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The year was 2012. The Avengers Initiative was a success, or so they thought, until Loki escaped with the Tesseract.

Tony Stark had just got a heart attack and almost died, but thanks to Thor, his life was saved. Tony's arc reactor never did this sort of thing; it was his own design, and Stark's designs were the best. 

Captain Steve Rogers had just met a man that wore his face as his own. For a moment he thought that it was Loki, until the mystery man dropped a compass; the same compass that he had, with a photo of Peggy Carter, the love of his life. He always had it, since 1942, when he first met the lovely Ms Carter and fell in love for the first time. This strange looking man told him that his best friend who died in 1945, James Buchanan Barnes was still alive. The words "Bucky is alive" were still dancing in his mind, like a song that gets stuck in your head. 

The mystery man had whispered "Hail Hydra" to a few S.H.I.E.LD agents, who he knew very well because of their encounter as Hydra spies in the future, in order to get the Tesseract. And of course they thought that it was their Steve, who now was rumored to be an undercover Hydra agent just like them. The Avenger didn't know about any of this, and Steve chose to keep the bizarre man a mystery for himself. But inside S.H.I.E.L.D , all the Hydra agents believed that Captain America was one of them. 

The rest of the Avengers felt helpless; they had just lost their first mission together. 

Now, the 6 Avengers along with Nick Fury and 2 S.H.I.E.L.D agents, sat at a coffee table in the middle of a fancy living room. The view from the front window was beautiful; or usually it was. Now all you could see, not just from that window, but from every window in Stark tower, was the destruction that their battle had caused. The 7 people were looking at each other with disappointment. A deadly silence dominated the place. Outside, everything was in ruins. People lost their homes, maybe even loved ones because of Loki's mad plans. Everyone was sitting around the fancy coffee table, looking down, like little children who try to hide their embarrassment in front of their parents after doing something bad. But this was bad, bad. Not like breaking a vase. It was much more bigger than that. And the consequences were big and terrible. With an angry look in his eyes, Nick Fury broke the silence:

"How did Loki escape? I thought we had him. He was even wearing handcuffs and everything! What happened?"

No one answered.

"Is at least one of you gonna tell me what happened?"

"We did. But then Tony got some glitches in his arc reactor and a possible heart attack, and we got distracted trying to save him, and..."

Bruce stopped talking. He too, was embarrassed because he lost a won battle.

The silence now felt chaotic. They didn't know what to do next, how to get Loki or what they had to do with the disasters in NYC. Thor was surprisingly calm. Deep inside, he knew that him and his brother will cross paths again. In the end, Loki was his best friend too. And no matter how dark and evil Loki's soul might've become, deep down Loki was a good person. He didn't want to harm anyone. 

The first mission of the Avengers was a failure.

Fury thought of what Carol would've done. Carol Danvers, who was a young woman, old enough to be a daughter to Nick Fury, had inspired him for the Avengers Initiative. Every time Fury would hit a dead end, he would remember Danvers and how, back in the 90s, they saved their planet from Ronan. Even at that moment, he was thinking about her.

"I wonder where she is. She dealt with aliens and the Tesseract before. She could be useful in a moment like this.", the disastrous buildings in NYC made him wonder.

"I think I know someone who can help.", said Fury.

Agent Maria Hill, who clearly knew who he was talking about, said in a worried voice:

"But Nick, she said emergencies only. Maybe we can handle this.."

"This is an emergency, Hill. We don't know what threats Loki might be involved in and what he's going to do with the cube he stole."

Tony stared at both of them, and finally said:

"Are you two going tell us what you got or not?" 

"She was a good person. Not exactly your average girl. She had a good heart, that's why she decided to help the skrulls find a safe home. If I use the pager she gave me to call her back, I'm sure she will help us find Loki. And Thor, you're going to go with her."

"Pager? And I thought you weren't enough rinky-dink." , said Tony, amused. Fury looked at him sharply, but decided not to say something. This was just how Stark was. 

