1964-11-15 - Project Virgo: ZeitGHOST
Summary: Catch him if you can.
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None', — please don't leave blank!
Theme Song: None
bucky rogue 


Remember, remember,
The Ides of November.

Though few recall the other reasons to accurse the midway point of the month, shrouded in darkness. 'Tis the moment when the League of Nations first convened in Geneva, and Danzig's short-lived freedom dawned. 'Tis the moment when Heinrich Himmler, in his Berlin fastness, declared the Roma to be massacred like the other vermin in his great, ghastly equation.

Europe remembers though the rest of the world looks on. The charnel houses of Europe no longer smoke. The bones lie moldering in the ground. Let them forget at their peril. Red soldiers amass on the borders, Geneva and New York violently convulsed by political unrest, and the allies of America whisper in frantic, encoded messages across wires strung over mountain and under ocean.

A young man kneels on a rooftop in the dingier quarter facing the East Berlin boroughs, those flush up against the wall. The Brandenburg Gate taunts anyone with a mind to look east, so they steadfastly go about their day. In the depths of the GDR, few come and go as they please.

Even fewer intelligence agents exist without being marked somehow. He's in the black, no traces following him to the lonely third story elevation in a sea of many. Not surprising, really. Just another person in a sea of souls, wearing a heavy overcoat and an ugly, forgettable cream scarf. A thousand miles from anywhere familiar, four times that from anywhere friendly. But Berlin is a city of ghosts, and no one is so fine a spook as Lazar.

There are safehouses for SHIELD. And that noisy signal has Buck heading for one of them, presumably to regroup and figure out where Coulson and Jorg have gone to ground. Hastening, the young man in the booze-sodden shirt, now complete with coat and hat. Hard to be inconspicuous when you smell like you just stuck your head in a cocktail. HE's got to change, get cleaned up, get stashed gear.

So he's moving along the roofs as well - they've always served him as a safe, inconspicuous path. Winter knows the best ways, and it's his expertise that Buck's mining, as he flits from parapet to heating vent.

Shattered glass hints at much. Agents serving many masters read the signs as they once stared at flights of birds and entrails to divine the future. The task hasn't become any easier in the slow advance of time. Instead of knives, they have binoculars; the ciphers aren't in loops of bloody viscera but drunken dancers and laughing, gay Italians reporting their truths to varied services. Danika inside spins one tale. A man on the rooftop swings another.

And then there's SHIELD in its full capacity, headquarters behind the Vienna Bar and up the road from the opera ablaze. Safehouses are at capacity. Fear for Peggy Carter persists. No one knows the state of a headshot defector, or if the walls will ever hold back a crimson tide. Red November is upon them, and they collectively shudder, heads bowed together, praying to a god they're not sure exists to smile upon the U.S. of A.

Flutter along as he will, Bucky stands out. To the pigeons roosting and to at least one agency that watches the rooftops, possibly to a child peering through the blinds. Lazar barely moves, listening for the perturbations, feeling for the rhythms gone wrong. Car in the alley, slap of feet on high, creaking metal ladder, rusted squeal of hinges. He's listening, hearing, extended through the self-same space that Winter occupies. Does, would.

A circuitous route, designed to balance the need for haste against the necessity for stealth. He's moving at that even dog-trot they learned to cover distance with, and still arrive with enough breath and energy to fight. The long hair's tucked up under his hat - the end of the era when men are expected to wear them.

More solid than a shadow. And not wholly soundless - the crunch of boots on gravelled rooftop is soft but clear to the listener, and for keener hearing yet, the soft sound of breath. Not panting, not winded, but working.

The tell of gravel and tar compressing moves him. Lazar shifts slightly. Enough that blood will flood through his extremities instead of pooling, the numbness evaporating away as he redistributes his weight. Think of him as a peregrine falcon preparing to stoop, back angled straight, observant and waiting for a moment.

His glance assesses surrounding buildings of an equal height. Three storeys, three, a gap across a street, adjacent six. The fire escape offers succor, a ladder in black that might be scaled in a rush. With none imminent as a route he must take, he slowly rises and edges towards a blocky enclosure hosting the droning, rotating fans for the building. Subtle, acceptable coverage. Impacted sight lines, many. If the man routes over the rooftop, Lazar will be ready. If below, well.

