Somtimes to find a monster you must do the unthinkable. Desperation makes you do things you never imagined.
It had been two months since Aria had returned home, Hydra still hot on her trail when her mother Natasha finally found her after missing for three years. The young woman had been largely confined to the Avengers compound in New York since she had returned, and the cabin fever was definitely setting in. Tony and Bruce had been working tirelessly to find answers in safely removing the chip Hydra had implanted in Arias brain without killing her, but it was slow going. Until they had answers, the compound was the only place they knew she would be safe.
Of course, nothing was that easy. Safe was only a facade in her mind, the nightmares keeping her far from feeling at ease despite the fact she had finally stopped running. The others had known for a while now something was wrong. More than just trauma from what Hydra had done. Her mother could see there was something else there. Something darker.
Natasha wasn't wrong. The nightmares were not what everyone assumed, and Aria had reached a point where she knew she needed to face them, needed to face him. Waiting for a moment where she wasn't under watch was not as easy as she had hoped. She was 20 now, but the others saw her as fragile and broken. Like she needed to be watched and protected. She was only 16 when she vanished, and despite being matured far beyond her years growing up with Natasha, she could feel the way they looked at her. They still saw her as a child, that little girl who Natasha saved from the Red Room when she was only five years old.
Natasha, Steve, Tony, and Bruce had been finally called out on an overseas assignment, one that would keep them away for a couple of weeks. Natasha spent the day before making sure Aria promised not to leave the compound. It broke her heart to lie to her, she didn't deserve that, but for what Aria planned to do, had to do, there was no choice.
"I will be ok, I promise. Just come home safe ok?"The young woman said, wrapping her arms around the widow in a tight embrace.
"I will. Stay in touch." Natasha replied before the four boarded a quinjet and took off from the hanger bay. Aria would wait one hour before she would leave the compound. She knew Tony would have put trackers on all the transport vehicles, so time was not on her side. The minute they got back, or worse Friday alerted Tony that she had left the compound, the clock would start.
Eight hours later, rubber wheels made contact with the dusty sand of a field a few miles outside of Berlin. Nerves ran rampant throughout the girl knowing what she was about to do was either going to make her a fugitive, get her killed, or worse get caught by Hydra. But it was the only choice she had to stop the nightmares and hopefully get a handle on her abilities once more.
Getting into the Berlin correctional facility was the easiest part. Aria had finally taken and passed her agents exam for SHIELD, the very test she was supposed to take the day Hydra had kidnapped her. While her access was moderately restricted given the situation, it was easy to distract the guard with casual conversation as she flashed her credentials.
"I need to see Baron Zemo. He has some information that may be useful in a case I'm working on."
"Zemo? He's been here for years. What possible information could he have?"
"Sorry, I cannot discuss the details of the case. You know, classified and all." Aria replied casually, flashing a friendly smile as the german tongue flowed easily from her lips. Natasha had taught her many things over the years, and Aria was grateful learning multiple languages was one of them.
As the guard led her down the hallway, Aria focused on keeping her mind calm and thoughts organized. Focus was the biggest challenge for her since she had returned, the nightmares causing her powers to lash out not only in her sleep but during her daily routine as well. As long as she didn't allow the memories to surface, she would be in control.
"You have a visitor Baron." The guard said, banging his baton on the bars. Aria dismissed the guard and took a breathe before sapphire eyes shifted to the criminal in the cell. Baron Helmut Zemo, the man who not only knew how to tear apart the Avengers but also managed to trigger the Hydra code words deep in Buckys mind. Clearly, he was a man who knew a great deal of Hydra, and could possibly be the one person who could help her find him.