Thor was as calm as always, and since he didn't know what a pager was, he looked carefully at Fury, who reached out in one of his inner pockets to get it. After a few clicks, the pager's screen displayed an image that looked a lot like some cliche superhero logo. A star between two stripes, a red one and a blue one. Thor, who knew who the symbol really belonged to, spoke with anger:

"Those are the symbols of the Kree! Is Danvers a Kree?" 

"Relax, Danvers hates the Kree. It's a long story, but Carol isn't exactly human. And she's probably galaxies away." , said Fury with a short sigh.

Natasha Romanoff analyzed their discussion in silence. She had been in missions plenty of times, but she had never failed. This was a new feeling for the ex Russian spy. The feeling of being a failure.

"Fury, why don't me and Clint help with rescuing people who got affected by the battle?  Meanwhile, Thor can give us a hand until Danvers gets here. Tony, you've been through enough. You should take some rest. Your heart attack could've happened because of the experience in the wormhole. Go to Pepper. We'll be fine."

Stark was too exhausted to argue. He knew that his heart attack was not because of the wormhole or because of some glitch. But he was fine, and that was important.

Saying this, Natasha and Barton made their way to the exit, to help civilians.

Steve, who really didn't know what to say or do, spoke with a cold, reserved expression:

"I have to go. There's something that I want to sort out. Call me when Danvers gets back."

Stark felt a weird sensation about his leaving, and asked:

"You good Cap?"

Steve nodded, saying a short "yes", and left.

Bruce talked to Fury about trying to track the energy of the core and see if he could locate it, before Danvers came. Maybe he could be of help. Agreeing to his plan, Fury left with Maria Hill and Sharon Carter, heading to S.H.I.E.L.D Headquarters.

In a small apartment in Brooklyn, Captain Rogers stood silently on his bed, thinking about what his other self had told him. What if Bucky,  was, really, alive? What if the man was warning him about something? What if he could see his beloved friend again, who to him, was like a brother since childhood? 

"No matter what, I have to see if this is true.", said Steve to himself. And the first place he would look was a Hydra base, since, that was the first possibility.

"Romanoff could help me. She's a spy, and we get along quite well. And something tells me that I can trust her."

Holding his cell phone and shaking at the same time, Steve rang Agent Romanoff.

"This is Rogers. This might sound inappropriate, but I need your help."

"I knew you'd call", said the red haired lady. Steve felt a shake.

"Meet me in front of your apartment in half an hour. We need to talk.", she spoke

 

Chapter Text

Steve was running; he ran as quickly as he could (which was incredibly fast, yet too slow for whatever place he was in). The place surrounding him seemed like a lake; but he could run on the water! What a miracle that was, indeed. He ran as fast as he could, but what was he running after? A little boy with dark hair was running in front of him…

“Bucky!” he yelled, “Wait up, Buck! You know that I’m not that fast!”

Steve looked down at himself and realized why he couldn’t run; he, too, was a child. And even though his consciousness told him that something wasn’t right, he still ran after the child.

Bucky on the other hand, was fast and wild. His height was way better than Steve’s, and his health too.

“Bucky, stop! Come on pal!” yelled out Steve in frustration, even though his voice sounded a bit squeaky. Pre-serum Steve was not as strong as the Captain America that we know today. His innocent look was still the same; and the bright eyes the same. In the end, Steve was still who he used to be: a good man with a good heart.

All of a sudden, Steve noticed a man in front of Bucky; a man who was tall and dark, in a way that you couldn’t see his face. He didn’t feel so good at the sight of that. And then he saw a shiny logo on the soldier’s chest: a weird looking creature that resembled an octopus with a skull for a head.

HYDRA.

“Bucky NOOOOO!” he exclaimed, feeling the danger the child was literally running towards. But Steve wasn’t fast enough. The HYDRA soldier grabbed the young boy, who now that Steve could see his face, was without a doubt, a younger Bucky.

He surely wasn’t older than 15; his features were sharp and his face was shining in the bright lake. His reflection.

