-This is brutal folks, brutal. Read at your own risk, only warning I'm giving.-
A Hero's Savior
Don't scream. Absolutely do not scream.
I know it hurts, trust me, I know but do. Not. Scream.
The electricity coursed through the wires inside of him again, the arc nearly dangling in front of his chest, pushed aside for this tiny rod to toy with what's inside. Then the knife would come, slice him a few times, let the salted drops coating his skin seep into the wounds. And he bit back every scream, jutted his chin at them, fought at the barbed wire holding his wrists wide above his head, hot brick at his back, a harsh florescent bulb above him. He would not give in. He would not scream.
Not for awhile. Not for a week of this. One hundred and sixty-eight hours of pain and torture. Then, then he couldn't fight anymore. His reactor was dim, body limp, hair sweaty and grimy and hanging in pieces around his forehead. And the blood. So much...
At least he thought so before he was whipped until he blacked out, his throat unable to work properly from screaming for days following the treatment. He was positively soaked from head to toe, fearing they had broken his back like they had already done to his fingers. A molar had been ripped out with the threat of his tongue following. Castration was threatened too, and if his gums weren't so swollen he might've come up with something clever to say about that, at least until they poured the salt in his mouth. Once his screams had died to whimpers they tied a wooden bar into his mouth, like a bridle, silencing any verbal defiance against them. And naked. Naked since he arrived.
No food. No water. No sleep. If he passed out he was drenched in bucket after bucket of cold water, icy water that froze his bones and made him tremble for hours. Tortured mercilessly for what felt like years and only took weeks. Again. All over again.
"Where's your precious captain?" One hissed, fisting his hair, staring into his sleep heavy, black eyes that were pouring tears he couldn't stop. "Huh? Tell me." He violently ripped the gag from his teeth, tearing his lips.
"I don't know," he breathed shakily. "But when he gets here he...he's gonna kick your ass."
Beaten, the gag in place, blindfolded as well now, never know what would happen next. The old routine of shocking his insides, slicing at his neck and once to his cheek before repeating. The tiny device burned him just beneath his eye, shocking him simultaneously, finding its way to other sensitive areas on his body that caused him to squirm and finally, finally, beg.
"Enough," Three hundred and thirty-six hours. "Please, please, I can't. No more, please, please!" They laughed. Spit in his face and laughed. The device was removed but they continued to touch him. He jerked away, blind and mostly mute, screaming, pleading. They struck the bridle in his mouth, tearing its his tongue and his cheeks. Salt again. He sobbed hard, his hands long-since numbed by the barbs, fingers twitching against his will, nearly all of them bent at odd angles, broken.
Just let me die. Four hundred and fifty-six hours. Let me die, please.
He tried thinking of Steve saving him, but quickly cast it away, wanting no part of that angelic face and completely good, completely innocent man here. Nothing as good as him should be near this place.
So exhausted, so done. They gave him water to keep him alive, the smallest morsels of bread to sustain him just for awhile. Until they were done with him. And he had no clue what they wanted.
Now he shuddered, wheezing for air, the arc still surging and dimming, battered as he was. His arms hung bloody from the unrelenting binds on his wrists, the cloth blinding him soaked in sweat, tears and the water that he'd been doused in, the gag rubbing raw patches on the corners of his mouth and his lips, waiting for it to end. For it all to just end.
The door again. He winced, shaking his head and whimpering, trembling that much harder, begging wordlessly over what they were saying in hope of a shred of mercy.
"Shh, Tony, Tony, hey." Blindfold gently taken away. "Shh, listen, it's okay." Gag eased from his lips, bindings ripped from the wall. "I'm here, look at me." He squinted against the sudden harsh light, hissing, crying. "Hang on, hang on." The light blinked out, unscrewed, before he was gently lowered to the ground, most of him able to curl into the warmth of this body. "Now look at me, please."
There he was with those big blue eyes and that precious smile on a weary face, a beacon of light in this awful place. An angel stumbled into Hell. "Shh..." He cupped his cheek, glove removed. "It's okay, it's alright now, I've got you."
"Steve!" He croaked, sobbing. "Don't let go, please, don't let me go."
He was so weak, so dizzy and aching, anguish and fever wracking his smaller frame. "I won't," he breathed, afraid to speak too loudly and break him. "I won't just let me get this off." He unraveled the barbs as carefully and gently as he could, shushing him softly, holding him cautiously. "It's okay, shh...almost done, almost done." He hugged him tightly, running his fingers through his hair, kissing his forehead. "Shh, I'm gonna take you home, okay? I'm gonna get you out of here. Shh...We're leaving I promise." Tony cried into his chest, still unable to breathe properly. Steve held both him and the loosened reactor, trying to keep himself together and keep his hands from shaking. "God, Tony, what...what can I do? I don't know what to do with this."
"Bruce," he breathed shakily. "Bruce c-can fix it." He rocked him for a moment, still shushing him as he stood on shaky knees, holding him bridal style in his arms. Tony's head lolled in the crook of his arm, unable to curl his fingers in the fabric of the spandex suit like he wanted, the bones bent and jagged, his mouth swollen so he could hardly speak. He shut his eyes, swallowing hard, his throat searing. Tears fell from his eyes, falling without his consent or much thought about it.
"It's alright," Steve whispered, trying be as careful as he could with him. "I'm gonna get you help, I promise."
"St-Steve, I-I'm dying," he gasped.
"Not today," he said, shaking his head, a tear making its way to his cheek. "Don't you leave me, Tony Stark. I swear if you do I...I'll never speak to you again!" He shook his head, realizing what he'd said. A ghost of a smile fell on his lips, despite all the agony.
"I'll try," he breathed.
Tony shut his eyes, feeling the air get cooler, empty, the humidity zapped from the air, the lights brighter above his closed lids. Then came voices, dozens, some he recognized, some unfamiliar and bizarre.
"Dr. Banner!" Steve called,startling him. "Just hang on, Tony, hang on."
"Oh my God," Bruce whispered, close. "Put him down, carefully. EVERYBODY OUT!" Tony winced again, shuddering. There was a scramble of feet that slowly died away as Steve's hands left him and cool cloth met his skin. Crisp, sanitized cloth that would scrape his skin if he moved about. The jacket was replaced with a thin blanket designed to hold heat. He was still cold, still refusing to open his eyes and send his head spinning, searching for Steve and finding him upset and nearly undone. He just didn't want to see it. Not yet.
"Tony," Bruce said softly, carefully holding his face. "Tony, look at me, it's alright." He shook his head, moaning almost inaudibly. "Jarvis, turn the lights down." The pounding brightness faded to a soft glow, the pain in his head dimming to give way to the agony in the rest of him. "Can you look at me now?"
His cracked his eyes open, meeting Bruce's patient ones, trembling. "There, see? You're safe now, it's okay." He was rushed, worried, knowing he needed to work quickly. "I'm gonna fix the reactor, okay? I'm gonna fix it, I promise. I will not let this kill you, okay?"
Tony nodded, feeling a hand on the back of his. Steve.
The edges of his vision were getting dark, his body succumbing to exhaustion and pain.
"It's okay," Steve's voice through the muddled dark. "I've got you. I've got you..."