Read from the beginning ---> HERE
Bucky grinned, though inside he was nervous.
"You got tall," he whispered, awestruck. "Should have known you'd be tall. Runs in the family."
JJ was still in total shock, but something in the tone of Bucky's voice broke the spell. He ran, wrapping his arms around Bucky, clutching him tightly. He needed to know he was real, that it wasn't a dream.
Smiling, Krystal stepped around them.
"You two have a lot of catching up to do," she smiled. "And I have somewhere I need to be."
She left them to it; it was time for her to meet Steve.
Meanwhile, Reid was waiting in the hearing room. He knew that Agent Romanoff would be delivering her testimony later in the day, and the emotions in the room were tense. Obviously everyone was scared. They'd just seen S.H.I.E.L.D., a decades-old institution fall because it had been infiltrated by Hydra. How could they move forward from that? And of course the helicarriers were still in the Potomac. That mess would be the least of their worries if the testimonies they'd already heard were true. Political corruption, with so many senior Senators implicated, could mean that the entire country would need to be examined. Hydra's roots were deep.
During the lunch break, Reid tried to eavesdrop, hoping to gauge the response Agent Romanoff could expect. He wasn't able to hear much, but what he did hear wasn't good.
After the break, Romanoff was called to testify. Reid held his breath while he listened, not wanting to miss a second of it.
"You need us. Yes, the world is a vulnerable place, and yes we help make it that way, but we're also the ones best qualified to defend it. So if you want to arrest me, arrest me. You'll know where to find me."
Natasha walked out through the throng of reporters and photographers, the flashes blinding as they took picture after picture. She'd be trending on twitter for a few hours at least. Shuddering, she stepped outside, taking in a breath of air. Hopefully she wouldn't be followed- the testimonies after her were going to be interesting enough to draw attention away from her. Still, she was starting to regret being so aggressive. She'd practically dared them to take her in.
She wasn't going to let that happen of course.
She bristled, though she recognized that voice. Turning, she forced herself to smile at Doctor Reid, knowing that he didn't mean her any harm.
"Doctor Reid, I didn't realize you were still in town." She knew that the rest of the BAU was already back at Quantico, and it was a surprise to see Reid had stayed behind. "Is everything all right?"
"I have to deliver another report and testify later this week, I figured it would be easier if I just stayed here." He looked at her, and for once she felt like he could see beyond the facade she's carefully constructed. She'd be irritated if it wasn't so impressive. "Are you all right Agent Romanoff? It seemed like they were really out for blood."
"If they're planning on taking me in, nothing I could have said would have changed their minds. Though I'd rather they didn't..."
Reid shook his head.
"They can't do that. Anyone can see you're not working for Hydra, that you never would have willingly."
Natasha remembered the words Zola had spoken before he was destroyed- that her loyalties could be bought. Steve trusted her, but Steve had faith that she didn't think she deserved. Reid however... Reid was an analyst. He based his theories on fact.
"I appreciate your conclusion, but my record says otherwise."
"You mean the one you released, knowing it would incriminate you?" He shook his head. "You might feel guilty for what you've done in the past, but we all make decisions in the field. We're influenced by the adrenaline, and we never have all of the information in front of us. You made the only choices you could, and now that you have all the facts you'll make different ones." He nodded. "Anyone who says otherwise isn't seeing the whole picture."
"Thank you Doctor Reid. Can I walk you home?"
Surprised, he smiled.
"Um, sure. Of course!"
Since we're getting close to the end of this fic I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who's been reading and commenting and liking and just being super awesome!!! It's been a blast writing with @Krystalstar22 and I'm really glad everyone is enjoying our story!