A Supremely Bright Idea
By Sinead

Author's Note: Yes, I inserted a version of myself into the Iron Man story. No, it really isn't me and doesn't have all of my traits and habits. Yes, that's my name. No, the spelling isn't right, and that's to protect my privacy. No, I don't know if I'll continue it. And this is what happens when you are going through midterms. I'm at my highest creative point with barely any time to do anything with that creativity. It sucks. On with the story.

Chapter One


"I don't know what I find to be more humiliating, the fact that I have to have sex with you, or the result that if I don't, I'll get raped by the Arabian Prince out there." The young woman was not quite sulking, sitting on a stool and watching Tony Stark as he continued assembling "the missile." She knew for a fact that he was working on a circuitry part that would help convert energy from his miniature arc reactor.

Yinsen spoke up from the other side of the room. "I doubt that Raza is true Arabian, but I do believe that the title is appropriate." He was not smiling. Nobody was smiling after the scene today.

"Well, those seem to be your choices, so you'd better make one before tomorrow night." Tony didn't look up because he didn't want to see her face again. It wasn't that she was ugly; she had a natural beauty that he had never seen in a person before. "Becks, you're just going to have to do one of the two things. I can't help you with it."

"Funny, Stark. Really. Considering that you're part of the equation and yet you don't want to affect my judgment, you say you can't help me." She stood, pacing and watching the camera, trying to find a way out.

Rewind to a week and a half before this scene, and you would come to the point where she came into their small world.


Tony was washing his face, the arc reactor bright and new in his chest, two days old, sending a soft, almost nonexistent hum through his ribcage that was almost pleasant. He was still getting used to it. Yinsen was making food, some gruel of a new flavor, thanks to a different spice that Tony had demanded, and it was making their cave smell almost like a home, once you got past the gasoline fumes and the smell of hot metal.

That was when they heard the screams.

Both stopped mid-motion and looked at each other before staring at the door. Either they were killing a deer rather messily, or there was a young boy or a woman around that was going through something unpleasant. Snorting at the word choice his mind came up with, Tony moved closer to the door, trying to discern what the screams were about. It lasted almost ten minutes, but he couldn't get any words from the yelling, just the fact that there was anger, hurt, and something else that he couldn't identify.

But his blood ran cold when silence came back again. "Yinsen?"

"That was new," the man murmured, just as shaken as Tony. "I'm useful for translations and surgery, you're useful for weaponry. Women, or boys, aren't useful here, and what prostitutes that are in the area are hidden further in the mountains." Turning back to making lunch, Yinsen seemed quieter, more withdrawn into himself, and Tony thought that he looked almost scared.

There were feet pounding down the hallway, and something being dragged. Moving closer to the door instinctually, but stopping just where it would look like it was coincidence that he was so close, Tony waited until hearing the yell of someone about to open the door. When it was opened, a barrage of large men hustled through, and two of them literally tossed the person they were dragging right at Stark, who managed to hold onto the person, then adjust where his hands were holding, wincing and blushing madly.

Yinsen translated. "The girl is a gift to you for your leisure. She has been inspected and is virginal, if an infidel dog. This gift is given to you as reward for your fast work so far, and in good grace that she will help you continue your focus." The man looked sick at speaking the words of their captors, but didn't move when they left.

Stark looked down to the woman, and saw that she was conscious, and probably had been conscious the entire time, beginning to tremble. He didn't move for a moment, still supporting her, wondering how an obviously-American young woman was here, wearing sturdy clothing. She didn't look up, and was staring into nothingness. So the genius began to do a gentlemanly thing: He began to pick her up and carry her to the bed so that she could relax, possibly sleep off some of the trauma while he worked.

She bit him and hit him square in the nose.

Yelling in pain, tears gathering at his eyes at the rude reply to his help and trying not to drop her, Tony felt her get one leg loose and use it as leverage to break free from his hold, then dart off. She was steady, moving, so he leaned over, holding a hand to his nose and wincing. "Ow, Goddamnit! Ow!"

Yinsen wasn't helping anything by laughing at Tony, shaking his head. "Well, what do you expect, my smart friend? She heard my translation of their words, and you picking her up and moving towards a bed is going to seem like what, now, hm?" He turned and smiled gently at the young woman. "I apologize for his tactless behavior, miss, and I assure you that right now, he has anything but intercourse on his mind."

"Nope, thought about it twice yesterday," Tony refuted, wincing. "And it didn't involve teenagers."

"I'm twenty-two," came her angry, smooth voice. Looking up, Tony sniffed to test his nose and winced, seeing her dark blue eyes narrow at his own dark brown ones.

He sighed, leaning against a desk. "I'm sorry. You were shaking, I thought that I was going to help by getting you to sit down somewhere out of the way while we worked." He sighed. "I don't have time for this situation, or for engaging in extra-curricular activities. Survival now, games later," he grumbled, unbuttoning the top of his shirt just enough so that he could look at the shoulder she bit, glad that she didn't break the skin. Noticing her lack of speech, he looked up at her. "What?"

