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Storm Over Still Waters

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Hela worked diligently at her case. As a prosecutor for NYPD, it seemed like there was a never-ending case load. Rape, homicide, larceny, assault, and manslaughter were all pretty typical in her line of work. It was hardly the sort of work she had envisioned doing as a teenager (a time of her life that he’d spent high more often than not), but it was satisfying, challenging, and opened a lot of doors.

Nearly everyone among her family and friends were shocked when she announced that she had applied and been accepted to Harvard Law. Some people who knew her now suspected that her father had leaned heavily on the acceptance committee to get her in, but Hela had never once asked the man to do that, or anything, for her academic career. Whatever might have been said about her earlier in life, she got to where she was on merit.

Not that she cared what people thought. She wasn’t interested in the rumors about her. And frankly, having ties to the underworld came in handy every now and then in catching and putting away real criminals. What did she care about petty theft, pot smokers, and pickpockets? If she could get them to testify about murderers, rapists, and the like, all the more reason to maintain such contacts.

Right now, she was waiting for evidence to come in about a sex trafficking ring. The NYPD had known for months that there was one in Brooklyn, that a gang known as Hydra had been pimping omegas to the highest bidder. Hydra was an offshoot of the Russian Mafia that focused primarily on human, drugs, and weapons trafficking. The police commissioner (aka, Odin Borson, Hela’s father) had been riding the precinct’s ass trying to catch these people.

And by evidence, that meant that Hela was waiting for Hydra to contact her. She took another drag from her cigarette as she leaned against the side of a building in a warehouse district near the Naval Yard. Over the past several weeks, Hela had had Loki instruct many of his contacts, as well as her own, to subtly spread rumors that she was interested in whatever Hydra was selling. It was public knowledge that she was an alpha and a former partier. Spreading a rumor that she was interested in pursuing… illicit vices had been easy. She just hoped that Hydra would take the bait.

She had received a call from a blocked number and a disguised voice telling her to come here. She kept her exterior cool and collected. She was hooked up with a wire beneath her expensive clothes. The only worry she really had was if they asked her to strip to prove that she wasn’t a threat. Even then, she would probably just punch them. It was only a mild concern. She could handle herself in a fight if it came to that and there were plainclothes officers tailing her just in case.

She turned as she spotted a man with striking, if brutish, features. He walked with the confident, measured stride of someone who had done military service at some point and thought too highly of himself for it. He was flanked by two other men who had that same swagger. Hela stopped herself from looking smug (well, too smug, anyway). He had spiky black hair and Hela could see a pistol on his person. There was no chance that the man had a permit for it, but Hela put it from her mind. The man made eye contact with her and Hela smiled that easy, sly smile that people feared.

“Hela Friggasdotir?” the man asked as he approached. “My name is Brock Rumlow. I understand you’re an… interested party.”

Who taught this man how to do his job? Hela thought as she held out her hand. “I am, if your… organization is as discreet as the person who contacted me claimed.”

“We are,” Brock replied with a smile. “I understand you’re looking for some… company.”

“Indeed,” Hela said. “But I assume I would be allowed to peruse your selections before I make any purchase.”

“Well that depends,” Brock said. “Got anything on you we should be worried about? We can’t risk damage to the merchandise.”

Hela held out her hands as one of the men behind Brock came forward and started patting her down. He missed the wire completely, much to Hela’s relief. She didn’t have a weapon on her, so she wasn’t worried about that. Apparently satisfied, the man turned and nodded at his boss.

“She’s good.”

“Thanks, Rollins,” Brock said. “Well, come with us, Ms. Friggasdotir.”

“I thought you’d never ask,” she said with that sly smile.

“I have to say,” Brock continued. “Don’t spook them. They’re stupid and some of them startle easily and we’d hate for you to decide that you’re not interested because they tried to bolt.”

Despicable, she thought. She kept her face neutral, however. “Just take me to them,” she said. “I don’t have all night to dilly dally with you.”

Brock huffed and continued on. She caught the hint of an approving smile, though. Typical alpha male, she thought. More concerned about strength and machismo than anything else.

