“Just had to stop for food,” she huffed at herself as she ducked down a dark, gloomy looking back alley. She hadn’t eaten in four days and her body was feeling the effects of it as she ran from yet another S.H.I.E.L.D agent.
Thalia cursed as she spied the dead end ahead of her. It had been six months since the events of Sokovia and she was bring tracked by several organizations interested in talking to her. Amongst them, Hydra and S.H.I.E.L.D were definitely the most persistent. She had learnt rather quickly that it was best to avoid Hydra whenever possible and did so religiously. The third agent they had sent to ‘recruit’ her had shot her twice when she had refused their offer. Again. It was pure luck and adrenaline that had allowed her to knock him unconscious long enough for her to get the hell out of dodge.
She had managed to break into an old motel room and had done a second-rate job of removing the bullets and stitching herself up. However, a week later she had almost been caught by S.H.I.E.L.D after being caught on a surveillance camera stealing antibiotics when her wounds had become infected.
The hunt for her sister had led her to New York. Their game of cat and mouse had left Thalia feeling angered and relieved. She desperately wished to put a stop to the mindless murders she knew her sister was committing; but she also knew her sister was too far gone to be reasoned with anymore. To save countless lives, Thalia was going to have to take her sisters.
A quick glance over her shoulder showed the S.H.I.E.L.D agent had followed her into the alley. Something was different about this one. Where the others had removed their guns immediately, this one never even reached for it. In fact, she seemed to look at Thalia with compassion; like she knew what it felt like to be an outside. To be a freak.
Her eyes darted around the alley and she sighed inwardly when she spied a door off to her left. She cried out when she jarred her shoulder busting down the door before she was up again. Thalia took the stairs two at a time until she reached the door with the EXIT sign flashing above it. Bursting through the door, she ran to where she knew the fire escape should be and slid to a stop as she spied its crumbled remains.
Frantically, Thalia searched for another way off of the roof. She wouldn’t be able to jump, the distance between the two buildings was too much. For a moment, she contemplated jumping off the roof; wondering if her powers would protect her from becoming a pancake on the sidewalk.
She heard the door burst open behind her and quickly formed a wall of black mist between her and the S.H.I.E.L.D agent. Thalia studied her as the agent studied the wall. She looked to be the same age as Thalia and a similar height as well. Her hair was chestnut brown and cut to her shoulders. Thalia could make out the Asian heritage in the young woman before her eyes focused on the hand that was reaching to touch the wall of mist between the both of them.
“I wouldn’t,” she warned, her voice as could as the frigid night air surrounding them, “I haven’t found anything that can touch it without be destroyed by it.”
“Except you,” the agent replied kindly, meeting Thalia’s black-eyed star unwaveringly.
Thalia gave a cold laugh, “yeah,” she sneered, “must be a miracle.”
“I know what you’re going through,” she replied softly.
Thalia scoffed. “You have no idea what I’m going through,” she hissed angrily. She thought about all the times her powers had caused her and others pain and misery. “You have no idea what it’s like to have a power so destructive and uncontrollable,” she continued sadly. She shook her head, her eyes hardening as she met the woman’s russet eyes, “I’ll never come willingly,” she vowed, “I’m here for one purpose only.”
“You’re tracking Samantha Jones. She’s suspected of killing twenty men in the last eight months.”
Thalia’s eyes narrowed at the woman, “how do you know I’m looking for her?”
“We’ve been keeping a close eye on you since Sokovia. You’re only ever in the location where the murders take place.”
“And that doesn’t make you question whether I’m the one doing the murdering?”
The agent took another step forward and Thalia was forced to push the wall closer to her body so she wouldn’t hurt the young woman. “It crossed out minds,” she answered honestly, “but we ruled it out. You were in Sokovia when the murders began. All we want to do is help.”
“Help?” Thalia sneered, “S.H.I.E.L.D will lock me away. They’ll label me a monster.” She shook her head, “they don’t care about people like me or my sister.”
“That’s not true,” the woman replied firmly before the ground beneath them began to shake. Thalia had to step forward to keep herself from going over the edge and when she looked up, she saw the agent’s hands facing the ground as waves of energy left them. She couldn’t believe it; she had always known there were others like her. There had to be, after all; but she had only met one other besides her sister and she didn’t really count because she had been born a mutant and not turned into whatever the hell Thalia had been turned into.
