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How are we all doing?

Just wanted to apologize for my radio silence. Fall has proven to be a much busier time of year for me, but I'm still hoping to pump out some posts. How is everyone else doing?

Still here. This semester has been a lot busier than I was thinking it would be. But I'm still interested in this. Trying to find some free time where I am not trying to stop myself from falling asleep or being dragged out of my room to do something.
Been struggling to adapt to my new schedule recently, however I hope that things will be settled in soon, have been thinking about a few different posts just struggling to find the words and time at the moment.

She-Hulk - Gamma World Tie In #4
Location - Gamma Dome, Las Vegas

She-Hulk had to smile a little. When Spider-Man stepped through the dome of gamma radiation in his protective suit to stand beside her and her cousin who was trying his best to not let the Hulk break out just yet. It had to be said that the webslinger looked a bit out of place, but as an Avenger she had been sent on several missions with Spider-Man, there was no doubt in her mind that no matter what threat they were faced with, Spider-Man's presence would be missed if he was absent. His sense of humour alone helped with morale in otherwise dire circumstances. Plus his strength, skill, and wits were nothing to scoff at. In fact between him and her cousin she felt a bit like an idiot.

"Sounds like as good an idea as any to me Spidey." She-Hulk responded to Spider-Mans suggestion that they head for higher ground to get a better look at what they were dealing with.

Although that might be easier for some... She-Hulk thought a bit how nice it must have been to have as much freedom of movement as Spider-Man, he could just crawl up a building all smooth and graceful like. If she tried to do that... Well either that building is getting a mess all up its side or there is going to be some potholes in the ground. Either way, an annoying amount of property damage. Probably not the thing she should be thinking about but that stuff does add up...

Bruce spoke up to agree with Spider-Man, reaffirming that higher ground was in fact a good idea and that the goal was to get to the tower. With as little conflict as possible. With that being said, of course it had to have a wrench thrown in it almost immediately. Well at least one could take comfort knowing that in life no matter how little or how simple you want to plan, as soon as you do, life is bound to divert from it.

She-Hulk recognised the voice of the gamma mutate that stepped into view, she felt that Bruce was being too nice by calling him by his name, the guy was a creep and just all around bad news. Abomination suited him. These days one might call that too far but you gotta insult someone sometimes right? And these are bad bad folks.

That wink and stupid comment flared her temper more than she would ever admit. Girlfriend. Girlfriend?!?! Sister can be flattering at least but that's just gross.

She-Hulk gave an enthusiastic and determined nod at the orders from Bruce, as much as she would like to clobber Blonsky herself there was more important matters that they needed to attend to and they couldn't all get stuck here. Likely that's the Abominations entire purpose showing up here and now.

"Alright webhead let's get going and do our part. Big guy make sure to smash him real good alright?!" She said as she broke into a run in the direction of the tower. Keeping her eyes forward she was trying her best to discern what was lying ahead of her, keeping the words of her cousin in her head. Taking the quickest and most peaceful route... Yeah, fingers crossed. It's getting off to a swell start.

Finding Fury - Black Widow Tie In #3
Location - Novi Grad, Sokovia.

The town square was busy today, on the paved ground there was plenty of tables and seats set out along with some makeshift shelters. Families were relaxing, some busy workers were taking a quick breather from their shift to get something to eat or just to have a breather. And then there was just people going about whatever they had planned for today, shopping, going to the cinema, there was a few obvious tourists but not many. Sokovia had seen much better times, it had always been a poor country but in the time of the Soviet Union, as artificial as it may have been it had some resemblance of a burgeoning industry, one that sadly withered away after the fall of the Eastern Bloc. Even worse after that it became somewhat of a hotbed for corruption and a warzone for any faction that was looking to make a powergrab, after all having a small nation under your thumb and at your mercy was a rather resplendent prize.

Natasha sat silently at a table nursing a glass of lemonade, she was wearing a casual black tracksuit outfit, her long red hair tied up into a bun. A pair of dark sunglasses rested on the bridge of her nose and she casually scrolled through her phone as she waited.