Not to say that alpha women could be much better, but Hela liked to think that her mother had taught her differently. Her father had set a good example in his relationship with Frigga and when all three of his pups turned out to be alphas, he made sure to tell them that there was no room in the family for those who disrespected their partners or took them for granted. Strength was a born of character, not muscle. It was a truth she saw reflected in her omega mother, time and time again. She’d learned her lesson well.

But tonight, if she had to don the persona of a corrupt official who wanted a pliant, silent body to stick her clit in, she would. Setting one asshole straight wouldn’t get her any closer to finding omegas he was helping to traffic. She plastered a smile on her face as she stepped into their car and they drove towards the docks.

Steve huddled in the corner of a room in the warehouse out of the way of the Hydra members. It was cold. February had been a rough month so far and every piece of extra clothing and blankets he could find went to his son. Bucky was a young, energetic boy of nearly 4 that Steve had because a client 4 years ago had thought that using a condom was for lesser people or something. Point was, the guy never used one and then ended up shocked that Steve got pregnant. The only reason Hydra let him keep his boy was because he’d managed to hide his pregnancy until he was halfway through the third trimester and no doctor Hydra contacted would perform an abortion.

As horrible as his life was, Steve was grateful for the little boy in his lap. Another person might have gone for an abortion, or put the child in foster care. But Steve, Steve didn’t trust the outside world to do right by his boy. And once he realized that he was pregnant, he couldn’t bring himself to have an abortion.

Too late to do anything about it now, he thought. He gently cleared Bucky’s face of the stray strands that landed there. Just wish he could get out of here somehow. See the sky for longer than a couple hours.

The only time Bucky left the warehouse was with Steve after he was purchased. Even then, it was for maybe half an hour in the dead of night and they were never allowed to roam any of the places they were taken to. The curtains remained closed if they were windows and Steve never let the boy out of his sight unless he was… working.

Bucky lay sleeping in Steve’s lap. He was small for his age, but healthy. It was the only thing that Steve was happy for, as it were. Having a healthy child in a life like Steve’s seemed more than he could hope for. Steve pet Bucky’s hair idly as he heard the door to the shitty warehouse open. He scooted back against the wall, trying to avoid attention. He’d only recently returned from an alpha’s custody, one who quickly lost interest due to Steve’s need to care for Bucky. He had no interest in getting selected again.

“We have a variety to choose from, Ms. Friggasdotir,” came a voice. Steve recognized it as Rumlow. He grimaced. The man was a Grade A asshole. At one point in time, he had demanded sexual favors from Steve between clients. Steve hated him. The good thing was that Rumlow seemed less interested in him now that Bucky was in the picture. “Big and small, male and female, any age, any race, whatever strikes your fancy.”

“How convenient,” came the voice. “My tastes can be varied. How thoughtful for you all to provide such a wide variety.”

It sounded like a woman. A female alpha, then, Steve thought. He relaxed a bit. Female alphas tended to take less interest in him due to his size. He was built like an alpha, though malnutrition and lack of exercise had caused his muscle to atrophy a long time ago. Male alphas generally liked him for the novelty of fucking a big omega, but generally tired quickly. Their excuse was usually something about not wanting to feel emasculated by their partner being bigger than him.

If it got him out for a bit, Steve would take it.

They turned the corner and Steve was able to get a good look at her. She was a striking woman; tall, dark hair and eyes, and a long, sleek green dress. She exuded power and confidence in the way she walked and held herself. Rumlow and his men tended to walk like they were compensating for something and making up for it by trying to seem more powerful.

Steve didn’t shrink back as her gaze fell on him. There really wasn’t any more room for him to back into. The best that he could hope for was that she would take his defiance to mean that he was unsuitable. He wrapped the arm that wasn’t on Bucky’s head around his tiny body in a protective gesture.

It didn’t work. She walked right towards him without pausing to check the other omegas that were in her path on the way. Steve swallowed, but kept his look defiant. No one would hurt Bucky.

“And this one?” she asked.

“Ah, Steven,” Rumlow said. He stopped a bit behind her and scowled at him. Steve ignored him. “He was popular, but unless you’re interested in taking care of the brat, I’d leave him.”

“Watch your mouth, Rumlow,” Steve growled.

