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nothing in the universe happens just once

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This really is an oddly slow day…suspiciously slow.

One secretary on her lunch break, trying to decide on a sandwich, three suits sitting down, all too well-groomed, all with accents she hadn’t quite been able to place…the lightest lunch rush she’d had since wartime. What if…

No, maybe I’m just overreacting since I’ve been working with the SSR so much. I’m out of my waitressing jive. Not that I ever had one. I have tried pretty damn hard not to. That must be it.

Another man comes in, older than the others, giving her a slight nod. She gestures for him to possibly sit down, keeping her peripheral vision in his direction as she turns around and grabs a menu; she puts the menu back when she sees he’s going towards the coffee and sandwiches.

He meets eyes with all three other men. Angie gulps, realizing that her gut feeling was holding water, but decides to play along.

“Can I help you with something, sir?”

“Not right now, thank you, Miss,” he turns around to smile at her - and that accent was most definitely Polish. She’d lived sixteen years in Greenpoint, for God’s sake.

He “accidentally” bumps into the poor secretary, and she startles enough that the book bulging from his jacket pocket falls onto the floor. The young woman apologizes - ugh - and as she hands it to him, Angie has to fight to keep from rolling her eyes.

Brothers Karamazov…and to think, I'd have believed they'd at least be discreet about this.

“No, no, miss, it was my fault. Here,” he reaches into his pocket, pulling out some money and shoving into her hands. “You should go get yourself something swell, yes? My treat.”

Isolate the suspect. Remove civilians from harm.

Well, at least they were getting the civilians out of the way, right? Even though she was fairly sure it was less about removing them from harm than minimizing their trail and making sure they had as easy a time as they could with her? Not that it really helped Angie either way…

It did help that they weren’t making it as hard for her as they could: generally, when your enemy can’t make a plan work, it’s not the best idea to try to replicate that plan. And in the same place? That was just plain tacky. But she could let them off the hook for their lack of creativity - it was reasonable of them to assume she wasn’t as dangerous as Peggy. Besides, it could give her a leg up.

The Polish man spots Angie looking at him from her place behind the bar. He sees her calm smile; what he doesn’t see is that she’s untying the apron from the rest of her uniform.

Hi, God, I know I don’t talk to you all that often anymore, but please don’t let this go all belly up on me.

“I have come to find women in America quite...particular. I do not wish to seem ignorant or impolite,” he says, feigning friendliness. As he turns to face her she sees the familiarity in the way he presents himself, very like Fenhoff. That would not be to his advantage.

Sixteen years in Greenpoint, she reminds herself. Nigh on two decades of acting classes and workshops. A three-month intensive course on Russian. Five years of waitressing, and a little over three weeks of intelligence and combat training.

Babushka always used to remind me that Noah and his family were amateurs when they built the ark. I may not have a plan, but Leviathan - if these men are Leviathan - has already stumbled in theirs.

What was that saying that babushka would tell me when I made a mistake? Ah, yes. It was a Polish proverb, but perhaps he’ll feel the weight of it in Russian…

“Kazhdaya oshibka imeyet svoy povod,” she says casually. “Vy izvinilsya.”

Every error has its excuse…you are excused.

All four of the men are standing at that point, two of them with hands heading to their hips, and she wonders if perhaps speaking in Russian hadn’t been the best idea. After all, she really wasn’t as dangerous as Peggy. And Peggy’d had Jarvis with her.

The only other person inside the restaurant at this point was the cook, who never heard a thing - he read and filled the orders, and when he did talk he was one hard-boiled pain in the necks of anyone who could hear him, so it was usually better that he just listened to his opera music and did the cooking. But there were four men in here with her, and one who’d been standing outside smoking right next to the revolving door who she now can surmise has been on guard - and that meant she was definitely on her own for this hootenanny.

Think, Angela. Peggy played her whole thing through with you. You can do this. Take a breath.

She twirls around quickly, grabbing an empty platter from behind the bar.

“Now who was it that ordered the knuckle sandwich?” she says, still feigning a sweet voice, and hurls the platter as hard as she can across the restaurant. It hits one of the men right above his Adam’s apple, and he cries out as he stumbles to the ground.

Angie thinks of her work with the SSR, shoves her palms into the top of the counter, and pops herself over it and into spitting distance of the Pole, as ready as she’ll ever be for what’s about to come.