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Know Your Enemy

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Coulson was going to be so mad. He told her not to be seen ten times before finally letting her go on the mission. Skye knew he was more cautious and worried recently. He had good reason to be to after everything that went down at the Triskelion. Don’t be seen, he told her. We can’t let the government trace any of this back to us.

 

Being a SHIELD agent nowadays meant a lot more stealth and lot less support after all the secrets poured onto the internet and revealed far more to the public than SHIELD had ever hoped. Once upon a time, Skye might have believed that it was a good thing for information to be spread and shared. Then again, that time had long past, and if Skye had learned anything in the last year since the Triskelion fell and Hydra was discovered within the ranks of SHIELD, it was that some people could not be trusted with information. Some people like say the US government because they sure as hell did not know how to interpret it.

 

The government had been on their ass ever since. SHIELD had enough problems what with the utter destruction of their system, the disbanding of many of their top agents, and, of course, Hydra being murderous assholes without the government stalking them. At first, Director Coulson had tried to appease them and prove that SHIELD and Hydra were not the same, that SHIELD was as much a victim of Hydra’s machinations as they were. It became obvious that the government did not care either way. The public reputation of SHIELD was so bad that there was nothing to be done to overcome it. All SHIELD interventions were viewed as vigilantes obstructing justice at best and terrorists out for blood at worst.

 

Skye had been adamant about going on the mission though. This was their chance to get the obelisk and ensure that Hydra could not use it as a weapon. After what happened last time one of the obelisks had been pursued by Hydra and SHIELD, well, Skye knew it had to be kept out of the wrong hands. Since her own powers awakened, Skye had kept an eye out for any mentions all over the internet of such a “weapon” that could turn people to dust in seconds with one touch. When she discovered that there was one being advertised for potential buyers, she knew she had to do something.

 

May had backed her, too. Coulson was worried that it was too risky. The obelisk was being sold on the black market in Seville, Spain of all places. That was not too bad, since it was far away from General Talbot and his cronies, but it was held in a crowded area. Lots of tourists, lots of chances to attract unwanted attention. It was smart of the sellers’ part because it was a huge turnoff for spies such as herself to intervene. Guaranteed gawking and panicking when this goes south, Coulson had said. She in return had cheerfully replied that it would not go south. She could handle it.

 

And she had to be the one to handle it. No one else in SHIELD could even touch the olbelisk. The problem was the manpower. Coulson could not spare anyone since SHIELD had such limited resources as is. Oftentimes agents dealt with no extraction plans and outnumbered teams nowadays. It was hard for people like Coulson and May to get used to, but for Skye, she had barely been a part of SHIELD before the fall. In some ways, this was all she had ever known. Living in the “shadows” as Coulson says was where she was born. At least now she had loved ones and people who protected her. The government looking down its nose at what she was doing hardly phased her after a life of illegal hacking and pickpocketing.

 

Skye had insisted she could handle it alone, and May backed her. What were a couple of thugs in over their heads with alien technology compared to a badass Inhuman trained personally by the Cavalry? Of course, she could not go around making quakes. For starters, she still had not gotten a handle on her powers. She stopped making the Earth tremble every time she got the least bit emotional, but that was about it on the progress front. There was also the small matter of hiding her powers. No one could know. She may as well paint a giant red target on her back for the government and Hydra if she advertised that she was gifted without a clue as to how to control her so-called gift. There was always the fear of brainwashing from Hydra and experimentation from the government.

 

The only people who even knew about her abilities were Coulson, May, Fitzsimmons, and a couple of other trusted agents. Maybe it was the Hydra reveal, but everyone was a lot more paranoid about leaks and traitors as of late. Skye had not known anyone who had turned out to be Hydra, but she also only knew a couple of agents before anyway.

 

May and Coulson had not been so lucky. To them, it was like the ground had been swept out from under them. Coulson’s supposed good friend and fellow student of Director Fury, John Garrett, turned out to Hydra. Jasper Sitwell, Alexander Pierce, Brock Rumlow, Jack Rollins, these names meant nothing to her, but Coulson especially had known all of them or at least heard of them. He had trusted them with his life before.

 

Skye could never understand. Sure, she had been betrayed before and abandoned by those meant to love her. Hell, her whole relationship with her biological father was a lesson in disappointment and pain. But everything was so personal for them. Skye still noticed the way Coulson’s face twitched in pain and rage after even a year at the mere mention of Garrett. Trip was not much better. Apparently Garrett had been a very paternal S.O. and easily won over the people who worked for him. All Skye knew was that anyone who could disgust Trip that much was someone Skye never wanted to meet- not unless she was taking him down.

 

Coulson had agreed to let her go. May had flown the Bus across the Atlantic and dropped her a little outside the city. She had spent the day getting a feel for the neighborhood and preparing to intercept the sale that night. As soon as she had it in her possession, she was to get the hell out of dodge before anyone noticed that a very not Spanish woman was running around with a glowy object of doom.

