XX. Siberia

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Chapter Twenty

I never get tired of looking at him. It's past midnight now, and Bucky has been asleep for a little over an hour. He looks so peaceful, so beautiful. I feel the strongest urge to touch his face, to run my hands through his hair, to lay in his arms the entire night.

But I can't. Letting out a quiet sigh, I shift into a mouse, crawling off the bed, and jumping onto the floor. Once I'm there, I shift back into a human, grabbing my clothes off the floor and beginning to get dressed. Once I am, I make my way over towards the desk in my room and grab a piece of paper. As quietly as I can, I begin to write him a note.

You would have done the same thing. I can't wait around while innocent lives are in danger. She said to go to the place where he died. She meant Julian, so that is at the HYDRA base in Siberia. That's where I'm going. Hopefully I'll return in a few hours with Analiese in custody.

In case things do go wrong, please know I love you. Tell Alex, Khari, and the others I love them too. I'm sorry I left.

Yours, always

I drop the pencil on the desk and bring the note over to my pillow, lying it down there gently. I remember being so angry at Bucky all of the times he left or pushed me away to protect me. Part of me wondered why it was so easy for him to do it. But I realize now, that it's the hardest thing someone can do for the people they love; leave them. I also take off his dog tags, placing them on my nightstand, not wanting to risk losing them.

I make my way towards the window, opening it gently, feeling a small breeze blow against my cheeks. I take one last look at Bucky, holding back the tears prickling in my eyes, before I activate my suit. I jump out the window, shifting into a hawk, flying towards our ship.


It didn't take long to reach Siberia. I've been getting very good at flying these ships on my own, and as I land a little ways down the mountain, the ship barely jerks or jolts. I turn off the engine, making my way off the ship and outside into the brisk morning air.

I hadn't been back here since Bucky and I were kidnapped while in England. I can still hear Bucky's screams of agony as those three HYDRA agents electrocuted him. It sends chills down my spine just from remembering it.

When I make it to the base, I find that the front doors are already open. My powers begin to roar in my ears, alerting me to the danger that is awaiting me. The same warning it gives me whenever Analiese has been around, is going off in me now. She's definitely here. Without another moment of hesitation I walk inside, trying to keep calm.

The entire building is dimly lit, with the dark grey walls and floors barely illuminated as I make my way into the base. There's a strong stench of dust and mold, probably since this base hasn't been active for many years. I remember when I spent a year here, even then it was cold and dark like this.

My powers become more lively the closer I get to her, so I follow where my instincts tell me to go, making my way into the elevator shaft. I press the button, listening to the gears grind against each other and the whole elevator creek as it begins to descend the levels of the base.

When the doors open, I know she is on this floor. Her scent is very prominent. I recognize this floor, it's the one where the Winter Soldiers were kept. That included Bucky. I remember when I was fifteen, I came down here once after dinner and saw an empty chamber, right next to the frozen bodies of the other Winter Soldiers. I know now he was put under cryo to stay young, but back then I just thought it was a normal occurrence for HYDRA soldiers to be frozen. I remember having nightmares of being frozen myself, and grew a fear of this floor. I actively avoided coming here if I could.

Now I'm back here, walking around a corner and seeing the chambers of the Winter Soldiers. Their bodies are still inside, frozen and unmoving, with bullet holes in the middle of their heads. The room is very different from what I remember, even from nine years ago. The whole place looks destroyed, with metal and glass scattered everywhere.

"From what I heard, this mess is partially your boyfriend's fault," I hear a Russian voice say from my right. I find Analiese Remington leaning against Bucky's empty cryo chamber. "But I understand Steve Rogers and Tony Stark were also involved. I doubt they were the ones to kill the other soldiers, but if one of them did, I say good riddance."

I place my hands in my pockets, eyeing the dead soldiers surrounding us. "Did you ever encounter any of them while you were in HYDRA?"

She shakes her head. "No. Thankfully not. I was stuck in the lab for my time in HYDRA, but you already knew that didn't you?"

I stare at her for a moment, piecing something together. "My shirt. That's why you took it, to track me. After each clue you went to the destination to make sure we went there."

Analiese shrugs. "I had to make sure you pieced things together."

"The attacks, the clues, separating me from the others, all to get me here. How could you be so sure I would come?"

Her face turns rather cold, but her voice remains calm. "I knew in Greece I couldn't get you; you're constantly surrounded by other super powered people. Julian told me all about you, about your heart and your compassion. I knew if I put innocent lives at stake, and told you who I was, then you would come."

I nod, feeling my anger and sorrow return as I remember all of the people she has killed to get me here. But I also remember the pain this woman goes through everyday. I shake my head, feeling more confused than ever. "Why do it? Why give yourself the serum in the first place?"

Analiese takes a step forward, locking her hands behind her back. "I was born with Osteoporosis. It's a rare bone disease that makes it so the bones in your body are brittle, like twigs. I thought the regenerative healing could help. And it did, I don't have the disease anymore. But as you can imagine, it gave me some side affects."

I nod. "Now you can't control your powers. So, when PROJECT SHIFTER came along, you had Julian mix the serums, for what?

Analiese smiles, and it makes chills for down my spine. "We both saw it as an opportunity. If mixing the serums made it so you could control your powers, then we would steal the serums and give it to me. Clearly our experiment was a success."

"Is that what you want to do with me? Use me to fix your powers? Make you control them?"

She takes another step forward, her hands still behind her back. "More like take them away."

"You want to make a cure?"

"And you're my serum supply."

"You don't have to do this," I tell her, seeing the desperation and fear in her eyes. It reminds me of when I couldn't control my powers, of a time when the beast within threatened to take over. "I can help you, I can make the pain go away. I know how it feels, better than anyone. I know what it's like to fight for control between the animal and the human. I know that constant battle in your mind. You have lost part of your humanity to the beast. I know deep down you don't want to do this. You don't have to go down this path to get what you won't, you don't have to torture and kill."

"Julian used to tell me that your heart would make you a weak HYDRA agent. He said you believe in others and trust them too quickly. He was right, you're unbearably naive."

"I prefer the term optimistic."

"You're optimism isn't going to get you anywhere. The moment I say yes to your help I would be behind bars. No one is going to help me, which is why I have to do this."

She says, before bringing her hands from behind her back. A small bottle is in her hand, and before I can react, she sprays it's contents in my face. Within seconds, I feel my body hit the ground and my eyes fall shut.

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