle back a cough as the harsh liquid hit the back of his throat. It wasn't Natasha's normal stuff which went down like a cold glass of water on a hot day. This one burnt all the way down and instantly made his head spin. He couldn't tell if it was really cheap, or really expensive with how strong it was.

"Curiosity," Natasha snapped her fingers to get the bottle. "She sounds badass. Besides it'd be nice to have another female around. I get sick of you boys all the time."

"She is," Jared chuckled handing the vodka back to Natasha. "If I introduce her, be nice. She's having a hard time at work at the moment. Which is why she's coming up here for a few days, hopefully it'll cheer her up."

"Who's giving her a hard time?" Natasha asked with a small frown. "And why haven't you been a nice brother and dealt with them?"

"Because I don't interfere in her life," Jared explained with a roll of his eyes. "Just like she doesn't know a quarter of the shit we do for a living. I don't remember their names, but 2 new guys at her squadron. They seem to have a bug up their ass about her being there."

"We could dump them in a hole somewhere," Natasha suggested brightly. Her eyes lighting up thinking of a new scheme. "Torture them a little bit. After all they're only pilots, they can't be too tough can they? It'd be fun."

"Take a finger or two off," Clint suggested. "I wouldn't kill them, but enough to make them back off a bit."

"I'd personally take their nuts off," Jared chuckled. "But I don't interfere. If she wants help she'll ask. We could however set her up with someone. That'd cheer her up for sure."

"I like this idea," Natasha grinned as she started to scan the room. "Does she have a type?"

"Muscles usually," Jared grinned back at the red haired assassin. "I honestly don't really know though. She doesn't keep boyfriends and she definitely doesn't bring them home with her."

"Rumlow?" Clint suggested as Brock Rumlow walked past their corner. Natasha pulled a face and gave Clint an incredulous look.

"Why would we do that to her?" Natasha snorted. "Besides he has a girlfriend at the moment. He's banging some chick from accounting."

"I'm not the gossip queen," Clint rolled his eyes holding his hand out for the vodka bottle again. "Besides I doubt him having a girlfriend would stop him."

"That's because you STRIKE boys are big sluts," Jared snorted copying Natasha exact tone. "No we're not setting her up with Rumlow. Come on Nat, you know everyone. There has to be someone better than him."

"I'm not a slut," Clint took a small swig of vodka. He grimaced as he pulled the bottle away and looked at the label. "And besides, you're the biggest slut of all of us."

"Yes I am," Jared said proudly. "So come on Nat, who else?"

"What about Riley?" Natasha asked jerking her head towards a brown haired STRIKE guy standing with a group. "He's nice."

"God no, I wouldn't do that to him," Jared laughed. "Kari would eat him alive. He's way too quiet and shy for her. Just remember this is my twin sister we're talking about. The one who doesn't have a problem walking up to guys at the bar and asking if they want to fuck."

"Fuck me I wondered where she learnt that from," Clint shot Jared an amused look.

"Not me I can assure you that," Jared laughed again. "This is the first time I've seen her in ages. She works with all guys. Where do you think she learnt it from?"

"If you went home for the holidays you might see your family more often," Clint suggested with a smirk. "You know, those people who gave birth to you? They're called parents and I'm sure they'd love their son home for holidays."

"No, no and hell no on so many fucking levels," Jared shook his head rapidly. "I'm being fucking serious when I tell you holidays are insane. You think your house is crazy Barton. It's got nothing on my family. By the way, I'm spending Thanksgiving and Christmas at your place again this year if I'm not at work."

"You always do, what's new," Clint shrugged looking completely unsurprised. "I expect something amazing for a present this year for putting up with your sorry ass."

"I expect amazing presents from both of you," Natasha spoke up. "And Clint you seriously need to make those chocolate rum brownies again."

"We got drunk off those chocolate rum brownies," Jared pointed out, smiling at the memory. "And then had to explain to Laura why Cooper was in bed by 6pm. And why he threw up half the night."

"Hence why chocolate rum brownies are now banned," Clint grimaced remembering back to that night. It hadn't been fun when his son had snuck into the batch of adult brownies. It'd been less fun explaining to his wife about it. "I'll sneak a batch in somewhere since no one else can be bothered cooking."

"Speaking of getting drunk," Jared snapped his fingers for the vodka bottle. "I plan on getting very smashed tonight. Lets get this party started."

Clint handed the bottle over to Jared who took a long drink from it. As soon as he finished, Natasha snatched it from his hands and did exactly the same. Clint grimaced watching the pair of them. He was very glad he wasn't have to deal with the aftermath of both of them tomorrow morning. Natasha was bad enough. Adding Jared into the mix usually just ended in disaster.

After half a bottle of vodka the beer tasted acceptable enough to drink. Jared half staggered through the crowd before remembering he didn't have to walk like a normal person. Grinning to himself he teleported right in front of the keg, scaring the shit out of a group of guys standing by it. Only a few of them didn't react.

