Chapter seven: I'm Alive


"Shit, oh shit, shit," Tony said, his eyes flicking every direction for some sort of escape.

"Yes, shit is right, Herr Stark. You are in it deep now," One of the Hydra drones said. This one looked a bit different, probably a higher rank, Tony had no idea.

He glared at the mook, giving him a sly smile.

"How stupid do you guys have to be to attack Stark Tower in the middle of the fucking day, when all of us Avengers are bound to be home?" He said, using the time it took to snark to also assess what was missing from his armor. Helmet obviously; one gauntlet wasn't present as well as most of the chest plate and upper legs armor. He had both boots though, that was good. He wasn't completely helpless.

"Oh, this is not an attack Herr Stark, no, this is a search and capture mission," The goon said, sounding self satisfied.

"Really? Search and capture, huh? And what are you trying to capture, some tech, Captain America for some good old fashioned revenge, what?" Tony slowly, very, very slowly inched his way towards the spot that assembled his armor onto him, trying his best not to raise their suspicions.

"None of the above, Stark. Our target is you."

Tony froze for a moment, feeling like someone had dumped ice water on him. He laughed to cover it, putting on one of his best fake smiles.

"Me? You guys are attacking the Tower for little old me? Why not just grab me last night at that gala? I was a pretty easy target there." He started moving again, little by little.

"Because our leader wants to make a spectacle of it, wants the world to know Hydra is back and we are most certainly a threat. That even the great Avengers are not enough to stop us." Tony snorted and shot an incredulous look at the mook.

"Oh really? Well, I'd beg to differ." With that he lifted his one gauntlet, firing a sweeping repulsor blast. It knocked down all the Hydra drones and he sprung to his feet, standing on the panel as Jarvis put the rest of the suit on him.

Some of the goons were getting back up and he leveled repulsors at them and fired.

"Iron Man online. What's up with these guys, huh? Think they can just bust in anywhere," Tony said, making his way through the giant fucking hole that was now in his workshop wall, and he was really supremely pissed at that. That was going to take a lot of time to fix.

"Good to hear you, Iron Man. Hydra is swarming the place. I think they're looking for something." Tony snorted again at Steve's statement.

"Yeah, me. I chatted up some goons before I got my armor on all the way and they helpfully spilled that Hydra wants to kidnap me."

"Then why do it in the middle of the day? That's just ridiculous," Clint said.

"They also told me that they wanted to make a spectacle of it and have people know that Hydra's back in business." Tony blasted another group of Hydra soldiers, running past them with a flip of the bird.

"Oh, well, that's just fucking great. Don't these guys know that going big and making statements by attacking heroes and shit is so old school?" Clint made a grunt as he shot someone, Tony guessed.

"Eh, maybe they're getting back to basics."

"Basics are stupid."

"I tend to agree, Barton. That's what improvement is there for, right?"

"Right. Exac-"

Static filled his ear and Tony frowned.

"Jarvis, what's going on?"

"Communications with the team have been jammed, sir."

"Shit," Tony said, blasting a couple more mooks. He wandered around until he found the wall they'd demolished to get inside the Tower itself. "Fuck."

There was a strange buzzing noise and he felt his armor lock up. He couldn't move anything, and that wasn't good, how the hell had that happened? How had someone shut down his armor? It was impossible.

"Not impossible, Herr Stark, just improbable." The smooth voice sent a chill down his spine, but he couldn't turn to see who it was.

He really needed to stop voicing all his thoughts.

"Jarvis, I need my armor back online, now." When Jarvis didn't answer him is when Tony started to really panic. They'd blocked Jarvis out too.

"Just who the fuck do you think you are?" He yelled, trying everything he could to get his armor to move.

"Oh, I am not much. Merely a superior man to you. And you have something I want, something I need, and you will give it to me."

"You want my tech? Well, you can't have it, buddy. Property of Stark Industries is stamped on it all, I would know."

"No, no no, you misunderstand me, Herr Stark. What I require is not something you have made," The voice paused and he felt the man lean closer. "But something you have inherited."

