1963-11-21 - Another Day at Work
Summary: Stuck on their latest assignments, a ray of hope for current SHIELD operations shows in the form of one Miss Wanda Maximoff.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
wanda carol clint 

21st day of November in the year of our Lord one thousand, nine hundred and… You know what? 1963. It dawns with a spectacularly snarled traffic jam and trains running late all over the city thanks to a faulty switch, a lax engineer, and two drivers refusing to give right of way. Grumpy riders and absolutely infernal vehicle traffic make getting around by foot the best way possible, but even that's tricky when it comes to navigating the way to Chinatown.

So assume agents are late and others over their shift without any prospect of overtime because government agents are salaried. A guard gives a dark, grumpy look to anyone who sweeps by, muttering about his predicament and that meatball and pasta dish his kid is certain to have eaten. Life's never dull around Shield.

The poor man about jumps out of his skull, surely, when a young woman seems to step out of nowhere, the door humming shut behind her. She thrusts a freshly laminated card in his face, sort of. "Identification," Wanda insists in her rather heavy accent. She might as well be saying multi-pass.

Bright orange hair, a white go-go dress, and her usual claret coat turned equally stark white mark her oddly, but work undercover isn't all that rare. Waiting too long for clearance, she eventually gets to pass through, tugging on the strands of her hair to turn them back to their native rich mahogany.


For Clint Barton, he's one of those guys at SHIELD that doesn't care about the overtime. He goes home, sometimes, to the apartment that passes as home. But usually he just crashes at HQ, indulges in the shower facilities, and keeps on working. He'd let Ed Sullivan go home yesterday after they brought in Gene LePage his producer. They'd leaned on him for a while and gotten very little out of the guy. Still, orders were to keep it hard on him for the next day and night. So the civilian is in the sweat box with a cot at least and is being left to his own devices, though monitored.

Clint, on the other hand, has a mug of coffee in his hand as he peruses the file for the case. He's sitting in the bull pen, quiet for the most part with the light on his desk one of the few sources of illumination other than the flicker of the halogen overhead.


It was a common sight at SHIELD HQ.

A shock of blonde hair, atop a woman who was usually dressed in a uniform kept immaculate, and whip-straight. And more often than not these days, a look of consernation lay upon her features. Today was certainly no different - although her clothes certainly were.

Shoulder-length blonde hair was cut in a sharp bob around her features - only the lightest amount of makeup applied to brighten her cheeks and give a little crimson color to her lips. And she was out of uniform as well. A leather jacket - looking like it belonged more on a pilot than a field agent - a brushed lighter brown of leather and clasped tight around her front, worn over a blouse, a comfortable pair of slacks, and socks into low-heel flats with pointed toes.

Leaving a file on her desk where she had been lingering, Carol unfastens her jacket, and picks up her cooling mug of coffee - her blue eyes a bit distant with thought. A flicker of her gaze towards Clint as she nears the archer, lifting her chin towards him. "I hope you're having more luck than I am," she quips.

But it was in those moments that her eyes track towards Wanda. Undercover or not, fashion was something that was always appreciated. Bringing her mug of coffee up to her lips to hide the birth of a smile, Carol lifts her chin to indicate Wanda. "I swear I'm always a decade or two behind," she tells Clint, who absolutely must be into fashion and style by her estimation, obvious by the playful cant of her tone.

"I don't think I could pull that off as well," she adds, her eyes twinkling. She actually thought she rather could. Lifting up a hand, should Wanda look her way, Carol would greet her. If she should wander over, that would be double groovy, right?


Cue one order of double groovy with a side of sass. Wanda lacks the posture of someone who knows exactly what she's about down here in the bowels of SHIELD's operational center, and there is a certain cagey manner in the way she moves that might almost read paranoid, predatory to an extent. Some people walk as if they have a target on their back, or expect bullets to come from left field. It tightens her shoulders and leads to the light-footed stalk that defines her gait. Hands pressed in to the pockets of her coat, she stows away the magic card giving her access at least to this level. Her gaze flits around, jumping from desk to analyst to wall, measuring nameplates with a steady advance.

The process takes very little time. She already navigates around a bank of overworked clerks reviewing fulls, headed in towards the bullpen's general vicinity.