"Move, Romanoff needs beer," Jared declared pushing his way to the front of the keg. "And I'm not going to be the idiot who goes back empty handed."

"Who got the stripper?" someone declared loudly from the front room.

Jared sniggered but ignored it. It wasn't an uncommon occurrence for someone to get a stripper in for the keg parties.

"Did you get a stripper again Jared?" Rumlow asked with a raised eyebrow as he came over to the keg. "Apparently she needs to be paid."

"Wasn't me, I'm not putting in for it," Jared shrugged filling the cups. It was taking a lot more concentration that he intended to show. Whatever that vodka was, it was very lethal. "I don't need to pay for sex unlike some people, or to touch women. They just throw themselves at me."

"You're such a slut," Rumlow just laughed. "Fine, I'm putting in $100. Think I'll get a personal lap dance?"

"If you're that desperate," Jared scoffed playfully. "Or she is. I'm not sure which one it'd be. I'd add more money onto it to let her deal with you."

"Fine, wanna put in for Riley to get a lap dance?" Rumlow said a little louder than before. "Cuz even I'm starting to feel sorry for him for not having a girl in ages."

"Fuck off Rumlow," was the reply from across the room from Riley. "I don't need a lap dance, I'm perfectly capable of picking up women by myself."

"Off you go then," Rumlow called back. "She's blonde and hot, have fun."

"Speaking of blonde," Jared said juggling the beer so he could take his phone from his pocket. He checked his phone to see if there was anything else from Kari. Nothing yet. She couldn't be too far away. He teleported back to the corner Natasha, Clint and he had commandeered for the night.

"Apparently we have a stripper," Jared chuckled handing the beer out. "Who did it this time?"

"Not me," Clint laughed. "Nat?"

"Innocent for once in my life," Natasha laughed as well. "Isn't it a little early for a stripper?"

"It's never too early for a stripper," Clint smirked, earning him a punch in the arm from Natasha.

"Just wait until I tell Laura that," Natasha scowled at him. "Should we go and check this stripper out?"

"I'll go, apparently she's blonde and hot so I'm half interested," Jared took a sip of beer and handed the cup back to Natasha. "Back in a sec."

He teleported to the other room where he heard the commotion from before. There wasn't a blonde female stripper anywhere to be seen. Pouting slightly Jared walked through the house, only to nearly run into someone who was walking in a hurry.

"We're going," a voice Jared knew very well said in a breathless rush. "Like now."

"When did you get here Kari?" Jared asked looking at his twin sister. She was stilled dressed in her formal uniform, minus the hat and jacket.

"Like 4 minutes ago," Kari smiled but there was a hint of nerves to it. "I'm shattered and I think I just offended someone. Can we go please?"

"Sure" Jared said with a flicker of disappointment. He'd been hoping she'd stay around for a few drinks at least. But he knew Kari wasn't really one for the party scene. Especially if she didn't know anyone there. Despite his teasing, he would have been more than happy for her to finally meet both Romanoff and Barton. He knew Natasha and Kari would get on like best friends within minutes. They were a lot alike. She did look absolutely exhausted though. His disappointment was replaced with guilt. He really should have insisted harder that he'd just go and pick her up. It was a 3 hour drive from Langley Air Base. Kari started work at 7am most mornings. It'd just made her day very long.

"Thanks," Kari looked relieved as she reached over and hugged her twin. Jared returned the hug briefly. It was really good to see her. It was so rare they got the to see each other for more than a day at a time. Having her here for the weekend would be a lot of fun. As they walked out to the car, he quickly shot off a text to Natasha and Clint telling them he was heading home early.

Monday morning saw Jared walked through the halls of the Triskelion absently flicking through his mission brief with little interest. It was a simple intel gathering mission, something that would only take him a few days. It wasn't going to be hard, just a bit tedious. He sighed in disappointment scanning over the details again. It'd been awhile since he'd gotten something exciting for a mission. At the moment there was a lot of chatter going on in the Middle East. It wasn't anything specific, but it could be something big. SHIELD wanted to be on top of it in case it turned out to be something.

"Jared," Rumlow's voice made his head look up from the folder. He raised an eyebrow at the STRIKE force member walking towards him. He stopped and stood off to the side of the busy hallway.

"What?" Jared said with a bored sigh. This conversation was already boring him and it hand't even started yet.

"What the hell did you say to the stripper to get her to leave with you?" Rumlow came to stand in front of him with his arms crossed. "We all chipped in to pay her and she just gets up and leaves with you."

"What?" Jared frowned at Rumlow. "I didn't go home with the stripper. Must be some good drugs you're on there Rumlow."

"Tall blonde chick in the Air Force uniform," Rumlow explained looking exasperated."Yes you did, a few guys say you walking out with her. How the hell do you do that?"