And there is was again, the cold feeling that engulfed him. This wasn't going the way Tony wanted it to, hell, the whole day hadn't gone how he wanted it to. He should've gone to Venice. No Hydra attacks and creepy guys in Venice. Okay, maybe creepy guys, but not in the way this guy was creepy.

"Now, you will not be needing this." Tony heard the hiss of the helmet releasing and felt it being pulled off.

"No!" He cried. He tried to turn his head to see the man, but was only able to glance a flash of red before something pricked him in the neck and his world started to grow dim.

"The hell," He muttered, his eyes drooping.

"Yes, that's it, relax, Herr Stark, everything will become clear soon." Tony fought the darkness for as long as he could, but soon it consumed him and he was lost.


Steve hated Hydra.

It was simple as that really.

He hated Hydra with every fiber of his being, everything it represented, everyone who fought to uphold it, every single thing about it.

He really hated Hydra.

And when he arrived at the breach in the Tower's wall to see Tony being dragged off, sans armor, by a bunch of Hydra goons, right in that moment, he hated Hydra more than ever.

"No!" He cried, skittering to the edge of the gaping hole as the Hydra plane took off, flying away. There wasn't anything he could do now.

He was helpless.

He hadn't felt helpless in a long time, not since before the serum. But now he did, watching that plane take his team mate, his friend, away.

As soon as the plane was out of sight, the comms came back online.

"Cap, what's going on? What happened?"

Natasha's voice brought him back to the present and he took a breath.

"They got Tony. They didn't take his armor, though." He looked at the gold and red suit that lay at his feet and kneeled, taking the helmet in his hands.

"How did they get him? He was suited up," Natasha said.

"I don't know how, or why, but I do know one thing." He stood up, holding the helmet under his arm. "We're gonna get him back."

"Of course we are," Clint piped up, and Steve could practically hear him roll his eyes. "There's no way we're letting Hydra keep Tony. He's an annoying prick a lot of the time, but he's our annoying prick."

Steve couldn't help a small laugh escaping.

"Yeah, yeah he is. Let's meet up with SHIELD and see what we can do about locating that plane. Also, Pepper was in the building during the attack, is she okay?"

"I'm fine, Cap." Pepper's voice was a relief to hear. "Got knocked off my feet, but I'm fine. I'll meet you guys in the lobby, yeah?"

"Yeah. Everyone, converge in the lobby and then we'll call SHIELD."

"No need to call them, Captain, they're on their way here."

Steve spun around to see Coulson behind him. Steve gave him an easy smile and walked away from the hole in the wall.

"I called them as soon as the attack begun. They were a little late to the punch, it seems, though."

"That's alright, but we need to get Tony back as soon as possible. Who knows what they have in store for him. Hydra was never known for being kind to their prisoners…"

With one final look at the horizon through the hole, Steve turned and walked towards the stairs with Coulson.

It had already been a long day, and it looked like he was in store for a lot more long days to come.


"Wake up, Herr Stark, time to wake up."

Tony's eyes wouldn't open. They just wouldn't. But then a sharp slap to his cheek sent them flying open and alright, now he was sure he didn't just have a hangover.

It came flooding back in an instance and the cursed softly. Hydra, fucking Hydra.

"Are you awake, Anthony, or must I strike you again?" The smooth voice was the same one he'd heard before falling unconscious, he knew that, his mind kicking in and taking in all the information it could as his vision cleared.

He was in some sort of dark, damp cell with cement walls and no windows. Oh, how cheery. His wrists, ankles, and, yep, neck too, were all shackled to the wall in such a way that he was forced to stand.

He felt a gloved hand grab a fistful of his hair and yank his head up.

"I want you conscious for this, Herr Stark, so if you would kindly stay that way…"

The man trailed off while Tony gaped.

No. That wasn't possible. He was dead. Killed by Cap back in World War II.

"Nein. What happened to me was more than death. I was given new life."

A shiver shot through Tony and yeah, he really needed to learn to control his mouth.

"Red Skull," Tony said, staring at the harsh red face of Johann Schmidt.

