1964-10-29 - A Squad of Winter Soldiers
Summary: Black Widow finally gathered enough intel to successfully infiltrate SHIELD under cover, as Level 6 cleared agent Natalie Robbins, recently transferred from the CIA. On the way to investigate the classified archives, she spots not one Winter Soldier, but several…the plot thickens.
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wanda black-widow bucky 

She has been doing her prep work for a long time, and today was a good trial run, as Black Widow is decked out in perfect SHIELD field agent getup. Just someone reporting back from field work, nothing special, and she walks right through the entrance without any problem. Seems that ID card for Level 6 cleared agent Natalie Robbins is good. She has shoulder length blonde hair and blue eyes, and she carries a folder held in between her arm and body which she keeps very close guard off.

This might be the reason that Bucky's dragging booted heels about coming home. For when she sees him, he's exiting what can only be a cell….and he's wearing SHIELD fatigues, too. Basic agent rank….but he's got what can only be a sedative shot bracelet on his ankle, and he's being accompanied by a stone-faced level 7. Old suspicions die hard, perhaps.

OR maybe it's not merely the ostensible chance to funnel info back from SHIELD. For visible through the two-way mirrored glass is….another Bucky? No metal arm, short hair, a paler, less worn face, but identifiably kin to the Soldier, watching the door Buck just departed for with a quiet passivity.

Stone-faced agents given varied levels do not like the one creature fallen into their midst about a year back after a hell of an exfil from East Berlin. She bears a rank far higher than age ought to allow. Hell, even the language skills might not justify a three or four. On the other hand, SHIELD does not contain that many mystically-capable individuals in their official ranks and not a single one with the ties the golden-skinned Transian does. She doesn't walk through a hall like she owns the place. She never lords over everyone with a cocky grin or utters commands. About the only thing anyone ever faces is her cool, pointed bearing that comes from the Warsaw Pact oh so easily. She makes Spartans look like rambling philosophers.

Alone, she drifts after an exiting agent at a distance of about thirty paces or so.

Natalie looks curiously as Bucky is lead out, looking like he's under direct supervision and control, before she catches a glimpse of a notably cybernatic arm lacking Bucky clone. That was alarming, he said SHIELD was working on cloning him, and it seems he wasn't lying after all. Still holding on to her file, she turns to look at Bucky being lead away, and awe-struck by the Level 7 agent, she approaches and asks, "how is this guy coming along?" General attempt at small talk, just asking about status and little more. Considering she's a Level 6, she figures that much might fly. Worst case, she'll be told to mind her business. Either way, adding that touch of being doe eyed at the Level 7 might do the trick. Often ego gets result when its stroked.

She's greeted with a flat stare from the 7 - he's got a graying crew-cut, eyes like blue marbles, and all the apparent friendliness of a levelled machine gun. "If you needed to know, you'd already know," he says, voice surprisingly light. "Run along now." It isn't *quite* a sneer. Bucky's scuttled off somewhere - to a cell of his own? HE's said nothing about being in SHIELD captivity. Not recently, anyway.

Wanda's an observer in these halls. An observer at the desk she barely visits and a creature tending to listen rather than ever speak in meetings. She has little reason to gainsay another Seven floating around, hatchet-faced and accompanying one of the many possible tin soldiers out of an SSR. Hands go into pockets of her dark claret leather coat, all edges and angles cut to her body, a pastiche of warnings as much as poison dart frogs have their bright colours. She leans against the wall in case someone has to go past, the weight of her distant tawny eyes an amorphous thing on the whole. Natalie stirs up little interest out of her, any more than another of the Buckies. Whichever one it happens to be, irrelevant on the whole. More substantially, she's not looking at anyone or anything in the purely human spectrum. Her files do not say 'Witch' loudly. Her sight catches auras, impressions, hints as a matter of principle.

Natalie is quick to show she knows her place, offering the 7 a sharp salute, before turning away. Not even looking back at Bucky, because why would she have an interest in something beyond her clearance. She did have some filing to do, that's why she has a folder with mission report in hand, and why she absolutely needs to file it in classified archive. Somewhere where she expects to find a lead in the Winter Soldier conundrum.

