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Three Can Keep a Secret...if Two are Dead

Chapter Text

Returning to New York City had not been on Maggie’s list of things to do.

The city, in light of her hearing getting sharper, apparently, since the damage she had taken (she still isn’t sure how that happened since, scientifically, she was pretty sure it was supposed to be the opposite) to her ears that were harsh enough to make them bleed.

Again, she was pretty sure it was supposed to be the opposite of what was happening.

However, instead of keeping to the Tower, which was still being repaired (Maggie had a feeling it was being updated as well), she was staying in one of SHIELD’s “safe” houses with Coulson and Clint.

The reason she had put that into quotations is because she didn’t think that any place was safe when men in bright yellow suits were raiding the streets with experimental weapons in the hopes of making the violence explode more.

She whimpered as she shoved her head further under her pillow, trying to ignore the screams of terror…half a city away.

The blare of sirens and the shouts of people and the rumble of the subway.

Maggie dug her head farther under the pillows in hopes it would drown out the sound, but it didn’t.

With a snarl of rage, she shoved the pillows off and, in a further fit, threw off the quilts, yanked up the sheets, and threw them all at the wall before she sunk onto the ground, clinging to her head as tears welled up.

She hated the city, hated the way it crowded around her and made her head pound.

With stumbling steps, she made her way into the living room, but it either made it worse or it didn’t change.

There was too much noise, too much all at once.

She could be forgiven for not hearing them until the gas canisters had smashed through the window, sending a shower of glass onto the ground as the smoke filled the air.

Maggie wasn’t able to cover her mouth before she was collapsing to the ground.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Phil scowled as he looked over the information.

A.I.M. and Hydra had both been attacking, driving the Avengers to near exhaustion as well as stretching SHIELD resources. They hit multiple targets at the same time, two big hitters simultaneously hitting at various locations at opposite ends of the globe.

They would be rushing to Moscow at one end while the other smashed into Hawaii.

Literally.

Phil himself was exhausted and now he had a file on a break-in.

He wanted to give his assistant a look of annoyance, but he looked into it.

Hydra had hit a SHIELD safe house, hard.

One glance at the address had him moving quickly, pulling a comm. into place and demanding answers.

“Is a young female at the premises?” he questioned.

“Sir, there’s no one here.”

Phil just hoped they had missed her.

Maggie could be the best at hiding when she wanted to be.

Chapter Text

Phil strode up to the safe house and stood next to Sitwell.

“What do you have?” he questioned.

“It was strategic. There was a mess in a bedroom that had a teddy bear sitting on the bedside table and shattered glass in the living room, along with some blood. We aren’t sure whose it is,” Sitwell answered.

“Do you know who did it?” he questioned.

“We’re pulling up CCTV now,” Sitwell responded, nodding to where the largest of the vans was parked.

Phil gave a nod and headed over.

Clint was going to be pissed that someone had broken into their sanctum and point out that this meant they should stop going where SHIELD put them, since they were obviously going to keep being compromised.

Phil wished that Clint was joking but the amount of times they had been captured, or nearly captured, in a SHIELD "safe" house suggested a mole.

Privately, Phil felt that Fury was, in fact, using Clint, himself, and Natasha as bait in hope of unearthing their mole.

Phil just knew that if either Clint or Natasha ever found out, Fury was a dead man.

The agent had long accepted that he was easily disposable and that anyone could take his place within SHIELD, so being used as bait didn't bother him.

He opened the door to the van and stepped in. "What do you have?" he questioned and a tech pulled up what they managed to pull together.

Phil was easily able to hide his surprise as Hydra showed up at a building across the way, aiming at the living room window, or at least Phil thought they were, considering that that was where the shattered window was located.

An apartment, a nice one, raided in thirty minutes. He turned around and reversed the CCTV pointed at his apartment by thirty minutes to find Maggie showing up, obviously twitchy, and pacing.

Phil both views up, side by side to find that Hydra had shot after she had shown up.

“Why did SHIELD put her here?” one of the agents looking over the footage asked.

“Above your clearance level,” Phil answered automatically before he stepped down and out.

