1964-06-17 - Assassin's Creed: Idunn's Apple
Summary: A bargain is a bargain between two mortals seeking more and less.
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None', — please don't leave blank!
Theme Song: None
bucky rogue 

It's a gentle early summer shower, now. Rain patters on the windows, and it's cool and pleasant. Soothing, really. LAte, but not so late she must be asleep.
And that, of course, is when there's a gentle scratching at the door. More like a dog seeking entrance than a human knocking. There's a sense of some presence in the hallway, waiting.

No one ever tells you what it's like on a rainy day, alone. How isolating the shroud of pattering drops on glass can be. How bad the ache feels inside, then muffled in layers of grey gauze and cotton to dampen the sensations even further. Rain has the power to cut people off. Whomever they were, the idiot who quipped no man is an island clearly lived somewhere near the Sahara. For indeed, everyone is, when the sky weeps and the world splashes into an aquatic hue, silvered and dimmed. One candle burns in the dark, a fell effort to hold some connection and warmth, despite being fully severed from the glow of Greenwich Village at the base of the place. The tower is her home and she lives at the top, removed from her surroundings all the same.

Scarlett blinks at that sense of a scratch. Wrapped up in an Oriental silk dressing gown, her hair piled up in confusing braids, she makes for a sight. Maybe she's been cloud dancing and came away wet. Anything is possible. Her hand remains behind her back as she walks to the door, checking through the fish-eye lens. No doubt more aware than she lets on, she opens the door. There aren't many people who can bowl her over when she's rooted, both feet on the ground.

Well, there's a ragged ghost in the fish-eye's distorting lens. How far he's fallen from the days when she was partner and apprentice, the Soldier cool and stoic and so very competent. It's Bucky - with the scruff of not shaving dark on his jaw, eyes sunken and red-rimmed. He looks like some junkie friend come to beg a night on her couch to get out of the rain. For clearly he's been out in it - the long hair curling with wetness where it's gathered at his nape, the coat dark with it at the shoulders. When she opens the door, he doesn't barrel in, but eyes her almost out of the corner of his eye. "Scarlett," he says, and it's a rough whisper.

LOG: Themesong - Eliot Sumner - Halfway to Hell

How many have spoken that name in a tone pleading, beseeching her? What would they beg this remote, sunset-tressed figure for, if they must turn to her as their bodhisattva separating them from certain punishment and a chance at redemption? She of the poisoned touch and the benign gaze, the history of so much suffering? More than any, she can probably be trusted to understand without a need for questions. Compassion is one of those terrible consequences of being what she is.

"You had best not linger out there. Most people in this building tolerate my guests, but you never know." She pushes the door open wider, leaving room to pass right by her, and the idle brush of shoulder to metallic shoulder is as much a check as any. Call it a consequence of assurance. Someone who doesn't have a completely metal arm is bound to be devoured by the abyssal curse embedded in her DNA if her fingers should idly brush his hand by accident.

It is him - he shrugs out of that coat, exposing a long sleeved workshirt. That comes off, too - the white singlet underneath covers only the graft, not the arm itself. Crimson star, as if he were any other piece of Soviet issue equipment, the arm still gleaming, despite all its recent abuse - it was never meant to be run on long-term. Though with her experience, she can tell that some of the plates are out of true, a few of them raised like permanently ruffled feathers. He's actually dirty….though somehow his clothes are clean. "Sorry," he says, gruffly, draping shirt and coat over his arm. "I just had to get out of those." For all the roughness in his voice, his eyes are utterly lost, as he gazes at her.