 

Everything was going according to plan. The deal was going down on the fifth floor in a cheap motel room, which made the whole thing seem even more cliché and pathetic to Skye but whatever. She had kept watch in the room next door by drilling a small hole into the wall in the hours leading up to the transaction. Given the repulsiveness of the rooms, Skye even thought a hole in the wall was not much of a change. So she had stood back, ready to make her move once the deal was over, while the skeezy man with a terrible receding hairline had tried to haggle with a much larger and creepier man. Skeezy Man made Vanchat look like Captain America. Skye almost felt bad because this was going to be even easier than she anticipated. She should have known better than to get cocky.

 

Everything was going smoothly before a third party came into play. A sniper had been set up next door and before Skye knew it everything had gone to chaos. Skeezy Man had gone down in an instant. Immediately following were his two useless bodyguards. Creepy Man spooked but could not seem to decide if he wanted to grab the obelisk and run or take off before he wound up with a bullet in his brain, too.

 

Skye wasted no time. Subtlety was gone, but she could still get to the obelisk and get out before anyone could connect SHIELD to this. The hallway was overrun with confused people screaming words she could not understand, but she managed to push her way into the room. During her blindness, it seemed Creepy Man had decided to take his chances. The obelisk and the thug were both gone.

 

Skye swore. He could not have gone far though. She spun around and looked into the crowd of people clamoring for the stairs. She could already hear sirens in the distance, and she still did not know who her mystery shooter was. He might be a cheap thug who wanted the obelisk for himself, or Hydra could have found out about the deal as well and made moves for it. Skye wanted to say it was another thug, but she knew she was not that lucky.

 

Finally Skye caught a glimpse of Creepy Man by the stairs as he attempted to shove a distressed woman out of his way. Since the obelisk was in a giant crate, he could not have been more conspicuous if he were on fire as he clutched the thing to his chest.

 

She wormed her way through the masses. It was a flashback to that one time Miles convinced her to go to a concert where they were stuck in the mosh pit. It was just as fun as she remembered getting almost elbowed in the face by screaming people a foot taller than she was.

 

Creepy Man had started down the stairs by the time she had worked her was through the mob. When he looked back and saw her coming after him, he ducked into the motel’s third level hallway. Skye was seconds behind as she crashed through the metal door.

 

The cops were definitely here by now. Skye could hear shouts of “policía!” among the various words of Spanish that escaped her. The sirens blared somehow even louder than the screaming. Even as Skye pursued Creepy Man, she knew she was in trouble. The police would probably be watching everyone carefully and questioning all the people trying to leave the motel. It would not be much of problem except Skye’s Spanish skills were nonexistent so she would be flagged as suspicious no matter what.

 

She put that out of her mind as she slammed into the Creepy Man. With her training, it took seconds to wrestle the obelisk out of his hands and knock him to the floor. The crate crashed to the floor and broke into pieces. Skye merely reached down and plucked it out with her bare hands. Creepy Man was staring at her with wide, confused eyes, probably thinking that he had been duped and the supposed unbeatable weapon that could destroy with a touch was bullshit. Better for him to think that. If he tried anything, Skye would be forced to use the obelisk on him. As creepy as he was, Skye preferred not to kill when she could help it.

 

Creepy Man scampered away while she considered him. He was not worth following, she did not have time for him. Instead Skye was forced to wonder how she was going to get out the motel without arousing suspicion. There was also the small matter of the obelisk being out in the open. If Skye just accidently brushed someone with it…

 

Before she could contemplate it any more, Skye found herself being thrown onto the ground by a hard tackle. The obelisk flew out of her hands while she froze briefly in shock. People did not sneak up on her, not since she started training under Melinda May. What the hell was going on?

 

Skye spun around and landed lightly on the balls of her feet to face her opponent. She found herself staring into the barrel of a gun instead.

 

“I wouldn’t try anything if I were you,” a deep voice intoned. The man in front of her held the gun with the type of certainty that only came from years of experience in one business. He was not one of hers, and since he was speaking unaccented English, she did not think he belonged to some Spanish intelligence agency. He did not look much older than she was, but she felt the professionalism in his assessment of her. That and he snuck up on her! He had to belong to somewhere good.

 

“I thought Hydra’s the type to shoot first, ask questions never. Guess there’s an exception to every rule,” Skye smiled cockily as she taunted him. Truth was, she could not be sure he even was Hydra. With his skill level, English, and interest in the obelisk, Skye was betting he was though.

 

The man in front of her gave no response to her mockery and assumption. He merely gazed at her in assessment as if deciding what his choice of action should be. There was intelligence in those eyes, Skye felt like he was looking straight through her. It was the danger he pretty much exuded that really put her on edge. Even without his probable association with Hydra, Skye was surprised that he did not just shoot her in the back and take the obelisk. He hardly seemed like the type to go easy on anyone.

