repositorian: (nightcrawler)
[personal profile] repositorian
Character: Sinthia Schmidt (MCU AU)
Word Count: 788
Rating: PG

It’s become a daily ritual to rise, shower, dress, and stare at her face in the mirror while her hair dries. Not out of vanity, or even discerning a new tiny freckle from being out in the sun; Sinthia stares at the collection of features as if by doing so every morning she’ll burn them into her memory so she couldn’t ever forget who she is again. It’s halfway futile anyway, and she knows that; there’s a particular machine, in a particular basement laboratory, that could take everything away in a few painful, jarring minutes. She knows what that feels like, she has the electrical burn scars evenly spaced on her scalp, hidden by her swing of brown-nearly-black hair to prove it, not that she ever shows anyone. She still hates anything between her teeth, and wants momentarily to retch just thinking about the plastic being shoved into her mouth so she wouldn’t bite off her own tongue while her brain was being selectively fried. There are kinder ways to think about it, but they seem pointless, especially since learning about the other poor bastard that got that treatment.

She knows how he feels, too. To have these flashes of knowing you don’t know something, especially something you should, or of the conscious gap in your memory. She feels bad for him, worse than she feels for herself, because simple math dictates he’s had that procedure done more times than she has. Sinthia was lucky enough to have both the will to run away and the ability to hide better than her enemies could seek; still, if she thinks about it, about them, she always gets the urge to pack up and run, to stay away from windows and vary her routines so she’s not too conspicuous. Oh, the traits being on the run all your remembered life will earn you.

As she focuses on her face again and the damp bangs that cover her forehead, she wonders if the memory coverage--it’s not erasure, you can’t really erase memories, but you can bury them so deep it’s almost impossible to dig them back out--has cracked for him as deep as it did for her. She remembers the moment she knew she didn’t know who she was; it’s not a common notion with amnesia, not until someone asks you about it. The thing with having your memories buried and your existence denied, and your whole self unmade is that at first, you don’t know any better than to accept it. For a long time, really, because nobody asks you who you are, what you’re doing. Nobody cares until they have a use for you, if you’re lucky enough to be gifted in ways the people pushing the buttons and holding the syringes and the guns like.

She reaches up to the mirror and rubs a fingertip over the thin, hairline scar around the outside edge of her right eye; it’s crooked and smoothed over, but still just discolored enough to see--gained from being on the wrong end of an asp that she didn’t duck from quickly enough. Another scar is on her thigh, a puckered sewn-up bullet wound with an echo in the back of her leg. She supposes, distractedly, she’s lucky she still has all her original limbs. Barnes doesn’t, this much she knows.

She stops before she gets to pitying James Barnes, or Natasha Romanova, or even Steven Rogers, because they all have things that tie them to this world, this time and the persona they embrace. Romanoff and Rogers have their morals, their allegiances for whatever reason to SHIELD, and Barnes has no other option but to keep being the Winter Soldier. He doesn’t know anything else, because they haven’t let him know anything else. Because he’d be more dangerous than they can control--and they’re already trying to harness a hurricane--if he knew everything she does.

She has...them. She keeps tabs on them, and others, and it keeps her sharp. It takes that kind of cold mind to stay close enough to keep up, and far enough away to not be found, though as she glances to the window looking out over the city she wonders if she’s fooling herself and there are men waiting to break down her door as she stands there in underwear and a towel.

The first words, the last words she speaks every day are spoken to that mirror, her naked face reflected in the square of polished glass; “I am Sinthia Schmidt. I was born in 1937 in Berlin, Germany. It’s 2014 in Washington, D.C., in the United States. I know who I am. I will keep looking for who I was.
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