“Spirited,” the alpha woman commented. Her green eyes flashed with approval. It sent a chill down Steve’s spine, but he didn’t let it show. “But you’re right. I’m not interested in caring for a child.”

She walked off and Rumlow bent to spit in Steve’s face before he followed. Sometimes she asked questions about their operation or about the omegas. Rumlow shared some things, but not others. Honestly, Steve wondered how Rumlow still had a job with Hydra. He was too stupid to know when to shut up and frequently blabbed to potential buyers about things that Steve thought would probably be considered… best kept secret.

He kept an eye on them until they left his line of sight. He didn’t relax until he heard the woman leave. She implied that she would return in a few days after she’d had time to think it over. Rumlow left with her. It was something.

“Mama?” said a small voice. “What’s wrong?”

Steve looked down at Bucky, who was looking up at him with big, nervous eyes. Steve smiled down and stroked his hair.

“Nothing, sweetie,” he said.

“I heard voices,” Bucky whimpered. “Are there bad people?”

“There were, but they’re gone, now,” Steve said gently. Bucky tucked his feet in and sat up to wrap his arms around Steve’s neck.

“‘M scared, Mama.”

“It’s okay, baby,” Steve said. “Mama won’t let anything happen to you. Mama’s right here.”

I won’t, he swore for the umpteenth time. He’d die before anything happened to his boy.

Hela practically burst through the door of the 84th Precinct. It wasn’t terribly far from the navy yard and the thought that people in the area could be taking advantage of the omegas Hydra was trafficking turned her stomach. She was torn between wanting to grab her own guns and go on a killing spree, finding her brother and their father right away, or taking a long, hot shower to rid herself of the feeling of filth crawling over her.

Eventually, she decided that it couldn’t wait. She marched straight to her brother’s office and burst through the door. Thor and their father were standing near the window overlooking the city below. Thor was the police chief and Odin was the police commissioner. Thor’s department was the one working on the case and the one to send her to spy on the operation. It meant that she might not be able to prosecute Hydra, but she sure as hell would testify about what she saw if nothing else. She thought of the omega with the young boy sleeping in his lap and the fire in his eyes as he protected his son.

Gods only know what will happen to them if we do nothing, she thought. They turned to her, evidently not startled by her dramatic entrance. It was a trait most of them shared, honestly. Her mother sometimes bemoaned her “family of divas”.

“You need to arrest them,” Hela announced as she walked over to join them. “Because if you don’t, you might need to arrest me when I kill them.”

“I assume the mission went well, then,” her father said.

“Well in the sense that I got lots of evidence,” she replied.

“Enough to justify a raid,” Thor said. “I’ll get my people on it.”

Thor walked over to the desk and picked up the phone. Hela left him to it as she turned to her father.

“They had children there,” she said. “Pups. I saw omegas who were nursing in rags that hardly seem enough to protect them from the cold. How soon can we move on these people?”

Her father scowled in distaste. The situation left a sour taste in all of their mouths, as it would for any decent person. “By morning at the latest,” he said. “By afternoon, I will have the best prosecutors in the city building a case to make sure they pay for their crimes.”

Hela nodded in approval. She appreciated that about him. He didn’t celebrate a victory before it happened and took no joy at the prospect of putting people away for the sake of filling prisons. He was a genuinely decent man. It was a shame she wouldn’t be able to actually be part of the prosecution, but she would be satisfied with helping put Hydra away.

“The sooner, the better,” she replied. “Some of them will need medical care.”

“We’ll have ambulances on the ground to get them to where they need to go,” Odin assured her.

Thor walked back over to them. “The raid will happen tonight at midnight,” he said. “I will call with news when it is available.”

“Good,” she said. “Now if you two will excuse me, I feel disgusting. I’m going home to shower. Let me know if there’s anything I can do. If not, I’ll see you on the ground.”

They nodded and she left the room. She sent up a prayer to her gods to protect the omegas and keep them safe.

Steve was woken up early, or maybe it was late, to the sound of shouting. It took him a full second to also register the sound of bullets. He flew awake and pulled Bucky against him quickly as he shuffled to a corner of the warehouse. It wouldn't be enough if there was trouble. Thankfully, there was a sizeable supply closet nearby. Steve clutched Bucky to his chest and ran past other confused omegas that were waking up over to the closet and locked them in.

