"So," the silky voice continued, and Edgar started feeling beads of sweat form and trail down his forehead, "this is how it's going to work. I'm going to ask you some questions and you're going to answer me. Truthfully. And if you lie, I'll know about it and that might not work out too well for you."
"Who are you," he whimpered.
"I ask the questions around here," she snarled at him. "Now keep driving. Question number 1. Who do you work for?"
"S-S.H.I.E.L.D." he replied, his voice quivering slightly.
"Liar," the girl hissed at him. He felt the pressure on his neck increase and his hands started shaking violently, despite tha fact that he was holding on tightly to the steering wheel. "Who do you really work for?"
"S.H.I.E.L.D." he gulped.
There was a sigh from the back of the car. "How many times are you going to lie to me, Edgar? Until I have to teach your oblivious wife and kids a lesson? Is that how it's going to have to be?"
Edgar sucked in a breath. He may have been waiting for this opportunity within HYDRA for years, but it was worth sacrificing for his family. Wasn't it? Edgar was suddenly oversome with doubt towards his decision. He loved his wife and he loved his kids even more, but this was something he had been working for his entire life. He had spent hours reading, looking over notes that had come from World War 2, he head learned and studied everything that there was to know on Sergeant James Buchanan Barnes. He knew every detail about him, from when he was born to where he was right now. He had slaved for hours over his work!
Was he really ready to give all of those years, and those thousands of hours spent on a subject that he was married more to than his wife, anyway? The harsh truth was, was that no. He wasn't ready to give it all away. He had worked too hard for this. He had gotten too far for it to just be given away.
"Do whatever you want to Miranda and the kids, I don't give a fuck anymore. I am not going to give you the information that you want." His voice, that had been so weak and snivelling before, had gone as cold as ice.
There was silence in the back, and for a moment, Edgar was almost brave enough to peek over his shoulder, but he never got a chance.
The car slid, the tires squealing hideously against the tarmac and loud ripping sounds could be heard around from where he was sitting. Edgar let out a frightened yell as the car, his brand new and beautiful BMW, flipped over.
Ginny was quivering in rage as she stepped out of the wreckage of the car. Blood was slowly dirpping down the side of her face and there was a piece of glass jabbed in her upper arm, but Ginny was too angry to care. She hadn't come here to kill, or even torture that night, because she had promised herself that she would never become as bad Voldemort and his cronies. But this man was making it awfully difficult for her to keep that promise to herself. How could a man have such blatant disregard for his own family? How could someone simply not care? She would do anything to have a moment back with her brothers, her mother…
Ginny clenched her hands into tight fists and tried to breathe calmly. How dare he.
Ginny pulled the her dark hood over her face before crouching down beside where Edgar was still strapped in and hanging upside down in the car, blood dripping slowly down his head. Ginny glared at him in icy fury as she surveyed his sniffling, pathetic form.
"Not so strong now, are we?" she challenged quietly. "Now, you are going to tell me what you know."
Edgar started shaking his head violently.
"Oh yes you are," Ginny hissed. "You see, that comment about your family made everything so much worse for you as it is, so if I were you, I would start talking. The war taught me many ways to torture a person after all."
"They'll kill me," he coughed, tears falling on the roof of the car.
"So will I," she said bluntly, "if you don't start talking. And trust me, my way will be a lot more painful."
"You don't know what they're capable of, girl," Edgar spat.
"And you don't know what I'm capable of," Ginny said darkly. She examined the man's slumped form and snorted. "You're pathetic, but I'm going to offer you a deal, Mr. Odkey and it might be in your interest if you were to say yes to it. Got it?"
Edgar hesitated before nodding slowly, wincing in pain.
"Alright," Ginny said, a note of satisfaction in her voice. She was finally getting somewhere. "Now, I know that you're a smart man, Mr. Odkey. so I'm pretty sure that you know a good deal when see one. Here's how it will work. You tell me who you work for and I'll erase your memory of this night. I'll even fix your car for you and heal your lump of a body. But if you refuse," Ginny paused, making sure that what she was saying was getting through to Edgar, "then there are other ways to get information out of a person."
Edgar's breathing sped up. He didn't want to die. In fact, he hated everything that was in the least bit painful. He then realised just how smart this woman's plan was. She had put him in a nasty, not to mention extremely painful position, and seeing as the adrenaline from the crash was finally beginning to wear off, a numbing, paralysing ache was beginning to flood his limbs. It was torturous.
