He might not admit it vocally, but he loves how kindhearted you are. You can still see some good in the world, and that may even rub off on him- though he’ll definitely never admit that part.
There is one reason why he insists on going to so many fancy, upperclass soirées: you. It’s another excuse to buy you expensive, beautiful clothing and accessories. He’ll try to help you put on your outfit for the evening, but brush his hands away or else you’ll end up with both of your ensembles in piles on the floor and yourselves tangled together in bed. Or let him help you and forget the evening out- ending up in bed together was likely how the evening was going to end anyway, so you’re just getting to the main act sooner rather than later.
Zemo has to hold himself back from how much he wants to kiss you. If he gave into his urges constantly, you would always be connected to each other’s lips. He loves having conversations with you, but he gets a bit lost in his imagination if he looks at your lips for too long.
He’s excited to travel the world with you. If you’ve already traveled some yourself, he’ll insist that you be his personal tour guide at the destinations you know. He’ll ask you about your memories at certain spots. The memories you make with him will be even better. If you’ve never really had the chance to travel, he’s ready to take you anywhere you want to go. His private jet is at your command. He expects for you to use it with him!
Sometimes he feels so angry at himself for wanting to die in the past. If it had happened, he would never have met you and gotten his second chance at happiness. You mean the world to him.
Zemo watches blankly as boiling water pours out of the kettle into the teapot below. And each time, like a curse, his thoughts are plagued with memory of you. He thinks he’s prepared, but it always catches him off guard. It always stings just a little bit more than he expects. More than he can take.
His brows furrow - just slightly - as he watches the pink petals elegantly unfurl in the scolding water. The liquid slowly tints as the sweet smell travels through the air. He can’t help but inhale deeply.
The scent feels heavy to him.
It was your favorite.
Cherry blossom tea, with a spoon of honey.
Until he met you, he drank only coffee. He remembers, it was a Sunday afternoon, you insisted in him trying it as you shoved the cup into his hands watching him expectantly. You were wearing that summer dress he got you as you smiled at him. God, how could he ever say no to you.
“It tastes horrible” he teased you then.
He’s selfish and protective of this moment. He cherishes it. It was a rare moment when he felt happy. Truly happy.
Lost in the thought his lungs scream for oxygen as he sharply inhales. His mind snapping back to reality. He glances over cautiously to check if James and Sam have noticed anything. No. They are disagreeing about something again, not even acknowledging his presence - and he’s thankful for it. This has no business with either, it doesn’t concern them.
He hesitates as his eyes sweep over the bittersweet brew. He looks at the surface of the water as if it was a crystal ball. Hoping to see your face. He can’t help but wonder - where are you now. If you know all of the things he has done. If you know what kind of a man he’s become.
What would you think of him?
He wants to look for you. But he can’t will himself to do it. He would be happy, so happy to see you again . But will he ever be brave enough look you in the eyes. Not after what he’s done. Not after he married another. He had no choice - he reminds himself - he had to go with his fathers wishes.
Or did he?
He’s so afraid of what he would do if he sees you again. What you would do. If you would even talk to him again. And it’s all too much for him.
Zemo feels bile rise to his throat as he has to push the thought away.
Life has robbed him of many things. But you.
You he chose to give you away.
He knows he will never be able to forgive himself.
His lips press into a thin line as he stands to his full height again.
The haughtiness comes back on cue as he approaches James and Sam.
The Long Journey Home
Chapter 6: We are all collateral damage in someone else’s war
Of the three of you in the place Zemo and Sam are the ones more in need of a wash and change of clothes, though that doesn’t stop Zemo from offering you first refusal. You shake your head, watching as he sets your bag down with care on one of the stuffed pieces of furniture. Both of you look expectantly at Sam, watching as he makes a little circuit of the room before claiming a barstool at the kitchen countertop.
“I’ll wait till Bucky gets back.” He waves his hand in Zemo’s direction, “Someone needs to make sure you won’t try to pull anything.”
If Zemo takes any offense he keeps it masked behind a pleasant expression. “I understand.” He pauses to dip his head, dropping his shoulders in a hint of a bow as he sweeps his arm out to reference the rest of the yet-to-be-explored space, “In that case – make yourselves at home.”
A/N: It is here! So sorry for the late update lovelies! I’ve been having really bad writers block lately and my job keeps switching my hours up so now my sleep schedule is all fucked up. And after writing this part I want to go stargazing so bad but the light pollution kind of sucks where I live. 🥲 Also this is my first time writing a steamy scene so I’m sorry if it’s awkward. Feedback is much appreciated and let me know if you want to be added to the tag list. 😊
Summary: Imagine being Hekate, the Greek goddess of magic and witchcraft, the night and the moon, doorways and crossroads, creatures of the night, and ghosts and necromancy. You stumbled upon Earth many centuries ago and since then have resided on the foreign planet. During the recent years you created an alias for yourself to hide your true identity, and after the war against Thanos you chose to live out your days in the Scottish countryside, until a certain trio appears at your doorstep one day.
Warnings: language, angst, some foreplay and making out
You had still been wrapped in Zemo’s arms, the two of you indulging in each other’s presence in a silence, which combined with the faint beating of his heart, you only found to be comforting. The meteors still swept by the earth’s atmosphere above you in flashes that lit up the sky, leaving behind trails of white that resembled the strokes of a brush, as if your mother Asteria had painted the celestial bodies using diamonds onto a canvas that was the night sky. You could only make out the few stars and constellations that were scarcely scattered across the vastness above you, caused by the light pollution that unfortunately managed to mantle the wonders and beauty that settled just beyond, separating humanity from the marvels of the universe. The stars flickered like the diminishing of the flame of a candle, a farewell to the billions of years lived by the remnants of those enormous spheres of hot plasma, thus leaving behind the birth of other stars to fulfill their legacy. However, there was a certain star that did not flicker like the ones around it, a certain spectacle distant in time and space that still managed to burn bright despite the innumerable amount of light-years that separated Earth from it. The remaining light of your planet Olympus. You stared at that particular star, your brows knit together and your face etched with this certain melancholy that one could not explain. How could one thing be so near, within the reach of your fingertips, and yet be entirely outside the capacity of reach.
“Draga.” You heard Zemo softly speak, his chest slightly wavering beneath your cheek from his words.
“Something troubles you.”
“What makes you say that?” You stared off, your eyes still fixated to the fading existence of your world.
“Your eyes draga.” Zemo looked down at you, his eyes scanning over the troubled creases that masked your features. “I have seen this shadow in your eyes that has seemed to occupy them as of recently. What troubles you?”
“…………You see that star there, right between those two constellations?” You pointed above you.
“Mhm.” Zemo nodded as he followed the line of your finger, his eyes now focused on the same exact star yours have not yet left.
“That’s my planet………Olympus.”
“You’re welcome to tell me about it if you’d like.”
“Well, when I was little, I used to live with my mother in this quaint cottage by the sea, similar to the one I live in now with my daughter. She used to bring me out most nights for stargazing. She had built this outdoor platform with bedding and blankets and we would have a small fire going to keep us warm as we watched the stars and constellations while she told me different tales and epic poetries. As silly as it sounds, she would make shooting stars appear in the sky for me knowing how much I loved them. Gods, I wish you could’ve seen my home back in its days, back when everything still remained. Everything was so…..beautiful, and the skies, gods the skies, you could see the different planets and galaxies as if they were only miles away. To this day, I have yet to see anything in my travels that compares.”
“I would have loved to seen it Schatzi. Your mother sounded like a wonderful person.”
“She was the kindest soul I knew.” You turned your body so that you could look up at him, resting your chin on your hand.
“You miss her.”
“There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t miss my family and planet.”
“I’m sorry about what happened to them Schatzi. I wish you never went through what you did.”
“If only I could bring them back. I’d do anything to be able to just see them again.”
Zemo was silent, believing that no amount of words could have provided you comfort, no matter how deep the meaning or how significant. He could not imagine what you went through. He had lost his country and his family, and you had lost your family as well, but you lost your world, your entire race, leaving you to be the last remaining entity of your people, the last Olympian and the last Chthonian. Words could not bring your family back, just as they could not with his. So he only did what he was able, making a silent unspoken promise within the abyss of his damaged heart to be there for you as he held you closer to him and pressed a kiss to your forehead.
A sudden feeling of guilt crawled up your spine like a venomous scorpion ready to sink its stinger in your skin with means to cause nothing but pain and suffering. You felt guilty for being here, lying next to Zemo wrapped in his arms like a pair of star-crossed lovers from the pages of a novel. A part of you felt selfish for what you did, undeserving of the affection that was bestowed upon you from a man who had suffered enough from the loss of his family. How much longer did you think you could give in to your mindless emotions without a single thought of the consequences it might bring about. Did you really think you could go on as if nothing is happening? As if you can conceal your true form from him forever. No. You could not. You did not have the heart to keep such knowledge from him. If you wanted to pursue what you had with him, you would have to tell him the truth when the time came.
“We should probably get back before Sam and Bucky notice.” You mumbled, blinking back the tears, your heart aching to go back to the way things used to be, wishing you could leave all of this and just be able to go back home. You didn’t belong here on earth, an immortal amongst mortals. At least on Olympus, if your titaness form had been revealed, many would not have bat an eye. They had already seen the likes of Titans before and the locals had become accustomed to you. But here on earth, you were nothing but a stranger, a drifter.
The two of you walked back to his place in silence, the only sounds being the whistling of the wind, the chirping of crickets, the voices of the few pedestrians and the humming of the cars that drove by. Your hands brushed against each other, craving to intertwine your fingers with his as you walked down the stone paved streets lit by the lamps that lined it, the two of you still withdrawn despite what occurred between you both. You felt it would have been silly, holding his hand like a couple of teenagers, though a century ago, you wouldn’t have gave it a second thought.
You arrived at his place, standing at the bottom of the steps in front of the double doors with Zemo opposite you, illuminated by the street lamp that stood just behind. Feelings of conflict washed over you, drowning you in waves of despair. As much as you wanted to be with him, a small part in the back of your mind kept telling you that it was wrong. Neither of you wanted to go through those doors just yet, wishing you could have spent the night under the stars. But life seems to have a way of working against your favor. The Wakandans would be here to collect him possibly tomorrow, and you would have to bid him farewell, separated from each other for what could be forever. As much as you did not look forward to that moment in having to turn him in and never see him again, you wouldn’t stop the Wakandans from what they were promised. And though you hadn’t said a word, Zemo had already knew what your decisions were regarding it, and he could not blame you for it. You were a woman of justice and you followed a code, and he respected that.
“Zemo.” A frown appeared on your face.
“Please,” Zemo whispered to you as he pushed a strand of your hair behind your ear, “Call me Helmut.”
You looked at Zemo once more, a look of longing hidden behind your eyes as you unconsciously swiped your tongue across your mouth, watching how his eyes followed the movement before lingering on the wetness of your lips that resembled the petals of a rose after the pouring of cold rain in the midst of spring. Oh how he wished to be the drops of rain that were gifted the pleasure of grazing upon the velvety petals that belonged to such beauty of a flower, a symbol of union between the two domains in which the heavens came down to declare its love for the earth. A pulling sensation filled within your core, drawing yourself to Zemo as if he were the sweet berries of deadly nightshade that have lured many unfortunate souls. Banishing the thoughts of doubt that clouded your mind, you grabbed him by the collar and pulled him to you, crashing your lips against his in a heated kiss. Zemo was initially shocked by your bold gesture and stiffened from the way your mouth moved against his, surprised you would pull something like this when just a wall away Sam and Bucky were awaiting your arrival, before loosing himself into your embrace.
Your fingers clenched the collar of his sweater and your fingers grazed across the exposed skin of his neck while his hands went to your waist in a desperate attempt, fumbling to grab at anything and bunching up the bottom fabric of your sweater as he pulled you against him. The tips of his fingers brushed against the skin of your waist that was exposed below the hem of your sweater, leaving behind goosebumps in its trail. You smiled into the kiss from the way he completely melted under your touch, a part of you amused from the affect you held over him as you managed to elicit a moan from deep within his throat. Zemo’s brows were furrowed in the passionate moment, something you have noticed when you first kissed him, a small crease in the muscles of his face that showed just how lost he was when encased in this moment with you, and it absolutely melted you. He was addicted from the warm numbness, the ecstasy he felt from kissing you. Your lips were like heroin to him, leaving him yearning for more, and it didn’t ameliorate the fact that his years spent in a German prison had left him somewhat inexperienced and filled with a chasmic longing for touch and intimacy from the lack thereof. Deep within him, masked by his ideas and objectives, Zemo wanted to be able to love someone again, a chance at a new life and a family, and perhaps, he saw that possibility with you. But, behind the passion of the kiss you shared with him, there was something else, a poison that laced your lips with feelings of despair and forbidding that consumed you as if you had tasted those sweet berries of nightshade, slowly loosing yourself to its malice. His lips which were at first warm to the touch, now felt cold like ice and sent shivers of dread through your veins, as if this would be the last kiss you shared with him.
You pulled away from the kiss to catch your breath, your teeth softly grazing against his bottom lip as you did so. Both of you were left breathless as you rested your foreheads against each other, panting as your breaths fanned each other’s face as if you had just been trapped in the depths of the ocean before breaking through the surface to allow oxygen to fill your lungs.
“If you keep doing that Draga.” Zemo rasped between breaths, “I won’t be able to compose myself.”
“Good. Maybe I don’t want you too.” You smirked before placing a playful kiss on the tip of his nose. “But I really should go back inside, and you should do the same. Just make sure you go unnoticed.” You slipped his coat off your shoulders, his cologne that lingered on his fur collar leaving your senses with discontent as you returned his coat to him before going over to the doors, stopping to turn back to him with a smile before stepping inside and closing the door behind you. Gods, what the hell did you do that for???? You felt your cheeks heat up in embarrassment as you wanted to slap yourself for pulling a move like that.
“Gods I’m stupid.” You muttered to yourself.
“Hey.” Bucky smiled once he spotted you, his voice soft as if he were afraid you would shatter at any moment from the discussion that took place earlier. “How was your walk?”
“It was nice, relaxing. I went to the park to stargaze.”
“That’s good. As long as you feel better.”
“I do, actually. Thanks Bucky.”
“You look flushed. You okay?” Sam noted as he stepped over to you.
“Huh?” You stopped short. “Oh yeah, I’m fine. I just had to kind of uh power walk back here so you guys wouldn’t get worried. But I’m fine, yeah. Anyways, I’m going to hit the sack since I’m feeling a bit tired. Goodnight you guys.” You waved them off before going to your assigned room, making Sam and Bucky give each other questioning looks before they both shrugged it off.
You shut the door behind you, letting out a breath of relief that they had not caught on to anything and praying that Zemo had managed to sneak in. You had just gotten off the phone with Maze and your daughter, catching up on their activities after cleaning yourself up and changing into your nightgown. You had pulled up a chair next to the window that was in your room, your feet tucked underneath you and a warm cup of rose and blackberry tea in your hands. Your robe hung loosely off your shoulders as your index finger twirled above the small silver spoon that swirled in your cup, mists of violet wrapping around the handle of the spoon as you used your powers to stir the contents of the tea. You stared out the window onto the old streets of Latvia before glancing down at the teacup that was nestled in your hands, the glow of your eyes reflected off the window pane along with the tiny stars that swirled through the small globe of your necklace your mother gave you. You hadn’t stopped thinking about the moments that passed and the ones that have yet to come.
There was a knock on your door, interrupting you from the thoughts that had resided in your mind. “Come in.” You spoke as you looked through the reflection of the window and saw a figure step in. “Zemo?” You stopped using your powers, the clinking of the spoon scraping against the sides of the porcelain cup coming to a stop. “You know, you gotta stop sneaking into my room.” You teased before frowning, seeing the expression that sat on his face. “What’s wrong?” You got up from the chair, setting your cup down on the table before walking over to him.
“The Wakandans will…….be here for me tomorrow.” His eyes were lowered to the floor, the browns of his irises which reminded you of the dunes of the Sahara desert were whirling in thought, resembling the dunes caught in the midst of the fury of a sandstorm, as if searching for an answer to his troubles.
“Ze-Helmut, I………” You sighed, your tongue and mind lacking the ability to compose any words that might have provided some solace. “I’m sorry………..I don’t know what to say.”
“Y/n, schatzi” Zemo grabbed your hand, tracing his thumb over the bumps of your knuckles. “You don’t have to say a word. My actions………must be accounted for.”
You were silent, your brows knit together and your lips sealed as if your voice was ripped from your throat. Your heart wanted to tear itself from your chest, begging to be released from its cage so that it could be free to lament, so that it may be able to express the words that held it captive. But your tongue was tied, held back between the prison that was your teeth as you clenched your jaw. Zemo’s hand still held yours, stroking the soft skin on the back of your hand which were a contrast to the small rough patches on your palm, before you heard him speak again. “Can I kiss you?”
You blinked at him, lips parted in surprise that he would even ask such a question when you were honestly willing to kiss him any time of the day. The Zemo you had come to know was far different than the one you had heard about, his cold demeanor seemed to completely fade when he was around you, like a fog that dissipated with the coming of daylight. A part of you pondered whether this was how he used to be, before the events that happened. Though he hadn’t had a chance to share such affection with anyone and lost practice, you still found him to be great kisser and it always managed to leave you breathless. “Yes, please.” You whispered, your voice barely audible before you felt his lips brush against yours. What was sweet at first became more feverish and filled with hunger as an unfamiliar spirit seemed to possess your body, darkening the amethysts and golds of your eyes that resembled the galaxies, into the blackness of the abyss that swallowed the outer edges of space where not even the slightest bit of light could reach, almost as if you were sinking your claws into your prey.
A heat pooled in the pit of your stomach, filling your body with an electrifying warmth as his mouth moved against yours more confidently this time, catching you utterly by surprise and leaving your knees weak, a feeling similar to the stillness in the air a mere second before lightning strikes the ground beneath your feet. His hands slipped down to grab the flesh of your waist, dehydrated, and filled with an intense thirst that could only be quenched by your body that was the ocean, your skin separated by the silk fabric of your nightgown. Your hands went up to grip his shoulders as a gasp escaped your lips upon feeling him move down to your jaw and neck. Gods, since when was the last time you were touched like that?
“Helmut.” You rasped, struggling to hold back a moan as his lips sucked on the skin where your collarbone met your neck, making you lean your head back to allow him better access. Your robe had fell to the floor, leaving your arms completely bare while Zemo’s hands caressed the skin that lined them before resting on the dorsal part of your upper arms, the combination of the frigid air and his fingertips that felt like the touch of fire sending shivers through your body. “What if they hear?”
“Well if you’re that worried Draga.” Zemo stopped to look at you. “The walls are thick enough.”
Gods that completely sent you over the edge. It felt as if you were on a high, your mind was not even within this dimension as Zemo met your lips again. You had to throw your arms around his neck to keep yourself from collapsing as the two of you shifted in the room, Zemo guiding your body before the back of your knees came in contact with the side of your bed. You let yourself fall back into the soft mattress, bringing Zemo down with you. You both were a mess, your hair disarray, the thin straps of your nightgown fallen past your shoulders had almost left your breasts exposed, and the skirt of your nightgown had ridden up to your thighs as you wrapped your legs around his waist. Zemo squeezed at the soft flesh of your thigh before attacking your neck again. He didn’t know how to describe it but you tasted absolutely divine. Perhaps being a goddess made you taste of ambrosia; the golden, honey-flavored fruit that grew on the trees of Olympus. You were in absolute bliss and thanked the gods he wouldn’t be able to leave a mark, at least you hoped not.
“Helmut.” You moaned, your nails digging into his biceps as his warm lips made a trail down your collarbone and lower to where the lace trim of your nightgown met just above the curve of your breasts, lingering on the space between, filling your mind with thoughts of a certain region you desired those lips to be. “Fuck.” You hissed from the contact, your hand moving its way to his head as you ran your fingers through his soft hair, your nails raking across the back of his scalp as the heat between your thighs only grew. You unconsciously pressed your heel to the lower part of his back, beckoning him closer to that heat between your thighs as you bucked your hips up. Zemo growled at the movement, slightly nipping at the skin where your breast had started to form, causing you to gasp and your eyes to fly open from the sensation.
