There are four ways to kill a vampire.
It’s something Howard had taught him at a young age.
The first; was beheading. A blade , a shot, anything really that separates the head and the body would kill them, just like it would any creature.
The second; a stake through the heart. Tony had been unable to hold in the snort at how stereotypical it sounded, only to be met by Howard’s sharp eyes, and even sharper tongue, as he explained in detail the mechanics and agony of it.
The third was poison. Silver, vervain, garlic. Enough of it on a weapon or in blood could cause death. It certainly wasn’t a fool proof way. If old enough the vampire could work the poison out of their body, or if they could get a source of clean blood, it would neutralize the poison, but it was a possibility.
The fourth was starvation.
And the fourth, the fourth he had said was the cruelest way to kill them, the way most hunters would kill them if they had the chance. Some kind of revenge for the blood they took from others, a form of torture that the hunters felt was their penance.
Stop a vampire from being able to have blood, and they would slowly wither away and die. It would take months, years, depending on how old the vampire was, but if they were locked away long enough, without a source of food, like every other animal they would perish.
Tony had remembered hearing the way Howard had spoken about it, a shiver running down his spine, as he imagined it.
Howard had told him that it rarely happened, that hunters found it difficult enough to kill them, let alone capture them so that they could lock them up, but it had happened.
Tony had just never thought that he would be one of the ones to experience it.
He’d been so cocky, so certain in his strength, his training, his technology.
He’d been wrong.
He’s not sure how they managed to ambush the convoy, the details of their path only known to a few. He’d been bantering with some of the lower level guards when they’d been hit. Which normally wouldn’t have been enough to take him, or even the guards out, but they’d had one of his sonic tasers, something he’d created to protect Howard’s kingdom.
They hadn’t stood a chance.
At first he’d thought it was the werewolves. He’d not missed the rumour running around that there had been a change in leadership, heard that a new Alpha had taken control of the packs, a wolf that the underground had started jokingly calling the ‘Captain’, with his second, ‘the Soldier’ by his side.
The rumor was that the Captain was out to take out the Vampire Kingdom, Howard and Tony in particular.
Tony had waved it off. It wasn’t the first, or the last, time that he would hear that, he was sure.
So when they were hit, his first thought was that it was werwolves, right up until he’d seen Hammer’s face.
Hammer who worked for Stane.
The same Stane who was his sire’s closest advisor, who had helped Howard build the vampire kingdom to what it was now.
“Why?” he’d asked, trying to fight against the disabling device.
“Because it should’ve been me,” Hammer had snarled back, before the noise turned everything to black.
That had been over nine months ago, and Tony knows that his time is running out. He’s only been a vampire going on nineteen years now. And whilst he probably has many months before he perishes, he only has another one or two before it will be impossible for him to save himself.
To save his sire and kingdom.
Because if Obidiah takes the throne, he will have to kill Howard to take it, and the only way to do that is war.
The man has been pushing Howard to go to war with the werewolves for centuries. Recently, with Howard talking about peace with their old enemies, the man had stepped up his campaign, and this was no doubt another step in his plan.
Once Tony is dead, he has no doubt Obidiah will make it look like wolves killed him. And Tony knows that Howard won’t be able to let that insult pass. His own childe taken, tortured and killed in the worse way they know.
If he retaliates, it’s war with their old enemies.
If he doesn’t, the other factions will see Howard as weak, and a civil war will break out.
Either way, Obidiah will get what he wants. War with the werewolves, or war with the other vampire clans, it will be the perfect time for him to take Howard out.
So he needs to figure out how to get out of here, and soon. Unfortunately Hammer knows that if they leave anything remotely technologically based, that he’ll have it apart and used as a weapon in no time.
All that’s in his room is a single bed, the dusty floor and a small window.
No one’s visited him for weeks, not even Hammer, who had come to gloat almost every day the first few months he’d been locked away, and then periodically as the months had crawled on.
“Think,” he mutters to himself, pushing his fisted hand against his head, but it’s so hard, the thoughts coming through what feels like fog.
A sharp howl clears it for a few moments, the sound long and strong, his eyes flicking to the window where he can see the night sky, the moon shining brightly. The single howl is met by others, all of them coming from around him.
Standing, Tony stumbles towards the window, hearing quickly picking up the sounds of fighting, of snarling, of screaming.
He’s not sure how long he stands there before the sounds cut off, the silence ringing in his ears.
He already knows who’s won, even before the door opens to two figures that he’s never seen before, but that he can tell are wolves purely by their smell and their stance.
The figures stalk into his cell, one tall and blonde, ice blue eyes meeting Tony’s. He feels like he’s been weighed and measured in that single stare, and been found beyond wanting. The other figure stalks to his other side, tall and brunette, pale blue eyes staring intensely, taking in all of Tony, like he can see all of his weaknesses.
He can’t help the chuckle that escapes him. It quickly followed by full out laughter, enough to have him falling against the wall, legs giving out beneath him, as he realizes just how screwed he is.
He has no hope against two fully grown werewolves in the state he’s in. Hell, even a recently turned wolf would probably be able to finish him. All those months, and now he’s going to be killed by the group that he thought had been responsible for this.
The brunette cocks his head to the side, frowning at Tony, before looking over at the blonde.
“They didn’t say he was crazy, Stevie.”
The blonde frowns at him, taking a step forward, before being stopped by a voice.
“He’s not. He’s starving.”
The sound of the other voice has the laughter ending, a smaller brunette striding in.
“What?” the blonde asks, tearing his eyes from where he’d been staring at Tony, to glance at the newcomer.
“He’s not crazy,” the new brunette says, opening his bag, and pulling out a bag full of blood. Tony scrunches his nose in disgust, but his mouth starts salivating.
It’s been so long since he ate.
“It’s one of the ways to kill them,” the brunette continues, throwing the bag to Tony, who can’t help but rip it open and start chugging it down.
“The cruelest. You lock them away and they starve to death, it’s slow and painful, and they will go crazy before the end, but by then they can do little more than lay there.”
The other two look at the brunette in horror.
“People do that?” the blonde asks, Tony able to hear the disgust in his voice.
He doesn’t hear the reply to that, the blood having hit his system, the fogginess that had been clouding his thoughts clearing somewhat, enough to take in the three men in front of him.
“Who are you?” he croaks out, resting his head back against the wall.
“You honestly don’t know who we are?” the blonde asks, interrupting something the smaller brunette had been saying.
“Should I?” Tony replies.
“Well, damn, Stevie, crazy and stupid,” the tall brunette says, leaning against one of the walls. “You sure he’s the only one?”
“There’s no one else,” the blonde says.
“My name is Steven Rogers,” he continues. “They call me the Captain.”