|Undercover with HYDRA: Post Tea-Party|
|What: The Black Widow navigates being a double agent while trying to retrieve an old friend.|
There had been protesting, of course. The Black Widow was rumored be as strong as Soviet steel, and just as unyielding. So it took a bit of insistence for Natalia to let herself be examined by the doctors. She has a few bruised ribs, along with bruises everywhere. So, she's been ordered to rest in bed for at least two days. She's not happy.
In her time since she arrived at HYDRA, she's been under close watch. Not always overtly, since Skull declared her one of them..but someone in the organization is keeping various eyes on her. The Winter Soldier meanwhile tends to ignore her when there is no reason to directly interact. He is a grim and still figure when she spots him about the base, but oddly he seems to be gone more often than would make sense for major missions. There are doctors around him now and then when he is on the base, one especially that tends to ask him questions and write down the answers. Some of the other doctors are the same ones who try to insist on treating her when she comes back with the bruises.
She is of course asked to report what happened as well.
Black Widow's answers are short, succinct, and without emotion. She relays how she was on assignment related to a fellow agent called Viper, in Madipoor. It was supposed to be a simple no nonsense thing, simply spend a few days getting to know HYDRA's associates among the elite.. And then a group of mutants showed up and everything went to hell. One of them messed with her vision, causing all of her Widow Biote shots to hit the wrong targets, while another with inhuman strength charged her.
Her report is recorded, and the doctors keep trying to convince her to accept treatment. A man with a brown coat and glasses wanders through as if just looking around, and says in a soft spoken but measured voice, "Do not worry, miss Romanov. HYDRA is very particular about it's resources, especially it's medical practitioners. They are all very capable."
"Romanova. I'm Russian." is the Black Widow's grumbled response. "I do not require attention, I will mend on my own well enough. I am fine." Her words could be biting, but they are tempered by professionalism.
The spectacled man's lips quirk at her correction, as if she had told a joke, but all he says is, "You are loyal to HYDRA's dream, miss Romanova. And I am certain you would not want HYDRA to have an agent that was at anything less than her full capacity, of course. So please.. won't you allow the doctors to examine you? For the good of your beloved cause."
Black Widow heaves a long sigh, wordlessly voicing her annoyance - before finally submitting to the doctors. The whole time she looks annoyed, not once winching or acting in ny sort of pain. She keeps her eyes on the glasses wearing man, expression unreadable. Internally she thinks, 'What would you know, about beloved causes? There's only one thing here, that I truly care about. And yet, I have enough passion in that one cause that I would gladly forsake myself!'
The doctors seem relieved when she finally agrees-- they were tasked to treat her, after all. The spectacled man is middle aged and not physically imposing, and just gives her a grandfatherly sort of smile that registers cold to her honed sense of people. He says, "It is good to see such strong determination in one's coworkers." to her, and with that he turns and meanders out. Her wounds are soon treated as best they can be for the moment.
Black Widow endures the treatment quietly, sighing in relief once she's left alone. She knew better than to talk to herself aloud, even if she had privacy, Still, her lips curl into a frown, as she pushed herself into a sitting position, refusing to wince from her ribs. She didn't recognize that man with the glasses, but she didn;t trust him. She couldn;t trust anyone here.
Strange too that he would mention 'your' cause, and not ours.. whatever the case, he's not nearby now. She does see the Winter Soldier walk past, however. For some reason, he has a blue rose stuck in one pocket of his tactical jacket.
--Uchitel?-- Black Widow's voice is soft, almost shy. Internally Natasha was worried that the mental conditioning he had was too much for her to overcome alone. Still, she would never give up on him. She spots the rose, and hides her startlement with a gentle smile. --Are you going to yell at me?-- (--Russian.)
He hesitates at the unfamiliar familiarity of the term, and turns in the hall to face her. --Why would I yell at you?-- he asks. --It doesn't matter what I'm called.-- (--Russian.)
--Huh, I just...-- Black Widow blinks, rubbing her head as if having a mld headache. --N-Nothing, forget it.-- Her tone suggests that it isn;t nothing. --...Where did you get a blue rose? It's... pretty.-- (--Russian.)
Winter Soldier frowns, stepping into the room with her to peer at her expression. --Why do you think I'd yell?-- he asks again, though at her question, one hand goes to his pocket and plucks the flower out. --Someone on the street gave it to me.-- he says dismissively, rather like she had when she said it was nothing. Ah, spy conversations at their finest. (--Russian.)