“Apologies draga.” You heard him mutter before tenderly kissing the spot where his teeth had been.
Seeing Zemo in a close proximity above you in such a position had you dazed, wanting him to take you right then and there and not caring if the others heard you or not. And as your eyes wandered lazily over the sight of him, they widened in horror once they glimpsed at the image of your hands. Your nails became sharp, claw-like, and that deathly color had returned once again, slowly making its way up your arm like the tendrils of a shadow belonging to a demonic spirit.
“Helmut.” You whispered, your voice becoming panicked as you loosened your grip on his arms, being careful not to pierce his skin. “Helmut wait.”
Zemo stopped, pushing himself up to meet your eyes as his concern grew from seeing the frightened look that filled them. “Schatzi, what’s wrong?” He brought his hand up to your face, brushing away the strands of your hair. “If you’re uncomfortable let me know.”
“No, gods no. If anything I don’t want you to stop.” You breathed out, trying to catch your breath. “It’s just that………….”
“What is it schatzi?” His voice was soft as his fingers caressed your cheek, afraid that he might have offended you in some way, afraid that he might have been too forward.
“I’m sorry Helmut. I want to, I really do, but not like this.” You shook your head as you got up, shifting over to where the dark shadows of the room fell on the bed to hide your arms, afraid to meet his eyes as if you had made a fool of yourself. “Not like this.”
“You don’t have to apologize to me y/n.” Zemo smiled at you. “If you’re not ready, than I’m not ready.”
“Thank you Helmut.” You smiled back before giving him a delicate kiss. “I’d………uh like to think some things through.” You prayed that he didn’t see your hands, hoping that the darkness of the room managed to disguise it.
“Of course draga.” Zemo placed a lingering kiss on your forehead before leaving your room, stopping at the door to give you a comforting smile as he carefully shut it behind him.
Your eyes still lingered on the door, waiting to make sure he didn’t come back before turning on the bedside lamp and staring down at your hands. You had managed to stop the color from spreading up your arm, yet it strangely still remained, stopping halfway up your forearm. This wasn’t good.
“What the hell?” You scrunched your nose, trying to use your powers once again to remove it but to no avail. Fear coursed through your veins as you attempted to remove the color, spell after spell, hoping those vine like tendrils would crawl back down your hands and disappear. You cursed under your breath as each attempt proved to be as futile as the one before. What the hell was going on? Why were your spells not working? It vanished before from your magic, why wasn’t it doing so now? You were struck with a sudden realization that perhaps this change would become permanent, that maybe suppressing your true form for all those years had caused it to spiral out of control and in turn try to overpower you as if it had a mind of its own. You growled through gritted teeth, the furniture around you shaking as your fists were clenched in frustration, the violet mists of your powers encompassing your hands and sparking with small bolts that corresponded with the vexation that overwhelmed you.
You closed your eyes and took a deep breath, the mist around your hands disappearing and the shaking of the furniture coming to a stop. You had to work something out. You were left no choice but to keep your hands covered from now on until you found a solution. If any of them questioned it, you had to have a damn good lie. Getting up from the bed, you walked over to the double doors that led to the small balcony and opened them, your hands gripping the cold iron rail as you stared out at the view of the Latvian streets and buildings before you. Oh how you wished your sister Athena were here. She knew everything.
“Oh Athena.” You stifled a sob as you stared up at the stars, focusing on the light of your planet as if she could have heard you, a tear cascading down your cheek and dropping to the streets below. “Gods I wish you were here. I really need your help.”
Despite your pleas, you knew she wasn’t there, her existence only an artifact of the past. You were praying to nothing but a memory. It was extremely urgent that you got information on this matter of your form and the words of the prophecy that still threatened and echoed within the depths of your mind. And since you couldn’t obtain such knowledge from another Olympian, you would have to gather it from the old texts. Muttering a few words in Ancient Greek, you waited, searching, until a small white moth came into view, fluttering in your direction. You held out your finger, letting the tiny creature come to rest upon it.
“Hello little one.” You smiled at the moth as you gently stroked it in greeting, bringing it closer to your face so that you could speak to it in your language. “Please send word to my familiar and tell him to gather as much information he can on Titans and the prophecy. And tell him to come find me when he is done. Thank you.” The moth looked at you with understanding behind his tiny black eyes, it’s antennaes twitching before fluttering away into the moon. You sighed, watching it disappear into the night before giving your distant planet one last glance before shutting the doors and going back over to the bed. You laid down under the covers, your hands rested on your stomach as you stared up at the ceiling, dreading the day to come. How could you face Zemo? And however were you going to keep your hands a secret? Surely the three are bound to find out sooner or later? You just prayed that the message you sent would be returned in a short time. You needed to fix this before it would be considered too late. And the sooner you found Karli the better. Your mind was racing with thoughts, but you closed your eyes, desperate to get some rest and forcing those thoughts away. Gods help you from this moment on.
summary- The newest Avenger keeps a big secret from the rest if the team....
Warnings- swearing, mentions of death, Gunshots and torture ￼
I made this gif*
"Who are you?"
"Who am I? ha! I am Zemo, Baron Zemo. I hear you are a Avenger now?" he asks "no?" he asks again
"Well if your not going to talk to me then you just might respond when we put your son, Jake on. hmm, how does sound."
"I'm not telling you anything!" You shout at Zemo
Natasha speed walks down the halls of the Compound into the kitchen, stopping to talk with them about you.
"Nat, glad you could make an appearan-"
"Y/n is missing, and I think I know where." she says worriedly
There are many responses to this, but mainly concerned faces
"No that won't work it's Hydra-" Natasha responds￼
"Knew it!" says Steve pointing to Tony
The team comes up with a plan and heads to your last known location, which funny enough is where you are.
"Aggh!" You scream as the electricity runs through your nervous system, leaving you extremely exhausted￼.
"You feeling ready to talk yet?" Zemo asks politely, but his demeanor only makes you more angry with him
You hesitate, but shake your head "no" you snap at him
"Well we have tortured you enough physically." He chuckles and walks out of the room, leaving you to be confused.
Two men enter and slap duck tape over your mouth￼ and tie your hands together as tight as possible, they lead you out of the room.
Hearing only the silent footsteps of the two men and your breathing
You know now isn't the best time, but probably the only time you will have the chance.
One of the two men would be luckier than the other in this situation.
Knocking one to the ground and kicking the other in the groin, both going to the ground but that wasn't enough, they would get back on there feet any second, you had to think fast...
It felt like hell, but you kept pulling your hands through the rope, giving you a burning sensation in your hands as you kept going, one of them was getting to there feet.
"Com- Come on" you groaned to yourself
The guy pulled you away from the hook on the wall that you had the rope on trying to pull it off of your hands.
But in his doing so, your hands slipped through the rope and you got straight to work, elbowing the man and pinning him against the opposite wall punching the shit out of him, he fell to the floor unconscious.
The other man still on the ground holding his groin in pain. You hit his groin again over his hands and punching him in the face, knocking the lights out of him. You finally put the two in a closet together and left..
￼"So, Hydra really has her?" Thor asks in disgust
"I think so." Natasha says giving him a sad look.
"And her 'son' what about him, is he here?" Tony asks.
Steve is looking at Natasha for an answer￼.
"That, I don't know." She looks down, mad at herself for not trying to find him first for you.
The east wing is quiet. Should it be this quiet Romanoff?" Steve asks through comms
"For Hydra, they sure as hell know how to hide." she responds
"It seems the western side of this 'base' is also quite soundless." Thor says quietly
"Hey, Natasha there are a few life forms coming up ahead, they look pretty immobile, though." Bruce says obstervantly￼￼ looking at his screen from the Quinjet
"Ahead, where?" she asks Bruce "The closest closet, up to your left."
She opens the door, gun in hand.
"They're unconscious, Banner. Could Y/n have done this?"Natasha asks the team
"Maybe." Tony sounds sure
"That silly misguardian, what has she done now." Thor says ￼lovingly
"A total possibility." Steve responses with everyone else
"She sure as hell tried." Clint says finally speaking up "I was going through Hydra's camera footage, and there is some alarming stuff going on, in the North wing, I-" He grunts, taking￼ a few steps back "I'd love some team spirt, and some help..." He says almost yelling with heavy breaths over comms
"On our way Clint." Steve reassures Clint, as everyone heads to the North wing in the HYDRA base
"Clint watch out!" You yell going to tackle him out of the way, but instead he gets sucker punched in the face by non other than Revenger Steve. You end up tackling him instead. You both on the ground, you go at him punching the shit out of his "pea brained asshole!" type of face, but before you are able to do enough damage, another Revenger pulls you off Steve. Throwing you against the opposite wall.
"Th- thor is that you?" You say head swirling.
"No. I am ThunderMan." Revenger Thor says steadily, picking you up in the air by your throat.
"Wel- your-" You gasp for air trying to break his grasp around your neck
Finally. The rest of your team was making there way into the room, slightly confused.
Natasha didn't waste time she charged Revenger Thor and got him off you in seconds.
Gasping for breath you thank her.
"Nat. They have- Robot versions of all of us.." You breath out "There clothes are different colors though."
"Is your son here?" she asks, kneeling over you
More Revengers come crashing through the ceiling as she shields you from the ruckus.
"If they do, I know where. I'll be fast." You say fast
"No. Your not going alone." Natasha says stopping you, giving you the look knowing it was her or you weren't going at all.
"Me and Y/n are headed to find her son, we'll be back Rogers." She smirks, running with you out of the room and down the hall.
The chaos that was now behind you and Natasha, knowing the guys would be fine without you, you relax, not fully though your son was probably in danger.
"Y/n/n?" Natasha asks you innocently
"Hmm?" You look over at Natasha walking with her down a long hallway
"Why didn't you tell us?" she was looking at you now
"I didn't want the world to know about him, the danger this job brings to me, is so great already. I couldn't pull him into that danger, the thought that he might be kidnapped at any moment, that's too much stress for me.." You chuckle looking at the tiled￼￼ flooring ahead of you
"So I'm guessing, all the late meeting arrivals and being so stressed on missions. They all pertain to him, Jake?" She asks and you look up to her at his name.
"Yeah." You chuckle it off again, but there is only silence from her "Sorry. For everything. I should told you guys so much earlier about Jake and I just didn't, it was a shitty mistake, I'm sorry Nat." you say flatly turning a corner, finally realizing where the room is, before Nat could say anything else to you, you were going at a run to the sadly familiar door.
"Y/n?!" Natasha shouts at you as you stumble to open the door
"They- kept him her-" The door swings open with a loud slam against the wall.
You couldn't believe the site. Jake was sitting a chair, in a large glass tube, looking extremely scared til he noticed his mommy was in front of him.
Natasha is shocked walking up next to you.
"Is that-?" She asks shaken
"Yes-" You breath out
"Momma!" Jake shouts in joy
"Momma look!" He pointed to his head
"Hat!" He had a hat on, one you knew too well.
"No!" You shout and run up to the glass, breaking it after a few good punches to a weak spot.
Zemo runs in yelling, shots are fired, but from who and at who you don't know yet, all that matters is that Jake is alright..
He is crying by the time you pick him, holding him close, telling him "It's ok... It's ok, baby. Mommy's here." You hold him and seeing that Natasha had shot Zemo a few different times and took out 5 or so Hydra minions, She looked at the site of you with your son, she was happy for you, but all of you had to leave. Now.
"Tony? Are you Tony or are you Tony?!" "It's me Sir Captain O captain!!" Yelled one of the Tony's waving there arms in the air, Steve immediately obliterating that Tony.
"How'd you know that wasn't me, Cap?" Tony asking now fighting robot Thor.
"You don't talk like that, Stark." He says breaking off Revenger Nat's full left arm and hitting her with it to the ground.
"You know Rogers, I didn't think you would betray me this fast." Robot Natasha says flirtatiously to him as Steve finally pulls the cords out of her head.
Her voice breaks up and finally goes off line, as Revenger Steve picks up Steve and pushes him up against a wall.
"You touch my girlfriend again, I'll kill you." Revenger Steve exclaims
"She already is big guy." Steve says upsetting Revenger Steve further￼, and punches Steve full force leaving him stunned and trying to regain his strength, but the kicking, punches and shield body slams are not helping at all.
"Clint you seem to be quite out breath?" Thor asks him trying to hold Revenger Hulk away from everyone
"Yeh, I am one of the only Avengers that doesn't have a super power, so yeah I'm getting tired Thor." He says flatly, shooting a few arrows at Revenger Hulk.
"We could use Banner, right about now!" Tony yells "Where is he anyway?"
"He's out in the Quinjet. Tony you literally were the one to make him stay there." You say over comms rushing down the long hallway back towards everyone, Natasha stops you in the middle of the hall.
"Go. Get Bruce for us will you?" She looks down at Jake and back up to you. "Get Jake..." Jake looks up at Natasha at his name "..and yourself safe in the Quinjet, we can handle this." she says pointing her thumb to the chaos that was right ahead.
She smiled sincerely￼ at you, something she hadn't done in a long time. You returned it quickly. Yelling over your shoulder to not die at Natasha as you and Jake leave to get Bruce.
On your way out you hear someone groaning in pain.
You walk into the room, the same room you had just taken Jake from.
Seeing Zemo lying on the ground with a shot in his leg and two in his stomach, blood flooded the ground
"Y/n. Help me." He groans out
You look down at him, hand over Jake eyes so he doesn't have to see the gruesome site that is a dying Zemo.
"No." You say steadily "Hydra will die, as with you." you says flatly and leave
"Bruce! Bruce! They need the Hulk. Now." You say running into the Quinjet
"You have a so-??" You set Jake down to push Bruce out of the huge jet, watching him run off, turning into The Hulk and jumping over the building to go fight.
You quickly make sure Jake is inside the jet before putting it on lock down.
After a few minutes
"Mommy?" Jake whines
"What's up?" You ask him looking over the controls of the jet.
"You were all gone." he says upset that you weren't there for him.
You stop what you were doing and pull him in for a kiss on the cheek "I know I was, and they won't ever get to us again, ok?" he nods in response and you hug him close hearing the faint crash of Hulk breaking into the base
"AAAGGGGGGG!!" Hulk swings in crashing a new hole in the ceiling towering over the other smaller Revenger Hulk, Smashing him to bits in seconds.
He didn't know the difference of who was who, so Barton and Stark almost got smashed, but Thor was the one to throw the Revengers at Hulk so he could just smash them, this worked for maybe 10 minutes before he smashed Thor into the ground.
Leaving everyone horrified, Hulk yelled and jumped out of the large room, hearing him stomp on the floor above them, dust falling from the ceiling as he went by.
So far only Natasha, Hulk, Thor, and Tony was down on the Revengers, and only Clint and Steve to go which was a very unfair fight, but there robots why would they care.
So they fought. It was a quick fight, Natasha fighting Revenger Clint to the ground, and Steve punching the fuck out of em. Thor threw his hammer at Revenger Steve, which turned out he caught it. Throwing it back at Thor, knocking him out. Clint shot the last strike to his Robot. Revenger Steve was going to be a bit more trouble, once he got sight of Natasha he melted thinking that was his girlfriend. Steve got jealous of himself. Steve finished Revenger Steve off in a matter of minutes.
Finally done battling, they all rushed to the Quinjet.
Everyone walks onto the Quinjet wrapping you and Jake into a group hug￼￼￼.
They all went there separate ways to clean wounds or get the Quinjet out of here, you go and sit the launch bay, It was quiet there. Jake needed to sleep, after being up for almost 2 days straight.
Natasha had finally found you.
"You know, I have missed you." She says and you look up at her
"Well, I haven't been very far." You look back down at your sleeping son
Nat comes sits next to you
"I'm just glad your safe, Y/n/n"
"I'm just glad we are on good terms again Nat."
She gives you a side hug
"I'll leave you two alone, and Tony said he was having a party later tonight, I don't know why in gods name he would have a party right now, but it's Tony so." She slightly smiles at you, doing the same you watch her leave
Finally looking down at your sleeping son, Jake, you smile
"Were finally safe." You say quietly to him and kiss his forehead
Your secret was safe, with the Avengers, you knew they would protect you forever.
Ahhhhh!! ‼️ This story was very fun to write and if anyone has any requests I would love to hear them I mainly do platonic stories!! ❤️❤️ I can try to write for any marvel character but the ones on my master list are the characters I am most familiar with!
Summary: Waking up in an unfamiliar yet lavish room, Helmut Zemo is fortunately nowhere in sight. Scared and confused, it is a struggle to remain calm as two kindly stranger try to provide more clarity about your situation.
Enemies to Lovers. Darker Themes. Angst. Falling in Love. Eventual Smut.
🌹Hades & Persephone Themes // Beauty & the Beast Themes🌹
Warnings: Kidnap. Blood. Graphic Description of Injury and Death. Recollections of Animal Death. Nudity. Slight Dub-Con Touching. Slightest Mention of Non-Con Threat. Mentions of Forced Arranged Marriage. Emotionally Abusive Parents. Zemo’s An Asshole.
‘CURSED’ - TUMBLR MASTERLIST
CLINTS-LUCKY-ARROW MAIN MASTERLIST
Word Count: 7.1k
Likes, comments and reblogs are much appreciated.
A/N: Once again, please remember to read the warnings each chapter before proceeding.
Hey Zemhoes! Hope we’re all doing well? To celebrate our Lord and Saviour Daniel Bruhl’s birthday, here’s Chapter Two of Cursed!
Sometimes, there is peace in darkness. Comfort in the unknowing - of not having to know - and a rare bliss in total ignorance. That is, until it is slowly and unceremoniously interrupted. It’s little things at first. The creeping ache of a deep, dull pain making its way in malicious tendrils through your mind. Stroking it into a form of consciousness, so that those other sensations can creep in.
Strong arms carrying you up an endless staircase. The weight of your arm hanging amidst the cold, stale air as goosebumps prickle across your shivering skin. The jolt of warm water brushing tenderly down your wounds, and the touch of gentle fingers as they lift your clothes to stroke over to the cuts that the eye cannot plainly see.
They’re all fragments. Flashes. Shattered frames of the world from behind closed eyes, as you fight to stay in the thrall of nothingness, shying away from a pain that grows in clarity with each passing flicker. And then, voices.
“Is she waking up?”
It’s a man first. Not the one you met before, the one who had utterly terrified you. What was his name? You can’t remember. Not right now in the sluggish delirium. This is someone different, but familiar. That slightly younger voice that you had heard right before the shadows took you. The one who somehow seemed kind.
“Ssh. I’m not sure.”
A woman this time. Older. Her accent… It’s English. That confuses you, because her male companion does not sound the same. No. His accent is different. He speaks again, and it registers. French. Confusion surges, shifting within your chest and moving you with it. Both hush as a grating sound rings through the room. A dull whine that you do not at first register is coming from you.
The man speaks again. “Maybe I should just…”
Fabric shifts, coming closer, and then a sharp sound rings out. Almost like a slap. It’s accompanied by a yelp of pain, and then a low curse mumbled in a foreign tongue. The sudden jolt of the sound knocks you further out of the darkness, and you shift painfully closer to reality.
Something hurts. God. You can feel it growing, spreading like stinging wildfire across your skin. Everything hurts.
The gruff woman speaks again, and beration coats her strict tone. “Give her a minute, Jacques. Step back and let the poor girl breathe!”
“Alright, alright,” the man - Jacques - replies, sounding rather irritated. “You did not need to strike me!”
Bedsheets curl underneath your aching palms as you strain and twist, dragged miserably towards light and pain. It grows brighter with each passing second, swelling against your closed eyelids. They flutter, unbidden, but in response to those sharp stings dancing through your entire frame, and open slightly. Your gaze is bleary, but manages to fix on a high arched ceiling dancing blearily above. Colourful shapes - painted murals on the ceiling above - twist upon the space in bright flashes. With your vision so disconcerted, they almost seem alive.
Slowly, reality filters in.
