The winter soldier had returned to their room bruised and disoriented. She attempted to catch him when he stumbled in. Of course she had been flattened instead, but at least she tried.
Nobody brushed back his hair, burying into his crystal eyes. He was so lost. She knew he wasn't willingly apart of this hell. When he had spoken with her the night before, he had ensured an escape was possible. She wouldn't let him down. If he was unable, she would take control.
"Winter?" She said.
He tensed. His eyes moving to hers. He recognized her.
"You're safe now," she said. "I promise. When you're in my arms, no one will dare touch you."
Of course this was a lie. She had no strength with the collar on. The words still seemed to carry some effect. His face appeared to soften. She ran her hand over the side of his head. Her heart ached for him. No one deserved this.
"I will get you out this. Trust me," she said. "You will never suffer again with me at your side. I won't let you."
She wanted to weep when he brought his hand to her cheek. He was still in there. He knew her. They were in this prison together and she wouldn't leave without him. She would murder everyone in this place before they could drag her away.
Steve arrived at his apartment, stopping when he heard music playing inside. He turned around, heading around back to the fire escape. With caution, Steve slid into his apartment though the window, he grabbed his shield for protection and found Fury sitting on his couch in the dark.
"I don't remember giving you a key," Steve said.
"You really think I'd need one?" Fury asked. "My wife kicked me out."
"Didn't know you were married," Steve said.
"A lot of things you don't about me."
"I know, Nick. That's the problem," Steve said. "
Steve turned on the closest light and noticed Fury's injuries, but Fury indicated for him to be silent. Steve turned off the light and Fury wrote something on his phone. Fury turned the phone towards Steve; "ears everywhere"
"I'm sorry to have to do this, but I had no place else to crash," Fury said.
Fury typed out another text and showed Steve; "SHIELD compromised"
"Who else knows about your wife?" Steve asked.
Fury showed him another text; "You and me"
"Just...my friends," Fury said.
"Is that what we are?"
"That's up to you," Fury said.
Before Steve could ask another question, bullets flew passed and into Fury. The impact collapsed part of Steves apartment wall. Steve looked out the window for the shooter and he dragged Fury to the next room. before Steve left Fury handed him a flash drive.
"Don't...trust anyone," Fury said. "They have Helena."
Steve watched Fury pass out. He felt fear and anger, watching Fury dying. He wanted to ask more, focused on his words about Helena. He didn't understand. Steve had spoken to Helena a few hours ago.
Steve looked up as someone else broke into his apartment.
Steve turns the corner to see his neighbor her walking in with her gun pointed.
"Captain, I'm Agent 13 of SHIELD Special Service," she said.
"Kate?" he asked.
"I'm assigned to protect you," she said.
"On whose order?"
She glanced down, noticing Fury lying injured on the ground.
Sharon hurried to Fury's side and contacts SHIELD through her radio.
"Foxtrot is down, he's unresponsive. I need EMTs."
"Do you have a twenty on the shooter?" An agent responds.
Steve headed to his window, seeing the shooter standing on the other roof.
"Tell him I'm in pursuit," Steve said.
Steve smashed through his window and ran after the assassin. Steve chased him through an office building smashing through the walls. When he caught up with the assassin on the roof, Steve throws his shield. Steve watched in horror when the assassin catches the shield with one swift move, then throws the shield back. Steve stared at the assassin in disbelief as his target jumps down the building and disappeared.
Steve, they watch doctors operating on Fury.
"Is he gonna make it?" Natasha asked.
"I don't know."
"Tell me about the shooter,"
"He's fast and strong. Had a metal arm," Steve said.
Agent Maria Hill walks up to the group.
"Ballistics?" Natasha asked.
"Three slugs, no rifling. Completely untraceable," Agent Hill said.
"Soviet-made," Natasha said.
Steve's chest tightened as they watched Nick's state deteriorate.
"He's in V-tach."
"Crash cart coming in."
"Nurse, help me with the drape."
"BP is dropping."
Steve, Natasha and Hill watched in shock as Nick flat lined.
"I want you to charge him at one hundred."
"Don't do this to me, Nick," Natasha said.
"Stand back! Three, two, one. Clear!"
Fury is given a shock with the defibrillator.
"Okay. 200, please. Stand back! Three, two, one. Clear!"
Fury is given another shock.
"Give me epinephrine! Pulse?"
"Don't do this to me, Nick. Don't do this to me," Natasha said.
The three watch the doctors as they continue to revive Fury but Fury is still showing as flatlining, Steve turns away as they finally call his time of death.
"What's the time?"
"Time of death, 1:03 a.m."
Steve looked down at the flash drive Fury had given him. He had just watched the man who brought him into this new world die. His fingers clinched around the metal drive.