"Oh dear," Ginny said, "is it getting a bit painful in there? I could heal you, you know. It wouldn't take that much and all of the pain would be gone. All you have to do, is tell me who you work for."
Edgar gave up. He was a scientist. Not one of those hard-asses who could withstand pain and pressure like Brock Rumlow, and if this woman really could heal him, fix his car, and erase his memory – if she was in fact telling him the truth which he highly doubted – then he was all too willing for her to do that. So he started talking, and as he did, he felt more than a little guilt. This was not supposed to be happening to him.
"Fine," he said, defeat in his voice. "I work for HYDRA. We've been inside S.H.I.E.L.D. for years, growing from and building up from Arnim Zola's clarity and truth. S.H.I.E.L.D. will find out soon though, and when they do, it'll be too late. Besides, most of S.H.I.E.L.D. higher ups are all HYDRA anyway."
"And what do you do?"
Edgar let out a laugh. "I might be willing to tell you who I work for, but I will not tell you who I work on. Even I'm not crazy enough to do that. Now do what you said you would do. After all, I only made a deal to tell you who I worked for, not who I was working on."
Ginny scowled to herself. She had said that and she wasn't one to go back on her word. She stepped away from the car. "Fine," she muttered. She had enough information to go on anyway.
She muttered a spell under her breath and watched as the car floated back onto its wheels and observed as pieces of glass zoomed back up to the windows and as dents corrected themselves. She had always loved watching things that were broken being pieced carefully back together.
She then pointed her wand at the pathetic man in front of her, whispering more spells. The cuts and wounds, and no doubt several broken bones, healed themselves under Ginny's careful spells. Now came the final one. The erasing of his memory. She hated erasing people's memories. It was such a tricky and fickle business, and even though she hated the man who sat in front of her, staring at his newly healed body in awe, she still wanted him to leave with his sanity still intact. She wondered what she was going to erase. Should she erase everything? Or should she only erase the parts of his memory where she had appeared?
Ginny chose the second option. He had, after all, betrayed his own organisation and even though that was exactly what she had wanted, it had only told her that this man in front of her was a weak man, both mentally and physically and she wanted him to remember that. He simply wouldn't remember to whom he gave the information to or why he even gave the information out at all. He would also, and Ginny made quite sure of this, remember everything that he said about his family. She hoped that he would regret those comments.
And with that, Ginny erased his memory both quickly and expertly. She doubted that Edgar Odkey would ever be the same person again.
And he wasn't.
By the time Ginny got back to the house, it was nearly 2:30 in the morning and she wasn't surprised when she saw the lights on. Hermione was, no doubt, wondering where she had went.
She sighed and unlocked the door. She hadn't bothered to clean herself up from her little run in with Edgar Odkey and as a result, she looked a mess. Her black clothes were torn, her arm where the glass was still impaled was aching something dreadful and the pounding in her head was beginning to murder her.
Ginny slammed the door behind her and groaned, trudging over to the couch. Hermione would kill her when she saw the dirt and blood that she was getting on the clean fabric, but that was nothing that a good cleaning charm couldn't cure. She sank into its softness and closed her eyes. She could easily just magic all of the pain away, but she wanted it it to stay. It kept her alive, it kept her awake, it reminded her that she had done something that she wasn't proud of.
Ginny heard Hermione before she saw her.
"Ginny!" Hermione half shrieked from the stairs. Ginny sighed. The moment of Hermione's wrath had come.
"Hello Hermione," Ginny mumbled, leaving her eyes closed.
"What the hell happened to you? And where in Merlin's name did you go? And you're ruining the bloody couch!" Hermione stormed over to where Ginny was sitting. "I was this close to do something irrational, you idiot! You're as bad as Harry was!" Hermione scowled. "No wonder you two got on so well."
"I was out getting information," Ginny protested, as she pushed herself up into a proper sitting position. "And by the way, what I found out wasn't good," she added grimly. "HYDRA are within S.H.I.E.L.D. and have been for years, and by the sounds of it, something very bad is going to happen very soon."
Hermione was silent for a moment. "And how did you end up looking like you've been a car accident?"
"That's because I was in a car accident Hermione. Just," Ginny sighed, "don't ask. It's a long story."
Hermione made a noise of disapproval. "One that I will be asking about later. Now let's get you cleaned up while I actually," Hermione glared at Ginny, "tell you what I have planned for tomorrow."
But Ginny shook her head. "No magic," Ginny said.
