Status: Prologue 6/7/2016

Silent Guardians

Chapter One

The freshly fallen snow crunched underneath Anya's weight as she set up her equipment. The winter chill ran down her spine as the breeze began to pick up around her, rustling the empty branches of trees and letting the snow that weighed them downfall to the ground. The winter's in Russia were a lot more frigid and icy than in Washington. Anya took her long, dark, and brown hair behind her back and put it into a ponytail.

Looking around her, the scenery was absolutely amazing. Snow covered everything around her like powdered sugar. Squirrels and other animals scurried off, hunting for food. Birds tweeted only slightly as they tried staying warm and the river sloshed its way down towards the slightly frozen lake a mile away. Anya enjoyed the sights around her, but she knew that it was time for her services. She laid down on the freezing ground and took the cover off of her scope. She looked through the crosshairs and moved her SR-25 rifle until the designated target was in sight. Anya slowly breathed in through her nose and out of her mouth, a gentle puff of air coming out.


No one noticed that she was in their Director's office, standing and waiting for him. She stood in the shadows with her arms crossed and her back against the wall, waiting. Director Fury was just finishing up with a client and walked through the threshold.

"It's nice to see you again, Anya." Director Fury sat down in his plush leather office chair and moved some papers around on his cherry wood desk. "I have a new mission for you. We have just gotten intel of a very dangerous computer hacker for HYDRA. They need to be eliminated, Anya.
The tall woman only nodded as the leather of her black catsuit squeaked slightly. Fury unlocked a drawer on his desk and grabbed the manila folder that was laying on the top of a stack of papers. It was full of the information Anya would need to do her job.

"You are one of the best sharp shooters I know." Anya furrowed her brows slightly. Director Fury never got all sentimental. Anya knew that he knew something, but it was a "need-to-know" basis. "I need to know if I can count on you." The statement, or question more likely, seemed to have another meaning to it. Anya processed the words in her mind as if he could count on her with SHIELD and his safety. Bringing her eyes from the ground, Anya looked Fury dead in his only good eye.

"You have my word, Director." Fury hesitated a moment, but he slid the manila folder in her direction.

"The airline ticket is in there along with a passport. You've been given special clearance already to get all of your luggage through without the use of the metal detectors. You're free to go."
Anya only acknowledged Fury with a small nod of her head as she pushed herself from the wall and grabbed the folder.


As soon as the flashback passed, Anya had suddenly pulled the trigger, hitting her designated target square in the eyes. It was only a nineteen-year-old boy sitting at a computer with people in black uniforms looking over his shoulder to view his progress. Everyone in the building began scrambling around with their guns, ammo, and armor. Anya knew they wouldn't ever find her. She had calculated the perfect sniping area to kill and leave easily. Anya only smirked as she packed all of her gear and began leaving by following the river.

Once she made it down the river enough, she grabbed the small black communicator from her black cargo pants pocket. Typing in a brief message into headquarters, it wasn't long until she got another message back.

"S.O.S."

Creasing her brows, Anya figured she would be going into another mission once she got home. She put the communicator back in her pocket and began her long, but serene trek back to the airport.
It wasn't long after Anya got back to the U.S. that she was greeted by Director Fury's right-hand man or woman. Agent Maria Hill stood at the gate with a strange look in her eye. Anya knew she was trying to mask it.

"Agent Petrova?" Anya only nodded to the higher ranked woman. She didn't really consider herself an Agent of SHIELD even though they didn't put her in the system, but she supposed Director Fury did since she had done so many jobs for him over the past few years, most of them being HYDRA affiliations. Maria held her arm out, motioning for Anya to get into the black SUV parked out front.

"I hope your trip was a success." Anya knew Maria was making small talk and holding back important information that she would be finding out about eventually. Maria noticed the stern and the almost bored look she was receiving. She only looked away and began picking at her nails before finally looking up again with better confidence.

"We need your assistance once more. While you were in Russia, a lot has happened." Sighing, some out of stress and frustration, Maria opened what looked to be a cell phone and showed Anya the security photo of Captain Rogers and Black Widow in a computer store. "Captain Rogers and Natasha Romanov have been declared traitors by SHIELD and they are being hunted down. While you were away, SHIELD has been compromised by a criminal organization called HYDRA. They've infiltrated SHIELD and are planning something major. SHIELD is no longer safe. Also," Anya furrowed her brows once Maria stopped. She swallowed hard as her eyes looked zoned out.

