Author's Note: Cross-posting some of my finished fics from other sites. Still working on Conjugal Visit, I promise. (Admittedly, Blinded has kinda taken a back seat till I get my muse back, but I do have half of another chapter in the works.)
Secretary Ross felt his eye twitch as he stood staring through the bullet-proof glass of the viewing room overlooking the targeting range he'd set up in the heavy-duty holding chamber.
The girl had been fairly cooperative to start out with - not asking too many questions and obediently drinking all of the alcohol he'd sent in with the guards - she hadn't even struggled when they'd helped her stumble out of her cell and down the hall, or taken the straitjacket off of her.
Wanda Maixmoff had her tongue poking out the side of her mouth as she stared hard at a target barely ten feet away, her brows furrowed in heavy concentration. With slow, deliberate movements, she twirled her fingers around, summoning sparks of her crimson power to her hands, and then threw her arms out in front of her at the target.
The movement overbalanced her, however, and she backpedaled a step sharply, her arms pinwheeling as she tried to stay upright. Her attack vanished into a harmless puff of red sparks that bounced off the paper target without so much as putting a singe mark on it, and she staggered a pace to the side before losing her balance altogether, landing hard on her butt on the ground.
The girl blinked for a second in confusion, but then fell prey to another helpless round of giggles as she let herself sprawl out on her back, hair splayed out around her.
Ross let out a growling sigh, pressing the button for the little mic that connected to the chamber's speakers.
"Miss Maximoff," he said, just barely resisting burying his face in his palm when she sat up sharply and looked around, demanding to know who was there. "It's Secretary Ross," he told her, with more patience than he'd thought himself capable of at his current level of frustration.
"Did I hit the target?" she slurred with an enormous smile, staring at the ceiling.
Ross let go of the talk button for a moment so she wouldn't hear his groan.
"No, Miss Maximoff. You did not hit the target."
Her face fell.
"No. It's still intact."
She turned to look at the target in question, and Ross pinched the bridge of his nose between his fingers in exasperation as she frowned in confusion.
"But I hit it..."
"Try again," he said a bit impatiently. A little frown of concentration crossed her face as she glared at the target, and he watched as she once again summoned her power to her fingertips.
She threw her hands out with enough force to tip her over onto her stomach, and once again a cloud of sparkles harmlessly enveloped the target.
He just barely resisted banging his forehead against the desk in frustration.
"I don't wanna run this simulation anymore," she whined. "It's not fun."
"Miss Maximoff, don't make me use the collar."
"Collar?" she asked in confusion, staring at the ceiling once again.
This time Ross gave into the urge to smack his palm into his forehead.
The stupid drunken girl had already forgotten.
He thumbed the little switch for her shock collar, giving her a little low-voltage zap in warning, and Maximoff yelped in surprise, grabbing for her neck. Ross watched as her shock melted into realization, and let out a groan as that realization shifted into a screwed up expression as she sniffled pathetically.
"Miss Maximoff-" he started, but it was too late, she was already crying. He could only watch in shock for a moment as she curled into herself, face buried in her hands as she sobbed.
"Oh for fuck's sake," he muttered to himself, making a little note on his clipboard that intoxication made her prone to sharp mood swings before grabbing the mic back up.
"Miss Maximoff, please try to get a hold of yourself."
"That hurt!" she cried pathetically, and Ross rolled his eyes.
"Yes. That's the idea. Now if you would be so kind as to finish running the practice course-"
"Apologize for hurting me first," she said, smudging the tears from her cheeks.
"I am not going to-... Look, I gave you a warning about what would happen if you refused to cooperate-"
"It still hurt! Say you're sorry," she demanded petulantly. Ross took a deep, slow breath, reminding himself that the little brat was drunk half out of her mind at the moment, and he had no one to blame for this fact but himself.
"I'm very sorry for shocking you," he said patronizingly through gritted teeth. "Now would you please get up and finish the targeting course?"
The girl glared up at the ceiling for another long second before fixing a pout to her lips.
"Say please," she demanded, crossing her arms.
"Well...I didn't hear it. Say it again."
