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 Coming out of my cage... and I've been doing just fine, @KAMILA MAXIMOFF
285 POINTS EARNED
66 POSTS MADE
Ash shifted ever so slightly, willing his shoulders to relax. It seemed impossible at this point. Even with his back set to the nearest wall—his body tucked into a corner and out of sight from passersby—he could hardly breathe from the tension in his muscles. His skin felt ready to crawl right off his frame and into the closest dimly lit crevice; of which this place had many. It was meant to be homey, and perhaps it was, but the poor lighting and plethora of eclectic decorations made it an easy location to disappear. Maybe he was going about this the wrong way...but how else was he to journey out, alone, for the first time than with intense, warranted paranoia.

It was probably foolish to be going out so soon, but how much longer could he actually wait?

The word was as ineffective as it was going to get...temporary blurred vision and a blinding headache was better than instantaneous unconsciousness by far. He was used to working through pain, it was an old friend...and worst case scenario, he could fight blind; it wouldn’t be the first time. There was no telling whether the trigger could ever truly be erased, but at least, for now, it wasn’t debilitating. Even getting that far had taken weeks of “therapy”—repeated exposure to the word followed by shots of adrenaline to bring him back to consciousness—and a regiment of hardly effective anti-seizure medication. The drugs made him drowsy, but considering the condition he had been in upon leaving the compound, drowsy was nothing.

His fingers trembled as they quested for the pack of cigarettes in his jacket pocket. What he wouldn’t give for the temporary calm of...but this, like most coffee shops wasn’t exactly smoker friends. So instead, Ashley flipped the pack again and again on the surface of the table, two flesh and blood fingers holding it delicately, allowing a simple flick of the wrist to flick the pack up, over itself, and back onto the table without ever leaving his grip. With his metal fist clenched at his side, the over-imagined coffee he had ordered was left to cool and thicken. Could they hear it? Could the barista hear the whir of servos and electronics beneath his bulky jacket? Could she hear the way it gently clicked with each shift of his hand?

His glove hid the mechanics...but surely someone must know. Surely someone would connect the dots between the wane shadow all but huddled in the corner and the madman on the bridge all those months ago. They would know and then they would call the police, and once the police were called, Division wouldn’t be far behind. Maybe they wouldn’t storm the building, but they would be lying in wait, like they always were; lurking in the darkness like a shade, they would strike from behind the cover of bureaucracy and red tape. He wouldn’t go without a fight. Not this time.

Not ever again.

The knife tucked ever so discreetly into the waistband of his jeans wouldn’t be much use against a well placed sniper, but in close combat he was unmatched. A sniper, though, a sniper stood a chance...hence his well hidden position in the corner. You had to be seen to be shot and the Fist of Division was a ghost. He wasn’t theirs anymore, but the title, the persona, still stuck to him like glue. How many times can a man be unmade? Once? Twice? Ash was certainly on his third time, at least, and just like a chalkboard wiped too many times without a thorough cleaning, more and more remained from each attempt at a blank slate. Starting fresh now, free of Division, didn’t mean the past was gone. He was still the man, the thing, that Division made him...just with a fresh coat of paint and a good night’s rest.

Trying to live again wasn’t easy, but it had to be worth it...right?
notes
for kamila
250 POINTS EARNED
50 POSTS MADE
Tip-toeing through the days wasn't something that Kamila was new to. She had shown a glimpse of what she was capable of, even if that power had been misplaced upon people that hadn't deserved to be exposed to it. It wasn't unfair for the lack of acceptance to be barricading her in her corner, nor was it unreasonable for there to be weighted amounts of unwillingness to trust that she understood and regretted her crimes.

She would never pressure anyone into forgiving her for what she had done. There would be no begging and pleading, no crying and screaming. There was only silence until moments demanded a repetition of the apology that was more heartfelt than most anything else she had to say. Sometimes the words changed and the emphasis shifted, but it only bled sincerity all the more.

