Captain America: The Winter Soldier SPOILERS abound! Beware!
Summary: For some reason Steve keeps running into the familiar face of the Winter Soldier. Each new time heralds a mission gone wrong, and yet, Steve can't help but be baffled. Is the Soldier his enemy? Or friend? /Capkink response/ AU TWS [SPOILERS]
Any foreign words has a tooltip with translation
Steve and Natasha by some unspoken agreement didn't mention the stranger they encountered on their way back to the rendezvous point, or through the entire flight back to the Triskelion. Once they'd touched down Rumlow gave a nod and grin to the assassin and soldier before he and the Strike team headed off to disarm and debrief. Natasha and Steve went the opposite direction, heading for the direct elevator that lead to Fury's office.
“Director's office,” Natasha said as they stepped into the glass box. The computer chimed its agreement and she settled next to Steve, arms crossed, against the railing.
“You going to tell me who that was?” Steve asked, glancing down at her. Natasha grimaced and took a deep breath.
“The Winter Soldier,” she said. “He's a ghost story to the intelligence community. Credited with over a two dozen assassinations in the past fifty years.”
“You know him,” Steve pointed out. “He's not just a ghost story.” Natasha ducked her head. She wasn't sure what to say, exactly, before eventually she sighed.
“Five years ago I was escorting an engineer out of Ukraine when somebody shot out my tires near Odessa,” Natasha said softly. “We lost control, went straight over a cliff, I pulled us out. He was there.” Her arms tightened around her torso with a grimace. “I was covering my engineer so he shot him straight through me.” She raised her head to stare at Steve.
“There's something your not telling me,” Steve said, his eyes narrowed and lips pursed.
“We have to inform Fury,” Natasha said eventually. “If the Soldier is active then things are about to get a lot more lively.”
“You're dodging the question,” Steve pointed out. The elevator came to a stop, the door opened. Natasha paused on her way out, Steve on her heels.
“It's personal, Steve,” she said after a moment. “I'll tell you when I'm ready.”
Steve frowned, but nodded in acknowledgment. At least it was something more than she had given him last time. They both made their way down the short hall towards Fury's office. Steve had only been in here a handful of times, mostly to show how annoyed he was at pertinent information being kept from him in regards to a mission he'd been put on. This time things were a little different.
“Romanoff, Rogers,” Fury stood up, surprised. “To what do I owe this...visit?”
Natasha wasted no time. She walked right up to Fury and dropped the drive onto his desk. Here she leaned over, planted her hands firmly down and looked at Fury seriously.
“We have as big problem, Nick,” she said. “The Winter Soldier is active.”
Fury swiped up the drive, his gaze darting between Natasha and Steve. He frowned.
“Explain,” he said, licking his lips.
“Well, after Natasha finished her data mining for you,” Steve said, hands on his belt. Fury opened his mouth but Steve shook his head, “I'll get to that later, Fury,” he interrupted. “We were headed to the rendezvous point when we were waylaid by a man with a metal arm speaking Russian.”
Fury's frown deepened. “Was he working with Batroc?”
“Considering I stumbled across Batroc's corpse on my way out, I think that's unlikely,” Steve pointed out.
Fury looked to Natasha. “You're sure it was him, Natasha.”
Natasha backed up, crossed her arms, and stared at Fury. Steve noted how similar their gazes were, deadly serious, slightly terrified.
“Yes,” Natasha said. “I am sure.”
Fury cursed. “Fuck!” He slammed his fist down onto the table, glanced between both Natasha and Steve, and cursed again. He looked to the drive. “Did you get everything?” he asked, once more at Natasha.
“Before the room exploded, yeah,” Natasha nodded.
“Exploded?” Nick snapped.
“A calculated mistake,” Natasha said with a smile, before frowning. “Nick, whatever is on that drive, I think the Soldier wanted it.”
Steve scoffed. “You think?” he asked with a faint roll of his eyes. “Can somebody tell me what exactly is going on here? What is on that drive, Nick?” Nick grimaced. “What is so important some assassin working for who knows wanted to get it out from under your nose.”
