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I'm sorry for leaving you all hanging. I had writer's block, and was just plain lazy.
The Asset falls stiffly to the pavement of the Tesco parking lot. He would think he'd been hit by some sort of sedative dart- perhaps HYDRA has caught up to him for real- but he had not felt anything pierce his skin.
The Asset finds himself paralyzed. It's somewhat similar to the sensation of his body freezing in the cryogenic tank that he experiences for the few seconds before unconsciousness, except without the cold.
THE ASSET IS NOT FUNCTIONING. MISSION COMPROMISED. CANNOT PROTECT HARRY THE HANDLER.
That really could have gone without the voice saying it, the Asset thinks as he tries to overcome his paralysis. The escorts who were supposed to drive the Asset and Harry back to the plane had been paralyzed by the enemy asset's weaponized stick, but the enemy asset is nowhere to be seen. Perhaps he teleported behind them, and is simply keeping out of the Soldier's sight range.
Like the escorts, the Asset can only move his eyes.
Then, all of the Asset's weapons fly away from him, except for the prosthesis. The servos whir, but the metal arm is paralyzed as well.
"Batman?" Harry the Handler asks, standing in the middle of the food that had fallen out of one of their bags. He seems unharmed by the shattered brandy bottles, fortunately, although Nighty seems to have stepped in one of them and the dog lets out a pained whimper. "Mr. A'set?"
The Soldier cannot respond to his handler like he is supposed to. "We go to sleep now?" The boy asks, as if he decided to sleep without his handler's permission. Does he not see that his eyes are open? The boy's eyesight seems terrible without his glasses.
The greasy-haired enemy asset that he had rendered unconscious suddenly appears as if from behind an invisible curtain, very conscious this time. He's holding a cloak, which is apparently what made him invisible The cloak is better camouflage than the Asset has ever seen. It's as if he was actually invisible under the cloak.
The man is also holding a broomstick, which is a poor choice of weapon, but perhaps he had no other choice after the Asset took his weaponized stick. The Asset wonders if it is a larger version of a weaponized stick, disguised to look ordinary.
No, it seems the enemy asset has his weaponized stick back. It could have been a different weaponized stick than the one he took, except the enemy asset is currently sneering at him for having dared to take it.
The Soldier reflects that he really should have finished off this enemy asset, instead of just rendering the man unconscious during their fight the previous night. No witnesses has been a standing order for every mission, so why had he left this man alive?
That poor decision really came back to bite him in the ass; the man had come back with reinforcements.
Then, a robed old man with silvery hair and a beard that both reach his waist pops out of nowhere, but he's not holding a cloak. When did they invent cloaks that grant invisibility, as well as cloakless methods, and why does the Asset not have it? Skilled as he may be at avoiding detection, it would be easier if he could turn invisible as well.
What are these men, wizards? The enemy asset had done some impossible things, much like Harry the Handler. Is Harry a wizard too? Is that why these two are coming after them?
The enemy asset grabs the Soldier, while the old man takes Harry the Handler's hand and grabs onto Nighty the dog. "You are safe now, Harry." The old man says. The enemy asset grabs onto the old man's arm, still holding onto the Soldier, the cloak and the broomstick.
Suddenly, he Asset feels a sensation like a hook grabbing his navel, and then he's being squeezed through a tiny hole. It's very unpleasant and rather nauseating, but he does not expel his stomach's contents. He couldn't right now, his jaw is locked shut.
Besides, even this sensation isn't as painful as a lot of what he's experienced in HYDRA facilities or even in the field. The Asset is used to pain, and his pain is unimportant.
The Soldier shoves those thoughts aside and focuses on his new surroundings when the squeezing and spinning stops.
He's in an entirely different place than the Tesco parking lot. He's inside some sort of office that looks like it was combined with a castle. There's a large desk and a lot of books, and strange instruments that probably are not used for torture. Sitting on a perch is a red bird of an unknown species.
The enemy asset had teleported them, which he'd done during their fight. Or was it the old man?
The Asset hears his handler expelling his stomach's contents yet again. He cannot fault the boy for doing so after that experience. He hears Nighty the dog doing the same.
The Soldier would snarl if he could move his mouth. The old man has no right to touch the Soldier's handler, let alone hurt him with the teleporting. Nighty the dog should bite the old man so he will let go of Harry the Handler, but the dog does not do this.