Then her path cuts entirely at the coffeemaker, which she gives an appraisal lasting longer than the poor suit hogging the pot. A white cup soon ends up filled to the brim, given no less than six packets of sugar. Yes, she's a heathen. No cream is added, either. Armed by this, she finally comes properly attired into Clint and Carol's company. "Hello." Yep, foreigner. She's from somewhere between Moscow and Athens, possibly tripping over Berlin or Prussia. Waiting a beat, she asks, "Where does Miss Ava sit?"

How she can drink that hypersweetened sludge is anyone's guess, but she ignores the temperature to sip it down with the focus of a hummingbird on a trumpet flower.


Without looking up, Clint closes the manila folder with a disgusted look on his features. That should be enough of an answer to Carol about how it's going, but he elaborates by murmuring in that laconic drawl of his. "Even on my best days I don't ever look forward ta goin' back to the boss lady with an explanation of, 'It was magic!'" He says that last with a faint frilling of his fingers as if he were casting a spell as well, and his tone of voice heightens with a sarcastic trill.

He reaches for his cup of coffee and nods towards Wanda as she wanders in, then answers her question with a dismissive sort of absent gesture in the direction of a trio of desks across the way, not really helping too much about where Ava sits but at least narrowing it down some.

He leans back, slouching in his chair and causing the metal arm supporting it to creak and complain at the shift of weight. "Whole thing's a goddamn mess."


A snerk, of sorts, comes from Carol - an audible sound of her agreement with Clint. "You know, things were a hell of a lot easier back when the craziest things I could think of came only from HYDRA," she says. "Now… uh… mutants, hellpits, gods… what will this world come up with next?" she asks.

Not to mention her own close encounter. That she wasn't quite… aware of. But that's a story for another time.

Tapping a long fingernail against the side of her mug, she takes another swig. "Well, if you ever need fresh eyes on it, let me know? I'm busy tracking down this little tidbit of info that came from the hellpit, and the longer I stare at it, the longer it just seems like a dead end," she says.

A beat though - it was impossible to miss the slight flicker of Carol's eyes, and the way her smile loses just a notch of brightness as that accent comes through - but her smile returns soon enough to full power. "Miss Ava? Yeah, Agent Ava sits kinda nearish me," says Carol, stepping forward - shifting coffee to her left hand so she can offer her right.

"I'm Agent Danvers - and… why do you want to see Ava?" she asks, canting her head a bit to one side.


Three more sips in quick succession measure the flavour of the coffee and drag down as much energy as the internal engine requires to keep humming along happily. Wanda follows the indicated direction that Clint gives, then her honey-brown eyes tick right back towards the pair of them. She raises her cup a little more, getting the last contents contained within. The sugary melt not fully dissolved into the liquid remains, and receives no further interest.

"Director said to work with her," she explains in a factual tone, not rude. "I have papers for her."

Exactly where these are stowed on her person in such attire is open to presumption. Carol offering her name after that fault in a friendly bearing earns no visible reaction, other than a nod. "Hello, agent. Agent…" Does one use a code name? The question is practically drawn on her face. "Maximoff." Which possibly puts everything in perspective, really, if her file has ever been pulled. It's not exactly small.

A finger flicks towards Clint's case file. "I can help for magic. The Hellmouth, too. It is why they keep me to work here."

Understatement of the year territory here.


The folder is pushed towards the edge of his desk, one corner dangling off of it conveniently for one or the other of them to take it up with a grab. He tells them both idly, "Knock yerselves out," The archer slouches into his chair deeper but busies himself with pulling out a cigarette packet from his jacket pocket and starts to tap it lightly ont he desk top.

"Ed, the producer, didn't make good decisions. Chances are they were nudged into it, but can't know for sure. Feels like we're outgunned here," And that's never been a position Hawkeye's ever enjoyed feeling. Yet once the tobacco's tamped down he pulls a cigarette from inside the pack and reaches for his lighter.

There's a flicker of light and then he takes a drag. "Might need someone else ta run point on this."


Carol's own coffee - black, and at this point - cold - swishes in her mug as she flexes her wrist lazily, taking measure of the other woman. "Magic?" There was that hint of incredulity again. A moment, and she draws a long swig of the coffee, a wince following. The drink, cold, bitter was unpleasant. But she liked that sort of thing on occasion.

At Wanda's explanation, however, Carol's demeanor softens a touch or two more. "Oh, well - I think she's off on an errand at the moment, but she should be back by this afternoon at the latest, Agent," says Carol, a bit more wryness sliding into the edges of her tone. "And Agent Maximoff? It's Carol, please," she says, offering a hand to the witch. Her hand would be strong, but she wouldn't do more than the slightest press of her fingers into Wanda's.