Jared furrowed his brow staring at Rumlow for a second wondering if he was being serious or not. Then realisation hit him.

"Oh my fucking god," Jared burst out laughing. "That's fucking beautiful. Jesus Rumlow that wasn't a stripper. That was my sister. You fucking idiots."

"Wait you have a sister?" Rumlow wasn't happy at being laughed at. "Since when?"

"Since birth," Jared kept laughing. "She's my twin sister. The Raptor pilot? Or don't you ever listen to me when I talk."

"No I just tend to tune out when you speak," Rumlow sighed heavily. He was trying to keep a frown on his face but the hint of a smile was creeping there. "So we just got played out of $800."

"And I thank you for the nice places we went over the weekend then," Jared managed to wrangle his laughter back to a quieter chuckle. "I thought she was a bit too cashed up."

"I hate you," Rumlow just glared at Jared. There wasn't a lot of malice behind it. More disappointment than anything else. "Tell her next time she comes back to DC I want my fucking lap dance."

"I won't not let my sister touch you, even if she wore a biohazard suit," Jared shook his head in amusement. "So don't even go there otherwise I'd teleport you into a black hole. I can survive in space for 20 seconds. More than enough to leave you there."

Though the last part was said jokingly. Jared made sure there was enough firmness behind the threat to be taken seriously. Kari hadn't gone into detail over the weekend what was bothering her. But it was enough to bring out the protectiveness in Jared. Hearing the hassles the 2 new guys at her squadron were giving her made him think of 103 different ways he could creatively get them to back off. He'd even gone as far as to send Natasha a text to ask if she was keen on a small side trip to Virginia to help him out. But prying gently into it to see if Kari wanted some help in dealing with it made her clam up about it instantly. So Jared left the subject alone. It wasn't going to be the end of the subject though. Jared knew it was really upsetting her and it was slowly getting worse. It wouldn't be long until he discreetly stepped in.

"Yeah yeah whatever," Rumlow rolled his eyes and turned on his heel to walk off.

"I mean it Brock," Jared called after him. The warning in his tone as real this time. "Don't even think about it."

Jared felt a slight twinge of unease. It wouldn't be hard at all to track Kari down if Rumlow actually decided to do it. He knew his sister well enough that she wouldn't knock him back either. She didn't need to get tangled up with any kind of bullshit from his work. That included STRIKE members.

A middle finger being raised was the reply Jared got from him. As soon as he was out of earshot, Jared pulled his phone out and called Kari. He tapped his foot impatiently as it rang.

Hi you've reached Kari, leave a message.

Jared hung up without leaving a message. He instantly redialled hoping she'd pick up this time. He rarely called, and if he did calling twice in a row would be enough to raise suspicion. Or make her worry enough to answer the call.

"You know unlike some people I keep normal working hours and don't tend to answer my phone during them," Kari's sarcastic tone came through the phone. She sounded completely out of breath. Jared smirked and checked his watch. It was still early, only 0635. There could be every chance Kari was doing what he thought she might be doing.

"Am I interrupting something?" Jared asked innocently.

"Yes, my morning run, what do you want?" Kari said smartly. "You obviously aren't dying so please inform me on what it is that has you ringing me at stupid o'clock."

"So I just heard a very funny story from one of the STRIKE guys at the keg party," Jared said getting straight to the point. "Apparently there was a blonde stripper come into the party dressed in an Air Force uniform, managed to wrangle $800 out of them and then just left. Any idea on who it might be?"

There was only a second pause before Kari burst out laughing on the other end of the phone. It took her a good minute to regain her composure before she could actually speak.

"Oh my god they were so dumb, they fell for it straight away," Kari's voice was strangled as she tried to speak through her laughter. "Are you angry?"

"Oh hell no," Jared laughed along with his sister. "Proud actually. Very proud. No wonder you wanted to get out of there in a hurry."

"Well this is a first, my super spy brother is proud of me being able to pull that off," Kari teased lightly. "I enjoyed having the spending money. Not all of us work for well paying government organisations."

"Some of us work for the shitty paying ones by choice." Jared teased back. "That was the best thing I've heard in a long time. Thanks for the laugh on a Monday morning. When are you coming back for another visit?"

"No idea," Kari said. "I kind of put in another request for another tour in the Middle East. Hoping I'll get it to keep my flying hours up."

"You've already done 2 tours," the news sobered Jared's mood instantly. "Why another?"

"Why not?" Kari said casually. "After all, otherwise I'm just sitting around hoping to get flying hours during the week and listening to my crazy neighbours either have loud sex or loud parties. There's nothing happening here at all right now."

"Have you told Mom and Dad yet?" Jared tried not to sigh. After just reading his mission brief, the last place he wanted his sister to be was in the Middle East. Call it hindsight, or paranoia but Jared had a horrible feeling something big was coming.

