Mary looked at the time once again, a little unnerved. How could she not be? Even when she talked with Nik in private just a little to get him started for what he should expect from the organization and the treatment he might receive in the beginning to identify him as a potential ally. She hadn't delved into her past yet, it was an experience worth a little over a dozen years and could not be iterated in a matter of few hours. She needed her time. Gazing at Mary's expression, Anna whispered, "Mum, say something already. Now you're scaring me..." her expression a little indignant. Both the mother and daughter wore comfortable lose tops that reached their thighs with nothing covering their crotch aside from their panties, the neck of the t-shirt quite loose to almost reach their shoulders, the effect even more evident on slightly modest Anna.
"Huh?" Mary looked up before shaking her head with a sigh, "Oh, nothing sweetheart. I was just thinking about work stuff."
"Mum, I was there when Nik confronted that agent," Anna stood up with a snort, "And you never told us anything about dad. So it now makes me wonder what you are hiding from Junior and me."
Pursing her lips, Mary looked at Anna walking towards the couch before speaking up, "I'll tell you everything. Junior, too. This sunday, when both of you are in one place, is that fine?" Mary felt a little bitter when she heard no reply from Anna as she switched open the television.
On the other hand, quite far away from the apartment, in a burger station, a group of people sat together. No patron aside from the visitors could be seen in the station named Ride 'a Borgor with only one waitress working to fulfill the orders. Nik sat alongside Cindy and Ava with Ava in the middle, a deliberate action after knowing how Cindy and Nik affected each other. In front of them sat two dark-skinned men. Carl Lucas and an unnamed fellow only referred to as the Director. The empty burger station kind of felt eery to Nik and now that he truly believed in ghosts, Nik wanted to suggest that they postpone this meeting until later to the next morning. After all, it was only monday and they had an entire week to themselves.
"So much for my privacy," Ava began with a snort knowing fully well how the two were even found out by S.H.I.E.L.D. Hearing her, the one-eyed person called Director looked at her for a moment before gazing at Nik and Cindy. Of course, for Nik, the man had to move his head slightly. "As you've been approached by my agents, you already know that we are from a secret organization named S.H.I.E.L.D. I am the current director of the organization, Nick Fury," the man with the eye patch then looked at Carl Lucas, "And he, as you both might know, is one of the"
"Superhero Luke Cage!" Cindy squeaked but when she felt the gazes converging on her, she lowered her head while Nik gazed at the man. "I knew it was you, Nik." Luke turned to Nik with a grin, "There's no way I would forget one of my old pals."
"Old pals seems correct enough of a term," Nik mumbled, "You disappeared on the whole gang. It fell apart and now Harlem is finding new bosses every other day. The current one, oh boy, has quite the reign," Nik spoke while recalling the bits of his past. "Yeah... I didn't want to be a gangbanger anymore," Luke shrugged while Nick coughed, "You all can converse in your private moments and Ava, you should know that we can never look aside when it comes to enhanced individuals. Now, this is just a meeting. A way to establish communication. I know that both of you have your lives already established but..." presenting two black flash drives, Nick continued, "This is the most basic orientation of our organization. The passcode is the same as both of your lockers. The information within this drive will be destroyed after 13 hours, to be precise, so do check it out."
Stating this, Nick stood up and adjusted his trench coat, which was, of course unnecessary. Nodding at Luke and Ava, the man left the station as the waitress finally brought the orders given out beforehand.
Now with food present on the table, Nik looked at Ava and requested with a smile, "Hey, can you switch seats with Cindy. I need to talk to her, you know, face to face." Ava looked at Nik before nodding plainly. After all, Cindy was continuously nudging her feet below and as Ava stood up slightly with Cindy sliding towards Nik from beneath, under Luke's slightly surprised eyes, the unruly White Tiger actually listened to someone for a change.
"Woah, Tiger, did you just... agree on something?" Luke muttered in amazement, taking a big bite out of his burger as she glared at Luke, "You knew it, didn't you? About both of them and the Director's knowledge."
"Yea, he told me yesterday," Luke sighed after taking the sip of his cola, "And don't get mad at me. Just like Fury said, you should've known that there is no way they would turn a blind eye to your actions when it involves people like us."
Meanwhile, Nik thought for a moment and then asked Cindy, "What do you think of this? Do you still trust Ava?" His first inquiry already pulling Cindy to reality as she recalled how Ava approached her and revealed her powers without any problems. If Cindy believed her luck in the beginning, now her mind begged to doubt. Sneaking a glance towards a slightly stiff Ava, who looked straight without speaking up, Cindy, too, fell silent.
"If I am not wrong, a 'secret' organization wouldn't show themselves in the public establishments if not for the fact that they have control of the area. Now, it is safe to assume that this burger station is under S.H.I.E.L.D and you two," pointing at Luke while the other one was obvious, "Must have thought of your own agendas before joining. What I truly want to know is... what will happen if I deny the request of entering? I mean, a Director of such an organization must value secrecy and he just showed his face?"
Nik was merely leading them on. He wanted to get enough information networks to get his body's objective into completion. Knowing that such an organization would have their eyes and ears on him in such a location, Nik was merely letting them know his thoughts and value by using his company.
"I mean, I have seen in the movies that food can be rigged. For all we know, the burger can be contaminated." Luke stopped eating at this while Nik proceeded to pick up the flash drive in between his thumb and index, "And this might just be another way to keep a track of us," Nik whispered by crushing the flash drive.