If nothing else, Kamila had learned a great deal from what she knew to be the biggest mistake of her life. She knew there was nothing to fear other than herself; the only monster that had rattled her world was the young woman staring back at her in the mirror every morning. Tony Stark wasn't a monster of a billionaire longing to sit back and watch the world self-destruct with the products of his money and mind. His wife wasn't his greatest support that pushed his world-shattering inventions into the hands of those wanting to abuse the power that came with each weapon he created. They were innocent, and Kamila was not.

Their judgement didn't bother her; the things they said about her were no worse than the thoughts she thought of herself daily and nightly. Picking at the chipping paint of her confidence while she laid in bed each night, wondering what punishment might one day prove to be appropriate for her crime.

Kamila chose to walk with her head down and her hair covering her face more often than not. Invisible to those around her and kept completely to herself. There was little left of her life that remained as it once had been: her home had been decimated, her parents had been killed, her country had been turned into a war-zone and her brother had changed into someone she barely recognized... At the end of the day, Kamila found herself struggling to find familiarity even in herself. She knew she wasn't insane... just a bit lost, or so she swore.

The brightness in her green eyes was only shown when she glanced up to place her order. A thick accent accompanying each word as the Sokovian spoke in somewhat broken English to order herself a coffee, something that was part of her daily routine while Clint slept the day away. While this place held little comfort in comparison to their home, it was familiar enough for Kamila to feel somewhat safe, even if little about this place was the same, day after day.

The comments from the man behind her weren't uncommon; Kamila had been subjected to many, many comments that were in regards to her accent, her broken English, the country she had originated from, her immigration status... Having someone speaking up that she needed to go back to her own country rather than occupying a spot in 'their' lines were always words she learned to let roll of her back. It was easier to ignore someone than engage and add fuel to the fire, so when the warm drink in a to-go cup was handed to her, Kamila's plan was to leave quietly.

As she stepped to the side, he, too, followed suit and effectively blocked her way with a second comment that reminded her she had little business being in 'their' country to begin with. Her eyes had been on the floor, much as they often were, and were now being forced to glance up at the wall of a man that was placing himself between she and the exit. One hand brushing her long hair behind one ear as she snapped back.

"Okay. Thank you." Truthfully, Kamila wanted to do nothing more than to unleash a verbal terror onto the man, but she knew she was better than that. She didn't want to ever lower herself to the low point she had been when she had confronted the Starks. She was better than that.

His hand tapped the bottom of her coffee just enough to have her losing her grip on it. The hot liquid taking its time seeping through her layers of clothing as the half-empty cup fell to the floor. It wasn't the heat of the liquid that Kamila was feeling, however. It was the familiar tingling of warmth in her fingertips that she had yet to learn to control. The way the warmth pumped like warm blood up the length of her fingertips; a building pressure that had the tabletops around her shaking. Cups and plates rattling ever so gently as voices began to verbally wonder if they were experiencing a small earthquake.
THANKS ELLIE

--------------------
are you insane like me, been in pain like me
pmappshiptrackcellinstafbsnaptweettindere-mail
285 POINTS EARNED
66 POSTS MADE
To say that Ash noticed every patron to enter the coffeeshop wasn’t an exaggeration. Each face was memorized and catalogued on the off chance they could be a threat, and so, when a certain enhanced being shuffled inside with her head down and her body language closed...there was no missing her. By all rights, she could hate him too; she was a friend of Steve’s, but for all he knew, it could all be an act. Or he was just being paranoid. Probably the latter, but maybe the former. Honestly, there was no way to really tell who was out to get him unless they explicitly stated yay or nay. Everyone had a reason to hold a grudge, some did, some didn’t.

But that didn’t make what was happening right, either way.

When the man’s belligerence shifted from words to actions, Ashley's jaw clenched and he stood. The motion was fluid, silent save for the soft whirring of the arm as it recalibrated, fist clenching. The world around them started to shake, but the man only had eyes for his goal. As he stalked forward, a path seemed to clear before him, people unconsciously stepping out of the way as his presence shifted from something wane and benign to anything but. Looming behind the man, he must have been quite the sight, scruffy and layered, and yet somehow just as menacing as The Asset; a monster reborn in the flesh that struggled to move past its influence.

