Hermione remained silent; secure behind her occlumency shields, even as her captors marched her through long corridors to an interrogation room. The lackey, who pushed and prodded her along the way, attempted to needle her with questions once they'd shoved her into a metal chair, and chained her to it. Eventually he gave up, and with a sneering taunt thrown at her the agent left the room. As the door closed behind him, the handcuffs around Hermione's wrists clattered to the ground.
Harry was the first to realize that Hermione's magic always rebelled when she was physically restrained. It disintegrated foreign magic, unlocked muggle handcuffs, and had even burned rope once. Originally, Harry believed she'd simply mastered wandless magic. Overtime, however, it became apparent that Hermione's magic often reacted without a conscious decision. His theory was that the trauma of Malfoy Manor had unlocked the ability and now reacted whenever Hermione was in danger.
Honestly considering how long she'd been restrained, Hermione was surprised her magic hadn't already reacted. Watching the door, Hermione waited, expecting an agent or spook to come running in. When it remained closed, she picked the handcuffs up off the ground and tossed them onto the table in front of her. Still no one entered, and she rolled her eyes over the lack of security.
"Sloppy," she couldn't help thinking. Either they weren't watching her or her captors were expecting she would attempt to escape. No doubt that they'd' be waiting on the other side of the door and add it to the list of charges. Theoretically she could simply disapparate, thereby breaking the Statute of Secrecy. It was a fleeting thought, but she knew it wasn't an option. Instead, Hermione discreetly cast a proximity ward on the door, using the table to conceal her wand. Then she disappeared into her mindscape.
It was a mirror image of Hogwarts, complete with moving staircases and hidden passages. Harry always complained about it when they tested his legilimency skills. Sure enough he'd get nostalgic and start walking around as if he were in the real castle only to become lost. Hermione always found herself laughing once she expelled him from her mind. It was an effective defense, however the true power behind it was in it's organizational abilities. She'd turned Ravenclaw Tower into a hub for Project Munchkinland, using the dorm structure to separate the different departments Tony and her wished to explore.
So while she waited on the idiots who'd abducted her, Hermione worked on her budding enterprise.
Tony slouched down in his seat while Pepper led the Stark Industries board meeting as she always did. Per the discussion between the now three Starks, Tony and Pepper hadn't alerted the SI Board of Directors to their new marital status nor changed their behavior. His eyes were on his tablet, glancing over the numerous suggestions his new wife had made to improve Project Munchkinland. Hermione had been absolutely delighted with each one, and insisted Tony examine them in depth. He was knee deep in the suggestions when Jameson suddenly cleared his throat, effectively interrupting Pepper. Instantly all eyes were on Jameson, and Tony noticed Pepper bristling at the rudeness.
"Mr. Jameson, did you have a question?" Pepper asked, her expression and tone professionally polite.
Jameson was Obei's last hold out. The sole survivor of that horrific era, which Tony longed to scrub clean. Unfortunately, Jameson was clever and left no trail of his antics, and thus Tony had been unable to oust him from the Board of Directors.
"As fascinating as this is," Jameson drawled, "I believe we should be discussing this 'supposed' heiress that Tony's suddenly found."
Never had Tony sat up so fast in his life, but even Pepper beat him in responding.
"Miss Stark is of no concern to this board," Pepper said, her voice full of ice. "It is a private family matter."
"I beg to differ Ms. Potts," Jameson said as an aide entered the room. "This young lady could make a bid for the company and cause catastrophic damage to our stock value. Imagine the chaos it would cause for our shareholders alone."
"Hermione isn't interested in taking over Stark Industries," Tony snarled before adding, "and if she were I'd happily bring her into the fold."
"Which is exactly why the board is concerned, We know absolutely nothing about this girl. You haven't even provided the board with a DNA test. For all we know you've been hoodwinked," Jameson said, triumphantly as he was approached by the aide who leaned over and began whispering into the man's ear.
"Of course, how about you keep insisting we have nothing to be concerned with," Jameson said, turning on the board room television. Smirking as everyone in the room turned to look at the news program.
"In breaking news, the recently discovered Stark heiress was arrested on a New York subway station for espionage charges," the news anchor reported while showing video of the witch being dragged up the steps and thrown into a car. Tony was on his feet before he realized he'd moved.
"I'd suggest you stop right there," Pepper said, glaring at Jameson who'd been about to open his mouth. "Clearly a mistake has been made and we'll be investigating it. Hermione isn't a spy and remains a valuable member of the Stark family. We will be adjourning and I'll continue this update at our next scheduled meeting."
Without waiting for a response, Pepper used Tony out of the room even as he was already ordering Jarvis to get Fury and Rhodey on the phone.
