The Return of Shield

Negotiations

After being welcomed into the Malta compound, Kat and Grant had been ushered into Ian Quinn’s sitting room and invited to make themselves at home. Although there was food and drinks available, neither did anything other than sit down on the couch. If Skye had been with them, she would have told them that it was the same couch she had been sitting on seconds before she jumped out of the window and into the pool.

Kat was dressed in black pants, a black top and black boots, similar to what May usually wore. Grant grinned at her, “Nice outfit.”

“Thanks,” she responded with a sly smile. “I call it my Kat suit.”

Grant laughed out loud and scooted closer to Kat on the couch. “You seem like you’re in a good mood,” he said in a low, seductive tone.

Kat reached out and stroked his face gently. “We made it, Ward. We don’t have to hide anymore.”

Grant took her hand and kissed her palm, meeting her eyes as he did so.

Just then, the door to the study opened and Ian Quinn and Blake Cordis entered. Blake immediately frowned.

“Watch it!” he said to Grant sharply. “That’s my wife you’re touching.”

Kat smiled at Grant and then slowly turned her head to smile lazily at Blake. “I think you meant widow, didn’t you? Everyone thinks you’re dead.”

Blake seemed to relax. “Clearly you didn’t. I should have known you would figure it out.” He paused and smiled directly at her. “In any event, since we’re both alive, we’re still married.”

Kat raised her eyebrows and started to say something when Quinn quickly interjected, “Well, all of this is very interesting, but we have business to discuss.” He turned to address Grant. “We, of course, were delighted to hear that you had escaped, Ward, not the least of which is because you have the connections to find some buyers for some of the…umm…products we’ve acquired.”

Grant leaned forward and nodded, “I already have several interested parties lined up, ready to do business. However, Kat and I are going to have to inspect the merchandise before we agree to anything.”

“We’ll also need a demonstration of both the products’ capabilities as well as the ability to control them,” Kat said with another smile at Blake.

He frowned. “What do you mean control?”

“Without the ability to control their power, to stop them, the merchandise would be worthless because they might have to be abandoned. I would have thought that obvious,” she replied in a patronizing tone. “Please don’t tell me that you haven’t looked into that. After all, true power lies in the ability to turn something on and off. Otherwise you can lose control quickly.”

Blake gave Kat a sharp look which she returned with an innocent expression. “I never imagined that our first meeting would go like this. You seem to have changed a bit,” he said in an accusing tone.

“Have I?” Kat replied tilting her head to the side and looking up at him. “Maybe neither of us was who the other thought we were.”

Quinn looked at Kat, then at Blake and hurriedly said, “We are, of course, prepared to offer a demonstration of both the potential and the harnessing of the products. My people are in the process of setting it up as we speak but it won’t be ready until this afternoon. I’ve already put in an order for lunch if you would care to join us.”

“That would be lovely. Thank you.” Kat paused. “Just out of curiosity, how did you come up with the idea to create the voice control serum? Hmm….that sounds boring. We need a better name. Sales are all about marketing.” She looked thoughtful, then snapped her fingers. “I’ve got it! How about the Loralei Liquid? It’s both memorable and alliterative.”

Blake shook his head, giving her an amused smile. “Unlike SHIELD, we realized the potential such a weapon could have. Rooster, the guy with Loralei before Ward took off with her, was very helpful in telling us how her voice affected him, so we got some of our scientists to work on the problem and voila!”

“Rooster,” Grant chuckled. “I always thought that was such a stupid name.”

“Maybe he isn’t lucky enough to have someone like me around to think of a better one,” Kat said as she put her hand on the upper part of Grant’s thigh. “I don’t know, babe. What if we called you The Warden? I certainly wouldn’t mind you keeping me in line,” she said teasingly.

Grant gave her a wicked smile while Blake’s frown returned. Quinn was looking increasingly uncomfortable.

Grant turned back to look at Quinn. “The last time I saw you, you and Raina were leaving together. Is she here too? I can hardly imagine her wanting to sell the gravitonium.”

Looking bored, Kat started looking around the room.

Quinn shook his head. “Raina got disenchanted with me when she realized that we wanted different things. I am concerned about the financial aspect while, as you know, she is interested in…I think she called it evolution.” He chuckled a bit. “Ward, do you remember how crazy Garrett got after taking the serum she developed?”

Kat looked at Grant out of the corner of her eye. This was getting into dangerous territory. However, his expression was neutral and Quinn was not watching him closely.

“While you and I were disgusted by what he turned into, Raina was fascinated. She kept talking about how much more connected he was with everything now. She really believed that he would do great things. But once she heard about his death and when I…um…insisted on keeping the gravitonium, she left.”

Grant rolled his eyes and shifted just slightly on the couch. “She was a crazy one, alright. But smart too. It might be wise to keep tabs on her. Do you know what she’s doing now?”

“No. I haven’t heard a word and what’s more, I don’t really want to,” Quinn said.

There was a silence and then Kat turned her attention back to Quinn, “I imagine that the demonstration is going to take a while and then we’ll have to talk to our buyers and negotiate a price and plan for the transfer of goods. Do we have an idea of how long all this is going to take? Ward and I have a lot on our plate, so we need to arrange our schedule accordingly.”

“I have, of course, made arrangements for the two of you to spend at least tonight here at the compound as my guests. Beyond that, it will depend on how things are going,” Quinn said.

“I assume that Kat and I are sharing a room,” Grant said firmly with a loving look in her direction. “We don’t like to be apart for too long.”

“Of course,” Quinn said smoothly while Blake frowned again.

Kat looked up and noticed his sour expression. “Surely you didn’t think that we would be sharing a room after all of this time,” Kat said, gesturing to Blake and herself.

“I was hoping that we would get a chance to talk. Now that we’re both with Hydra, we have a lot to discuss,” Blake said earnestly.

“Do we?” Kat asked in a mocking tone. She got up and started walking slowly towards him. “Did you think we were going to get back together?”

“I hoped that we could at least figure out…something,” he finished lamely as she reached him and started running her hands up his arms.

“I don’t know, maybe we can” Kat said softly. “What do you think, Ward?”

Looking angry, Grant stood up and moved threateningly toward the couple.

Kat took Blake’s face in her hands and kissed him soundly for several seconds. When she finished, he looked astonished for a moment and then crumpled to the ground with several blue vine-like lines traveling up his face. Kat looked down at him. “Consider that a request for a divorce,” she said in a hard voice.

Quinn looked surprised and then glanced around quickly as Grant turned suddenly in his direction and plunged a miniscule dart into his neck. He too crumpled to the ground with the familiar blue vine-like lines surrounding his neck.

Kat touched the tiny coms unit in her ear, “We’re in and we have two packages ready for delivery.”


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