A Super-Soldier for the Modern World
The next morning, Amanda did have a meeting as she told Tony, Doctor Banner and Steve. And the ride to the new SHIELD base in the New York-area was quiet. She was still very angry with Tony and what he'd done and that he'd accused Steve of being a cheater.
"Glad to see you back, Agent Carter," Director Fury said as she strolled into his office.
"I'm glad to be back, sir," Amanda said.
"I trust that you accomplished everything that you set out to do," he replied.
"Of course, sir," Amanda nodded.
"Any major incidents I should be aware of?" he focused on her with his good eye.
"Something like blowing up all of New York City?" she replied sarcastically. Fury didn't respond; he merely stared with this good eye. It was too soon, apparently. "No, I only have a couple new scars, nothing else. I did have to improvise because our intel was severely lacking."
Fury looked at her as she sat down in the chair opposite his desk.
"What do you mean?" he said, narrowing his eye at her.
"I mean, the information we had was outdated. Like, tremendously outdated. I got in there and nothing was what I had been told; nothing matched what we knew. It's entirely possible that there was a massive regime change, but I doubt it. The people that run Advance Idea Mechanics don't move that quickly."
"He wanted to make sure that I told you that he'd made it safely and he was deeply indebted to you," Fury replied.
Amanda frowned and busied herself with straightening the suit jacket she was wearing. She tried to hide the fact that she was rolling her eyes at his statement.
"Agent Carter, you did a very good job," Fury said. "There wasn't anything else you could have done better. Mission accomplished. A job well done. Have you told Rogers where you were or what you were doing?"
"No. I decided it was best that he didn't know any of the details in case something comes from this. I don't want to drag him into something that he doesn't need to be a part of."
"I see," Fury replied.
"Has he had any information that's been useful or is he still in his drug-induced stupor?" Amanda asked. "They gassed him when I was trying to get him out. I put him on the first transport and then took the next one."
"We've been observing Doctor Faustus since he arrived back here on our premises, but so far, nothing. Well, nothing useful anyway," Fury explained. "The toxin that they used was mostly harmless. They didn't want to kill him; they just wanted to make him dead weight for you."
She shook her head. "It was almost like he didn't want to come back with me. I don't trust him, still, but if you think he's worth our time, who am I to argue with the director of the organization?" Amanda asked.
Fury clasped his hands behind his back and faced his window, but continued to address her. "Well, you are my second in command: please, tell me why you don't trust him?"
"I don't trust him because he was employed by AIM," Amanda said.
"He was kidnapped by AIM years ago. We've been working on getting him out for a while once we finally secured his location. They forced him into working for them."
"I think that might have been some of the old intel that we had," Amanda replied.
"You have reason to believe that he wasn't being held as a prisoner? He was working for us in the late 80s, early 90s," Fury said. "Please enlighten me, Agent Carter."
"A lot can happen in a couple of hours, let alone a couple of decades, Director Fury," Amanda replied. "Why do you trust him?"
"Why shouldn't I?" Fury asked in response. "He was trustworthy for us before; why wouldn't we trust him now?"
"Because it looked a lot like he was working for AIM rather than pretending to work for them," Amanda said. "There is a difference."
"I am aware of that, Agent Carter and I will keep what you've brought to my attention in mind," Fury said. "That being said, Amanda, I want you to take some time off. Get some rest," he said.
"I'm fine, Director," Amanda said.
"I wasn't asking if you were okay, Amanda. I know you're okay. I'm telling you to take the time off. It's an order," Fury finished. "For you to operate at your best, you need to take the time to rest. Get your head together. Visit with your aunt and Rogers and your family."
"Why do I feel like there's a catch?" Amanda asked.
"Well, you're going to need to adjust. Agents Barton and Romanoff are going to be going on their own assignment. Stark is going back to the west coast and I believe Banner is planning on going with him. That leaves you in New York with me and Rogers. And I'm not that good of company," Fury finished.
"Tony's going back to California?" Amanda asked. She felt a twinge of guilt that she'd been so mad at him, despite what he'd done and what he'd said. Amanda pushed the feeling away; Tony had been an ass last night and deserved her anger.
"Yes, ma'am. Mr. Stark decided that it would be best to return to California and his work there. He really didn't like spending that much time away from Ms. Potts and his house," Fury said.
"I see," Amanda said, nodding her head. "Has there been any movement in the direction of being able to contact Asgard?"
"No, there hasn't been a method of contact between realms yet. But hopefully, on one side or the other, the technology will be available. But we're hopeful that should another attack happen, we'll be well prepared."
"I almost doubt that, if not for Thor and his relationship with Jane Foster, that Asgard wouldn't want anything to do with Midgard," Amanda said.
"Well, that may be true, but doesn't change anything currently. I need you to report to the lab so you can get checked out fully, you also need to make sure your report is complete and then you are free to enjoy your vacation," Fury said.