Fury sighed. He scrubbed a hand over his face and sat down.
“I think,” Natasha said softly, “you should bring him in, Nick.” Nick glanced at her, and then down at the table, and sighed.
“Very well then,” he said. “Secure office.”
The lights dimmed, the doors locked shut, and the windows to the outside grew black. Nick looked to Steve.
“This stays between us, am I clear?” Nick said coolly. Steve looked at him, and then nodded once.
Nick nodded. “Bring up files for Project Insight.”
Rogers, Steven does not have clearance for Project Insight.
“Director Override, Fury, Nicholas J,” Fury said, moving around the desk. He leaned against its edge as the files and blueprints washed across the screen. Steve looked between the files, Nick, and Natasha who was scowling.
“What the hell is this?” Steve asked. Nick sighed.
“Project Insight,” Nick said calmly. “After New York I advised the World Security Council that we needed a current insurgent threat analysis. The result was Project Insight, three next gen Hellicarriers linked to a satellite network that can read a terrorists biodata before he even steps out the door, able to eliminate a few thousand threats a minute.” Nick waved his hand and specs for the gun array made its way onto the screen.
Steve frowned. “This sounds like HYDRA.”
Nick grimaced. “I know.”
Steve turned sharply, his mouth opened to tear into Nick. Nick just raised his hand.
“I did my research, Captain, when we were thawing you out. I read what Carter had to say on HYDRA and their plans,” Nick motioned towards the screen. “Insight is right up HYDRA's ally, and the best part? It's coming from SHIELD.”
“But HYDRA's dead, destroyed,” Steve shook his head. “I utterly decimated them.”
Natasha shook her head and pursed her lips. “HYDRA had fingers in a lot more pies than just Nazi Germany,” she said, glancing to Nick. Nick sighed.
“Bring up all files flagged CA-001,” Nick said sharply, and instantly numerous files slid across the screen. Steve practically paled.
“These are all...HYDRA?” he asked, weakly.
“Suspected,” Nick groaned and scrubbed his face with his hands. “Can you see why I hadn't said a word?”
Natasha stepped up to Steve, gnawing on her lip, “Steve...these are SHIELD ops. SHIELD ops doing work that SHIELD doesn't do. They wave SHIELD's flag, use SHIELD's name, but aren't approved through the Directors office.”
Steve shook his head. “Your saying SHIELD is HYDRA?”
Nick scoffed. “The hell it is!” he snapped. “I've put too much work into this for it to become HYDRA on my watch. Look, Rogers, the corruption goes deep, I'll give you that. It's in some of the top brass, and the worst part? It's practically got a stranglehold on us, but it does not own us. We just need to clean out the rot.”
“How long have you known?” Steve asked, turning away from the files. “How long have you suspected?”
Nick sighed. “I've suspected since New York. Known? That's what Natasha's mission was about.” He raised the thumb drive. “The Lumarian Star's job was to launch Insight's satellite network, and upload the required data to make it work. The data Natasha recovered.”
Nick moved back around his desk and plugged in the drive. He turned to face the screens at the far end of his office.
“Open Lumarian Star launch file,” he said clearly.
Natasha and Steve watched as the computer scrolled to find the launch file data, only to signal bright red Access Denied. Nick frowned.
A wheel spun around, words Steve couldn't understand and Natasha could barely keep up with. Seconds later it signaled Decryption Failed.
“Director Override, Fury, Nicholas J.,” Nick said sharply. He moved around his desk now, his entire framed edged in frustration and wariness. Steve swallowed reflexively as Natasha shifted from one foot to another.
Override denied, all files sealed.
Steve's brow furrowed and he glanced to Natasha. 'Sealed?' he mouthed and she grimaced and shook her head.
“On whose authority?” Nick demanded.
Fury, Nicholas J.
“Shit,” Nick cursed, moving back around his desk and removing the drive from his computer. “Shit.”
“Nick?” Natasha asked. “What the hell does that mean?”
Steve scowled, “I think it's pretty clear what that means.” He stepped up to Nick, slapped his palms onto the desk, and stared down at the other man.