She wasn't sure how long they'd left her sitting there alone. Hermione didn't exactly have a clock in her mindscape, but she was rather productive before her magic alerted her that someone was approaching the proximity ward she'd cast. Exiting her mindscape, Hermione immediately caught the disdainful look the man sent towards the discarded handcuffs.
"They were told to keep you restrained," he said, glaring as though the set of restraints personally offended him.
"Had your agents been doing their job then you'd know I removed those myself," Hermione said, enjoying as he turned his glare on her. "Good help is difficult to find."
Rather than rising to the bait, the agent took a seat across from her and slammed a file on the table. Hermione rolled her eyes at the dramatic flair with which he opened it and began reading.
"Hermione Stark, born Granger, in the U.K. Impressive test scores until all records end at age eleven. Well, that is until you resurfaced as Hermione Stark. Exactly who did you think this would fool?" The agent asked, his pen poised over a legal pad.
"Considering, I'm not attempting to fool anyone…the answer would be no one," Hermione answered, boredom leaking into her voice. "You simply do not have the clearance."
"I advise against flippancy Ms. Stark. You're accused of multiple counts of espionage against the United States of America. Considering your father was an American citizen, that also means you are and therefore have committed treason. Even if the U.K. chooses not to disavow you, we have no obligation to turn you over."
"Tell me Miss Stark, is your brother aware you've been manipulating him to steal Stark Industries corporate secrets?" The Agent asked, after listing an absurd amount of charges. "I'm sure he'd be fascinated to find out he's an accessory after the fact for betraying his own company and country."
"Wow," Hermione said. "You really are desperate aren't you. First, there's zero evidence for such an accusation, and secondly, Stark Industries would have to file a complaint for you to even attempt to charge someone."
The Agent smiled at her, "Which we have. It seems the Board of Stark Industries is very concerned about your activities. Miss Stark, these are grave charges. I suggest you cooperate with us."
A smirk blossomed on Hermione's face as she said, "Maria Hill."
"You will contact Maria Hill of SHIELD and inform her you abducted a British citizen in broad daylight. Particularly, that you abducted the International Liaison between Britain and SHIELD. I suggest you act quickly, as the longer you wait, the more you'll piss off SHIELD."
The Agent snarled at her, "You are in no position to make any demands."
Hermione shrugged, "consider it free of advice. The Joint Chiefs certainly won't stick their necks out for you. Face it. You're expendable."
Striding into the meeting of the Joint Chiefs, Nick Fury bellowed, "Have you collectively lost your damn minds?!"
"Director Fury, this is a closed door meeting. Despite your position at SHIELD, you are not a member of the Joint Chiefs," the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said, as the rest of the members stared at Fury.
"In light of the situation, POTUS disagrees," Fury shot back. "In fact, he's quite pissed off about the shit storm you all ignited and wants an explanation on why you abducted one of my operatives. Particularly one who is essentially a British diplomat."
The group of generals exchanged uneasy glances before the National Guard General asked, "Perhaps you could enlighten us as to what you're talking about."
Simultaneously the room erupted into shouts with everyone yelling over one another.
"You're claiming that Hermione Stark is a SHIELD employee?"
"She's a national security risk!"
"We have the right to interrogate her!"
"By her own admission she's infiltrated high levels of our military!"
"It's clear Miss Stark has bought off multiple government officials, but being well connected does not absolve her of breaking the law. My duty is to the American people and sovereignty of the United States," The U.S. Navy General snarled, waiting for the rest of the generals to quiet down.
"Just because you're the Director of SHIELD doesn't give you license to hand out pardons for criminal acts against the U.S. Military," the General of the Marines added. "Did you really think SHIELD could just hide the fact that they flipped an international spy?"
"You violated a director order issued by the Commander-in-Chief!" Fury bellowed. "Doing so you've endangered diplomatic relations between four different governments! All because you couldn't be bothered to pick up the phone and ask why SHIELD wouldn't produce Miss Stark!"
The collected generals exchanged wary glances before one cleared her throat and attempted to sidestep the accusation.
"Where is my agent?" Fury demanded, interrupting her.
"She's been detained for questioning."
Fury audibly growled, "You abducted an agent of SHIELD, and that's not even getting to the fact that she's Stark's sister."
"Stark is a spoiled brat," one of the generals said dismissively.
"Who has revolutionized this country's tech industry. Did you even consider what consequences would arise if he chose to emigrate to Britain?" Fury asked.
"Standard operation of MI6 is to disavow spooks who are caught. We have no obligation to allow extradition and therefore nothing to sway Stark from moving to England."
Fury gave a bitter smirk, "Oh there's nothing 'standard' about Hermione Stark. Now where are you holding her?"