“Steve….” , he said trembling, “you could’ve saved me, Steve. Now look what you have done” ,  he continued, pointing to his reflection. It disappeared.

The disappearing made a strange noise, that sounded a lot like someone knocking. That noise stopped Steve from jumping on the soldier; and all of a sudden, Captain Rogers was back in his apartment in Brooklyn. A loud, really loud knock; that honestly sounded a lot like a punch instead, made him jump.

“Romanoff!!!” he yelled at himself, running towards the door. Good thing he didn’t say her name out loud, for the gorgeous red head was standing at his door. As gorgeous as she indeed was, she was an even better assassin.

Before Steve could even say “Hi” and give an explanation for not meeting her like he promised, the woman standing in front of him pulled out a gun.

“How did you…why….” , he started, confused. He couldn’t understand, just like you, dear reader, how she managed to bring a freaking gun all the way to his apartment, nor why she actually brought it to threaten one of the nicest people in the world. But before she could point it at him or do something, she was interrupted by one of Steve’s neighbour.

“Captain Rogers, “ said the bald lady; she was wearing a yellow robe that gave an Asian vibe. Natasha hid her gun as quickly as she had taken it out, and never in a million years would someone have realized that the ex Russian spy was carrying a gun.

“I see you have visitors,” she said smiling at Natasha, “Captain Rogers, I’m just here to bother you for a glass of water…if I may, of course.”

That didn’t make much sense to Steve, or Natasha; and probably not to you either. But Steve was a nice man, and friendly too. Without asking for any explanations and saying a short “sure” in a low voice, he brought his neighbour a glass of water.

Before drinking it, the woman said, looking into Steve’s eyes:

“Water is a symbol of life. It’s never too late to save that reflection”, and then with a couple of sips, she drank the water and handed it back to Steve.

Natasha still had absolutely no idea what was going on, but when Steve remembered the little boy and the soldier that he had completely forgotten about, he whispered the name that his neighbour, somehow knew.

Bucky.

“Good day, Captain Rogers.” , said the lady and left in the blink of an eye. Her house was incredibly bizarre; she almost never had any visitors. Steve had been to her house once, the first day he came to his Brooklyn apartment. She had lots of Nepali-Indian souvenirs and hippie-like decoration. She called herself “the Ancient One”. But she was a very humble person.

When her footsteps completely faded away, Natasha pulled out her gun again and pushed Steve inside, closing the door behind her with a loud bang.

“Now tell me, Rogers, who are you? I mean really who are you?”

Steve, who was standing confused with a gun pointing at him, was regretting everything he had done in the last 24 hours.

“Ms Romanoff, I don’t know what you’re talking about. Please, put down the gun, and let’s just talk like normal co-workers.” , said Steve.

“You are lying. Are you a spy too?”, continued Natasha in a slightly aggressive way.

After all, the Red Room in Russia made her a little unstable compared to the other female spies. She was tortured and trained to be a weapon, not a person. That was indeed unfortunate, for she had a good heart, that could’ve easily been corrupted by the aggressive way she would behave. Inside, although she could stop. Listen and even care for someone, her body language didn’t accept that; she was far from that. But if she would’ve known that “love is for children” was just her own dark thoughts making her immune to feelings, she would’ve let Steve explain to her.

“Natasha, please. I can explain. I just wanted to talk.” Steve was too exhausted to yell back, and his 1945 gentleman didn’t allow him to hit her. A hand-to-hand combat would’ve been amazing, but it wasn’t worth it. Bucky’s reflection was dying.

After hesitating a bit, Natasha decided to listen to him. But just to save her time and energy, she decided to “interrogate” him instead. The door was locked, and so were the windows. Just so Steve, if he wasn’t actually Steve, couldn’t get away. Steve was definitely not made for this, but if he had a chance to save Bucky this way, he was ready to do anything.

“First of all, Ms Romanoff, I want to know why you brought a gun to my house, and why you are interrogating me.” , said Steve, looking into Natasha’s eyes.

