Natasha came to in a dirty alleyway, a discarded
newspaper beside her. She groaned as she pushed herself to her knees, rubbing
the back of her aching neck. How long she’d been knocked out, she had no idea,
but she was relieved at least to see a car driving by on the road ahead of her
– an old car, but a car nonetheless. At least she hadn’t been shot back to the
time of the dinosaurs or anything.
She reached for the newspaper, scanning it for the date.
Her eyes widened when she found it; February, 1943. “Shit,” she said under her breath.
SHIELD is once again messing with things it shouldn’t be,
and this time, it gets Natasha sucked back into the 1940s.
At least her cute future boyfriend is there to show her around?
After James died as Captain America, the Winter Soldier and
Black Widow have been hard at work. The Zephyr Project was a secret the Red
Room had buried deep within James’s head, and uncovering the secrets of it
wasn’t going to be easy. Their recent lead has lead them straight to the Los
Angeles County Art Museum. Between Breathing lights and the Rain Room, a run in
with a few HYDRA agents turns out to be a little more than they had expected.
Anxiety and grief have their place, Dr. Yelba
told him when he broke down in one session. There is no shame in tears,
in memories, in feeling. We must find a place to keep them, before they get
Bucky found his peace with Natasha, in ways he never thought
When Bucky needs to get from Chicago to California, Steve
remembers Natasha’s dream to drive across country along Historic Route 66. He
sets them up for the drive, hoping it will give Bucky the inspiration he needs
to move on from the motorcycle hit and run that cost him his arm, and changed
his outlook on life. If anything can, he knows that an extended road trip with
Natasha who will likely drag Bucky into every tourist trap along the way, just
might do the trick.
The Algerian War spills over the streets of Paris, and the
KGB’s best assets have been sent to pour fuel into the fire. Posing as the
ideal married couple–young, beautiful, and nauseatingly in love–the Black
Widow and the Winter Soldier must prevent the Algerian Peace Envoy from ending
Unknown and overlooked in a foreign country, away from the
ever-looming threat of their handlers, they take a moment. Resume their affair.
Over missions together, moments of training and moments of
intimacy, Bucky and Natasha work to reacquaint themselves all over again, and
while it’s not all smooth sailing, some moments definitely leave behind a
reason for both Bucky and Natasha to hope that the life ahead of them is worth
all the loss and pain of their pasts.
Starting over is often easier said than done, but everything
old need not remain that way. Of course, there’s no growing without the growing
pains. Thin Mints and Lego bouquets make the process a little more enticing.
Many thought that the saga of James “Bucky” Barnes was over
after his explosive exit from the dance scene five years ago. Barnes
electrified the community when he became the youngest principal dancer in the
history of the American Ballet Theatre at the age of 19. After a shocking
injury, he walked out of ABT, turning his back on the company that had nurtured
him since he was a boy and giving a series of blistering interviews condemning
the company’s treatment of their dancers.
Natasha Romanov left her nest at Moscow’s Bolshoi Ballet at
the start of a less controversial journey. She has floated among companies as
lightly as she floats though grand jetés on the stage. Though recently she
seems to have found a new home at the Royal Ballet, and at Barnes’ side.
Some people live their whole lives without awakening the
magick within them. Natasha and Bucky are not among them.
Nat has been closed off to any relationship ever since the
Incident, but when she meets Bucky at her gym and he won’t leave her alone, she
can’t help but give into their connection. And it changes everything.
Wanna park and act like an a**hole? Enjoy paying thousands.
Years ago, I worked as a security officer in a high-traffic tourist area (graveyard shift).
One of my responsibilities was to make sure my building’s loading/unloading zone is kept clear because at all hours of the day we’ve got vehicles coming and going for people going to meetings, visitors, tourists, cabs, etc. The curb is painted white and marked in big bold letters ✶ LOADING AND UNLOADING ONLY ✶ NO PARKING ✶. At the end of the zone there was a single handicap parking stall painted bright blue.
Now the building I worked at was nearby a few large night clubs, so every Friday and Saturday the area would be crazy busy with drunken fighting, vomiting, occasional alleyway sex, etc. All night long there’d be cute girls milling around in skimpy outfits, so the job had its perks too.
Clubbers would take advantage of my building’s valet parking service and pay to park in our garage before heading out to one of the clubs across the street.
Some clubbers would think they could get away with parking in our loading zone all night. My coworkers and I would aggressively patrol the area in the earlier evening hours and advise as many people as we could so they’d leave and avoid getting a ticket. It was also better for us if they left, because when there were too many vehicles parked out front, traffic would become a complete clusterf*ck regardless of the time of day.
Most people would be grateful for the information and leave. Occasionally, some douche would laugh in our faces, say something about pigs or rent-a-cops or whatever and leave their car anyway. In those cases, we’d call our city’s parking enforcement and they’d get a $90 ticket for their troubles.