Back off.” Ash’s voice was like gravel from disuse, as if he had just drank a broken glass and bleach latte instead of whatever it was he had ordered before. After a pregnant pause, his gloved hand closed over the man’s shoulder, unyielding in its grip.”She has every. Right to be. Here.” He couldn’t help the disconnect in his speech any more than he could stop the overwhelming aura of violence he knew he must be giving off. The last thing they needed was for this to turn into a fight...chances were, she didn’t need the attention any more than he did, but if this asshole didn’t back off, he would do what he had to do.

He wouldn’t kill him.

Probably.
notes
for kamila
250 POINTS EARNED
50 POSTS MADE
There were a lot of things that Kamila found herself somewhat used to that perhaps no one deserved to consider common. But she wasn't exactly able to consider herself someone after all she had done to two innocent lives, so anything the world sent her in the form of karma was something that she learned to accept without complaint.

That wasn't to say that she was eager to put herself in harms way, nor would she accept it if someone attempted to bring harm to she or one of her loved ones. Kamila knew she could fight her own battles at the end of the day, but in doing so she could... would harm others in the process. Others that didn't deserve to have any shred of her abilities inflicted upon them.

Kamila had no intention of defending herself against bitter words, and there was nothing she could throw at him after he had intentionally spilled her coffee that would be deemed as appropriate self defence, and even if there was? Kamila was already technically still a wanted fugitive, the last she had checked. Bringing unwanted attention her way was a dangerous dance to partake in, so the less she allowed herself into situations that might merit a call to the police, the better.

Green eyes took in the shape of a second man approaching the first from behind, but it didn't take Kamila long at all to recognize the face or the voice. Truthfully, she hadn't seen from or heard from Ash much, but given all he had been through, there was no faulting him for that. He needed time alone, and when alone was growing stale, he needed time with Steve.

Sometimes she could see that he was still drowning in confusion and guilt. Struggling to remember and struggling to forget. It was impossible to make sense of something that had been senselessly done; Kamila could relate to that on multiple levels, being both the victim and the criminal, but what she had done to others and what others had done to her didn't compare to the cruelty the Division had inflicted on the man somewhat before her.

"It is okay..." Her words were soft, perhaps a little shaken, but they spoke honesty. She didn't mind taking the brunt of someone's opinion, even if she knew that sometimes an opinion became less of a thought and more of an action.

She knew for certainty that the bigoted man had absolutely no idea who was standing behind him. It was clear he had no problem with assuming it was another stranger vouching for Kamila's own rights as sometimes that did happen, but Ash was hardly a stranger even if there were now aspects of him that were beyond recognizable to those that had cared for him the most.

His body language was easy enough to read as he shifted his weight, swinging an arm around in an attempt to land a hit on Ash who continued to loom behind him, though it was something that Kamila had been focused enough on to catch.

The pressure of energy that felt as though it had been building and coursing through her hands felt like a small explosion around the petite woman as she used it to catch the hand that would have struck the face of the man Kamila had her fair share of memories with. That had been what she had wanted to do, to stop an aggressive action before it came to pass, but her energy wasn't easily controlled, and as she used that tingling buildup to stop a hit from landing, the tables in Kamila's immediate radius were slammed back against the walls, pinning some patrons while others abandoned their seats to vacate the building altogether.

The hint of red in Kamila's usually green eyes, and the red tint to the energy she had cast to hold the man's arm mid-hit gleamed before vanishing; letting it go as the sounds of the tables being shoved into walls shocked her into submission. It meant that the man's attempt at hitting Ash might very well follow through, but it also gave anyone else the chance to vacate without the risk of unintended harm lashing out their way.
THANKS ELLIE

--------------------
are you insane like me, been in pain like me
pmappshiptrackcellinstafbsnaptweettindere-mail
285 POINTS EARNED
66 POSTS MADE
It was clear that Kamila didn’t want a fight, but it was just as clear--if not more so--that the other man did, and so,his fist swinging backward was no surprise. The pulse of energy that stopped it, though...that was a different matter entirely. Ash had been ready to block the fist coming his way, and instead of feeling the dull impact of whatever strength this man had, he instead experienced the red aura up close and personal.