“Because, Rogers, I am still an agent for SHIELD and a spy. And anything that happens in HYDRA reaches to me as well. It is a complicated way to live, but I always end up getting what I want. There are 3 HYDRA bases that told me about your encounter with a few of their members, who’d like to remain anonymous. They claim to have heard you use their motto, “Hail HYDRA”. And trust me Rogers, I only act like I know everything. I want to hear an explanation from the double agent himself.” Natasha looked directly on his eyes, deep down feeling that he could be innocent. But that didn’t give an explanation for what he did.

The other man. Of course.

“Ms Romanoff, before you jump to some other conclusion, allow me to tell you that I would rather die before using those cursed words. HYDRA took everything from me; everything I ever cared about or loved was snatched away or killed… and now that there may be a chance of things to be different, we’re wasting a lot of time doing this. I think I should tell you something.”

Natasha sat down at the kitchen table.

“This better be good, Rogers.” , she said to herself. This was like a completely new interrogation. Interrogating a friend. If there was something that Natalia Alianova Romanova hated more than weaponizing children like herself, it was betrayal. She couldn’t stand it.

And now Steve told her everything. The other him, Bucky, even his dream and why his neighbour was talking in riddle.

Natasha listened to him, quietly, and even though Steve thought it couldn’t be, she believed what he had told her.

She believed him when no one else would….

“Then maybe it was your other self who met the HYDRA agents. But wait a minute if you met him at Stark tower, the only “agents” there were Rumlow and Jasper Sitwell…”

“Aren’t they SHIELD agents?”

“Unless they’re undercover for HYDRA…”

Uh oh.

After a long pause, and both of them trying to connect the dots for their problems, Natasha asked Steve:

“Do you have a photo of Bucky? Any old one, anything…!”

“Yes, I think I do.”

He got up from the kitchen table, and headed to the living room. Next to his armchair there were some wood furniture. He opened the left drawer on the bottom and got an old photo of him. It had been in a museum about them; and Natasha certainly didn’t have time to go to one of these as a spy, agent and assassin.

Natasha looked at the photo and after analysing it well for a couple of minutes, she exclaimed:

“Боже мой (bozhe moy)” , which meant “Oh my goodness” in Russian.

You alright, Ms Romanoff?” , asked Steve, a bit worried.

“That’s ….. the Winter Soldier….” , she whispered.

And she told him her part of the story. About the Winter Soldier shooting her. She didn’t know that was Barnes. HYDRA’s greatest weapon.

And then Steve remembered Zola’s experiments on Bucky, when he was captured in 1945.

“It all makes sense now… Bucky is alive….” , he said with hope in  his eyes….

“Steve, I’m so sorry I didn’t listen earlier. If this is true, we need to start doing something now.”

Steve put a hand on her shoulder, and looking deep in her eyes, he spoke:

“It’s okay, we all make mistakes Natasha. I am just glad that you listened.” Saying this, he got up and made 2 cups of coffee, and brought absolutely all the books, papers, and of course many memories he had about HYDRA. Natasha did the same; she was ready to take down any enemies of her family’s anytime, as she considered SHIELD her family.

After many hours of work, things started to fade away, and Steve had fallen asleep on his armchair like a grandad. Re-reading old files was never a hobby.

And Natasha crashed on the couch without even realizing. Some documents labelled “1991” covered her face.

Suddenly, Steve’s phone rang.

Chapter Text

“Hello? This is Rogers speaking. “ , said Steve,  waking up quickly and answering his phone.

“Captain Rogers. This is agent Hill from SHIELD. Agent Fury wants you back at Stark Tower. Have you heard from Romanoff?” said Maria.

Steve turned around and looked at Natasha. She was sleeping on the couch, effortlessly. Her beautiful red hair touched her rosy cheek, hiding her face behind a beautiful strand of red.

“I will bring her along, don’t worry.” , he continued, and then hung up.

