Cap collapsed, dazed, as the scepter froze him and his thoughts. Steve quickly moved away, squashing the feeling of guilt nagging at his conscious. This was for the greater good, even though he had hated that phrase and the character of Albus Dumbledore and altruistic attitude in the Harry Potter series. Now, to find Nat –
Steve froze as the woman in question stepped out of the shadows. He had gone down a few floors before cutting across an empty office floor, intending to descend down the back stair case to the alley outside where Tony and Scott originally were supposed to be waiting.
“Natasha.” He said warily.
She tsked. “So familiar with a woman you only met a few days ago.”
That made him grin. “We did not meet for the first time on the helicarrier, Romanov. You were the ‘nurse’ in the room when I first woke up.”
Her eyes widened in surprise. “How did you…”
He deliberately ran his appreciative gaze over her body, still encased in her Widow stealth suit.
“Curves are still the same.”
She snorted. “Okay, that just proved that you’re an imposter.” She said, but he heard the amusement in her tone. “Cap would never be so forward with any woman.”
Steve shrugged. “I’ve matured a bit. He will too. Once he gets to be more comfortable with everything.”
“How much is a bit?”
“You’re from 2023?” She said dubiously. “I’m assuming for a reason. Did you accomplish it?”
“Finishing up the secondary mission now.”
“So you meant to find me specifically, or did you already talk to yourself?” She winced.
“Don’t think about it,” Steve advised. “It’ll just give you a headache.”
To anyone else, this conversation was stilted and short, two adversaries reluctant to give information. For Steve and Natasha, this was their MO, though she knew it not. Mission info was given in short bursts, half in code in order to prevent anyone listening from understanding or interfering.
Of course, she surprised him by dropping the façade.
“So, what did you come back to tell me, and how will this affect my timeline?”
“Too much to tell in one sitting.” He replied. “You need to have a mind like a steel trap – or a computer – to process it all.”
She nodded. She’d check with JARVIS later that night. “Give me the cliff notes version then.”
“Let’s start with ghost stories. Funny how fifty year old tales already have a grain of truth to them.” Steve mused, watching her eyes narrow. “He moves silently and fast. Rumor has it that he fell off of a bridge to his death, and was found by evil men and forced to do their bidding.”
“Just tell me, Rogers. We don’t have much time.”
“The Winter Soldier is actually Sargent James Buchanan Barnes. Bucky. My best friend.”
“The man whom got captured with the rest of his unit and you went AWOL to find and rescue?”
Steve winced. “One and the same. Currently a brainwashed assassin for Hydra, which, incidentally, has been growing inside SHIELD.”