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Deprivation of Innocence

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Day One.

“How many hostages?”

“57, a few more than expected, but manageable. They’ve switched to the overalls already, we let them use the toilet and handed out some sandwiches, just like you wanted.”

Tony can almost hear Bruce frowning. “Like I wanted?”

“Well, you know I would have let them stay hungry for a while. This isn’t a hotel, after all.”

“You’ll only risk a panic or an uprising if you don’t give them food and water, Tony.”

“Not if I kill the first one to rebel.”

Bruce sighs. “You know that killing a hostage is the last thing we should be doing, unless it is absolutely inevitable. Also, if you want them to respect us, you can’t-“

“I don’t want them to respect us. I want them to fear us.”

“Whatever. Just… call me if anything happens. Are the machines running?”

“Not yet. We’ll take a few of the employees down there soon, though. How are things out there?”

“There’s a live stream on almost every channel. According to what I’ve seen on TV, there are more than 100 officers from the NYPD and FBI on duty. Naturally, there are units of the SWAT and Hostage Rescue Team as well. The Trojans are working though, I can hear some of the things being talked about, which is why I don’t think it would be a mistake to send them a short vital sign.”

They exchange a few more words before Tony radios for Rhodey and Thor. “Ohio thinks we should do our first stream to prevent them from charging in immediately. If we give them a foretaste of what they’re dealing with, we’ll probably be safe for the next twelve to twenty-four hours.”

“You can call him Bruce in front of us, Tony,” Rhodey chuckles.

Tony acts like he hasn’t heard him. “Take one of the hostages’ phones and start a stream. Make sure to tape the front camera and to turn it off again as soon as you’re done.”

“Got it.”

Tony sighs and leans back in his chair, grinning in pleasant anticipation. What he would give too see the FBI agents faces when they realize that this is unlike anything they’ve dealt with before. Now, that he’s thinking about it… he should probably go watch them do the stream. Two minutes later, Tony’s standing at the railing, just in time to hear Steve giving instructions. He has an arm around a middle-aged female who’s sobbing despicably.

“Thank you, Naomi, for letting us use your phone. Now, listen closely: we’re gonna make a short video. You’re ought to stay completely silent, or you’ll be shot. You’re ought to leave your mask on, or you’ll be shot. My friends will also show you how to hold your weapons properly.”

Steve then motions the woman to go back to the group and put on her mask. A few minutes later, Bucky does a short, somewhat creepy vertical pan of the silent group. A few of the hostages are trembling so violently that Tony can see it from up here, but it doesn’t really matter; the FBI will most likely get the hint. He walks back into the director’s office he’s made camp in, where fifteen minutes later, Natasha, Wanda and Rhodey join him to eat some snacks for dinner.

“We split them into two groups, employees and visitors. Apparently, we’ve caught ourselves a bunch of High School kids,” Natasha says and takes a bite off a sandwich.

Tony growls in annoyance. “The last thing I need are some whiney, stupid teenagers and a protective teacher.”

“Their teacher is a joke,” Wanda chuckles, “I think he’s more scared than his students are.”

“Well, make sure to keep a close eye on them,” Tony urges.

“I’d be more worried about Bucky and Clint, to be honest,” Natasha huffs, “I saw them checking out the female hostages a little too excitedly.”

“So? They know they’re not supposed to touch anyone.”

“Good.”

Tony can’t resist rolling his eyes behind her back. “What’s the plan for the rest of the night?”

“Clint will take some of the workers to the printing machine. Him and Thor will be watching them. Steve will lay down just like me, Nat and Rhodey,” Wanda says. “At midnight, me and Steve will take new workers down, whereas Thor and Clint will go to sleep. Rhodey and Nat are gonna change with Sam and Bucky.”

“Excellent.”

Later on, Tony receives another call from Bruce, who’s telling him that both the FBI agents, as well as the public are completely taken aback by the fact that the hostages are forced to look exactly like the kidnappers, postponing all possible rescue plans for now. Also, they still haven’t figured out the real plan and are wondering why the bank robbers haven’t made any demands yet.

Grinning smugly, Tony lies down onto the rather comfortable leather couch to catch a few hours of sleep. He knows he can rely on the other Avengers; after all, they’ve been friends and partners in crime for quite some time now. Admittedly, they’ve never executed anything as big as this, but Tony and Bruce, who are probably two of the smartest men in the world, have worked on the plan meticulously for five years. It will work out just fine, Tony’s sure about it.

However, a few hours later, he’s awakened from his surprisingly deep sleep by a few loud gunshots. Only seconds later, Rhodey comes running into his room.