You are lying on a bed. It is large and sprawling, with thick wooden posters lifting high into the air above where you rest. Curtains sway lightly on one side, falling in thin wisps of lace. On the other they are pulled back, resting gently against the end pillar in order to make room for the two curious figures standing at the side.
Fear floods through your mind on instinct. Sharp agony pulses as you skitter away, up the bed and back all but slamming against the solid headboard. Pain radiates at the contact, but you don’t look away. Wide-eyed and fearful, your frantic, darting eyes pass over the watching figures. The man and the woman.
He is younger. Maybe in his early thirties, with light brown hair and deep blue eyes. A little older than you, but not by much. His arms are extended towards you, and the gesture is almost placating. A woman stands next to him, with her grey hair pulled back in a ponytail. Her face holds more wrinkles, but it is hard to tell her exact age. She is one of those people who looks timeless. Who carries their age in an undefined way, where they could be fifty or seventy, and no one would be able to tell. A set of her fingers rests upon the man’s outstretched arm, in what appears to be a silent bid to hold back.
“Take it easy, love,” she tells you, in a tone that is firm but kind. “No one’s going to hurt you.”
The man shoots her a slightly doubtful look. Quickly realising that you have noticed it, he masks it the following moment. It’s too late, however. Any slight ease that you may have felt at her soft words were washed away before they could even settle.
You try to speak. The words catch in your throat, and jar into a rough cough. The two exchange a look, before the man slowly shifts. His hands creep out, allowing plenty of time for you to track his movements, reaching to pick up a glass of water laid previously unnoticed upon a nightstand just against the side of your bed. That pace maintains as he hands it to you, and the heated brush of his fingers against yours sends a shiver down your spine. It’s only then that you realise you’re cold. Still so cold.
Trembling, you take a tentative sip of the water. Maybe it could be poisoned, but you are too thirsty to care right now. Your throat is parched, as if you haven’t drank in days. The rush of liquid down your throat is almost heavenly. It chases away the grating drought with vigour, and when you try to talk again the words are still a little hoarse but clear.
“Where am I?”
Those two exchange a purposeful look. Silent, unspoken communication passes between their eyes.Something about it has trepidation even further rise in your chest. Your palms sting as your fingernails curl in on them, throbbing even through the strip of bandage. A small wince draws your lips. The swift motion causes your watchers to speak in a rush, words almost falling over one another.
“Our master’s home.”
The castle. Must be. A quick look around the room only confirms it to be true. Given the arched windows, the painted ceiling, and the sprawling furnishings of fine wood lining the space, it is the only thing that makes sense. You’re still here. The mere thought fills you with another swelling prickle of fear. Anxiously, your eyes twitch, moving to flit over the room behind, nervously searching for him.
Thankfully, the man from last night - Helmut Zemo - is nowhere to be seen.
You flinch at the sheer memory of him, and another pang of pain shoots through your body. Carefully eyeing the two at the side of the bed, you lean over to place the glass back atop the nightstand. Once swiftly retreated back against the headboard, your attention slowly drops to your stinging palms. A few specks of bright red dot the white bandages wound around the appendages. Another tight swallow constricts your throat as the memory of last night washes afresh over you. Your heart begins to beat faster once more, quickening with fear. A gentle tut from off to the side draws your attention back to your silent watchers.
"Your hands," the woman says sympathetically. "Oh, you poor thing."
Her tone is caring. Almost motherly. It reminds you of the soft voice of your nanny, the woman who had raised you since childhood. She’d been sent away when you were deemed old enough to not need her, an affront that you had never quite completely forgiven your actual parents for. This lady before you, with her greying hair and pale hazel eyes, holds such a resemblance that a soft urging picks up at the back of your mind, whispering for you to speak again. To tell her what happened out there in those tangled woods.
Voice quavering, you do. "Something chased me.”
She exchanges another long look with the younger man. Before you can continue your stammering recollection, he faces you again. His brow is furrowed into a deep line, worriedly chewing his lip.
"The bear,” he says, shaking his head agitatedly, “It's all but rabid now, and growing even more bold by the day. Something will need to be done."
You can’t quite believe it. “That creature was not a bear.”
Clear blue eyes fix upon your face as the young man gives you a patient smile. “Have you ever seen a brown bear before, ma chere? They are far bigger than most even imagine.”
You pause before responding. The true answer is no, you have not seen such a bear before. Most of your life was spent in New York city, or a little further out at the family summer home in the Hamptons. There were not many in that immediate area, and none had ever wandered into your eyeline.
Another thought occurring, your gazes lift back to your two observers, darting between them as a burning question spills from your lips. “Who are you?”
“I am Cecilia Porthers,” the woman supplies readily. “I act as the Baron’s housekeeper, wherever he may roam. And this is-” Her arm sweeps out to gesture to her companion, but he cuts her off.
“Jacques Lamarre,” the younger man interjects grandly, one arm sweeping out as he dips into a slight bow. “Manservant to Master Zemo. A pleasure, mademoiselle.”
Briefly hesitating, a debate wells inside of your mind. How much do you tell them? Your name - that family name - does not hold as much sway in Europe as in the States, but they may recognise it all the same. Especially given the fact that it was now irrevocably connected to a rather well-known family who conducted a large chain of business over in Germany. They could realise that you were too important to keep… Or it could only further encourage them to keep you as a hostage.
That thought in mind, you only offer your first name. If perturbed by it, they give no sign. Instead, the woman - Mrs Porthers - just steps forward to gently take hold of one of your wrists. She lifts it upwards to the light, tugging the white strip of bandage out to peer at the scrapes marring the skin inside. You hiss a little as the fabric peels away from the cuts, tugging the gaping edges slightly. She pats them reassuringly, and her touch is so light that you barely feel it at all.
Now that you are more at ease, you finally notice that you are in a nightdress. It’s not your own, but an unfamiliar white lace. The hem gathers just above your knees, having bunched when you had scrambled back upon waking. Noticing Lamarre’s eyes flitting uncertainly between the inappropriately exposed skin and your face, your fingers shoot to drag it as far down as it will go. There are also bandages wound around various sections of your legs, and as your gaze drops it takes in your left foot. It is the most heavily covered of all, and a dull throb resonates from the limb. The memory of shattering glass splinters through your mind. Both the recollection and the cold air of the castle cause another pronounced shiver to wrack your frame again.
That kindly grip settles on your shoulders as Mrs Porthers leans in, offering an encouraging smile. “Come. Let’s get you in a nice hot bath, dear. You were asleep for over a day, and quite filthy when you came in. I cleaned you with a cloth as best as I could, but this will make you feel much better.”
“I want to leave.” Your voice sounds too small. Weak. Almost childlike.
Lamarre’s lips twist into a quick grimace. His companion falters slightly, losing some of her composure. That fear starts to well again, and you bat her hands away. Undeterred, she leans in to cup the side of your face. The unexpected tenderness in the touch has you freeze. She presses her advantage with gentle patience.
“That is something that you will need to speak to the Baron about. For now, you need to take care of yourself. Let’s go, love. Time to get up.”
A little uncertain, you do so with a tight nod. They step back as you scoot over to the side of the bed, taking a deep breath before slowly rising to stand. A sharp spike of agony flares straight through your injured foot. The pain brings a harsh cry tearing from your lips, and the trembling leg threatens to give. Hands seize your underarms before you can drop to the floor. With a slight grunt, Lamarre hoists you back upright. His touch lingers until you nod, confirming that you can readily stand, before he slowly releases you and backs away.
It’s the second time that he’s caught you since meeting. You can’t help the heat that swells in your cheeks, feeling a little embarrassed at the thought that every recollection he has of you involves weakly collapsing. Maybe he reads the shame on your face, because a reassuring grin curls his lips.
Your arm loops through the one that Mrs Pothers offers. She guides you across the room, careful to take it slow as you limp with her. However, the pace allows ample opportunity to properly scan the chamber that you find yourself within. Given that you had been preoccupied with the two strangers beside your bed upon awakening, there had not been time before now to get more than a quick flash.
A swift glance at the window tells that you are not on the ground floor. Far from it. While there’s no way to tell how high, the angle of the garden below insist that it is certainly not low. The chamber itself is large, but holds an air of disuse. Dust is visible on the surface of a writing desk, and an armoire that once would have been grand now appears faded with age. At least the carpet underfoot is plush. It is a deep red, complimenting the dark wood decor boasted by the rest of the room. Detachedly, you can’t help but think that any bloody prints trailing from your injured foot would not be visible against those crimson threads.
There’s no denying that it could be beautiful. Very easily so, if they were only to clear away some of the cobwebs and add some pictures to those barren walls. Patches appear faded, as if they had once hosted images which were recently removed. You don’t dwell on it. Not as Lamarre brushes past, leaning forward to silently pull open one of the double doors that loom upon the wall opposite the bed.
Immediately, the air plummets a few degrees. Clad in only that relatively thin nightdress, another shiver runs through your form. Feeling it clearly, Mrs Pothers whispers at her companion to fetch a robe. He disappears without another word, and you catch a look over your shoulder just to see him duck out a large door off to the side of the bed. Behind him, a lock clicks loudly. The sound radiates into the quiet, almost echoing as you step into the enclosed washroom.
The room is circular, which is unusual in itself. Another glimpse of last night resurfaces, showing turrets lining the corners of the castle. This must be one. It makes sense, considering the shape.
The essentials are there - sink, toilet, bath - illuminated in the glow of a stained glass window. Your eyes are immediately drawn to it, fixing on how the simple daylight passes through the tinted panes to become something beautiful. Patches of rainbow colour, broken into shards, except for the centre. A rose sits proudly within that piece, green stem lifting into a burst of scarlet leaves. The contrast against the azure blue background is almost memorising.
One swollen beam of red pours from the flower, resting directly on the large tub laying in the centre of the room. The edges rise high, and the bottom plunges deep. It’s enough to submerge you completely, if you so wished. To your surprise, steam rises off the top of the already risen water.
Noting the lift of your brow, Pothers smiles reassuringly. “I had expected you to awaken soon. Jacques filled it just before you did. It should still be plenty hot, and help chase away some of the chill in this damned place.”
Your nervous eyes cast across the space, searching the shadows just incase someone lurks there. Catching the wary sweep of your gaze, Pothers’ head tilts curiously. You swallow before voicing aloud that inner question. That ever-present fear.
“Where is he?”
She doesn’t need any further explanation to know to whom you refer. Sucking on her cheeks thoughtfully, the housekeeper contemplates it for a moment before answering. “The Baron? I’m not sure. Maybe in his study downstairs. Perhaps in the West Wing.”
Something about that last line draws your attention. Her tone changes slightly when she utters the words. Just barely, but it’s noticeable in your hyper-aware state. The inquisitive words fall before you can stop them. Before you can remind yourself that you are in their home and it may be better to simply remain silent and behave for now. However, it’s too late.
Your voice - higher than usual due to fear - pierces the air. It sounds too loud, too out of place, and makes you regret speaking almost immediately. “What’s in the West Wing?”
Her expression stiffens, but not with anger. “We don’t talk about it, dear.” Sadness is there, drawing the corners of her mouth down. A beat of silence passes as she falls into a sort of lost contemplation. It passes after a few moments, and she returns to reality with a shake of her head.
Quiet persists as she guides you over to the tub. You release her just before it, leaning against the side for support as she hesitates. Her hands gesture at your nightgown, but you shake your head firmly. You don’t want her help to undress. It’s a simple piece, and you can manage it yourself. All the same, she does stay to aid with unwinding the bandages on your arms. Her touch is no less gentle than before, and despite everything, you can’t help but relax around her. There’s no sense of threat here. Not like there was with Helmut Zemo and the other man upon your initial arrival. This woman has been kind to you, and intuition whispers that it is because it’s in her nature.
As she goes to take her leave, to let you remove the rest by yourself, she halts by the door. Sensing that she is about to say something, your gaze rests on the back of her head, waiting for her to speak. Apprehension builds as she turns to look at you from over her shoulder, trying to convey some secret meaning in her eyes.
“He’ll seek you out soon enough. The Baron. Himself and Oeznik have… questions. You don’t need to be scared of him, but don’t provoke him either.”
Quiet spreads as she leaves. You continue to disrobe, aware that she has not gone far incase you need help. The damp air of the castle wraps around your bare skin as the nightdress falls to the floor. Steam lifts atop the surface of the water, tickling your toes as you clamber into the bath. The heat is soothing, however, you can't help but wince. Dozens of stinging cuts react to the change in environment, and it takes a few uncomfortable seconds to adjust. Some break, spilling twisting tendrils of red into the clear water. Amidst the crimson glow of the stained glass window, their combination begins to turn the bath a pale shade of pink.
A few bottles low to the side, a variety of soaps and scents. You pick them up, examining the labels in the tinged lighting. It's a little hard to read given the foreign language, but you substitute by unscrewing them to sniff the contents instead. One smells like rose, and so you tip some into the water. It froths after a few moments, somewhat shielding the view of your naked form, but smells divine. After the filth gathered during your escape through the woods, such a creature comfort is a welcome respite.
Now that your conscious mind has a few moments to spare, the reality of your situation slowly sinks in. You can't help but lift your hands from the water. The myriad of cuts upon your arms seem to cover almost every inch of the skin. Those memories flicker across your eyes - flashes of blood and shattered wood, the screams of the terrified men and the roar of that monster - and a chill runs through you despite the heat of the bath.
As selfish as it is, you can't help but wonder what happened to your trunk. You don't care about the clothes or the jewellery. No. All that you want is Jay's letter. His words, so that you can cling into them through whatever comes next, and the comfort that his familiar scrawl provides. The memory of him only helps to soothe you further.
You can’t help but recall the first time that you met. How he had attempted to approach you during a social gala, dressed in his uniform and boasting his signature easy smirk. The way that he had leaned against the bar and attempted to use his smooth charm. You had stood firm, despite the spell of those clear blue eyes. It was not the first time that a young and handsome officer had tried to flirt with you at such an event, and you knew better than to blindly fall for their smooth words. It was why you’d pretended to hear his name wrong - acting like you were not truly listening to what he had to say - and that joke had stuck ever since. Even now, you can hear the echo of that conversation resounding through your mind.
‘I’m James. James Buchanan Barnes.’
‘Apologies, I didn’t quite catch that. Did you say that your name was ‘Jay?’’
Even the simple memory makes you smile. Those flashes of his grin, his eyes, and that tender touch helps you feel better while trapped in this decrepit place.
The door opens, interrupting your daydream. You look up, expecting to see Mrs Porthers slipping back into the room. However, it’s not the housekeeper. Frigid shock surges within your veins as your gaze settles upon a familiar wordless scowl. Helmut Zemo.
He slides in, the tails of his fine coat - trimmed with fur around the edges - snapping at his heels as he twists to push the door closed behind him. Through the vanishing sliver of space, you catch a quick flash of the housekeeper’s worried eyes as she stands nervously on the outside. That other man is with her. Not Lamarre, but the one from last night. Oeznik, or so the Baron had called him. His frigid stare all but bores into your face. You cringe back, frightened by the coldness in those icy eyes, until the thick panel blocks him from your view, and leaves you alone with his master.
Zemo does not speak. Not at first. Instead, he just leans back. Arms folding languidly over his chest, those thin lips curl into a shallow smirk as he drinks in the sight of you, alone and cowering amidst the tall confines of the tub. Despite the suds that block out your nakedness, the fact that he is in here leaves you feeling bare and vulnerable. Your voice is high and fearful as you try to speak, the strained words echoing through the stone walls of the room.
“Why are you here?”
His smile parts to reveal almost bared white teeth. The look in his eyes is calculating, revelling in your all-too-apparent terror. Footsteps echo sparingly as he pushes himself away from the wall, striding forward with a slow and heavy grace. The movements are unhurried. Almost predatory, as he stalks in a slow circle around the tub, eyes never leaving your face. Your body prickles as he passes behind you, holding your breath as his unseen hand lifts to trail across the nape of your neck. The touch sends a shiver down your spine.
Goosebumps erupt across your skin as he comes around in a full loop. He halts, stopping just off to your right. Standing so close to the edge of the tub that you could reach out and touch the fall of that long coat if you so desired. You don’t. Instead, your hands remain hidden underneath the frothy bathwater, fingers shifting nervously together. The anxious motions cause some more of the cuts to break open again. There’s the sensation of lifting, of blood seeping outwards, coaxed by the thrall of the water to slowly spill free. Zemo watches the slight pink tinge spread further. Underneath the glow of the stained glass, the colour only deepens.
Unable to stop yourself, you scoot away as he lowers elegantly, seating himself upon the edge of the tub. It is deep but unfortunately not wide, and so there is not much space to retreat. He tuts upon noting the motion, leaning forward. Gloved fingers press just underneath your chin, tilting your head upwards to look into those fathomless eyes. They appear nearly utterly black now, pupils blown and irises dilated. Bearing more of a snarl than a smile, every inch of him appears villainous. His touch is insistent, setting your jaw and forcing you to meet that dark gaze. It smolders even as he speaks.
Despite the softness of his words, an audible threat lingers in the air. “Tell me who you are, and why you’re here.”
Revulsion builds at the contact. You jerk away from his touch, hand rising to slap his own away. He doesn’t budge at the hit, but shifts quickly aside to ensure that he doesn’t get splashed by the flying jet of water that follows the motion. Fear rises thick in your chest as you realise what you’ve done. That you literally struck him.
Your voice tremors as an explanation launches free in a stumbling avalanche. “I didn’t mean to end up here. I was running away.”
Your widened eyes plead for him to believe you. There’s something so utterly terrifying of being trapped - naked and so very vulnerable - before a stranger. Especially a man as imposing as this. One who can freeze with the mere brush of his gaze, and cause your heart to stammer in terror with a single tilt of his head. Zemo drinks in your expression thoughtfully, with not a shred of understanding or kindness evident.
Instead, he just continues with his line of harsh questioning. “From where?”
You gulp heavily. “Germany.” It’s a struggle to remove that nervous stammer from your tone, but you try to anyhow. “I was travelling down to the Greecian coast.”
“That’s quite a distance,” he remarks, watching you carefully. One brow is lifted in a display of smooth curiosity. “Why were you going so far?”
There's not really anything to say except for the truth. You're too far in to pull back now. Shaking your head, your lower lip rolls nervously between your teeth as you confess. “To catch a boat. I needed to get away. I… I was engaged. I didn’t want to marry him. The man that I do want is waiting in Greece. He arranged a boat to take us far away. I never meant to end up here, but the carriage-"
"Yes," Zemo interrupts, waving you off. "The carriage and the bear. Lamarre already told me, and I've sent him off to verify your story. Best hope that he finds the proof."
His words bring you to a halt. Despite the fact that he is obedient to your captor, a pulse of apprehension surges within for the manservant. He caught you when you fell last night, and expressed kindness when you awoke this morning. You would feel horrid if something happened to him. All the same, that worry is overshadowed by your very real fear of Helmut Zemo. Renowned mass murderer, though you are not quite sure the specifics of his crimes. Lost in your own dramas, distant news from Europe was not something that had played much part in your thoughts these past few weeks.
Trying not to sound weak, you press on, hoping that somehow your words will reach some empathetic part of him. If he even has one. "Please, if you just let me go, I’ll never tell anyone about this place. I want to vanish just as much as you.”
“And why is that?” More questions, and no answers.
His demeanour has not shifted. No. There’s not a hint of sympathy on his face. Just that frigid suspicion burning behind his eyes, distrust lacing every word. He perches upon the edge of the tub as if you were familiars - intimates - but that couldn’t be more wrong. That blood-red light bathes his face, and the thin line of his scowl could be cut from a razor. Desolation sweeps through you, along with a pronounced shudder. You have no idea what will happen next, but there’s one thing that you are certain of.
This man has no plans to let you go.
That realisation sucks something from you.
Your eyes flutter briefly closed in an effort to compose yourself. When they open again, the room appears even darker. The elegant light above flickers, plunging Zemo’s face into shadows just for a moment. Those eyes - blazing onyx - bore into your face. One of his hands falls, index finger slowly stirring the bath water that you sit in. He doesn’t touch you, but you can feel the water shift at his languid motion.
