1965-03-27 - Project Ursa: Alasco
Summary: In the aftermath of destruction left in Closed City 53, Bucky rounds up the last of the wolves of the Volga. Surprisingly, Evgeniy is none too happy to see him.
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None', — please don't leave blank!
Theme Song: None
rogue bucky 

.~{:----------: features=+views :-:}~.

Red ruin in the perfect storm. The waterfall plies a dreamy melody over the rapture of moaning, injured Russians, a plainsong so familiar to the Winter Soldier. Death lays a metallic hand upon the breast tory open, a heart bestilled offering no sound at all but the quiver of his palm or the ragged drip plink hymn from torn muscle. He is the composer of a dread orchestra, she the instrument played to cruel heights of magnificent folly and achievement.

Leaving the amphitheatre shell is easy, climb up or follow the crushed forms lying prostrate or crawling with broken limbs and crushed ribs. Staying is harder, the scent of the hunt thick and strong and hungry. The redhead — jet black hair and jet black eyes rimmed in winter blue — goes nowhere but as Bucky's moon-bright shadow. Her thoughts are a wild storm, her trembling body full of violence.

He's trying to calm her down the link, as best he can, lend her his strength. Trying to reach all of them. The ones he hasn't seen, the ones he won't leave behind. This may be their sidequest, no clone left behind, as Steve leads the initial wave out. Let's hope Buck catches up to find them all peaceably having tea with Vanguard. They're stumbling back past the orbs, and Buck pauses to peer into them.

No child left behind, no man left behind, a concept instilled by a parade of martial forces has a strange resonance. In the dark, difficult to be certain whether Scarlett actually sees, but a safe guess that Bucky's depleted stores feed her own sensory abilities. She slowly nods, following after him, a lithe wraith in a blood-soaked shift on bare feet. Pray not look at her hands, where ragged nail beds pool with ruin, nor the bare feet subjected to electroshock therapy as the least of her trials. Padding behind the soldier, the inherent ability to simply fly is apparently suppressed. They carve their path through the seats to the highest tier, and Bucky might feel along until coming to the end of the wall.

Cryo Storage.
The vault is a place of desolation, the great glass spheres brought to ground level like moons in the sea. Each of them fits into a hole in the grates, open to the aquamarine waters churning and slapping listlessly below. Something smells aught of the same intense watery hue that the dacha did, the canal and the river, and he advances further ahead than the ethereal statue in the middle of the hallway, arms wrapped around herself.

Each of those glassy spheres lies empty; whatever they contained fell to the subterranean pool or waterway visible beneath the grating, and equally connected perhaps to the stage and the main laboratory.

A summons, then, directed - trying to tease out where they might be. Where are Orel, Genya, Volya? Can they show him? He's loath to hurry further without them. This won't bear a second trip back to rescue them. Though gods only know how many others there may be, in Siberia and further. Legions' worth….nevermind the young ones lost near Voronezh. He pulls her close to him, human arm wrapped around her….still carrying the heart in his other hand, like a talisman.

The fletch of tongue against bloodless lips covers something of the deeply bitten lips. Both lab and cryo vault seep with immobile shadows, heightening every sound. Heavy aquatic senses flatten the lupine sharpness of his nose, though less the sanguine bonds linking him to the brethren in their saturated cocoons. One will not answer, one severed link left in a withered spiral. She delivered the shield, a hollow numbness as Bucky's lost arm. She lies somewhere outside that sphere, probably facedown in the water bath or eaten by fishes.

One stirring somewhere is all rattling pain, though that could be the shaking redhead blindly stumbling in the dark under the great burden of breathing. Nearer but dimmer, steady in that dimness, the lead pufferfish familiar enough perhaps to identify as violence incarnate. Volya is the silent transparency in the night, a baring of teeth and flattening of ears. Yes, he knows Father is right there.

To Volya, it's a request, less an order - help him find them. Find Genya, specifically. The wounded one…..he's trying to orient on the link, even as he tries to swing her up into his arms. Carry her like FRankenstein's monster with his bride - how would Zola react if he demanded *That* of him, a metal armed maiden for the breeding of more such monstrous children?