Natasha and Steve stood in a room where Fury's dead body had been laid out, Natasha looked at Fury's body with tears running down her face.
"I need to take him," Hill said.
Steve turned to Natasha.
"Natasha," Steve said.
She doesn't respond, instead she tenderly touched Fury's head then turned and walked out. Steve followed her.
"Why was Fury in your apartment?" She asked.
"I don't know," Steve said. "Listen-,"
"Cap, they want you back at SHIELD."
They look over to Rumlow.
"Yeah, give me a second," Steve said.
"They want you now."
"Okay," Steve said.
Steve glanced back at Natasha.
"You're a terrible liar," she said. "Tell Helena."
Steve watched Natasha walk away. The spy didn't know of Helena's disappearance. Steve wasn't even sure if Fury had been right. This whole situation had him questioning everything anyone said. He shook his head. He couldn't think about Helena now. He had to find the killer.
"STRIKE team, escort Captain Rogers back to SHIELD immediately for questioning," Sitwell said.
"I told him," Rumlow said.
"Let's go," Steve said.
"Yeah," Rumlow said. "STRIKE, move it out."
"For whatever it's worth, you did your best," Pierce said.
"Thank you, sir," Sharon said.
As she turns to leave she sees Steve.
"Captain Rogers," she said.
Steve walked towards Pierce.
"Ah, Captain. I'm Alexander Pierce."
"Sir, it's an honor," Steve said.
"The honor is mine, Captain. My father served in the 101st. Come on in," Pierce said.
They entered Pierce's office where he showed Steve an old photo of Fury with Pierce.
"That photo was taken five years after Nick and I met. When I was at State Department in Bogota. ELN rebels took the embassy, and security got me out, but the rebels took hostages. Nick was deputy chief for the SHIELD station there. And he comes to me with a plan. He wants to storm the building through the sewers. I said, "No, we'll negotiate." Turned out the ELN didn't negotiate, so they put out a kill order. They stormed the basement, and what did they find? They find it empty. Nick had ignored my direct order and carried out an unauthorized military operation on foreign soil. He saved the lives of a dozen political officers, including my daughter."
"So you gave him a promotion."
"I've never had any cause to regret it. Captain, why was Nick in your apartment last night?"
"I don't know."
"You know it was bugged?"
"I did, because Nick told me," Steve said
"Did he tell you he was the one who bugged it?"
Steve didn't reply not knowing this information]
"I want you to see something."
Pierce brought up footage of Batroc being interrogated.
"Who hired you, Batroc?" An agent asked.
"Is that live?" Steve asked.
"Yeah, they picked him up last night in a not-so-safe house in Algiers."
"Are you saying he's a suspect? Assassination isn't Batroc's line."
"No, it's more complicated than that. Batroc was hired anonymously to attack the Lemurian Star and he was contacted by e-mail and paid by wire transfer. And then the money was run through seventeen fictitious accounts, the last one going to a holding company that was registered to a Jacob Veech."
"Am I supposed to know who that is?" Steve asked.
Pierce handed Steve the file.
"Not likely. Veech died six years ago. His last address was 14-35 Elmhurst Drive. When I first met Nick his mother lived at 14-37."
"Are you saying Fury hired the pirates? Why?" Steve asked.
"The prevailing theory was that the hijacking was a cover for the acquisition and sale of classified intelligence. The sale went sour and that led to Nick's death."
"If you really knew Nick Fury you'd know that's not true," Steve said.
"Why do you think we're talking? See, I took a seat on the Council not because I wanted to but because Nick asked me to, because we were both realists. We knew that despite all the diplomacy and the handshaking and the rhetoric, that to build a really better world sometimes means having to tear the old one down. And that makes enemies. Those people that call you dirty because you got the guts to stick your hands in the mud and try to build something better. And the idea that those people could be happy today, makes me really, really angry," Pierce said. "Captain, you were the last one to see Nick alive. I don't think that's an accident, and I don't think you do either. So I'm gonna ask again, why was he there?"
"He told me not to trust anyone…" Steve said.
"I wonder if that included him."
Steve paused a moment before replying. Part of him didn't trust Pierce. He seemed like a good man. Steve decided to stand back and watch his reaction.
"He also said, they took Helena."
"Helena Stark?" Pierce asked. "I've just spoken with her."
"You asked what he said."
There was a small twinge in Pierce's lip.
"Interesting," Pierce said. "I'll look into that. Anything else?"
"I'm sorry. Those were his last words…worried about Helena. Excuse me," Steve said.
Steve picked up his shield, placed it on his back, starting to make his way out of the office.
"Captain," Pierce said. "Somebody murdered my friend and I'm gonna find out why. Anyone gets in my way, they're gonna regret it. Anyone."
"Understood," Steve said.
Steve turned and left.