The gesture is loaded. A purposeful reminder of his control. Letting you know that this place is not like the rest of the world, and there’s no one here to tell him that this is improper or order him to step back. That he can do whatever he wants with an empty callousness that nearly makes you suspect he doesn’t have a soul. Hate starts to simmer within your chest.
That unrelenting gaze reminds you that he is waiting for an answer to that earlier question. Porthers’ words ring through your mind. ‘You don’t need to be scared of him, but don’t provoke him either.’
She would have no reason to lead you astray, and so, you answer through slightly gritted teeth. “Because I despise the man that they want me to marry. Because I wouldn’t be able to live as his wife. Because he’s a monster.”
Because he’s even more of a beast than you.
“What’s his name?” the Baron asks in his low rasp, leaning in to loom above you.
There’s a brief beat of hesitation. His hand stills its unhurried path amidst the water as he waits. Still, you delay, knowing what such an utterance means. That it will expose you. That it will tell him exactly who you are, so that he realises who sits within this tub. Both a valuable hostage, and a young woman that the world will never stop searching for. You’re not quite sure what path it will lead down.
More blood ribbons from your cuts as you answer him coldly. “He’s a Rumlow. Brock Rumlow.”
You see the change ripple over him immediately. There’s not many on the European continent who do not recognise that name. While Brock had been raised in America, his family were well-known on this patch of the world, having originated from Germany. All would be aware of them for their influence was vast, especially when coupled with the notoriety for their not-so-secret allegiance to the supremacist terror group known as HYDRA.
Helmut Zemo’s jaw sets. Something dark starts to blaze in his eyes, and you shrink away, suddenly regretting uttering that name. The effect on him is palpable, and it’s as if the temperature around you has plummeted. Goosebumps break out violently on your skin as you watch him trepidatiously, noting the slow retreat of his fingers from the pink-stained water.
“Rumlow,” he repeats, and the words are barely more than a growl.
Staying silent, your eyes silently track his motions as he pushes himself up from the tub. Footfalls echo as he paces slowly, coat hem lightly flapping at his heels. His vest catches the light, embroidered lines of purple almost sparkling, and suddenly you can’t help but think that he’s handsome. Attractive, in a cruel and calculating way. The unwanted thought nearly has you recoil.
One hand lifts to stroke his chin, a single digit glistening. The touch of his damp finger does not break him out of his thoughts. No. They continue to swirl visibly behind his eyes. All that you can do is sit and watch, feeling utterly exposed and completely helpless. Your body is starting to ache, protesting against so long spent pruning in the tepid bath. It grows, until you can’t take it anymore.
“What are you going to do with me?”
The question seems to jolt him from his trance. Dark eyes seek out your face, and his expression twists slightly. Displeasure dances across his furrowed brow, which is pointed in admonishment for the interruption. He motions to brush you off - to shush you - but the action only serves to do the opposite. Something about it causes that revulsion for him to rise further, thick in the back of your throat.
You’ve told him more than enough. He can share this one thing.
It comes again, in a voice that’s a little stronger than before. “What are you going to do with me?”
Those thin lips twist in displeasure. Something pales even further in the depths of those eyes, matching the cold atmosphere of the room. He seems to grow taller, drawing himself up to his full height as he takes a step closer, moving back towards you.
“I have yet to decide,” he replies in a low, warning rasp. His hand lifts, extending to hover warningly in the air between you as his head tilts to the side. “Do not push me.”
A sneer curls his lips. While you watch, he takes another step closer, and this time his eyes leave your face. They rove down your bare neck, leering upon the exposed swell of your chest and descending to where the frothy water cuts off his view. There’s no lust in his gaze, just cold calculation. It’s another pointed show so that you know he’s looking, and to remind you that there’s nothing you can do about it.
This silent act burns itself through your mind, and that hate rises thick to catch in your throat. You despise this man. Everything about him. His frigid demeanour - cold and harsh as a barren winter - and his many calculated acts of gleeful intimidation. That’s why he’s here, after all, invading your privacy while you sit naked in the pink-tinged water of the bath, feeling the thin ribbons of blood lift from dozens of small gashes lining your skin. Even the simple ability to walk in here is a display of his absolute power. Of how you have no say in anything within these castle walls. Proof that you are trapped in his home, and utterly at his mercy.
A smile lifts the razor line of his mouth as he watches you, and you can nearly feel those dark eyes drinking in the fear and revulsion within your own. He enjoys this. The knowledge that you sit frozen in fear amidst the water brings him an unsettling joy, and it is reflected in every inch of his satisfied stance. That realisation bores deep into you, swirling angrily within the pit of your stomach, and that seething hatred bubbles right up to the fore. It brings a steely resolve. One which screams to not let him have this particular victory, because you’ve lost enough already.
No. You’re going to take some of the power back.
Before your resolve can fail, glistening hands clamp around the sides of the bathtub, and you rise. Water rushes down your body, dripping from the ends of your hair, and cold air shudders around your naked skin as you stand straight within the bath, mouth set into a grim line. Before you, Zemo starts, stiffening. His brow rises into a display of shock that he is not able to hold back. Caught off guard, there is no chance to restrain his eyes as they flit down the rest of your body. Unlike before, he can see it all, and it’s because you are fearlessly showing it to him.
Your entire naked form illuminated in the gentle light of the dusty chandelier overhead, and the Baron has a prime view to every inch.
It’s all on display.
How the iridescent glow of the stained glass window paints your skin, highlighting the swell of your breasts and the curves of your body. Drawing his attention to the dip of your hips and the hardened buds of your raised nipples. The weight of his eyes trace burning lines across your exposed skin as he stares, a muscle jumping in his cheek. Jaw setting in a firm show of resolve, you fight the urge to fold your arms over your chest. That would be a concession, and this is about taking some of that autonomy back.
Instead, your voice remains steady as you extend a hand. “The towel, Baron. If you would be so kind.”
He has no choice but to move. One hand shoots out, paling knuckles lifting the length of cloth free from the brass hook on the wall nearby. He approaches, clenching it far too tightly to be normal, and all the hairs lining your skin rise as he does. Goosebumps erupt over the exposed flesh. Cold air swirls around you - for this place is always so frigid - but that is not what conjures such a reaction. That is due to his heightening proximity. How his steps echo across the tile as he strides closer, heavy boots thudding against the floor, and then the despised warmth of his fingers as he silently slides a formal hand into yours. You hadn’t expected that, but the insinuation is clear.
Neither of you will quite back down. Not just yet.
And so, silent and strained, you allow his sturdy touch to balance you as you step free from the bathtub. Even through the rough mat underneath the soles of your feet, the freezing ground emanates through. Another shiver finally breaks from your damp chest, tremoring up your arm. Droplets trail down your skin, and cascade to the floor in muted drops.
Part of you wishes that he would speak. The other torn piece is glad for a respite from his smug and domineering words.
Still, Zemo does not say anything. There is no crass comment or crude remark. Only the weight of something hanging in the air between you - thick and darkly burdened - which swells as he silently drapes the towel over your shoulders. Those eyes threaten to burn holes into the back of your skull, but you do not turn to face him. Something whispers at you not to. That if you do, something unforgivable may happen.
Because, as much as you despise your captor, there is a rising fascination that grows for him. A strange draw to push him to the limits, and get him to reveal just how truly dangerous he is. To force him to play his hand, and reveal exactly what is in store for you during your time here.
As if reading your thoughts, Zemo takes a step closer, shifting right up behind you. Your head remains boldly forward, focused on the door on the opposite side of the room. There is the faintest brush of his chest against your back, and heated breath puffs against the nape of your neck. Still, he doesn’t touch you. Only leans forward, lips so close to your earlobe that you can feel them hovering against your skin, and lets out a soft murmur of warning.
“Impressive tactic, dragă. Truly, I applaud your courage. However, let me warn you that not all other men are as composed as I. This is not a gambit that I would suggest using again. Not unless you are prepared for what could come.”
His hand ghosts along the curve of your hip, skating through the air only a hair’s breadth away. You can feel his urge to place it upon your body, just those five fingers in the briefest of contact, just prove that he still holds the control here… But yet, he doesn’t. Won’t. Maybe even can’t. The knowledge leaves you with a shaky sigh of relief, because in that moment that you realise while Helmut Zemo is many things - a criminal, a murderer, your captor - he is not the type of man to violate a woman’s autonomy. Trapped in this place with such an intimidating overlord, that is a small blessing which will be gladly taken.
He steps back, and another low command washes over you. “You will join me for dinner tomorrow evening, on the assumption that Lamarre returns to confirm your story. Note that I expect you to be more appropriately dressed.”
There’s no argument to be found within the order. Not a sliver of room to refuse. Just an emotionless decree that has you dip your head in the tiniest of nods.
Agreeing doesn't feel like quite so much of a concession after what just occurred. Now a shred of your power has come back, and you can reconcile that earlier look within his eyes. Admiration. Not simply at the sight of your naked body, but in response to your abrupt show of resolve. To the fact that you had stood your ground with him, which was probably not something that many people attempted.
And besides, such an offer signals something even more important.
If he’s asking you to dine with him, it means that he has no immediate plans to kill you. That’s a better sign than any other, and it offers a chance. Just a shred of hope that you could potentially get out of this place and find your way back to Jay.
A/N: Gothic themes are a lot more fun to write than I expected!
Did anyone suspect that Jay was Bucky? I know there weren’t huge hints, but I’m curious if anyone was suspicious.
If you want more Zemo, I also uploaded the first chapter of ‘Call It A Secret’ last week. This is Zemo’s continuation/spin-off of my ‘Call It A Night’ series. It has A LOT of smut in it, so if you want some of that goodness you know where to go...
Support your content creators! Likes, reblogs and comments are much appreciated.
Link to the next chapter will be added below once published.
If u r still taking Zemo x reader ideas could I request a one shot where Zemo and the fem!reader are a couple and they have to babysit a baby (could be Sarah's or smth) and he is SO ADORABLE with the baby (bc he misses his son so much) and the reader tells him that she's ready to have a family with him? All super fluff pls? 🥺
Sorry this took so long and I tried my best to write this. I don’t think I made it fluffy enough.
Pairing: Zemo x Reader
Warning: talk of Zemo’s dead son
You and Zemo had been together for almost two years now. After his assistance in taking down The Flag Smasher America, Germany, the country that took sakovia had pardoned him. He was allowed out of prison as lon as he stayed away from wakonda. Sara and Bucky had had a baby, sam still didn’t like the super soldier and his sister together, And sam was still captain America. He hadn’t had as many issues with it as he thought he would no one bothered him about being a black captain America other than racists.
Currently You and zemo were babysitting for Sara, Sam Wilson’s sister, while her sam and Bucky were preparing for a block party type of event. You were making Sara’s oldest boys sone Kraft Mac n’ Cheese while Zemo was watching the baby. He walked into the kitchen talking to the baby in that weird voice people use with children. You thought the voice was stupid but he looked so cute with the baby.
“Helmut you know he doesn’t understand you, right?” You said and he looked at you.
“I know libeling but it still helps when they learn to talk.”
“Honey you have an accent that sometimes I don’t even understand,” You said as the baby started crying, “I think I made the little guy mad.”
“No you didn’t y/n he’s probably just hungry.” Zemo handed the baby to you and you were a little tense. “Don’t be so tense they can sense fear. Do you know if Sara left-“
“She left his bottles in the fridge. Love? Does this babysitting make you miss Carl?”
“Y/n, I always miss Carl. He had his mother and I wrapped around his finger.. All children remind me of him,” He said heating the bottle as the two older boys ran in.
“Y/n! Zemo!” They shouted, “Is dinner done yet?”
“Almost.” You said as she had the boys sit down. Zemo took the baby and fed him smiling. You smiled and gave the older boys some Mac n’ Cheese. Zemo talked to the baby while feeding him. You looked at Zemo in awe and left the room. After dinner you got the older boys to bed and went to check on Zemo and the baby. He was singing the baby a sakovian lullaby. When he set the baby down in the crib you set your hand on Zemo’s back, “Helmut? Do you ever want to have a child again someday?”
“Yes one day but I’d never would want you t feel pressured int that sort of thing.” He said as the front door opened. You and him went to the living room. “James, Sara, Your children are asleep and the baby was fed and is asleep.”
“Thank You Zemo, Y/n. You two are life savers.”
“Anytime Sara.” You said getting Zemo’s jacket and yours. The two of you walked to his jet so you could go home. You were looking at the ground most of the way to the jet.
“Libeling talk to me. Something is on your mind.”
“What you said about wanting to have another chid someday.”
“meine Geliebte, don’t feel pressured by that-“
“No no Helmut I don’t. I didn’t want to mention it until you brought it up but the idea of starting a family with you has been crossing my mind a lot lately.”
“mein schatz was willst du sagen?” He said in sakovian making you sigh. He often slipped into his native language when he was confused or worried.
“Helmut you know I don’t understand Sakovian.”
“Sorry, My darling what are you trying to say?”
“If you want to have a baby, to start a family, I’m ready to do that with you.” You said and he smiled then hugged you.
The two of you wasted no time about two months later Sara and Bucky got a letter from you telling them that you were pregnant.
“Drop it Zemo.” Sharon orders. You see Helmut place the gun back on the floor.
“Sharon?” Bucky says in surprise.
“You cost me everything.” She states, kicking the gun aside and fixing it towards Helmut. You move to stand in front of him. Sam steps forward,
“Sharon, wait. Someone recreated the super-soldier serum and Zemo had a lead.”
“Well that explains why you’re here, and have a bounty on your heads.”
“So what are you doing here?”
“I stole Steve's shield, remember? I also took the wings for your ass, so that you could save his ass from his ass.” You do not like how she keeps swinging the gun around. “Unlike you, I didn't have the Avengers to back me up. So I'm off the grid in Madripoor.”
“Hey, don't blow that smoke at me. I was on the run, too.” Sam argues.
“Was. Is. Big difference. I don't speak to my family anymore. I can't. My own father doesn't know where I am.” Sam looks away, guiltily.
“Listen Sharon, we need your help.” Bucky pleads. She laughs before sighing,
“This isn't over. I have a place in High Town. You'll be safe there for a while.” It doesn’t take long for the five of you to reach Sharon’s house.
“Looks like breaking all those laws is treating you well.” Sam comments, as you follow Sharon through her house. You pass a large display of art pieces, no doubt a gallery that Sharon owns. She shrugs, laughing,
“At some point, I thought if I had to hustle, I might as well enjoy the life of a real hustler. You know how much I get for a real Monet?” Sam laughs with her.
“Easy. Deactivate your hustle mode. You sell fake Monet’s.”
“No. She means real. This gallery specialises in stolen artwork. Monet. Van Gogh. Classics.” Helmut tells you.
“It's true. You know, half the artwork in museums like the Louvre is fake.” Bucky adds. “Real stuff sits in places like this.” Sam pulls out his phone, stopping in front of a painting,
“Okay, guys, I see what you're doing. You're more worldly than good old Sam.” You follow Helmut as Sharon leads you towards the stairs to her apartment. You hear Sam and Bucky still discussing the paintings as you ascend the stairway. After a small discussion, Sharon leaves your group, telling you to enjoy the party. While Sam and Bucky prepare themselves, you pour yourself a drink before pushing open the balcony doors and stepping outside. Probably not the best idea for someone with a bounty on their head, but you need some air. It isn’t long before you sense Helmut hovering by the door. You glance back at him. The bright neon lights of the cityscape are striking against his face, highlighting his features as his eyes search your expression.
“Are you alright?” He asks softly, breaking the silence between the two of you. You nod, lost in your thoughts for a moment,
“I think so.” He tilts his head aside, his eyes not leaving your face. “This wasn’t how I imagined our first day together.”
“You imagined it?” You turn to look down at the street, avoiding his gaze.
“Of course.” He goes quiet as he considers your admission. He steps out onto the balcony, approaching you slowly.
“I don’t mean to sound like a petty child.” He starts, leaning on the railing next to you. “But you didn’t visit me.” You nod faintly, keeping your gaze on the street below. “Why?”
“I didn’t want you to feel cornered. You were already in prison. I didn’t want you to feel like you had to accept me, because you had no other option.” You pause for a moment, before adding, “I also thought that you’d still be grieving.” He takes your hand, smoothing his thumb across your knuckles. Your mouth opens slightly, wanting to speak, but you hold back at the last second.
“What is it?” He asks gently.
“You were going to say something else.”
“Was Heike your soulmate?” A frown crosses his face and you fear you’ve upset him.
“I could feel your determination when we walked into the bar tonight. Your anxiety when you’d left me with Selby. Your relief when I was back with you. You’re my other half [Y/N]. There’s no doubt about it.” You’re stunned for a moment. All these years, you’d prepared yourself for the worst. For you to live without him. For you to have a soulmate that wasn’t meant for you. And now he’s here. In front of you. Telling you he’s all yours. He continues, “Heike and I. When we married we agreed that should we find our soulmate’s we’d remain living together, for the sake of our son, but that we would always belong to our soulmate.”
“Did she find hers?” He nods. “Where is he?”
“Buried next to her.” You nod tensely, not sure if the ache in your heart is from you or him. “We talked about you.” You look up at him. “Heike would ask after you almost everyday. And I’d tell her. If I told her you felt happy or sad during the day, we'd talk about what you might have been doing. We wondered where you were, and how I’d end up finding you.” You swallow the lump in your throat, tears glistening in your eyes.
“I thought that I’d remind you of her. Of everything you’ve lost.” You admit.
“I had considered that. In my search for the Winter Soldiers, I was consumed. I hate to admit it, but I gave you very little thought during that time.”
“You were rather occupied.” You reason, with a minute smile.
“That is no excuse. Though it is fortunate we did not meet at that time. I was not the man you deserve. Even now, despite my selfish urge to keep you, I believe you deserve better.”
“Helmut, you’re my other half, my mirror soul. Do you really think that, given the situation, I wouldn’t do what you did?”
“You would?” You hesitate, wanting both to comfort him and give him an honest answer.
“I know I’d consider it. I’m not sure if I’d be able to pull it off.” You joke softly. He lets out a light laugh.
“I’m sure you’re underestimating yourself.” Sam knocks against the door frame, but he doesn’t step onto the balcony, not wanting to intrude on your first quiet moment with Helmut.
“Party’s started.” Sam tells you.
“We’ll be out in a second.” You reply. You hold Helmut’s gaze for a moment, neither of you wanting to move but knowing you’ll have to soon. Helmut holds out his arm,
“Shall we?” You smile at him, taking his arm.
The rest of the night passes by in a blur. Throughout the party you spot Sam and Bucky making their way through the crowds, attempting to blend in. You like to think you and Helmut do a better job at mingling, particularly when the two of you take to the dance floor. His hands grasped by your own, or trailing down your sides as the two of you move with the music. Whenever you take a moment for a rest, Helmut’s at your side. Should you stop in front of a painting for too long, he’ll offer to buy it for you. Sam and Bucky approach the two of you as you’re looking at a painting.
“We’re heading upstairs, you two coming?” Sam asks. You glance at Helmut, and he gives you a subtle nod. The four of you make your way through the crowd, towards the stairs. Sam and Bucky head to their shared bedroom after wishing you a good night. Helmut sits on the couch with a glass in hand. You sit beside him, and the two of you talk for a few hours. Before long you’re yawning, your head leaning against his shoulder. He looks down at you, noting your eyes drifting closed. Smiling softly at you, he smooths a hand over your hair, before saying quietly,
“You should get some rest.” You nod sleepily. The two of you walk towards the bedrooms hand in hand. Once you reach your door, Helmut brings your hand to his lips. “Goodnight Liebling.”
Summary: After escaping the RAFT, Zemo hides out in Italy. Reader is a student studying abroad in Rome, but has spent much of her time working in order to pay for school. One day after work she runs into a man while grocery shopping....
Warnings: Smut - unprotected sex, age gap, dubcon & daddy kink (if you squint), sugar daddy x sugar baby relationship dynamics. Alcohol use. Public displays of affection. Italian translations by Google Translate and being an avid fan of The Sopranos.