The agent met her eyes and the shaking stopped as quickly as it began. “Just give me twenty-four hours,” she pleaded, “if you’re not satisfied after that, I give you my word that I’ll drop you off wherever you want to go.”
Thalia thought over her offer. S.H.I.E.L.D had resources she could only dream about, but could she really risk her freedom based on the word of this agent. An agent whose name she didn’t even know.
Knowing she would likely come to regret it later; Thalia went to open her mouth to reply only to stagger forward when something pierced through her shoulder. She saw the agent’s eyes widen before she was running forward to catch her as Thalia fell forward. The agent pressed a hand to her shoulder and Thalia vaguely saw the blood that began to bathe her hand red.
“May! We have hostiles in the area!”
Thalia thought the agent’s voices sounded distant, like she was talking through a funnel or something.
“Hold on, Thalia,” the young woman urged her as she kept her eyes in the direction the bullet had come from. Thalia vaguely wondered why her powers weren’t reacting to the threat of danger. That’s when she realised she couldn’t feel anything. There must have been a paralytic substance on or in the bullet. Her head lolled to the side as she heard the agent frantically pleading for her to stay awake before it became too much, and Thalia succumbed to the darkness.
She didn’t awake with a gasp or a scream like they did in the movies. In fact, when Thalia opened her eyes, it was like waking up from one of the best sleeps of her life. Well, it would have been the best sleep of her life if she didn’t feel like her stomach had been empty for months. Her throat also felt like she had spent several weeks in the dessert without a drop of water in sight.
Blearily, Thalia looked around. She could hear the steady beep beep beep of the heart monitor beside the hospital bed. The beeping got faster as she realized she was in a small cell. It was padded and white with a large window on one side where she could see the shadows of people walking by every now and again.
She went to sit up and hissed when she felt a pull at her shoulder and her lower arm. Thalia roughly pulled out the IV that was connected to her before she threw it off the bed. She ripped the little circles monitoring her heart off of her chest and suddenly an alarm was going off. Having just woken up, Thalia’s sensitive ears couldn’t take the shrill sound and, sensing a threat to her person, her powers acted on their own.
Pretty soon, Thalia found herself sitting in a pile of ash where the bed had once been. Every piece of equipment that had been present had suffered the same fate as the bed. The alarm was still ringing, and Thalia covered her ears to try and drown the sound out. She could vaguely hear the commotion going on outside and wondered if maybe the alarm had nothing to do with her.
She froze. Thalia recognized that voice and suddenly flashes of the evets that took place before she passed out reached the forefront of her mind. She had been shot. Again. Her eyes drifted to her shoulder where she saw hospital gauze covering the bullet wound. She hesitantly tested her should, hissing slightly when she felt it protest her movements.
“Thalia, can you hear me?”
That voice was new. New and British. Her eyes shot up and she could see two faces peering into the cell. Sensing a threat, her gift surrounded her, hugging her body like a second skin. Thalia stood slowly, her body screaming at the motion. She could only imagine what she looked like; probably like a caged animal. She certainly felt like one right now.
Her eyes darted around the cell before her hand shot out and the black mist shot towards the door. When nothing happened, Thalia felt panic surge through her. Her breathing quickened and she felt herself getting slightly dizzy. “Let me out,” she whispered, turning to look desperately at the agent from the other night, “please, let me out!”
The agent went to move only to be stopped by an older, Asian woman with a blank expression on her face.
Thalia threw herself at the door, crying out as she thrust her injured shoulder at the door. “Let me out!” she screamed as she repeated the action.
“She’s going to re-open her wound!” the British accent rang out.
“Let her out,” came a male voice and suddenly Thalia found herself falling to the ground in front of the cell. “Miss Jones, you’re safe here,” the male voice tried to assure her.
Her head stayed down, quickly scanning the area until she spied a door. Without a moment’s hesitation, Thalia ran for it. Her legs staggered slightly but she managed to keep her balance as she rushed through the door to the sound of several people calling for her.
She shoved aside anyone who got in her way, a lot of them making a wide gap so not to touch her. Thalia had already pulled her gift back, but her eyes were still a deep black as she searched for a way out. She ducked down another hall and ran into something large and solid.
A hand grabbed her arm, the grip gentle but firm and Thalia looked up to see a large, African-American man looking down at her. She pulled at his grip on her, but he didn’t budge an inch.