Hey, The new voice says Pick on someone your own size.
The Asset would have phrased it differently than the new voice, but he understands the sentiment. The man needs to get his hands off Harry the Handler, now.
The Asset can only glare at the men. Both men seem immune to his glare.
The enemy asset places the broomstick against a wall, and then does something with his weaponized stick that makes the Asset float upright in midair, though his boots still brush the ground.
The enemy asset starts to walk out of the office, down a spiral staircase that moves like an escalator, leaving Harry the Handler, Nighty, and the old man behind. The Soldier follows unwillingly in midair as if pulled by an invisible rope. He can hear Harry the Handler call out to him, but he can't do a damned thing about it as he's led away.
He even hears his handler trip and fall on the stone floor, letting out a slight whimper. That is unacceptable. The handler should not be injured. Then they reach the bottom of the spiral staircase, where there is a statue of a winged creature, and the Asset can no longer hear his handler.
The enemy asset seems completely unconcerned that he occasionally bumps or scrapes the Asset's floating body against the stone walls. There is a light shining out of the end of the weaponized stick that the Asset had left behind in the lodge. Perhaps the weaponized stick had not been a tracking device, after all, as this enemy asset still found them after the Soldier ditched the weaponized stick.
He scans his surroundings as much as he can without turning his head, memorizing the route they're taking so, once he escapes, he can make it back to the last known location of his handler. The old man had better not move his handler far away from that office.
What is the old man planning on doing to his handler? Will he hurt the boy, as HYDRA would? If that old man lays a finger on Harry, the Asset will kill him. He just has to be able to move.
The Soldier does not waste energy trying to move when he knows that he is somehow immobilized. As soon as this invisible force stops incapacitating him, he will strike.
He notices some rather odd things are happening in this place, but considering the odd things the two possible-wizards do, it is not surprising. The paintings are moving, rather like the movie screens, except they clearly aren't screens. The subjects of the paintings shout out to the Asset and the enemy asset as they walk. Some of them shout out at the enemy asset to put the light on his "wand" out. Others inquire as to who the Soldier is.
The enemy asset does not answer the paintings. Will they act as spies and alert the enemy asset or the old man of the Soldier's location, if he escapes?
The stairs move, too. Not like an escalator, because whole sections of stairs simply turn, changing which door they lead to. It is a security measure that the Soldier has not encountered until now. Who controls the stairs? The paintings everywhere on these staircases? There is no way the Soldier would be able to avoid detection.
He's led floating through several stone corridors and then down more stairs. These stairs are dark and cold and surrounded by walls unlike the open stairs above. It gets colder the further they descend, and the Asset is reminded of some bases he's been kept in.
He's finally led into a room that looks quite like a dungeon. The levitation ceases and he falls unceremoniously to the floor, still paralyzed. The enemy asset looms over him, looking rather like the Asset with long dark hair, dark clothes, and an intimidating expression.
It's obvious the man is planning on interrogating or torturing the Soldier. Both, probably. The Soldier doesn't know what methods or techniques the enemy asset will use, and the Soldier can think of hundreds of ways to inflict pain on targets (all of them are things he is itching to do to the enemy asset). What can the man do to torture people? Are weaponized sticks create torture methods even more effective than HYDRA's, or the Asset's own methods?
He notes that his captor looks rather tired, as if he hasn't slept much more than the Asset has, aside from that one stint of unconsciousness. The man is probably not enhanced to require less sleep, even with a powerful weaponized stick. It is good he seems tired, as he will likely be slower to react and more likely to make mistakes or overlook things, making the possibility of escape more likely.
There are numerous jars and vials filled with strange-looking liquids and substances lining the shelves on the walls. The Asset wonders how many of them are poisonous, and whether they will be used on him. He should be immune to most poisons, but this man somehow managed to paralyze him and can make things float and do other impossible things.
The enemy asset flicks his weaponized stick, and ropes appear out of thin air, wrapping themselves around the Soldier to bind him tightly.
This is not like the restraints that strap him to the Chair or operating tables. The ropes seem pointless, as he's still paralyzed.
"Don't try anything stupid. You won't win this time." The enemy asset sneers down at him.