A/N: This was a request I got on AO3 I took some liberties with. Please don’t try to poke holes in some of the logic in this story (i.e., Zemo going out to a club while he’s on the run), it’s just supposed to be fun. I meant to post this awhile back but it needed more work and I got super busy. Also, I made a playlist for this story, which you can check out here. Please enjoy!
Pocketing the map she’d been using a bit self-consciously, she stopped herself outside the small market. She was nearly successful, finally, at navigating from her flat to the closest place she knew to grab groceries, only having to look at directions once.
Studying abroad was supposed to be fun — at least that was what she had been told — but so far all she’d been doing was working overtime just to scrape by, and hardly had much time to explore the city. But how else was she supposed to afford living and studying in Rome without a proper job? Most of her classes were online, as it encouraged her to spend more time experiencing Italy, but it only gave her an excuse to spend more time at the office, putting in extra hours wherever she could.
It was easy to pick up ingredients for dinner every few days, and once she arrived at the grocer she set about getting all the things on her mental checklist. Mind spinning with thoughts of work — which was a competitive, paid internship she’d scored — her attention was everywhere except in the moment; hastily gathering the produce she needed.
There were a few emails she’d have to answer when she got home, a few files to review before she could even think of her meal and –
Letting out a grunt, she abruptly collided with a broad chest just as she was rounding the corner her way to check out. Tomatoes, apples, and oranges collided with the floor, she’d forgotten the canvas bag she usually carried her groceries in, and had been overly confident about what she could balance in her arms.
“Mi dispiace,” she apologized profusely, using the limited Italian she knew, barely regarding the man in front of her as she knelt to collect the items that had been sent rolling in every direction. “I’m so sorry.”
The man would step around the mess and continue about his day, she figured, but in her flurry to collect everything, a hand holding a bruised tomato was suddenly in front of her face.
Glancing upwards at the outstretched hand, she was taken aback when she saw the stranger’s face, becoming lost in golden eyes, which were sparkling, attentive, gazing at her coyly.
“You might want to get a cart next time,” he said, voice low and even. His accent was European, but she couldn’t place exactly what it was from. However, she had heard enough Italian accents to at least recognize that this was different. It didn’t matter though, because his husky intonation was the most agreeable sound she’d heard since she first arrived in the country. He didn’t seem angry, if anything, he was amused. “May I help?” he asked, gesturing to the groceries in her arms.
It took her a moment to respond as she was too busy checking him out; he was good-looking, and had a vaguely familiar face, though she didn’t know exactly how. Perhaps he resembled an actor she’d seen in a movie somewhere, but she wasn’t going to let it qualm her.
“Oh please, you don’t have to-“ she began.
“It’s the least I could do.” She didn’t argue, and how could she? It seemed almost rude to refuse.
“I take it you aren’t from here…” he stated plainly.
“You can tell?” she asked sarcastically.
He chuckled, a pleasant sound. “Neither am I.”
They made their way to the register, and he paused to grab a bottle of wine off the top shelf of the rack, not bothering to look at the price, although she did, and tried not to gawk when she saw it. There was a short line at the register, and they filed behind other patrons.
“My name is Helmut,” he offered his hand, and she shook it, giving him her name in response, which he repeated once before offering a soft smile. “What brings you to Italy?” he asked, chatting her up. Normally she shied away from small talk, but right now, she really didn’t mind it at all.
“I’m studying abroad,” she answered.
“Sounds educational,” he winked. “Have you seen anything interesting yet?”
She shrugged wondering how much she was willing to share. “Uh, well...it’s a little embarrassing but...not really. I scored a sweet internship, so I’ve mostly just been working.”
“Well don’t work too hard,” he chided. “There’s so much to do here, you won’t want to waste the experience.”
“I know,” she said. “Do you live in town?”
A somewhat sour expression crossed his features, his brows drawing together, eyes narrowing, but then he blinked and it was gone. “No, I’m in town for business, I’m staying just outside the city.”
“Oh nice,” she said, and she realized that she had made it to the front of the checkout line, where Helmut helped her place her items on the counter. The cashier bagged them quickly and she paid, taking the tote in her arms.
“Well it was nice meeting you,” she said, turning to find him watching her attentively, seemingly zoned out or lost in thought, though there was something quite intense in his gaze.
“You as well,” he answered. He paused then, eyes raking her up and down quite brazenly, and she thought maybe he was going to ask her something else, but appeared to decide against it. “Enjoy your time in Rome,” he finished.
“You too.” The cashier pulled his attention away and she left. So far, most of the people she’d met had been friendly, and she didn’t think much of the interaction, leaving him behind in the market as she began the short walk home.
She lounged in a chair by the window in her little bedroom, feet propped up on the windowsill, watching the last sliver of sun slipping carefully under the cover of the horizon, the sky changing colors, from blue to red, to pink, to yellow before her eyes. Her cheap bluetooth speaker played an old Eagles album, and her hands worried about the handle of a mug that contained the remainder of a cheap bottle of Merlot. It wasn’t even a week night, but she was going to have to go to work early the next day just to get a few hours in. There was a good chance she’d be the only other person in the office, but she didn’t have much of a choice, as she needed the extra hours if she wanted to make rent the following week.
The trip was only possible because of a scholarship she’d gotten, but it was barely enough money to cover school, let alone rent and other living costs. The other students in the program had help from their families, or had money saved up, but unfortunately, she didn’t have such luxuries.
The city went on without her that night, and she could hear the chatter of people on the street, out getting dinner and drinks, pregaming before heading out to the clubs. She closed her eyes, taking another sip of wine. She’d have to start getting ready for bed soon, but she was savoring the only bit of city life she could have right now.
That was until her roommate, Tiff, came tearing into the room, wobbling in precariously high heels and a skimpy, skintight dress, a watered-down drink in her hand.
“Uhhh, please tell me you’re going to change,” Tiff scolded, incredulous. She opened her mouth to speak but she was cut off. “Wait...don’t tell me you forgot..”
“Fuck,” she muttered, squeezing her eyes shut, head lolling backwards. “That’s tonight?”
“Yeah, it’s Friday!” Tiff exclaimed.
“I can’t, I have to go in tomorrow.”
“Okay well, you’re coming anyways.”
“I could barely afford it even if I wanted to.”
“Who cares? I’ll spot you, but we’re not leaving without you.”
Despite her insistent protests, her roommates were convincing, and thirty minutes later she found herself on the sidewalk, huddled in a group, headed to a club she’d never heard of. Clad in a borrowed dress that was much shorter than anything she’d ever worn before, throat still burning from a shot of garbage vodka they’d taken just minutes ago, she planned on only staying out a few hours before heading home so she could make it to work the next day.
She’d been in the city for about a month, but it was her first time out, and as she waltzed with her friends down the street, she was struck by its beauty, the crowded sidewalks filled with people headed to various bars and clubs, dressed in varying degrees of formality. For the first time since she had arrived, she felt carefree, happy, excited. At this point, she didn’t care what the plan was, she was just relieved to be out of the cramped apartment and boring office.
The club her friends had picked out was packed, crowded, playing music she didn’t recognize but could easily dance to. It was a little overwhelming, and their group flocked to the bar to get a drink, leaning over to catch eyes with one of many frazzled bartenders.
Scanning the crowd, it was full of people she didn’t know, which was more comforting than anything else, compared to the pubs back home. That was, until she locked eyes with a man at the end of the bar. Wearing a dark shirt with the sleeves rolled up, his long fingers were wrapped around a tumbler filled with ice and amber liquor. She was struck by him instantly, not just by his handsome, confident looks, but….where do I know him from? His eyes narrowed at her kindly as a smile quirked at the corners of his mouth, oh god, he was so hot and she was so-
“What are you gonna get to drink?” her friend smacked her on the arm, and she turned away from the pleasant stranger, as Tiff bobbed her head to the music obliviously, and took in the scene around her.
She shrugged. At this rate, it didn’t seem like the bartender would ever notice them, and she’d practically forgotten about getting a drink, even though she felt like she’d need one soon to tolerate the crowd, which was growing increasingly rowdy. Turning her attention back to the man at the end of the bar, she was disappointed to find him gone. Maybe it had been her imagination, but she couldn’t hide her disappointment.
Sighing, she leaned further over the bar, hoping the bartender would be forced to acknowledge them, until she heard a deep voice in her ear.
“What a pleasant surprise,” it was a low purr that sent shivers up her spine, and she turned around to find the man now standing behind her, lips curled in an ornery grin.
She felt herself smiling like an idiot, absolutely taken, especially as she now recalled how she knew him, the same man she’d met in the market earlier that week. He had been stately before, but she realized she’d been too flustered to discern just how fine he really was.
“Helmut!” she exclaimed.
“I wasn’t sure if you’d remember me,” he said.
“How could I forget?” she blurted, and then felt her cheeks warm, embarrassed at her overt display of enthusiasm.
But he seemed to like it, and smiled even wider in response. “How serendipitous it is to find you here. I’m glad to see you experiencing the nightlife.”
“Yeah,” she appreciated him up close, and felt somewhat awkward trying to figure out what to say next besides just oogle.
“What are you drinking?” he asked, eyes flickering to her friend as well, who had just caught on to what was happening.
“Uh, vodka soda,” she said without thinking, her usual drink of choice when going out. “If we ever get a drink.”
“Allow me,” he leaned over the bar, raising his hand.
As if on cue, a bartender approached him, and as he was ordering, Tiff elbowed her aggressively. “Holy shit, who is that?” she asked, checking him out, and her eyes drifted down to the curve of his ass in his dress pants. Nice, her friend mouthed, nodding in approval.
Shrugging, she was too taken aback to tell the story, and before she knew it, Helmut pressed a cold glass in her hand, offering another drink to her friend who took it graciously.
“It’s on me,” Helmut said before she could open her mouth.
Now, she was able to give him a real appraisal. Stubble covered his jawline, dark hair falling onto his forehead, and she noticed, for the first time, the fine lines around his eyes and mouth. He was older than her, much older – she had to guess maybe somewhere in his forties – but it hardly mattered because he wore it well. If anything, he couldn’t have been more becoming if he were any younger. The dark dress shirt he wore was unbuttoned at the top, revealing just a bit of his bare chest, but not hardly enough, she thought.
The bartender sat down a round of shots as well, ones he must have ordered. “Please, let’s toast,” he lifted the small glass. She didn’t dare ask what the shot even was, and Tiff just kept elbowing her aggressively, like she couldn’t believe what was happening.
“Salute,” the three of them clinked the glasses together and threw back the liquid. It was smooth, expensive, nothing like what she had taken before she left her place that night.
Helmut threw back the rest of his drink as well, and his eyes fixated on her.
“Come dance with me,” he commanded, and tilted his head in the direction of the dance floor. She froze, turning back to Tiff to ask silent permission.
“Will you just have some fun? I’ll find the others. Go on, he’s hot.”
She couldn’t disagree, and took his outstretched hand hesitantly. It was cool from the drink, but felt so nice.
“You aren’t working tonight?” Helmut teased, and she was surprised he’d remembered anything from their brief conversation in the store earlier in the week.
“No, but I have to go in tomorrow,” she rolled her eyes.
“On a weekend? It doesn’t sound like you’re taking my advice.”
“I’ll be short on rent if I don’t, “ she regretted the words the second they came out of her mouth, but she’d never been a great liar. Still, she doubted he wanted to hear about her financial misfortunes. As she expected, a look of discontent crossed Helmut’s features and she figured this would be the blow that startled him away, but it wasn’t, and his expression neutralized quickly.
She didn’t recognize the music, all sung in various languages she didn’t understand, even the songs in Italian she only half comprehended, but it didn’t matter. Helmut’s arm snaked around her waist, pulling her close to him, and she felt her heart rate increase, echoing in her ears, even louder than the bassy club hits. His proximity was intimidating, almost suffocating. She wasn’t used to attention from men like this, and as much as she liked it, she herself wasn’t quite sure what to do. One wrong move might turn him off entirely, and she didn’t want to make a fool of herself.
Finally finishing her drink, she discarded the glass on an empty tray passing by. Her hands rested stiffly on his shoulders, and he pulled away slightly to smile at her. “You don’t do much dancing, do you?” he asked.
She shook her head no, struggling to find words. You idiot! She practically screamed at herself, feeling heat rising up her neck. “I’m sorry,” she managed.
“Don’t apologize,” he said gently. “Here,” Guiding her hands, he laid one on the arm that he had wrapped around her waist, the other to his chest, her thumb mere inches from his exposed skin.
“You can get as close to me as you’d like darling,” he hummed. “I don’t bite.”
His hands were big, the one spread across her waist, thumb lazily grazing her ribcage, warm and gentle, her stomach fluttering at the contact as they began to move in time to the music. There was something almost protective in the way he held her, which had her reeling, despite how little they knew each other.
Helmut’s stubble tickled the side of her face as he talked to her while they danced, and she wondered if he was doing it because he could tell she was nervous. She hoped not.
“Sweet girl,” he murmured in her ear. “Don’t tell me this is your first time out since you’ve been in the country.”
She grimaced, glad he couldn’t see her face. “I’ve just been so busy.”
“You can’t spend all your time working.”
“I don’t have much of a choice,” she was embarrassed truthfully, but she wished they could change the subject. It was clear she sounded like a stick in the mud.
“I might be able to help you,” he purred. From her spot, her chin over his shoulder, against the side of his face, she couldn’t really read him, but she was beginning to feel tipsy from the drinks she’d had. “But enough talking about work.”
It wasn’t clear what he meant, and she didn’t want to press him, didn’t think she would have the audacity to even if she wanted. Instead, she let the liquid courage seep slowly into her veins, the rest of the club, the noise, the lights blending together into a more tolerable backdrop. When she leaned in closer to him, he matched her enthusiasm. Drowning in his scent, expensive cologne, cigar smoke, and whiskey, she gathered he was a man who liked the finer things, the watch adorning one of his wrists could probably pay her rent for the entirety of her stay in Italy and then some.
Growing more and more bold, she moved her thumb over to dip underneath the shirt he was wearing, hesitantly touching the bare skin there. Her thumb began toying with the fourth button of his shirt, and he pulled away slightly to look at her then. Freezing, she wondered if she’d crossed a line.
But instead, Helmut quirked an eyebrow, amused. “Would you like to see more of me already?”
“Just a little,” she felt small, demure in his presence, but there was something kind of appealing about it. Watching her, she unbuttoned the shirt carefully, pushing the fabric aside to splay her palm against the broad expanse of his chest, which was searing hot and damp with perspiration. She gently raked her nails back and forth.
“Oh draga, you aren’t as shy as you lead others to believe, are you?” he smiled at her.
She shook her head no, and at this point the two of them were closer than they’d been all night, his lips just inches from hers. Lifting her chin, she let her eyelids flutter closed halfway, hoping he’d give her what she wanted, and he did, tilting his head down to slot his lips against hers.
Whatever she’d been expecting, he blew that out of the water, the searing heat of his mouth against her own was like stepping into a sauna, sucking the air from her lungs and buckling her knees, a jolt of lighting hitting her stomach and radiating all the way to her core. He was so passionate, so confident. She didn’t need to worry about what to do next as he took the lead, his tongue sliding against her lower lip, one of his hands on the back of her neck, the other on her jaw. Even if she didn’t want to give in, she’d have no choice in the matter, and surrendering to him felt euphoric.
No one had ever kissed her like this before, and definitely not in public, but that hardly mattered because the last thing she wanted to do was stop him, and she let her hands roam, wrapping around his broad shoulders and tangling in his hair.
When his hands pulled her closer, tilting his head and deepening the kiss even further, she let out an unbridled moan into his mouth. It’d been so long since anyone had paid her attention, and now, this, one of the hottest men she’d ever met was making out with her - passionately - in front of hundreds of people.
He pulled away suddenly, she was a panting mess, lips swollen as she sucked in greedy gasps of air while she could, though she’d much rather be deprived if it meant he was going to kiss her like that again. She thought she’d done something wrong until he spun her around and grabbed her hips, wrapping an arm around her waist and pulling her back so her ass was flush against him.
He pressed his hips forward, gripping her own with bruising intensity, so she could feel him hard against her and she moaned, plainly, unable to help herself, head lolling back against his shoulder.
In her limited years of life, she never imagined herself in this situation, which made it all the more thrilling. They were invisible among the crowd of people and she felt giddy, delirious. Grinding against him to the music, she threw an arm behind her to grip at his neck, which allowed him to press hot, searing kisses along her sensitive skin as she keened back into him. His lips locked with her own again and she moaned into his mouth.
“You little tease,” he growled, his words had desire settling in the pit of her stomach as one of the hands on her waist slowly drifted up her ribcage and cupped the soft flesh of her breast through too many layers of her clothes.
With every touch of his greedy hands, she was growing impossibly wet, he devoured her shamelessly, for anyone there to see. But no one around them seemed to care.
There was power and powerlessness in her current state, all at the same time. He was cursing in a language she’d never heard before, the one hand that wasn’t on her breast ventured to grapple along her thigh where her dress stopped short. They explored her bare skin, torrid and rapacious, her self-control waning with every press of his sticky palms.
“You look incredible in this dress,” he cooed. “If I fucked you in it right now, I don’t think anyone would know.”
The precipice between her legs ached at his words, clenching around nothing. And Helmut seemed to know exactly the effect he was having on her, but it only seemed to spur him on as he whispered absolute filth in her ear.
“Do you want me as badly as I want you?” he asked.
“Yes,” she cried out as his hand slipped underneath the fabric of the skirt, no one would even be able to see him squeezing and pinching at the inside of her thighs, harsh enough to leave marks behind.
When his knuckles grazed the front of her panties, she could tell they were already damp. He was so, so close to where she wanted him most but he was holding out, refusing to give her what she needed. “You’re so wet for me already,” he chided.
“Helmut, please,” she whined, a simpering mess at this point. She hadn’t even drank that much, but she couldn’t remember the last time she’d been with anyone, and she knew with certainty it wasn’t this hot, hell, she probably hadn’t even gotten off. Mind clouded and driven by pure lust, it was Helmut who pulled away, but only slightly, and she whined at the loss of contact.
“Draga,” he sympathized. “What kind of gentlemen would this make me?”
Her logical brain managed to push through the fog, just a bit, as she turned around to face him once more. With some space between them, she was coming down from her high, realizing that she had never even been that drunk before, just lost in the throes of desire, intoxicated by him and the energy of the crowd surrounding them.
“Be patient, anđele, you’ll be grateful once I’m through with you.”
His words sent another wave of want over her, but she had to fight it, she was tempted to drag him into the bathroom, or worse, back to her flat. But she knew better than that...or did she?
She’d donned her nicest dress, at least, the nicest dress she owned, and had to admit she was feeling confident as she approached the hostess stand. However, she was distracted by the view as the sun set before her, illuminating the skyline of Rome. She took a second to enjoy the moment, to focus on the soon-to-be memory, rather than the elephant in the room.
And as the hostess led her to their table she spotted him, seated by a balcony, looking at the view, nursing a drink. The mere sight of him had desire curling in her belly, and nerves tingling along her skin. It was all so intimidating.
Before she’d left the club, Helmut had asked for her number. The next day he’d Venmo’d her $500 and invited her to dinner. You aren’t working tonight, the memo had said. It sounded like she didn’t have a choice, so she didn’t.
She didn’t have words to describe how she felt about it all. Like she’d said before, she wasn’t used to attention from men, especially not someone like him. And she knew almost nothing about him, what he did for a living, where he was from. Hell, she didn’t even know his last name for fucks sake. This whole situation could be dangerous, but for some reason, she was still intrigued.
“Well at least if you die tonight, I can tell your family it was in pursuit of a sugar daddy,” Tiff had teased as she helped her get ready.
“I don’t know if that’s what this is.”
“Please,” her roommate rolled her eyes. “It totally is, and it’s totally hot. And so is he.”
She couldn’t disagree. But she still wasn’t sure what exactly to make of the whole situation.
“Buona sera,” Helmut stood to greet her. “Come stai?”