He was not surprised by the fact the Avengers were there.

Well, half of them; Stark, Steve, and Dr. Banner were taking care of an incident somewhere in China.

Clint turned and looked at him and Phil merely shook his head slightly.

Natasha, however, was glaring at Sitwell as if that would make him break down and tell her everything (which it probably would) while Thor looked around.

“Romanov, Barton, I need you two to give an additional search of the premises. Find out what you can. Don’t expect to find a hiding spot. Thor, I need a lift to that roof over there, if at all possible,” Phil ordered.

Natasha and Clint gave a nod and quickly entered while Thor, careful enough not to break anything, but strong enough to ensure he didn’t fall, grabbed him and took off.

Phil really would have preferred Stark.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

"So they just walked in and kidnapped her?" Tony asked.

"No. They shot out the glass with sleeping gas containers Mr. Stark," Phil corrected, though Clint could hear the underlying rage that was there.

Phil was beyond angry, beyond anything Clint has ever heard before except that time when Natasha had been captured.

Clint twirling an arrow around his fingers, eyes hard.

“Why Maggie?” Tony questioned.

“It’s Hydra. We should be happy they didn’t take anyone else,” Steve responded, voice hard.

He had not taken the resurgence of Hydra well, to say the least.

No one had, actually, considering they had been mostly quiet (omitting A.I.M., which was a splinter group of Hydra) since World War II. A few people, but SHIELD had thought they had fully crushed any resurgences.

Apparently it had not been so.

“I found Maggie in a lab, Mr. Stark. They easily could have discovered we confiscated everything, or they may have just thought her important. She was residing in a SHIELD safe house after all,” Phil explained, turning the pages over in the report.

He’s worried.

Clint just focused on the idea of a plan.

“We’ll I’ll have JARVIS start searching for Maggie,” Tony stated.

“Make sure he searches for ‘05-05Y000D/AGM-SCSY/LA03FRGRRU-LR-WS/AUDXEMGTOPST/1000F’,” Phil corrected, ignoring the way they stared at him, except Natasha.

She had a ‘frown’ on her face, concentrating inward as if she is trying to think about why it sounds familiar.

It sounds familiar to Clint too, but he can’t, for the life of him, figure out what it is.

He didn’t even know that Maggie had a serial before.

“So…Maggie’s an experiment,” Tony stated, a hand reaching over to rest calmingly on Bruce’s shoulder, the man obviously doing calming breaths.

“Yes,” Phil answered.

“It is wrong to use a child as such,” Thor rumbled, obviously as angry as Bruce, though Bruce was keeping it in better control.

“Yes. But that wouldn’t stop people like Hydra from doing such things,” Steve responded and Phil didn’t bother calming him down.

“For now, finding Maggie is of equal priority to shutting down the various Hydra and A.I.M. bases we’ve uncovered. Mr. Stark, please have JARVIS inform me when he gets even the slightest touch of her,” Phil explained and Clint is pretty sure that Phil was told to put Maggie to the wayside.

One girl, not even technically aligned with SHIELD against Hydra and A.I.M. bases?

Fury would pick the bases, if only because, in the long run, they would do more damage to the enemy organizations then one girl.

One girl who was a lab experiment, but still only one girl.

When excused, Natasha stalked off and Clint headed to the archery range.

He needed to think in peace.

Chapter Text

Another base erupted into a flaming fury as the Avengers removed yet another Hydra base, Steve with extreme prejudice.

Tony could get that, considering that he had the same personal vendetta against the Ten Rings, so he wasn’t going to be throwing rocks while living in a glass house. He sent a repulsar blast to a truck’s back axle, not even twitching when it did a little more damage than just the back axle.

They had been at this for the past three weeks, since Maggie had been taken, and JARVIS was unable to find anything, yet on where they could take her.

“Sir, next time please stop Captain Rogers from destroying the base,” JARVIS stated and Tony pulled up, balancing.

“What’s up JARVIS?”

“They didn’t have time to remove their towers. I have some…thing on Miss Maggie, but something cut it off. I suspect it was Captain Rogers blowing up the base,” JARVIS answered.

