**Disclaimer: I don't own Captain America *sad sigh* I only own my OCs.
This is a story that has been bouncing around in my head since I saw The Winter Soldier a few months ago. I'm going to keep publishing my Supernatural fic, but my updates might be a little slower if I decide to keep this one going.
I find it's a little hard to keep updating one story, let alone two. So, if this story doesn't seem to catch some interest, I'm gonna take it down. (you can take stories down, right?)
I really hope you enjoy this!
PS~ I really tried to capture Dr. Erskine's German accent. I'm not sure if it worked or not, but I did try my best and am very open to any suggestions. (I also didn't wanna offend anyone)
I nervously paced in the hall, my skirt swishing around my knees and my shoes making light tapping noises on the marble floor.
"Oh...Oh what am I gonna do? What am I gonna do? What am I gonna do?" I said under my breath, my eyes slowly widening and my hands moving to comb through my hair at my temples.
"Lordy-what am I gonna do?" I said, just a little louder.
"Some-zing wrong, miz?" I heard an accented voice ask from my left.
I jumped and spun on a heel. "Yeah-Yes, yes, I mean yes. Yes, yes I'm alright, everything's alright." I answered quickly, all in one breath, nodding, as I looked at the man who'd spoken to me. He was older, with a graying beard and hair. Clearly, he was German, going by his accent and was wearing round glasses.
"Ah' you sure?" He asked me again, this time narrowing his eyes a little and leaning towards me.
"I-Uh—I-I'm sorry, who are you? Are you a professor here?" I asked, quickly picking up my bag from the floor.
"Oh, no, no I am not." The man laughed, bringing his arms out from behind his back where they had been clasped; there was a file in one hand. "I vish I 'ad attended a school like zis." He said, looking around the hall. I wasn't sure what to do, so I nodded, pulling the strap of my bag over my shoulder.
"You look like you've done some-zing you shouldn't 'ave," the man added, a certain knowing, almost mischievous, look in his eyes.
"Um..." I said shakily, instinctively taking a step back from the man and towards the door I had been pacing in front of.
Looking at me out of the corner of his eye, the man stepped around me and opened the door. I shut my eyes as he did, only opening them after I had ducked my head and was looking at my shoes.
"Oh my..." The man said, looking around the small lab. "Vell, you certainly 'ave accomplished some-zing 'ere." he said, walking through the lab.
I sheepishly looked up at the man, looking around the room appraisingly. I'm not sure why. The only stocked lab station was by the window, and it was the epicenter of the black streaks that came from the explosion that had occurred minutes earlier.
"'Vat vere you trying to accomplish, exactly?" the man asked, looking at a half-charred notebook on the lab station.
"I-I was trying to-to-uh..." I gulped loudly and tugged on the end of my blonde braid. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. "I—I was trying to synthesize a chemical mixture. There-There was an electrical component…" I trailed off, looking at the blackened walls again.
The man nodded, and continued to look at my charred notebook. Putting the hand with the file back behind his back, my curiosity didn't let me not look at the name.
Brightman, Annabelle J.
Confused as to why this elderly German man had my New York State University file, I spoke up again. "Uh...Sir?" I asked hesitantly.
"Hm?—Oh, pardon me," he said, leaving my desk. "I never introduced myself." He paused and held out his hand. "Dr. Abraham Erskine."
"Anna," I said, taking his hand.
"Yez, yez I know who you are." He admitted, a knowing look on his face.
"You have my file." I pointed out, gripping the strap of my bag tightly.
"Yez," Dr. Erskine said simply. "Yez I do."
"...Why?" I asked slowly. The name 'Erskine' seemed all too familiar.
"Mizz. Brightman, iz zere a reason someone wiz your test scores and intellect is going to a school such as zis? Why not…eh…Cornell or Colombia?" He asked me. "You 'vere accepted, 'vere you not?"
I shrugged. "I'm the youngest in a family with nine children and one parent. A place like that, even with scholarships, is too expensive. I'm paying for all of this on my own anyway, my father just wants me to go be a school teacher or a housewife somewhere."
"'Vat if you could go to a university like zat?" Dr. Erskine ask me.
I blinked a few times. "I-I'd say it's a bit early." I stuttered out, implying he was drunk.
The doctor chuckled and shook his head. "Miz Brightman, I have an offer for you."
"What kind of offer?" I asked skeptically, narrowing my eyes.
"'ave you 'eard of ze SSR? Strategic Scientific Reserve?" Dr. Erskine asked me. I shook my head 'no.' "Vell, I guess you 'vouldn't 'ave." He sighed. "Zey are 'aving me put togezer a team for a project, codename 'Rebirth.'" He said the project name like it was unnecessary, almost annoying.
I nodded, showing I understood.
"Ze gave me a list of students, vetted and competent of helping 'vit ze lab vork involved 'vit ze project." The Doctor continued.
Then, it seemed to make sense why he had my school file.
"S-Sir, there-there must be other students-from better schools-who would be a better choice-" I started to ramble.
"Perhaps," Dr. Erskine said, shrugging ever-so-slightly. "But none of zem 'ave written over two dozen papers on ze subject of ze project."
"They were never published." I muttered sadly.