“Molto bene, grazie,” she answered softly, though she wasn’t sure if that was honest.
“How lovely it is to see you tonight,” he purred, as a waiter poured them both a glass of wine from a bottle. “I hope you don’t mind, I already ordered a bottle of wine for us. But if you’d like something else, by all means...”
“No this is…” she glanced at the label as her glass was being filled with the crimson liquid. The label looked vintage, and probably pricey. “This is good.”
“I thought you might appreciate a nice Italian wine,” he said. “This one is from Tuscany.”
As if that meant anything to her, her normal choice of wine was Two Buck Chuck from Trader Joes. But, she was still flattered, even though someone with a more refined palette deserved to try it instead of her.
Clinking glasses with him and taking a sip, she looked out over the skyline of Rome once more. The sun had set, but there was still a bit of light in the sky, and they were tucked away from everyone else, out of sight. She wondered if he’d done it on purpose, so he could try to feel her up, not that she would’ve minded.
Taking a deep breath, she decided they had enough privacy to bring up what was on her mind, especially because he seemed to be avoiding it.
“Listen, Helmut, I need to tell you something…” she began.
“About the money you gave me-”
His expression turned from one of contentment to something much darker. “It is impolite to discuss such matters in public, and especially not at dinner.”
“Well when else are we supposed to-”
“After, once we retire to my room.”
“Retire to your room?” she raised an eyebrow. “How presumptuous.”
“Is it, though?” he gave her a knowing look, and a once-over. “Just a few days ago you were begging me to fuck you in the middle of a club.”
It shut her up. That sort of audacity would normally turn her off, but now, coming from his mouth, it sent tongues of heat up her neck. She squeezed her thighs together. His expression softened, and he leaned forward to whisper in her ear.
“Schatzi, I’ve spent much of my life like you, always running around, focused on my next accomplishment. And because of it, I missed many precious moments I’ll never be able to get back,” briefly, a sadness crossed over his features. She flickered down to the hand that worried about the stem of his wine glass. He didn’t wear a wedding ring.
“Let’s enjoy dinner,” he said, leaning back in his chair to look at the menu and take in the view once more. She supposed he was right.
Her evening with Helmut was pleasant, surprisingly so. He was not the party boy she thought him to be, after their first encounter, as he wooed her with his knowledge of literature and history. He was well-educated and well-read, but not condescendingly so. She was impressed by his nature, and despite their clear differences in upbringing, they got on quite well. Most importantly, he seemed genuinely interested in what she had to say, despite the fact that her life was incredibly mundane and boring in comparison to his.
He had a way of making her feel special, the way his eyes met her own, the occasional flirtatious remark he’d make. The conversation rarely lulled and if it did, it didn't feel wrong, and they would settle into a comfortable silence as they ate their food.
By the end of the meal and a few too many glasses of wine, Helmut paid the bill. When she reached for her purse to offer him money, he looked genuinely offended, waving her off dismissively.
Shivering as they stood, Helmut draped her jacket over her shoulders and pulled her towards him by her waist. His touch lit her on fire again, brought her right back to the dance floor, his hands on her hips, the feeling of his cock grinding into her ass. She’d spent each night trying to rid herself of the lingering arousal using her own fingers, but it hadn’t been very helpful.
The suite he’d chosen was nice, though she supposed even the most inexpensive rooms at this hotel were. But she couldn’t appreciate the decor, as the moment they stepped through the threshold Helmut spun her around and pressed his mouth against hers. Snaking his arms around her waist, he took two steps backward and she hit the wall, pinned in place by his hips against hers. She moaned into his mouth, responding to him instantly.
“I’ve wanted to get my hands on you all night,” he growled, his hands dipping beneath the skirt of her dress to trace along her bare skin. It made her squirm, and she began to rut against him, lifting a leg to wrap around his waist.
But before she could find any relief he pulled away, rather abruptly, leaving her breathless, as he stalked to a small sitting area of the hotel. How he managed to remain so composed after kissing her like that was a mystery. He lifted an envelope off the table, pinched between his thumb and forefinger, passing it to her.
“But before I forget, this is for you,” he said.
Opening it, oblivious, she felt her eyes widen when she saw what was in it, a fat wad of cash. “That should be enough to cover your rent for the summer,” he said, sitting down and crossing his ankle over his legs, his arm over the back of the couch. Still dizzy with excitement she looked down at him.
“Helmut, I can’t-”
“Ah-ah,” he tutted. “You will. You’ll never experience Italy if you are working all the time.”
“This is insane,” she said, but was beginning to think her friend had been right.
“I’m a baron, schatzi, that is nothing,” he gestured to the envelope. “Don’t let such things trouble you.”
“A baron…” she trailed off, and her mind began working. It made sense, she supposed, why his work seemed so flexible, why he spent money like it was nothing. But there was something more, she thought.
She’d taken a few classes on European culture before her study abroad semester, and though she’d spent most of it asleep due to her crazy schedule, there was a name in the back of her head that she’d long since forgotten, one written on a whiteboard behind her professor the day after she’d pulled an all-nighter.
“Helmut Zemo,” she said to him softly, finally snapping the final piece of the puzzle into place. It all made sense, why he’d looked familiar when she first met him. A Sokovian Baron, a terrorist. “You’re supposed to be in jail.” He frowned, slightly, but didn’t respond. “Oh my god.’
The envelope, and the cash slipped from her fingers, unceremoniously fluttering to the coffee table, littering the floor.
“Schatzi, come sit...”
Her mind was spinning but she didn’t pull away from him when he tugged her to the couch and tucked her under his arm. And how could she? She didn’t know much about him, really, except that he was dangerous. Or at least, he was supposed to be. He’d only been kind to her, she couldn’t imagine any part of him being cruel.
“I thought you’d already figured it out,” he murmured.
As much as she wanted to be angry, it was hard to be with him so close. His presence was unsettlingly comforting and really, some ugly side of her was turned on by the whole idea. She liked it, though she would never admit it to herself.
The whole story came back to her now. He’d lost his whole family in the Battle of Sokovia, his son, his wife, his father. And although she didn’t condone the extremes he’d gone to avenge their deaths, all she saw before her now was a broken man, seeking companionship. And he wanted it from her. She didn’t understand it, but she supposed that didn’t matter.
“Let me show you Italy,” he coaxed, his deep brown eyes soft when she looked at them again. “You’ll have anything you could ever want.”
“You work so hard to take care of yourself, tirelessly. Won’t you just let me take care of you?”
His voice, a low purr in her ear, rekindled the fire she’d been feeling from a few nights before and she decided it wasn’t her responsibility to turn in a dangerous criminal. Especially not one so handsome, so gracious, so impossible for her to resist. She kissed him this time, open-mouthed and needy. And really, why had she been so stubborn? She would’ve let him fuck her for free.
Helmut must have sensed the shift in attitude, because he spent very little time kissing her before his hands were roaming her body, squeezing and grabbing at her exposed flesh. His hand hooked behind her knee and pulled her across his lap so he could cup her ass.
Every touch reminded her of the night they’d spent together, how close his fingers had been to where she needed him, and he had given her nothing. She hoped he would tonight. “I want you so badly, Helmut,” she mumbled into the skin of his neck.
“Don’t worry, anđele, daddy is going to give you everything you need.”
“Please,” she mumbled after his words, she could feel how wet she was already, aching and clenching around nothing. His hand slid up between her parted thighs, she was still hovering over him, and his knuckles brushed against the front of her panties.
She let out a whimper, even the slightest bit of pressure was a relief, even though it didn’t last long. Pushing aside the fabric, he finally made contact with her skin, fingers dipping into her folds and spreading around her wetness.
“You’ve made such a mess of yourself for me, haven’t you, darling?”
“Yes,” she answered, hoping she was telling him exactly what he wanted to hear. “I couldn’t stop thinking about you.”
Looking down into his burning gaze, he chuckled darkly. It allowed her just enough time to be distracted from the feeling of his hands on her, until, without warning, he thrust two fingers into her soaked cunt.
“Fuck,” she nearly collapsed on him, pitching forward with the sensation, the way it felt for her body to yield to him so easily.
“Ah-” he used his free hand to push her backwards. “Stay on your knees,” he commanded. “I want to see your pretty face when you come for me.”
“Fuck, Helmut, I need-” she cried out, not even sure what she was protesting as he worked her open. His thumb found her clit, pressing down, and she wasn’t sure if it was a response to her inquiry, but it was exactly what she had hoped for.
It was hard to hold herself up, her walls throbbing and fluttering around the intrusion of him, she was growing wetter and wetter, and he was reaching all the spots she hadn’t been able to herself, especially when he added a third finger.
She wasn’t going to last. It was embarrassing but she couldn’t help it. Before she knew it she was rutting her hips against him, seeking more friction. His free hand rose to her neck, squeezing, and she grew even more lightheaded and feeble. Helmut’s fingers curled, finding the spot that none of her other lovers bothered to find. When she looked down to meet his gaze, eyes stormy but warm, she felt herself begin to tighten around him.
“Don’t stop, I’m so-” she began, but was unable to finish her sentence before it happened, tumbling over the edge as she came hard, clenching around his fingers. Everything went black - she wasn’t sure if it was because she’d closed her eyes or it was the intensity of the orgasm alone, but it didn’t really matter. Her knees gave out beneath her, and she fell forward, whimpering and whining his name, head on his shoulder, panting in his ear.
“That’s it,” he praised softly. “Such a good girl for me.”
Slowly, he withdrew from her, pressing a soft kiss to her temple before lifting his digits to his mouth. Watching him, she felt the ache between her legs return as he greedily sucked her arousal from his fingers.
Pitching forward, she couldn’t hold back the giggle that passed her lips, relieved and incredulous. But it wasn’t enough. He cursed under his breath as she palmed at his pants, grappling at him.
“Fuck,” he pulled her hands away from him, forcing her to straighten up as his eyes locked with hers. “Strip for me.”
No man she’d ever been with had been so abrupt, so domineering. And with anyone else, she might have found it dramatic, even embarrassing. But he was so confident, so sure of himself, each command he gave she’d obey without question.
Stepping away from him, she snaked her thumbs under the straps at her shoulders, pushing them off as he watched her under the dim light of the room. Even though she’d never stripped for anyone before, not like this at least, but the way he looked at her, all-consuming with his eyes, made her feel sexy. Slowly, she moved with purpose, delaying his gratification, as she pushed the fabric over her hips, letting it skate down her thighs and to the floor.
His breath hitched in his throat, she could hear it, as he rubbed a hand over his stubbled cheek. As deliberate and sensual as she was trying to be, it was growing hard to be patient when he was looking at her like that.
Off came her bra, followed by her panties, which she had the forethought to match, having some semblance of an idea of where the night might take her. For once, being an overthinker paid off.
“Oh liebling, you are more beautiful than I imagined.”
It was hard not to beam at him, grinning like an idiot, and while she wasn’t sure exactly what this relationship entailed, he still managed to make her blush, whether he was trying to or not.
“Now you,” she giggled, and he chuckled slightly at her.
“Ah-ah….you don’t get to call the shots,” he warned, before growing serious. “I’ll have you on the bed.”
She would test the waters eventually, she thought, to see how far she could push him. But tonight, it was clear she’d get what she wanted if she just listened. And she didn’t think she could go much longer without his hands on her.
Legs still a little wobbly, she made her way over to the bed and he stalked behind her, loosening his tie and tossing it to the floor. He spun her around right as she reached the bed, and she stumbled, falling backwards, only to be met with the plush mattress.
Helmut was on her quickly, pulling her into another searing kiss, and she parted her legs so he could slot himself between her thighs. Impatiently, she fumbled with the buttons of his shirt, managing to work her way down to his belt, and he didn’t protest when she pushed the garment off his shoulders, exposing his bare chest.
His hands roamed her body, met her bare breasts and squeezed, cupping them and pinching her nipples between his thumb and forefingers. Crying out, she was torn away from her focus on his belt buckle briefly. His mouth latched onto another, sucking and nipping and she keened into the contact.
Eventually, she managed to loosen his belt, unbuttoning his fly and shucking down his pants, his hard cock bobbing in his boxers, and she grabbed him through the thin fabric.
He groaned into mouth, she tasted the desire on his tongue, pumped him a few times before reaching her hand under the elastic band, freeing him fully. He was big, intimidatingly so, and she wanted to be concerned about how he would fit inside her but she didn’t have the time, as he pushed her to her back, coming to his hands and knees to hover over her.
“Normally I’d spend more time on you,” he mumbled, as he rolled them to their sides, slotting his knee between her legs so she couldn’t provide herself with anymore friction. “But not tonight.”
“I need you,” was all she could answer.
Somehow soon she was hovering over him, her hips straddling his as she stood on her knees, and he guided the head of his cock to her entrance, teasing her until she finally stopped him. Slowly, she began to sink down onto him, moaning, the girth of him alone was a lot to take.
“You’re so big,” she whimpered, wondering if riding him was really the best decision. But the discomfort was just so, not too much for her to handle. In fact, the burn of him pressing inside of her had her growing even wetter.
“And you’re going to take all of me,” he answered. When she flinched, her body meeting resistance, Helmut bucked his hips up, almost a little cruelly, and she was forced to take him deeper, a sharp cry leaving her mouth.
Once he was fully seated inside of her, he thrusted upwards, so deep she could feel him in the pit of her stomach, the back of her throat. It felt incredible, but overwhelming, so it took her some time to begin to move. The first shift of her hips alone had her eyes rolling back into her head, her limbs growing numb.
But Helmut didn’t allow her to stay still for long, he worked up into her in time with her movements, as she built up a steady rhythm and rode his cock. One of his hands kneaded into the soft flesh at her hips, the other rose to her mouth, thumb tracing along her bottom lip before he pressed it forward, into her mouth, and she sucked on it while she fucked him.
“Good girl,” he praised her, whispering compliments along with other filth she would never dare to repeat outside the room they were in, about how good she was being for daddy, about how well she was taking his cock. And she certainly didn’t mind it. Already sensitive and from her previous orgasm, she felt her second of the night creeping up as he stretched her open and hit every spot imaginable inside of her.
But she was struggling to stay consistent as she approached her release, pausing every now and then to catch her breath and keep her strength. Helmut must have noticed, even he seemed frustrated, and with one swift movement he flipped her over, his body never leaving hers as her back hit the mattress and he was the deepest inside of her he’d been all night. That alone was all she needed and she came again, this time around his cock.
Cursing and whimpering his name, Helmut answered with a moan, but he composed himself quickly. “That didn’t take long, did it?” he taunted, and she didn’t have the strength to answer.
She didn’t need to, as he fucked into her then, leaving her no time to recover. The nerves all over her body were tingling, begging, crying for some kind of break but it was clear Helmut wouldn’t allow it as he drove into her.
“I know you have another one for me, schatzi,” he grunted, frenzied. “Come on my cock again, I know you can.”
“I can’t-“ she gasped, but beyond her body crying for a break came another sensation, another coil winding deep in her belly. “Please, I-”
She was unintelligible by this point, her protests fruitless. He was a man who almost always got what he wanted.
“Yes you can,” he growled into her ear. “Let go.”
There was no way she’d be able to walk straight in the morning, that was for sure. His words had her back arching off the bed, still protesting weakly even as she came for him the third time that night, seeing stars. But even then, he wasn’t finished, he was now focused on his own release and she could hear the slick of herself as her sore and soaking cunt took him over and over.
Their lips met once more, sloppily, feverish, as her nails raked up his back. He was close, no longer holding back, and she wrapped her legs around his hips. Through the haze of overstimulation, she looked upon him. A thin sheet of sweat had broken out across his brow, along his shoulders, heat radiating off every inch of his body, a curtain of his dark hair falling in his face.
Bottoming out one last time, she felt him throbbing inside of her as he came, cursing loudly as his lips latched at her neck, catching the sensitive skin between his teeth. She cried out, startled by the sensation, but it didn’t hurt, at least not yet, while she was still coming down from her high.
In the aftermath he was surprisingly tender, which she was grateful for, as he helped her clean herself up. She slipped under the cool, clean sheets while he made nightcaps for the two of them.
“I’m flying to Lake Como next week,” Helmut said as he handed her a cocktail. “My family has an estate there I haven’t visited in awhile. I’d like it if you joined me.”
Even though she probably had to work, there was a way she could call off, or even telecommute. She wasn’t going to refuse him anymore, especially not if he was going to fuck her like he just had while they were away together. At any rate, she was sure this would be a semester she’d never forget.
Once you land in Madripoor, Helmut pulls you aside.
“[Y/N], I would feel much safer if you were to remain on the plane with Oeznik until I return.” You smile softly at his concern.
“I can handle myself, Helmut. Besides, I can help. You’d better have a plan, because Selby doesn’t give anything for free.”
“How do you know Selby?”
“I’ve been to Madripoor before, quite a lot actually.” He looks at you, surprised. You both consider each other for a moment.
“Promise me, you’ll be careful?” He offers.
“I promise.” He nods, you must have reassured him because he then opens a cupboard. He pulls out an outfit for you, before giving you a moment to change. You dress quickly, taking a moment to admire the outfit. When you’d seen Sam’s disguise you’d feared it’d be too revealing or have some gaudy pattern. But it’s stylish and respectable. You hear a knock and you open the door to Helmut. His eyes widen and you sense a mixture of emotions from him. You look down at the carpet self consciously. He feels the embarrassment flare in you, and gently tilts your chin up to meet his eyes.
“You look incredible.” He tells you. You swallow the lump in your throat and manage a small,
“Thank you.” He offers you his arm, which you take, and the two of you head to the exit of the plane. Bucky and Sam watch as you both descend the stairs towards them. The four of you approach a nearby car. Helmut opens the passenger door, gesturing for you to sit. You settle into the car, shaking your head slightly at his formalities. You watch him as he moves around the car and opens the door to sit beside you at the wheel. “So what’s the plan?” You ask, glancing at Helmut as he drives.
“We go in, I talk with Selby, she gives us the information we need, we get out.”
“That’s not a plan, that’s a to do list.”
“Is there a problem?”
“Do you have a better idea, [Y/N]?” Sam calls out from the backseat. You sigh slightly, a plan forming in your mind. You nod,
“Yes actually. If you’re all up for it?” They all nod, agreeing.
“What do you need?” Helmut asks you. You look back at him.
“Well, for starters I need your coat.”
You pull at the fur collar of Helmut’s coat, finding comfort in his scent and the lingering warmth from when he first slipped it across your shoulders. You take a deep breath, surveying your group before you enter the crowd.
“Okay, has everyone been to the toilet?” You joke. They all smile slightly, and Helmut nods. “Phones all switched off?” You add. Bucky nods, though Sam quickly reaches into his pocket, pulling out his phone. You laugh. “It’s a good job I’m here then. I thought you were professionals.” Bucky shakes his head at Sam. With that the four of you set off into Madripoor. You walk into the Brass Monkey bar, with Helmut following closely behind you. Sam and Bucky trail after him. You stop at the bar giving the bartender a nod.
“[Y/L/N]. Usual?” You nod again. “Smiling Tiger. Wasn’t expecting you.”
“We have some business to do with Selby.” You answer.
“The usual?” He asks Sam, which he replies with a serious nod. The bartender sets your drink in front of you, and hands a shot to Helmut. He then pulls out a dead snake, which he guts viciously before adding the snake’s insides to the drink which he gives to Sam.
“Your favourite.” You tell Sam. He nods tensely. He picks it up, eyeing it warily.
“I love these.” He says, very unconvincingly.
“Cheers, comrade.” You hear Helmut murmur. You clink your glass with his, as the two of you watch Sam down the snake guts. You pull your gaze from Sam to scan the crowd, noticing a man approaching your group.
“I got word from on high. He’s not welcome here.” The man nods towards Helmut.
“He’s with me. I have no qualms with the Power Broker. Me and my associates are here to speak with Selby.” You tell him, gesturing at your group, letting your hand lean towards Bucky. The man’s eyes follow your gesture,
“New haircut?” He quips, nodding to Bucky. He then turns back, and disappears into the crowd, hopefully to tell Selby not to kill you all.