"No," Kari snorted in disgust. "I'll wait until the day I'm leaving to tell them. It'll only be 3 months like last time. What's wrong?"

Jared looked around him carefully to make sure no one important was in earshot. Just to make sure, he quickly teleported to the back of the archery field. It was deserted at this time of morning. Barton would have been either long gone, or still awhile away from making it there. Even if he was there he'd understand what Jared was about to do.

"I really don't think you should be going anywhere near the Middle East," Jared said bluntly. "Especially at the moment."

There was a long pause on the other end of the phone. All Jared could hear was Kari's heavy breathing gradually slowing down.

"This is my job Jared," Kari sounded frustrated. "I don't tell you where to go for yours."

"I know," Jared pinched the bridge of his nose trying to find the right words to describe this. He couldn't tell her any details which would just make her angry about not knowing "Just, please Kari don't. Just give it a few months."

"You can't tell me can you?" Kari sighed quietly making Jared feel extremely guilty. Although they lived completely different and separate lives, she was still his baby sister. And with that came a fierce protectiveness. Even though she didn't need it, Jared couldn't help but look out for her. He'd never admit that to her though.

"No I really can't," Jared tried to put what he needed to into words. "Please, just skip this tour. For me Kars. I may just be paranoid, but there is so much stuff going on in the world that you don't know about. I don't want you anywhere near the Middle East."

"Why though?" Kari sighed again, this time it was more in frustration "Come on Jared, I don't want details. Just give me some kind of clue here."

"I don't have details" Jared said carefully "But I am leaving for an intel gathering mission this morning."

"And I don't have the clearance level to hear or know about it because I'm not, SHIELD" Kari repeated in bored tone, the same sentence Jared had often parroted to her. "Fine, I'll pull my request. You need to set me up with one of those hot guys that were there last night though. Damn there was some seriously big muscles around."

"I am not setting you up with a STRIKE guy," Jared said jokingly instantly. Though he was very relieved to hear those words coming from her mouth. Jared had promised himself time and time again he would never interfere with his sister's life. She didn't want to be part of SHIELD and loved her job as a Pilot. He couldn't be prouder. But if there was something big about go down in the Middle East, he'd personally hack into the USAF database and make sure her request disappeared if she didn't pull it. He wasn't against playing dirty to keep the people he cared about most in the world safe and out of harms way at all times.

"Well what's the good of you," Kari joked back. "Anyway I have to go. I need a shower and I'm going to walk past the pararescue guys in uniform so they can salute me. It turns me on a bit."

"That's my sister," Jared said proudly. He meant it too "I'll let you know when I'm back. Call Mom and Dad please, so they stop bugging me about never hearing from you."

"Yeah, yeah," Kari snorted. "Bye, have fun and don't burn anything down."

"No promises," Jared laughed genuinely this time. "Bye."

The phone went dead in his ear. Jared just looked at the blank screen before chuckling to himself at Kari's antics. She definitely could still surprise him.

"For someone who's a spy for a living, you are so fucking oblivious sometimes," Clint's voice made Jared jump in surprise and look up. Clint was standing a few feet away leaning on his bow casually.

"Some people need to learn to make noise when they walk," Jared just chuckled quietly. He wasn't bothered at all by Clint's teasing. "So, you remember hearing about the stripper?"

"Yeah, what about her?" Clint asked as he picked his bow up. "Nat and I left right after you. Hows your sister who you still didn't introduce to us."

"Funny you should ask," Jared grinned. "Apparently someone thought she was the stripper for the night. She got them to pay and just walked out with me."

Clint stared at him for a moment before bursting out laughing. He had to put his bow back down on the ground he was laughing so hard.

"That is the best thing I've heard in a long time," Clint finally managed to wrangle his laughter back down to quiet chuckles. "Holy shit, we seriously need to get her back here to catch up."

"I will do what I can when I get back," Jared promised. "I have to go though. Dinner when I get back?"

"Your shout at HeeBeen," Clint was still chuckling. "Later, don't get into any mischief."

"I always do."

Jared concentrated on the room at his safe house in the Middle East. He'd been there a hundred times making it a simple teleport. One second he was standing on the archery fields, the next in the tiny dusty lounge room smack bang in the middle of Bagdhad. Jared groaned at the blast of heat hit him a second later. Nope this wasn't going to be a fun mission at all.

Authors Note.

I'd been playing with this for a little while. A random bout on insomnia and writers block just made me finish it after it'd been sitting there for months with only a few paragraphs written.

I have a few more of these floating in my head. It gives me a nice break from writing sometimes and really helps keep everything going.

Suggestions? Prompts from my fans of Crystallize? If not I just hope you all enjoyed it! I can't promise anything being added to it soon. But there will be a few more thrown around eventually.