Suddenly, the Asset's paralysis is gone. He supposes the reason the man bothered to release him from paralysis is because he's about to be interrogated and he'd been unable to talk before.
Breaking through the ropes binding him should be easy. He'll be one step closer to returning to his handler, although he still doesn't know how to avoid the paintings' eyes. But he pretends to struggle ineffectively against his bindings. When the man turns his back, expecting the Soldier to be neutralized, he'll break them and strike. The enemy asset won't know what hit him.
Except the ropes squeeze him tighter when he pretends to struggle, until he's no longer pretending to break out. Even with his enhanced strength, he can't break through them.
Of course the weaponized stick would be able to make ropes that even he can't break. Weaponized sticks are extremely annoying in the hands of enemies. This man turns his back to the Asset.
His prosthetic arm whirs slightly, and one of the plates shifts. The Asset uses the edge of the sharp metal plate to cut at the rope as he jerks his arms outwards. The ropes break, falling to the floor, and he silently sprints towards the enemy asset. This time, he won't leave him alive.
However, the enemy asset has turned around, perhaps hearing the servos whir. He points his weaponized stick at the Soldier, who flips a table covered in glass vials and a cauldron to use as a shield. The vials shatter on the stone floor.
The man flicks his stick again, and the table suddenly turns into water, which makes a huge puddle at the Soldier's feet. He almost slips in it, which should not happen. Such clumsiness would be punished by HYDRA agents.
Suddenly, the Soldier is hoisted into the air by his ankle and is left dangling by an unseen force. He tries to reach for some sort of weapon, but anything he could possibly use has already flown out of his reach. Trying to pull his hoisted leg out of whatever is holding it is ineffective.
He dangles by his ankle, waiting for the man to get close enough for him to strike, but the man isn't that stupid.
"I said not to try anything stupid." The man sneers. "I may have underestimated you before, but trust me, it won't happen again."
With another flick of the wand, the Asset is encased in metal from his neck to his feet, still dangling upside-down. Struggling once again proves ineffective, and his prosthesis plates won't be able to saw through this like they did the ropes.
Well, this man isn't getting anything out of him. The Asset's been trained to withstand interrogation and torture, on the off chance that he was captured. He also had to avoid reacting to anything his handlers did to provide correction or maintenance.
One of the vials flies off a shelf and into the enemy asset's hand. The contents of the vial probably do something unpleasant. He's been subjected to chemical and medical experimentation before, as scientists tested the effects of his serum. Whatever that vial does, he's probably experienced worse.
The Asset clamps his mouth shut, but the man just pinches his nose, obviously planning on waiting him out.
After 3.7 minutes, the Asset isn't even feeling light-headed and still has his mouth clamped tightly shut, much to the enemy asset's annoyance. The Asset can hold his breath for a 5.5 minutes, one of the benefits of his enhanced body.
The man manages to pry the Asset's mouth open and tip the vial of liquid inside. The Asset is about to spit it all over the enemy asset's face, but he clearly predicts that and covers the Asset's mouth before he can do it.
Scowling, the Asset swallows. Hopefully his serum will counteract the effects of the liquid. This man probably doesn't know he's enhanced.
"Are you the 'Asset'?" The man asks as if he already knows the answer. Had he captured the escorts? The Asset had left them petrified with the unconscious enemy asset. It was a serious slip of judgement. If he had just killed him, he wouldn't be in this situation now, and Harry the Handler would still be safe with the Asset.
The Asset does not plan on replying to this man. And yet his lips move and he answers truthfully, even as he tries to stop himself, as if the answer's being forcefully pulled out of him.
"утвердительный." He ends up answering an affirmative in Russian, even though he's been using English the past few days with the escorts and then Harry.
The man seems to guess that утвердительный means to either confirm nor deny, but he doesn't seem to know which one. It helps that the Asset's voice and face display no emotion, like peoples' do, because he gives no hints as to the meaning.
"Do you speak English?" The man asks, slightly slower. Again, the Asset starts to reply truthfully before he can even think of lying. Does this liquid somehow make him tell the truth? That shouldn't be possible.
The man briefly seems annoyed that the Soldier is only responding in Russian, but then he smirks and says "Coby."
There's a popping sound and a... creature appears, as if teleporting here. It's only a little bigger than Harry the Handler and proportioned like a child, but it's head has large pointed ears and huge bulbous eyes. It's completely bald and wearing some sort of robe with a crest on it.
