Author's Note: Hey guys! It has been a long time since I have looked at this story but since I've been in quarantine and bored I figured, why not go back and edit some of my fanfics from years ago. This was actually a lot of fun for me and I hope to edit the entire story making for a more enjoyable read. I will be posting at the top of the chapter when it has been edited, so keep an eye out!

EDIT: 12/23/2020

A buzz of excitement filled me as I once again walked through the S.H.I.E.L.D. facility in New Mexico. My boots clicked as I walked down the hallway and my hands played with the pockets on my jumpsuit. Though this was not my first assignment, 0-8-4's continued to amaze me. I remembered the stories my parents, both agents, would tell me about magical things they would find on the job, even if they described it through fairy tales to my naive mind. I had only been notified of the classified mission a little over an hour ago, and ever since then my mind had been racing. The last 084 I had been assigned to had to do with some fallen space rock reconnaissance before the neighboring farmer alerted the local news. This was usually the nature of these secretive missions, but there was something about the tone of the missions operator that told her this one was going to be a little different.

A hand on my arm pulled me out of my introspective state.

"Hey, you look nervous. Anything up?"

My head turned to the man walking next to me, trying to cover up the genuine concern I knew was lingering behind his charming smile.

"No, I'm excited. Aren't you?" I retorted, leaning into his arm. He smelled like he always did, pine and Old Spice shampoo. The quintessential rugged man.

"I'm always excited when we're paired up together." His lips curled into a warm smile as his fingers wrapped around mine. That same smile that seemed to catch my eye at every corner of my life.

"Agent Sumner, Agent Rhodes, you're needed," a leading officer snapped. My face flushed a harsh red and I ripped my hand out of Summy's before the officer saw anything. Even though we had been dating since junior high, I still was not comfortable with public affection. This was often the source of most of Summy and my's fights: he wanted to show me off, and I wanted anything but. I always thought we were secure enough in our relationship that we did not need to flaunt it. Summy also did believe in time apart, while I thought a little longing was healthy in a relationship. You'd think after this many years together he would get sick of me, but it only seemed to make his more infatuated. The last straw was when he announced that he was applying to the same S.H.I.E.L.D. active duty base as I was, even though he knew he would've been better suited to their neighboring logistics division in the neighboring city. I was looking forward to the time apart, but instead of confronting Summy I channeled my frustration into training, spending more and more time in the gym than in the suffocating apartment we shared. But this was no way to live, and I decided that having Summy as my mission partner would be a good chance to talk about our future.

As one of the leading combat agents my job was to do all the dirty work. I trained in Chinese mixed martial arts for a good part of my youth. S.H.I.E.L.D. took notice of me while I was on a fighting tour through Europe and offered me a chance to attend their training academy. My parents, both being agents themselves, were so proud that their only daughter would be going into the family business, even though they understood little of my new duties.

Summy and I turned left into a room filled with agents dressed in casual black attire. This caught me off guard at first, I naturally assumed it would just be Summy and I on this mission, but by the look on everyone's face, my original hunch of an abnormal mission was grouping more and more plausible by the minute. With a pat on my shoulder, Summy gestured to two chairs at an empty table, where I sat with no hesitation. There was another table in the middle of the room and at the head stood a very professional Agent Coulson.

"Now," started Coulson, silencing the room, "I bet you're all dying to know the details of last night's little fiasco with our new friend, the maniac."

I tensed. I had heard mumblings around that some strange man with unearthly strength stormed the base last night. No one knew why, but I had a theory that it had to do with the alien technology we had discovered in the desert. Wasn't the first time a crazy person has attempted to break into our facility, but none of them had ever made this much of an impression.

"I can assure you we have sedated the man and he is in our containment facility," said Coulson calmly. There was an audible sigh of relief. No one wanted to admit it but the fact that this man got as close as he did to the alien technology set us all on edge.

"Is this why you called us all in, sir?" asked a woman in aviation. "To discuss some psychopath?"