The light formed a barrier between the attacker’s fist and Ashley’s arm, the two never actually touching. Something about the red felt like dread--like goosebumps and cold breath against his neck, like someone walking over his grave--even as it protected him. When the excess of energy exploded outward, the werewolf jerked back slightly, his eyes widening and his heart pounding. The cries of shock and pain from the cafe’s other patrons were distant, at best...hardly noticed as his fractured brain tried its best to piece together the last time he had seen that light.

Flowers in the summer sunshine, a tranquilizer rifle poised and ready, pull the trigger and she falls.

A man with perfect aim. A blur too quick to catch.

Complete the mission, Soldat.

Glassy eyes didn’t even blink when the man’s released fist collided with the side of his unblocked head. Nor did his head even move from the impact. To the man, it would have felt like punching a brick wall...and to Ash? Well, the pain was negligible. He didn’t even hear the bigot’s grunt of pain before the man spun around to pull his shoulder out from the metal handed grip with the rip of cloth. The man backed up, pressing himself to the counter and putting both of them in view. One. Two. Three full seconds and then a breath and a blink. The asset...no...no Ash straightened his posture; there was a disconnect between his brain and body, a fog suffusing his limbs.

You should go.” Ashley’s voice was completely flat, lacking even the small bit of intonation it had held before. All of his nerves, his discomfort, his rage from earlier seemed to be dimmed, flattened, until it was hardly worth noting. Although his words were directed at Kamila, he couldn’t meet her gaze, instead staring just over her shoulder. “Before the cops. Arrive. I can deal...with him. This.” Without further preamble, he closed the distance between himself and the other man, flesh fingers curling into the already ripped cloth of the man’s shirt.

Ash pulled the other man close, his eyes dead, his face blank, and yet somehow fury seemed to leech off of him and into the air, creating an almost palpable miasma of menace. “Leave now. Don’t ever come. back here. Don’t ever…look at her again.” At his side, the metal arm whirred loudly, plates shifting as his hand flexed into a fist. Although it remained gloved and unpoised, his message should have been clear enough.

Or else
notes
for kamila
250 POINTS EARNED
50 POSTS MADE
There was very little that Kamila understood about human nature, simply because she hadn't known any other than herself, her brother and their "doctors" for the longest time. They had spent so long fuelling themselves on hatred and anger, that simple human nature was so much more complex than it needed to be.

Yet, a lot of it relied heavily on instinct which was something Kamila knew better than anyone. Instinct is what had kept her alive as long as it had, and had gotten her to where she currently was in life. She knew when she needed to comfort someone; she could feel when Steve was stressed or upset, for example. She could feel when situations were tense or exciting, or if things were edging a little too close to dangerous. Some thought it was a bit of a sixth sense, but Kamila often found herself wondering if there were more to her abilities than she had originally thought.

Through all of it, she might not understand ninety percent of the things that happened around her — especially when factoring in the "hero" aspect that many of her friends now shouldered — but she did know one thing: you didn't leave a teammate behind. You didn't leave a friend behind.

A small smile touched Kamila's lips; she had never been overly wary around Ashley since he had endured more than any being deserved. She knew he had been exposed to things that had changed him through and through, much as Kamila had been. She related on a level that not many could, as she, too, had done things that she regretted. That, perhaps, she hadn't wanted to do. She had trusted him when few others found themselves able to, and even now, she trusted him more than she trusted most other people, herself.

Placing a careful hand on his — on the one that still held the remains of the man's torn shirt, Kamila kept her thickly accented words quiet. "You should come too; maybe we will find coffee somewhere else, yes?"

While it would have been easy for her to do as instructed and leave, she didn't feel right about letting Ashley step into a situation that could have caused him more harm than good. He had already done far too much for her, so there wasn't a single part of Kamila that felt comfortable in leaving without him.
THANKS ELLIE

--------------------
are you insane like me, been in pain like me
pmappshiptrackcellinstafbsnaptweettindere-mail
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