"So! You're an expert on magic? We've been having all kinds of problems with magic recently - did you hear about the hellmouth that popped up around here?" she says. Which… Carol had missed the boat on in a number of uniquely special ways. A handful of moments, and Carol keeps her smile on the other woman.

"Welcome - if you're new. I'm in the field a lot, so it's easy for me to miss new arrivals," she says. A beat, and she looks back towards the archer, setting her mug on his desk as she picks up the portfolio. "Outgunned, Clint?" she asks. "How do you mean?" Her eyes settle upon him directly then.


Wanda takes the folder, flipping it open to look at the printed documents inside. Photographs are largely ignored in favour of something written, specifically reports or whatever counts as a description of events. Her fingers pinch down on the paperclips and staples to keep them firmly in place while she rifles through the data, her eyes flicking back and forth to prove she clearly is reading something. Skimming, at that speed. "I know," she says. A bit disjointed, maybe, but her gaze doesn't lift from the work assembled by someone else. "He was pushed to do things that way. Not a difficult thing to do, but it is not the right thing. Bad… ethic, is that the word?"

Her head bowed, she finally puts the empty cup on the corner of an unoccupied desk, and flips back to review one page bookmarked by her fingertip. "Yes, Miss Carol, magic. Magic used to send a message." She glances up and gives her coffee-warmed hand to the blonde, long fingers beringed in several places, her fingers callused in a few places. Hers is not a limp wristed grip, not exceptionally strong either. "Wanda. Maybe you know Pietro? My twin."

These two have a history in Berlin like nothing. It might help her to flip from English, clearly not her first language, so she tries after a pause. "«Do you know German?»" It's a passing question in the Teutonic tongue. "«It is easier to explain the technicalities if you do.» I am learning still the right words in English. I, do, yes, know about the Hellmouth."

Another pause, and she rifles through the folio to the very back. "You might be in trouble if this alien uses his magic. It is hard to bring a gun against a spell that makes you unable to tell direction or bends the path of a bullet around to hit you in the back. Which are not hard to do."


Looking between the two of them, for a moment Clint sort of 'looks' at Wanda, but just takes another drag on his cigarette instead of voicing any thoughts that might be flitting around in his mind. He lets the smoke wend its way from the corner of his mouth before he nods to her about her summary. "Yeah. So it's not like they were forced, but they ain't exactly guilty either."

A shake of his head is given as he reaches for the folder again and flips open to the first page, but leaves it there for him to sort of glower at. "I'm used to running ops from less a passive position. I hate reacting to other people." He glances over at them both, then grunts slightly as if shrugging off the sentiment as if he shouldn't have voiced it.


Another sip of her coffee, and Carol watches Wanda with interest. Perhaps waiting for the voodoo to commence - but she was still taking measure of the other woman. A little roll of her shoulder in a shrug as Wanda asks for direction in her use of English. "It's close enough," she ventures, before setting her cup back down.

There were many mugs on Clint's desk right now.

"I don't know Pietro, I'm sorry. Is he in SHIELD as well?" she asks, with another curious cant of her head to one side, her eyes dead on Wanda's. A start at the switch of languages, and Carol sticks her tongue against her upper lip briefly, as if switching mental gears, and… «"Yes, if it's more comfortable to you,"» says Carol. For all intents and purposes, after a brief start - Carol might be mistaken for a fluent speaker. From Hanover, of all places. "Clint?" she adds in English, glancing towards him.

A grin, though, at his grousing. "But that's part of the fun, Agent Barton," she says. "New surprises every day."


"«I apologize if it makes you uncomfortable. Not everyone appreciates using German.»" Is there a buried sigh of relief Int here? Dig deep enough and it shows itself, for Wanda is far more comfortable in German than English. She has very little accent in it, oddly, whereas her English carries her native tongue in shades. There's a hint of Berlin slang, driven through the middle. "«Several different spells were used in the television studio. Magic you can liken to having fields of study like science, each covering a different kind of practice. Biology, chemistry, physics — these are all separate, yes? The same applies when one transports themselves or an object over a distance, which is a very different approach from changing living patterns or physical matter, or confusing the mind of a person. They all mingle.»" See? The girl can talk, it's just something she rarely chooses to do unless she must. But perhaps under the circumstances more words are called for.