Alexei noisily approached the table in his plain white shirt and dark blue jeans. With two large glasses of beer, both for him, in hand he sat himself down at the table. "Oh Natalya, you best get yourself a proper drink now while you still can."

"I'll take that to mean we are finally getting a move on?" Natasha would routinely scan the surrounding area, taking a good cautious look at all the people that would pass by, getting as good as a read she could from them. From the moment she had sat down at the town square she knew that at least several groups had been watching her. Although many were likely not for reasons that were pertinent to the mission.

"Of course. Although the middle of the day may not be the best time for this no?"

"Whether it is the middle of the day or the dead of night it is all the same to me."

"Yes... I believe you. I have gotten better at the covert and quiet operations over the years Natalya, but I also know that any advantage cannot hurt to have."

"Then we can make our way in tonight. We know how many men they have on guard, we know the routes of their patrols, and I am sure we will have confirmation on who they are as soon as we get through."

"Hmmph, my money is still on Hydra but these days it is hard to say huh? Still, it strikes me as slightly odd that they seem to have such a light presence here."

"Perhaps that is by design? I can think of a myriad of reasons for wanting to have a low a profile as possible. Two of them being the Avengers and the Justice League to start."

"I see your point. But still, I feel a little insulted, like they do not see us as a threat to even keep an eye on us."

"Don't worry. We have had eyes on us since the quinjet dropped us off.

Alexei looking a little shocked tried to mask his reaction and did his best to continue to act natural. "Seriously? Usually I could tell something like that."

"It might do you good to save the drinking for later Alexei."

With a grin Alexei retorted. "Come now, that would only throw me off."

"And for what it's worth, I wouldn't feel bad about not noticing it. If I am being honest, I can't tell who they are or where they are. Only that every now and then they are there." Natalya gives a serious look to Alexei.

"So it's like that huh?" He clenched and unclenched his fists a few times.

Natalya leisurely finishes off her glass of lemonade, Alexei does not touch his beers. Leaving the glasses on the table, one empty and two full the pair stand up from their table and make their way through the town square towards a car that was handed over to them by S.H.I.E.L.D on their arrival. On the drive back to their temporary lodgings in the city they went on several detours, just to do some due diligence in throwing off any potential tails. Although Natasha knew that it would be useless if whoever she had been feeling watch them had been doing so.
Hmmm. I would say that a big one for me when it comes to writer's block is that it almost always happens if I am stressed, tired, not eating right, etc. I always try to make sure I am awake, in a good mood, and really want to actually sit down and write something. Of course that isn't always possible and at sometimes it can be almost impossible.

However recently I have had some thoughts on how to try and help myself move forward in writing stuff. Like trying not to think up stuff I could do for other characters instead of just focusing on the ones I made. Try and write a bit of an outline and plan for what I want to do instead of just winging it with no real direction and hoping something sticks. And mostly try to relax and not get bogged down with things, I think since I took roaming characters I feel less pressure because I think well I can actually take my time and try to develop my understanding and feel for a character as I go even as if that takes a long time, and THEN I can give them their own story where they are the driving force.

I initially was a bit worried about not being able to do characters justice but then I kind of thought about it and figured. Well 1. I am not a professional writer so I should be realistic in my standards for what 'doing justice' to a character even is and 2. I may like these characters, but I have never written for them before so naturally for any character I write it's going to take a while to develop my interpretation and personal understanding of them in that regard.

Ofc that isn't going to make me feel like I can just pump out stuff that i think is bad but it does sort of help because no matter what when I finish a post I get very anxious and hesitant to actually send it, worrying if there's anything I could do to fix it up even though I know after another rewriting of it I will feel the exact same.

She-Hulk - Gamma World Tie In #3
Location - Gamma Base

Jennifer had spoken briefly to Amadeus Cho, in the short amount of time that she had to get acquainted with him she got the feeling that the young man had a heart that was in the right place, and a brain on him that quite frankly was beyond her, but his inexperience and youth left him a little lost, unfocused and unsure on what to do and how to do it. That part was something Jen had first hand experience with. In fact if Bruce hadn't been there to guide her at the start of all of this then she had no idea what would have happened.