"Not at all, Agent Jennings," answered Coulson, the same cool expression on his face. "We are here to discuss the 0-8-4 or object of unknown origin. Clearly it is unlike anything our scientists have ever seen. We're going to assemble a team to gather up any information they can about this object."

"How do we know we aren't going to come across another maniac as we look?" asked a man who I recognized as working in the S.H.I.E.L.D. archives. "That man seemed pretty determined to get his hands on this technology, how do we know there won't be more of them?"

"We don't" admitted Coulson. "But our interrogation team is top of the line and await for the man to awake from his sedation. If there's any information he's hiding, they'll find it." This reassurance did not seem to soothe everyone's nerves. "I have trust in all your abilities as agents. Need I remind you that you were all temporarily stationed here on recommendations from your respective bases?"

I still remember the day Summy and I, along with two other agents in the intelligence division, were called into our commander's office and given this temporary assignment. I was excited to have the chance to carry out missions alongside other elite combat agents, and let that override the nagging feeling that I knew I would not have any time apart from my boyfriend.

Coulson continued the meeting by giving each group of duos their own specific missions. Summy and I were tasked with venturing into the neighboring town and looking for any connections to the man who stormed our base that night. My specialty in combat would be helpful in case we came across any others who shared our guests state of mind and strength, while Summy and his gift for tracking would help us find the right people to talk to. The coming nightfall meant that our mission started tomorrow morning, so once the meeting concluded with a general warning to keep an eye out for anything strange, I left to return to my room to prepare for the busy day coming.

Once I left the meeting room I felt Summy's hand wiggle is way into mine. We were still too close to the sight of other agents, but I pushed down the feeling and humored him

"Since we both have the evening off," whispered Summy in my ear, "why don't we go downtown and see if we can find a nice place to eat? It's been forever since we've had a date night."

"What are we, high schoolers?" I scoffed, throwing my free hand back into the pocket of my leather jacket. "We see each other all the time, why would we need a date night?"

Summy groaned and rolled his eyes, a signature of his whenever I suggested we take time to ourselves. "Don't even try to pass this off as romantic. Meetings and gym sessions are not romantic."

Romantic. Not a word I would've associated myself with years ago. Maybe it was the fact that I was getting older and my biological clock was ticking but the idea of cheesy romance did not horrify me as much as it used to. I might have even been known to watch the occasional hopeless romantic drama, pining and all. So why did the idea of going on a candlelight date with my boyfriend of many years make me so exhausted?

"Don't tell me gyms aren't romantic. I know you love it when we spar," I smirked, trying to change the subject.

"I'm serious, Halle. I feel like you've been pulling away from me."

I sighed. "I'm just tired." I still felt Summy's eyes boing into the side of my head. I met his gaze, "But next time I promise we'll get that date." I mustered a smile and squeezed his hand.

We approached my small dorm room that I thankfully had to myself, and when Summy realized I wasn't going to invite him in, he reached up to stroke my short chestnut hair. He didn't like the fact that I cut my waist length locks to just above my shoulders when I started my professional combat career with S.H.I.E.L.D., and he often let me know how much he missed it. His hand lingered around my ear. "I love you so much, Halle."

I smiled. "I love you too." I hoped that would be enough for Summy to let me turn in early, but I knew the way his hand was trailing from my shoulder to my waist that he wasn't going to let it be that easy. Summy leaned his towering frame into me and planted a kiss on my lips. I relented for a few seconds, but then pulled back. "Summy, I'm really tired. I need to turn in."

With a pout he released me to enter my room, where I was finally able to spend a moment alone. I slumped on my twin bed taking a deep breath and putting my head in my hands, hoping that would clear my thoughts. If I had anyone else tell me they were feeling what I was feeling towards their significant other, I would not hesitate to tell them to break up. But I had been with Summy so long that I didn't know anything else. It was boring, sure, but it was comfortable and safe. There were no surprises.

With these overly consuming thoughts, I didn't notice the sound of soft footsteps on my carpet, a sound only recognizable to a highly trained agent. They were heavy but graceful, like a man with poise. I raised my head to see a tall man standing not three feet from my bed.