So I'm back with a new story, I've been obsessing over Avengers for a while now, and I've been doing my research on characters in the comics vs. the movies. So I'm going to try and bring some of that to this story. My OC will be raised in the Red Room, so we're going to see a lot of flashbacks with her and her relationship with Natasha both before and after the Avengers films. I'm estimating with dates and locations so bare with me, I'm super excited for this fic to get going and even more excited to hear your feedback.
1: Red Room
Location: Department X – "Red Room" Training Facility, Moscow, U.S.S.R
Date: February 1955
One minute I was cloaked in darkness, the next I was blinking my grey eyes rapidly to subdue the burning discomfort from the suddenness of the small room coming alight. The hum of the lights overhead drowned out by the alarm, it's shrill tone vibrating off the cement walls and waking each of us from our sleep. It was the normal routine; wake up, bed check, breakfast, and then training. I hurried to make my bed before assuming the usual position at the foot of my bed. I hardly paid attention to the others as I did so, their movements were blurred in the corner of my vision as I kept my focus straight as we all waited for Madame B to do the morning bed check. As soon as she finished her walkthrough, we fashioned ourselves into two lines and hurried out of the sleeping quarters and entered into the dining hall. It was quiet as always, a few hushed whispers slithered through the air, but even those were barely audible over the sounds of our spoons scraping against the ceramic bowls. I found comfort in the silence, just as I was taught to.
"Did you dream last night?" A voice beside me asked quietly. I tilted my head slightly, noticing the raven hair, immediately putting a name and face to her voice.
"No," I mumbled before swallowing my last spoonful of porridge.
"Are you nervous…about today?" I knew what she was asking. I was going to be training with Madame B and another, it was assessment, I would have to kill in order to move on to the next round of training. Her question caused my throat to tighten, but I kept my composure.
"No," I said again. But I was. I was nervous, frightened even. I hadn't killed yet, none of us had. But it was time for elimination, to sort the weak from the strong; the ordinary from the assassins.
"Liar," she whispered harshly. She was right, but I wasn't about to give her any indication I was.
"We'll see, I just hope it's not you and I they match today," I kept my tone pleasant, light even as I turned to her.
"Afraid you might lose?" she mocked, a smirk tugging on the corners of her mouth.
"Not at all Maria," I smiled, completely aware that we were being watched, "I'm more than confident in saying that I would succeed, and you would be dead."
"You can act the part of most valuable player, but when its time for you to play the game, we'll see who's left standing," Maria turned away, smugly finishing the remains of her breakfast just as an alarm signaled us to move into the training room.
"And that will be me, right over top of your cold lifeless body," I didn't wait for her to reply, instead standing to join the others as we made our way into the training room. Our usual circle formed around Madame B, who stood patiently in the center in her usual black attire.
"Welcome girls," she began just after the doors to the training room closed, signaling the beginning of the lesson and that no one could leave until we finished, "As discussed, limits are no longer applied to todays training. Today's lesson will focus on three major components: technique, endurance, and the kill."
Just as she finished speaking, the doors behind us opened and we all turned to see who was joining the lesson. We had been told there would be a new instructor, but the man who entered looked more like a machine than an actual person. Though it was only his right arm that gleamed a silvery metal, his features were stony and his walk was almost robotic you would think he wasn't human.
"Girls, this is James. He will be leading today's lessons before we finish with a few matches. Fight hard, every move counts," Madame B warned before dismissing us into two groups. We were to alternate between our usual trainer Niko and James, and as Niko used two girls as an example of our lesson my gaze wandered over to the other group. Their lessons looked far more intense, two girls had already been injured drastically thanks to our new instructor. I watched him now as he stood across from me, his focus on the other girls as they sparred against one another. His hair was short and dark, accenting his strong squared jaw. Everything about him was terrifying, and it fascinated me. His blue eyes snapped up to meet my steel gaze, and I quickly turned from his glare, catching the end of our instructions and moving to find a partner.
"Shall we?" Natasha appeared at my side, her playful smirk taunting me.
"Don't you get tired of losing?" I teased as we moved into position.
"I think we're about even at this point," Natasha reminded me, I rolled my eyes as I brought my hands up into place, after we both nodded, we quickly went into action. Before I knew what was happening, Natasha had me in a chokehold facing the other group, unfortunately James was watching us, and his cold blue stare was focused on me. Feeling the pressure to impress the new teacher, I reached behind Natasha's neck, driving my elbow into her side and pushing her head down as I quickly turned to the side. I shoved her onto her stomach, getting her hands behind her and holding them firmly in my grasp. I looked up to see if he had been watching, but his attention was again on his group, his back to Natasha and I.
"Yield," Natasha grunted, I looked up at Niko, and when he nodded I lifted myself off her, waiting in position until she was ready to spar again. We were just finishing our fourth round when Madame B signaled us to switch. We hurried over to James, Natasha and I quietly arguing about who won the last round. Again we were instructed to get into sparing groups, but the focus was different, rather than simply trying to over power our opponent we were instructed to learn our partner's movements, predict their movements and use that to knock them out. This was a technique most of us weren't very skilled with, as we had only begun actually fighting one another recently. At first I thought nothing of it, finding it to be easier than expected until James stopped our sparring and walked over to where Natasha and I stood.
"Switch partners," he said stiffly. Natasha quickly moved, tapping on another girls shoulders before taking her place. Normally I wouldn't have a problem fighting someone else, but when I saw Maria's smug little face standing across from me, I had to fight back the instant urge to roll my eyes, "continue."