He turned around again and looked at Natasha. Deep down, he felt a burning desire; a desire to keep staring at her for a little longer. Somehow, staring at her, there, trusting him enough to crash at his place, made him feel comfortable. He felt like he could be himself a that moment, but not because she was asleep. Her presence somehow made him feel like that. His burning desire had to be put on hold, and he decided to stop staring at the red head. It felt weird, staring at a stranger like that, but being familiar. Feeling safe. Steve was a soldier; all his life he had missed the feeling of being safe. No threats, no lies….

But even if he wished to, he couldn’t stop. In a way, Romanoff believing in him and helping him made him feel safe. Deep down, the American soldier knew that there was something out of the ordinary about the Russian spy.

“Romanoff!” he said in a low voice, “Romanoff, wake up!”

She hadn’t moved a bit. The captain walked closer to the couch and kneeled, closer to her face. With a gentle touch, he moved the strand of red from her face and whispered:

“Romanoff…” , and with a smile on his face, he looked into Natasha’s eyes.

“Hm?” , she said cluelessly.

Opening her eyes, she saw Steve’s sky-blue eyes, and for a second, Steve thought her expression said so much more than her eyes would usually tell. For a second….

She was lost in those eyes….

But the moment ended quickly…

“Steve…., are you okay?” , she asked, getting up, indicating to Steve that he should do the same.

“Hill called. Fury wants us back at Stark Tower.” , said Steve, getting up, in a rather embarrassing tone.

“Let’s go.”, said Romanoff, being surprisingly active for a person who had just woken up.

Steve took his phone, while Romanoff took her jacket. Getting a glimpse of the clock, he noticed how late it was. But trouble didn’t care whether it was 4AM or not and neither did Fury).

Steve rushed to the door, locked it, and followed Natasha.

“Are we gonna walk all the way to Stark Tower?” , he asked, rushing after the woman who, in a parallel universe, had just sacrificed her life to help the Avengers get the soul stone. But these Avengers had NO idea….

“Would you like a cab? At 4AM?”, she said sarcastically, clearly annoyed. It seemed that her waking up did have side effects….

“Just follow me.”, she continued, making her way through a tiny alleyway.

Steve followed her quietly in the alley. New York was a big place; but even in this huge city, the silence at that time felt deadly.

The Avengers didn’t have much luck in the daytime. Their first mission had failed, Loki had escaped. People were scared; no one wanted to be outside after knowing what they knew and seeing what they saw.

On their way, Steve and Natasha didn’t say a word to each other. Steve was thinking about Bucky; after losing all his hope, and now knowing that there was a chance he could be alive and well again…. Steve was ready to do whatever it takes to save him. Natasha on the other hand was lost in some Russian dream of hers, that was once a nightmare. The cold chilly streets of New York sometimes reminded her of Moscow. The bright stars could be a little visible from where they were; all a Russian dream…

Stark Tower was as bright as ever. Bu now, instead of the usual Stark logo, there was just an ‘A’.

“A for Avengers…” , thought Steve.

Natasha walked in when Steve opened the door, and JARVIS, Stark Tower’s AI , instantly told the rest of the people:

“Captain Rogers and Miss Romanoff are in the building, sir.”

“Thank you JARVIS”, said Tony Stark, who was sitting down at his penthouse, on the top floor, with the rest of the team. In this vintage living room, the modern touch made it look beautiful at night. Apart from the original team chosen by Fury, a new member stood in the Stark home. Her hair was golden, like the rays of the sun, her eyes hazel like two drops of coffee, and a very concentrated look. Any person with experience could’ve told that she was soldier material. It was almost like it was in her blood. If Steve would’ve aged like any other man back in his day did, this young lady could’ve been his daughter. She almost felt like a female Captain America, but strength was different. She could shoot photon blasts like Thor’s lightning, lift cars like Bruce, fly like Tony Stark, and of course fist-to-fist fights like the Black Widow and Hawkeye. Back in the 90s, Carol and Fury had a “lovely” experience with aliens for the first time on Terra, or planet C-53.

