The Talk

February 24, 2015: After questioning Keeper, a confused Winter Soldier returns to HYDRA's New York base for answers.

The H.U.B., New York

One part diner, one part sprawling terror complex.



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Mood Music:

The Winter Soldier has been engaged in (re-)gathering intelligence on the Bratva in New York City for some time, now; all a part of cleaning up anyone who still remembers his yaer of service to the organization. For deniability's sake, he's mostly kept his contact with HYDRA limited to a liaison in the interim, reporting in only when more pressing matters have necessitated his presence, rather than communication through a third party.

Today is probably not one of those times, but he still arrives at HYDRA's New York stronghold just after noon with a hot dog vendor disguise worn over his standard uniform. A few days prior, his liaison would have reported his use of two HYDRA assets and a van to 'gather intelligence on SHIELD', with no further word on what that might actually entail; he certainly appears to be empty-handed today, but that hardly means anything in a world where nothing as valuable good intel can afford to exist in a form where it can be held.


"You dago fuck, you think anyone out there gives a damn about what happens to you in here?" Flannigan's badge pulled right off with the rest of his coat as it was sat down on the back of the chair."You lost your rights the second you started fucking with my family," Instead of sitting the coat down all together he uses this moment to send a single fist right into the mans jaw. "You don't FUCK with family"


The mainland New York base is nothing special from the outside, a plainly decorated diner with a few old guys sitting scattered about the benches, just enough people scattered about to keep the suspicions off of the real entrance. "Oh hey Phil," The little old woman busting tables calls out over towards Winter, a bit of a smile on her face, as she runs over to greet him. "You left your umbrella here last time, I've got it in the back for you." The woman trying to cling towards him for a hug.

The Winter Soldier doesn't move an inch when the woman reaches for hi, enduring the embrace rather than fleeing from or reciprocating it.

Once she's close enough that his lips are near his ear, however, he cranes his head just enough that his whisper of, "Hail HYDRA," is well and truly heard by her and no-one else.


"You always know just what to say," She moves in for a kiss, whispering right back those same two words quiet as a field mouse, "Hail Hydra." before just moving back behind the counter with a friendly smile. Of course no one here really pays much mind as she just presses her thumb against the bottom of one of the many tables passing it off as just leaning for a smile, on her way to open the door to the lost and found.

Once Winter is inside the door will close tightly a small keypad on the wall in front of him. However instead of the code being entered there one would find a small latch for thumb scan underneath the keypad, and a small throwrug.

The Winter Soldier holds his thumb to the appropriate place and waits, eyes focused blankly on the wall ahead of him.

However many checkpoints he needs to pass through to reach the stronghold itself, whenever he does arrive, his first goal will be seeking out the master of New York's arm of the organization.


Winter would find himself sent through one security measure after another each designed to block progress before eventually finding himself at a small rail car. The whole places bleach white design made to look like something a bond villain would have cooked up if he didn't have to worry about time any more then money.

After all of the various security measures twists and turns he'd find himself right at the entrance to a rather simple room, little more then a broom-closet beyond several hidden passages, behind hidden passages, elevators, and odd travel paths. It's almost more trouble then it's worth to get there, but on the other side of the door rests just the man Winter had been meaning to see.

Bucky almost certainly blew up an underground rail system or two during his stint in World War II; this is likely why the Winter Soldier's muscles unconsciously tense when the car first lurches into motion.

After the car, the journey begins to slow, though not to any truly dramatic extent: his footsteps become more deliberate, his attention more focused on the somewhat familiar features spanning this labyrinth of secrecy and paranoia; it's as if he's awaiting an attack, even though he's in one of the safest places on Earth.

When he finally does arrive, his eyes immediately fix on Zola and stay there as he draws the door shut. After the soft *click*:

"Who is James Buchanan Barnes?" he intones.


"James Buchanan Barnes?" Zola repeats coming back to a full stand with the help of his cane, still wearing the exact same suit he always seems to wear whenever someone comes to visit him. "That's a name I've not heard for some time, why do you ask?" The chair left spinning as the rather frail old man makes his moves towards the Winter Soldier.

"An Atlantean woman searching for him in relation to the death of her King came to question me."

He's still as Zola approaches, neither nervous nor afraid; he is, however, upset— at least, if the uncharacteristically harsh emphasis on some of his words is anything to go by.

"But James Buchanan Barnes is dead," he continues, eyes shifting from Zola's just long enough to make sure that the old man is stable and not in need of support. It's almost - not quite, but almost - a question, as if he's confirming rather than simply stating a fact.

"Who was he?"