Tony let out a low sigh. “I’ll see if I can talk him into waiting. What do you have JARVIS?” Tony stated.

“I have informed Agent Coulson of the development and am clearing up the video file,” he answered and Tony felt as if a stone had settled into his stomach.

He had a bad feeling about what JARVIS found.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Coulson stared at the video file.

It was dated a week ago and Maggie was back in a replica of that white jumpsuit Coulson had found her in, strapped to a table. The cuffs at her wrists were dark and, if Coulson squinted, he could tell she had been trying to free herself, but they had put the cuffs just tight enough that, unless she dislocated a couple of fingers, she wouldn’t be able to get out.

Maggie, however, was just pointedly staring up and didn’t look over as the door opened. “Welcome back 05-05Y000D/AGM-SCSY/LA03FRGRRU-LR-WS/AUDXEMGTOPST/1000F. Good to see you have come back to us,” the man greeted.

He was dressed in black and there was no symbol to suggest he was of Hydra.

But Coulson knew he was, had once shot him when he was retreating, sent the bullet straight through hid shoulder.

Apparently, he got better.

Maggie didn’t respond and the man let out a sigh before undoing the straps.

She didn’t move. “Get up,” he ordered, but Maggie merely continued to stare.

“I order you to get up!” the man snarled.

Maggie didn’t twitch, not even when he hauled her to her feet, holding tight to the front of her jumpsuit, and slammed her into the nearest wall.

There was no more as the video file became corrupted and was unable to play farther.

“I apologize Agent Coulson,” JARVIS stated, even as Coulson slowly, forcibly, uncurled his fingers and hands from around the arms of his chair.

“It is quite all right. That was a week ago. You have enough to do facial recognition JARVIS?” Coulson responded.

“Always, sir. Do you wish me to send one Fredrick Wolfe’s location to you or Agent Barton?” JARVIS answered.

“I’ll get Agents Barton and Romanov to team up for this. If you could JARVIS?” Coulson answered and JARVIS willingly threw up everything he had found about the man who had hurt Maggie.

Coulson nodded and set up making a file that would not make Fury glare at him.

And if they found out where Maggie had been taken in addition to location of some high security Hydra bases, well that was just a bonus, wasn’t it?

Chapter Text

Maggie was sitting calmly in a lab, attached to various machines that were reading her vitals.

She focused on keeping everything even, calm, even as the scientist taking care of her talked to her trainer that had left her in the training dome…twice.

“She’s imprinted,” her trainer, formerly former, stated.

“Well, that’s a problem. Though, that explains the disobedience. I thought they were genetically inclined to follow orders,” the scientist stated.

Her voice was detached, clinical.

She terrified Maggie.

“Yes, it is. Until it imprints. Then it can pick and choose it’s orders, omitting those given by whoever it imprinted on. It gets damn curious though. It always wants to know what is happening around it,” the trainer hissed.

“SC, SY. Has to be to go where no one will. Curiosity does that. You don’t want it in the SL, AS, or SN,” she answered.

Maggie could hear her writing something on the pad she had.

“Yes, well…it’s got imagination.”

Maggie could practically hear the eyebrow rise in the next sentence. “How did we find that out?” she asked.

“The books we gave her as a reward. It drew pictures, not schematics or maps or blueprints, in the back. Drew things that got described in the book or even just borrowed from the book,” the trainer answered.

“How did that get handled?”

“I cracked every rib she had,” he answered calmly.

Maggie kept her heart rate steady, even if she wanted to flinch.

She remembered that day.

She hadn’t realized it was for that.

She immediately focused on her hands and began to do a counting game quietly.

Jarvis had shown her some on one of the windows.

“So…how does it get broken?” the scientist asked.

“We’ve never tried. Strap her down and pump her up on with the drugs and do a sudden withdrawal as many times within a week. If that doesn’t work, we’ll try something new,” her trainer stated.

Maggie could barely keep her heart rate stable and she resisted the urge to shiver with fear.

She had a feeling she was going to be violently ill before this all started.