Stark had a bad feeling about what had happened earlier, but he couldn’t put the blame on anyone but himself. If only he wouldn’t have had a problem in that moment, maybe Loki would’ve been with them, and Carol Danvers, who was on a space mission, wouldn’t have come to help their irresponsible selves.

Anyone who knows what really happened, knew that Tony Stark WAS to blame, just not this Tony Stark. But this Tony Stark, just like any other Tony Stark had the bad habit of blaming himself for every little thing that could go wrong.

Clint had made everyone espressos, because in a time like that, sleeping would’ve been a stupid decision. The elevator made a ‘ding’ sound and its door opened.

“Rogers. Romanoff.”, Fury said, looking at the two who walked in.

Carol walked closer to Steve, and shaking his hand she began:

“Captain. It’s a pleasure to meet to meet you. Agent Romanoff.”, she continued, shaking hands with Natasha.

“Captain Danvers. It’s an honour. Fury told me a lot about you.”, smiled Natasha at Carol.

But Carol was truly fascinated by Steve, more than she was by Natasha. Of course, Natasha was an amazing fighter, but as a person in the army, Carol considered Steve a legend. Growing up, Carol had heard a lot of conspiracies in the army about the man who was now standing in front of her, flesh and blood. She always took him as a role model, and of course, wanted to be like him (don’t we all?).

Carol never had a good relationship with her parents, and Maria Rambeau was the only person she had close to family. Somehow, when you don’t have a strong relationship with one or both of your parents, you start searching for that maternal or paternal role model in someone else; someone who impacts your life everyday and encourages you to be a better person (what all parents should do). in a way, Carol saw Steve fit to be her father. She was, after all, initially, a pilot. And Steve’s story from 1945 played a big part in her choice.

Every time a man would tell her that she’s not fit to fulfil her dream because of her gender, she would close her eyes, and see Captain America telling her she will do it. So many dreams, so many imagined stories about Steve telling her she would be an amazing pilot….

Fury waved his hand in a graceful way, indicating that they should all sit down.

Steve looked at Tony, who was sitting down, looking at him. Their eyes met for a second; but was it out of hate or friendship? Stark, unlike Danvers, hated Steve with his entire heart. Howard Stark was obsessed with Steve when Tony was small, and always made him feel like he wasn’t enough. Turns out that Carol and Tony did have something in common: weird parents.

Fury didn’t sit down; he wasn’t the sit-down-and-chit-chat type. He didn’t approve of the coffees either, but Stark reminded him who’s house they were at; he really wanted to show Thor what Midgardians drink when they meet their friends. In Asgard it was usually something alcoholic, but it wasn’t allowed on earth, certainly not at a meeting.

Carol took a deep breath and without further ado, she began:

“Fury told me that Laufeyson escaped with the Tesseract, but what I don’t understand is…. Didn’t Goose have it?”

“The stupid cat spit it out after a while. This time we were able to do proper research on the cube.”, said Fury.

“Who’s Goose?”, asked Tony, with curiosity, and continued with sarcasm: ”Are we in the Top Gun universe all of a sudden?”.

“Goose is a…cat, I guess.”, said Fury, who still didn’t come to terms with a flerken’s true nature.

“A CAT?”, said Tony, chuckling loudly, “Oh Fury, you really are rinky-dink.” , and continued laughing.

“Goose is actually a flerken. They’re alien beings that look like cats but they aren’t exactly like them in nature. Long story short, the Tesseract matters right now.”

“If Loki took the Tesseract, it must be for a reason much bigger than one planet domination. If he wanted to destroy the world, our world, he could’ve done it. But he didn’t.”, said Bruce.

“Does that mean he could be working with a much bigger power?”, said Natasha. She wasn’t a scientist, or a person with experience in the alien world, but she was smart.

“It’s possible.”, said Thor.

Fury walked closer to the coffee table, picked a cup and standing back straight, he looked at his cup, and said:

“I don’t care what Loki will do with the damn Tesseract. Thor has to take him back to Asgard, WITH the Tesseract. That’s the Avengers’ first mission; and even if it seems like we are in a slump, we can still make things right.”