She did her best to hand out some words of support and friendship to Amadeus, some people in her field might argue that being a super hero or whatever they would call themselves is not something that should be done. That it is a burden that is placed on certain people in this world, however Jen was of another mind, she would champion anyone who willingly stood up and wanted to make a difference. Of course if the person doing so would only be getting themselves and others hurt, that is a different matter altogether, but with Amadeus, he certainly had the strength and the wits to really make a difference.

The visit was a short one, but Jennifer made sure to promise that they could talk things over at a later date, however for now she had to send Amadeus on his way back home, because there was something going down and by the sounds of it, it was nothing good. With Amadeus here they would have another thing to distract them from sorting out whatever was going on, they just couldn't risk that at the moment.

Once the meeting had been concluded, Jennifer made her way towards the quinjet that Bruce had spoken of earlier, accompanied by the agents who had been on guard while she was speaking to Amadeus.

Jennifer listened intently to what Bruce had to say, the more scientific stuff went a bit over her head but she was able to get a basic grasp of the situation, and what a frightful situation it was.

If this isn't stopped then there could be thousands of people effected, tens of thousands even. The result of such a thing occurring was almost unthinkable. Each gamma mutation appeared to be different for each person, the outcome of such an event was almost unpredictable but one thing could easily be said about it. It would change the world forever.

Jennifer couldn't help but smirk to herself a little. Well let's hope they aren't all as tough as Bruce here, because if so... Spidey and I are in for a rough ride. As She-Hulk Jennifer was certainly what one would consider a powerhouse, even among the Super Hero community, but compared to Bruce? There was little question in her mind that when her cousin transformed and the only way to stop him was through fighting, she would likely not be able to.

Ah maybe that wouldn't be so bad. Carte Blanche to punch as hard as I can as much as I can does not present itself everyday.

Standing right outside the dome of Gamma radiation she was beside Spider-Man as Bruce stepped first straight through the 'wall' that was before them. Bruce almost immediately started to show signs that he was beginning to have an outright tussle for control between himself and the Hulk, signs that Jennifer was all too familiar with seeing.

Quickly she stepped through the 'wall' of gamma radiation to stand beside her cousin, alright transformed into the She-Hulk herself she felt a brief, pleasant sensation that coursed through her body as a wave. Jennifer never did quite understand why Gamma Radiation and things related to it felt so nice for her, almost like eating a very nice meal or enjoying an ice cold beverage when you are dying for refreshment.

Jennifer gazed into the distance hearing the sounds of pounding along with the thunder from above. Evacuation might be a bit of a pain... I'm going to hold out hope we somehow get this dome to disappear. She thought to herself as she stood silently beside her cousin. Readying herself for what was to come.

She-Hulk #0.3 - Parklife
Location - Los Angeles, California

2 months previously...

Huff. Huff. Huff. Jennifer felt as if her chest was about to explode as she pushed herself to continue jogging along the paved pathway of the park. The waters in the nearby fountain flowing peacefully brought uncomfortable amounts of attention to how thirsty she was, she licked her dry lips as she tried to shake off her desire to stop. She did not make it much further until she came up to a nearby bench. In a slight overreaction Jennifer grasped onto the armrest of the bench as if she would collapse without it as she bent doubled over her other hand resting on her knee. Sweat dripped from her forehead onto the floor below her, frantically she wiped her forehead with her forearm but to no avail as the scorching heat of the sun above was only adding to the much needed exercise her now overworked body needed.

Exhausted she sat on the bench with her head in her hands. Oh yeah, go for a run without turning into She-Hulk, thanks dad that was a great idea!

Truthfully it had shocked her quite a bit just how unfit she was. After all this time doing anything that would need her to exert herself as She-Hulk, she was used to doing most things without breaking a sweat really. Now, barely 2 laps around a city park and she was almost collapsing, she did feel a little embarrassed at that but also stupid that she was even doing it to begin with.

Why do I even need to train like this? It isn't like I am at a health risk or anything, if anything I could probably do with putting on a few pounds now that I think about it. Jennifer looked around for a moment before standing up and making her way over to a drinking fountain, where she took a long needed drink.