"You go straight into the shower." She glances to the clothing only haphazardly. The rest barely even manages to reflect in the bohemian's eyes; she thinks little of being in one's own skin. "Is there any damage to the mechanics in there, or will you need some assistance correcting it?" The query comes off handed, as though repairing mechanical objects created by Soviets is part of her normal activities instead of a byproduct of unholy unions no one should have. Her voice purls a sigh, tracing upwards in draconic curves, and then she nods. "Let me put on some proper tea and get you something to eat. You'll find razors and whatnot in the bathroom, second drawer on the left. Take as long as you need. I have no lack of water pressure or hot water, and should it really become a problem, I'm sure we can find some means of hauling water up to the roof and starting a fire to heat it up. "

"Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in," Frost said. By that standard, this is almost home, for she doesn't have to, but she chooses to. He blinks at her, for a moment - someone left nearly stunned by sheer exhaustion and shock. Not to mention a whole hemisphere's worth of magical jet lag. Thanks for flying Strange Airways. "I think it's just…." he pauses, swallows hard, gropes for the rest of the sentence like an actor dropping a cue, "Uh, in need of maintenance. I…." Okay, no more crying. He's wept more in the last day or so than he has in years. He takes a few deep, ragged breaths. "It went through a lot." One breath out, and he's turning away and stripping off the singlet. He's always been lean, but now he's edging towards gaunt. IS that where he was, during that long absence - high on something that doesn't admit of other appetites? Maybe. Then the door shuts behind him, and there's the sound of water running. The shower's brief - he still has the soldier's restraint when it comes to wasting water, and shaving doesn't take much longer. He's considerably less grubby when he emerges, wearing a towel, and looking far more like himself. For some values of himself - Bucky Barnes as starveling shade.

Maybe she can understand better than any of them, or some of them. Perhaps some ingrained talent allows her the means to decipher guilt from innocence, intent from rumour. Likely not; he's got the wrong redhead if he wants someone to read his mind and understand the nature of truth within. Scarlett is far from perfect in any fashion. This may well come down to bite her in the worst of ways, but those are facts best not dwelled upon.

The door is closed, chains thrown, pretty locks engaged before she dares to leave the hallway alone. Let the others sleep in their rainy dreams, and let her work at making the world somewhat normal for an hour or three. She glides gracefully into the kitchen, the door to the fridge hauled open and milk set out, along with a variety of other proper contents for making good sandwiches. Bread, butter, mustard, slices of marbled meat from Katz's Deli. "The world can go hang for a bit," she replies, whether he has hauled himself off to lurk in the bowels of the earth or stood there pondering whether to throw her over the balcony and take over her apartment for ten minutes until she flies back up and flings him elsewhere.

"I imagine it must have. I keep tools around for a reason, but if you need the specialty ones, you'll have to point me to the right cache." Or they can do it the old fashioned way; she's not going to suggest the obvious. "You look like you could eat an ox or two. This is doing nothing to keep me from flying you off to Switzerland where you can dine properly for a few weeks on actual fattening food and regain your health. It's recuperative up there, and no one dares to mess with their neutrality. You might actually be safely secured away in some lovely alpine hut, surrounded by curvy blonde women with a head for numbers." Chances are good he's going to smack her with a towel when he reappears, fresh shaven and washed.

The vision is, by the way he goes vague for a moment, eyes focussed on no particular middle distance, tempting. Then he slants a look at her, with that whisper of dry humor. Winter's expressions, such as they are, are always barely to be divined….and he's still in there. "That sounds appealing," he says. He'll focus on food….and then that expression slips towards nausea, for a moment. The last thing he tried to eat was Kai. Then he regains his balance. "Well, we'll see, once I've eaten," he allows, as he seats himself.

Theirs is a refuge, less of artists and more of tough as nails souls trying to be dreamers. Whether they can achieve that has no bearing on anything. Food is in the works, prepared by the knife and the neat layering of fillings on a wooden cutting board shaped amusingly like a fish. Don't ask where she got that from or why she has it. She does not even bother with a plate after cross-sectioning two sandwiches, and carrying the board over for him. "I can manage it. Not so neatly as some, but then, I give the scenic route." Scarlett Airways goes faster than the Concorde, too, so there's that. Tea will follow; she only has so many hands to deliver the hot cups and the pot with, arranging them all on the circular table that marks her preferred spot to dine at. The view of the street is pretty, from there, though not placed to be a comfortable spot for falling interlopers to land.

"Thank you," he says, gently. "I….it'd be nice to be somewhere that I'm not actively hunted." Why did he come back here, when he he had the Sorcerer Supreme and a ticket to anywhere? But he g azes out the window. Why does this have to be the epicentre? Many an American moves far away from his hometown for adulthood. Steve? Well, there is that….Then he glances back at her. "But I dunno," he allows, and that crack has crept into his voice again. For the moment, he devotes himself to eating - taking care, not bolting it down like that thread of wolf-self remaining urges him. No growling at your hostess. Tea with sugar - this he doesn't want bitter, unlike that awful Russian stuff Winter's partial to.