She glances at Clint to assure she hasn't just blown through him for a lack of common language, and they might end up stuck in the middle. Carol might have to translate, at any rate. But she does try to make the best of it. "«I cannot speak to guilt. Implanting a suggestion in someone's way or reducing their inhibitions, like they're drunk, means they are not fully in control of themselves. That happened with the television hosts. The other spells were different kinds, concealment and transporting the giants in, maybe controlling electronics, and other forms of mental influence. Someone who does all these things is powerful.»" That probably goes without saying.

She puts the file back on the desk and nods to Clint, then looks up at Carol. It's back to English, to avoid the other agents looking worried. "You were working on the Hellmouth. Yes? I know about it because I hunt things that came out of it. I helped with other things." Liar. There's a document giving SHIELD the rundown on at least how part of it shut. Ask Agent Cassidy or the Director about that. "What is a 'tidbit'? Something is still out? A demon?"


Looking across the way, Clint gives Carol a sort of sardonic scowl of a smirk but it's not poorly meant. Yet as Wanda starts speaking as to the details he listens as closely as he can. No he's not as gifted with the language as Carol may be, but with enough focus he can at least keep up with it. Even a few minutes after he's still calculating what she's said while his cigarette ashes slightly into the tray.

"You're saying he cast all these different things in like a rapid fire thing, or are you thinking maybe he had help to prep the place?" Clint, still looking for possible accomplices, at least tries to run down that angle. "I mean, I got the impression that magic was a bit slow, from some of the tapes I've seen."


A bit of a pause there, and Carol kinda tightens her features a bit. Wanda might have blown through Carol a bit - but Carol was a sharp enough woman to at least get a few fingers on the concepts. A moment of silence, and she tightens her grip, nodding her head slowly. «"So… what is your field of magic, Agent Maximoff?"» she asks, her voice a bit curious.

A few moments, and a silent glance towards Clint too - as long as he seemed to be following along, she wasn't going to offer to help. A beat, and her gaze flicks back. «"We have someone who has a mastery in many fields - a triple PhD, so to speak, right?"» she offers with a wryness.

As for what else. "No - something worse, perhaps," says Carol. "A small spike in people behaving… for lack of a better word… insane in a small town outside of New York," she says. "The timing coincided with the closing of the Hellmouth, but," she pauses. "…it seems to just be coincidence, as far as I can tell."

Towards Clint now. "Could be right there - or there's several wizards working together? Or… witches? What is the right term there?" she glances towards Wanda, the expert.


"«Or the spells were chained awaiting a trigger. This feels planned.»" Shrugging, Wanda picks up her coffee cup and peers down into it again. The hardened sugar mess isn't going anywhere. "They made more." Just like that, she wanders back over to the coffee pot and strikes between two other agents pouring themselves a cup, filling it up to the brim and adding, yes, another slosh of sweetener. Then she returns, sipping her purloined brew with a focused thirst.

"I would show you but maybe you have no permission for it?" Is she teasing Clint? Could well be, smirking back at the archer with a deadpan expression not much different than the one he threw at Carol. "Fast magic will not show on TV. The arrogant man wants to be seen, so slow. Impress them. Frighten them." She shrugs her shoulders under the snow white coat, its tangerine belt a gleam of colour shot around her narrow waist. "«My field? All of them.»" Is that comforting in a response? Maybe not. "«I am not the best. But I do want to help. SHIELD does the right thing, and does not want to hurt others, or see them harmed. For this reason I am willing to consult. And our person is probably like a doctorate, yes. But everyone has holes. Even him.»" A pause. "«Some would like them in the back of his head, too.»"

European humour is sometimes as dark as it comes. "«Different terms are used for us. Sometimes a cabal for a group of practitioners. A cult, for those with a religious focus. A coven, for witches. I use mystics or practitioners. It is simpler, the latter is best for conversation.»"


"Yer prolly right about that," Clint smirks at Wanda as she teases him. But then he's smashing the life out of his cigarette, Clint grimaces as he stands up and slowly shakes his hed. "You get the time, Maximoff, I'd appreciate it if you'd take a few minutes and make some notes on what we got here. Fresh eyes and all that." He starts to rise and dusts off the thighs of his jeans, small hints of ash falling free. "You too, Danvers. If you got the gumption."

With that said he gives them a nod. "Anyone calls asking for me, tell them I'm in the head." So eloquent amongst two beautiful women, Clint makes his retreat with his hands sliding into his pockets and his thoughts distancing as he tries to get some angle on the case while he moseys.