“You need to calm down,” he told her, his voice a deep baritone.
“Let me go,” she breathed.
He didn’t flinch at the black eyes staring at him and Thalia took a moment to be impressed by it.
“Don’t worry, Kitten,” came another male voice, this one British, “Mack here is about as dangerous as you are.”
Her eyes shot to the man who had made an appearance next to the man he had called ‘Mack’. He was looking her over and she gazed down before flushing a bright red. She was in her black panties and white singlet that was quickly becoming red as her re-opened wound bled. Then his words registered in her mind and she glared at him. His answering smirk only served to infuriate her.
“I’ll bet he’ll let you go if you ask real nice,” he whispered to her, his face close to her own.
Thalia met his gaze and smiled sweetly at him, the sight throwing both men off guard before she thrusts her head into his nose. He stumbled back with a pain cry, his hand clutching at his nose. She could feel pain radiating from where her head had connected to his, but she ignored it, too satisfied with his now bleeding nose to care.
Mack’s deep laugh seemed to calm her, and she relaxed in his grip as her eyes returned to their silver hue. “Told you that mouth was gonna get you in trouble, Hunter,” he chuckled. His brown eyes returned to Thalia and he grinned at her, “you got balls, kid. Name’s Mack.”
They both turned at the sound of her name being called to see the agent from the previous night run up to them and engulf Thalia in a hug. She stiffened visibly and was thankful when Mack pulled the enthusiastic woman off of her. “Easy there, Quake, she just woke up in a strange place surrounded by strange people; give her some room to breathe.”
Thalia moved closer to Mack, knowing the man got her on some level. They were soon joined in the hall by the stern Asian woman, the middle-aged man in a suit, the young British woman and two other people she had yet to see.
“Miss Jones, I’m Agent Phil Coulson of S.H.I.E.L.D. What’s the last thing you remember?”
She stayed behind Mack as she answered, “I remember being shot.” She coughed after the sentence, her throat dry and scratchy. Had she sounded like that this whole time? Her hand came up to grip her throat as she swallowed painfully.
“Here,” the British woman offered, walking forward and holding out a glass of water for Thalia.
Thalia glared at it suspiciously. She watched as Mack reached for it, taking a deep mouthful before he handed it to her without a word. Getting the silent message, she nodded her thanks and took careful, controlled mouthfuls. When the glass was empty, Thalia cautiously held it out for the British woman to take.
“Our agents found a Hydra gun for hire a few rooftops away. His objective was to-”
“-capture me,” she answered, “or kill me if capture wasn’t possible.”
She watched everyone stiffen. Obviously, they hadn’t expected her to know about Hydra. She noticed Hunter move closer, flanking her left as Mack flanked her right. They looked like two concerned older brothers and, had she not found it so comforting, she would have laughed at the thought.
“Hydra have contacted you?” Coulson questioned.
Thalia nodded, “a month after I got to New York an agent approached me offering me a job. I refused and thought they would leave me alone. The third agent they sent shot me; twice.” She lifted her shirt to show the two puckered scars on her hip, much larger than they would have been had a professional patched her up. “So, you can understand why I don’t trust you. S.H.I.E.L.D, Hydra, you both want to use me in some way. The only difference it they’re more direct about it.”
“I see,” Coulson nodded grimly, “I’m sorry you had to endure that but S.H.I.E.L.D only wants to put a stop to the murders your sister is committing.”
“You’re going to kill her,” she stated, her voice cold and detached.
“We would like to help her,” the female agent from the other night replied, “my offer still stands, Thalia. Give me twenty-four hours; that’s all I ask.”
“I don’t even know you,” Thalia replied with a shake of her head.
The agent smiled brightly, “I’m Daisy. Daisy Johnson.”
“I’m Jemma Simmons.”
“And that’s Melinda May,” Daisy added when the older woman said nothing.
“We want to help both of you, Miss Jones,” Coulson continued, “but we can only do that if you let us.”
Thalia looked at each of them.
Bobbi seemed to be studying her as if she were some interesting puzzled she was waiting to solve. She sent Thalia a soft smile when their eyes met, and Thalia found herself returning it easily. She was beyond gorgeous; her long, blonde hair framing beautiful blue eyes.