 

Was it because she was a girl? Skye had met some agents all levels of experience who hesitated in fighting with women. That felt unlikely with this guy, but if it were true, it would come in handy. Skye had a feeling that he would not go down easily. Of course, it could be the more disgusting side of that mentality. This guy would not be the first who tried something with her in battle. She once had an opponent who tried to feel her up while they were fighting. She kicked the living crap out of him but ever since felt warier when dealing with some male opponents. She wondered if she should flirt with him to get him off his guard.

 

He did not look like the kind of guy who needed to force female company though. In fact, he might be the most attractive guy Skye had ever seen. His hair was cropped short and so dark Skye could not tell if it were black or brown. He stood well over six feet tall and was all muscle. He was leaner and firm in his build with a strong jawline and cheekbones that could cut you. It was a little unnerving to go down that path with her thoughts. It was easier to think of all Hydra agents being faceless, evil douchebags with no redeeming qualities. Even if it were just appearance, thinking of someone wanting to sleep with a Hydra agent humanized them in a way that Skye would prefer not happen.

 

As she contemplated that, he appeared to come to a decision without ever faltering his grip on the gun still pointed at her. “How’d you do it?”

 

“Umm do what? Take out the Creepy Man running around with a crate to his chest and no clue? It really wasn’t that hard.”

 

For a second, Skye could have sworn he smiled at her. However, it was gone in a flash, replaced by a look of annoyance. “No, how did you hold it?” He nodded his head towards the obelisk lying a couple feet away. “I saw you touch it without suffering the effects.”

 

“Oh,” Skye paused for a second, “It’s easy. You should try. In fact, tell all your Hydra friends to give it a go. Trust me, it’d be fun for all.”

 

Her opponent’s lips thinned in what was probably irritation. His narrowed eyes were assessing her again, searching for who knows what. All Skye knew was that this was a waste of time. The police were here, the mission had gone to hell, and it was about time for her to leave.

 

“So if that’s all you wanted, I’ll just be on my way,” Skye inched a step backwards and closer to the obelisk without looking away from man in front of her. She was starting to wonder if he actually was a Hydra agent. It was hard for her to believe that he would not have killed her yet. He must realize she was SHIELD. His knowledge of the obelisk though made that theory unlikely.

 

“Don’t move.” Mr. Tall, Dark, and Handsome Hydra Agent’s face had shut down. Not a single emotion could be seen, it was just… blankness. That set alarm bells off in Skye’s head. Nothing good ever came from expressions like that. Skye had known a few agents who closed off right before they killed. It was a way of keeping them detached. They claimed it allowed them some peace of mind despite all the horrors they had seen and done.

 

“I’m not, I’m totally not moving. No movement here at all. I’m just here, standing,” Skye trailed off a little uncertainly before unnecessarily and loudly adding, “But not moving.” There was some kind of emotion in the man’s eyes now. Skye wanted to call it warmth, but she could not be sure.

 

Stomping echoed in the hallway. The policemen had arrived and were searching the motel for suspects and witnesses. This was exactly what Skye had wanted to avoid. She was going to get caught, and if she got out of it, Coulson was never going to get over this massive fuck up.

 

“Grab it.”

 

“Huh?” Skye was lost, but the Hydra agent indicated towards the obelisk, and that was what she wanted anyway. She shuffled over and snatched the thing up.

 

“Don’t bring it closer to me or I’ll shoot. Now get in there.” He gestured towards the open door of one of the motel rooms. Skye wordlessly obeyed. The longer this went on, the more likely it was that he would drop his guard. The more she thought about it though, she doubted this guy ever dropped his guard around anyone. “Now, place it under the bed.”

 

The room was just as unfurnished and bare as the previous ones she had seen. Under the bed was actually the only place Skye could see that would hide the obelisk from curious glances. While she followed his instructions, she wondered what game he was playing. Mr. Tall, Dark, and Handsome Hydra Agent followed her inside and shut the door soundlessly.

 

Skye could hear the scuffling and shouting of the policemen outside the door. They had arrived at the third floor and were pretty much on top of them. Skye realized he wanted them out of the hallway, so the police did not see their exchange. That was stupid though because as soon as they checked the room they would notice something amiss. Even with the obelisk hidden, there were still two sketchy looking people and a gun involved. Maybe Skye had overestimated Mr. Tall, Dark and Handsome Hydra Agent’s intelligence.

 

Just as she thought that, he came at her faster than she would have thought possible and pushed her roughly onto the bed. He grabbed her wrists in his own hands and situated his legs between hers in seconds. What the hell? So this was some weird sexual thing?

 

Then suddenly she understood. He gave her a queer sort of smile as he read the realization on her face before he ducked down and slanted his lips across hers.

 

That was the moment the police burst in.