"Oh," Dr. Erskine chuckled. "Zat 'vouldn't stop ze SSR from finding zem."
Taken aback, I just stared at the doctor. "I-I'm honored that you would consider me-"
"Oh no, Miz Brightman, I chose you." The doctor corrected me.
"-Choose me," I repeated, getting back to my point. "But I have to decline." I finished. The doctor looked at me, almost confused.
"I-I've worked really hard to get a scholarship here, and I'm almost-" Dr. Erskine cut me off again.
"You 'ave been attending zis school for zree years for a degree, and are only 'alf vay zroo." He told me, making me look down at the floor. "But…I'm sure ze SSR could manage you a doctorate from one of ze more…prestigious, schools in New York." He said, a certain look in his eye.
My eyes widened, I was at a loss.
"I-I-" can't think of a reason to say no. "What's the project?"
I had my hands up on the table, my nails tapping against my glass nervously. I knew I didn't have to be nervous, but I was. This was the type of place I go to, not anymore. I looked so out of place in my plain beige skirt and white blouse. My hands kept reaching under the table to run my fingers over a small run in my stockings. Barely noticeable, but the small imperfection made me anxious.
I'd been good about not touching my hair, a habit I had since I was little; when I was nervous, I played with my hair. Pulling the tight curls down and letting them bounce back in place, tucking it behind my ears, taking parts out from behind my ears, things like that.
My father hated it, thought it made me look constantly nervous and skittish. The again, around my father I was constantly nervous and skittish.
I wished Billy would have picked somewhere else to meet. He'd picked a bar not far from the apartment we grew up in. It was all dark wood, soft leather and the newest music. Billy and I used to come here all the time. The first thing he did when I turned 21 was take me here and order me one glass of every type of wine they had. He claimed it was so he would know what kind to buy me for my birthday and Christmas, but I think he just wanted me to get drunk. I didn't. I wasn't a big fan of alcohol.
"Anna," I heard my older brother, Billy, say fondly, then a hand came down on my shoulder and squeezed. My nose scrunched up in annoyance as he kissed the top of my head. "How 'ya been sissy?" he asked as he sat across from me at the table.
I shrugged. "Alright." I sighed, glancing back to the table as a waitress came over to take Billy's drink order.
"Aren't you gonna ask about dad?" Billy asked, leaning back in his chair.
"How is he." I said flatly. It wasn't even a question, just a bored statement.
Billy laughed once, just a little breath out his nose as he shook his head. "Yeah, I don't really care either." He sighed, taking the glass of scotch off the tray the waitress brought over.
"What about the rest of us?" I asked him, trying to sound casual, but I wanted to know about my brothers. I had my fingers on the stem of my wine glass, spinning it on my napkin. 'The rest of us' was a term Billy and I used to refer to our 5 older siblings.
"Fine. Jim and John are working at dad's practice now. Greg is so panicked about, well, everything—you know Greg—that he's staying with Aunt Macy in Montreal. Kevin's in the Navy, enlisted last week." I listened intently as Billy went through our brothers oldest to youngest. "And Henry's trying to get into medical school, fast. Doesn't want to go over."
I nodded, spinngin my wine glass again. "What about you?" I asked.
Billy stopped spinning his scotch and looked up at me with a guilty look in his eye. He set his scotch down on his coaster and put a hand into his expensive jacket and pulled out some folded papers. He set them on the table and slid them towards me with one finger.
My gaze narrowed and I snatched the papers up, reading them quickly. "The-The Air Force?" I hissed at him, shocked. "What-What about your job at dad's practice?" Billy was a promising young doctor on his way to being a partner at our dad's practice, even though he was only 22, and had two older brothers over him "What-What about—Damnit, Billy what about me?" I asked, my lower lip trembling.
Billy was looking into his scotch, spinning the ice around again. "Only a matter of time before they really start drafting guys. Not cut out for the Army." Billy reasoned. "'Sides, dad was a medic."
"Yeah," I scoffed. "And he's definitely a man to strive to be like." Billy gave me a slight disapproving look as he took another sip of scotch. "Why didn't you tell me you were even thinking about this?" I asked, folding his papers back up.
He looked at me sheepishly. "'cause I knew you'd look at me like that. With those sad eyes 'ya got." He said teasingly.
We sat in silence, letting the noise of the bar fill it.
"What'd you wanna talk to me about? Sounded bad on the phone." Billy said a few minutes later.
I took a sip of my wine, wirkiling my nose at the taste, before answering. "You know how I wanted to go to Colombia for my chemistry degree?" Billy nodded. "Couldn't go 'cause I couldn't afford it…I-I have an…opportunity, to get my degree from Colombia."
"Really? That's great Anna!" Billy said, grinning at me. He looked so proud.
"But, I wouldn't be going there, not-not really." I peeked up at his now confused expression. "I can't talk about it much, but this doctor came to me. Said I could get my degree for free, just assist on a project for the Army."
"Wow…" Billy trailed off. "Hey, why do you look sad?" he asked me, giving my shin a light kick under the table.
"This is for the Army, Billy. One stupid mistake by me could put people's lives in danger!" I said in a hushed whisper.
"Yeah," Billy said with a dismissive shrug. "But, Anna, if you do it, you could save lives."