And anyway, say I kept this up? Any kind of physical peak I could reach would just be completely obsolete. She knew that her fathers suggestions was attempts to try and push her to spend more time as 'just' Jennifer Walters, not She-Hulk. But really moments like this only made her wish she could stay as She-Hulk forever, feeling like her helpless, useless, old self from before. She had to admit it was making her a bit frustrated.

"E-excuse me miss." Jennifer was startled by a young, high pitched voice coming from behind her.

"Oh sorry I didn't notice you were there, sorry sorry it's all yours." Jennifer stood aside from the drinking fountain after turning around to see a young girl with shoulder length hair. Upon closer inspection she saw that the girl had a rather distressed look on her face.

"It isn't that miss. I was wondering if you could help me with something?" The young girl fidgeted nervously.

Jennifer knelt down and rubber her shoulder, trying to smile as nicely as she could. "Of course I will, what do you need?" it felt strange that someone had approached her for help. She would have been expecting it if she was She-Hulk, but as regular old Jennifer Walters it just felt, weird...

"My cat, they got stuck up a tree."

Oh you gotta be kidding me...

Jennifer stood next to the girl, now under a tall Cedarwood tree with a medium sized white cat sitting rather precariously on one of it's branches. A rather high up branch to boot. The young girl pointed up to the cat. "That's her."

"So, uh. If you don't mind me asking how exactly did she get up there?"

"Climbed up." The young girl put plainly.

"Aha yes, I was asking more if you knew why she climbed up?"

The girl shook her head and shrugged her shoulders somewhat as if to say she wasn't entirely sure what to say to Jennifer. "I went to try and buy a snack and next thing I knew I heard her kind of hiss and yelp and when I came over she was up there. I tried to climb up but I didn't get far then I didn't know what to do."

"Do you not have a parent or guardian, or anyone, with you?"

The girl shrugged her shoulders again.

This is oddly suspicious...

"Well don't you worry now, I will get her down in no time." Jennifer said as she approached closer to the tree.

"Thank you miss... uh what should I call you miss?"

"Jen is fine. I will be just a minute now. She tried to assure the girl as best she could.

How stupid she had been hit her almost immediately as she took her first movements up the tree, grasping for a place to find to latch onto with her hands she cluelessly felt about for a foothold, it was even worse when she started to actually climb. Barely halfway up to the branch where the cat actually was she could feel her untrained muscles begin to waver a bit. Out of breath she stopped for a moment. Whoah now, come on Jen. It's a tree, a tree. Don't let a tree beat you. Straining herself she continued to scale the tree. She felt as if she had begun losing her grip then she almost certainly would have fallen off the damn thing. But thankfully something in the universe must have decided that today was her lucky day because although the process was taxing she did not struggle to keep hold of where her hands were able to grasp.

Now on level to the branch where the cat was stuck on, Jennifer looked over at it. The cat was in fact looking right back at her onto her eyes. Don't tell me it's going to attack me now... She quietly worried to herself as she contemplated her fate following the inevitable fall if the cat started scratching her face up with its claws. Thankfully through it was a rather peaceful cat, cautiously but rather gratefully it approached Jennifer and balanced itself onto her shoulders so it could continue to rest as she carried it back down to the ground.

With sweat once more streaming down her face Jennifer planted her feet on the ground with shaky knees. The cat leaped off her shoulders and started walking away. "Just- Just give me a minute." Jennifer said out of breath, she sat down with her back up against the tree as her muscles ached dully. The cat walked slowly over to the young girl and nuzzled up against her leg. The girl knelt with a smile on her face to pet the cat.

"Thank you Jen! I don't know what I would have done without you."

"Try calling the police, or fire service, Don't they do stuff like this?

"I don't know... I didn't think about that."

Jennifer laughed softly. "Don't worry about that. I am glad I was able to help you."

Waving goodbye the young girl left the park with her cat in her arms. Jennifer felt like it was time to go home and have a nice long nap. Something she was bound to regret later tonight, but then...