Amanda blinked. She hadn't had a vacation in…well…she hadn't been on a vacation since she was a child. It didn't bother her, but she didn't even know what to do on a vacation. What do normal people do when they got a vacation?
But this was a mandatory vacation.
"Am I being disciplined? Was I not satisfactory on this mission?" she asked, suddenly unsure of herself.
"Agent Carter, I'm offering you a vacation. It probably will never happen again. You are not suspended; you are merely being ordered to take some time to rest and let that burn heal on your back."
"How did you…?" Amanda asked.
"I know everything," Fury replied. "Now, go get checked out and finish your report."
He ushered her out of his office and Amanda stood outside his door for a minute before collecting herself and heading down the hallway. She was going to figure it all out; it was just going to take a little bit.
… … …
Captain Steve Rogers woke up and started to turn over in his bed. He reached for the body that should be in the bed next to him and found nothing but cold sheets.
"Amanda?" Steve called, but he received no response.
He focused on the digital clock next on the nightstand next to him. It was only six-thirty.
Climbing out of the bed, Steve pulled on a pair of sweat pants that were draped haphazardly over the chair in his room and he padded barefoot out to the kitchen. Everything in the apartment was dark; Amanda was not here.
He wasn't sure why his initial feeling was to panic and worry about her. She was absolutely able to take care of herself; she'd proven that more than once in the short time that he'd known her. But he found himself dialing her cell phone number and hoping that she was going to pick up.
After four rings, she finally did.
"Hello?" she said quietly.
"Good morning," he replied. "Where are you?" he asked.
"I'm down at SHIELD HQ; I told you I had a meeting with Fury this morning, didn't I?" Amanda asked.
"Yes, but you said it was at nine," he replied, yawning slightly.
"He moved it to oh-five hundred," Amanda replied. "I'm just finishing my report on the mission and then I am on official vacation," she finished, the word still feeling weird in her mouth.
"Vacation?" Steve asked.
"Yes, Fury is insisting that I take some time to rest and relax. Spend some time with you," she said flirtatiously.
"I like the sound of that," Steve said.
"Meet me for breakfast?" Amanda asked.
"Absolutely," Steve said.
"I worked up quite the appetite last night," she smiled. The young agent that was in the office with her turned a deep shade of red. "I just made the newbie here really uncomfortable," she laughed as she told Steve.
"Well, I'll let you go so I can get cleaned up and so you don't get in trouble at SHIELD. I'll see you in forty minutes? The regular place?"
… … …
Amanda sighed as she put her phone away. He'd never been a boyfriend before, but he was pretty good at playing the overprotective type. But she suspected that regardless of who he was dating, or what era of time it was, that Steve Rogers was just the kind of guy that worried about…well, everything.
Truthfully, it was kind of nice to have someone that worried about her. It wasn't that she was an attention hog, far from it actually, but she liked that he wondered where she was. Her parents loved her, but they would have preferred that she stayed home in Virginia and lived at the family house. That definitely wasn't her either. And since she wasn't at home with them, she was essentially 'out of sight, out of mind.'
She re-read her report for the third time and decided it was as good as it was going to get. She'd been at it for forty-five minutes. It was hard enough to try to put all the details on paper; doing it concisely in less than a thousand words (as Fury preferred) was not her strong suit.
Amanda saved the document and pulled the flash drive from the USB drive on the computer. She strolled quickly to the front of the room and handed it to the young man in charge of the space.
"Have a good day, Agent Carter," he said nervously. The poor kid had probably been new to SHIELD and then had to deal with the alien situation really early into his training. But with any luck, that would be the only time he'd ever have to do that.
"Thank you, you too," she replied as she exited the room.
Her first steps from the building made her feel like a weight was coming off of her shoulders. Amanda loved her job, but having a break where she could act like a normal 26 year old was going to be nice, even if she wasn't going to be wearing a backless dress for a while.
Steve was at an outdoor table waiting for her as she rounded the corner. It was a little out of the way restaurant, but it was their little out of the way restaurant. They made their French toast just the way she liked it and Steve liked their eggs Benedict.
"So, what would you want to first on your time off?" Steve asked as he helped her into her chair.
He took his seat and smiled at her.
"I don't know. I haven't had time off in a long time," Amanda said. "What do you want to do?"
"Unfortunately, Fury is making me report tomorrow morning to speak with the staff psychologist," Steve said.
Amanda's smile fell.
"The director thought it would be good for me to speak with someone and have them evaluate my adjustment into the modern world. I can't say that I disagree with him," Steve said.
"I wonder why he didn't say anything to me today about this," Amanda said.
"I don't know," Steve said.
"Did he say who the appointment was with?" Amanda asked.
"Doctor Faustus, I believe," Steve said.
Okay, there was chapter 2. Let me know what you think!