One Saturday night, after finished a round of patrols, I went to take a leak. On my way back out, I walked past Dispatch and my buddy calls me over to the surveillance bank.
“Hey bro, you got one out front.”
I turned to the grainy feed just in time to see a piece-of-junk ‘97 BMW sloppily parking in front of our building. I murmured that I’d go out and advise the driver, but before I could leave, the driver exited his vehicle.
My buddy and I watched in silence as the driver, a young black male adorned with flashy cheap bling, hiked his pants up at the crotch and blocked the path of a couple girls walking by. He started hitting on them in the slimiest way possible, even trying to grab their hands and asses at one point, staring shamelessly at their tits while he was schmoozing them. He took out his phone and shoved it at them, presumably asking for their numbers.
Eventually the girls were able to dodge his grabbers and ran off toward the club across the street. He repeated this routine several more times with various groups of girls walking by, even taking out a small bottle of vodka from his back pocket and offering swigs. With each rejection, he’d get angry and presumably cuss out the girls as they hurried off (our cameras didn’t pick up audio but this seemed a reasonable assumption).
I sighed and looked at my buddy.
“Well, I guess I’ll go talk to him.”
I made my way out to the front and approached him just as another group of girls ducked away from him. I called out to him. He turned and stared at me blankly.
“Hey, man, just wanted to let you know that this zone is for loading and unloading. Normally it’s not a big deal to park for a bit but if everyone does it on the weekends, traffic gets backed up pretty bad here.”
The douche looked at his vehicle, then at my badge.
He flipped me off and went across the street, where he was promptly denied entry for dress code violations. He cussed out the bouncer and wandered off down the block. I walked over to his vehicle and saw that it was parked crooked, the rear of the vehicle partially blocking the lane of traffic. Half of his vehicle was in the white zone, the other in the blue zone. I key’d up my radio.
“8million to dispatch.”
“8million, go ahead.”
“Can you call parking enforcement for this vehicle? Lemme know when you’re ready for the plate.”
Fifteen minutes later, the parking officer arrived. He looked at the vehicle and promptly issued a $90 ticket for parking in the white zone and a $900 ticket for parking in the blue zone without a permit.
I thanked the officer and went back inside to have a snack.
A couple hours later, two of the local cops stopped by to say hi. As Officer Morris and his partner walked over, Dispatch radio’d me.
“Hey 8million, is that Jones and Morris?”
“You gonna do what I think you’re gonna do?”
Officer Jones and I lit up our cigarettes as Officer Morris looked on disapprovingly. We all smoked and chatted for a bit, then I casually motioned over my shoulder at the BMW.
“Hey, Jones, check out the parking job on that piece of shit.”
We all walked over to the corner and looked at the vehicle, the two tickets stuck on the windshield flapping in the wind. Officer Morris grabbed one of the tickets, read it over and looked at me.
“What’s the story here?”
I told them what happened and the driver’s response. Officer Jones and Morris looked at each other.
“8million, you got the time?”
“Yeah, it’s… 12:27AM.”
“Well it’s a whole new day now isn’t it?”
Officer Morris proceeded to write another $90 ticket for the white zone, then another $900 ticket for the blue zone. He paused for a moment after finishing the second one.
“Hey Jones, looks like this vehicle is parked more than twelve inches from the curb. What do you think?”
“Sounds about right.”
Officer Morris wrote another ticket for $120 and slapped it on the pile of tickets on the windshield. I shook both officer’s hands and they left to continue their patrols.
The next few hours of my shift went by fairly quickly. Around 5AM, Dispatch scared the hell out of me.
“HEY 8MILLION, ARE YOU STILL ON THAT CALL?”
“Negative, I just finished clearing it.”
“RESPOND TO DISPATCH ASAP.”
I ran down to the surveillance bank, where my coworkers were all gathered and laughing their asses off. Sunday was street cleaning day and the BMW was getting ticketed again by parking enforcement.
After that, we all stopped by Dispatch every 5-10 minutes to see if the owner had returned. Finally, at about 6AM, douchebag came stumbling up the block, looking completely worn out. His formerly-white t-shirt was stained and dirty and it looked like he’d lost at least one fight.
We watched in suspense as he looked at the pile of tickets crammed together on his windshield and slowly removed them. He stood there, pants sagging below his knees, shuffling through each ticket as if he were a toddler with a handful of Pokémon cards.
With a look of abject defeat on his face, he got into his vehicle and drove off. The whole room erupted in laughter and high-fives.
As the laughter died down, I picked up the office phone and started dialing. My coworkers eyed me curiously. I put the call on speaker just as the call connected.
“9-1-1, what is your emergency?”
“Yeah, hi, I’d like to report a possible drunk driver. I have the vehicle and driver description when you’re ready.”