"What do you mean 'no mag-"
"I mean," Ginny said forcefully, "that I want to heal like a muggle this time. So no magic."
Hermione looked over at Ginny suspiciously, wondering what had happened to her friend while she was gone. Ginny only kept the scars of wounds that she was ashamed of. It had been something that Hermione didn't quite understand and it was something that she was sure she would never fully understand, but if that was what her friend had wanted, then who was she to question it? "Are you sure? It's not going to be nice."
"I know," Ginny replied simply. "I am very well aware. Now tell me about this plan of yours."
"Wait, Natasha, I just saw her," Steve said suddenly. "Go back slowly."
Natasha scrolled backwards with exaggerated slowness until Steve told her to stop, and a picture of a blonde with the name Monica Wilkins came up on the screen.
"You sure that that's her?" Natasha said skeptically, frowning at the picture.
"Definitely sure. Does her file have an address?"
Natasha tapped lightly on the keyboard. "Yeah, but it's probably a fake one. I mean, if Hermione or rather Monica, went to so much trouble to cover her tracks, then there was no way that she would've given her real address to an organisation that doesn't trust her in the first place. I would say that your best bet is actually meeting her at her workplace, which happens to the S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters here in DC." Natasha turned away from the computer. "She's a secretary at the front desk. You could go see her tomorrow if you like?"
Steve rolled his eyes at the suggestive tone in Natasha's voice.
"It's not like that," he muttered.
"Whatever," Natasha said impishly, "but if I didn't know any better, I would say that you like her."
Steve flushed slightly but was saved by a loud beep from his phone. Only seconds later, Natasha's phone made a similar noise and they both looked at each other with varying expressions on their face.
"S.H.I.E.L.D." they both sighed.
Hermione breathed in deeply. She had just made the call saying that Monica Wilkins would not be showing up for work that day. The plan was now officially in motion and although Hermione felt secure in the knowledge that her plan was a good plan, she was still nervous. She and Ginny had gone over the final details of the plan early that morning, finalising and perfecting every single thing and accounting for any possible thing that could go horribly wrong.
She slung her purple bag around her shoulders and checked that her vials of veritaserum were safely stowed away. They were vital to this plan and if anything happened to them, well then… then she would be officially screwed.
Hermione opened the door, ready to exit the house, but Ginny's call stopped her in mid step.
"Oi, Hermione!" she called out from the top of the stairs and Hermione rolled her eyes. She had told her friend to stay in bed and not come out of it for any reason, but she should have known that Ginny didn't take orders very well.
"You should be in bed," Hermione scolded.
Ginny shrugged. "I know, but I wanted to see you off and to remind you, that if it all turns to shit, I will come. And I also came down to remind you to be careful. HYDRA could be anywhere and anyone."
Hermione nodded. "I know," she said softly. "And I will try to contact one of the Avengers, but they're probably difficult to find, so no promises."
Ginny nodded her head. "Understood."
But both girls knew that it was vital that they found at least one person from the Avengers Unit, because now that they knew what they did, it was important that others began to find out and they wanted the Avengers to be those people. They were, after all, not named 'The Avengers' for nothing.
"If anything goes wrong," Hermione said, "I'll send for you, even though you do look like you've gone to hell and back."
"Also understood," Ginny said, now a slight smile on her lips.
And Hermione disapparated.
Steve was tired, cranky, and in a bad mood as he stormed up to Fury's office. While last night's operation had gone successfully – all of the hostages and one officer had been recovered safe and sound –it was beginning to piss him off that the people – mainly Natasha – on his team constantly had a different agenda to him. He was on a team and a team was supposed to work together! How on earth was a team supposed to work together when everyone had different goals? He scowled deeply as he remembered the way that Natasha had put the entire mission, not to mention the hostages, at risk last night.
Then there was the fact that Monica Wilkins had called in sick today. He had planned on seeing her that morning and had hoped to speak with Hermione. In fact, he had even been looking forward to speaking with her, but she wasn't there.
Steve knew that it was irrational to be mad at someone who hadn't even done anything wrong, but he couldn't help himself. After last night, he just wanted one thing to go his way, and since last night, not one thing had.
He reached the door that led into Fury's office and strode right in, for once not caring to knock. Fury's office startled him nearly very time that Steve walked in. It was unexpectedly was clean – even the desk was free of clutter – and open and was strangely light and airy for a person who came across as very dark and mysterious. But despite it's bright nature, there was a feeling of emotional detachment in the room. There was nothing personal about it. It was cool, professional, and no doubt deadly to those who didn't belong.