It had been several days since she had came to L.A and only now she realized she had not once 'gone out.' Come to think of it when she lived her it was never really something she had done. And since she had gone to the park as Jennifer Walters, dad couldn't be too bothered if she spent the night as She-Hulk. Jennifer picked herself up and smiled to herself as she began to walk her way home, making plans for that evening in her head.
@Hillan It wasn't till I started rewatching that I really noticed his influences on the films and they uh... they're not great. I get that Natasha isn't happy that she can't have kids but that she thinks herself a monster because off it?

I have heard quite a few different explanations for that scene where some people say that she was referring to her entire past with that comment not just specifically that. Although I have to say a few years ago I would be much more inclined to give benefit of the doubt. With the stuff that has come out about Joss Whedon over the past year or 2 I am much more sus of that scene. I think rewatching anything Joss Whedon has quite awkward moments now adays, at least for me.
Hey, OOC discussion is cool. That in mind...

What are your unpopular superhero/superhero media opinions?

For instance, considering what's been said in this thread... I didn't think The Suicide Squad was that great. 6/10-ish. It's a vast improvement over the original of course, but from the hype I was expecting something mindblowing, instead I got something that felt like a low to mid MCU outing.

I am not too sure if I would have anything I would consider particularly unpopular for an opinion. I guess the closest I could think of is I think I am quite easily entertained by comic book media and so pretty much find myself liking everything that comes out of the MCU or DC, or the animated side of things. I even enjoyed the CW shows when I still watched them regularly. I don't think I could point to any comic book media that I 'disliked' or that I would complain about particularly.
It was a cold winters night. One of many. The stars were falling in the dark Novosibirsk sky. The November frosts covered the streets in a deep snow, it was quiet. Soviet flags still waved from outside of homes who's residents were now soundly asleep or gathered around their fires with their families. Outside there was only the woman with the light brown hair, and her pursuer. She ran, as fast as she could. She had sworn to herself that she would, flee to Western Europe, to America. West, she had to go west. In her right hand she clutched tightly her silenced pistol, in her left she held even tighter a briefcase. The briefcase which she intended to hand over to S.H.I.E.L.D. Despite the precarious footing she ran perfectly. Her pace was swift and efficient each movement of her form was perfect.

FFFPT. CRACK. Rolling forward at the last second the woman narrowly avoided the bullet zipping down, instead of hitting its target it imbedded itself into a brick in the wall behind. The woman aimed her gun up at the roof and fired off two shots. The obscured figure had already stepped back, the two bullets are sent off up into the night sky. The woman rushed around the corner into an alley and pressed her back up against the wall, with her gun out she peaked around the corner.

Her pursuer had gracefully leaped off of the roof, landing with practices finesse, silently in the snow. Before the woman could understand what was happening her pursuer had kicked her gun out of her hand just as she peaked around the corner to try and see where she was. Panicked the woman threw the briefcase onto the snow behind her.

"Please. We don't have to do this." The woman pleaded as her pursuer drew closer. Throwing a punch the woman's fist was caught by her pursuer, and the woman was pulled into a judo throw, sending her onto the ground on her back with a powerful impact. The woman could see the steam of her own breath escaping as she exhaled painfully. Grabbing the blade at her waist the woman quickly rolled onto her stomach and lashed out with the knife, slashing horizontally at the legs of her pursuer. Unfortunately her pursuer had intercepted the blade, slamming it down into the snow, trapping it under their boot. The woman's head snapped back as she was kicked in the face, she could feel the blood begin to drip out of her nose.

Before she could rise to her knees her pursuer grabbed hold of her body and threw her at the wall. Colliding with the wall side first the woman cracked her head against it before she fell to the ground. "Please... Nat. Alya. We could leave this together. Live in peace. Away from this..." The woman tried to rise to her feet, the world spun as she got to her knees. She knew that she was outmatched, in speed, strength, durability. She was a Widow too, but not one like her.

There was no indication that Natalya was listening to what she had said. The woman watched as she brandished her pistol, identical to the one that she had held. The feeling of the silenced barrel pressing into her forehead filled her with fear. She had hoped S.H.I.E.L.D would have protected her from this. But in truth she knew that even if she had made it to the West, this likely would have been how her days ended even then. The woman looked over desperately at the briefcase she had discarded. The files on the Red Room she had been bargaining with for her safety, for her freedom.

