Facing Your Own Demons

If You Will Stand

Steve continuously paced throughout the halls of the New York SHIELD base. Two of his team member's were missing and all he could do was wait. "That's the same as doing nothing!" Tony had growled earlier to Steve. "It's not doing nothing," assured Steve "we're waiting for the agent's to do their job's, then we can do ours."

"I think I could do their job's better," mumbled Stark before he stormed out of the room. That had been nearly three hours ago and still no news or new information had come up. It baffled Steve to no end how a traitor could have slipped in so easily, fooled Banner and got past Natasha. Steve decided he might pat him on the back and give him some credit before he socked him right on the jaw.

Steve sighed. He walked over to the large window, gazing out. He leaned his hands on the metal sill. He continued to stare onto the outer edges of the city. They could be anywhere, he thought glumly to himself. Steve's com link buzzed wildly.

"Cap...Cap! I think I have something over here.Wait, do you want the good news or the bad news?" Steve seemed to perk up quickly as he reached for the radio in his belt.

"Tony, what did you find?"

"The good news is I found some security camera footage from some pub in the middle of nowhere Russia. The quality is fuzzy and crappy, but I still know red when I see her."

"Natasha?!" Steve chimed, hopefully. Tony 'hmed' through his com link.

"Yup! And now with the bad news. She and Banner were dragged off by someone. Even worse news I have no idea who. And finally the not-so-bad-news, their captures all had a similar symbol on their uniforms, if I can I.D that we can figure out who kidnapped little Brucie and Nat."

Steve grinned widely. "I'll have Clint ready the jet with in the next hour."


Natasha and Bruce had been scrambled in a mess of page's and scientific notes for hours. Well, more Bruce trying to sort something out and Natasha searching for only what Banner specifically asked for. Half the time she was wrong, but she still managed to find what was needed.

Natasha picked up a cluster of pages that looked about right. She couldn't help but notice the scribbled signature on the top right corner. Dr. Elizabeth Ross.

"Is this the one you wanted?" Asked Natasha, holding out the paper for him to see.

"I-I think so, I-" Banner breathed out deeply. He pinched the bridge of his nose, exasperated. "I don't think I can even tell the difference now." Natasha seemed to deflate. He thought that this was Natasha's one chance at survival. Natasha knew once he finished they would kill her and lock him up anyways. Strucker loved a new trophy. Natasha had tried to construct some sort of plan, all of which ended the same way. With her suck beneath the dirt. She kept going back to one though, one much more personal.

"You can figure this out. Just concentrate and stay calm," Natasha said, quietly.

Bruce had written up chemical formula after formula after formula. They all ended the same way! It doesn't work. The Baron should know it doesn't work! No matter what, the result's would be disastrous. The procedure was unstable and in no way viable. Baron Strucker wanted to live, anything from this folder would only kill him faster! Much faster!

"Bruce," whispered Natasha, soothingly. She grasped his arm tightly. "It's going to be alright. You just have to stay calm." Her nimble fingers ran up and down his forearm. Banner nodded. He still might be able to concoct something. Something that would maybe prolong the cruel, withering effect's of aging. He at the very least had to try, for Natasha's sake.

Bruce picked up the notes that Natasha had found for him. Betty's notes. The bio-statin primer. If he could tweak it just right, it just might work.

"Do you think you could ask them for some equipment? I'm not used to working with much, so I'll take what I can get." Natasha managed to grin lightly.

"Shouldn't be a problem, Doc."

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