"Now, what will happen? I just destroyed the information without looking." Nik smiled as he looked at Cindy sideways, 'Ah...' only to realize that Cindy had actually become enamored. Her eyes glazed and her scent already spreading. Luke seemed oblivious but Ava... she was blushing hard. "Cindy?" nudging Cindy's shoulder and bringing her back to reality, Nik whispered, "We'll talk about control later but try to focus at the moment."
"Y-yes!" Nodding in hurry, Cindy looked towards Ava, "Did you really try to befriend me to bring me here?" Despite her scent only flaring, Ava managed her soberness and shook her head, "There's a reason I contacted you without my mask. I didn't want to force my decisions on you..." looking past Cindy, Ava glanced at Nik, "both of you," she stated. "Look, this isn't the place like the movies and S.H.I.E.L.D isn't truly the most secretive thing in the world. Many know about it. Retired agents, higher-ups in the government organizations of most of the countries. Look, this is a place filled with people who think they are trying to do the right thing."
"And what about you?" Nik looked at Luke, "Carl"
"My man, call me Luke Cage now. Carl Lucas is dead in papers," Luke rubbed his chin, "And what I want to do is mainly find my parents. They were agents but now, they have been missing for years."
Nik nodded, "Luke... nice one..." Nik realized the inner joke as the man, too, smiled. "Good one, eh?" He then looked at this burger before gazing at the waitress working behind the counter without paying any attention to the group, "Hey, Lady! Is this burger poisoned?"
Rolling her eyes, the woman shook her head, "Do you think I want to lose my job, kid?"
Meanwhile, Cindy pushed the flash drive towards Luke and shook her head, "I don't know what I want now but I am not taking this thing back with me." Turning to Nik while standing up, she whispered, "Nik, let's get out of here," she held Nik's hand as he stood up and waltzed out of the station while Ava groaned and softly struck the table with her forehead, "Ughh, I really should have thought about this."
"Will you still continue your school?"
"Damn right I would!" Ava glared at Luke as she whined, "Hey, stop looking at me like that. It's not like I asked you to do what you did? Tiger, this is all on you! Anyway, I hit a problem while dealing with the Russian mob and need your help." His words pulled Ava's attention away from her current situation.
Meanwhile, the moment Cindy stepped outside the station with Nik, she almost felt her legs giving out when her vision changed wildly and she found herself standing, panting, in an alleyway while Nik held her close. "W-what?!" She gasped, "Where are we?" She looked up while clutching on Nik's t-shirt as she needed a few breaths before regaining her composure. "We are almost two blocks away," Nik whispered while feeling his energy reserves. Almost 93% left. Nik thought internally while Cindy sighed, "I'm... sorry. I should have never told Ava about you."
"I mean, they would have found out regardless," Nik smiled as Cindy found her strength back. Slowly standing straight, she took a step back with a wry expression, making sure that she doesn't falter and try to make a move on an already taken man. "What should we do from now on? Is there a chance that they'll hurt my family?" Cindy inquired as Nik shrugged, "If they want to harm us then yes, they will go for the families but that's a low possibility. Ava, after all, talked back to her superior for his actions. Anyway, we need to discuss a slightly more... immediate problem."
Nik gazed at Cindy seriously while closing the distance once again. Her heart shook momentarily when she inhaled his scent but when he leaned down to whisper, "We need to take care of your... heat. If you get in such a situation while getting attacked, it will be the death of you." Cindy gulped while still leaning forward regardless of her thoughts, "It's hard," she finally whispered, "And it happens every time. You remember the day we were attacked at school... I was feeling the same way so I sneaked into the bathroom to get some... alone time. I even tried that yesterday," Cindy looked at Nik with her gaze slightly widened, "But it doesn't feel enough..." her breathing brushed past Nik's lips as he spoke up, "So? Are you finally going to control your body or..." Nik trailed his words to a sudden kiss as Cindy's eyes widened. Feeling Nik's lips pressed against her own, her body showed the worst possible reaction as she hugged his waist tightly while he leaned back on the wall. Her eyes still gazed into Nik's narrowed ones as his hands reached down while he retracted his head, whispering softly while Cindy gasped for air, "Or you're going to relieve your stress the way your body wants?" He inquired while pinching her butt, "Both the ways are fine as long as you know what you're doing," Leaning down, making Cindy expect another kiss, Nik instead turned his face and pecked her on the side of her lips.
"Now I've taught you both. Trying to gain control when we first met and the method to relieve your stress at this moment. Next time we meet, be sure to have an answer ready." Nik whispered before giving her butt one good pinch and sending her right in front of her house, almost costing 10% of his energy capacity.
"Playing gentleman? How boring..." Asmodeus chimed. She was the most talkative out of all and even Pure seemed to have grown a little more reserved in her antics. "It isn't about being a gentleman," Nik shrugged while shifting away, "It's about not using a person. I mean... I kinda hated that about my past self. Cindy did me nothing wrong and playing with her... well, let's just say, would leave a bad taste."
Nik knocked on the door to the apartment as it was flung open almost instantly, revealing Mary who jumped into Nik before pulling him into a deep kiss.
'As you can see, I enjoy this feeling far more than something where there is no heart.' Nik shut Asmodeus up before picking Mary and closing the door behind them, ruining yet another night for their neighbors. Surely, Nik expected them to voyeur their way on the balcony tomorrow morning, too.