“If a more dangerous person has the Tesseract, then Earth is still in danger; more than before.”, said Steve, picking up his cup of coffee.

Bruch hesitated a little, but built up the courage to say to the team:

“If I go with Thor and Ms Danvers, I might be able to track the signal of the Tesseract. It might make it easier for us to find the cube, and Loki.”

He was very scared of making a mess after turning into the ‘other guy’. It must’ve been hard, living a double personality, but not knowing anything about the other one. But he trusted Thor, and Carol. They were strong enough to help the Hulk turn back to his old self. Not just physically strong, but emotionally strong.

“You’ll love space, Dr Banner. But if we want to catch Loki, we must leave now. Fury, I’ll take one of SHIELD’s Quinjets, if that’s alright.”

“Of course, Carol.”, said Nick, and saw her rush to the elevator. But in less than 10 seconds, she returned, and a little embarrassed, said to Tony, looking at him:

“Mr Stark, is it alright if I take one of your cars instead? With what happened in the daytime with Loki, I don’t wanna alert anyone, flying around NYC like a meteor.”

Stark scoffed and said:

“I hope you don’t get a scratch on it like the time when we were younger and…”

“Wait you know her? You were friends before she got here, Tony?”, said Bruce.

“Friends… isn’t exactly the term I’d use for us.”, he said, looking directly in her eyes.

Carol stood straight, and looking back in his eyes, said:

“I assure you, Mr Stark, nothing of the sort will happen.”

Tony took a deep breath, like a person trying to forget a very distant memory, and sipping his coffee, continued:

“JARVIS, escort Ms Danvers to the car garage and make sure she doesn’t break anything on the way.”

“Of course, sir.”, replied JARVIS, and Carol, made her way to the elevator. Tony was still looking at her, and before getting inside, she turned around too.

Thor looked at her too, and after the door shut, he said:

“I like this one.”

Everyone pretended like what Odinson just said didn’t happen, for the sake of everyone’s souls.

Fury immediately changed the subject, turning to Tony and said:

“Tony, you should stay in till Pepper comes back from Washington. I will meet you shortly afterwards, there’s an interesting project I want you to see at SHIELD.”

Tony and Fury had a weird relationship; part of it was like Captain Holt and Jake Peralta. Fury truly cared about him. But Tony didn’t think that.

“Romanoff any missions assigned to you?”, continued Fury, looking at the redhead.

“Yes, agent. Me and Captain Rogers shall go undercover in a HYDRA base. I’ll send Agent Hill the details.”, she replied sharply.

“Banner, you and Thor leave when Carol gets here. Clint, you’re coming with me. You and Stark will be working on this mission I have for you two.”

“Amazing, a kindergarten project…”, said Tony sarcastically.

Fury looked at him disappointed, and trying to end the conversation, he said:

“Dismissed.”

Fury left in the elevator with Agents Hill and Carter (Sharon).

“Be safe Tony.”, said Natasha, looking at her friend one last time before the elevator came back to take her and Rogers.

“Goodbye agent Romanoff.”

Steve was glad he could go on a proper assigned mission with one of his new co-workers. Being a runaway would have been a lot harder.

He and Romanoff left the building and headed back to Steve’s place.

“We need to make a plan, Rogers. You can’t just go to them and expect them to welcome you with open arms.” , said Natasha, walking into Steve’s apartment.

Steve paused for a second, got a glimpse of the clock that said ‘6:30 AM’ and said:

“Unless that’s exactly what we do. HYDRA thinks I’m one of  them…right?” he said, sitting on the sofa.

“Steve, we still need to plan this well. Everything we’ll be doing. I told Fury we’re just storming in a HYDRA base, not the entire thing. We still need to be careful.” , she said.

Picking up the file that was next to Natasha’s papers, labelled “1991”, Steve opened it.

All of a sudden, Natasha saw a horrifying look on his face, upon reading the mystery file.

“Captain, you alright?”

“Romanoff, you might want to see this…”