"You just can't stop yourself from lying, can you?" Steve said accusingly, walking right up to Fury's desk.
"I didn't lie," Fury said dismissively. "Agent Romanoff just happened to have a different mission than yours."
"Which you didn't feel obliged to share."
"I'm not obliged to do anything," Fury retorted.
"Those officers could've di-"
"I sent the greatest soldier in history to make sure that that didn't happen," Fury snapped back.
"Soldiers trust each other. That's what makes it an army," Steve said furiously.
"Well," Fury said, as he got up from his chair and leaned menacingly over the desk, "the last time that I trusted someone, I lost an eye." Fury sighed uncharacteristically and Steve suddenly realised how tired, how defeated, the Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. actually looked. Steve figured that it was probably a look that he didn't show very often. "Look, I didn't want you doing anything that you weren't going to be comfortable with and the thing is, is that Agent Romanoff is comfortable with everything."
"But I can't lead a mission when people on my team have missions on their own!" Steve argued hotly.
"Yeah, well Rogers, it's called compartmentalisation. Nobody spills the secrets because nobody knows them all," he muttered darkly.
"Except you," Steve said, glaring at Fury.
Fury paused, looking speechless for the first time since Steve had met him.
"You're wrong about me," Fury said finally, his eyes boring into Steve's. "I do share. I'm nice like that. Now come with me. I have to show you something."
Hermione had decided against using a disguise for this job. She didn't plan on being discovered and if she were, then she would rather be found as Hermione Granger than Monica Wilkins.
It had been easy enough to get into the Triskelion, especially when the person trying to get in was invisible, Hermione mused to herself. She didn't know whether or not that was a good thing or a bad thing, since S.H.I.E.L.D. was supposed to be extremely well protected.
But that didn't matter right now, because what was important was the fact that she had gotten in; the next part of the plan could now move forward and Hermione smirked as she thought of the first person to go and see.
Ethan Iles, the man who tormented her from the beginning to the end of her shift on a daily basis, demanding coffee, and files and then more coffee and then more files was definitely going to get a dose of the veritaserum first.
Hermione followed the well worn path over to the small kitchen, checking carefully to make sure it was empty before entering, to make a pot of coffee for Iles. As she poured a couple of drops into the bottom of the empty mug, Hermione turned herself visible again seeing as she would be posing as the relief for Monica Wilkins today. When she had told Ginny that part of the plan, Ginny hadn't been happy. Both of them were very well aware that there was probably some sort of beacon out for both of them, and therefore entering the headquarters of a place that was most likely out for their blood was possibly not the smartest move. But for once, Hermione couldn't bring herself to care, because for the first time since the war, Hermione felt like she had a purpose again. Hermione placed the mug under the coffee machine.
She had something important to strive for again and it relieved her of a burden that she didn't know that she had had. Hermione sighed. Since when had she become a person that thrived on danger?
Hermione was shaken from her thoughts violently as the coffee machine made a loud noise, signifying that the hot beverage was now ready. Hermione walked over to the bench and carefully placed the mug on a dish before leaving the kitchen and its safety.
Her heart rate sped up as Hermione walked the busy way up to Iles' office, but no one noticed her and more importantly, nobody came running at her screaming that she was a wanted criminal.
Hermione breathed out in relief as she stood in front of Iles' door. She had made it to person number 1. She knocked tentatively on the door. It was time.
"Come in," a bored voice from inside called out.
As Hermione opened the door, she arranged a nervous smile sit on her lips. Best to have Iles think that she was a harmless, naïve girl. Iles, on the other hand, was anything but shy and nervous. The overweight and very overbearing man glared at her.
"What do you want?" he barked at her in his nasally voice.
"Um, you wanted coffee?" Hermione said timidly, brushing a hand through her hair shyly.
"Yeah, I wanted coffee over half an hour ago," he snapped as he held out his chubby hands for the coffee cup. "Where the hell is Wilkins today?"
"Uh, she's sick today," Hermione mumbled.
"Speak up, girl! I can't hear a damn word that you're saying!"
Hermione eyed Iles as he took a large gulp of coffee. Only about 30 seconds until it took proper effect. She breathed out and closed her eyes. Only 30 seconds to wait until she could drop this stupid, nervous act.
"I said that Miss Wilkins is sick today, sir," Hermione said, her voice louder this time.
