This is an Arcology, a colossal building envisioned by science fiction writers as being a city onto itself, so huge that a person never needs to actually leave, with hundreds of thousands of inhabitants each, packed like sardines.
Usually, I express admiration for concepts science fiction visionaries of the past came up with, and I am usually sorry they never came to be. With this one, I am glad it didn’t, because living like an ant without seeing the sun sounds like a horrible dystopia. I am delight it was replaced by the modern idea of living around well-maintained greenery, where cities have lots of parkland and trees.
It is 1962, and the world is changing. The future shines bright in Moscow, gleaming in the dark, and all the decades of suffering will soon at last bring their long-promised rewards. Utopia seems imminent.
Meanwhile, Natalia Romanova discovers the true cost of creating the Soviet Dream. What future is there for people like her? What is she fighting for? What can Natalia be loyal to, if not the Red Room?
(Or: a love story, told in the interstices of Mr. Khrushchev’s war.)
Spy-like, Natasha Romanov pokes her nose in places it probably doesn’t belong, reads letters definitely not addressed to her, and attaches some distinctly odd sort-of-superstitions to other people’s personal belongings. Meanwhile Bucky Barnes is a very charming sort of person, even when he’s a little messed up.
This is our collection of mostly domestic, smutty one-shots about the lives of Bucky and Natasha. It started out as participation in the Smut-a-thon (most stories are written for a weekday and prompt), but we kept having more ideas that all take place in the same universe and wanted to be written.
“If I did this with you, what you just did with me,” Natalia finally says, searching his eyes, “would that feel as good for you?” She feels him shiver below her, his head tipping back into her touches, and his voice is deeper when he replies. “Yes.”
They call her by many names. The Widow. The Slavic Shadow. The Red Death.
They call him the Winter Soldier. Russia’s deadliest assassin. He has no name.
Years later, as more of the falsehoods and manufactured memories fall away; her mind brings back a single thread of truth to her. An American’s voice, quiet and intense, whispers her name - Natalia - into her ear at night, and it’s a ghost rattling around in the confines of her brain and in between the shattered spaces of her heart. It’s the color of blood dripping on pure white snow.
Some of Natasha’s memories are true, some are false, but throughout all of them runs one thread of remembrance: a cool metal hand gentle upon her back, tender against her cheek, tight around her throat; an assassin with a crooked smile and eyes like winter.
“Do you want me to stop?” he asked, smiling as he pressed another kiss into the hollow of her shoulder, she could feel it against her skin, even as his hand skimmed up under her shirt, gentle against the curve of her spine until he found the clasp of her bra and unhooked it easily.
Natasha smiled a little more, burying it with a kiss in his hair as she curled her fingers firmly into the thick hair at the nape of his neck, gripping it tightly so that she could tug at it. “Don’t you dare,” she said.
Arseny Avraamov’s Symphony of Sirens is really really interesting to listen to. I wouldn’t say it’s enjoyable, necessarily, but it’s, like, actively not supposed to be. It’s utterly fascinating. If you like atmosphere type things, or enjoy dystopias, or have an interest in WWI or Soviet Russia, you might want to try it. It’s pretty dang awesome, if you’re into that kind of thing.
Fun fact: it was designed to be conducted by a team of conductors using flags and pistols.