|What: Winter Soldier has a hit, but he is interrupted by Black Widow|
While most are huddling inside and trying to stay warm, this seems to be a perfect time to get another job done. Since his last one fell flat, Winter Soldier knew that he needed to take care of the next one in order to maintain his reputation among the circles that tend to hire him. After all, he can't go around begging and this is what he is meant to do. Despite the brutal cold, he has taken a perch on the roof of a run down building, binoculars to his eyes so that he can keep sight on his prey. The main problem with this weather, aside from the potential from frostbite, is that his guns could freeze and jam. This needs to be timely.
You'd think growing up (legitimately) Russian would inure one to the cold. Not so. At least, not for Natasha Romanoff. Maybe she used up her 'get out of Siberia free' cards back in the 60's. Hard to say. But, the bitter cold does not make her want to be out and about, this night. Especially not in Bludhaven of all places.
Still, Intel reports that one of SHIELD's more important assets (and pains in the ass) has broken cover and is now at risk for attack from his former underworld colleagues.
So, who do they send out to keep an eye on him?
Black Widow, of course. Can't possibly be someone else. Like, oh, say Kavanaugh, whose district this is. No. Gotta be the elite solo operative, instead.
Widow stands in deep shadow, concealed as much by it as by the black, weather-hardy gear she wears. She's pinpointed where the asset has surfaced, idiot that he is. What the hell possessed him to come back here?
Now all she needs to do is figure out where any potential assassins may lay. If it were just your everyday mook she needed to worry about, she'd just waltz in and start playing the femme fatale, as always. But, this asset isn't your run-of-the-mill turncoat. He's special. And that means any assassin will be someone who actually knows how to handle himself. Which means Widow better be on her best game, tonight.
Come on. Get out. Show yourself. Winter Soldier checks his gun's movement again to make sure that it hasn't frozen yet...so far, so good. But not even he can stay out in this weather indefinitely. It's a good thing that his target isn't one to stay at home like everyone else as apparently it was easy to trace his habits than to find his home address.
A plume of breath comes at his sigh as he continues to wait, scanning the area with his binoculars. The woman in the shadows isn't noted...but before long, his patience is rewarded.
The target is walking out of a building.
The binoculars are down and the sniper rifle is back in the Soldier's hands, his head canted as he peers down the sight. Gloved hands squeeze the trigger and there's the loud crack of a gun firing. Or maybe it's a cylinder of a car. Hard to say.
The weather, however, isn't cooperating and instead of a killing shot, the bullet grazes the target's shoulder. Aiming is difficult when one shivers.
Widow knows what a gunshot sounds like. Her her hearing is keen enough to differentiate quite clearly between mechanical failure and the crack of a bullet leaving a chamber at high velocity.
Problem: the Black Widow is not Supergirl. She is not faster than a speeding bullet. Fortunately, the assassin is having technical problems.
The asset spins and goes down, but when it's clear he's moving, however frightened, Natalia starts off, instead, in the direction of the shot. She has a sniper to catch, after all.
Flipping on thermal imaging on a SHIELD-issue visor, she scans the direction from which she heard the shot... and sees the red-yellow smear of a body on the roof at just the right angle.
She's off like a shot, herself, grabbing the skycycle hidden behind an unused roof-top air conditioning unit and gunning it towards the shooter.
The rifle is slung over a shoulder as his revolver is pulled out...it's not the best, but at this point, he's going to need to get close. Pushing himself away from the edge of the roof, Winter Soldier moves towards the fire escape to try and get down closer to the targer. He pauses, though, and ducks down when he sees someone coming after him in the sky. There are a few choice curses in Russian -- damn that Sue Storm for coming after him all the way out here!
That's been his only flying target to date.
Widow tracks the shooter's movement as she flies. As she approaches the building he's on, she thumbs an autopilot action on the machine's console, keying it to find a safe place to land where she can recall it, later. Then, the cycle between her and the assassin, she flips off the vehicle to land in a tight crouch on the roof, a pair of well-maintained, classic Makarov's almost magically appearing in her hands.
"Surrender yourself and this'll go a lot easier on both of us," she calls.
From his brief bit of cover, Winter Soldier looks at the woman between him and escape. The location of the cycle is noted before he checks the revolver's action again. It seems to be working, but it's his own movements that he needs to steady. After a moment's thought, the gun moves over to his left hand.
"You should get out of the way," is called back, his voice holding a thick, Russian accent. "That would go the best for the both of us. This does not involve you."
"Actually, it really does," Widow replies, the heavy accent, the voice, causing her eyes to narrow. She's not foolish to come out of hiding, but she does train one pistol closer to where that voice is coming from. She switches to Russian, now. "You sound familiar, friend. Have we met before, perhaps?"
"It does only if you want to be killed as well," is continued in Russian in response to the other's change of languages. "Who are you and I will tell you if we have met. It is possible, but I have not been in Russia for..." wait, how long has it been? Winter Soldier doesn't actually finish that as, well, he can't.
"I'm a lot harder to kill than you think, friend," Widow replies. "My name is Black Widow." For most intelligence agents the world over, especially those from Russia and the US, that name is legendary, and laden with a bloody history. "So, like I said: We can do this the hard way, or the easy way. It's up to you, but... It's a cold night, friend. Better to come in from the cold, da?"
