1964-04-30 - The Principle of Salvation
Summary: The Winter Soldier's freedom is numbered, but never underestimate desperation…
Related: Children of the Revolution, Family Business
Theme Song: Ran - Future Islands
pietro bucky strange wanda 

Since this is long before the age of both hardy urban explorers and widespread camera surveillance, the abandoned tunnels of the New York subway are about as concealed as you can get, under the great city. The official manhunt hasn't reached this point, though there are already preparations under way.

So there's a grace period….and the Soldier, having made everything as ready as he can for either an attempt to make contact and take ship from the port, or an escape overland, is resting.

He's in a room that was originally a maintenance worker's supply room, off one of the abandoned station. It's a concrete chamber, now empty, with a few scraps of broken rail shoved into the corner. He's got a rucksack packed, a Colt 1911 and a machine pistol within hand's reach…..and at the moment, he's examining a map of the subway system by the light of that little candle lamp. How far can he go without coming up from beneath?


The twins Maximoff are, for all intents and purposes, well-suited to the business of infiltration and extraction for those not explicitly trained as spies. No agency can match movement quicker than the beat of time or the folding of space to perceive events from afar. Wanda's hand-mirror offers Doctor Strange a soundless view over the dingy tunnel forgotten by anyone outside the transit authority, dusty and oily gravel caught in darkness with its solitary inhabitant as forlorn as the embodiment of a Poe ballad.

She finishes her last piece of honeycomb down to the goldenrod dust, and proceeds to pull on her fingerless gloves. The mild dusting of her hands dispels the positive charge to her humming aura. "No killing."


"Are you saying this to me, Sis? or to the Boyfriend?" Pietro looks Strange up and down and shrugs his shoulders. "He does not look to be the killing sort."

A pause.

"What about maiming? The accidental bump into many odd things while moving at super-speed? You could hold up the phone book while I push him into it. It would be slow… for me."

Pietro grins helpfully.


"None," echoes the good Doctor in equally-quiet graveness. The mirror is within his scarred hands still, the image captured within looked over with the air of a Mystical head of state at his table. Nearby, his trusted general and her brother — with dandelion-puffed hair and all — linger.

Pietro is given a rather measuring side-glance. "I'd rather not maim either if at all possible. We don't need SHIELD knocking on the Sanctum door asking why the Soldier is missing limbs."

Heaven forbid that SHIELD comes a-knocking because those wards might knock back.

"No blood, no foul. Distract, incapacitate, and then you can return him to Director Carter's cells." The Sorcerer looks between them. "He'll be ready and he's quick on the trigger. Don't get shot."


Pietro scoffs aloud.

"Me? Get shot? Where have you ever seen me move slow enough to be hit by bullets, Mister Doctor? I'm offended." The silver-haired young man puts his hands on his hips and turns away, shaking his head from side to side. He gives his sister a look as if to say, 'You put up with this man, do you?'

"Alright, I'll not damage the assassin — until we find out that he really did shoot the Captain."


"'Doctor' would mean killing for you?" Acerbic wit is Pietro's defense against the world and Wanda merely pokes him with the obvious question. She drops her palm upon his broader shoulder and reorients him away from Strange, the pair of them thick as thieves, the son of the moon and the daughter of the sun. "Learn as you can."

This might be a particularly helpful warning if the terminating syllables on the instruction wasn't "«Alshye.»"

A mystic might spot the influx of energy queued upon the triggering statement, but possibly too late. A burning blue-green void opens underneath Pietro's feet, a puddle into darkness, and through that puddle will a Pietro Maximoff drop.


The wavering blue-green shimmer is just enough warning. Even as brain and face are registering surprise and dismay, Bucky's reflexes are making themselves known. Is he faster than the fastest man in the world? No. But one hand's snagging the machine pistol and firing onehanded at whatever's coming through, even as the other's seeking the reinforced door. Not sticking around and waiting on his visitor.


"Sister, you'd better be having a plan for this besides just hexing the man…" comments Pietro dryly. "Am thinking the Boyfriend should go first in case the soldier is already planning to shoot — !"

And he drops through the portal beneath his feet before he can finish the sentence. There will be words about that later. The speedster hits the ground running, quite literally, and heads down tunnel in the blink of an eye. When he reaches the hidey-hole of the Winter Soldier, he actually runs straight past… and phases through a solid wall.