Zola probably has attempted harvesting of things Bucky might rather not contemplate at that hour, considering the application of something able to puncture her skin externally and the borrowing of her fingernails. Not all of them, but enough. Snips of hair are but a start. She shudders when carried, those hollow tremors twinging over crunched stomach muscles and up her back. Caution still vaguely prevails despite the awful temptation to devour every last scrap of life. The shoulder is a safe plasce to bury her face, eyes still black pits shut. The scent is familiar — oil, Bucky — even if her own is stripped of neroli and replaced by ozone.

Genya is too steady in the distnt pulse to be anything other than unconscious or asleep, distant if they move further south out of the storage room into the lab. Wounded Orel lies somewhere in the general direction, the one place they've not yet been.

Up to him, then. He's all but dowsing for them, following the link down towards them, divining as if he were following threads of smoke - the hotter/colder game that children play. Even as he takes those hesitant steps, he murmurs to her, endearments, blessings, reassurances. Even humming snatches of song. As if that will help her hold on.

Where they walk, one staggering line to another. Regret, pale foxfire on the surface of the mind, supplants other tangled influences. No comforting voice is left; James is on his own except for that hazarded Morse code tap on his shoulder, casual tapwork.

Retracing their steps into the night-washed amphitheatre is an odd place for those endearments, so different from the unleashed gunfire and hurled knives. Bucky manages to retrace his path without considerable difficulty up to the door leading out from the theatre, undoubtedly stepping on limbs or kicking aside bodies.

Living Quarters.
Beyond the door power remains, either by generators or some happenstance. Flight of the civilians leaves a mess in their wake, discarded papers and sweater here, coat there, something to be recovered soon enough. The place holds a disturbing, immediate familiarity from the rows of doorways and stairwells indicated by faint phosphorous glow stars. The facilities have slightly more pleasant touches, cream paint rather than industrial grey, and modest, dappled linoleum floors. Once he walked such hallways seeking the fate of Steve Rogers; now he seeks himself. He's walked through those corridors to a hallway where a little girl guarded her father, and a redheaded neighbour stalked the interlopers. The music teacher was the last door on the right, Genya proving music truly does soothe the savage beast. In a way, how odd then that he's singing for her.

Poor Genya. The resemblance to the dream is enough to give him literal pause, for a long moment, before he hastily gulps air and squares his shoulders….which is when he finally notices the tapping, and nearly drops her. A moment of divided mind, trying to attend to it, keep listening to the link, and be aware enoughof his surroundings not to get utterly ambushed.

Dream, vision, the warning of an immortal being beyond understanding. Footprints left outside the sands of time may sometimes leave impressions at a distance, grains displaced to indicate where glimpses line up. Peggy Carter and Natasha Romanova have their own risks to pursue in the faded, everlasting nightfall flush against the flooded embankments of the Volga River.

Living Quarters.
Layers upon layers exist here, stairwells spinning down rather than up. Maybe those orderly topside flats are empty shells, concealing the homes of civilian scientists and teachers, inventors and functionaries. Certainly the orderly wooden doors in rows speak to modest Soviet apartments, humble in size, differentiated by little touches like a mat or a picture of Lenin or the hammer, the sickle, the star. This floor doesn't correspond to the more spacious places where Fanya, Auntie Tasya, Mr. Genya, and Steve dwelled, but that's only a matter of time to overcome.

Scarlett reacts about as well as one would to nearly being dropped. She snatches her hand back and clasps her rigid limbs to her chest, closer to that terrified bride carried over the threshold than the blithe summer patriot.

Gently, he nudges her hand back to his shoulder. Kisses her temple, right at the hairline. Moving half in a dream, now. Where do his own dreaming kinsmen lie? Where to now, when his own dream ceases to guide? A revenant moving through the homely hallways, still leaving trails of blood and water behind him, like a vodyanoi out of place.

Homicidal murders may lurk around every corner, or the workers are in lockdown, aware no one in the hallways should ever be let in. Hug your children tighter, wrap your blankets close, and pray to the spirits and saints you forsook that they will keep moving on. Every tramping footfall echoes, the slide of a bolt or the suppressed whimper in sleep barely audible. They walk through a place of ghosts, ripe with a calculated terror those two may be the last living — vaguely living, at any rate — souls left in Medveditsa.

