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Rivers and Roads

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Steve has been trained in the bored professional look by the best. He’s practiced it, refined it, perfected it. He thanks god (or maybe Romanov) that he can fall back on that muscle memory. Because he’s on a floor of this building higher up than he's ever been before, sitting in an office that looks like it's made of money. There are bookshelves lining the walls filled with dark, leather-bound books and a large window along the back wall, showcasing the city skyline. Steve is sinking into the leather chair with its arms that come up to his shoulders and studiously not wiping the sweat off his hands. 

Agent Malik Harris sits in a matching leather chair next to him, looking smug, if a little twitchy around the eyes. Steve's pretty sure he's never been up here either.

The T.V. screen sitting on the desk is turned to face them, and Alexander Pierce, self-assured and cool, hands clasped together at a desk in an undisclosed location, stares out at them. Steve's worked in this building for 2 years and this is the first time he's so much as heard mention of Alexander Pierce. But Harris' deferent attitude tells him everything he needs to know about the chain of command here, and the classification of wherever he's being transferred.

“Agent Harris has been impressed by your dedication and intelligence,” Pierce says. “He tells me you've been doing good work, furthering our cause.”

“Yes sir.”

Pierce frowns, then leans forward fractionally. Steve feels like a mouse about to be swept up in the talons of an eagle. Or maybe a hawk.

“Why did you join Hydra?”

Steve wets his lips. Finally, someone fucking asks. He's practiced this.

“I believe in peace, and I believe this organization is the only one capable—you, sir, are the only one capable—of making the tough decisions that need to be made before peace can become a reality.”

Pierce smiles briefly. It could be fatherly, encouraging, if not for the coldness in his eyes. “We could use men like you on some central operations.”

“I’m happy to be of use wherever I’m needed.”