Chapter 22

"Alright! New girls!" someone said, running across the second training room, as Danielle and Ana walked in. "I'm Hakim." he stuck his hand out. He was on the shorter side, and slightly stocky, but with arms as thick as Clint's. He had curly brown hair and wide brown eyes, and olive toned skin.

"Steve mentioned you." Danielle said. "I'm Danielle."

"Oh yes, Danielle. Glad ole Steve finally decided to settle down." he grinned, turning to Ana.

"Ana." the other woman said, shaking his hand.

"Excellent. What do you guys do?"

Ana looked confused. "Well, before this, I worked in a pris-"

"No no I mean what's your circus trick?" he arched a brow, bouncing on his toes slightly. "Go ahead, power up. We're not shy here in Tactical Training Building 3."

Ana shook her hands, holding them out to the sides of her body. She lit them up with fire, dancing the flames across her fingers. His eyes lit up, and he turned back to Danielle, waiting.

"Oh, to see mine I either have to hurt you...or make you very sick, I guess." she explained

"Oh, easy." he reached for Ana's arm, burning his hand. He swore loudly, and Danielle jumped.

"Why the hell do people keep doing this?" she asked, taking his hand and healing it quickly. "Jesus, at least warn me."

"Marvelous." he whispered, flipping his hand over. "Hope you guys are ready to get to work."

"What do you do?"

"Oh, right. My sister and I can manipulate water. She's working with the old timers, I get the newbies. How's your cardio?"

Within minutes, Hakim had them both on treadmills. Danielle was thrilled, she hadn't been running, really running in what seemed like forever. Ana however was gasping for air, and had to climb off to catch her breath. Hakim noted this on his tablet.

"Maybe my damn fire takes up all the oxygen." she gasped, leaning on Danielle's treadmill. Hakim looked up, frowning slightly.

"That actually doesn't sound impossible." he said thoughtfully.

In the gym next over, Steve and Sam were meeting the other Special Circumstances. The radioactive trio, Dev, Wajid, and Masim - all Indian men in their early 30's whose English was good, but heavily accented. This group was the first to arrive, and had been there even before the New York team.

The men had survived a nuclear explosion. They were young engineers in India, all three getting hired at a plant to work on a reactor. They looked like brothers, and told Steve they had been best friends throughout school as well. Since childhood.

"It's funny, how your best friends join you on life's adventures." Wajid said to him, and Steve felt a pang within him. "No matter how wild and crazy they are." he laughed, and Dey and Masim laughed with him. They all seemed relaxed and easy going, and Sam and Steve were joking with them within minutes.

Their powers were dangerous, and powerful. Through meditation and 2 years of practice with SHIELD's experts, they had been able to fine tune and control their abilities, and now worked for SHIELD's nuclear division. Through their palms, they shot concentrated beams of radioactive heat energy, so hot that you could see it. It a slightly purple tinted white brilliance, and it could melt anything in a millisecond. They put out such potent radioactivity that they couldn't 'blast' for more than a few seconds before harming others around them.

They worked on fighting tactics, and got to know one another's individual fighting style. Steve gave them tips on how to be most effective during battle, and how they could preserve their own energy by using their powers in quick, singular bursts, instead of a constant beam. They caught on quickly, and Steve was impressed at their willingness to learn.

Back in Tactical Training Building 3, the Amazonian Mutants had made their appearance. They spoke Spanish almost exclusively, all of them coming from Colombia. They'd been in the states only a few months, and so SHIELD considered them newbies as well. Two men and two women, Radi, Dante, Aya, and Carmen. The mutation had rendered them all similar in looks - they were all tall, thin, muscular, with the same olive toned skin, black hair, and clear white eyes. When they spoke, Danielle saw their pointed teeth. Steve had mentioned their supernatural abilities at weather, plant, and animal manipulation, but had yet to witness it herself.

Ana and them hit it off instantly, they seemed thrilled to be able to converse in their native language, seeing as Ana was fluent. Danielle was left alone with Hakim as the 5 of them chattered on in rapid Spanish, staying huddled around the knife throwing targets.

She sighed, watching them. Hakim pulled her over to the hand to hand combat mats.

"Seeing as you cannot practice your power without having to harm anyone in the process, I figured we could get some of the basics down." He rolled his shoulders as he spoke. "Now, try and hit me."

She looked at him carefully.

"Where?" she asked.

"That's for you to decide." he shrugged.

She flexed her right hand, looking him up and down for any weak spots. She lunged, going towards his ribcage, and he gracefully stepped to the side without a second thought.

"Don't look-" he tapped her on the chin, leveling her eyes on his. "Where you are going to strike. You feel it in your hand, but you do not look."

She nodded.

"Your body's instinct is movement. You are designed to move." he walked around her. "You move when you fight, let yourself flow. You've seen Steve do it, I'm sure. You flow, you dance, you move like water."

She swung her leg around, aiming for his stomach, and getting his side as he jumped out of the way.

"Good." he said. "Again."

She used her elbow this time, and then followed with another kick, striking him both times. He countered then, moving to hit her, but she ducked, sensing the strike before he made it. She grabbed him around his waist, twisting, and pushed him to the mat, pinning his arms above his head with her forearm and holding her hand around his neck. The room was silent, and he looked up at her with bright eyes.

"Did Steve teach you that?" he asked, and she shook her head.

"Afraid not," a voice said from the other side of the room. "Even I don't think I'm that quick."

She smiled up at Steve as he held his hand out, pulling her up gracefully. "Are you all done?" she asked.

"For today." he said. "It looks like you might just be beginning." he said, kissing her on the forehead, pride radiating from his chest.

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