Ross bit back a snarl, forcing himself to take a few deep breaths. He had to humor her. He did not need her turning into a sobbing mess on him again. Her being drunk was bad enough.
"Please," he bit out.
That seemed to be enough for the girl, and in a second she was staggering to her feet again, stumbling a few crooked paces toward the nearest target before she wound up on the floor once more, giggling.
Ross let his head fall forward until his forehead was pressed against the cool surface of the desk.
What had he ever done to deserve this...?
"Sir?" the soldier behind him asked hesitantly, and Ross slowly straightened up, glancing back out over the arena as Wanda pushed herself to her knees, spun awkwardly to throw red sparks at another target, and wound up on her ass again.
Not a single damn one had been destroyed.
"This isn't working," he muttered in disgust, watching the girl wave an arm above her head from where she sat on the floor, her magic following her fingertips in a swirl. "Put her back in her cell, and for God's sake get some water in her to sober her up a bit. We'll try again tomorrow with half the amount of alcohol and see if she's a bit more...useful, in that state."
Ross let out a slow breath, glancing over his notes as the soldier threw him a salute and left the room.
He poked the talk button on the mic, leaning over to speak into it as he noticed Wanda wandering the course aimlessly.
"Miss Maximoff, if you would be so kind as to sit down somewhere and wait for the guards to return you to your cell," he said. At this, she whirled around, looking up at the ceiling once more as she addressed the disembodied voice.
"No, I don't wanna go back in the cell," she protested.
"Too bad. You have to."
"Then I'll use the shock collar again."
That hurt, betrayed look flashed across her face again, and she grabbed the collar as she took a hesitant step back.
"D-don't be mean!" she shouted.
"Then do as you're told."
"Then don't tell me to do things I don't want to!"
"Miss Maximoff, sit down before you lose your balance and fall over," he replied, exasperated.
"You're cruel," she accused tearfully. "You're a big bully!"
"You're a criminal," he countered in annoyance, berating himself mentally a second later for letting her drag him into her petty, drunken argument.
"I am not!" she shouted back.
"You are, and you are going back to your cell. That's final," he snapped. "Now sit down before you hurt yourself, and wait there for the guards to collect you."
The girl sat down hard, arms crossed and teary-eyed, and Ross went back to his notes.
Three bloody sentences. And one of them was "experiment needs to be re-run with lower levels of intoxication."
With a groan, he rubbed at his temples, letting his eyes close over as he grit his teeth in frustration. Of all of the stupid, hair-brained ideas...
A shout from within the chamber drew his attention, and he glanced up to see three guards walking toward Wanda as she scrambled awkwardly to her feet and backed away.
Ross watched in exasperation as the guards tried to herd her into a corner, one of them holding up the straitjacket as she tossed loose, red clouds of sparks at them harmlessly.
It only took a few minutes of struggling for them to pin her down and lace her into the bindings, trying to be gentle as she struggled against them and cried out.
She burst into tears once more when they hauled the straps tight around her, and the guards looked up at the viewing platform helplessly as she cried at their feet. Ross leaned over the mic again.
"Just...put her back in her cell. Try to get her sobered up or something," he told them, waving a hand in exasperation. "Just get her out of my sight."
He couldn't deal with any more of this today. He had a massive headache coming on.
He watched as the guards tried to coax her to her feet, one of them finally deciding to just pick her up when she couldn't seem to balance upright on her own, and the last of her tears turned into giggles once more as the guard carried her bridal-style out of the room, his steps making her bounce.
Ross leaned his forehead against the desk again.
They didn't pay him enough for this shit.
An hour of effort, as well as thirty dollars worth of alcohol, and the only thing he had to show for it was a few sentences of scribbled notes and a throbbing headache.
The UN would not be happy with these results.
Well, he thought, packing up his briefcase, if nothing else, at least he now had a method to transfer her safely from one place to another without having to drug her unconscious or worry about his guards being attacked. It seemed that a few shots of alcohol rendered her powers completely fucking useless.
When he checked on Maximoff a final time before leaving for the day, he found her sleeping peacefully in her cell, curled up on the cot under a blanket that had been thrown over her by one of the guards.
Ross just shook his head, tugging his jacket into place before stepping into the hall.
He fucking hated his job.