The last bit of the drive into D.C. seemed to go by fast, and even getting through the city to S.H.I.E.L.D.’s headquarters felt quite rushed. Not that you minded, necessarily. Anderson had been dead serious about not making any stops along the way, and while the back of the SUV was relatively spacious as far as SUV’s went, you were certainly looking forward for the chance to stretch your legs.
To keep your mind off all the worry you had regarding Loki, you stared out the tinted window lazily, watching the city of Washington D.C. pass by at a quick clip. While nothing necessarily stood out to you here, there was a certain level of familiarity here, much like there had been in Manhattan. Seeing as how you had technically worked with S.H.I.E.L.D. once upon a time, it was very likely that you had come to D.C. from time to time. You would have almost expected to be at the S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters more, but if that had been the case, why was your apartment in Manhattan and not here?
All those questions about your past still swirled in your mind with everything else, and for the moment you were more willing to think about that then some of your other worries. It was a decent distraction for your thoughts, and now that the harmful enchantment in your mind was gone, you had less fear about thinking and wondering of your past. If you happened to see something and remember, it wouldn’t give you a splitting headache or cause you to pass out.
That was honestly the most optimistic thought in your mind for the time being, which wasn’t really encouraging. Well, for the time being, you would just have to take things in stride. You had been through enough troubles already, so why did it seem like this was going to be harder than all of that?
Because you care for Loki now more than you did before…
You turned your eyes forward as you tried to get that thought out of your head. Yes, you did care for him much more now, and while that did raise your concern up a certain amount, it shouldn’t be affecting you this much. Loving Loki…loving him and worrying like that wasn’t about to do either of you any good.
Get it together already, you chided yourself as you turned a bit in your seat, leaning closer to Loki as you stared out the front window of the SUV. Though you could have only known by instinct, you knew that you were getting closer to S.H.I.E.L.D. Sure enough, by Anderson’s next turn, you caught sight of the compound across the river. S.H.I.EL.D. was relatively set aside from the rest of the relatively important buildings in the city, and with good reason. Enough people wandered around the capitol, sticking their noses into places that they shouldn’t. It would have been a nightmare for S.H.I.E.L.D. to be in the center of all of that. Being close but not a neighbor suited everyone in the city quite well.
As Anderson drove across the bridge towards the checkpoint gate, you tried to recall the last time you had been here. You had come to speak with Fury about something…something immensely important, but not entirely to do with S.H.I.E.L.D. You couldn’t recall what it had been about, but you remembered the feeling of doubt as you had been driven across this very bridge. It had been a dark night, and you had been too shaken to drive yourself, so Anderson had offered to drive you.
Your eyes darted from the window and you looked towards the S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, who was watching you in the review mirror. He was absolutely silent, but there was a look in his blue eyes that told you he remembered that night as well. He likely remembered it more than you did for the time being.
As the SUV neared the check point, Anderson slowed down the car. He glanced from the S.H.I.E.L.D. guards to you and Loki. “You should probably stay out of sight as much as you can,” he said, but whether his remark was directed towards you or Loki, you were a little unsure, and thus you gave him a slightly puzzled look, hoping that he would elaborate a little more.
“You don’t necessarily have to, _________,” he continued. “But I don’t think anyone is going to take kindly to seeing the god of Mischief coming through the front entrance. If anyone discovers that you’re here, the last place you’ll be seeing is S.H.I.E.L.D.’s satellite records.”
“And what do you want me to do then?” Loki inquired with a slight sneer.
Anderson was unmoved as he met Loki’s cold gaze in the mirror. “Use some of your magic or something. Jump out of the car, I really don’t care.”
You saw Loki clenching his fist out of the corner of your eye, and you took hold of his wrist gently, giving him a calming look. He held your gaze, and slowly unclenched his hand, giving you a slight nod. “You have nothing to fear, Anderson,” Loki said as he continued looking into your eyes, the trace of a playful smile on his lips. “I’ll not be seen.”
You gave Loki a gentle smile in reply. You were relieved to see that he was being relatively cooperative with everything, which was saying a lot given Loki’s relationship with S.H.I.E.L.D. and its agents. Not that you blamed the agents for their distrust and hate, but not standing on the brink of World War Three was a good sign.
The SUV pulled up beside the checkpoint booth, and one of the few guards there approached as Anderson rolled down the window. He handed his ID badge to the guard, who examined it quickly. Approving, he glanced to the back seat and looked to you skeptically. “ID?” he inquired, knowing that he was not to allow you to enter without seeing that you had some sort of clearance.
“She doesn’t have one at the moment,” Anderson answered for you. “But she still has access.”
The guard didn’t seem convinced, though he knew that he should trust Anderson’s word. “Name?” he inquired as he looked back to you.
“_________,” you replied calmly, the feeling of giving your name out here a familiar one.
As the guard stepped back to run your name through to check for clearance, another guard walked around the car with a trained military dog. The dog sniffed around the edges of the car, but found nothing unusual. While you waited, you glanced to Loki, realizing that, while the guard hadn’t noticed him at all, you could still see him.
Loki gave an amused smirk to your rather puzzled expression, leaning closer and kissing the side of your mouth. I thought you might prefer to see me…to ensure that I wouldn’t slip away, he teased, and you knew he was thinking back to the first time that you and he had gone into S.H.I.E.L.D. back in Manhattan.
You smiled at the thought, thinking of how that night felt like it had happened such a long time ago, even though it had been only a few months at most. It was strange how time went by for you when you were with Loki.
The guard returned to the SUV and gave an approving nod. “You’re clear to enter,” he said to Anderson, as the other guard stepped out of the way of the car.