While Zola looks rather frail as one would expect from someone over 120 years old, and still kicking he's mostly able to support himself with the help of that cane of his. He doesn't wait long to respond to the question at hand, "He was, the partner of Captain Steven Rogers, Captain America" A slight pause as he looks into the eyes of the winter soldier. This body of his making it a lot easier for him to lie outright without any of the usual tells. "He, along with Rogers is responsible for the death of my only son and daughter." He could be saying anything right now and still sound just as sincere and heartfelt as he does right now. "You, look like him because you were repaired with some of his genetic structure after we almost lost you, and in spite of this I still think of you as… my son."

The Soldier's eyes grow wide as the shock of the unthinkable spreads settles over him. His breath catches, interrupting what is otherwise a metronomic pace.

It's the kind of story that only a man who's spent most of his adult life being shuffled between brainwashing sessions, covert ops, and cold storage could take at face value; fortunately for Zola, the Winter Soldier is that man.

Still, though: "How…?" is the first thing that comes from his lips. There's a little wariness there, but mostly, he's just confused. "When— why? Why him, if he wounded you so deeply?" His eyes momentarily waver towards the arm he still isn't quite sure how he lost.


"He was a compatible donor, and I thought it fitting that the man who tried to take you from us, would be the one who saved you," Zola reaching up a single frail hand to sit on Bucky's shoulder. "I didn't tell you because I was worried this would happen," Zola's face turning a bit sad, as he lets a sigh escape his lips. "I couldn't lose you,"


The Soldier's eyes grow a little larger before shrinking into an increasingly bemused squint as they bounce between Zola's hand, his eyes, and his own flesh and blood hand, brought forward for ease of scrutiny.

His life before the KGB is a blur— has always been a blur; his earliest memories are of sitting in a dingy bunker and absorbing the glories of the Communist utopia to come.

Once, days before his first mission, his trainers brought in a young man from one of the villages— his younger brother, or so he was told.

He never had a chance to ask; brother or not, he was just an objective to be handled by then.

"I don't— under— " he continues to stammer as his gaze flits around and his breath rate increases. "I— did he— did they— kill— "

The Winter Soldier's mouth goes dry, and like many of the things he's experienced over the last few days, he neither likes nor understands it.

"— father?" he finally whispers, a glimmer of relief and uncertainty underlying his words in lieu of recognition.


Zola lets out another sigh, moving away from winter as he stammers, turning to face the wall of monitors. "I knew you weren't ready to know the truth," The flickers and flashes of lights and images from all around the world bathing the two in that endless light. "There's just some things I suppose you'll never truly be ready for,"

The monitors are easily the least interesting things in the bunker right now, as far as the Winter Soldier is concerned. The truth is, of course, first; his hands appear to be a close second, because once Zola turns away, both come up near his eyes for easier staring.

"No," he sharply insists, brow briefly knitting as he studies himself. "No— no, this explains…" A shaky breath replaces whatever revelation he's reached, and then his eyes - narrowed, now, into harsh slits - snap towards Zola again.

"Captain America is alive, and I will kill him— for you. For— us," he declares. As he speaks, his chin tips up, his spine straightens, his arms fall rigidly by his sides; by the time he's done, he's at attention.

"For HYDRA," he continues. "Father."


The old man slowly turns back around to face Bucky again as the man goes on about his plan to kill Captain America. "For HYDRA," Zola states firmly raising one hand into a salute. Managing to hold himself straight with the help of his red skull tipped cane.

"I don't doubt your abilities, but please stay safe, I don't want to lose you."

"I will not be lost again," the Winter Soldier states. "I— will not fail HYDRA; I cannot fail HYDRA. They worship that man as a hero, a leader, but it's a lie. He is a liar, a murderer— a relic wrapped in the flag of Capitalism."

The Winter Soldier spits on the floor of the bunker; the fact that the golden age of Communism he so readily killed for during the Cold War turned out to be something of a sham hasn't really chilled his feelings towards its opposite, not to mention HYDRA's own ideology.

"Maybe they do deserve each other," he then decides in a murmur as his head tips back up and he briskly swipes a hand across his mouth. "He will not hurt you again, Father; he's an idea whose time has passed."

"You are not wrong my son," Zola lowering down his hand to take a few steps closer back to Winter. "When we have united the world under one banner of peace and prosperity there will be no place left for him, or the very things he represents." Zola takes pause. "I hope you understand that everything I have done up until this point has been to make a better world, for you, for everyone."

With a slow nod of understanding, the Winter Soldier states, "Yes— I know. No matter what we must do, how challenging it is… the future is what matters."

After that, he just sort of looks at Zola - at his father - as if he'd like to do something that he hasn't done for as long as he can remember, but the old man is so frail; he doesn't entirely trust himself not to misjudge the appropriate degree of force for the situation to rib-crushing effect.

So, he simply gives a stiff salute after that brief break, then turns towards the door.

"Hail HYDRA," he quietly says while reaching for the knob.


"Hail HYDRA," Zola returns, the old man moving back towards the wall of controls levers and monitors, his cane clacking against the ground with each odd step. The squeak of a chair echoing out as he returns to its comfort.

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