--I envy you. They don't let me go out, unless someone's with me. And even then, not for very long.-- It was true; Black Widow wasn't completely trusted (small wonder why) and she hadn't figured out how to slip her watchers without sounding alarms. Being cooped up made her cranky even when she wasn't in deep undercover. --I feel lost, Uchitel.-- (--Russian.)
Winter Soldier :shakes his head, faintly. --This isn't...-- correct, normal, SOP. Something tells him something is wrong, but he can't explain why. --It's strange. They send me out on long recon missions...it's not my specialty.-- he says uneasily. He sighs at her comment, saying finally, --..You get used to it. It gets easier the more...-- he trails off, frowning at her in a perplexed sort of way. (--Russian.)
--I don't want to get used to it. I don't want it to be easier.-- The words are out of Natasha's mouth before she can think them through. She blinks, having startled herself. --What...? I...-- She puts both hands to her head, trembling slightly. --What...-- (--Russian.)
Winter Soldier 's breathing has picked up as well, tense and confused. --You weren't lying. About knowing me.. I keep getting these flashes, feeling like...-- he expels a breath abruptly. --It'll interfere with our work if we don't do something. Even on the docks it was happening.-- he almost sounds accusing about it. Well, after all, once it's been easy for so long, the prospect of stepping back out into the danger of thinking too much, of fighting.. there has to be a lot of negative association with such necessity. (--Russian.)
--Why would I have lied?-- Well many reasons, Natasha, but that's not the point. She takes a breath, but is still shaking. Those emotions she had felt just now - fear, uncertainty. She had felt like a child. --Uchitel...-- She wraps her arms around herself, shaking her head slowly. --We need to remember. Only something important would make us feel this way. We forgot something we shouldn't have.-- (--Russian.)
Winter Soldier raises an eyebrow at that, and there's a glimmer of humor buried in that uneasy expression somewhere. --The Black Widow, lie? You're right, what was I thinking..-- he murmurs. But then straightens up at her words. --That's not for us to say. If we needed it, we'd have it..-- he grimaces. --Even if we remembered, it would be gone with the next wipe.-- (--Russian.)
A flicker of a grin flashes on Natasha's face at Winter Soldier's first comment. The smile quickly fades. Think, Nat, think. Don;t let him dismiss this from his mind! --But, what if they don;t know that we need to know?-- she asks, sounding doubtful. --I feel like I need to remember, more than anything. Like I'm chasing after someone in the dark, and if only I could see them...-- (--Russian.)
Winter Soldier hesitates. --..They haven't decided to wipe you yet.-- he says slowly. --Probably because of the intel you have on SHIELD-- but trying to remember things that were blocked out..-- he seems harried, on edge.. --That's not for us to worry about. That's not our job.-- (--Russian.)
--I don't even know what I'm trying to remember. Did SHIELD take my memories...?-- Natasha knows she's in dangerous waters now - if the wrong person overhears, she has no doubt that both she and Bucky will get run through the scrubber. She wouldn't let that happen to him, not ever again. --They wouldn't have greeted me with open arms, they aren't stupid!-- (--Russian.)
Winter Soldier does pause at that. --Maybe.-- he allows. --But it's not worth it. If you ask them about it, they'll say it's not worth the risk, whatever your instincts say. They'll say you need to report it when it happens. I should report it. These flashes that happen around you-- his voice has also lowered, subtly but significantly. (--Russian.)
--I always trust my instincts, it's how I stay alive. That much I know for sure.-- Nat says quietly. --...Be honest with me, Uchitel. What does you instinct say-- (--Russian.)
He's quiet for a moment, his eyes going unfocused and his form taut as he considers her question...but finally he shakes his head. --That if we pursue this, it won't end well.-- he mutters. Admittedly, from a Russian standpoint, that's pretty far from a refusal. (--Russian.)
Black Widow could almost laugh. Natasha had heard that sentiment so many times at SHIELD, it was the equivalent of, "The bosses will be pissed at us again." And goodness knows how may headaches the Avengers caused Fury and his merry band of agents. --Does anything ever end well for the likes of us?-- she asks with a smile. (--Russian.)
Winter Soldier 's lips turn faintly up again, and that little change somehow softens his expression a great deal. --No.-- Is his simple answer. He rests his left hand on the door frame, sighing. --..We shouldn't talk about this any more.-- he says firmly, but as he turns to go, he adds in parting, --..Not until our next mission.-- (--Russian.)
Black Widow almost reaches for Bucky, but he;s gone before the movement is finished. Still her hand remains half raised, as she stares at where he once was. "....." /Bucky, I swear I;ll save you. No matter what... I will.../