Iles snorted into his coffee. "Unbelievable," he muttered.
Hermione clenched her fists.
"And who the hell are you then?"
"I'm her relief for today, sir," Hermione said blankly. She snuck a glance at her watch. 10 seconds left. "Is the coffee to your liking, sir?" she asked innocently.
That was the question that she had decided that she would use to see if the veritaserum had worked; most of the time, no actually all the time, Iles said that the coffee was complete shit even though she constantly made it to his specifications.
Iles paused. "It's actually damn good coffee, just as good, in fact, as what Wilkins makes."
Hermione smirked. Oh the veritaserum was definitely working now. Hermione didn't waste any time by asking stupid questions. Ginny had told her that Odkey had said that most of the higher ups within S.H.I.E.L.D. were all HYDRA and seeing as Iles was a 'higher up', so to speak, it was most likely the case that Iles was HYDRA as well.
"Sir, I actually had a question about HYDRA," Hermione said sweetly, leaning forward on Iles' desk. "You see, I heard something about it and I was wondering whether or not you were a part of it?"
"Oh, HYDRA," the large man said thoughtfully. "Crazy organisation in my opinion, but when Pierce came up to me and asked me to join, I just couldn't really refuse, especially seeing as he gave me a promotion for it. You know, if you're interested, girl, I would go up to him and ask for membership. He's the big boss around here, you know."
"But what about Fury? I thought that he was the boss of S.H.I.E.L.D." Hermione asked curiously.
"Ha!" Iles chuckled loudly. "That man is not the Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. At least, not the true one anyway. He doesn't even know what's happening in his own organisation! Quite funny really if you ask me. I mean, most of his officers are all HYDRA members!"
Hermione gave a fake smile.
"And who exactly is Pierce? What's his full name?" she demanded.
"His name is Alexander Pierce and he's one of the heads of HYDRA."
"Do you know any other heads of HYDRA?"
"No, I only work directly for Pierce, and as far as I'm concerned, that's all I need to know."
"Can you write me a list of everyone whom you know is HYDRA."
Hermione glanced back at her watch as Iles dug out a sheet of paper and a pencil. She had about 3 more minutes until the veritaserum wore off and before she had to obliviate Iles. She watched Iles, anxiety building in her chest, as the time ticked away.
"Here are all of the names of people that I know of," Iles said formally.
Hermione grabbed the paper and folded it up before putting it into her purple bag that was still hanging across her body. She grabbed her wand and muttered the memory charm, carefully erasing the events of what had just happened from his mind, before putting him to sleep.
But before she left, Hermione still had to do one thing.
And so she stormed up to Iles and punched him in the jaw. watching in satisfaction she heard a loud crack.
Oh yes, that ought to do it, Hermione smirked to herself. Too bad that he wasn't conscious though, she thought to herself regretfully.
And with that Hermione left the room, shutting the door carefully behind her.
Pierce stormed down the corridor, anticipation in his every step. Finally they had gotten something about one of the witches! Finally! It had only taken weeks.
It was all Pierce could do to not jump in glee down the corridor. He walked into the room.
"Right, where is she?" he demanded.
The technician hesitated.
"Well come on, man, spit it out! Where the hell is she?"
"Uh, she's here sir."
"What do you mean 'here'?" Pierce snapped.
"I mean that she's here in the Triskelion, sir. On the third floor heading east in fact."
Pierce pulled out his phone. "Rumlow," he ordered as soon as the connection had been made. "One of the witches is on the third floor heading east. I want you to take her down. Oh, and Rumlow? Do it without causing a commotion if you don't mind."
Hey everyone! I hoped that you enjoyed this latest chapter and if you have any questions, complaints, correction, or just good old compliments, then I would love to hear them :)
So, how many of you have seen Avengers: Age of Ultron now? And what are your thoughts on the latest Marvel movie?
Also, some of you have requested that later in the story, I pair Ginny up with Bucky. I was just wondering how many of you would be up for that? Although I have to say, if I wanted to do something with those two, then it would probably be a completely new story because in this one, I mainly want to focus on Hermione and Steve!
Anyway, my exams start tomorrow, so wish me luck! (it's German first, so I'm pretty sure that I'll be dreaming about the Konjunktiv II and Modalverben tonight. Oh joy.)
Anyway, good luck for everyone else who is starting or is already halfway through their exams! I understand your pain!
Have a lovely day in wherever you are in the world :)