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Broken Crown

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A way out.

A second chance.

Revenge. 

And all they needed was his tech. Such a simple request for such a heavy reward. Of course he accepted. Of course he followed their rules, didn't even hesitate. 

Revenge. 

They took him to a private airstrip, gave him some warm clothes, and after the plane crossed a blue, blue ocean, they gave him a thick coat and told him: "Держите голову низко, keep your head low", of course he listened. But he managed to catch sight of a local newspaper with his pale face glaring back. A mug shot several years old.

When he asked why his name was in that newspaper, here, across the blue, blue ocean- the man escorting him simply smiled, eyes shining and teeth glimmering like a shark's after a kill.

"это конец. . . you died," the man explained with a thick enough accent that it took him a moment to understand. When he did, a thrill shivered down his spine and made him shake with adrenaline.

So this is what it felt like.

The man led him to an auto garage. Instead of getting into one of the multiple cars that sat covered in snow, he was led onto the shop, the heat hitting him like a bucket of boiling water compared to the freezing temperatures outside. They walked up to what looked like broom closet, but when the man opened it, a shiny elevator was revealed.

He barely noticed the silent ride down into the earth, his mind stuck on a spinning mantra of revenge revenge revenge.

The doors slid open with a *ping* to reveal an enormous warehouse full of massive equipment and smaller concrete rooms scattered throughout- the movement and noise, and  the overpowering smells of oil, gunpowder, and several other foreign substances filled his head. 

He was led into a small office in the corner, where they took his thick coat and offered him a seat and a drink. 

He was left in the silence of his own thoughts.

Revenge revenge revenge. . .

The thick door swung open behind him, letting a chilly draft hit the back of his neck. A man wearing an expensive suit and slicked back hair slid behind the desk before him with the smile of a man who was just offered the world.

I used to look like that.

"Justin Hammer. So wonderful to finally meet you. I followed your work very closely back in the day," the man said neatly, smile unnaturally white, "I work for some people with very similar interests to yours. We are called Hydra, and we will give you what you want, if you help us get what we want."

"All I want is Tony Stark's blood," Hammer gritted out, setting the untouched drink on the desk.

"And we can get it for you . Very soon, in fact," the man said with a glimmer in his eyes akin to that of a madman, "but what do you say we hit him where it hurts most? Break him down a bit first. Then bring him right to us, where you can exact your revenge with gusto."

Revenge revenge revenge. . .

A smile crept onto Hammer's face, pulling his lips into a replica of the man's before him. Madman.

"Where it hurts most?"

"The boy he's 'mentoring'. They've gotten quite close. Treats him almost as if he's a son. It would be a pity to take that away from him. "

"Such a pity," he repeated softly. 

"Do we have a deal?" The man asked, stretching a hand before him to shake.

"We do."

They shook hands.

Revenge.

Revenge.

Revenge.

Madmen.