Anderson gave a polite nod as he pulled forward and rolled up the dark window quickly. He drove quickly across the rest of the bridge and into the complex of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s headquarters, weaving his way through to an underground parking lot. As he turned off the SUV and reached for the door, he turned his head and looked back to you and Loki, who had now allowed himself to become visible to the rest of the world.
“Try not to get any of us killed in here,” Anderson said to both of you.
You nodded and gave a mock salute. “We’ll do our best,” you promised with a grin.
Anderson gave a nervous smile as he turned and got out of the SUV.
Just as you reached for the door, Loki caught your wrist. “Are you alright, ________?” he asked quietly.
You paused and looked back to him. “What do you mean?”
Loki gave you one of his ever familiar knowing looks. “You’ve been acting rather peculiar all day,” he responded. “This morning you seemed a little startled, and this whole time coming here, you have been…unsettled. Not even you would insist on playing such a boring game for so long unless you were trying to distract yourself from something.” He paused as he looked you over for a moment. “So what could have you so shaken?”
You stared into his eyes in silence for a moment. Damn Loki for knowing you so well. Though it wasn’t really surprising that he would call you out for your unusual insistence on playing “I Spy.” No normal person would ever insist on the game as much as you had…
“It’s nothing,” you answered quickly with a shrug.
Loki raised his eyebrows curiously. “Keeping secrets, _________?” he murmured. “Do you not trust me?”
You gave him a slightly annoyed glare as you slid a little closer to him, taking his hand as you stared at the dark floor of the vehicle. “I’m just…nervous, that’s all,” you answered.
“Nervous?” Loki inquired.
You nodded slightly. “We’re out here because we’re trying to find the seals, right? So what if something happens like in Nidavellir?”
Loki gave a slight smirk. “I sincerely doubt we’ll come across any Marauders with Uru weapons in Midgard, my dear,” he said with a soft laugh.
You rolled your eyes as you playfully nudged his shoulder. “You know what I mean, Loki,” you objected softly, though you could help but smile a little at his remark. “There are one hundred things that could go wrong in the next ten minutes. I know that this whole quest is danger filled and perilous, but I would just like to hope that things could go smoothly at least once…but I’m afraid that something is going to go wrong.”
You knew that Loki wasn’t the sort of person that worried about all the “could go wrongs” in a plan…he was far too confident in himself to think about possibly failure over guaranteed success. But Loki also understood that you were the sort of person to worry and doubt something or someone – your way of being overly cautious.
He looked into your eyes and gave a gentle smile as he smoothed back a bit of your hair. “You do worry too much, __________,” he murmured. “But what good thing has never come without struggle and adversity? No worthy plan ever had a simple journey.”
You nodded and gave a slight smile as you looked into his eyes, biting your lip slightly. “You sound like a fortune cookie…” you teased softly as you leaned closer and kissed him softly. “Thank you.”
Loki nodded slowly as he kissed you in return, though he certainly took a little more time as his arm slipped around your waist and held you close. You leaned against him more and more, your hands sliding around his neck and your fingers running through his hair, your kisses deepening.
There was a sudden knock on the widow, and you nearly jumped at the sound. Anderson was standing impatiently outside the door, and you gave a soft laugh realizing that you had almost forgotten about where you were. “We should probably get out now,” You grinned at Loki, who held you in his arms as you were slouched across the back seat.
Loki relented another nod. “I suppose we should,” he agreed with some playful reluctance. “Your S.H.I.E.L.D. agent is likely nervous for having brought us here.”
“Well wouldn’t you be, sneaking people in like this?” you asked him.
Loki’s eyes darkened slightly for a moment as he looked down at you, all humor gone from his face. “I wouldn’t,” he replied in a still voice as he reached for the door handle on his side of the SUV. “We shouldn’t keep him waiting.”
Slightly puzzled by Loki’s sudden change in demeanor, you followed him out the SUV and walked around to the other side where Anderson was waiting. He gave you an irritable look as he saw you appear, to which you gave a sheepish smile. “Sorry,” you said to him quickly.
Anderson gave a slight shrug as he turned and walked towards the elevator door, scanning his ID badge to open the doors. He stepped into the elevator and motioned for you and Loki to follow. Loki, who was behind you, came to your side and took hold of your hand as you both walked into the elevator. He gave you a look that, while not an apology or explanation for his moment of odd behavior, assured you he was not upset with you. That was some comfort, at least, and it was enough that you didn’t think it was something you felt you should add to the ever growing list of things to worry about.
Anderson selected one of the floors higher up in the main building of S.H.I.E.L.D., and the three of you followed the “elevator etiquette” and remained silent the whole way up. You were as much excited as you were nervous at this point. Aside from being able to find where the Asgardian seal was hidden, there was something about being in S.H.I.E.L.D. that was beginning to jog your subconscious memory, and you wondered just what all, if any, would present itself in your conscious memory while you were here.
When at last the elevator reached the desired floor, Anderson led you and Loki out and down the empty hall quickly. Anderson was very eager to get you both to the proper room, and not that you blamed him, either. It was working well that you hadn’t come across anyone yet, because there would likely be too much explanation needed, assuming that the three of you weren’t arrested. Of course, if something did go wrong it would it would likely get Fury’s attention, at which point he would release you, but you were hoping to avoid involving the director of S.H.I.E.L.D. at all. It wasn’t that you didn’t trust him…well actually, that was a fair part of it. And you just preferred things when Fury didn’t know all the cards that you held. Some things were just better kept in the unknown.
The three of you had only gone a short ways down the hall when the seemingly perfect plan started to crumble. It started as Loki became slightly tense, sensing that the three of you were no longer alone in the hallway. A moment later, you heard a voice behind you.
“__________?” you heard someone call your name suddenly.
You, Loki, and Anderson stopped and turned around quickly to see none other than the famous Captain America and Black Widow behind you.