Maria didn't wait for the nod, taking his cue as a go and immediately going into attack mode. I blocked her hits easily, but because she was so quick to attack I couldn't find a spot to make my own attack. I took this as an opportunity to learn her movements, and soon I found her rhythm and was finally able to find a gap. I lashed out my hand, roughly slamming the side of my palm against the middle of her throat. She stumbled back, reaching to her neck as she tried to gasp for air. I didn't wait for her to recover, I connected my fist to her jaw and again she stumbled back, blood dripping from her lip. I leaned back, quickly adjusting my weight before bringing up my leg. I was about to kick her in the chest, effectively breaking a few ribs, when a flash of silver blocked my view and a steel hand locked onto my ankle. James twisted my leg, causing my body to turn and fall to the ground once my balance was lost.
"Save it for later," James warned. He turned to look at the others, instructing them to switch before dismissing Maria from the next lesson. Normally this wasn't allowed, but he thought her jaw had been dislocated and it would need to be mended before the matches later this evening. The others kept away, obviously concerned after witnessing my previous spar.
"I don't have a partner," but my concern was quickly erased when a silver fist came towards my face, and my focus went into blocking his attack. I saw what happened when he tried to demonstrate his lesson to the previous group, the girls were still bruising, and I was in no state to take a beating when I had a match coming later on. I blocked each attack, waiting to see if I could find a rhythm, but he had none. Instead I found a blind spot, ducking from his next attack and hooking my arm with his and pushing myself so I flipped over him. I reached my foot forward to trip him, but he quickly moved to face me and we continued. His attacks were getting faster and his hits were getting stronger. I knew I would be bruised, but I wasn't about to yield, instead jumping up when I found another gap and lifting myself onto his back, my arms wrapping tightly around his neck. It didn't last, as I knew it was a risky move with someone so experienced. He reached back, easily pulling my tiny frame off of him and slamming me down onto the ground at his feet. It went quiet, the room only echoing our heavy breathing as he stood over me. Our gazes held for a moment longer before he broke it, looking away to once again instruct the group to change partners.
The rest of training continued like this, only a few ours later were we released from sparring to take a break. Afterwards would come the matches, and I already knew I would be part of that today. Natasha and I quickly took a quick water break before finding a seat in the corner of the room, our conversation focused primarily on the sparring and who we thought would be put into the matches.
"You?" Natasha asked curiously when I told her I knew I would be one of them.
"Madame B said something yesterday, that I would need to prove myself more, and that today would separate the weak from the strong," I shrugged, I knew it was coming, not all of us could be the greatest.
"Do you think you're weak?" Natasha asked.
"No, but I don't think I could kill someone," I mumbled as I leaned back against the wall.
"You nearly did, If James didn't stop you…"
"I wouldn't have killed her," I interrupted.
"I've never seen you like that, he even told you to stop, twice," Natasha sighed, leaning back against the wall next to me.
"He did?" I didn't hear him. Maybe she was right, maybe I would have killed her.
"We all heard him, it was like you were in a different place. Madame B even looked impressed," Natasha nudged me playfully, but my thoughts were whizzing around my head, distracting me from our conversation.
"Alright girls, lets begin," Madame B called us all from our break. Natasha and I stood up and hurried over to kneel in a circle. My thoughts were still distracting me, and so when I felt Natasha nudge me roughly again and snap me from my daze I knew I was in trouble, "Annika?"
I stood up when I heard my name, I was still young, maybe ten, so when I walked over to Madame B I had to crane my neck just so I could look up at her.
"Annika you will be matched against Maria," Madame B smiled tightly just as she walked out of the circle. I watched as she walked away, still trying to comprehend the fact that I was first, and I was fighting Maria. I knew everyone was watching me as Maria stood up, her face pale against the white bandage on her cheek. She pulled it off, tossing it aside as she entered the circle. We both knew what had to happen. I had to kill her, or she was going to kill me. Madame B's voice interrupted the panic coursing in my body, "Begin."
It was like a switch. One second I was afraid for my life, and the next I felt like a gun locking in on my target. I had no emotion as I stepped towards Maria, immediately engaging. It was clear that she was still frightened, her moves were sloppy and she was primarily blocking my attacks. I kept my movements sporadic, avoiding a pattern and keeping the element of surprise. I punched her twice, my fist finding the same spot as before as it connected with her jaw. I heard and felt the crunch underneath my knuckles. Again I braced my weight, raising my leg, but this time there was no teacher to stop me, I shoved her chest with my heel. Again I heard the crunch and crack of her bones breaking. No doubt I had punctured a lung and was minutes away from victory. She managed to get a few weak hits in, but I was quick to recover. I threw myself on top of her, bringing her up in front of me and wrapping my arms around her neck, my hands in position. I looked up for the final approval, not expecting it to James' eyes I met rather than Madame B's. He clenched his jaw, nodding his head stiffly. A millisecond later and my hands twitched her head to the side effectively breaking her neck and killing her. There was no applause, just silence. I stood up, my eyes set on Maria's bloodied face as Madame B's deep voice finally broke the silence.
"Very good, Annika." And just like that I snapped out of it; the red creeping away from my vision as I came to. I killed. Maria was dead and I killed her. I looked up, my posture straightening as I met Madame B's gaze and felt a small smile spread on my lips. It was so wrong, but it felt good. It felt good to win, it felt good to get approval from my teachers, and it felt good to get respect from the other girls. It felt good to kill.
My other chapters will be longer, but this one is just a bit shorter so as to get the basics for Annika and her life in the Red Room, next chapter will most likely take place before the first Avengers film, PM with any input or information I should know about when writing about the Red Room, I'm still learning (It's a lot to try and learn all at once) and I hope you guys enjoyed the first chapter. Please review, follow and favourite! Cheers.