"Director Fury was attacked in broad daylight in the middle of downtown Washington. He got away, ran to Captain Rogers apartment, and was murdered by an unknown assassin." Anya couldn't believe what she was hearing. She just saw the Director a few days ago. A light bulb went off as the pieces of the puzzle were coming together. The sound of his voice when they spoke. He knew what was happening.

"Many in the department don't even believe in this assassin, but those that do call him the Winter Soldier. He goes in, does the mission he was given, and he comes out." After stating these words, Maria thought it was just like Agent Petrova.

In all the years Anya had been doing this profession, she had never heard of someone called the "Winter Soldier". "There's more you need to know." Anya only looked at Maria expectantly. She wished the woman would just lay it all out for her instead of just holding the information back like she couldn't handle it.

"Director Fury is alive. He is extremely injured, but for the sake of this mission, we wanted no one but trusted allies to know." Anya noticed that they were no longer in the city but out in the middle of nowhere with a bunch of trees looming around. "Captain America and Black Widow have become SHIELD's main targets. Your mission is to find them and aid them in whatever way you can. I have been removed from the case, but the last place they were seen at was the mall." Anya watched Maria grab a black duffel bag from the back of the car. Looking inside, there was her catsuit and black armor that looked like SWAT armor. She looked up at Maria and nodded to her.

"I'm sorry, I don't know where they went, but they were looking up honeymoon areas on this computer." Anya knew that "honeymoon areas" meant something important that the general public had no use in knowing. Without another word, Anya left the computer store. She had started her mission the day after she got back into the U.S. Maria had allowed her some rest from her flight, but the next day she began her search. As Anya, walked out of the Washington mall, she saw pedestrians and drivers running. She walked to the area that everyone was trying to avoid, and as she got closer, she began hearing gunfire and screaming. Anya had a strong feeling in the pit of her stomach that this is where she would find Captain Rogers and Natasha Romanov.

There were overturned cars with a few of them on fire, and people coward in the nearby buildings. Anya looked from the overpass and saw the cause of the shootings and chaos. It seemed like a SWAT team had appeared in the middle of the street, but they didn't have the same insignia as SWAT. That's when it hit her. Anya opened the large black duffel bag and saw the same armor. Quickly, Anya threw the black garb on except the helmet and then grabbed her SR-25 rifle. She set it down on her bi-pod and pulled her hair back into the same ponytail, letting it fall down her back. Anya was quick to get on her stomach and find Captain Rogers, but she couldn't find Natasha. Looking around through the scope of the rifle, Anya saw one of the "SWAT" members hand a larger soldier a machine gun.

"Hm."

Anya watched the larger soldier and guessed that he was the Winter Soldier. Anya lined her crosshairs up to the lackeys of the Winter Soldier and once their heads were in sight, she pulled the trigger. Smirking, she moved on to another soldier and then another. She picked them off easily. They scrambled to find her, but they didn't know where to look. Her smirk quickly fell as soon as she saw the Winter Soldier take a shot at Natasha. Anya could practically hear the impact of his bullet meeting it's intended target. The world seemed to slow down for Anya. The slight breeze slowed as it pushed her ponytail away from her back and over her shoulder. Time may have slowed, but Anya's movements were rapid.

She abruptly moved the rifle slightly so she could see the Winter Soldiers head in the middle of the cross hairs. Her breathing began to slow, but her heart felt as though it was going to bust right out of her chest cavity. The Winter Soldier had calculated his next shot, not intending to miss. Anya's finger hovered over the trigger until she was sure she had the shot.

Seeing the opportunity, Anya squeezed the trigger only to see the impossible. Steve Rogers tackled the soldier to the ground at the exact right time. She couldn't believe it. She had missed. Fuming, Anya almost didn't hear the voice of Maria in her head.

"Anya!" Slowly, she brought her hand up to her ear and pressed the button.

