“No, Scott. My hands are tied on this.”
“Come on man. You don’t have any pull?”
“I’m still under surveillance after what happened at Pym Tech. They’re trying to decide if it counts as a terrorism attack.”
“But it was your company's building! That was infiltrated by real terrorists! No one even died besi -- ”
“What do you think my lawyers are arguing? Without Cross there’s no one to blame, and you’re a nobody, so they’re coming after me. Even if Ross and I were pals, you broke international law, Scott. You might not even get a trial.”
Scott sighed and thumped his head against the wall. One of the guards, who looked like he had two feet and a hundred pounds of muscle on Scott, made a motion to grab at his stun baton. As though there wasn't a five inch thick plastic-carbon fiber-whatever cell wall separating them. Scott mouthed "sorry", and step back a couple inches. Damn these guys were twitchy. He scrubbed his hands over his face and moaned.
“I really screwed up this time.”
It was Hank’s turn to sigh. “You did what you felt was the right thing. I can’t honestly say whether I would’ve signed or not, so I also can’t really judge when you rushed off to help Rogers. The bigger problem at hand now is military has their hands on the suit.”
“At least it’s not Hydra.”
“You don’t know that.”
“Yeah, well, either way they’re listening to this whole conversation, so at least they got a heads up.”
Scott heard fumbling on the other end, ending with muted bickering and heavy steps walking off.
“Oh my god. I saw footage of the airport. What the hell were you thinking? ”
“Captain America asked for my help!” He hoped that sounded more confidant an answer than it felt. His hands twitched anxiously.
“The Giant-Man function could have killed you. You have a family that you didn’t even bother to consult with. AND the suit is gone.”
“You’re blowing this out of proportion. Didn’t it take Cross like, sixty years to even get close to--”
“Scott, he was only slightly older than us. And the suit is really the least of my worries. What am I going to tell Cassie? I don't knew her well enough to have a heart-felt 'sorry-your-dad-is-in-prison-again-but-don't-worry-I'll-be-here-for-you' speech. I-I-I I guess, I mean... You weren't officially part of the Avengers, so you might get a lesser sentence but I just don’t… Scott?”
The call was patched through a speaker built into the wall, and that was probably for the best, because if he were holding an actual phone he'd have dropped it. His whole body shook as he tried his hardest to choke back some air. His chest felt heavy, and silent little tears were dripping off his chin.
“I um. Look. Just… hold off on telling them for as long as you can. Please. Especially Paxton because he’s just gonna be a smug shit, you know?” Scott forced out a laugh. “And and and Cassie, she just needs to be a normal kid for a little while longer. No super-nonsense or prison stories.” He cleared his throat and rolled his shoulders. Get it together, self.
Neither of them said anything after that. The guy, the big one, tapped at his non-existent wrist watch, and held up one finger.
“Hope, I have to go. I’ll talk again as soon as I can.”
“I’ll get you out of there. I promise.”
She hung up. He flopped down onto his cot, and tried not to think about anything at all.
It was a little ridiculous, really. It looked like an interrogation room lifted straight from the most stereotypical cop movie movie ever made. How could they possibly expect Scott to take the concrete room and the single swaying light bulb, good cop/bad cop routine seriously? Entrapment is what it was. And he maintained that opinion doubly so as they slammed his head down on the metal table.
"Do you think this is a game, Mr. Lang?"
Scott grimaced and shook his head, trying to get his vision to go straight again. He was a little offended that Ross wasn't here. Instead, it was the warden and a few low level cronies. Or something. Whatever the military equivalent for a superhuman prison was.
"I could ask you the same thing. I told you my suit is powered by magic. I dunno how it works."
The soldier who'd slammed his head made a motion to do it again. Scott winced, but instead the guy just smirked and took a step back.
"The suit you used during the skirmish at the airport matches exactly the kind of tech we've suspected Hank Pym of hiding for years, and now we have proof. You want to explain how you got a hold of it? How you became acquainted with Mr. Pym in the first place?"
Scott shrugged. "I mean, if you really gotta know, I stole it. Didn't even know what it was. I put the thing on, played around with the controls and just kind of," he clicked his tongue and looked around the room. They all looked ready to twist his neck 180 degrees around. They really needed some better forms of stress relief on this glorified inner tube. "Just kind of winged it, you know? Pym just never bothered taking it back."