“A Power Broker? Seriously?” Bucky retorts quietly. You nod.
“In Madripoor the Power Broker is judge, jury, and executioner. Let’s hope we stay under the radar.” You remain facing the bar, feeling Helmut’s eyes searching the room. He turns to face you, leaning close as he murmurs,
“We’re about to have company. Three men, at your 8 o’clock.” You nod towards Bucky,
“It’s a good thing we have your bodyguard.” Helmut seems to understand your plan. Not taking his eyes from you he speaks in Russian,
“Winter Soldier, attack.” His eyes flicker down to where one of the men is about to grab you. Then Bucky’s seized the arm and is pulling him away. As the fight breaks out Helmut steps closer to you, wearily eyeing the men. Though Bucky has soon taken care of them. Within no time he has one of the men pinned against the bar by his throat. All around you people are drawing their guns. Sam has a hand on Bucky’s arm. You nudge him subtly, giving him a tense look.
“Stay in character.” You warn him quietly. Helmut nods slightly in acknowledgment, before referring to Bucky.
“Well done, Soldier.” The bartender looks over at you.
“Selby will see you now.”
“Thank you.” You tell him, pulling the collar of your coat and stepping over the unconscious men on the floor. The boys soon trail behind you as you walk through the bar towards the back.
“Coming into my bar and making demands. I really should have you killed for that.” Selby calls out from where she’s perched on a couch.
“And pass up on the offer of a lifetime? That’s not like you, Selby.” You reply confidently. Sam circles the room, standing close to Selby. Bucky mirrors him, standing on the opposite side of the room looking somber. Helmut moves to a chair across from Selby, which you’ve casually leant beside.
“This is quite the entourage.” She comments. “Smiling Tiger, you’re taller than I expected.” Sam looks down at her, not saying anything. “And the last I heard he was rotting away in a German prison.” She gestures to Helmut as he sits at your side.
“Well you know me. I always get what I want.”
“So what’s this offer?”
“I was looking into the business of super soldiers, though I heard that the Power Broker is out of stock. You wouldn’t happen to know where the serum was created?” She smiles, clearly planning how she can get you to pay for this.
“You were right to come to me. A little cocky. But right. It’ll cost you though.”
“I’m more than willing to negotiate.” She shrugs,
“Make me an offer.” You push away from the chair, making your way to Bucky.
“Him. The fist of HYDRA at your disposal, along with the code words to control him of course.” She grins.
“Dr Wilfred Nagel is the man you’re after. He was employed by the Power Broker to make the serum,” she pauses, shrugging nonchalantly, “things didn’t go as planned.”
“Is Nagel still in Madripoor?” You ask.
“The breadcrumbs you can have for free, but the bakery’s gonna cost you.” You turn to face Helmut. You sit on the arm of his chair and drape your legs over his lap.
“How about a Baron?” You offer. His eyes meet yours and you stare back as you talk. “Extensive knowledge of HYDRA, excellent military skill set, and the pretty face doesn’t hurt.” You add with a smirk, brushing a finger along his cheek. “How about it?” You face Selby.
“Nagel has a laboratory at the docks. Container 4261. You should find him there.” You smile.
“Pleasure doing business with you.” You pull a piece of paper out of the coat pocket, “The code words.” You elaborate, holding it out towards Selby. “I’m sure Zemo will help you with the pronunciations.” You give him a subtle squeeze on the shoulder, before pulling away from him.
“Pleasure’s all mine.” She replies, taking the paper from your hand. You and Sam both head towards the door. You give Bucky a look that means: you better bring him back to me. You see the determined look in his eyes. You and Sam make your way through the bar and out into the street. The two of you hold onto each other tightly, barely looking at where you’re walking. You’re both concentrating hard on your soul links. You both stand waiting in a back alley for about half an hour before you spot Helmut in the crowd, making his way towards you. You see Bucky close behind him.
“Let’s go.” Helmut says quietly. You nod, taking his hand and leading your group through the streets.
“I won’t ask how you two got away.” You say to him.
“That’s most likely for the best.” You shake your head at his dramatic tone. You’re making your way through a quiet alleyway when your phone pings. You hear Sam make a quiet remark about how you’re allowed your phone on, but you ignore him. You look down at the screen and swear suddenly. The boys look at you sharply as you pick up the pace.
“What’s wrong?” Helmut asks you.
“Selby’s noticed you’re gone.” You read the message on your phone aloud. “Winter Soldier: two million, alive. Baron Zemo: two million, alive. [Y/N] [Y/L/N]: half a million, dead or alive.”
“That is a problem.”
“I know. I’m definitely worth more than that.” You retort. You hear gunshots echo from behind you. You duck down hurriedly and begin to run. You can hear Sam’s protests,
“I can’t run in these heels.” Sam and Bucky duck into an alleyway. Helmut grabs your arm and pulls you down behind a line of cars.
“Are you alright?” He asks, eyes searching you for any injuries.
“I’m fine. Are you-“
“I’m alright.” He insists, you sigh quietly. Helmut shifts slightly, peering back into the street. He stands, holding his hand out for you. You take it and he pulls you close. The two of you follow the alleyway that Sam and Bucky ran down, soon catching up with them. Two motorcyclists pull up close to them, but before you can warn them, two shots ring out and the motorcyclists are on the floor. “Seems you have a guardian angel.” Helmut comments, as you approach them. You look up to the window where you’d seen some movement, but there’s no one there. Helmut subtly picks up a gun from the floor, which you choose to ignore.
“Well isn’t this perfect.” A voice calls out from behind you. You turn quickly, as the figure appears from the shadows. Sharon Carter.
I don’t know if you’re writing for him but “i don't think i'm good enough for you, put you grab my face, look deep into my eyes, and suddenly i can't help but to kiss you” with Zemo please omg 🥺
Am I a Zemo blog? No. Am I a whore for Helmut Zemo? Yes.
On the floor below you, in Sharon Carter's high-rise Madripoor apartment, a party is in full swing. People dance, drink, laugh, and are generally free of all inhibitions, which is what you've come to realize is the normal for this city. Even in the silver dress that you wore for your intel mission, dressed to the nines and surrounded by priceless art, you feel out of place.
You really shouldn't even be here. You're hardly out of college, and the only reason that Sam called upon you to help with this mission is because Joaquin Torres recommended your hacking prowess and "chameleon" skills, which is to say, you're able to seamlessly blend in almost anywhere. As a...contractor for the US military, you and Torres had worked together numerous times, and you should feel honored that he suggested you for this at all. You are honored, especially now that the main intel has been recovered and, in the morning, you'll be on your way to Riga in search of the Flag Smashers and their serum. Since you returned from The Blip, you would have never imagined that this would be your life.
"I was wondering where you had run off to," a smooth voice interrupts your pondering, the thick accent immediately clueing you in as to who has found you.
Baron Helmut Zemo, enemy-turned-ally, stands next to you with two glasses of champagne in his hands, one of which he gestures towards you. Taking the flute, you take a sip and scan over the crowd once more, trying to spot Bucky and Sam.
"You did well tonight. This is your first field mission, yes?"
"Having to play this part. Normally I'm on the fringes getting information, never right in the center of it all."
The mission had been simple: Zemo and the "Smiling Tiger," aka Sam, would be offering the Winter Soldier to Selby as a bargaining chip to receive information on the name and whereabouts of whoever has been producing supersoldier serum for the Flag Smashers. You would be Zemo's "little dove," basically pretending to be his arm candy until you slipped away to use the restroom...at least, that was the excuse you gave. In reality, you had the bar mapped out, and knew exactly where Selby's files were kept. While the men were distracting her, you would be looking for information about this scientist.
Information that you nearly had, until bullets started raining and you were forced to grab whatever files you could and run. Thankfully, Zemo was strict on not leaving anybody behind, even those whose heels hampered how fast they could run, and he basically hauled you through the streets of Madripoor until you reached safety.
In the end, the files that you had grabbed led right to Dr. Nagel and his lab, which made your next steps a hell of a lot easier. It was an open and shut thing. And yet, you couldn't stop thinking about the bar, and how it felt to be absolutely adored, even if just for a moment. Zemo played his part extremely well, looking everything like the possessive baron who would kill anyone that dared to look at you the wrong way. At one point, when the bartender had been suspicious about your group, Zemo had kissed you to make it more convincing. He had even had you convinced for a moment.
But you couldn't live in that little bubble of being Zemo's "lady," as he had called you, forever. No, you would go back to computers and research and code, and he would go back to prison. This would just be a fond memory for you, and yet another day on the job for him. It meant nothing, and that's what you keep telling yourself. This sort of hesitation and doubt is exactly why you can't play a central role in espionage.
"Something is on your mind." Zemo's not asking you; he knows this to be a fact.
"Just...thinking about tonight. First time being shot at, and all." He quirks an eyebrow at you, obviously not believing what you say, and you sigh. "And at how I almost blew it for us."
"'Blew it?'" Zemo repeats. "I would say that you did the exact opposite. You are the one who found out who was making the supersoldier serum, and where to find him."
"Yeah, but if I had been able to blend in more, sell 'us,' then maybe there wouldn't have been a firefight in the first place."
"You don't think that you were convincing? That you did a good job?"
"C'mon," you say with a slight laugh, "they were onto us from the beginning. Even the bartender knew that I didn't belong with a baron, the Winter Soldier, and the 'Smiling Tiger.'"
Zemo sets his glass down on the bannister, and your awkward laughing dies down upon seeing the serious look on his face. "So the problem is that you do not believe that you're...good enough...to be seen with me? That I wouldn't have you on my arm normally?"
You nod as if it's the most obvious thing in the world. Zemo nods back at you, takes your own glass and sets it next to his before taking your face in his broad hands and and staring into your eyes.
"You belong here. With James, and Sam, but most especially with me." His lips go to yours, and you gasp at feeling his kiss once more. "You are good enough for me."
"You, uh, think so?" Zemo laughs upon seeing the dazed look on your face.
"Apologies. Normally I would ask prior to kissing a beautiful woman, but the moment swept over me before I could think."
"You don't have to apologize, Zemo--"
"Helmut," he interrupts.
"Helmut." You like the way that his name sounds on your tongue. "We should probably find Bucky and Sam, though. They'll be looking for us soon."
"You're right, but," he pulls you in for a kiss again, "one more for the road."
as one of the remaining avengers besides doctor strange who has experience with the masters of the mystic arts, sam asks for your help with the flagsmashers. yet, during your attempt at reasoning with an old friend, you and Zemo end up in a difficult situation as a portal to the unknown is forced toward you both. (2.8k)
requested: not by anyone but i have rekindled my love for the alienist and had to make a crossover!
warnings: elements of tfatws series (so potential spoilers)
“What is going on here?” You pinch the bridge of your nose, barely able to comprehend the sight in front of you; Bucky, Sam and Zemo. The Zemo in question who tore apart the only family you had. “Why and how is he here?”
“Nice to meet you, at last, Y/n. Welcome to Riga.” Zemo smiles curtly whilst you scoff in response.
“Can’t say it's a mutual feeling. Sam, a word?” Tilting your head, Sam takes his cue and walks toward the front door with you on his tail. “Don’t let him out of your sight.” You glance over your shoulder, looking at Bucky who is evidently fed up whilst Zemo sits on the couch and sips a whiskey.
Once outside, Sam can already sense the annoyance radiating from you. “Now before you lose your temper at me, can I just say Bucky is the one who busted him out?” Sam holds his hands up in defence whilst you cross yours over your chest.
“That doesn’t help his case either.” You huff. “Why did you bring me here in the first place, Sam? What do you need me for anyway?”
Sam shifts his weight from one foot to the other. "Look, unlike the rest of us, you survived the snap,"
"Yes, and they were the worst five years of my life." You interrupt him, and Sam quietly sighs under his breath.
“Look, I get it.” Sam states, and despite you trying to protest he continues. “None of us will understand what you went through, but Karli’s got some kinda connection to your old buddies.”
“How?” Keeping your tone low, you step closer toward Sam. “And more importantly, since when?”
The pair of you were becoming more aware of those around you, a few sparing glances and others muttering to each other as they passed you by.
Grabbing a hold of your hand, Sam guides you back toward the apartment, which turns out to be Zemo's, much to your distaste.
“It’s better to explain with the others.” Sam mutters as you near the front door, surprised Zemo doesn't have his title embellished in gold or something along those lines.
“And by others you mean my only other friend and a terrorist.” You can’t hide the disdain in your voice, causing Sam to chuckle much to your surprise.
“If that helps, sure.”
Sitting on the sofa with Bucky, you were still trying to get your head around it all whilst Zemo happily pours himself another whiskey.
“Can you not do that right now?” You groan loudly and bury your face in your hands whilst Zemo places the whiskey bottle down, ignoring the evident glare from Bucky as he lifts the glass to his lips, hiding his smirk.
“Listen, Y/n,” Bucky mutters, resting his arm around you. “you know what the Masters of the Mystic Arts are like.”
“I knew them once, Bucky.” The painful reminder is something you must live with, the scar that lines your forearm they caused amid the blip, when the chaos commenced, and no one was there to stop it. “If they’ve sided with Karli, I, I don’t know what to tell you.”
Placing his glass down, Zemo finds it difficult to hold his frustration in. “I’m so glad you invited her along, Sam.” He remarks, aware of you starting to stand up despite Bucky protesting.
“I can assure you, Zemo,” You traipse toward him, emotionless toward the man who ruined everything for you as he stands on the other side of the kitchen island. “I will always be of more use than you. I mean look at you,” A scoff leaves your lips before you can stop it, but the Baron remains tense, not ready to let his guard down just yet. “you’re living on borrowed time. At least after this, we’ll get to live our lives in freedom whilst you remain locked up.”
“Thank you,” Zemo nods to you, watching your head tilting. “for stating the obvious.”
“You’re welcome,” You snap back. “God, how much longer do we have to put up with him?”
Bucky shrugs his shoulders, looking over to Sam. “Until he’s no longer of use, or until the Dora Milaje find us.” Sam explains.
“Not sure which I’d prefer,” You comment. Spinning on your heels, Zemo allows his smirk to drop ever so slightly. “but I guess you’ll never see the memorial after all, huh?”
Once those words leave your lips, Zemo’s smirk is gone, his eyes drop to the counter. He taps his gloved fingers against the marble before excusing himself without another word being said.
Turning back around, both Sam and Bucky give you that parental look. “What?” Holding your hands up, you sigh loudly. “Are you forgetting who that is, or has everyone lost their damn minds?”
Standing in the warehouse, you were more than happy to see Zemo stuck in handcuffs but less than pleased to be in the presence of one John Walker.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen you so quiet, Y/n.” Zemo tuts to himself, trying to ignore John’s pacing and aggravation rising. "And here I was thinking you'd play nice, Walker." Tugging on his cuffs, they rattle against the pipe Zemo is connected to.
“You don’t get an opinion.” John snaps back at Zemo, inches away from his face as his whole body shakes, yet Zemo remains still, unphased.
Holding up his free hand, Zemo simply waves John off. “This won’t end well.” You sigh, crossing your arms over your chest and Zemo can’t help but nod in agreement.
“For once we agree.” Zemo can feel the corner of his lips rising as you glance over to see him, and for once you don’t glare or roll your eyes, you just look at him.
Yet, whilst your back was turned, John barges past Bucky with Lemar behind him.
“Seriously?!” You groan, hitting Buckys chest lightly before walking past him, leaving Zemo alone despite his request to be freed.
You follow the sound of Sam conversing with Karli, hearing him remaining calm, civil with her which would be the complete opposite of John finds them first.
“You go that way,” Bucky motions to your left whilst he turns right, covering more ground apart than together. “keep an eye out, yeah?” He asks, watching you playfully salute before heading through the doorway silently.
As you wander through the building, whispers are muttered through the walls, sending shivers down your spine.
“That’s the one, isn’t it?” You quickly turn to face the direction of the eery whisper, only to see the space remaining bare.
“She’ll do nicely.” Another whisper echoes, followed by childlike laughter that bounces from the walls.
"Okay, this isn't funny." Reaching for your gun, you lift it up as someone begins to scurry through the open space.
Remaining still, your ears perk up to the sound of footsteps approaching from over your shoulder. Out of the corner of your eye, you can see a hand reaching out, and as they do you grab a hold of them, forcing their body to the ground.
Without looking, you cock your gun to their face and rest your foot on their chest. "Zemo?" You almost yell at the man beneath you, clearly unimpressed and slightly winded.
"Not how I imagined being under you, Y/n." Zemo mutters, feeling you apply more pressure rather than alleviating it.
"Why'd you follow me?" Ignoring his comment, you begin to remove your foot and extend your arm, helping him to his feet.
Brushing his coat, Zemo eyes your surroundings before stepping closer toward you. "I heard them, they're here." He mutters under his breath.
Lifting your gaze up, you meet his hazel eyes as they scan yours. "Alright," You whisper, taking a deep breath. "just, don't get in the way."
Quick to step away from the Baron, you hear laughter commencing once more. "You can hear that too?" Zemo questions, thankful to see you nod.
"I knew you'd turn up eventually." A voice booms through the corridor, their shadow creeping closer as their heels click against the cement.
Zemo can see you tense, noticing your gun lowering to your side. "Don't move," You mutter, holding your hand toward Zemo instinctively.
The figure emerges from the shadows, wearing a proud smile as she eyes you carefully. "It's been a while, Y/n." She whistles to herself, seeing you stood in front of the Baron.
"For the best, Emilie." You sarcastically smile back. "Why'd you get involved in all this, E? You're a good person."
"A good person?" She scoffs, stepping closer, keeping her hands by her sides for now. "You wanna talk about being a good person now do you?"
Zemo can hear your breathing halter, and your hand starts to shake. Part of him wishes he could take a hold of your delicate hand in his, allowing you a sense of reassurance. But you wouldn't stand for any such thing, so he allows the idea to remain like that.
"What is your purpose here?" Zemo speaks up, daring to step forward and stand by your side despite the wide-eyed look you're wearing. "Are you just a distraction from Karli? Or are you here because I destroyed the serum?"
"You did what?" You try to refrain from yelling, but Zemo's statement causes Emilie to yell in anger.
"You'll regret doing that," She brings her hands to her chest, following the sequence you knew all too well, creating a portal in front of her filled with darkness.
Everything plays out in seconds.
A rush of wind surges forward the pair of you, and as you stare down through it, all you can see is darkness; no life lies wherever the other side is.
"Y/n," Zemo yells and spares you a glance, only to notice your arms extended as you shove him aside, causing him to fall into the railings; too stunned to move.
Closing your eyes, the gust of wind is mere inches from you. You ignore everything your body is screaming at you, simply allowing the portal to take you, disappearing with an orange glow.
"No, no," Zemo rises to his feet, fists clenched before he grabs a hold of Emilie. "where is she?" With greeted teeth, his grip remains tight.
Emilie begins to laugh in Zemo's face, hearing Sam and Bucky entering the room. "She's gone,"
"I don't think you understood my question," Reiterating his point, Zemo throws Emilie to the ground with a harsh thud, causing her to hit her head. "where is she?"
Looking up at the trio, Emilie forces herself to smile despite the intense throbbing in the back of her head. "Somewhere she'll be happier, I can assure." She states, glancing up at the sight of a portal sparking and quickly forms around her.
Emilie is taken away, leaving the three stood without any answers, and you missing, lost in time.
"No," Bucky mutters. "what happened?" He can barely look at Zemo, unaware of the regret lacing Zemo's expression whilst Sam focuses on him.
"She, she saved me?" Zemo remarks, still perplexed by the event. "Why would she have saved me?" His voice softens into a whisper as he glances back to where you were stood, your gun on the ground, still loaded.
"Y/n may not have agreed with your actions, but she'll save anyone before herself." Sam sadly states, having witnessed your selfless actions too many times resulting in terrible consequences. "But this is another level of stupid."
Bucky cannot take his eyes off your gun, abandoned.
When he and Sam returned from the blip, they promised to look out for you, that you'll never be truly alone as long as they're around. "We'll find her," Bucky confidently tells the pair, despite their unenthused reactions. "she's family, Sam."