"Ja, that is one of my names. But I would prefer you call me, Herr Schmidt, it is much less formal, but still formal enough, yes?" The malicious grin of the man unnerved Tony. He'd heard stories, some from Steve himself, about this man and what he'd done.

And now he was back, and wanted Tony, but for what?

His eyes flicked around the room again, lit only by the open door and the blue glow of his arc reactor. He caught sight of a flash of bright blonde hair and almost sighed in relief as Daenerys placed her hand on his bare shoulder.

The Red Skull had removed his shirt. No, that wasn't creepy at all.

He focused back on Schmidt, determined to figure out just what the hell was going on, and what the psycho wanted.

This time, he meant to say it aloud.

"Do you know what this is?" Schmidt answered instead, holding up a bunch of little purple flowers connected to a single stem. "Horminium pyrenaicum, also known as Dragonmouth."

"Yeah? And? What's that dinky purple flower got to do with anything?" Tony arched a brow. Either the guy was even more cracked than he'd though, or there was something Tony didn't know.

He was guessing the second as he saw Dany visibly tense as Red Skull waved the flower around.

"Nature is wondrous, Herr Stark, it is filled with so many things that are beautiful, but also dangerous, but sometimes they are only dangerous when in the right hands and to the right people." Schmidt pulled out a syringe filled with a pale blue liquid and he smiled at Tony, tucking the flowers into his breast pocket.

"Dragonsmouth, when crushed and distilled into a liquid, can be quite affective at dampening a dragon's power. It is also quite painful when first introduced into the dragon's body, or so I have heard. We have not had a dragon to test it on. At least not until you." The Red Skull's smile grew and Tony suppressed another shiver that wanted to shoot down his spine.

"You're crazy. Dragons? What the shit are you talking about, dragons aren't real!"

"Oh, I think both you and I know that is not true. Dragons are very real." He grabbed Tony's face, lifting it to look him in the eyes. "As, I am sure, Lady Daenerys would attest. After all, she is the Mother of Dragons. Isn't that right, Lady Daenerys?"

Dany's eyes had widened to an impossible size and she backed away.

"No, that's not possible. Only those with-"

"Only those with Targaryen blood or true magic are able to see you, yes, I know. I think you'll find I have the former." Red Skull smiled again, turning his attention back to Tony. "So, Herr Stark, would you like to be the first to test our little formula? See if it truly does hamper your dragon heritage?"

"No, thanks, but I'll take a vodka martini," Tony said, recovering from the shock of Red Skull being able to see Dany quickly. He didn't have the luxury to let that settle in properly, except, ew, that meant Schmidt was at least distantly related to him, gross.

"No martinis here, Herr Stark, but perhaps you'll get some stale water tomorrow," Red Skull said, jamming the needle into Tony's arm and pushing the plunger hard.

Tony cried out when the stuff hit his blood, the liquid burning a molten path to his heart, which sputtered and beat erratically as it dispersed the poison through Tony's body.

"Shit, holy shit, holy fuck, ow," Tony hissed through gritted teeth. He heaved for breath, watching as Red Skull went over to a table he hadn't noticed before (and really, how had he not noticed that thing, it was covered in tools and equipment that looked really, really not nice).

"Good. It seems to be working, but only time will tell if it does its job." Schmidt set his hands on the table and inspected some of the cruel looking devices it had.

After a few moments of the only sound in the room being Tony's labored breathing, Red Skull started talking again.

"You have something of mine, Herr Stark. Do you know what that is?"

"Hey, buddy, if you hadn't heard, the Tesserect is long gone, back to Asgard, so no, I don't have it, nor do I have access to it and there's no way in hell you're ever gonna get your psycho hands on it again."

"There is that word again, psycho." Schmidt picked up something that looked like a corkscrew mixed with a metal spider with knives for legs and turned towards Tony. "I am not insane, Stark. I am a visionary. I wish to change the world, to make it a paradise for all. Is that so 'psycho'?"

"When you want to do it by killing and torturing and being a fucking psycho, then yeah, it is so psycho." Tony arched a brow, pretending to not be intimidated by the thing Red Skull held.