No doubt by now, the target has been moved to a safe place to be patched up. Once again, his mission has failed. Sort of. At least he got a shot off at him and drew blood. It might be enough that he put fear into the target to get partial payment. Maybe he shouldn't take jobs in the dead cold of winter -- even in America, it sucks.
The name might be one back in the depths of his memory...his lack of memory, even. It's enough to cause him to pause as he wracks his brain to place it. There is a pregnant pause before Winter Soldier answers, "Da, it is cold. But I will not give up my freedom because of it. You would ask such a thing from a comrade from home?"
"I think I just did," Widow replies mildly. She's moving cautiously, now, silently, intending to circle around into a better firing position. The cycle isn't on this roof, since this roof was deemed unsafe. So, there's going to be a bit of a chase if he breaks for it. Probably some gunplay, too.
But, that's expected, isn't it?
"The Americans, you see, they get testy when you shoot people they like. And they really like our friend over there. But, you know that already, I expect. Or you wouldn't be here."
"I don't care that they like him. Someone doesn't and is paying me money to see that he no longer lives. Do you offer more for me to leave him alive?" Pure mercenary. It's not quite the missions that they had all those years ago but what else is one going to do when they find themselves without orders?
Noting how the direction of her voice changes, Winter Soldier keeps track of her location as best as he can. His gun is still out and ready and he also notes where the fire escape ladder is in relation to his chosen spot.
It's still damn cold.
Widow pulls something noiselessly from her belt. From where she is, now, she has a good idea of where he's at. With a quick flick of a wrist she throws first one and then a second object. The first clatters across the way, opposite to where she sits. The second, however, rolls under the AC unit she uses as cover to bounce off the retaining wall and roll back towards him. She pulls off her visor and closes her eyes just as the mini-flashbangs go off.
Winter Soldier isn't new to this game and the clattering merely serves as a cue for him to move. He doesn't know just -what- clattered, but he doesn't seem to want to find out. At the second sound, he races towards the side of the building that holds the fire escape. No doubt he wasn't quite expecting the flash-bang grenades, but even though his eyes are now swimming with spots, he's sliing own the fire escape, trusting that the ladder will be long enough for him to just ride it down.
Most fire escapes actually stop on every floor. And zigzag the rest of the way down. Widow knows this, however, so she's moving toward that fire escape almost before the grenades have gone off. As he swings over the side, she's firing both pistols, the arc of her aim following that of his body.
Continuing in a flat out run, she leaps across to the building on the opposite side, spinning around to track him again and fire once more. But at a certain point, she stops and swings over the side, herself, to start drop-bouncing down the twin escapes after him.
Using the sound of her shots and of her movement, Winter Soldier also fires his revolver, using his left hand to shoot and his right to hold on and guide him down the fire escape. At one point, when Widow gets a little too close, he punches through a window and ducks inside to continue the escape through the innards of the building. It also gives his eyes time to clear and adjust once again...and a chance to warm up just a little.
The building is abandoned. Small mercy, that. Widow leaps across to the fire escape level just outside of that window, checking her left shoulder as she does. His bullet ricochetted past her, but she was afraid, at first, it had grazed her. She grabs the upper frame of the window and slides through feet first, rolling across the floor and coming to her feet again in one smooth motion. Her guns are in her hands again, but the building is a warren of broken doors and crumbling walls, making it harder to follow him.
Winter Soldier has taken a moment, in the relative dark, to catch his breath and shake out his limbs from some of the cold. It's still not 'warm', per se, but the shelter helps a little.
Upon hearing her come into the building after him, he decides to just end this chase. His steps are quiet, but not completely silent and he can be seen clearly as he appears, not five feet from the other, his revolver held out and ready to fire. Some light from the street lamps shine through the various holes and smoky windows of the building, but it's enough to jog a memory. "Natasha?"
There is a brief flicker of recognition in his eyes.
As he steps from the shadows, Natasha spins around, both Makarovs trained on him. At the sound of her name, however, she hesitates, though it's visible only in the faintest cant of her head and the slight narrowing of her eyes.
Then, her eyes open a little more widely. "James? James, what are you doing?"
Not 'what are you doing here?' Just 'what are you doing?' As a mercenary. An assassin.
Impersonating a Russian.
'James?' Winter Soldier just blinks at Natasha when she calls him by that name. "No..." is said slowly, although he may be denying the name or the questions, it's hard to tell. He continues to watch her for a long moment before he starts to raise his hands as if surrendering.
But Winter Soldier doesn't surrender. Just before his arms stretch above his head, he turns and bolts, full speed, down the broken hallway.
What the hell?
"James!" Natasha sprints after him, though now she just can't fire. The only reason she still holds her guns is because her holsters are on her legs and her legs are pumping too fast. "James, stop!"
She chases him swiftly down the hall, down the stairs, but he's around a corner and out the door before she can get past slide of falling plaster. As she bursts out the door and into the street, her footsteps slow.
Looking each way up the street, she lets out a harsh breath. He's no where to be found.
"Bozhe moi, James... What the hell have you gotten yourself into...?"