Hunter still stood beside Thalia. He still held that arrogant air that annoyed her to no end. His nose had stopped bleeding and he was smirking at her. A soft smirk. He was tall and had dark hair and dark eyes. The way he leaned against the near wall told her he was the kind of guy that thought highly of himself. Not that she could blame him; he was a handsome man.
Jemma and Leo stood side by side. Leo was only a few inches taller than Jemma and both had light brown hair. His blue eyes looked at Thalia's silver ones with a slight trace of apprehension whilst Jemma's brown eyed gaze held nothing but intrigue.
Melinda May was looking at Thalia as if her stare alone would reveal all her secrets. By her tense posture, Thalia could tell that she didn't trust her; not that she could blame her. She had brown hair and brown eyes. Whist she stood at Thalia's height she looked like a fighter and the younger woman knew it was best to keep to her good side.
Mack, at first glance, was the very definition of the word intimidating. He stood taller than the rest of them and had muscles so large it looked like his shirt was straining to stay together.
Coulson looked to be the oldest; his hair thinning and his eyes kind. Upon closer inspection, Thalia noticed one of his hands was a prosthetic. He looked at her and gave her a small smile which she found herself returning.
Thalia didn't know if they would keep their word, but she had officially run out of options. Was she ready to trust S.H.I.E.L.D? Absolutely not. But was she ready to move on with her life and stop worrying about Sammy's next victim? Yes; and it was for that reason that she found herself giving a hesitant nod.
After her confirmation, Thalia was ushered into Coulson's office. Daisy had given her a pair of jeans and a loose jacket whilst Jemma had resealed and redressed her wound. Thalia was relieved when no-one commented on the markings that ran up her arms; though she saw the curious looks that they threw at her.
"Your twin sister, like yourself, is very hard to keep track of," Coulson started as Thalia sat in a large chair. "We are currently working on finding her location," he continued; looking at her with soft eyes, "is there anything you can tell us about her powers?"
"I don't know how far they've developed but I know it's not a clever idea to get close enough for her to touch you," Thalia explained, "Sammy has the ability to control someone after a simple touch. Men are easier than women," she shrugged, "she can use their lust to her advantage." Thalia pulled at the ends of the jacket, not meeting their eyes, "her kisses are fatal; I never learnt how or why but I do know that's why the coroners haven't been able to find cause of death with any of the victims."
"Anything else?" Coulson asked as he rubbed the bridge of his nose. Thalia could see the weight of her words settling on his shoulders as he looked at her with tired eyes.
"Nothing, Sir," she replied.
Coulson nodded before turning to Bobbe, Mack and Hunter. "I'm assigning Miss Jones to you three; she needs to be trained and a good few feeds might go a long way." Thalia wrapped her arms around her stomach at the comment; she knew she was slightly underweight but that didn't mean she liked hearing it. The three agents gave him a nod before Mack ducked out to head to the kitchen. Coulson then turned to Daisy, "you can help Miss Jones learn control over her gift."
His eyes met hers at her huff, "I'm sorry, Miss Jones, but it's obvious you have very little control over your powers and that could become a problem here." She sighed and nodded disheartened. "FitzSimmons will conduct some tests to see if we can come up with a failsafe in case your powers grow too out of hand."
"We can start in the morning," Jemma replied, "I'll set the lab up so that we can take blood and perform a physical. How does nine sound?"
Thalia nodded her head, "sounds fine."
"Daisy will take you to the kitchens; I'm sure Mack's no doubt got something for you to eat and then we'll arrange a room for you."
She watched as everyone filed out, lingering until only Coulson, Daisy and Agent May were left. "Sir, I was wondering if you might have a bigger version of that cell I found myself in earlier."
"We have rooms made from the same material; why do you ask?"
She had the attention of all three and Thalia shuffled under the attention, "I can't control myself when I'm asleep. I get nightmares and things in close proximity tend to get destroyed."
"Will this be a danger to our agents?" May asked; her stern eyes narrowing.
Thalia bit back a sharp retort and shook her head, "it shouldn't be a problem if no one enters my room while I'm asleep."
"Daisy can show you to one of the rooms after you've eaten," Coulson replied to defuse the tension in the room, "we'll see you in the morning, Miss Jones."
"Thalia," she answered as she allowed Daisy to steer her to the door. She met Coulson's eyes and smiled shyly, "call me Thalia."