"Oh, no, no, no, Herr Stark, it does not. What is psycho, however, is the fact that you think you may keep what is mine. What is rightfully mine by birthright." Something strange seemed to come over Red Skull and a deep fury entered his eyes. "What is mine by heritage, what I have wanted for as long as I can remember! And it was given to you, spoiled rich boy Tony Stark, whose father helped defeat me in the war, and never loved his son more than his toys and trinkets and science.

"You do not deserve such power!" Schmidt roared. "You do not deserve to have the greatness of the Targaryens running through your veins, as it runs through mine. You are not the True Dragon, but a meager substitute, and now, I will take what is mine from you. That power is mine to wield and do with as I see fit. It is the power meant for a conqueror, a King, not a meager brat, egotistical and spoiled, who would use if for nothing near what its true potential is.

"That power was meant for me, and you stole it from me, and I will have it back." Schmidt's voice had gone soft and smooth, the sinister edge veiled thinly.

"It was never meant for you."

Both Tony and the Red Skull's heads snapped in Dany's direction. She stood tall, looking every inch the Queen she was.

"That power was not meant for you. It was meant for him, and there is no way you will ever be able to take it from him."

"Oh, you think so, Lady Daenerys? Well, I do not doubt your word, but that does not mean I will not try and try until either it is mine, or Stark's body gives out." Schmidt straightened up and smiled coolly. "Whichever comes first.

"You know, Stark, your weakness is so easy to see, it makes you simple to kill, really." He tapped the device he still held against the arc reactor glowing in the middle of Tony's chest. "So simple. Just take that out, and you will die, quickly and painfully. I will take no such option. I will let you linger, let you suffer; keep you barely alive enough to know the pain I will show you, until you beg for death. And then, and only then, will I let you have it."

Red Skull lifted Tony's chin with the device, smiling his evil smile again.

"How does that sound?"

"Sounds like a shitty party to me. Let me die of alcohol poisoning, that'd be fun at the very least." Tony gave him a condescending smirk right back and Red Skull tossed the device back to the table.

"I will return. Take your time testing your restraints; I'm sure you will find them quite sturdy." Red Skull walked towards the door, pausing a moment to turn and glance over his shoulder. "Oh, and I should mention, if you try using your dragon abilities, you will be very shocked to find it will hurt like hell. Dragonsmouth is a wondrous plant, no?"

The door shut with a slam and Tony was left with just the blue glow of his arc reactor and Daenerys for company.


"Geez, these things are really stuck in there," Tony said, giving yet another experimental tug. "You sure you can't go and find the like key or something and bring it back? Or maybe posses a guard?"

"I am not some normal spirit who stirs up trouble. I am meant to guide you and also, only affect you or one with magic on the corporeal plane." Dany let her head hit the stone wall, and held her knees to her chest.

"Meaning you can't touch anything but me in here, right. Well, shit." Tony groaned, the chains rattling as he moved. "I can't even fucking sit, this is fucked up."

"I agree this is very fucked up." Tony was a little surprised at hearing Daenerys curse, but then again, she was picking up a lot of his bad habits it seemed.

"Hey, Dany, is it true?"

"Is what true?"

"Does the Red Skull have Targaryen blood in him?"

"That is complicated, but basically yes, though his is nowhere near as potent as yours is, nor is he capable of being a dragon, though he seems to have deluded himself into thinking so. He is like my brother was, insane with huge ambitions." She sighed.

"Brother? You never told me you had a brother." Tony frowned a bit and Daenerys looked away from him.

"There are many things I have not told you, Tony. I suppose we have time now though. I actually had two brothers, but the eldest, Rhaegar, died before I was born. My mother and my other older brother, Viserys, fled our kingdom after our father was killed, and I was born later. My mother died during childbirth, and Viserys and I grew up far from our rightful throne. He had ambitions, but treated me poorly, very poorly, which would end up being his downfall. He married me off to a horse warlord, Khal Drogo of the Dothraki. At first, I did not like Khal Drogo, I feared him, but after some time I grew to love him dearly and took strength in his strength.

"I became with child, and the Dothraki people adored me, their Khaleesi. Viserys was furious at this. He threatened me and Drogo killed him by pouring molten gold on his head. He wanted a crown and Drogo gave him one."