The warden blew a ring of smoke in his face from the fat cigar he'd been chomping on. Jesus, another thing he'd only ever seen in movies. "Mr. Lang, your cooperation into our investigation of Pym Tech would be highly appreciated. I am certain Secretary Ross could arrange some sort of reduced sentence if you were to help us out. Why don't you tell us what you know about the Ant-Man project."
Scott scratched his nose. "Right well here's the thing. I never signed any accords. I was never part of the Avengers. And my request for a lawyer has been routinely ignored, so there's that. You guys never even told me what I'm being charged with or how long I'll be here. Plus, the accords really hadn't even been ratified yet, technically speaking, and the last I checked it was still unconstitutional to enforce ex post facto laws..."
God, he was just rambling at this point. It was all true, but it didn't mean a damn thing. This was the sort of thing that probably fell under the category of terrorism, which meant he was going to fucking die here. Soon, probably, given the looks of pure contempt on the faces of those around him right now. Because he wasn't an Avenger. He had no publicity. If he went missing there were only half a dozen people who would even raise any questions. There would be no horde of fans circulating electronic petitions to get him out or demand answers. But here he was, running his fucking mouth. Not that giving Hank and Hope up would even make things better. Who knows if this guy would uphold his end of the bargain?
The warden stubbed out the cigar on the tabletop and straightened out the stack of paper's heed been fiddling with the whole two hours they'd been at this.
"Take Mr. Lang back to his cell. We will resume this at a later date."
He was probably going to die of boredom before anything else. They only time they ever got to leave the cells was for major medical treatment. Anything less than minor surgery would be done in the cells or in the common area just outside of it. Same went for haircuts and shaving, which they were told they'd receive once a week under intense supervision. They weren't even allowed to hold the razors themselves. Showers were three minutes long every two days under a privacy-less shower in the corner of their cells. Fresh clothes once a day. Maximoff had it the worst, not even able to move her arms, and needed help every few hours to piss with the straitjacket on. She had a special water fountain installed to drink water hands free, but just about anything else needed the aid of another party. The three of them would always shout at the guards to let her free in the cell. She was just a kid, and wasn't the collar rigged to explode more than enough reminder to not use her powers?
It wasn't like Scott knew any of them that well. He knew Sam the best, and before the airport the most interaction they had was him tearing apart the wings. But the girl really was just a kid. Early, early twenties at best. And she was being treated like like an animal. It didn't help that she was seemingly the only woman in the whole damn prison, either. Not a single female guard or soldier on staff had been seen.
But he could only stay fuming for so long. He punched the one of the walls in frustration and was sedated with something in the air. So whenever they all ran out of things to shout at each other across the cells, not even able to really look at one another, they sat in silence, and glared at the ceiling.
Scott wasn't sure what day it was, or how many had passed since imprisonment, and nobody would tell him either. He couldn't even get the time out of the guards when they were around. Clint guessed it'd been about eight days, tops, given their sleep schedules. It felt like so much longer. So about a week since Stark came by, and about six days since the call with Hank and Hope. It almost felt like a victory that neither Rogers nor Barnes were stuck in here with them. It didn't stop him from feel kind of bitter about it though.
His arm tickled.
It kind of itched too.
He swatted and scratched at his arm and all that happened was the feeling got transferred to his hand.
Scott opened his eyes and saw tiny little stream of ants crawling up his arm. He shrieked, more out of surprise than anything. He half expected to be sedated for that, but nothing happened.
"You okay, man?" Wilson asked somewhere next to him.
"Yeah, yeah I just--"
He looked down. They held a tiny transceiver, and he stuck it in his ear. He wondered if he should thank them or something.
A voice came in, clear as a bell. "Scott, do you hear me?"
"Are you talking to yourself again, Lang?" Barton shouted.
"I was singing, Barton, and no. Hope, what's going on?"
"Once again, saving your skin from prison."
"You're the one who got me in jail last time."
"Cap should get to you guys in a few minutes. I'll catch up as soon as I take care of surveillance and unlock the cells."
"Hope, that's crazy."
There was a pretty nasty smack and a heavy thud outside the door. Another minute of muffled shouting and and banging, and sure enough, there he was. Cap's face was a canvas of bruises all at different stages of healing, but the guy smiled when he saw them. The ugly florescent lights that were never turned off for "safety reasons" glowed like a halo Rogers' light blond hair, and Scott was fucking in love.