“Well, at least it stopped acting human,” the scientist stated.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Agent Coulson I have found something on Miss Maggie. You will not like it,” JARVIS stated and Coulson focused on the glass in front of him.

“Show me,” he ordered.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

The video file was in real time and showed Maggie struggling rapidly against two guards, both with Hydra symbols on their uniforms. She slammed herself back, trying to backpedal, fighting with everything when a man stepped up, also with the Hydra symbol on his chest and, with efficiency that spoke of practice slammed his club into her rib cage. She tried to pull away when he pulled the club back warningly and she stilled. “Get her back into her slab and strap her back down!” he ordered and she was hauled back.

JARVIS flipped through the cameras at high speed, easily tracking them back to the lab, where she was strapped back down to a table.

There was a guard with an off angled head, who was dragged out once she was strapped down tightly.

A female scientist sighed as she set up an IV and twisted her hand around prodding until she was able to get the IV into the back of her hand. Once reassured no air had gotten in, she attached the IV bag to it and let it through.

Maggie continued to tug at the restraints until whatever was in the IV flooded into her veins. She stared and her eyes went glassy before she fell slack against the bed.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Tony Stark stared at the video file as it played out, along with the files that were popping up next to it. “Find them,” he ordered.

“Already searching, sir. Agent Coulson has…requested the same. He wants the next base we get to, to be this one,” JARVIS responded.

Tony just nodded and watched as Maggie continued to be pulled under the drug’s influence, the IV being the cause.

And he let out a snarling curse as the woman began to slow the amount being pumped into Maggie's blood stream.

Chapter Text

Maggie curled up in agony on her cot in her cell, feeling as if her limbs were on fire, as if her very bones had been splintered apart and smashed back together. Her head pounded in agony and it felt like her vision danced oddly every time she tried to open her eyes. She was shaking and scared and all she wanted was Coulson back. She had held onto that as her world was wrenched from her and then slammed back into place as painfully as they could. She could barely breathe, let alone understand what this was about.

She heard an enraged roar and curled up more, covering her ears.

They had moved her when she had tried to use the IV pole as a weapon, though it had slipped from her grip, which had included a dislocated thumb. She was in too much agony to notice a little more, but now all that was left was her shivering, shaking, pain wracked body that made her cry.

The roaring, however, was punctuated by panic and her trainer running in with the scientist. “Damn it all! SHIELD, especially the Avengers, are starting to become a real thorn in our side,” he stated and grabbed her, forcing her to stand, but she was hearing something.

A voice, at the edge of her hearing that was ringing.

“Black Widow, she’s three levels down. They’ve got her and they are going to be running.”

Coulson.

She whimpered and tried to pull away, only to get struck again and she just let out a soft cry.

The feeling of withdrawal seemed to be enhancing everything, but that was too be expected, as she felt that whatever was in the IV to make sure she didn’t die was not going to keep her from being in agony.

She was surprised that she was still conscious.

“Kill them all,” her trainer ordered and Maggie felt something click in the back of her head.

And her world went dark.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Black Widow, we have a problem,” Coulson stated, watching as Maggie seemed to change on screen the minute the man, Matthias Finkel, ordered them all dead.

It was like a switch had been thrown.

“What?” she questioned.

“They did program her,” he stated as he watched her get beaten.

However, the minute Finkel turned his back, Maggie was up and moving. The heel of her hand slammed into the base of his skull and he was down as she let herself fall on him. However, the minute they were on the ground, she grabbed his head and slammed it into floor until he was, most likely, dead.

She didn’t pause as she grabbed his gun (like most Hydra agents, he was over-confident) and she stood, never looking away from the frightened scientist.

“Home is threatened,” Maggie recited and fired off two shots, missing on the first.

The second went through the scientist’s throat.

She then stumbled to the side and threw up in the corner, but that seemed to be from the fact she was suffering from withdrawal and possible cracked ribs then the fact she had just killed two people in a very messy fashion.

“What?” Natasha snapped.

“Maggie has programming, and it just activated. She’s going on a killing spree,” Coulson explained as Maggie stepped out, only to begin shooting every Hydra agent in sight, her body obviously shaking, but it wasn’t from fear.