She'll find the Soldier himself a little ways down the hall, sitting in what passes for a breakroom. Alone, even, and minus that anklet. So they do trust him to run loose. Just not to keep from fighting or infecting the….other Winter Soldier? Is he being forced to pass along his knowledge, to train them as he trained her, those years ago? T his one's faulty in memory and body, after all, a makeshift that works but can be superceded?

He's making tea - proper Russian tea, by the scent of it, as if in need of a restorative. His expression's strained and grim.

Natalie is quite surprised to find another Winter Soldier in the breakroom, and by happenstance, she wanders in to fix herself some tea as well. As she walks by she sniffs and remarks with a displeased expression, "what kind of tea is that? Just so I know never to accidentally use it," the accent is supremely American, somewhere Northeast.

It's the Soldier she knows. Thinks she knows? Long hair, metal hand, weathering the person in the cell doesn't have. "Uh, Tzar Nikolas. It's an acquired taste," he says, easily, grin a little sheepish. "I like it, anyhow." He's getting used to pretending the clones don't exist, for those without the clearance.

"Remind me to never acquire that, smells horrid," she stalls a few moments before bothering with a weak sounding, "no offense." She goes about to fix herself a lemon-mint tea, as she looks Bucky over and offers in a conversational manner, "didn't I just see you heading into a cell coming in?" It happens, people come and go, they see stuff.

"Most Americans don't like it," he says, with a little grin. "And no offense taken." At the question, he shrugs fractionally. The slither of the metal plates in his shoulder is hardly a whisper, but the sound's familiar. This is her Winter Soldier, so to speak. "Can't really talk abouit it."

"I get it, classified, keep your distance…don't worry, I don't want any trouble," Natalie laughs, before getting this playful grin as she starts giggling to herself uncontrollably.

Some have been stoic, some jumpy, some tentative as if he were a dog that might bite at the least provocation. No one's found him funny, before, and it's enough to make his brow furrow. A familiar expression there, too, one she knows oh so well.

"I'm sorry!" Natalie laughs through her apology, "I just thought, with how many of you I've seen since walking in, you may as well form a band, like the Fab Four!" She keeps laughing, nearly spilling some of the tea she's pouring herself, "I'm sorry, I should be more serious, I know, we're SHIELD and everything…my bad."

He hasn't seen her before, not on that project. That little frown doesn't leave him. "No," he says, slowly. "I….hell, I dunno. I'm the new guy here."

"Well so am I, recent CIA transfer, Natalie Robbins," she extends her free hand towards Bucky, "just don't crush me with your robo-arm, ok? I kinda need it, I shoot real well with pistols."

That makes him cock his head, but the frown finally eases. He takes her hand with his normal one, shakes it gently. "James Barnes," he says, tone mild. But his gaze is fixed on hers. He knows her, doesn't he? Did he try to kill her, some time?

Her grip isn't all that impressive, she's clearly a long range added cover type agent, not one who leads a team into field work. At least from an initial impression, "nice to meet you James, mind if I ask how you came about your acquired taste of whatever the hell that Russian tea is named? Did they stick you in a safe house over there for five years or something?" She jokes, just making small talk.

Something flickers behind his eyes…..and there's that frown again. She has to be really new, not to have heard of him as that bogeyman for so many of the western services. Whether he's an object of pity, a monster, or a relic returned, who hasn't heard of the Soldier? "Long story," he says, and there's a kind of doubt in his voice.

Maybe some of the younger guys feel like they're hot stuff and don't bother learning of the legends? Or keep up on current affairs beyond their own personal assignment? Who knows, either way this Natalie seems like she hasn't quite matured for her role as it were. "Oh, I almost forgot," she quips as she takes a sip of her tea, "I've got some filing to do," she shakes her folder infront of Bucky and turns to leave, "was nice to meet you James, good luck finding your heart," she says as she starts leaving, before pausing and looking back at him over her shoulder, "get it? It's a Tin Man reference, because of the arm," she winks, and keeps on her way.

IT's an odd little smile he gives her. "I already have," he tells her. And he doesn't seem to be joking.

Natalie stops to look back at him, a bit confused, "oh? Well, I'm happy for you, I guess?" She shrugs, and then moves on her way, to make her filing, and take a bit of a peek at the Winter Soldier files, or the James "Bucky" Barnes files, whatever they'll have. She needs to start making progress. She's already seen enough to distrub her.

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