"Dasvidanya." Natalya said without emotion in her voice, her face a mask, her eyes empty. CRACK The woman fell lifelessly onto the floor. Her lifeblood escaping from the wound in her head. CRACK a second shot to make it completely certain. Natalya collected the dead woman's knife and pistol as well as the briefcase that she had been sent to recover. The body may as well not have been there for her, she had been told not to worry about it, that it would be handled.

It was not the first time that Natalya had been ordered to kill one of her 'sisters'. She was anticipating the coming injections, being hooked up and restrained on the medical bed in the Red Room. Strange machines and instruments being brought in. They always flooded the other Widows with stuff like that whenever something like this happened. But Natalya most of all. She was their prized possession. Natalya felt nothing towards such thoughts, those had been extracted out of her. Anything that happened, for a long time it was not happening to her, a spectator in her own body. That made it easier to kill anyone.

Unlocking the latches on the briefcase she opened it up, confirming that the files were really there and not hidden away somewhere else. She would take these and later burn them, the files and the briefcase both. Natalya picked up the briefcase, holding it firmly in her left hand as she walked into the frozen night. She was due in Moscow the next morning...

Finding Fury - Black Widow Tie In #2
Location - Alpha Base

"We will be landing at Alpha Base in 10 minutes Agent Romanoff!" The pilot of the quinjet called back to her.

Natasha nodded her head. It was about time. There was something about flights that brought back old memories for her. Although in part it could also be from who she was about to meet. She had been to Alpha Base only once before, since then she had tried her best to avoid it and so far had been successful. Anchorage Alaska, perhaps it reminded her too much of home.

Once the quinjet landed she collected her equipment and carried it out off the quinjet and onto the airfield. Where a squad of S.H.I.E.L.D agents were awaiting for her, including Alexei Shostakov, the 'Red Guardian'. Or at least that is what he was once known as. Now he was known simply as Agent Shostakov to most, Natasha was curious if some of the younger agents had even heard of the Red Guardian outside of history classes. With his arms wide open he had a stupid grin on his face. "Zdrastvuyte Natalya! It is good to see you again, how have you been?!"

"Natasha will do Alexei. No one has called me Natalya in a long time. Let us keep it that way."

Alexei snorted dismissively "Oh come on Natalya, we are not Americans there is no need for that." Before she could respond he continued speaking.

"It has been so long Natalya, far too long. When was the last time we met eh? The world was much different place then no?" Alexei and Natasha began to walk towards Alpha Base from the airfield as the other Agents who had been gathered boarded the quinjet which Natasha had arrived in.

"Yes. It has been some time..." Natasha spoke stoically.

"Hah, some time. Yes that is true no matter how you put it I guess. Best not to think of the years no? Will only make us feel old."

Alexei extended his hand to Natasha, in it he held a flask which he was offering to her. Natasha shook her head and waved her hand in rejection.

"Natalya. You used to love this stuff give it a drink it will do you good. It's Vodka. Russian Vodka not American. From home." Reluctantly Natasha accepted the flask and opened up. Tilting her head back she took a drink of the Vodka. It burned violently as it went down. In truth it was a truly despicable drink, one to make even the harshest drunk take a second to think about whether they should take a second swig. However for Alexei and Natasha it had become a sort of comfort. Or at least it had, she had not tasted it in years.

There was some feeling of nostalgia to it, a feeling that Natasha quickly snuffed out. Handing Alexei back the flask it was now his turn to take a drink from it, only his was much longer and far more greedily. In fact he drained the rest of the flask in that single gulp. He laughed loudly as he wiped his mouth "Ah nothing matches that no?"

"That is one way to put it."

"See? You always enjoyed it Natalya. These American's couldn't tell a good drink if I forced it down their throats! I convinced one or two of them to drink with me but you know after that I couldn't find anyone. Says a lot about them no?"

"I see. That really is a shame isn't it." Natasha spoke with a not so subtle sarcastic tone, even so it seemed to scathe over Alexei's head.

"Yes. Yes a great shame. But you are here now."