Still trembling, the shaking barely abates. That may be part of the careful dance befores, the Morse encoded questions gone really and properly mute. No more confessions of love, no more questions about what happened to his hair.

Bucky will have to take his leave of the ground level, sinking deeper down the stairwells into secondary and tertiary levels. Each riser leaves him further from his folk and kin, though seeking Genya at least passes with the surreal speed of a dream, bypassing those landings opening onto hallways identical to the ones he just left. Uniformity is a Soviet gift. The fourth layer is mildly different, metal fire door rather than wood, and a brighter sheen to the lamps mounted on the ceilings and the walls.

He sings to her, softly…..in English. The silliest thing he can think of, "My gal's a corker, she's a New Yorker, I buy her everything to keep her in style…..she's got a pair of hips, just like two battleships…" It echoes wistfully down those hallways, as he goes down and down. The metal door, that he has to kick open, steeltoes worth their weight in gold.

Like two battleships, knocking over submarines and sinking dramatically in the Coral Sea under heavy vibrational bombardment and divebombing Zeroes? Good thing she can't talk. The fuzzy quelling of confusion eventually recognizes the song has lyrics, lyrics with meaning, and the immediate response is not violence so much as stiff curiosity peering out around a raised shield. Scarlett clicks her tongue weakly against her palate, a double-time syllable pair for him. Click-click.

Bucky, wearing god knows what clothes, carrying a girl stained in a sorcerer's immortal blood. He keeps her in style all right, as much as Soviet Russia keeps its elect in mild comfort. Only five doors announce themselves on the lowest level, still modest by the standards of American wealth but more than sufficient by Muscovite or Leningrad terms. Peppered doors stretch out, three to the left, two to the right. The link throbs with sleep; the kicking down is not enough to escape soundproofing.

There's a moment of temptation to just howl, let them hear him. Let them know what's hunting for its packmates in their antiseptic hallways. But he swallows it down, keeps singing, the most absurd Tin Pan Alley stuff he can remember from his childhood, remnants of old musicals, Al Jolson, things she's too young to have heard other than as relics.

Now he's only in a soldier's pants and shirt and boots. "I hear you, sweetness," he whispers, in a pause. "I'm listening." Instinct says go right, so he goes left, trying to push it open with a bootsole.

Click-click of the tongue, the closest approximation to clucking in displeasure, a name, a tempo. Scarlett occupying Bucky's arms is a danger, and a risk for his ability to defend himself, but on the contrary he has a shield mildly more durable and less breakable than the vibranium one he kept refusing.

Another kick to the apartment door meets with resistance from a deadbolt lock, a nice thought that requires a proper stamp to break past. The buckling wood splinters inwards, giving a brief moment of resistance before it crsahes over and the doorway is empty.

Apartment 1L.
By any standards, the apartment has a certain worn snugness. The design could be the carbon copy of an architectural format used across the CCCP: pint-sized entry, lateral hallway, bedroom separated by a bathroom, then a living room and angled-off kitchen in the corner. The smell of spicy borscht comes from a pot cooling on the burner, a loaf of bread wrapped in a cloth next to it. Very little recommends the goldenrod rugs, a vintage wooden conductor's music stand in the corner opposite a sagging couch. The doorway to the bedroom is barely ajar, dark.

Real food, edible again. It makes his stomach rumble. But….it's the bedroom he heads for, without a pause. What will he find there? What sort of nightmare is he to whomever might be there?

|ROLL| Rogue +rolls 1d20 for: 14

Black night, pitiless death, coalesces in a sheet of hard steel focused flat upon the silhouette naturally outlined in the firelight glow. Whatever occupied Genya's mind, now only conceivable violence convulses his awareness, the gun pulled from beneath his pillow and aimed with all the casual absence of misgivings. They get two seconds before he starts to fire, if that.

«Genya, it's me, don't shoot,» It's both spoken speech and an echo down the link. «Yasha. Are you hurt?» That strange sensation of echoing. Already turning to present the vibranium shoulder to the possible fire.

Russian meets a slug pounding into the wall, just short of the shoulder, anchored for the door. Not that his risk lies wholly in the firearms but arms in general, those tattooed limbs rippling with a hysterically powerful strength most times. «Who's Yasha?»