At that speed, reflexes are still kicking in as Pietro appears moreor less out of a solid wall. So Bucky's looking fractionally the wrong way, towards the door, as the metal hand's already seeking the loaded machine pistol on the ledge beside him. He's fast, very fast…..but not faster than Quicksilver. His expression hasn't changed yet, beyond the faint hint of alert puzzlement, like a dog pricking its ears.


"Are you certain that was a good idea…?" Strange asks of his Consort, glancing to her after her brother drops like a stone through the rift in reality. "I know he can dodge bullets, but in a small space, does he run along the walls or simply plow through things with that skull of his?"

The Sorcerer leans out over the void, limned in that turquoise, and eyes the cell below — carefully. He remembers being in the line of sight for the gunman, even if he wasn't the initial target. Zombies took the brunt of the shooting that time.


The luminous oval serves as a simple aperture between two places. Holding it open is a reflexive measure of energy and focus. "My father trained me well." Wanda speaks almost impassively of the man who raised her, such as he might be. "Never try to kill him with bullets. A gun is a useless weapon. When the bullet leaves the chamber, already is he halfway across a room or at my back with a wire over my throat. Not so helpful. He walks between the gunfire."

A mild shrug might normally follow but even that much is not possible when they hang on the threshold of where to go: to stay as they are, to fall through the hole in space. "You stay or we go, but I will not leave him forgotten."


Pietro stops in another tunnel.


Taking an eternal 0.35 of a second to ponder how he got here instead of in the Winter Soldier's hideyhole… he turns around, puts a hand on the solid wall… and grins. "I am not splattered!" he exclaims happily. "This is good news. Oh!" And Quicksilver starts vibrating as he had been before, only this time knowingly and on purpose.

When he bursts into the correct tunnel (again), he immediately pauses (from his perspective anyway) to get a good, long look at the room. Tiny. Ah, there is the one-armed man who did it… apparently. He cannot be as fast as Wanda warned… Perhaps the Soviet assassin would look good with his trousers on his head? Or wearing Wanda's lipstick?

Alas, the distraction does slow Pietro down enough that Bucky might get a shot off…


And Bucky does. Bullets are unpredictable creatures, even with training….and firing one off in such a small, hardened space is a bad idea. He might well end up with a ricochet hitting himself. And it's hard to see in the dimness - there's only the one candle. But….someone shot the guardian angel off his shoulder in some long ago battle, and now all he has is the little personal devil to oppose it, something perfectly prepared to twist fate against him.


"We won't leave him behi — "

Thus, the sound of a gunshot sharply resounding about the small room. Strange's first instinct is to flinch back, throw up an arm, and already the crimson Cloak stiffens about him like a guard dog raising its hackles. "Son of a bitch!" He hisses not a second later. Many things may have transpired in that quicksilvered tick of a clock's hand, but his next move is to raise his hands and begin a defensive spell. If Pietro's going to court gunfire, even with the off-chance of actually being shot, he's better off safe than free-bleeding.


The crack of a retort has Wanda acting faster than reason might allow. She is trained to know the sound of certain firearms and to run through a besieged city full of smoke and rioters, the same as her twin. They are not helpless in the face of calamity. Often they're inciting it. A key difference.

Instinctive reaction to the crack of the gun and the trajectory of bullets guides her. Strange's own response differs utterly from her own, and so the outcomes too. Choices and choices: she flings the spell wider by a yard, and drops to her stomach. Wanda swings forward into the open portal, jackknifed from the waist. Though she most certainly appears upside down at the tunnel's curved roof, nothing so inhibits her from hurling a spell in the direction her intuition tells her Pietro is. It may be the crudest effect she can do, grabbing on the most personal sympathies to him, but the strings of fate jangle and clamour noisily, a lurching blessing literally shoved at him with a snarled incantation. "«Pregateste soarta.»" This is magic, not her innate gift. Point to Strange, for now.


"Did not see that coming…" Pietro breathes as the Winter Soldier's bullet rips into his side… He staggers back against the wall, wondering if he is going to die in a hole in the ground (which oddly enough reminds him of a book he heard about, concerning a Hobbit and their holes…), and then feels the sensation of Wanda's magic —

— as it slams into him.

If healing could be delivered as a blow (like a kick to the gut)… that is what he feels right now. Pietro groans, and counterattacks by charging around Bucky at super-speed, making sure to collide more than a few times.

At least… that's the plan.

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