"That's….quite the story. What happened?"

"What?" Daenerys glanced at him and raised an eyebrow.

"You look sad when you mention Drogo. What happened? Something obviously happened."

"The short and simple of it is Drogo died and I lost our child. The woman who was supposed to take care of him, I burned her on his funeral pyre and walked into the flames to retrieve the dragon eggs I had placed there. They were the last three eggs in existence, petrified for years and through ancient magics, I brought them back. That is why I am called Mother of Dragons, because they were reborn through my actions."

Tony let the new information mull over in his mind for a few moments.

"So, how did you end up taking back the Iron Throne?"

Dany looked at the door and stood, moving away from Tony into the corner.

"That is a story for another time, Tony. Our friend is returning."

As she said it, the door swung open, the bright light it let in searing Tony's eyes. Schmidt strode in, his uniform pristine, and Tony glared.

"I think it is time we begun, Herr Stark, don't you?"

"Sure, I'm ready for your little tea party," Tony said, throwing out a characteristic smirk. "Bring it on, assface."

"Oh, I shall, Herr Stark, I shall." Red Skull picked up the device he'd had earlier and turned toward Tony with an evil smirk.

"Brace yourself, Stark, this is going to hurt."

Tony still wasn't sure what the device did, but Red Skull was right, it hurt, hurt like hell.

His screams echoed around the room, and throughout the building, and he was sure that somehow, the others could hear it, where ever they were.


"The direction it was headed was out towards the ocean. I think we can assume they were taking him to Europe," Steve said, pointing to the continent on the map.

"Yes, that makes sense. They could be using one of their old bases; we should check those out first." Coulson smoothed out the edge of the map, staring down at the paper.

"And if they're not in any of those?" Steve looked at Coulson and he sighed.

"Then we start gathering intel. We're already sending out teams of agents undercover to try and figure out where Hydra is holed up. We also caught a few before they could take their cyanide capsules, and so we can interrogate them."

Steve nodded, taking yet another long look at the map. It was like playing the largest game of hide and seek ever, but with much higher stakes. Life or death stakes.

"Right. I think the team should split up for this. Barton and Romanoff together, obviously, since well, you know." He didn't have to explain that team to Coulson; Coulson knew Barton and Romanoff better than anyone.

"Bruce should hang back with the surveillance and strategy teams. Thor's with me. What about you, Agent?" He asked, looking at Coulson.

"I'll be in the field with Agent Hill. Also, Pepper is insisting she comes with."

"I'd rather leave her somewhere safe, but when she sets her mind to things…"

"Yes, she's a firecracker, and she may be useful too."

"Let her come but make her stick with Banner and hang back. I don't want Tony to be pissed when we find him cause we let Pepper get hurt."

Coulson nodded.

"What about Colonel Rhodes? Should we inform him and ask-"

"I already called Rhodey." Both men turned to see Pepper. She'd obviously been crying telling by her smudged make up, but her gaze was clear and her hands steady. She knew how to handle herself in situations like this, that was for sure.

"And?" Steve prompted, putting a careful, comforting hand on her shoulder.

"And he says he can't do anything without orders, but he's on high alert for anything suspicious coming in from Eastern hemisphere."

"Good, that's good." Steve wrapped an arm around Pepper in a gentle hug. She clung to him a moment before letting go.

"Let's get this show on the road, Tony's waiting for us," She said, turning and walking away at a brisk stride.

"Right," Steve said as Coulson rolled up the map.

"Come on, Captain. We're meeting Fury on the helicarrier for a debrief and then we're heading out."

Steve nodded, following Coulson, shield in hand.

He'd find Tony. He'd find him if he had to rip apart all of Europe with his bare hands.

Hydra was going to pay.


A/n: Sorry for this coming so late guys! I had a lot of stuff going on, getting a new comp, getting a job, and then writer's block for this story hit me hard, but I got through it, so here's the new chapter! Next one should be coming soon too, and I'll try not to let the writer's block get me again! I have the entirety of this story mapped out, so that should help! Thanks for all the reviews and everything! 3