Carol spares a sigh in Clint's departing direction, her coffee cup lifted then to drain the rest of its contents - before she places the empty cup on Clint's desk. He can find it when he gets back. A smirk dances along her lips. Only to turn into a wince when she notices Wanda's abuse of the sweetener.

"«You'll rot your teeth,»" says Carol, with a note of play still in her tone when Wanda returns. Bringing up her left hand, she rubs her own temples. «"Only the best of the best in SHIELD, ri…»" she just said she wasn't the best. "«"Peggy doesn't pick losers. Just remember that, alright?»" says Carol to Wanda, letting a grin dance across her lips at the black humor. "«We'll do our best to help bring that outcome about. So…»" A beat. "«Do you want to take at look at Clint's case? Or… what were you working on with Ava?»" she asks."


Maybe she might argue that fact, except Wanda's mouth is full of coffee. She watches Clint vanish off into the corner of the hallway she will never visit. Not when people go meandering off drunk in their caffeine doldrums. "Charming." It's in German she speaks, and the flat tone leaves little doubt how sincere she is. Her coffee is steadily depleted sip by sip. "I am learning. This is all… different." Her shoulders tip back and she glances down at a speckle of brown coffee running down the front of that pristine jacket. White leather picks up stains easily. Her nose wrinkles, and she flicks her finger against the bead.

The trail vanishes.

She shakes her head. "I had to ask Miss Ava questions about a problem in Hell's Kitchen. Not too important." Her cup is put back on Clint's desk. He's not here to stop it, so his desk can endure it. Maybe, at this rate, she should put a straw in the metal carafe, and spare the office the carnage her amplified metabolism is inflicting on them all. "People in a town acted strangely during the Hellmouth. No signs of demons or infernal activity, yes?"


Carol tucks her thumbs into the pockets of her jacket, likewise returning in her German, the flight of the bead of liquid observed with a casual sort of glance. Did that just? Must be a trick of the eye, and the light.

Carol lifts her eyes up towards Wanda again, the leather of her coat creaking with the motion. And there it was again - the curious cant of her head to one side. "To be honest, I was recovering from an… uh… side project when the Hellmouth was being wrapped up," she states. That was, she was recuperating in a hospital bed, after a stronger than normal seizure. They seemed to be coming less often, but more strongly.

But things were starting to feel… right, in a way that was hard for her to explain. A moment.

"To be honest, I wouldn't be sure what to look for. I saw some of the demons - killed a couple, too, but… possession? Infernal activity? There wasn't any pentagrams around, that's all I saw," she says, a beat, and her lips purse.

"…would you know what to look for?" she asks.


Wanda listens. She does not like excessive amounts of talking, and certainly not in an open office that lacks many walls. Privacy is at a loss here, and that awareness settles in despite language barriers. Her hands rest over her skirt, and she leans back against the edge of the desk just enough to take the burden off her feet. For someone who walks everywhere, it's a welcome relief for a few moments.

"Yes." That much of an answer is all Carol really needs to know, spoken with a certain gravity and sharpness, a glitter in those eyes that's no trick of the light: her pupils are rimmed in the colour of sunset, amber irises starlit by a strawberry sheen at their core. "When you are ready then call me. I will help, Miss Carol." She looks up. "You are an unusually honest woman. Things are straight and clear with you."


Carol was a woman who tended towards the flippant, herself. At least when she wasn't playing a role. "It wasn't always that way. I was a superspy, once upon a time," says Carol, casting a wink towards the other SHIELD agent. "Now… it's something different. And I think I like trying to be more open than… not," she says.

If the other agents were bothered by her use of German, well, they can jump on a tack and spin - but there were enough speakers here that even a conversation in that tongue wouldn't go entirely secret.

"I will do that, Wanda," says Carol, a wry smile dancing upon her lips, as those clear blue eyes settle upon those amber irises. "I hope you will be as honest with me, in time," she says, straightening up from Clint's desk. "If you're done with your coffee, you can leave the mug - Clint loves cleaning mugs - reminds him of his old farm life," says Carol. With a tap of her fingertips against the side of the desk, she starts heading back towards her own. "My desk is near Ava's, over there," she says, with a point of her finger. "If you ever need anything, come say hi, alright?" she asks.

And with enough lingering to give a smile and a tip of the head, Carol was off.

To desktop adventures, portfolios, and paperwork.

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