"Tony Stark?"

"Yeah. Tony Star, CEO of Stark Industries, current POW and future free man." He rubbed at his face. "Future dead man if this doesn't work out right."

"Fantastic," she snarled, finding her own seat in the wheelbarrow that Tony had occupied the week before, grabbing a blanket to go around her shoulders. "I get kidnapped and shoved into the same room as the world's richest manwhore."

Wincing, Tony looked to one side, rubbing at his neck. "Can't argue with you on that one. Are you from New York?"

The change of topic caught the young woman off-guard, and she blinked twice before replying, "Nope."


"Nope, not from Connecticut. Or Providence." She winced at his bad Northeastern accent of "dropping the R's" from any given word.


"Wow. You got it."

Yinsen was grinning and finishing the meal, pouring it into a tin cup before bringing it to the young woman with a spoon. "They feed us more than enough. Here you go."

Accepting it with a frown of slight shock and a nod of thanks, she dug in carefully, then sucked it down quickly, coughing when Tony's tactless nature popped up again. "What did they do to you?"

Swallowing her food and glaring at him, she weighed her options. Should she allow herself to get offended at his lack of a filter between his brain and mouth, jeopardizing the possibility of any amicable atmosphere in the future, or could she get her emotions under control to respond logically, respectfully and without sulking? Second option. She held up her hand. "Give me just a little time to get myself back together, process what happened, and then I'll let you know what happened."

Yinsen was impressed. "Are you sure that you're only twenty-two?"

"Forced but natural maturation during an intense college program. That ties into the 'why I'm here' problem." She spooned down her food, looking at it in deep contemplation, missing the look that the men shared before Yinsen went back to making food, and Tony moved around, assessing materials, wanting to make a third cot, but finding that they didn't have enough and he couldn't damn well ask for one, not after what they required of the woman being in here. He'd just wait until she fell asleep, then put her in bed, and then grab a blanket for himself and settle against the fireplace-slash-forge to keep warm.

He passed close to her without even thinking about it. At her movement to lean away, the man stopped and looked down at her. Drawing in a sigh, knowing what she was thinking about, Tony murmured, "You say no, it's a no. Even if you said yes, I'd say no. It's plain rude to have sex when your roommate is around."

At least he got a snort of amusement and a quirk of her lips in reply. Moving on, he itched at a healing scar on his chest, sitting on his cot and thinking. Yinsen smiled at the almost-mirror-image of the young woman doing the same. Both so bright, which was already evident in the young woman's stature. She was quietly intelligent, observing everything around her, and was calm, unwilling to let the circumstances get to her. He jumped when Tony leapt to his feet again, waving at the camera before banging on the door. The surgeon stood. "What are you doing?!"

"Getting a damn screen to go around the toilet or she'll never use it or hide behind it to wash or something. I don't care if they bolt it to the floor, just so long as there's something. Trust me."

Yinsen frowned lightly, then looked to the young woman, who was sitting very still, turned halfway around to look at Tony. When she turned back, she saw the older man looking at her in question. She gave her nod in answer. Tony was right.

And not an hour later had a free-standing three-panel screen around the toilet that was not bolted to the floor. No sooner had it gone up than she had gone behind it. Tony tried not to listen but there wasn't any noise of what passed as their toilet being used. When she emerged, however, he got back to work quickly. He had learned once that if a woman had that look on her face, she was mad enough to castrate any man that said "boo" around her in the wrong tone of voice. And any tone of voice was the wrong tone of voice.

"Tea?" Yinsen offered, holding out an empty mug in offer as soon as she had taken her perch up in the wheelbarrow again, ignoring Tony's frantic gestures of "no!" behind the young woman.

She looked up at him, then started to cry. Smiling, the elder man put the clay mug back onto the stool it had been on and embraced her, leaving the younger to stare in bewilderment. She cried bitterly for a long while, falling asleep on Yinsen's shoulder once exhaustion claimed her. Tony had watched quietly, not wanting to disturb her purge of emotion, her frustration and helplessness. When his mentor smiled to him and nodded for him to come over, he soon found his arms full of sleeping woman, instructed to put her on his cot and cover her up with three blankets. Tony went one step better and pulled the sturdy leather work-boots she was wearing off, tucking the blankets around her feet. He set the boots halfway down the cot, then smiled softly, shaking his head.

Walking back to the older man, seeing him pull out the backgammon board, he asked in a very low tone, "How'd you know what to do?"

"I didn't," came the smiled reply. "Kindness would reach her heart and help her begin to heal. I didn't expect the mention of tea to make her cry, however, I did expect that talking with her over the tea, sharing time with her, would have caused the release of emotional pain."

"Like lancing a boil."

"Exactly. It's strategy."

"Huh. Your turn to start."

And while the unnamed woman slept in Tony's cot, they played, keeping it quiet this first day of her captivity.


Note: Looks like it's going to be more than one chapter. This was un-betaed, but two friends read it for kicks. I wrote it yesterday. Second Chapter in the works, might be longer than this one.