Barnes wasn't far behind. He mumbled something into his own earpiece, and a few seconds later the cell doors slid open. The lights shut off too, leaving only the flickering emergency one on.
Wilson crushed Rogers in backbreaking embrace. Barton sprinted over to help Maximoff, ripping off what he could with his bare hands. Barnes pulled a knife and helped slice off what was left. There was something in that look he had while cutting through the fabric, like it wasn't enough. Like the strips falling to the ground needed to be exorcised and burned. Like the thing had been on Barnes instead, and he was finally getting his revenge it. All said and done, he slid back to Rogers' side without a word, and let Maximoff cry into Barton's shoulder.
"About damn time. Was starting to think you were gonna leave us here," Sam said. Cap rubbed the back of neck sheepishly.
"Turns out this place was a little hard to break into. Natasha is better at this sort of thing." His voice trailed off at that last part, like the words spilled out before he could catch himself. Sam threw his arm over Cap's shoulder.
"Don't sweat it. Priority now is getting Wanda out of that collar. She can't leave this room without shutting the thing off."
Roger did a double take, face falling in disgust. But he didn't voice whatever was going through his head. There was some sort of fluttery noise coming from the vents, when something came bursting through one of the tiny grates with a swarm a little ants right behind. The whole mess landed in front of Scott, but the ants moved out of the way and full grown person popped up to regular height. The helmet retracted and there was Hope, looking smug as anything and Scott was falling in love all over again.
He planted a quick kiss to her gloved hand, and she rolled her eyes.
"My hero. Do I get to be carried out of here bridal style?"
Hope could barely hold back smile mixed with exasperation. "Hank is unbearable without you around to use as a guinea pig. This seemed like the easiest solution."
"Aw, I missed you too. And you're just in time to pull some live wires." He gestured to Maximoff.
Clint had backed off, and now Maximoff stood there hardly moving, like jerking around too quickly might set the thing off. Hope got her face up close, carefully sliding a finger along the metal. She frowned, circling Wanda and not taking her eyes off the tech. She hit the buttons on her suit, eliciting a gasp from Wilson and Barton. After half a minute of nervous glances and the light fluttering of tiny wings, Hope popped back up to normal size. Maximoff actually squeaked in surprise.
"This thing is suppose to be rigged to explode?"
Wilson raised an eyebrow. "That's what Ross said. Why?"
Hope squinted at it. "I won't be able to get in and disable the wires, but I think the best this thing can do, anyway, is maybe give enough of a shock to knock her out. I mean, it would hurt like a bitch, might even stop her heart for a second, but it's not designed to explode."
Rogers had a whole different look of horror on his face now. "How sure are you."
Her eyes flicked to Barnes and back so quickly, Scott might have been the only one who noticed. She stood up straight, and reached into a pouch on her hip. "Pretty damn sure. I think we can risk just enlarging it without hurting her." Hope held up one of the little blue disk throwing disks.
Rogers shifted uncomfortably. "I'm not sure if we should."
"Steve." Everyone turned and looked at Barnes, who hadn't said a single word until now. His voice was deep and low, but it didn't waver. "The only other way is deactivating it manually from one of the computers. I couldn't even hack the system to turn off the lights, let alone accessing that thing. We only have so much time if we want to leave with everyone."
Maximoff snatched the disk, closed her eyes, and pressed it against the collar. In a split second the collar was nearly ten feet in diameter, punching a hole in the wall where she stood too close. Maximoff took in a huge, shuddering breath. She opened her eyes, and her face split into a huge grin. Everyone breathed a sigh of relief, she stepped out, and Barton pulled her in for a hug.
Hope quietly threw a shrinking disk next, and the collar disappeared with pop and a little puff of smoke, almost like it-
Scott's eyes went wide. No one else was paying attention. She gave him a stare. That stare. The one he knew meant to zip it until they were alone, because Hope always had things under control. Barnes flashed him the same look.
Rogers looked like he just narrowly avoided a heart attack, and clapped his hands together once, grabbing everyone's attention. "Jeez. OKAY. Ms. Van Dyne has been kind enough to provide transportation. We have about... five minutes to hop on before our chances of getting out of here go down very quickly. Let's move out."