Looking over to Sam, Zemo can see how much you truly mean to the two men. He never understood the term of a family being applicable to the Avengers. To him, they were a team, a force that could easily be broken apart. But now, seeing pure sadness from Bucky after he remained stoic for so long, he knows you're more than just part of their team.
"So, where do you suggest we start?" Zemo questions.
"You're not helping." Bucky is quick to comment, snapping his head up to look at Zemo. "You're the reason she's gone, just stay out of the way, Zemo." Bucky brushes the Baron off, heading toward the nearest exit.
"He'll come round," Sam shrugs he walks alongside Zemo, following behind Bucky, only to pause at a flicker of orange emerging from the corner of his eye.
"Sam," Zemo calls out, turning to see another one of these portals forming and a figure materialising.
"Buck, you might wanna see this." Sam yells, hearing Bucky's heavy footsteps until he's stood beside him, panting lightly. "I told you it was one of the big three." He mutters, causing Bucky to painfully roll his eyes.
"Who is-" Bucky starts, only to pause at the person standing before them. "Strange?"
Doctor Strange sighs heavily, evidently fed up. "You guys have really managed to mess things up this time."
"What'd you mean? It's his fault." Sam reasons, pointing to Zemo who Strange simply overlooks as he holds his hand out, revealing an old, worn newspaper.
Keeping the newspaper rolled up, Strange steps forward. "Just, take a look at this. Page six."
Handing Sam the newspaper, he quickly flicks through until a headline grabs his attention.
'BABY SAVED FROM NOTORIOUS KIDNAPPER.'
"What's some old article got to do with anything." Bucky scoffs.
"It's from 1897." Strange corrects. "Read the bottom line." He persists, listening as Sam reads the end of the article aloud.
"Thanks to the help of the profound Alienist, Doctor Kriezler, News reporterJohn Moore and owner of the Detective Agency, Sara Howard and her colleague Y/n Y/l/n." Sam's voice trails off upon reading your name.
Zemo breathes out a laugh. "This is just a coincidence, surely."
Yet, Strange remains silent, waiting for Sam to turn the page and see for himself.
Snatching the paper from Sam's grip, Bucky flicks the page over, noticing the outline of a photo peering through the paper. "No," He mutters in disbelief. "Zemo, do you have any distant relatives who settled in New York?" Bucky asks, aware of Sam moving to take a closer look.
Based on the pairs reaction, Zemo tenses and slowly shakes his head.
"Well, clearly you've got a doppelganger or something." Sam states, forcing the newspaper into Zemo who hesitantly looks down at the photograph, showing a man who looks the spitting image of him with a thick beard and a cane along with who he can only perceive as this John Moore, but no sign of either you or Sara pictured.
Shaking his head, Zemo glances up. "What kind of sorcery is this?" He demands from Strange, clenching the newspaper in his grip.
"This isn't any kind of sorcery, Zemo." Strange extends his arm, waiting for the newspaper to be given back. "However, there is more to this story than that."
"Like it could get any worse." Sam mutters, trying to wrap his head around the fact you're in New York, but in the 1800s with Zemo's doppelganger.
Clearing his throat, Strange looks around, sensing voices lurking through the abandoned building. "Where Y/n currently is, somehow it's locked. No one can reach her there, whether it was made to be so by Emilie, or someone else I'm still figuring out."
"Aren't you in charge of all of time?" Bucky jumps in. "You knew this would happen, and where were you to stop this?"
"It's not been an easy couple of months, James." Strange rubs his temples, thinking if only they knew the half of it. "But I will find a way to get Y/n out before it's too late."
"What do you mean 'too late'?" Zemo questions, wondering how you can work with his identical self named Kreizler, yet despise Zemo's presence.
The prolonged silence from Strange causes tension to rise between the group of men. "Strange?" Sam speaks up, watching Strange exhale deeply.
"If I can't figure a way to get her out, then she'll stay there forever. Her, her life has already been planned, I, I can see it all." He explains, but Bucky shakes his head and yells loudly, slamming his metal fist into the wall.
"But you'll find a way." Sam reiterates his point whilst Bucky breathes heavily against the wall and Zemo remains silent, lost in deep thought.
"Yes." Strange nods. "I'll be in touch." Without anything else being said, Strange disappears back into a portal, leaving the newspaper behind.
"We'll find a way, Buck." Sam tells Bucky, moving away from Zemo.
Leaning down, Zemo lifts the paper upon noticing it flicker to another page lined with announcements. His curiosity only persists at the sight of this Kreizler's name, and yours alongside.
'Many congratulations to Doctor Kreizler and his fiance, Y/n Y/l/n on their engagement. May their lives be long and filled with nothing but happiness.'
"Yeah," Bucky breathes out, unaware of Zemo's heart sinking as he folds the paper away into his coat. They're already too late.
"Now, are you going to decline my offer to help, or allow my assistance?" Zemo lifts his head up, knowing there is more to this than any of them realise.
Sam sighs to himself. "Come on, Zemo." He begrudgingly mutters, heading toward the exit with Bucky and Zemo behind him, eager to find out more about Doctor Kreizler and your new life.
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A/N: any speech in italics is when someone’s speaking a non-English language
You approach the warehouse as quietly as possible, looking around for the boys. Bucky texted you to come to a local airfield, and you set off as soon as you could. You hear them bickering long before you see them.
“Boys?” You call out.
“[Y/N]? What’re you doing here?” Sam asks, clearly confused. You frown at him,
“Bucky texted me. Said you needed help.” You and Sam turn to Bucky.
“Look I didn’t tell you because I knew you wouldn’t let me.”
“[Y/N] this has nothing to do with me.” Sam says, turning to you.
“What did you do?” You ask Bucky. He then walks you through a completely hypothetical jail break scenario featuring your soulmate. You sigh,
“Bucky, even if you could get him out, there’s no chance he would ever help the two of you. The moment he’s free, he’ll ditch to two. Why would he want to help?” Sam shrugs a little,
“He does have a code. He hates super soldiers, surely he’d want to stop them?”
“Over his own chance of freedom?” You scoff. “That’s not an incentive.”
“There is one incentive.” Bucky says, slowly. You turn to him, not liking where this is going. “We have you.” Your stomach drops, seeing the displeasure growing on your face Bucky begins to justify himself. “This does prove you’re his soulmate.”
“You want me to thank you, or something?” You’re about to begin ranting about releasing dangerous criminals, when you notice Sam and Bucky’s attention drift to someone behind you. It’s him. You know it. You turn to meet his eyes, fixed intently on your face, absorbing every detail you’re offering. The photographs don’t do him justice. Not tearing your eyes from his you say,
“Sam, your soulmate’s an asshole.” Sam gives a short chuckle.
“Right back at you.” A smile flickers across your face, though you’re sure Helmut can feel your anxiety. You never thought you’d meet him. Certainly not like this. You open your mouth, but no words come out. He offers you a gentle smile.
“I believe we have a plane to catch.” He nods in the direction of the airfield, where a private plane is prepared to take off. You nod, turning back to Sam and Bucky.
“You do realise I’m going to lose my job for this?”
“I’m sorry [Y/N].”
“Let’s move before we’re caught.” The three of them nod, and Helmut leads the way towards the plane.
“So all this time you’ve been rich?” Sam asks Helmut.
“I’m a baron, Sam. My family was royalty before your friends destroyed my country.” You feel a small pang of resentment at his words, though he quickly pushes it aside.
“Did you know that?” Sam asks you quietly. You nod,
“Of course I did.” An older man stands at the stairs leading into the plane, he greets your group in Sokovian. Helmut’s face lights up at the sight of him, and the two of them embrace for a moment. The five of you climb up the stairs into the plane. Sam and Bucky sit on one side of the plane, leaving the only empty seat in front of Helmut. You sit down, keeping your eyes on the small table between the two of you. You’re all quiet as the plane takes off. It’s not long before the older gentleman, Oeznik, returns with a tray in hand.
“Apologies if that’s a little warm.” He says, handing Helmut a glass of champagne. “The fridge is out. But I will see if there is some good food in the galley.” Helmut smiles before replying in Sokovian.
“If it doesn’t pass the smell test, give it to them.” He nods his head towards the boys. You smirk lightly.
“It’s good to have you back sir.” Oeznik chuckles, before he heads to the front of the plane. Sam looks over at you frowning slightly. You catch his gaze and he nods towards Helmut. You roll your eyes at him,
“He’s not plotting anything Sam.” Helmut looks at you, before asking,
“You speak Sokovian?” You nod,
“I do.” He pauses for a moment, and you answer the question before he can phrase it. “I’m American though.” He smiles softly, tilting his head,
“A shame.” You laugh quietly, nodding.
“It is.” You agree. He pauses, the smile sliding off his face as he fixes you with a more serious look. He then asks you,
“Do you know who I am?” You nod. “And you know what I’ve done?”
“Yes, and I know why you did it. I’m sorry about your family.”
“Why don’t you tell us about where we’re going?” Sam asks Helmut, clearly wanting the two of you to stop talking.
“I’m sorry, I was just fascinated by this,” he begins, opening a book. You frown, noticing a smaller notebook tucked inside. “I don’t know what to call it, but this part seems to be important. Who is Nakajima?” Bucky lunges forward, seizing Helmut by the throat with his metal arm. You hardly know what’s happened until you realise you’ve stood up, gun trained to Bucky’s head.
“You touch that again, I’ll kill you.” He growls.
“I don’t think so, Barnes.” You reply tensely, pushing the barrel closer to his temple. Bucky’s eyes meet yours for a moment, he’s surprised to find such determination on your face.
“Tell your soulmate to keep his hands to himself.” Bucky tilts his head towards Helmut, your eyes flickering down to his face before you return Bucky’s gaze.
“Helmut, don’t touch Bucky’s stuff. Bucky. Get. Your. Hands. Off.” You push the words out through gritted teeth. Bucky pulls away, and you hear Helmut suck in a harsh breath.
“My apologies.” Helmut manages, barely looking at Bucky, keeping his eyes on you. You look down at the carpet as you tuck your gun away.
“I’ve seen that book, it was Steve’s when he came out of the ice. I told him about Troubleman, and he wrote it in that book.” Sam says, attempting to lighten the atmosphere. “Did you hear it? What’d you think?” He asks Bucky.
“I like forties music, so...”
“You didn’t like it?”
“I liked it.” You feel like another confrontation is coming on. So of course your soulmate decides to join in.
“It is a masterpiece, James. Complete, comprehensive. It captures the African American experience.” You look up at him sharply, to which he returns your gaze. You give a look that hopefully conveys: you’ve literally just been nearly choked to death, can you not antagonise anyone for five minutes? You’re not sure if he gets the message.
“He’s out of line, but he’s right.” Sam says, not quite believing what he’s saying. “It’s great. Everyone loves Marvin Gaye.”
“You must have really looked up to Steve.” Helmut observes. “But I realised something when I met him. The danger with people like him, America’s super soldiers, is that we put them on pedestals.”
“Watch your step, Zemo.” Sam warns. You frown lightly, keeping a wary eye on Sam.
“They become symbols, icons, and then we start to forget about their flaws. From there: cities fly, innocent people die, movements are formed, wars are fought.” Despite the serious, almost noble tone, you can feel the sadness his beliefs are rooted in. Everyone is quiet for a moment. You find Sam’s eyes are on you, he nods, as if encouraging you to say something.
“He’s out of line, but he’s right.” You say quietly, repeating Sam’s earlier admission. He gives a half laugh, rolling his eyes,
“You’re not going to take his side on everything are you?” He asks. You tilt your head aside, considering it with a smirk.
“Maybe. You probably should have thought of that before you dragged me along.”
The most common name was a soulmate, though lots of cultures referred to it as your twin flame. The person meant to be your other half, your mirror soul. Everyone is born with a soul link, it’s a connection to your soulmate which allows you to feel their emotions. The more time you spend with one another, the stronger the bond becomes. Sometimes people recognise their soulmate from the first touch, others by their voice, some with a simple glance. But when you know, you know, and very little can keep you apart.
A soulmate AU featuring you, a government agent used to working with the Avengers, and your soulmate Baron Zemo.
Then you hear of Helmut’s arrest. Commander Ross organises his prison sentence. You’re desperate to see him, you could quite easily visit. But you can’t. You won’t. So you do the next best thing you can think of. You take a week’s holiday, and go to Sokovia.
There’s not much left of it. The surrounding countries annexed Sokovia not long after the destruction of Novi Grad. There’s a huge crater in the ground, and no people have settled near the site. Your heart breaks for the people, and of course Helmut.
You’re not sure what you’re looking for, as you wander the streets of Slovakia, simply wanting something to fill the gap in your heart. So you find yourself in a local bookstore, reading through a history of the Sokovian barony.
“Interested in Sokovia?” You look up from where you’ve settled on the floor to read. A woman, a little older than you, looks down at you in curiosity.
“Oh, yes, well actually, it’s my soulmate, he’s from Sokovia, and he’s away at the moment so I just...” You trail off, unable to explain how you feel.
“Want a piece of him with you?” She offers with an understanding smile. You nod in agreement. She looks down at the book in your hand, “You know, if you’re interested in the news stories, my mother used to collect newspapers. Whenever there was an important event, she’d buy as many as she could.”
“Really?” She nods.
“She started in the sixties.”
“You must have a lot then.” She laughs softly.
“Far too many. Would you like to see them?” You look up at her,
You spend the rest of the afternoon going through the shopkeeper’s collection of newspapers. She introduced herself as Karla, and ensured you were settled comfortably as you read. You’ve been flicking through the pages, searching for anything related to the barony. You found the day Helmut was born, the newborn baby’s face was across every newspaper for several days. You read of few articles that share the plans for his schooling. As he’s growing up, there’s a few stories about the friends he keeps. Once he’s a teenager there’s a number of articles about his leisure activities, along with some grainy photos of him in a nightclub in Spain, then in Portugal, and a few in Germany. The papers always argue his suitability for the title, but all you see is a young man trying to live his life. There’s not much in the papers for quite awhile. You assume this is around the time Helmut joined the army. You spot the occasional public event: a hospital or a school opening, which include some official photographs. Helmut looks serious, dressed in his formal military uniform, stood by his father’s side. Then there’s an announcement. The engagement of Helmut and Heike. They’re both smiling, a glistening diamond ring on her finger, her hands held delicately in his own. You swallow the lump in your throat, fearing the sort for the two of them. You flick faster through the pages, until you land on what you’re looking for. The wedding. Her dress is beautiful. She’s elegant and regal, a perfect bride for a baron. And she fits so well in his arms. Even from the pages of this old newspaper, you can see the love in his eyes. You continue your search, the happy couple generally kept away from the media. That is until their son. A beautiful baby boy. Carl Zemo. Your eyes fill with tears at the sight of them. Such a happy family. From that point onwards, you stop looking through each page carefully. With shaking fingers you look for one date in particular. 2015. In your heart, you know. You know what happened to them. Your eyes scan the page. 117 names. Tears blur your vision, but you see their names. Heike and Carl Zemo. And Heinrich Zemo. Helmut’s entire family. Gone.
You spend the rest of the week in the area which used to be Sokovia. You visit the memorial and pay your respects to the people lost, your mind never far from Helmut’s family. A lot of your time is spent with Karla and her soulmate, Freidrick. Seeing the two of them together makes you feel at home. But that can’t stop your longing for Helmut.
Then the blip happens. As people around you crumble to dust, you stare in shock. You concentrate on your soul link, praying that he’s alright. That he’s still there. You breathe a sigh of relief when you feel his slight confusion. It’s solid, he’s not going anywhere.
You fly to Slovakia. Your fists hammering against the door to Karla’s apartment, your heart hammering even louder. She opens the door, and you collapse into each other’s arms. Her soulmate, Freidrick, was dusted. You hold her for a long time. It’s the next day when she asks after Helmut. You’re surprised.
“Your entire face changes when you hear his name.” She explains. She’s glad when you tell her he’s safe. You stay with Karla on and off over the next few years. You work as a freelance agent, spending a lot of time amongst the criminal underworld. You learn that your soulmate was quite well known in Madripoor of all places. A lot of the time you spend working undercover, finding comfort in pretending to be someone else. Several times you find yourself wishing that Zemo was a more common last name, so that you’d be able to use his last name as one of your aliases.
There’s nights where you’re desperate to see him. Where you’ll curl up in bed, wanting nothing more than for him to be beside you. When the perfume and the jacket, your only two reminders of him, hardly feel like enough. Sometimes you think about how he doesn’t even know your name, and you feel selfish, that you know so much about him, and he has nothing. But then you believe he’d be better off not knowing you. That if he found he had a soulmate, it would hurt him all over again.
When the dusted return you’re unbelievably happy. Though as you watch Karla and Friedrick embrace for the first time in five years, you can’t ignore the ache in your heart for Helmut. So you move back to Berlin. In the aftermath of the return, the task force headquarters was eager to reestablish itself. You accept your old position back, and soon settle back into your old life.
You’ve just gotten home when you hear a knock at the door. You open it cautiously, before seeing who’s there.
“Sam.” You smile at him, slightly confused. “What’re you doing here?”
“Hey. Can we come in?” You nod, stepping back to welcome him in. Then you notice who he’s with. Bucky Barnes. You smile at him, which he returns with a small nod. You lead them towards the kitchen, offering them a drink. They both decline.
“So, you’re not here for a social call?” You ask.
“We’re here for your soulmate.” You frown at him. “Zemo.”
“Zemo.” You repeat, continuing your act. “You mean the guy who blew up the UN?”
“I know he’s your soulmate [Y/N].”
“Then why are you wearing his jacket?” You look down at Helmut’s jacket.
“This is mine.” You insist.
“Funny. It’s the same one I found when he escaped headquarters.” You sigh quietly,
“How could you remember that?”
“I don’t. But I remember the look on your face. I knew you’d found him. You looked how I felt when I first met Bucky.”
“You mean when he tried to kill you?” You offer weakly, in the hope that it’ll distract them. You pull the jacket closer around you subconsciously. Sam certainly isn’t distracted.
“Look, we need to know how you’ve been visiting him. We checked the prison records and he’s had no official visits.”
“I haven’t seen him, Sam.”
“Come on, you can be honest with us.”
“I haven’t visited.” He frowns,
“But you live a couple of miles away. Surely you must have.” You shake your head.
“I considered it, a few times. I’ve walked past the prison too many times to count.”
“Why didn’t you?” You sit down at the dining table.
“The day Sokovia fell, I knew something had happened. Something awful.” You bring a hand up to your chest, rubbing your fingers against your collarbone. The ghosts of that day seeping back into your thoughts. “He had a wife, and a son.”
“[Y/N]-“ Sam starts, attempting to offer you some comfort perhaps.
“They’re gone Sam. And it destroyed him. And I don’t want him to hurt anymore.”
“As cliche as it sounds, you could be his missing piece.” You shake your head.
“Or I could just be a reminder of everything he’s lost.” You argue, before looking down at the table. “I might not even be his soulmate.” You add, quietly. Sam frowns at you,
“What do you mean?”
“It’s very rare. I know he’s my soulmate but I might not be his.” You tell him, finally voicing the fear you’ve been holding onto. Sam decides to change the subject. So he tells you about the Flag Smashers, and the super soldier serum, and Bucky explains why they think Helmut could help them. While you’re sure that he has the information they need, you’re doubtful as to whether he’d want to help them. You tell them that if they need any help, you’re a message away. They both thank you, admitting that they should probably be on the move. You nod and walk them to the door. Sam turns back to look at you.
“Does anyone else know?” You raise an eyebrow at him. “That Zemo’s your...”
“There’s a bookstore owner in former Sokovia. She knows, but I trust her.” You smile softly. “Apart from that, no. No one knows.” He nods before heading down the corridor. Bucky gives you a peculiar look, like he wants to tell you something, then follows Sam. You shut the door behind you, and try not to think about the fact that they’ll be talking to Helmut and you won’t be. You remind yourself that this is your choice, and he’s better off with you. Except it doesn’t feel like that, as you slide to the floor, wanting nothing more than for him to be there to pick you up.