“What set it off?” Natasha asked and Coulson sighed, rubbing his forehead.

“They put in programming that would have her go all out, no matter how much agony she is in, no matter what is done to her, if ‘home is threatened’,” Coulson explained.

“Great, this place is home,” Natasha muttered.

“No. We are,” Coulson responded.

He could hear Natasha’s sigh.

“Where did she learn that?”

“I taught her that. She’s…killing every Hydra agent she runs across,” Coulson stated and winced as a bullet buried itself into Maggie’s arm, but that didn’t stop her from walking up to him and snapping his neck.

She wasn’t stopping and Coulson felt his hatred ramp up for Hydra.

“What do I do?” Natasha asked.

“She’s heading up, she’s coming to us. Just…try to get her somewhere that you can defend and see if you can get her to understand home is safe. I don’t think trying, or succeeding in, knocking her out would end well,” he stated and she gave a confirmation before he switched to the Team Channel.

“Everyone, be on the lookout; Maggie’s on the move,” he stated.

He heard various conformations and Barton’s private channel beep. He immediately switched it to his.

“Iron Man and I want to know how that’s possible, consider she’s in the middle of withdrawal,” Barton stated.

“Her home is being threatened, and there’s programming within her that forces her to keep her home safe, no matter her condition. She’s not doing well, having to stop and throw up every few steps, or just throw up on her opponents, but other than that, she just keeps going,” Coulson answered, watching her just move, unsteady on her feet, but still going, even when one of the faceless mooks tried to leap at her.

Tried in that she had already sidestepped them and twisted as she did, driving a knife she had picked up into the back of their…he wasn’t sure if she hit the base of his skull or his neck.

The entire time he caught sight of her face, it was detached and blank.

She paused, and threw up again, her skin taking that gray look of someone who should really be unconscious.

He watched as she continued to move, but it was getting more difficult, so instead of collecting knives, she began to collect guns, emptying them before she threw them at her opponents, though her aim was getting worse the farther she went.

He gripped the table when Natasha gently dropped in front of her, causing Maggie to whirl on her, before stopping.

“Natasha,” Maggie greeted, slurring slightly.

“We need to go,” Natasha stated.

Maggie easily followed her and Natasha moved them to a room that JARVIS stated was ‘all-clear’ and she barricaded them in. “Maggie, home is safe,” Natasha stated, but she just kept staring.

Coulson stared and then sighed. “Get ready to catch her and place the earpiece next to her ear,” he ordered.

Natasha obeyed without hesitation and he took a deep breathe.

“Maggie?” he called.

A smile.

“Coulson,” she responded.

“Home is safe,” he stated.

The effect was immediate.

Her legs buckled and Natasha barely had time to catch her before slowly lowering her to the ground. She repleaced the earpiece in her own ear, but it was on the public channel.

“Maggie’s down and we’re in one of the unused labs,” she reported.

“I’ve got a bead on your location. Who do you want me to send your way?” Coulson responded.

"I can't carry our little mime at the moment," Tony interjected.

“Stop calling her that,” Clint snapped as Natasha requested Thor’s presence.

“Oh, stop your panties from twisting in a bunch Katniss,” Tony snarked.

“Stop calling me that!” Clint hissed.

“Both of you, knock it off,” Captain Rogers ordered and Coulson watched as Tony blasted through the ceiling, though he was obviously aiming away from them. He landed easily, followed by Thor, and he took off as soon as it was reassured that Thor would be carrying Maggie out soon. “Go,” Natasha ordered, once Maggie was held securely in Thor’s grip.

A few swings of his hammer and he took off into the sky once more.

Natasha came out of the room, already moving to eliminate everyone in her path, though soon the Hulk was there and assisting her out.

Coulson was leaving it to Sitwell and striding out to where Thor was touching down, the medical staff settling to take care of her. They didn’t tell him to leave.

It had already spread that the girl that was pulled out by Natasha and Thor was a killer.

Let them think what they will about why Coulson was overseeing their care of her.

Phil was just glad that she was back home with them.