1964-12-19 - Project Virgo: Waiting for Salvation - Reprise
Summary: Bucky's life is on the line if his kin can't fix him.
Related: Project Virgo
Theme Song: None
wanda bucky 


In December, where in New York is not drenched in shadows? Some places more than others: the suburbs shroud themselves in sepulchral gloom as the sun goes down. Too quiet for a dockside, too dry for the riverlands.


Coats wrap around him. Shirts spared, layers shucked, by those who smell of cheap soap — Zest, possibly — and oakmoss, sweat and ash and bread. Torn cotton bandages used to bind the hip wound chafe against clothing used to retain fickle heat.


Murmurs of it percolate in and out. The drone of a fan minces words into incomplete statements, though white noise saturates the air thick enough to leave the world at a cottony remove from the injured man propped in a gash between low rooftops and a balcony. Whatever building this is, it's protected against the wind and probably otherwise unoccupied. Away from the city center, too, not at all near City Hall, train stations scoped by SHIELD or familiar high-rises too easy to conceal a sniper in. The job isn't done.

«Where is he?»

«Shut up.» Grittier. Irritable. Overwrought, that voice.

«Hitting up a chemist never takes this long.»

«Would you shut up

The hip's the worst, though the lung's been patched, it seems. The knife wound in his shoulder throbbing. He's breathing, if not easily, then capably. But there's pain and exhaustion. Try as he might to keep silent, there's a miserable mewl from him when consciousness arrives. He can't play dead or unconscious, he's half-delirious as it is. "Kai?" he asks, unthinking.

Sudden motion does not do in this environment. The floor beneath lacks much in the way of the spongy feel of a mattress, no protective layer beyond the clothes contributed to the cause, a lumpy bag full of unnamed shapes that surrender to the heavy weight atop them. Not constricted, Bucky is rather tucked in and limited in movement between a wall and a hard place.

The technical term is probably 'pelvis.' Nikita sits flush up against the injured side, body heat contributed to the cocoon. Across his lap sits a pistol, American make, held in a gloved hand. Evgeniy is some distance away, haggard, bent over at the waist and managing not to vomit. He's the source of the growling, keeping watch from a bolthole that smells a bit too strongly of animalistic odors. Possibly a favourite spot for birds to shit.

"No." Nika speaks Russian. It's always Russian. He hums a bar, no more. "You're not."

It's a slow survey of the place, dim and tired, mostly eye movement. Too weary to roll his head. «No, I have a friend named Kai,» he says, dimly. «I thought….I thought I was in his place again. He lives….lived down in the Village. Where am I?»

"No villages here," mutters Evgeniy, rustling about. He hurls something over the edge, and it lands several seconds later in a wet thwack of waterlogged organic material probably imploding. Best not to ask what that was. He tears into a bag with his teeth, blunt fingers prying apart the wrappings to reach the inner contents.

Not much to see: a wall, scarred and grey. The overhang slants outwards, suggestive of a compressor wall or something to house fans atop a building, angled up to keep off the rain. No windows of any note meet the eye. Just the thicket where walls meet, no rain finding its way down. A vent nearby supplies warm enough air. Nikita does the rest. "They come back soon."

«You should take me to SHIELD,» he says, in a rough whisper. «They'll take care of me.» Surely they will, right? «But no hospitals, good….» What would the average NYC metro hospital make of that arm?

Russian, all around here. No English. They don't use it, these two, except in rare circumstances. The hacking cough from up there hardly travels far but the enclosed byways reflect and refract the sound into a confusing morass. Is that Bucky? No, but his ears might be muddled.

"No." The tone doesn't brook argument. Nikita narrows his frosty eyes, face not so apart from Bucky's own to be his own. "Adam. SHIELD, pfah. You are their subject."

«I'm their agent,» he clarifies, looking up at Nikita. The distorted mirror, that he can never get accustomed to. «The Director is my friend. I'm not their prisoner.»

Evgeniy remains out of sight, hunkered down to wait. Waiting is so much of the game, isn't it? Name a mission that wasn't ninety percent patience, five percent movement, five percent extraction. The balance never really changes. Not even the locations: coffeeshop, roadside, rooftop, field. Only the targets, the nameless orders, commands painted from faraway offices.

It smells faintly of smoke up here, and somewhere far off, overcooked tomato sauce.

Nikita scowls. The expression comes easy these days, a heavy indentation to his brow and the tightening mouth scouring any other expression away. "We're not their prisoners. They just beat us for fun."

«I'm sorry. I don't understand that. It wasn't like that when it was beginning.» he admits. Voice a croak, but anything's better than silence, for now. Warm enough, with Niki next to him, the pain a weight on his chest like some invisible, leaden cat.


RSilence floats around on a lazy gyre of some feathered beast, amorphous shape floating on the updrafts left between life's margins and death's kingdoms. Somewhere honks a vehicle, and the slow prowl of traffic searching for victims and wealth never really ends.


Nikita is the gargoyle nearer at hand, Evgeniy further off. They settle in the way one must to anticipate the coming. No waste of energy, no excess of motion. He settles out a little more, stretching tired legs, freeing himself. The groove Bucky occupies is narrowed a little as the pup wedges himself in a little tighter.


Broken glass, broken bottles, broken beliefs. They'll eventually matter for somewhere. Primitive security systems in a pharmacy in the Bronx don't do much against a punched gate, broken glass, a picked lock. The drawers and locked cabinets offer further difficulty, call it a barrier of language or identity. In the end, a few bags are swept out long before the police ever appear to a destroyed livelihood.

There's a pained grunt from the original, but no real protest. Not while he's just floating at the lip of unconsciousness, warmth a temptation to slip into the darkness again for a time. There are waking half-dreams, a plaintive query for 'Steve?'

He might be awash in those conversations conducted in piecemeal Russian, as much by gesture and habit than anything else. Maybe sleep claims him in torrid shallows. Either way, the addition of a weight somewhere around Bucky's legs invariably changes things. Clothes shuffle about, his cocoon opening to admit the cooler air for a moment. Another shape resolves, the slip-scratch of Nikita's boots on the ground.

"I carry her." That must be Volya, the voice so rarely heard, surreal shades of a dream might rise around it.

"This is your solution? A bag of bottles and a woman. What about Adam?" Nikita shakes his head and leans over the prostrate Winter Soldier.

"Wake him." Lazar lacks any emotion to speak of.

"'m awake," Bucky replies, as if he were a raw recruit that'd managed to sleep past reveille somehow. His eyes are open, if glassy with pain. Looking up at them, shivering at the introduction of colder air.

Awake. Is he? Attempting to rise will end up with him down on his back again, pushed or pulled to remove any support that keeps him other than safely flat, for the most part.

Scrabbling on the walls is no rat. The grunt of effort, the extended arms of Evgeniy with their telltale wreath of tattoos isn't either. The hungry look shot at the woman clinging to Volya's back brings the hunter up to his full height, teeth bared, and threat rippling throughout the little knot of his kindred. Lazar eventually crosses his vision, pulling along a tired, weary ragdoll of a woman in an oversized sweater and shabby trousers. He might not even know her, if he's never dealt with Site I directly. Diane Ricoult has seen much better days.

"Fix him." Words given, a bag of medicines shoved into her hands, while she stands at the feet of the Winter Soldier. Anticipation holds the wolves at bay, but just barely.

Volya isn't alpha. He gestures short and curt. She sighs, and goes down to her knees. "You're hurt. They need me to fix this."

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