"I hear Antarctica is nice in the spring, though they sadly will be entering winter soon and I doubt anyone wishes to brave that," Scarlett murmurs, a hint of mirth meant to alleviate any instance of Bucky suffering from too deep a case of the gloomies. Let him be free of that, of course? Why here, why this place, why right now?

The crack is audible to her, though she allows him to escape from it, as much as the raw sorrow for what he's been, what has endured. No questions are asked. It is not her right to know. She pulls a chair free and settles in, not taking anything for herself. A tug on the silk robe assures nothing utterly untoward happens. "Running never solves anything, though, I come to think. What are your plans, then? Surely something is dancing around in your mind."

HE has a mouthful of tea, before he answers. "No. There's really nowhere left on this earth to run," he says, matter of factly. "The Sorcerer Supreme's got my number, somehow. He showed up in Australia - I was really there - and brought me back here. I asked him to," he adds, hastily. "I…." One of those slow breaths, as something shutters behind his eyes. "When I was gone, these….last few weeks? I was in another realm. Dark elves had me and my friend Kai," His voice is flattening out - it's that voice he uses when he's delivering reports. Ya gotov otvechat - I am ready to answer. "I think….I think I killed Kai." He licks his lips again. "I'm going to have to answer to his lover, Serrure. Kai and Serrure aren't from this realm, either. I was hoping to go with them to Asgard, at least for a while. I don't know what Serrure will do now….or where Kai is. Strange said he'd help…..well, at least do something about the elves." Just spitballing, between smaller bites and tea. "I should apologize to Steve….and to the guy who gave me a job. Should tie off what I can. Now, if I'm just here…..I don't know. I think Steve got me mostly cleared of the bombings, but I'm genuinely guilty of so many murders. And I can't imagine that there're many in America who would take that into account at a trial. I could turn myself in….but I'll either end up executed or in jail forever."

"He would. He's my teacher," explains the redhead easily enough, throwing a line without any substantial difficulty as far as those answers go. Bucky is given leave to explain himself while she folds her hands and rests her chin upon the bridge of her fingers. She nods grimly to his statements now and then, eyes wide as the auroral curtains chasing polar regions. "Svartalfjar are… assholes, basically. No other way to say anything nice about that." Her expression doesn't change for him questioning murder of a man or a friend.

It should. By rights, she should be recoiling in complete and utter horror.

By rights, she shouldn't remember the murders he has committed either. She should not remember such things as she does, but there you are.

Her mouth tightens a little, however, and she rests her cheek upon the ridge of her knuckles. "I used to know the man better than I do now. It was…" How to explain? In the end, with pain dogging her heels, she doesn't. "You had hoped to go to Asgard? They still owe me a bloody apple. You could petition to be one of the Valkyrjar. With your talents, they cannot make an argument it's only for males. Einherjar are just as open to both genders. But if you are going to Asgard, I'm coming with you. They owe me a debt."

There's transparent surprise on his face, at that. Blue eyes gone wide, lips slightly parted. "Well, damn," he says, sitting back. "You never do fail to surprise me." And for all the his eyes are still shadowed, there's the old bright grin. "Huh. And yeah, I had. That's….crazy. Serrure….he already had me make an oath to Odin. And someone heart - it was crazy. There was this beam of light…." Asgard. He knows it's not really like the myths he read as a kid. But maybe something more.

"I fail to surprise everyone." Tart response? Not entirely, but the evidence of her thoughtful response speaks to some kind of scar tissue. "You swore /what/ to Odin, precisely?" Her gaze narrows upon that. "Has he ever told you the truth of Asgard? That two humans in our living memory, possibly /theirs/, have ever stood there? Three, if you include strange, but the doctor is not fully human, not in a colloquial sense." Her lips touch together, fingers trailing down her chin in muted thought.

