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CHAPTER EIGHT

Black Panther

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BUCHAREST, ROMANIA


"I got eyes on him, Cap."

"Okay, just stand by."

Ana was hiding amongst the crowd, dressed in her stealth suit as she scoped out the area. The market stalls were blooming all around her, crowds and crowds of civilians purchased the fresh goods with friendly smiles on their faces, unknowingly passing an Avenger.

So closed off from the real world, Ana thought with a frown, they had no idea what was going on.

She was leaning on a wooden plank that supported the small hut selling apples next to her. The black overcoat she wore masked her appearance, allowing her to seem normal, like an innocent bystander. She had her sight set on the man on the red shirt and black cap buying plums at a stall across from her.

She always had her eyes on him.

Even when she left Russia, she let the program on her tablet back at the facility track his whereabouts if anything was to happen to him that would require her assistance. Steve was back at Bucky's apartment, waiting there for Ana to come back with his oldest friend. And Sam was on the rooftop, keeping an eye on things.

"He's moving." Sam told her through the radio.

"I see." Ana mumbled.

"Keep a close eye on him, Ana." Steve voiced in concern, as he flipped through a small notebook. He frowned when he settled on a page that was bookmarked with a picture of Ana, and under it scribbles in Russian.

"I'm not going to let him go." Ana sighed and followed at a safe distance as Bucky approached a small newspaper stand, grabbing the abandoned paper he saw the man that eyed him earlier leave behind.

Ana caught a man running off from the corner of her eye. Newspaper — that meant he recognised Bucky. She took a deep breath in, advancing on the soldier as he read the headline, eyebrows creased in confusion.

He looked up, clenching his jaw. This wasn't good. He went to leave, talking the paper with him. Ana was just about to cross the street when a large van zoomed past her, making her stumble back onto the path.

She glared at it. Stuffing her hands into her pockets, she turned her head only to widen her eyes and curse.

"Dammit." She hurried across the road when she couldn't see Bucky anywhere.

She turned a corner, leading up to an alleyway. Hands were wrapped around her in a second, and she was forced back into a wall, away from prying eyes. Ana went to punch her attacker in the chest, when a metal hand whirred and gripped her hands over her head.

"What the hell Bucky?" Ana heaved out, finally seeing his face as he leaned in closer. And by the look on his face, he was surprised at the sight of her.

"I didn't know it was you, doll. I'm sorry." He dropped her hands and settled his own her waist. Ana framed his tired face with her gloved hands and sighed. His lips were pursed, like he was holding back something.

"I know what you're thinking." She started, "And yes. Steve's in your apartment. He wants to see you."

Bucky shook his head, "What's going on, Ana?" He whispered.

"I'm so sorry, Bucky." Ana frowned, "This is the last thing you need."

They pulled back slightly and she frowned, "Do you trust me?" She asked, lightly touching his hands. They tightened around her own and he gulped, nodding. He opened his mouth and replied without any hesitation,

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