1964-12-10 - Much Ado About Bucky
Summary: Now that she knows from the Red Room that Winter Soldier is not in deep cover at SHIELD, Natasha knows she's been fooled, and she wants revenge. She sets a meeting with Bucky to assess the situation first, and that leads to more questions than answers.
Related: Project Virgo: EntSHILEDigung
Theme Song: None
black-widow bucky rogue 

Berlin was interesting, Black Widow for once was fooled by the Winter Soldier when he sold her on his deep cover gag, making the Red Room lose their objective with Jorg. It cost her a great deal, but she's back in the green after two successful assassinations, the more high profile being at Radio City Hall, where important informant wound up electrecuted to death mid-show. While the Red Room has full trust in her, she was given a very simple directive, if she can't restore the Winter Soldier to proper hands, she should eliminate him. He is too strong an asset to allow SHIELD to simply steal. Generally speaking, nobody's as cold hearted as the Black Widow, when someone needs eliminated, she eliminates them no questions asked. But Bucky…he's the one outlier. So rather than simply snipe him as one would expect, (which would be simple: just form a nest outside the Lux and wait…), she instead sent him a note asking for a friendly meeting regarding their relationship. It was simply signed: H.

She is waiting on a street bench in the very street where the apartment she last broke into was at. Dressed in civillian clothes, with shades over her eyes, feminine oversized ones. A floral scarf wrapped about her hair, and tied under her chin.

He's dressed in a decent overcoat, a plain suit, the long hair pulled back and then tucked up under a hat to disguise it. Buck's come armed, of course he has. At least one pistol, surely an array of blades up sleeves and down boots.

He heads towards her without any hesitation at all, though. Trusting to affection or old acquaintance or sheer orders to restrain her? Who knows? "Natasha," he says, gently. The pale eyes have a sadness to them that is alien to Winter.

While Natasha looks like a pretty mundane lady sitting on a street side bench to rest her sore feet from a long day in heels, Bucky likely knows to expect she'll be likewise decked with weaponry, concealed or more conventional. Either way, as he approaches, she flags him over with a gloved hand, "good evening, Sir, the fresh air is quite invigorating, won't you sit awhile…?" She gestures at the empty spot on the bench next to her. "Please…let's not have needless emotions. Words will do fine. You do know why I wanted to meet, correct?"

Bucky settles down at her side. "I know," he says, quietly, and then drops into Russian. «It's not what you think, Natalya. The incident at Charlie was a diversion, to let me get away from SHIELD scrutiny. I was able to return to the USSR for the first time in months. I need your help for a mission. We need to get the other Winter Soldiers back to Russia. SHIELD…they'll die in SHIELD's hands. And they're needed. Our masters will do what they want with me after, but please, with this….help me.» …..Winter, pleading for succor?

They know how to go unseen. They can travel down busy streets or vanish into crowded apartments as easily as melt into the white shadows painted upon the winter landscape. Ask them to lie flat and they will, those creme de la creme taught by the Motherland for its defense and greater purposes. Slim chance of noticing right away when a young man walks down a busy street, as this objectionable corner of town is. Cross paths, slip in and out of shadow, being part of the pedestrian landscape is tightly taught and ingrained. Surveys aren't performed at ground level in this case. Just fine being on a balcony, shielded in part by a line of dead planters. That would be one of the children of the Soviet Union, as twisted as those below. Waiting.

"Good." Natasha states sharply, not so much as looking at Bucky, instead she's staring directly ahead of her. At least the oversized sunglasses give a good enough cover to hide where her eyes are focusing on at a given moment. "Funny you should mention it," Natasha continues in English for just a bit longer, before finally shifting to Russian, «you know what Central said of my report?» Her head now finally turns just a bit to look in his direction, while there seems to be no inflection, he just may know her well enough to realize she's beyond fuming.

«No,» he says, softly. «What did they say?» Calm as he can be. No sign of tension, no sweat on those temples. Though he's looking to her, rather than out along the street.

Up there, it's cold. Not the refreshing cold someone might care for but something less pleasant. A stymied, unfriendly kind of cold. Still, nothing terrible. He pulls his coat around him just a little more and then sinks down an inch or two further. It pays to wait and watch over matters. For all the world someone opening their blinds and peering out onto their balcony right now might scream for Captain America's murderer is right there.

«Someone apparently been feeding me lies, someone I trust…for the first time in my career I was given a lashing for failure…» Natasha pauses there, letting that much sink in, if he has any shred of memory of her, he would know her record is bleamishless. The fact he cost her reprimand sits very gravely with her. «Three people had to die for that, did you know that…Pinnochio?» It's not that the Black Widow doesn't expect spies to lie. Any Intelligence Operative for that matter. It's that she expected the courtesy of not having the Winter Soldier lie to her. She is beyond cross with him, her gloved finger is starting to tap along her knee. «There is no deep cover operation. You are where you are of your own volition. I offer you an out, you refuse, you are with SHIELD. Admit it to me…I want to hear you say it.»

