Hidden Lineages @aaliseliza
Chapter 6

Chapter 6

Out of everyone in the room, Hermione remained the most relaxed. Kingsley Shacklebolt and Agent Hill maintained professional posture, while Harry and Tony looked like they were about to bolt at any moment. Across the table, Natasha Romanov and Director Fury mirrored one another with perfect posture. The ginger haired agent and Hermione hadn't broken eye contact with one another since entering the room.

"Director," Maria said beginning the meeting that had taken longer than necessary to approve. "This is Kingsley Shacklebolt, Minister of Magic of the British Enclave. Kingsley, this is Director Fury of SHIELD."

"Pleasure to meet you," Kingsley said as he reached across the table to shake Fury's hand.

"That remains to be seen," Fury answered, as Hill cleared her throat shooting the director a glare.

"While it was not intended for either party present to officially meet, our two organizations now need to reconcile the other's existence and adapt our strategies for interacting with each other," Maria said, actively ignoring all the negative reactions in the room. "Agent Romanov and Director Fury have signed ironclad NDAs, which contain obliviation clauses should either of them violate the contracts."

Harry marginally relaxed at the information while Kingsley nodded. Hermione forced a smug look onto her face towards Natasha, despite the queasy feeling at such an inclusion.

"Obliviation?" Romanov repeated, without breaking eye contact, "Exactly what does that mean?"

"It means we'll remove all knowledge of magic from your mind," Hermione answered for Agent Hill. "I suggest not violating the contract."

"Granger," Kingsley warned the witch.

"What about Tony?" Fury asked seemingly unaffected by the new information. "He couldn't even keep his own identity a secret."

"The Statute of Secrecy has a clause, which allows immediate family of muggle borns as well as other witches and wizards to retain their knowledge of our magic," Kingsley explained. "Spouses, parents, siblings, and children fall under this clause."

"Besides," Hermione added when Fury opened his mouth. "I cursed Tony so he can't share this secret without my permission."

"Without warning either," Tony said, unable to keep the pride from his voice. "Can't say I blame her. We're quite behind on sibling squabbles." Hermione finally broke her stare down with Romanov to grin at Tony.

"Yes," Kingsley said reclaiming the attention of the small room. "Mr. Stark does not currently pose a threat to our security at this time."

"Yet we do," Fury muttered angrily.

"SHIELD weaponizes everything they acquire," Harry retorted. "Exactly how long did you wait before going after Stark's shiny suit? All of us have a duty to protect our citizens."

"You would assume the worst of SHIELD?" Romanov asked showing no emotion. "Exactly what is your role in this magical government, Mr. Potter?"

"Same as hers," Harry answered jerking his head towards Hermione. "Only difference is that I was given a different assignment."

"Apoligies," Kingsley said interrupting Harry and Natasha from further questioning. "Harry's concern for safety results from the Statute's origins. Our community considers children to be quite precious, and during the witch hunts, many were murdered for their abilities."

Both Romanov and Fury looked contrite at the news.

"It's why we had to secure approval from the International Federation of Wizards just to have this meeting and negotiate with your organization," Kingsley explained.

"Negotiate?" Fury inquired.

"Yes," Maria answered. "MACUSA, as you all know, works closely with the United States government, which includes SHIELD. Therefore, MACUSA and the British Enclave have suggested negotiating a formal alliance between SHIELD and the Ministry of Magic."

"A true negotiation?" Fury asked, "It seems as though you've already made the decision for us."

"As if you wouldn't jump at the chance," Harry said glaring at the director. "Considering you manipulated an American citizen and a member of SHIELD just to locate Hermione."

"Consultant," Tony corrected as Kingsley growled Harry's last name in warning.

"Obviously this will not be accomplished overnight," Maria interrupted. "However, it is in all of our best interests to get along with one another." Fury glanced at his second in command before nodding tersely.

As all expected, the negotiations did not go smoothly. SHIELD's official position remained that the British Ministry was purposely obstructing all of their requests. Whereas, the British Enclave believed SHIELD wasn't listening to their concerns about the safety and welfare of magical citizens.

"A census will not be provided to SHIELD," Kingsley denied crossing the request off on the paper in front of him. "Not even MACUSA supplies you with such information."

"They do not. However, it is recorded with the No Maj government," Fury answered. The Director had quickly learned and retained magical knowledge over the past several negotiations.

"MACUSA and the United States' muggle government maintain a vastly different relationship than our own with Her Majesty's Royal Government, and therefore is irrelevant."

"What's the harm in providing the information?" Natasha asked.

"Obliteration," Hermione answered. "Our community barely survived one genocide. We are not willing to risk our citizens again."

"Perhaps," Natasha said to Fury, "we can agree that such information is unnecessary." The director looked anything, but agreeable. However, he kept his mouth shut and simply nodded.

"Thank you," Kingsley said looking over the list of SHIELD's request. "Perhaps we can accommodate your request of an active liaison between our organizations."

"We would require assurances of impartiality of whomever filled this position," Fury said. "We cannot accept anyone who would undermine SHIELD, especially during cases where our interests don't align."

"Do you foresee that occurring often?" Hermione asked.

Yes," Tony said as Fury answered in the negative. The SHIELD director glared at the billionaire.

"Any candidate would have to be approved by your prior to fulfilling the role," Kingsley answered.

"What happens when you are no longer in charge of your government?" Romanov asked.

"We can make the appointment similar to that of your Supreme Court Justices. Wizards and Witches have longer life spans due to our magic, and would not find such a contract length odd," Kingsley said.

"They would have to maintain an American residence," Fury said. "Although we will be happy to provide such accommodations."

"Can you detail the responsibilities you anticipate for this position?"

Fury began rattling off an ungodly long list without hesitation, before begining to discuss the salary that SHIELD would be willing to offer. When Kingsley agreed to match the amount, Harry discreetly summoned the scrap of paper Fury had slid across the table. His eyes bulged, and Hermione gave a similar look at the number. Tony merely looked bored at it.

"You're confident you can find a candidate who would be willing to fill this role?" Fury asked, "While meeting all of the requirements?"

"Yes," Kingsley answered as he slid across a thick file towards the director. "She's a qualified field agent with impeccable scores in all required areas. Strengths include diplomacy and creative problem solving."

"It says here the candidate has a habit of acting recklessly," Fury noted. "Exactly how is that a qualification?"

"Ah," Kingsley said. "Many of the senior officials take issue with her creative problem solving because it often goes against protocol. However, it has been highly effective."

"When can you produce her for an interview?" Fury asked.

"Hermione?" Kingsley asked. "What's your availability?"

"No!" Tony, Harry and Romanov declared instantly.

"You expect us to trust her?" Natasha demanded. "Why would you even want to work with SHIELD?"

"Well," Hermione answered, "for starters it would prevent you from shooting me again."

"You don't utilize the obliviation squad," Fury commented looking at the witch. "Why?"

"What right do I have to steal from them?" Hermione answered. "Taking the most precious part of their soul and identity is no different than killing them." The look on Fury's face told the entire room he'd already made his decision based on her answer alone.

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