"I'm here." Anya never moved her eyes from Steve Rogers. She had never missed a target while she was in the profession.

"Are you okay?"

"Rogers made me miss." It took Maria a moment to understand what Anya was talking about, but once she put two and two together, she hesitated to speak.

"We need to meet up. Follow the plan, Anya!" The vexed woman only nodded even though her acquaintance couldn't see her. Anya packed up her equipment and began leaving her sniping position while putting her helmet on. Anya had eyes on the fight ever since she left, and at one point, Steve Rogers flipped the soldier off of him and took his matte black mask off in the process. Anya had come up behind the lackeys while taking out a silenced pistol. Putting it up against one of the soldiers backs, she squeezed the trigger. No one noticed the soldier she took out or the soft noise of her pistol going off. Anya got into the second black van that had shown up to take away the prisoners who were, in fact, Captain Rogers, Natasha Romanov, and a new stranger with metal wings. The stranger looked to Natasha and noticed the trail of blood leaving the wound.

"We need to get her medical help, or she is going to bleed out." One of the soldiers took out a taser rod, but instead of attacking the stranger for talking, they attacked the soldier next to them. Everyone looked confused at each other. The person in question pulled the helmet off revealing Maria Hill.

"Oh God. That thing was squeezing my head." Everyone in the back seemed to sigh in relief until they remembered another soldier sitting in the back with them. "Don't worry, she is with me." Anya began taking the helmet off revealing that she, in fact, was with Maria.

"A she as well?!" Maria only nodded after asking Steve who he was.

"You were the sniper, weren't you?" Anya didn't answer the one person she didn't want to talk to. Steve stayed silent after that.

"She is. Honestly, if it wasn't for her, you guys wouldn't have had the opportunities you had." All of them nodded and thanked her. Of course, Anya didn't say anything. All she did was a service to Maria and Director Fury, that's it. It wasn't long until they had made it to the base camp in the middle of the woods. The smell of deadening leaves pierced Anya's’ nose as she got out of the van. SHIELD agents came and gathered Natasha, taking her to the medical wing. Steve walked up to Anya and held his hand out for her to take.

"I just wanted to personally thank you." Anya looked down at his hand as if it was something foreign to her, and then back up at him with a glare. She walked away just as Maria was coming up behind Steve.

"I don't know what I did wrong." Steve was used to people fawning over him and even some of the SHIELD agents praised him for what he did in the 1940's.
"She is the best sharpshooter SHIELD or Director Fury had ever seen." Steve looked at Maria with a confused look.

"I don't understand." Maria gave him a look.

"Well, to put it simply, you made her miss her target." Maria began walking into the building with Steve following behind.

"I don't remember SHIELD having their very own sniper. Who is she?" Maria only sighed as she knew what this information would lead to.

"Her name is Anya Petrova. We didn't want anyone finding out about her, so we never put her down as an agent or employee of SHIELD. She is a last resort." Steve stopped Maria in the middle of the hallway.

"What do you mean "a last resort?""

"I mean that when we needed someone disposed of secretly, she would be the person we would go to." Maria was correct on her assumption. This new information to Steve was going to cause him to explode.

"And no one decided it would be a good idea to let me in on this?! You have someone, who isn't even a part of SHIELD, with classified information running around doing SHIELD's dirty work!? And this isn't a National Security Threat at all?" Passing agents watched Captain America raise his voice at their superior officer.

"Director Fury trusted her! You know as well as I do that when Fury has trust in someone, he means it." Maria knew that Nick Fury and Steve Rogers had problems with each other. They both began walking and stayed silent until they came to a lone door.

"I think you'll want to see who is behind this door." Maria opened it to reveal Director Nick Fury. Steve stood in the doorway in shock.

Anya stayed on the bridge most of the day since she arrived. She was allowing everything that had happened in the last week to sink into her brain and process it all. She was getting too attached she felt. Usually, she does a job for SHIELD and then it's done. She could go home and relax until another call made it to her, but as of late, she had been constantly working. Constantly killing.

As Anya leaned again'st the stone bridge, she felt someone else’s presence near her.