Something chills in his face at that. It's Winter again, where even anger is a cold thing, steel left in a snowbank. Nothing of James. «I didn't.» He faces her directly, now, half-turned on the bench, leg hitched up. As if they were a pair of lovers arguing here, rather than disturb their room-mates. «If I were working for SHIELD, why would I be asking you to help me pry our assets out of SHIELD's hands? Because that is what I'm asking. Our agents are being tortured, beaten….not because they know anything. But because they can be. Because they have the misfortune to look like me. Think what you want about me, Natasha, I don't care. Seven, Natasha. Seven true servants of the Motherland. Dying, here, because they can't get what they need. Trapped in prison, or lost on the streets. I swear to you, what I do now, I do at the bidding of someone whose very blood is the water of the Volga. The most tightly bound of all Russia's children.»

Time to move. Long enough up there. The old habits lie hard. Stay in place too long is a fine way to be revealed, espeiclaly on these unfriendly streets. Cold is no enemy, and neither is snow, but the darkness acting as his ally is a thin defense. The young man grips the railing and lifts himself slightly to assess the trajectory below. Rank and file balconies, another rooftop, something to be assessed as inferior as a lookout than the one he has. He eyes the fire escape, discards the notion, and swings his leg quickly over the side. A slip here would be a three or four floor drop, but he makes very little noise whatsoever, sliding his way down until he hangs from the side. A swing and he drops, daring to catch a foothold and springing back. Down means down. Time to rabbit.

«You lied to me in Berlin, you know I could have taken all the SHIELD agents out…I was playing with Fury, and I would have taken out Coulson, and secured Jorg. You know why I didn't? Winter Soldier lie is why…» she crosses her arms now, this truly starting to look like a lover's quarrel, «failure on my record should be yours.» She doesn't seem all that willing to believe him again, not after her reprimand and consequent request to terminate Winter Soldier if she can't secure him. «You want me to believe you now? Give me okay from Lyudmila. From Ivan. I don't trust your word anymore…unless…» she lets a possibility linger, if only to judge how eager the Winter Soldier is for her help after all.

Natasha does take one glance at a specific balcony, there was one person enjoying the fresh air a bit too long for her liking, but sure as snow is white, he's picked the perfect moment to change his position, leading her to just register that oddity rather than act upon it.

That sense of another watcher, a third party, has him glancing around. But….it's one side or another. «The right hand doesn't always know what the left hand is doing, Natasha. Compartmentalization, you know that,» IT's a weary reminder, rather than a crisp scolding. «Your masters don't know everything. You're a big girl, you can deal with one black mark on your record - you're the most prized product of your program, and you know it. But what do you need from me? Because I do need your help, and time is wasting.» He rubs wearily at his hairline. «Help them, if you won't help me. They're going to wipe me after this and I won't remember.»

Third: he runs down the wall, breaking his fall by arrested steps and zigzagging. Easy to grab hold of the last rail on the side and drop to the ground. Guy in jeans and a dark jacket, nothing to consider unusual. He waits a few moments to catch his breath. Simple tack, then, walk down the street without looking back or casing the neighbourhood too openly. Eventually he rejoins pedestrian traffic at more than a trickle, swept up into their masses. Maybe before being seen. Maybe not. Couple on a bench, another sitting by the front door smoking, a third girl just trying to get home before it's too late. Nothing exciting: except for a trained assassin's eye, the Winter Soldier went walking up the street when the Winter Soldier is also sitting on a bench. And unless co-location has become part of his skill set which Natasha was never told about…

«Don't give me that…» Natasha snaps at Winter Soldier, it's very easy to get burned with her, a single deception is all it takes. «Live? Yes. But I am about perfection, you ruined it for me, Winter…» and that's where it gets more interesting. She spots the very man she's talking to, walking in the street, at which point she's not even sure she is actually talking to the Winter Soldier at all. She's infiltrated SHIELD, she's seen several of him. Question is, does she set chase to the one on the street, or question the possible fake one sitting by her side. "Tell me, do you like my perfume?" The question is followed by a generous spritz of a bottle of perfume she was reaching for while talking to Bucky, a knock out gas, should it succeed. Because she'd much rather not be followed as she gets up and starts rushing after the *other* Winter Soldier.

She must not be talking to Winter….for she gets him with the gas, perfect timing. An angry inhalation to start another round of the argument and his eyes are rolling back under a flutter of lids. The drunken loll of his head as he slumps has the hat slipping from his head. Well, this one's got the proper long hair, past his shoulders unbound.

The one walks up the street. See, ten people scattered liberally. Cross at the chipped white paint, hang a right. Ahead is one of the subway stations, stairs fading down into a confined space, re-emerging up the other side past a ribbon of sullen traffic and grey slush, thin creaking ice, and trash. Bucky Barnes might be unconscious on a bench. He might be headed westbound towards Manhattan. The target is never easy to follow, but not impossible. He has a certain confidence of being born to the urban jungle, melting into New York rhythms like they've been there all along.


«You're an idiot.» Commentary coarse in Russian, it won't come until the young man is down in the subway. A point in passing, a bench. That hat is frowned at, put back.

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