Once everyone had gathered together in the large library, Margo Verger burst into laughter and couldn't seem to stop. It took her almost five minutes to collect herself, and in that time everyone found comfortable seats and they'd also been joined by Jamie, Joan, and Barry.
"Sorry, sorry, it's just...given everyone in this room one might think we were plotting something sinister instead of saving lives. Cameron and I watched Clue with Sharon last night, so I suppose I felt a slight sense of life imitating art" said Margo once she'd regained her composure.
"So how did all of this work? I mean, how were you chosen by Red Room?" asked Steve, figuring that the best course of action would be to try and figure out where the kids were being taken from.
"Maria figured that out, actually" said Natasha as she leaned back and crossed her arms. Her relief at not having to explain would only be visible to those looking closely but Cameron letting her head fall on to her shoulder might have distracted from it.
"When Natasha first came to SHIELD, Fury had a team work on finding out how Red Room recruited people. There were those with theories ranging from orphans and parents selling their children, but none of those guaranteed anything. I took to investigating all of the ballet schools and then classes taught by former famous dancers or famous teachers. It was how I came across an old newspaper clipping that had Natasha's picture as a little girl dancing along with a group in a performance" explained Maria, keeping one hand entangled with Natasha's and rubbing soothing circles on the back with her thumb.
"I don't get it. Dance classes? Why is that a target group?" asked Clint.
"Because to dance ballet takes a certain type of person. Someone willing to push themselves and work rigorously. Also, that individual would have a light step, fluidity of movement, flexibility and possible acrobatic ability, as well as beauty. Then there would be all the things that being a dancer requires: a good diet-or what could be managed, staying fit, all things that Red Room would already be searching for found in classes right for them to pick from" explained Jamie as she opened an envelope and three photos poured onto the coffee table. Natasha touched them carefully, almost as if they might burn her, while Cameron tucked herself farther into the couch and peeked at them from over Natasha's shoulder.
There was no mistaking who was in the photos. Natasha had had the same blonde hair when they'd rescued her but had since returned to red. Her eyes were the same brilliant green though. Cameron had apparently always had that edge of mischief about her, hinted at the grin trying to creep out from the edge of her smile and the twinkle in her dark brown eyes. Barry leaned over and picked one up too.
"Actually..." started Jamie, pulling another envelope from her jacket pocket and handing it to him. He opened it to find two photos of him, still tall but looking younger and in uniform looking every bit the new soldier.
"All I remember is lots of shooting and then dying, really. And the doctors" says Barry before tossing them on the table. Natasha is still looking at the there photos and Maria isn't sure what to make of the look on her face.
"That's my face, Nat. But I don't remember that. Why don't I remember that? It's my face! I should remember!" asked Cameron, her voice becoming more and more panicked. Natasha shook herself free of whatever trance she'd been in and turned and wrapped an arm around Cameron while she gently shushed her.
"It's okay, it's okay. I don't remember either. But no one knows about them but the people in this room and we can trust them, okay?" reassured Natasha. Cameron nodded, still a bit shaken by seeing a past she had no memory of.
It was in moments like this that despite Natasha's stating that she didn't have any, Maria saw her maternal instincts come out. She could picture Natasha being a wonderful mother. But those were thoughts for after all of this was over. When their imaginary possible child wouldn't be in danger of being hunted by Red Room and HYDRA.
"What about you, Barry? What do you remember?" asked Griffin. Barry had been trying to think back ever since he saw those old photos of himself.
"My father was what would be called a mathematician now. In Ukraine he was just an old man who knew numbers. Somehow he caught the notice of a guy named Reinhardt. I think one of Dad's buddies gave him his name and told him of his talents. I've got Dad's talent for numbers and a way with building things, not on the level with Cam here, but I can impress if I want to. I spent most of my time fixing jeeps and whatever else, trying to help bring in a little extra. If I wasn't at the garage I was at the boxing gym. That's where Reinhardt found me and offered me "an opportunity to change history and science forever" but it really didn't sound like I could say no. Dad only came because they recruited me but they killed him when he finally said no. He wasn't going to help Reinhardt use his numbers and formulas to kill people." Barry had finished his explanation with a shrug, but the blankness on his, Natasha, and Cameron's faces was a testament as to how hard they were still trying to forget even after all this time.
"If they're getting kids at youth hostels as well as picking up homeless orphans then wouldn't that mean they wouldn't care who they're using" asks Steve, steering them back on point.
"But they went after Jamie's daughter which means they're still hunting for specifics for something" countered Joan.
"Steve, was the formula that was used to enhance you ever stored somewhere?" asked Sharon as she looked at the photos of Barry and Natasha and Cameron all next to each other.
"I don't think so. I think it got destroyed. Why?"
"Because if they can't recapture the Winter Soldier, and can't keep a hold or control over their previous subjects--" started Sharon.
"They're trying to create a new super soldier and any failed attempts will work well enough to serve as part of their army" finished Maria.
They'd have to try and see if they could get the others, maybe even Phil's team.
A war on two sides of the world happening in secret.
They'd help from more than just the Norse Gods if they failed.