“We need you downstairs. There’s been an incident.”

“What fucking incident?” Tony growls. He’s up in seconds and heads after the man, making sure to grab his mask and weapons on the way out.

“I didn’t see it, but some fucking kid apparently thought it was a good idea to hit Bucky across the face, and then some of the other hostages tried to take away his weapon. Sam was firing into the air just when I arrived at the stairs, so I was able to help him keeping them contained.”

“Is anybody hurt?”

“Yeah, Bucky, but I don’t think it’s that bad. They weren’t able to take his weapon.”

Tony’s seething. He’s always expected someone to play the hero eventually, but not this early on. As they are running past the other offices, Steve, Natasha and Wanda burst out from other offices and join them, asking what the fuck happened. A minute later, they’re at the top of the stairs, looking down at the terrified crowd of hostages kneeling on the ground with their hands up in the air.

Tony applauds loudly, successfully gaining him everyone’s attention. “I gotta say, I’m impressed,” the man snarls, climbing down the stairs slowly. “I already had a feeling you’d be stupid, but I didn’t expect you to be this stupid. Guess at least some of you do have a serious death wish, though.”

Tony has reached the end of the stairs where he’s towering over the kneeling hostages for a while before starting to walk tardily towards Sam and a slightly bleeding Bucky. Most hostages are staring down to the ground in fear, some sobbing even more severely than earlier. There’s a small group separated from the others; two male adults and six younger looking kids, two of them female.

“Are these our heroes?” Tony asks Sam, who nods. “Who started it?”

“The one to the right.”

Tony doesn’t see the kid clearly because he has his head bowed even further than the others. The only thing he can make out is his slightly curly hair and tender, rather small body which is shaking so terribly in the oversized overall it’s truly a delicious sight. Too bad he had to die.

Tony cocks his gun. “Bring him to me.”

“NO, p-please!” The girl sitting right next to the boy screams, sobbing hysterically. “PLEASE, he didn’t do anything, PLEASE!”

“Shut your fucking mouth or you’ll be next!” Tony yells, trying to ignore the other sobs and cries coming from all around him. A crying, quite chubby boy speaks up next. “P-Please, he only tried to protect-“

This time, Steve’s firing up in the air, successfully shutting everyone off once more. Meanwhile, Bucky has dragged the teenaged vigilante over, who seems too shocked or frightened to fight back. He’s thrown down to the ground flat on his stomach, right in front of Tony’s feet, sobbing despicably. Tony laughs spitefully when the boy tries to protect his head with his mere hands, and points his weapon down, unable to resist poking the barrel of the rifle onto the back of the kid’s right hand.

“Any last words?”

“P-please, d-don’t kill me, I’m j-just a kid.” His voice is extremely muffled, but Tony understood him.

“I warned you about being a hero, boy. You should’ve listened.”

“I-I d-didn’t-“

“Did I allow you to speak again? I said last words, not penultimate,” Tony spits, ripping an agonizing sound from the kid’s throat. The girl with the extremely curly hair is wailing horridly at this point, providing Tony with a vicious idea. The corners of his mouth turn upwards in the sweetest smile. “Hey, but you know what? I’m not a monster; you can stop crying now.”

It’s as if Tony turned a switch. The whole hall becomes deadly quiet all of a sudden, most of them holding in their breaths, full of hope. The wanna-be hero even lifts his head a few inches and visibly relaxes the grip on his head, causing Tony to grin widely beneath his mask. Those fools.

Without warning, he grabs the boy’s hair and starts pulling him upwards. “I’ll allow you to look your girlfriend in the eye when I blow your brains out!”

The kid’s friends, especially the supposed girlfriend and the chubby one, cry out in despair. “NO, please!”

Tony laughs wickedly and yanks the small boy around to finally get a better look at him.

And then, he freezes in shock. The boy, who’s glancing at him beseechingly, looks like a fucking twink. Not just any twink…the most beautiful, perfect twink the man has ever laid eyes on. Pearls of sweat are slowly running from the kid’s temple down to his rosy cheeks, where they’re mingling with the tears coming out of his innocent doe-like eyes. Not to mention the boy’s lips… Tony could probably fill pages describing his delicate, thin red lips.

He snaps out of it only when Rhodey whispers “Manhattan?” right into his ear. Tony turns around, somewhat perplexed, but then he remembers that they’re using codenames. That fucking kid made him forget that they were in the middle of a bank heist, or rather, in the middle of an execution.

“Pennsylvania, I think I just had an epiphany. Take the boy upstairs into my office. I feel like having a chat with our little superhero after all.”