"What can Coby be helping Professor Snape sir with?" The thing asks eagerly. The asset would not have guessed that the enemy asset, Snape, was a professor.
"Do any of you happen to speak Russian?" The enemy asset- who the Asset will not think of as Snape- asks Coby stoically.
The thing thinks for a bit and then grins, eyes bulging out even more. "Oh, yes sir! Booshky is speaking Russian sometimes! Should Coby retrieve Booshky for Professor Snape, sir?"
"There is no need for that. I can summon her myself. You are dismissed, Coby." Snape says. Coby disappears with a pop, and after a second, Snape says "Booshky."
Another creature seeming to be the same species of Coby pops into existence, only this one is wrinkly, suggesting she is older than the former one.
"Professor Snape, sir, called for Booshky?" The thing apparently named Booshky asks, bowing its head slightly. Her voice is as eager as Coby's, although she sounds like an old lady.
"You speak Russian, Booshky, correct?" The enemy asset asks.
"Yes, Master Snape. Booshky used to serve at Durmstrang." Booshky replies.
The enemy asset's lip curls. "I didn't think Durmstrang was in Russia."
"Only those who go there know where it truly is, but some students there speak it."
"Translate what he says for me." The enemy asset jerks his head towards the Soldier.
"Yes, Professor Snape sir."
"What is your name?" The enemy asset addresses the Soldier this time, but he won't be getting an answer.
"The Asset does not have a name." The Asset answers unwillingly. Yet he continues to speak in Russian, so the enemy asset will have to rely on this odd Booshky creature for translations.
"The Asset is saying the Asset does not have a name," Booshky relays the message.
"Your accomplices also referred to you as the Winter Soldier." The enemy asset says. So the two escorts had already given away HYDRA secrets. The Soldier is one of HYDRA's biggest secrets. Had the answers been ripped out of them, or had they just squealed like pigs?
"'Winter Soldier' is an approved designation." The Soldier confirms, even though he once again was trying to keep his mouth shut. Booshky translates this for the enemy asset, who seems to grow annoyed.
"Answer my question." The man orders. "What is your real name?"
"The most recent designation is 'Batman'."
"Batman?" The man briefly glances at the Asset's clothes, but evidently doesn't seem to know that- according to Harry the Handler- they are Batman clothes.
The man starts to grow annoyed, clearly not understanding the Asset's words. The Asset almost wants to smirk for some reason, even though doing so would probably be deviant behavior.
"Perhaps you are immune to this potion, as you were to stunning." The enemy asset muses. Whatever the petrifying thing was, the Asset should be immune to that, since it had severely compromised the mission.
Yet the enemy asset still asks another question. "Do you know what happened to the other residents at Number Four, Privet Drive."
"They were to be disposed of after collecting the target Harry James Potter." The Booshky creature's large ears perk up when she hears the name. "The Asset strangled Dursleys in their sleep, before providing medical aid to the boy and blowing up Number Four Privet Drive."
"The boy was your target?" The man scowls. "What does HYDRA want with Potter? Your associates failed to answer the question."
"The Asset was not told what would happen. It was simply told to acquire the boy and deliver him." The Asset knows that Harry the Handler would have been hurt, though.
"The Asset defected and failed the mission." The creature repeats this in English after it's wrenched from the Asset's mouth.
"You failed at delivering the boy." The enemy asset surmises. Whatever feelings he has about it, he hides them very well.
"You were at a muggle ski lodge." The man continues, sneering. "Yes, I tracked you there, and found several dead bodies."
"They tried to take us back. He would have been hurt." Hurt like the Asset is hurt.
"You had just murdered a family, and were about to murder several others, yet you had qualms about delivering a boy?" The enemy asset watches him with a calculating look. "You feel... protective of Potter." He says the name Potter as if it's filth.
Booshky has been watching the Asset more and more warily as this interrogation has gone on, but she seems to relax slightly when the enemy asset says this.
The man scowls. "You are immune to this. Your associates told me you're nothing but a mindless assassin. You cannot feel protective of a boy."
Booshky's shoulders slump slightly.
"You won't be able to deceive me." The enemy asset raises his weaponized stick. "Legilimens."