Being jumped out of the sky is fun, right?

He can hear the oldest Soldier pause, a few yards before his hiding place - Buck'll pass right before him, the gap between the fan units. Ears pricked, metaphorically speaking. Instinct says there's a watcher, even if he can see and hear no trace of one. And the silence that follows….now he's being stealthy, or trying to. But there's the softest hiss of a boot sole on the little stones, as he turns, deliberating swinging wide past that cluster of noisy vents.

There can be equally as many tells in the return. How perhaps a sole skids over the irregular ground produces a frictive hiss. The whisper of wire twanging where tension builds too high, so it might seem to evoke a cause for the hiss passing through the air. Being watched is a sensation unto itself.

He considers a moment's choice, diverging from his original plan. Swinging back behind the vent, Lazar strikes out at a darting pace — half-lope, half-stride — for the edge. He leaps to the air, free-running down the edge.

That sounds like pursuit….and he's disposed to jump at shadows. Almost literally, this time. But Buck doesn't abandon the high ground, but heads for the divide between the building he's on and that next one, winding up with enough speed to clear the gap easily. Then he's aiming himself for the fire escape on the six story, moving swiftly, smoothly - still not fleeing at full speed, but husbanding his strength.

Heading up the fire escape requires a jump. Buildings are adjacent, separated by alleys. A hard jump easily clears that distance for someone as enhanced as the Winter Soldier. The metal pins in the walls will shake and shimmy, bolts threatening to separate from the cheap stucco facade and one or two bounce to the ground, a jangle telling his whereabouts. Still, Bucky has a climb to make.

The drop from leaves Lazarus forced to stitch his way to ground level. He springs left to right, tracing an elliptical spiral by springing off the wall and back to the main building. The careening descent ends by breaking into a somersault, and he's off into the warren.

He's scrambling up, with haste if not grace, though trying to keep the clanging and banging to a minimum. Then scuttling across that highest roof to a place where he can get a better view without outlining himself againstthe sky. There's been at least one enemy sniper in play, no sense in tempting fate beyond her limits.

Achieving the height of the sixth floor takes a little time, climbing up rung by rung. Bucky won't find much of substance between the thin metal landings intended to help unfortunate Berliners get away from whatever calamity comes. The rooftop is littered in bird shit and little else of note, giving a dingy view of the night. Nothing shoots at him, no aim taken. He's got the romantic heights of a part of the city with a neat view of the Wall to concern himself with.

Lazar knows his way about the immediate area, or he chooses points at random. Cut west, go north, round back. Turn, and follow another angling alley. He's got coverage and, given somewhere there will be a building sooner or later, he waits.

The buildings aren't contiguous enough. He slips down the other side of the building, not even bothering with the fire escape, but dropping level by level, via windowsills and edges, until he drops lightly to the floor of an alley. Now it'll be ground-level travel, unless he ducks into the transit system. Heading for one of the smaller stations.

Cool walk through the street, nothing to worry about. He knows how to mingle, and Lazar doesn't much care about other Berliners coming and going. They have a path. He joins them. Breaks away, joins again. The point to pull out something of interest, see what it pans out. There's no way in Hell's good name he intends to go into a metro station, trusting instead to blur the edges. Every so often he might stop, raising his head just so. Flinty looks aren't enough to conjure the right amount of respect. Just stare a hundred miles through someone; that does it.

One of those cases where he's only using the metro to deter pursuit, though. A little while, the passage of a couple trains, and the American in gray is out again, via the other exit. A flagging stride, as if only now he were tired, tread uneven. Is he limping?

Wait smoothly. Linger. See what Bucky does. Lazar carefully moves to produce a reaction. Stare at a startled pedestrian and move through the alleys, cut through the main streets of dense downtown Berlin. When the whispers begin — and they will — it's telling. Death walks. God, that's a cold bastard, Russian clearly. You see him?

Somewhere, a startled agent might be stirring to the whispers over the parabolic mike.

Leading on, leading on, the circles go.

He can feel it, pursuit. And in a few cases, is enough to stop, use reflections in windows, the reactions of pedestrians. Where is it? Which of the gray faces has a malicious mind behind it? His own reflection's following - is it Winter, trying to play tricks from his confinement? Time's ticking, he has places to be.

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