Alternate Magic @aaliseliza
Chapter 2

Chapter 2

May 1, 2011

"So I'm to understand that not only did this girl withstand an interrogation, but also escaped without a trace from a secure SHIELD facility?" Fury asked deliberately speaking slowly as he eyed Romanov and Coulson. The two agents exchanged glances before Coulson spoke.

"The girl was on heavy pain medications, Sir. We were waiting for them to leave her system in order to verify if she was lucid enough for questioning."

Fury stared at his agent before surmising, "You're telling me that this girl disappeared despite being hopped up on drugs?"

Neither agent responded.

"How did no one see or hear her?" Fury asked with a slight huff.

"We're still investigating that Sir," Romanov answered evasively.

"Do we know anything?" Fury demanded angrily, "Aside that my top agents were outwitted by what seems to be a drugged up minor." Neither Agent Coulson, nor Romanov reacted aside from the former reaching for a thin manila folder.

"We got a parental DNA match when we ran her blood," Coulson explained as he passed Fury the results. "Unfortunately, we couldn't find a birth certificate or any other documents to explain when she was born."

Director Fury flipped open the file and quickly scanned the contents. Then he reread it thrice.

"You're positive these are correct?"

"We ran them four times Sir," Romanov answered starkly. "Each time they came back exactly the same."

"As I mentioned there are no other official records to back up this information," Coulson said. "Aside from these results, this girl doesn't exist."

"It does, however, lend to the idea that she possesses prior knowledge of SHIELD," Romanov said. "Specifically, her mother is well known for subverting command and paranoia."

"She could be enhanced," Coulson suggested despite Romanov shaking her head. "We don't know that it's improbable."

"We don't even know if it's possible," she retorted. "Most of the research was never conducted due to his disappearance, and the rest was lost."

"Enough," Fury interrupted as he made a decision. "Coulson take the lead on locating the girl. Romanov, how's your project coming along?"

"I start Monday."

"Excellent."


September 3, 2011

It took far longer to find any information about his quarry than Coulson cared to admit. Since receiving this particular assignment he began dreading each call with Director Fury since receiving the assignment. Agent Romanov remained silent regarding the situation, but Phil knew she was enjoying his inability to locate the girl. The subject's ability to remain off the radar vexed his team and was a source of contention.

Initially his team had located her in New Mexico, shortly after her initial escape from SHIELD. The girl ultimately disappeared in the chaos that Thor's appearance created. Coulson personally believed she was directly connected to the mess; particularly after Fury assigned him to take care of it. Even Romanov had admitted it was highly suspicious of a coincidence, but he hadn't told anyone of the smirk she'd shot at him seconds before Thor appeared.

Currently, Coulson was rewatching the limited footage his team possessed of the New Mexico incident that had her on screen. He kept returning to the footage in hopes that he and his team had previously missed some clue.

"Sir," his communication device buzzed in his ear.

"Speak," Coulson answered.

"I've got an address and a name."

"Where?" Coulson asked without hesitation. It was the best news he'd heard in weeks.

"Subject currently resides in Baton Rouge," the agent answered. "She's working as a bartender at a small bar under the name Hermione Potter."

"Send me everything. I don't care how flimsy it is, and tell the hanger to get a jet ready. I'll be there within twenty-five minutes," Coulson ordered already on his feet and out the door.

"Yes sir."

Phil Coulson beat his record time when he arrived in Louisiana. Per his instructions, a SHIELD plain clothes team already were in place surrounding both the girl's neighborhood and job.

"Any concerns?" Coulson asked, joining the lead agent about a block down from her home.

"No sir. The subject hasn't left the residence and nothing appears amiss. How do you want to approach?"

"Alone," Coulson answered firmly. "Prepare your team. I fully expect her to run."

"Is it true she escaped SHIELD headquarters?"

"Yes," Phil answered with a sigh. "SHIELD considers her to be highly resourceful, and while she hasn't yet harmed anyone, she's presumed dangerous."

It took only three brisk knocks for her to answer the door, and Coulson realized immediately that she recognized him, though he had to admit she concealed it well.

"Yes?"

"Afternoon ma'am," Coulson greeted her with a slight downward nod while smothering his surprise at her British accent. "I am Agent Coulson, and need a few moments of your time."

"Of?" She asked him unapologetically. Phil watched her momentarily confused until she clarified, "Many organizations utilize the title of agent. Precisely which one are you representing?"

"SHIELD," Coulson answered mentally noting the lack of surprise on her face. "Ms. Potter, you woke up in one of our facilities several months ago, is that correct?"

"What, did they send you for a wellness check?" Hermione asked scoffing. "Merlin you lot are worse than the NHS."

"I'd appreciate it if you answered the question ma'am," Coulson said ignoring the odd swear.

"Surely you've verified your own information prior to initializing an interrogation," Hermione countered.

"I assure you this is merely a formality," Coulson said with a benign smile.

"Then you won't protest if I put the kettle on?" Hermione asked surprising him. He paused momentarily before agreeing to her suggestion. Agent Coulson watched her warily as she returned to the front porch with a tray and two tea sets.

"Do you agree that you woke up in a SHIELD facility?" Phil asked again after she sat down across from him.

"I agree that you believe I did," Hermione answered with a differential shrug. "At no time was I ever informed of my location. I woke up in a room, which appeared to be in a hospital. A strange woman immediately started asking me questions."

"Are you aware that infiltrating SHIELD without prior authorization is treasonous?"

"I never willingly or knowingly entered into said building," Hermione repeated before leaning forward slightly. "Besides, intent is inherent to committing a crime in the States."

"Citizenship is also inherent to due process," Coulson sharply countered. Hermione merely raised an eyebrow at him before she spoke again.

"SHIELD's jurisdiction does not include immigration, illegal or otherwise," Hermione said with a small smirk appearing on her lips. "Which means it's irrelevant to this conversation."

"Can you explain your disappearance?" Agent Coulson asked, changing the topic as he realized the woman in front of him would cleverly maneuver any trick based on public policy he attempted.

"I walked out," she answered with a simple shrug. "Again, no one informed me I was not permitted to leave."

"Yet you managed to bypass all of our security guards and cameras," Phil commented.

"I possess no knowledge about your security protocols," Hermione said just as the kettle whistled. "Excuse me."

Phil reviewed her answers while she went to retrieve the boiling water. At no point had she appeared to lie, but there were obvious holes in her story. He continued to muse over which points would be the most beneficial to press when his comms device went off.

"Sir?"

"Yes?" Agent Coulson answered over his comms device.

"She's been inside for seven and a half minutes." He was on his feet instantly. Knocking on the door, Agent Coulson opened it slightly before calling into the house. When she didn't respond, Phil unholstered his firearm and slowly entered the residence. After a quick sweep of the main floor, he discovered the back door was unlatched.

He stared at the unlocked door in almost disbelief before frustration overcame him.

"She's in the wind," Phil finally reported to the surrounding agents. "Get me a team here and tear this house apart. I want to know every secret this woman has, down to what shampoo she uses. Shut down all the major exits of this city. Find her or it's all of your jobs."

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