"No," James allows,easily. "…..who? I mean, do you know 'em? You and….someone else?" Then he's rummaging through memory. "Uh, lemme see. The oath went ….To Odin, Allfather, I pledge myself, that I may fight with bravery, council with wisdom,and join my brothers and sisters in the honored, golden halls of Valhalla." Then he looks at her, brows up, for all the world like a Dobermann expecting a treat.

"The mortal bride that Thor attempted to take to wife, who did not pass the high demands of Odin All-Father." Her tone doesn't change except to include an iota of sympathy for that woman. "And me. I came not as a bride. The next would be bride is not fully human, per se, though she was close enough to count, and then their arrangement shattered. So you could constitute three, but you would be the first man I'm aware of, and I have reason to know. I looked extensively for any records of Midgardners. They were once brought, long, long ago."

Her eyes close again and she rises up, searching for something to snack upon while her thoughts run rampant. Scarlett sighs slightly. "That oath means if you die well, you go to Valhalla. If you die in battle. If not, should you die outside battle, and non-honourably in battle, then you go to Hela. She's a piece of work."

Bucky spreads his hands at that. There's a tiny, musical ping from some part of him, like a music box suffering a breakdown. That has him blinking, and trying to look at his shoulder - he's only in a clean singlet and jeans, now. Then he looks back to her. "Well," he says. "Huh. I did take it after I died the first time. I was just kind of in limbo, then. I….didn't go anywhere when the svartalfar killed me. But then, they were bringing me back…."

Rogue's head tips slightly, and her mouth creases a fraction. "What makes you think you didn't? The realm Hela rules isn't all that different from the rest of the realms, except they say she can control every aspect of it the way Odin controls Asgard. If she wants it to look a certain way, it does. The tales in Asgard are extensive and tell of sections all but indistinguishable from the worlds they represent. It's not a place as dry and cloudy as a Judeo-Christian heaven, or purgatory in flames. The whole notion is rather complicated by the cosmology not quite lining up in any source particularly well. But then, I'm not a princess of Asgard. There are secrets far beyond my ken, of course." She hunts the cabinets for her prized possession: a cookie.

He's sipping his tea now, meditative. "When I died on the street here….I remember where I was. It was kind of limbo….but to me, it looks like the first POW camp I was in. The….they tried to hide me," he says, slowly. "I mean, in the real world. But the Germans figured out who I was, and then they gave me to Zola…." The first round of horrors, and in their way, the worst. "Anyway, it looked like a stalag. But there was no one there but me, and I was just ….waiting. When the elves killed me, I remembered nothing."

"Zola?" Name that isn't full of familiarity, that's the truth. Scarlett shakes up the cabinets, doors opened and seeking out the tin of cookies. Pulling the lid off, she eyes the different sweets and then carries them back, putting them on the table. "Help yourself," she mentions lightly. "It sounds like less than a joyous experience, all around. I do not know, truly, all of death and life. My answers are slim, to be honest. The best I can provide is based on my understanding, and I submit the terrible notion that I want their longevity. At least more than I am allotted, for there is so much in the world of fascinating scope that my own span isn't enough. At least I fear as much."

He takes just one, nibbles on it. "Thanks," he says, finishing that cup of tea. "I don't know either, other than Father McConnelly clearly didn't have the whole picture." His tone's only a little sardonic. The idea of longevity….he looks thoughtful again. "I guess, if things were better, I'd feel the same way. But on the other hand, this has been a long cycle of violence and degradation, and sometimes I want to just tie things off."

"Ah, but you've a life remembered entirely, dearest. I, on the other hand, possess them for a span of months, a year or three. Nothing beyond. I'm more a child than all the children playing through here, all said and done." Laughter is absent, her smile a takeaway to embrace the world with. "You can change the world for good. You can walk away. Multiple options exist, that's sort of the joy of it all."

He regards her silently for a long moment, brows up. "…..I don't think I understand," he says, quietly. "I mean, what it's like for you…"

"You can imagine I want a bit more time than I have, especially in the possible situation where I receive a mortal wound. I'd rather not die," she replies lightly, shrugging her shoulders. "I think you understand that. You do not wish to die, neither do I. Though /do/ make a point of asking for youth in the bargain, remember."

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