The rictus curl of teeth and Genya rolls back, getting cover from the bed, assessing the violence. Unless forcibly held, the young woman practically coils serpentine around Bucky to roll off his back, landing with a solid bounce off the floor. Seek cover where titans may collide, or go looking for a ladle. Why she wants a ladle is a point unknown.

He lets her go, if she wishes, still trying to play human shield. «Me,» he replies, sharply. «Don't you know me?» Oh, god, here they are again. «I'm not here to hurt you. I'm here to get you out of here. Volga's dead, we killed him.»

|ROLL| Rogue +rolls 1d100 for: 38

Belief comes ever so slow in those distrustful eyes, the stout muzzle of the pistol straight for Bucky's chest. Genya cocks his head to the side to hear things unheard, to taste things unknown. Might as well try to imagine macaroni after a strict carnivorous diet, for all that he can reckon on the scrambled pressure on his skull from the inside and the face worn by him — not his — in the dimness clotting the bedroom. It's by no means an expansive chamber, enough for the bed and shelves, not much else but the wardrobe of dull, dark clothes. All the better to hide the black sheep, the ink, the revolting distrust.

His lips curl back in a snarl. «Dead. Can't be dead.»

Scarlett plunges the ladle into the borscht. Any port in a storm, any pot in a famine. Blood and beets are an odd mix, and frankly she does not care, suppressing the revolt of her stomach to down a crockful in seconds. Alas, Genya — no respect for personal possessions.

«I'm carrying his heart in my left hand, Genya. It's still warm,» Bucky informs him, solemnly. «He's lost that body, anyway. That's his blood on my lips. Maybe not dead forever, but dead for now. We're getting out of here. Come along.» No flinching from that pistol - trust has to start somewhere.

The only way out Bucky knows takes him past that heartless corpse, one to be packed with black soil and sand for its transport. In the kitchen, barely visible at all, the redhead ravages the larder without any sort of fanfare, ignoring the hunger pangs to feverishly down the soup like there's no tomorrow ocming. Perhaps for her there has not been.

The vast quilt-pattern of emotions and crackling loyalties spreads out before Bucky. Martial prowess sharpened by the jittery fugue angles that gun, full intention to fire, and his eyes invariably seek a lump of muscle, an organ of a kind. «Could be anyone.» Laconic, unpredictable, that most violent of storms wrapped in Bucky's likeness whets his dulled tolerance by snapping his teeth. «Why?»

«Taste it, if you want,» there had to be a reason he kept it, surely. He offers it, fingers blackened with old blood. «It'll staunch the hunger. And we're not going to be anyone's slaves. Not Volga, not Zola. Please, Genya, come. I can't force you, but I can beg you. Come with me. Come with us. Brother.»

The notion of consuming that heart has Evgeniy recoiling, jerking his arm up as though to deliver a violent smack of his arm. Let both man and his distasteful offering go flying with any luck. The twanged bowstring muscles of his back twinge, developed shoulders rippling as any lion starting to leap across the veldt displays. «Keep it.» A wonder he doesn't spit on the floor, too mannered despite being rough and crude in near every way. The musician, in whatever place this is, edges closer, gesturing with a sharp violence at the door. Move back.

Scarlett peeks up, lips purple, hair black, eyes still bizarrely black and silvery-blue, giving her the look of a rather spooked cat, high on some drug from the Berlin counterculture.

He's swift and smooth enough to step back, out of the door way. Let Genya pass, if it pleases him, no attempt at restraint. "Sweetheart, you still with me?" he asks, in an aside. It's all so strange, but….she doesn't seem to be in any immediate danger.

The ladle drops back into the pot and with it, all semblance of normalcy. Too much dried blood for that, and the fact she resembles nothing so much as the fusion between the man Bucky murdered and the Winter Soldier himself. No attempt made to comb back raven locks snarled into an infernal skein, she licks away the bruise-darkness on her lips. Mostly. Scarlett slowly nods, brittle but at least alert. The pressure point crackling of the link stings in its way, the skull aching.

Genya takes all in, then shakes his head and seeks a very plain green-grey coat on a peg. Evidently his time was far from miserable.

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