The two of them entered Alpha Base and walked down its corridors, Alexei leading the way.

The two of them now entered Alpha Base properly. Natasha placed her equipment onto a bench with pegs of large warm coats hanging above it."How long do we have until the next flight?"

"Around two hours I would say. Hmm, are you hungry Natalya? You must be hungry."

"No, not particularly."

"Well I am sure you can eat some. I am starving come we shall eat! This is like old times eh? We shall feast before departing for our mission yes?"

"About the mission-"

"There is no rush I shall get to that, I have not forgotten you know?

"Ah Natalya, you are always so to the point. Relax please, we shall get to that after we eat I do not forget such things you know?"

Alexei led the way to the cafeteria. When entering Natasha quickly found a table on which she could sit with her back against the wall and quickly made her way towards it. Meanwhile Alexei was gathering up a platter of food. There was various kinds of fish, sausages, crabs, a few different scoops of ice cream into a bowl. He had a smile on his face all the while. He brought the platter over to the table once he was finished and placed it in front of the two of them as they sat across from each other.

"I swear to you Natalya you will enjoy this. This here is some of the best they have to offer in Alaska I promise you that."

"So-" Natasha was about to try and bring back up the topic of their mission but was interrupted before she could get even a second word out.

"So! Let us eat Natalya!"

Alexei broke off a few crab legs and began to quickly eat up their contents. Natasha resigned herself to testing some of the salmon, with sparing bites. Alexei handed her one of the crab legs he had broken off, accepting it she found herself rather enjoying the taste of the crab leg although one would not be able to tell by watching her. It was not long until the platter had been completely cleared off, the vast majority of it had been done so by Alexei but it seemed as if he had made an effort to ensure that Natasha had at least tasted a bit of everything that was on it.

Once finished Alexei stretched out his back before leaning forward, his elbows resting on the table. "Now. What have you been told about this mission of ours?"

"From my understanding we will be taking a flight to Sokovia. To investigate some reports coming out of there concerning something that both Director Fury and Director Rogers took a considerable amount of interest in.

"Yes... There have been several reports of sightings on the Winter Soldier. And even a Hydra base deep in the heart of Sokovia. The odd report of seeing the Winter Soldier here and there over the years is fairly common but, to have so many in one place in such a short time?"

"Well. If that is the case then I suppose a Hydra base would come as no surprise."

"Really? There have been several Hydra based without a single sighting of the Winter Soldier. And we both know that he has shown up in places where we know there is none don't we?"

"Why even ask that Alexei, you already know the answer?"

"Yes yes, I know. I just wanted to see if you could remember it."

"You wanted to see if I could remember it? Why wouldn't I? Alexei?"

"It is nothing Natalya, you worry too easily. Somethings given time can slip free of the grasp of our mind yes? It was a long time ago after all."

"Something can never be forgotten Alexei."

"Well now, that isn't exactly true."

"What do you mean?"

"Ah nothing, you remember that night. Let us get back on track."

"Alright... If Hydra is so deeply imbedded in Sokovia, just what are they doing deploying the Winter Soldier there so carelessly? It ought to be something big if they are willing to risk that."

Alexei took out a second flask from one of his pockets and twisted the top open. "Or it is part of the plan." He drank from it deeply, once again draining its contents in a single gulp.

Speaking honestly. I do not know. Nobody does. First thing we will be doing when we get there will be determining whether these reports have been accurate and from there was can plan what to do next."

Coughing into his fist Alexei looked to Natasha with a warmth in his eyes. "Earlier you did not answer me Natalya, how are you doing?"

"As always."

"A fine enough answer. I do not think I could say any different." Alexei nodded his head.

"Still missing the old days?"

"I had to move on. Gorbachev and Yeltsin saw to that. Did not have much of a choice. Thought that either way the West had won. Why not fight for S.H.I.E.L.D. Better them than those who call themselves our leaders back home now."

"Of course I need not return such a question Natalya. An Avenger. Make sure to put a word in with them for me yes?"

"If I remember to. Maybe."

Alexei chuckled "Ah time has treated both of us well no?

"I guess so."

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