“Mama? What’s happening?” Bucky asked. “What’re those sounds?”

“Nothing, baby, I got you,” Steve whispered. “Just stay behind me okay?”

He looked around the room for something, anything he could use as a weapon. There was nothing. Hydra didn’t leave anything out just in case the omegas got ideas. Steve would have to just rely on his own fists.

The shouting was getting closer. Steve pushed the fear to the back of his mind in order to protect his pup. It didn’t matter if he couldn’t kill them. All he needed was a chance, any chance, to escape, to get away, get his pup out of this God-forsaken life. Freedom was out there for them if they could just get out.

But first they had to escape.

“Check the rooms!” came a great, booming voice. “Leave nothing unturned!”

There was a chorus of “Yes, sir!” before people raced past. Whoever they were, they sounded… heavy. Like police officers or at least people prepared to deal with some kind of threat. Steve didn’t let himself hope though.

Someone stopped at the door to the room where Steve and his boy were. Steve pressed Bucky further against the corner to hide him.

The doorknob jiggled against the lock for a moment. A second later, it burst open as someone kicked it in. Steve didn’t think, he rushed the intruder and swung. He landed one punch in the face before the intruder grabbed Steve’s wrists and pinned them to his sides.

“Shh, shh, it’s okay, you’re safe,” he said. He had a deep, smooth voice like a breeze blowing through grass. Steve looked up as he paused. The man was big, taller than Steve was with a wide, gentle smile against a square jaw covered in a blond beard. “My name is Thor Odinson, captain of the NYPD. You’re safe, now.”

Steve stared up into Thor’s face while the words registered. Safe. NYPD. Captain. Thor. The adrenaline that was coursing through his veins dissipated as relief flooded his body.

“Oh, thank God,” he sobbed. He crumpled to the floor. Thor caught him before he could fall the whole way. Steve sobbed with relief into Thor’s shoulder. “Thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you.”

“It’s okay,” Thor murmured. “We’ll take care of you. They won’t hurt you again.”

Steve barely registered the words as he fell apart. It was only for a moment, though. He turned to gesture for Bucky to come towards them. Bucky didn’t say anything, but he eyed Thor warily. Steve stood, his legs shaky now that adrenaline was no longer pushing him to defend himself. It had been days since he’d eaten. He usually skimped so that Bucky could eat.

“Can you walk?” Thor asked.

“Yeah, yeah, I’m fine,” Steve said. He took a few hesitant steps before he stumbled against the wall. His stomach growled loudly.

“When did you last eat?” Thor asked. Steve stared at him.

“Um, not sure,” he said. “It’s hard to tell time in here, but… a few days, maybe?”

Thor raised his eyebrows. In Steve's somewhat delirious state, he thought the man looked unbelievably handsome. Not like any of the alphas Steve had had the misfortune to encounter over however long he'd been held captive by Hydra. “Here, sit,” he said. Steve sat against the wall with his legs out. He pulled Bucky into his lap.

“You gonna call a stretcher?” Steve asked. “It’s fine, don’t need one. Just need a bit to get going.”

Thor ignored him and looked into Bucky’s face with a smile. “Hey, what’s your name?”

Bucky didn’t say anything. He hid his face in Steve’s chest. Steve couldn’t blame him, but he chuckled as he stroked his hair.

“His name is Bucky,” Steve said.

“Bucky. That’s a great name,” Thor said enthusiastically. “Hey Bucky, do you think you can do me a favor? Can you hold onto your mama real tight? Don’t let go, okay?”

Bucky nodded. Steve wrapped an arm around Bucky’s waist and held him close.

“What are you doing?” Steve asked. Thor’s answer was to hook an arm beneath Steve’s knees and another around his side. Steve released a surprised shout as Thor picked him up off the floor and started walked towards the doors of the warehouse like it was nothing. His free hand was wrapped around Thor’s neck. Light streamed through the doors. Steve squinted against the lights shining and flashing against the stark blackness of the night sky. It seemed the most beautiful thing he’d ever seen.