|Slow and Steady|
|What: On the S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier, Agent 13 and the Black Widow pay a visit to the deprogrammed but still amnesiac Winter Soldier, to inform him of his expanded priviledges.|
Natasha Romanoff has been barred from visiting the Winter Soldier in the detention facility on the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier Argus. Being as she trained with the Winter Soldier at some point when he was brainwashed, and worked for the Russians as well, the deprogrammers didn't want her present, as it might make him relapse. Today, however, she had that restriction lifted. The SHIELD doctors, psychiatrists, and higher up muckety mucks have determined that their deprogramming is solid. And so today the want to test it by purposely tossing a blast from the assassin's past at him.
The Black Widow steps into the hallway where his cell is, with Agent 13 close behind, and stops in front of the force field to look at the man, silently.
On Sharon's part she had stayed away just because she didn't know what to do. Not anyone with the special skills needed or any real knowledge of the past she decided to butt out. There'd be a time when she would be of use, that perhaps being now.
Following Natasha, in uniform but unarmed save for a taser, she takes up position beside her when she stops.
James Barnes is sitting at a folding table on a folding chair in the middle of the room/cell. He does not look like he did when he was last encountered, but has been sitting with SHIELD doctors, psychiatrists, and others who have been trying to help this man. They have been trying to figure out just who this man is. The man himself stares ahead blankly, sitting in a straight, military fashion in his chair. He wears only casual clothes, no longer equipped with guns or equipment that he was taken in with. Turning his head, he regards the two women blandly, "So this is where you've hidden yourself away," he notes as he notices Black Window. He looks back at the wall sadly.
"I remember you," the Widow says calmly. Her arms are loose at her sides, as if she's relaxed. In reality, she's in a good position to bring up her Widow's Bite if she needs to, or grab a disc off her belt. The Winter Soldier would probably recognize that. "They sent us on missions together," she adds, perhaps for Sharon's benefit more than the Soldiers. "They are treating you well?" she asks, tilting her head to one side, scarlet curls bobbing.
"I am... sorry," Sharon murmurs. "I do hope that everything's gotten better for you." Chewing her lower lip, she watches Bucky, sighing inwardly when she notices the look in his eyes. Whatever she might be thinking she winds up distracted from, that being when Natasha explains how they know each other. "I see."
"Well, I've been sitting here pretty much since I came in," The Winter Soldier mutters, "Guess that's good treatment," he acknowledges blandly. "Shoulda kicked Cap in the teeth. No way I can survive in here," he comments. He regards the Black Widow again with a frown, "How'd you do it, Black Widow?" he asks.
"You have to want to, Soldier. It takes time, but if your will is strong enough, then you'll make it," Widow explains. "You have to actually want to do good, instead of do what your told. You have to have a desire to do right, instead of an instinct to blindly obey. The doctors here believe they've broken the conditioning that was used on you so the question is," She presses her hand to the lock pad and deactivates the force field, stepping inside. "What do YOU want?" She slides into the chair across from him.
Sharon has never been programmed and therefore never had to experience being brought out of it. But there's a part of her that can not help but to be skeptical. "Can it be done so quickly?" She has been under the assumption that it'd take weeks, if not months, to break someone out of their conditioning.
Looking somewhat skeptical, the Winter Soldier says, "I put a gun to a man's head and I didn't pull the trigger, so I think something's been changing for a while now," he says and hmms, "I am not the Winter Soldier any more. Nah, I'm not. I don't frickin like sitting here, but its not the Winter Soldier sitting here. He would have killed you."
"SHIELD has the best technology, and experts in the fields. In the spy game, having to un-brainwash someone is important. Especially if you're deconditioning your own operatives after conditioning them for a specific mission," Natasha notes to Sharon. She looks back at the man across from her, resting her forearms on the table. "SHIELD is willing to give you a chance. Granted, it won't be easy, and you're going to have to deal with being monitored for a while, but they are willing to allow you to be part of the organization and work for them, rather than going to prison for the rest of your, very considerable, life."
"True." That's all she says, Sharon more than fine with deferring to Natasha. She's mostly here as 'security' in case something goes wrong. James is regarded afterward, albeit belatedly, a cool smile falling on her face. "I don't have to remind you that you should not do anything to go against the trust being extended to you..."
The Winter Soldier does not seem to regard Sharon as anything but an authority. He looks back at the Black Widow, "You don't have to worry. I'm in control of myself," he tells her, "Nobody has been telling me what to do for a while now," he adds. He pauses, "I'm in control of myself," he repeats, almost to force himself to believe it. He looks down at his hands, perhaps not wanting the Black Widow to see him like this.
"Well we need to take it slow. You can't undo decades of training in a week or two. For starters, you need to pick a name for yourself, at least until you remember your real one. SHIELD is working on finding any documentation that might help you remember who you are," the Widow says quietly. "In the meantime, you will have access to the training rooms and the fitness area and cafeteria for the time being. Not the gun range, obviously, or the command level."
"Look, I'm sorry," Sharon says to both the Soldier and Widow both. "I'm trying not to... succumb to my doubts. I will do whatever I can to help. Just let me know." She smiles a little sadly while reaching out, seeking to put a hand on his arm in what she'll hope will be a comforting gesture.
Giving a nod, The Winter Soldier looks back at the Black Widow and acknowledges what she says, but then replies, "I know my name..." he begins, but frowns, as it is obvious he doesn't. He looks at the wall, then looks at Sharon's hand touching him, and he quickly grasps it. He frowns, perhaps not having wanted to do that. Strangely, he releases her and says, "I just...can't remember right now," he tells them.
"I understand," Natasha says quietly. "To this day, I'm not sure whether I was actually a ballerina for a while, or if that was just an implanted memory." She grimaces. "But it gets better. And you are too valuable a soldier to leave festering in a cell. If you press the intercom, someone will come to escort you to the areas of the Helicarrier you are cleared for. If things still look good in a week or so, your privileges will be expanded. Eventually, you'll be able to gain Agent status and your freedom."
Being grabbed causes Sharon to tense some, an involuntary reaction much like Bucky grabbing her must have been. It's a reaction that doesn't go further than that, however. A quick glance is given to Natasha before she speaks, when she does quiet. "If you want I can hit the training room with you from time to time. We can spar."
"Sure, that sounds fine," The Winter Soldier tells Sharon and Natasha, "Sounds fine," he repeats as he watches the wall, sounding mundane. He looks at the Black Widow, "It won't take me long to remember. I just...have to focus," he tells her unbelievably, "I..can do this."
"I know you can. You were good enough for the Red Room to covet. That means you are strong enough to get through this. You may come visit me, or ask for me to meet you to train or eat whenever I'm on the Helicarrier. I have been where you are, and I want to help. Agent Carter wants to help. Captain America wants to help."
Sharon nods. "Exactly. Whatever it is you're going through now, you don't have to go through alone." Looking at Natasha now, she sighs and shakes her head. "Man. I hope I never..." Not wanting to be insensitive, she merely falls quiet.
The Winter Soldier slides his mask across the table to Natasha, where it had been sitting in front of him, "You keep that and remember...I'm somebody else now," he explains. He chuckles unbelievably, "Don't worry about me, I won't be a burden," he notes. He furrows his brow and looks at his hands, perhaps wondering if he is truly in control.
Natasha grips the man's shoulder, the one without the cybernetic arm, once, and smiles faintly. "Be well." Then she departs, raising the force field once more.