"Anya Petrova." She didn't bother turning around to face Director Fury. She figured she would be meeting with him soon. "I'm sorry about bringing you into all of this, but once everything happened, I needed someone on the outside." Anya didn't understand why the Director was explaining himself to her. The near death experience must have gotten to him. Anya only nodded to him in acknowledgment.

"Captain Rogers tells me that ever since you two met, you've been cold towards him." Anya turned around and leaned her back against the bridge, crossing her arms over her chest. "Care to explain why?" Fury knew what happened, but he wanted to hear it from her. He saw her scrunch her eyebrows at him.

"Why have me explain something you already know?" He only smirked some.

"I just wanted to hear it from you. I'm not trying to diminish your skills if that is what you're thinking." A sigh left Anya's mouth unwillingly.

"I had the Winter Soldier in my cross hairs, and right when I squeezed the trigger," Anya paused a moment, " Captain Rogers tackled him out of the way." Fury only nodded as he limped over to her.
"So, it wasn't even an error on your side, just an accident." Anya shifted her eyes down, processing the words in her mind.

"I suppose." Fury smiled gently and turned around to go back into the building.

"Well, I am sure Rogers would like to talk about it. He's old fashioned you know." Anya only hummed a reply, but then she looked up at the retreating man.

"Director?" He suddenly stopped and turned, "It's good to have you back." He nodded and began walking back into the base.

"It's good to be back."

It wasn't long until Anya found herself lying in her cot thinking. That is all she really did. She stayed quiet unless she absolutely had to speak. A knock on her door jolted her out of said thoughts, and she got up, opening the door. She saw the one person she dreaded talking to.

Steve Rogers stood there awkwardly as he lifted his hand up to the back of his head and began scratching an invisible itch. He wore a white t-shirt and khaki pants with black shoes.

"Um, hi. I just wanted to say that I am sorry for making you miss your intended target. I didn't know that was who you were going after next. I just saw Bucky about to shoot Natasha and I reacted."

Anya's eyes held confusion as her brows creased. Was he referring to the Winter Soldier?

"Who is Bucky?" Steve was taken back by the sound of her voice. He hadn't heard her speak since they met. Anya knew this would be a long story, so she motioned for him to come inside. Smiling, he sat down on the chair across her bed.

"I saw the look of familiarity in your eyes." Steve nodded to Anya's words as he began picking at his nails.

"Yeah, I know...I know him. I've known him since I was little. We grew up together in Brooklyn." Steve paused a moment. "He had moved from Indiana and soon after, we were inseparable." Anya grabbed her gray wool blanket and wrapped it around her shoulders.

"Back in the 1940's, I rescued him from a HYDRA facility in Germany." Steve began getting a far off look in his eyes as he relayed the same words for what felt like the ten millionth time.

“There, they experimented on him. Once we were back behind U.S. Lines, they wanted me to assemble a team of men to destroy more of the HYDRA camps and facilities. One of the last missions we had together, we were on a train and got separated. When I was able to get back with him, I was blown back. He had grabbed my shield for protection, but then..” Steve stopped for a moment to make the next images pass through his mind, “He was knocked out of the speeding train through a hole in the wall. I tried to get to him, but it was too late. The bar he was holding on to snapped off, and he fell into the canyon below.”

Anya's gaze fell to the floor. She honestly didn't know what to say. What did they experiment on him with?

"I woke up in a new world that I had no idea about. The technology changed, the clothes and the food changed. Even the people changed. I was alone." Steve walked towards her door slowly. "When I found out Bucky was still alive, I didn't feel so alone anymore." Anya couldn't understand why Steve was opening up to her like this. She didn't know him and he didn't know her. She wondered if it was a truce between the two of them.

“I'm sorry, Captain.” He only smiled and stood up.

“You can call me Steve, and at least I know he is still alive.” Steve was trying to see the light in a horrible situation. “Well, I should leave. We will be going over the plan tonight if you would like to come. It's in the debriefing room.” Anya only nodded her head and soon Steve was closing her door. She sat there, on her cot, thinking about what happened with Steve and the Winter Soldier, Bucky. She knew there was evil in the world. All you had to do was take a look at her, but she didn't quite know the extent until that night.
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6/7/2016
Edited: 7/28/2016