“Rogers....” Nick said slowly, a warning as his hand gripped the gun hidden underneath his desk.
“HYDRA has the ability to spoof your command, and lock you out,” Steve said coldly. “You've lost control of SHIELD.”
Nick closed his eyes.
“Agent Romanoff, recall Agent Barton, deep shadow conditions,” he said sharply. He tossed the drive at her. “Get a hold of Stark and have him decrypt those files. We have a limited window in which we can act before HYDRA gets suspicious. Captain...”
Steve stepped back, sliding into attention with a blank face. “Orders, sir?”
“You are to escort me to a secure off-base location,” Nick said, breathing out slowly. “If the Winter Soldier is active, I'm going to need all the back up I can get. Is that clear?”
“Romanoff, join us in the parking garage as soon as you've contacted Barton and Stark,” Nick added.
“On it, sir,” Natasha nodded and slipped from the room as Nick released the security on the office. Nick sighed and slumped into his chair.
“We'll make it right, Nick,” Steve said. He didn't bother to add in the 'you should have told me's or 'I could have told you's that he wanted to. The situation made itself apparent enough, and Steve could understand in some way that Nick wanted to spare him the thought that his entire mission, his entire life's work that ended with him frozen in the Antarctic, was for nothing. Steve clenched his fist. “We'll get HYDRA out of SHIELD.”
“The problem is, Steve, we don't know who is HYDRA and who isn't,” Nick said wearily.
“Coulson's not HYDRA,” Steve pointed out.
“Yeah but Coulson's—how do you know about that?” Nick stood to his feet, eyes narrowed. Steve quirked his lips.
“While I don't know the details, Stark said something about how it'd ruin my faith in humanity, I am aware he's alive.” Steve paused, then added, “I do have level 8 clearance, Nick.” Nick scowled.
“Well I can't just recall Coulson, he's doing good work,” he said. “Although...perhaps leaving a message might be for the best. Get them to ground and working on negating as much of HYDRA's influence as they can.” He glanced to Steve and then added, “Covertly.”
The Soldier pulled himself upright, or as upright as he was able to get with a cracked femur which was honestly just sitting, leaning against the wall. His mouth was a bloodied mess, and there were one or two bruises alongside his face, a few burns to add to the multitude of scars on his torso, bruises, and sluggishly bleeding wounds. The only clothing he had on him, his dark black BDU styled pants, hung loosely at his hips with rips and tears from where a knife had been used to either stab or, supposedly, frighten.
None of that mattered, though, as Pierce stepped through the doorway with a manila folder in hand. The Soldier grimaced, or grinned, it was hard to tell on his face these days since emotions were tricky, human things that he wasn't at luxury of having much of anymore. The look about him gave mind to a feral animal of some sorts, and had Pierce smiling almost indulgently, like at a rabid dog or pet of some sort.
“Your mission,” he said, tossing the manila folder to the Soldier who grabbed it with his left hand. He thumbed through the papers. “Observe until your healed and report back everything of note.” The phrasing confused him. Was he meant to determine what was of 'note'? What even did 'note' mean? His brow furrowed. “Once you are in top condition, I want death confirmed in ten hours. Understood?”
“да,” the Soldier replied. Pierce scowled.
“English,” he chided. “Or do you need another lesson?”
The Soldier grimaced and said, “No. No lesson. I understand the parameters of the mission.” The words felt thick on his tongue, thicker than they had when he first reported in. Maybe that had to do with the side of his face swelling, though, so he put it out of mind.
“Good. Then go prep,” Pierce uttered, turning around and leaving the white washed tiled room. The Soldier grimaced and grasped the bar that ran the length of the room. He tugged himself up, biting back a scream into a groan when he placed more pressure than his fractured leg could support. He grunted, and began to hobble out of the room. He'd have to get a brace of some sort going in order to be able to work this mission. He glanced down at the photograph.
Nick Fury stared back at him. The Soldier grinned. This...should be interesting.
Russian words (hopefully)
1. Голубка – golubka – my dove
2. да – da – yes